What the heck is Ameritrash?
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I am confused. By the fact that I have no clue what the term "Ameritrash" is supposed to mean.

As we found out repeatedly when classify Small World between an Euro and a Wargame, and in multiple other "is this a Wargame or not" kinds of discussions, it seems that a clear definition eludes our grasp when it comes to subdomains - which is why the BGG subdomain project was started, and why it does not force the mods to take sides by enabling a simple majority vote to decide the fate of a game...

Despite these problems though, I wonder: What is, actually, Ameritrash, and what isn't? Thus I propose an inductive approach: Provide examples of what you think is Ameritrash, or what isn't, and tell us why you think so. And feel free to disagree; the prime reason for me making this GeekList is my eagerness to learn...

Through all this, I think I love Ameritrash. Until I find out what it actually is though, I can't be entirely sure whether I do.
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Gazillions of plastic miniatures are Ameritrash.

Preferrably, the miniatures are in dynamic poses and look really awesome, and scream for the liberal use of a brush and tons of colors for improving their already awesome looks.

Image credit: 1nf1n1ty
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Cardboard counter units are not Ameritrash.

However much a game might classify as being Ameritrash when it comes to mechanics or feel or target audience, a proper Ameritrash game can't have cardboard counters representing units. It's just not done.

Other bits of cardboard are, of course, perfectly fine.

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Wooden bits are not Ameritrash.

This does, of course, particularly apply to wooden cubes. Wooden cubes are the hallmark of Euros, and thus, using even a single wooden cube automatically makes a game an Euro from an Ameritrasher's point of view.

Image credit: Nodens77
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Thousands of chits and bits are Ameritrash.

In order to properly qualify as being Ameritrash, a game needs at least a few hundred cards (preferrably in at least two different sizes), and dozens of different status (cardboard) chips for the aforementioned plastic units. Health counters, command tokens, order tokens, you name it. Preferrably a dozen or two custom dice, too.

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Great art is required for Ameritrash.

You can't have an Ameritrash game that doesn't have great, awe-inspiring art. Otherwise, it might be an attempt at Ameritrash, but a good try at best.

Image credit: croustibar
(Edit: Changed image)
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Auction mechanics are not Ameritrash.

If your game has auction mechanics, it's automatically not a proper Ameritrash game. A hybrid, maybe. But not properly Ameritrash.

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(Edit: Changed image)
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Area majority control mechanics are not Ameritrash.

Similar to auction mechanics, area control mechanics with multiple players coexisting in the same area and fighting for control through some other means than bashing each other's heads in: These automatically make a game not a pure Ameritrash, but at most a hybrid.

Image credit: belyakoff

(Edited for clarity.)
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Ameritrash games have long, extensive rulebooks.

Elegant, clean, minimal rules are best left to other subdomains. An Ameritrash rulebook is supposed to go into great detail for things that an Euro player would probably prefer to have abstracted away entirely. This leads to detailed rules for all the things a player could possibly want to do, at the expense of making the rules ever so slightly longer. And maybe requiring a second, equally thick, book, for scenarios. And maybe a few player aids.

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All games published by FFG automagically become Ameritrash.

It's the law. If all else fails, Fantasy Flight Games adds a bunch of plastic miniatures.

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Only thematic games can be Ameritrash.

Abstracts are out. An Ameritrash game needs to drip with theme.

Image credit: henk.rolleman
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Realistic or historical settings are not Ameritrash.

A proper Ameritrash game needs at least a hint of Fantasy, or SciFi, or Post-Apocalypticism, or what-have-you that makes it distinctly not historical.

Image credit: garyjames
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Ameritrash games are not short.

Handling all those bits takes its sweet time. A game that lasts less than an hour is rarely a proper Ameritrash game (even though there are exceptions, arguably Space Hulk is one of them). Generally, "180 minutes" on the game box mean 5-6 hours of game time, unless you've played the game at least a dozen times.

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I forgot this at first (and feel free to add your own):

Ameritrash games embrace randomness.

Decks of cards, combat with dice, asymmetrical starting positions and even completely different player powers - Ameritrash does not want fairness due to equal starting positions, but seeks balance within sometimes entirely different starting positions and by throwing entirely different things at the different players.

This is balanced either by trusting that the randomness will even out in the end, or by trusting in inter-player (table) politics, or by giving the players ways to influence their odds like the capability to draw more cards at a cost (like in StarCraft: The Board Game).
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Ameritrash Games Promote Direct Player Interaction.

Ameritrash games are designed so players need to play with each other, not just with the game's mechanics.
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15. Board Game: Agricola [Average Rating:7.94 Overall Rank:32]
Board Game: Agricola
Patrick G.
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Ameritrash games are not about farming and rarely came from Germany.
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16. Board Game: Risk [Average Rating:5.59 Overall Rank:19973]
Board Game: Risk
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If they are French, have a short rulebook,and come with wooden cubes,
Board Game: Risk
they can apparently still be "Ameritrash".
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Daryl Wilks
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Peshastin
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Ameritrash games do not have some rich, powerful dude on the cover beckoning players to grovel at the hem of his robes.
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Theme before Mechanics is Ameritrash.

For all the things Ameritrash means to people, good or bad, one trait that an Ameritrash game must have is its relationship between theme and mechanics. The game's theme uses the mechanics to create a narrative, which is why the mechanics yield to the theme on occasion (see the definition of "chrome").

There is a story that comes out of Ameritrash game sessions. Euro games miss this feature. That's because Euros will make concessions that favor mechanics over theme. Thus, the narrative experience doesn't hold up as well.
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19. Board Game: Thunderstone [Average Rating:6.94 Overall Rank:709] [Average Rating:6.94 Unranked]
Board Game: Thunderstone
M. L.
Canada
Longueuil
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Now here's the kicker...

Dominion is "euro".
Thunderstone is "ameritrash".
Yet they are almost the same game...

Here's the difference i think apply to almost all examples.

Euro promotes "building" and "making"
Ameritrash promotes "destroying"


Agricola is no longer anything close to ameritrash with that definition.
Minis are more associated with war-themed games, hence more with ameritrash, but not always.
Most other definition would also fit.

i think...

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United Kingdom
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This is not Ameritrash and neither is any boardgame
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21. Board Game: Living Landscapes [Average Rating:0.00 Unranked]
Board Game: Living Landscapes
Phil Fleischmann
United States
Fountain Valley
CA
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Ameritrash games come in rectangular boxes oriented horizontally.
Eurogames come in rectangular boxes oriented vertically.

A&A, Monopoly, Shogun, Twilight Imperium, Fortress America

Agricola, Le Havre, Carcassonne, Caylus

You can post the images yourself.
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22. Board Game: Fortress America [Average Rating:6.70 Overall Rank:1825]
Board Game: Fortress America
Mike P
United States
Irving
TX
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Similar to products designed by FFG, games by Milton Bradley that come in boxes too large for a small child to carry without dropping are Ameritrash.

This is actually a followup, based on the fact that the size of the box is thanks to a) quantity of pieces, b) a huuuuuge board, c) size of the rulebook and d) the most inefficient piece sorting trays in the history of the world.
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23. Board Game: The Money Game [Average Rating:5.00 Unranked]
Board Game: The Money Game
Phil Fleischmann
United States
Fountain Valley
CA
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Money
If the game has money, and the denominations are some selection of 1, 2, 3, 5, 10, and no others, then it's a Euro.
If the game has money, and the denominations are some selection of 1, 5, 10, 20, 50, 100, 500, 1000, 5000, etc., then it's Ameritrash.
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24. Board Game: Doctor Who: Battle for the Universe [Average Rating:4.58 Overall Rank:19293]
Board Game: Doctor Who: Battle for the Universe
Markus Rathgeb
Germany
Erbach
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From gallery of Scayra


Sorry, sometimes my brain only produces ...
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25. Board Game: Twilight Imperium: Third Edition [Average Rating:7.83 Overall Rank:83]
Board Game: Twilight Imperium: Third Edition
Lizbeth
United Kingdom
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Ameri-trash games destroy table space.

Regardless of how much room you think you needed for an AT game, the rule decree's you will always need more/wind up playing on the floor/balancing various bits on window ledges.

This is an extension of the many bits, plastic bits and gigantic board which every AT game should have.

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