Here's another user contribution...short and sweet, it strikes at a common divide between Euro and Ameritrash gaming. --Ken B.
One of the things that seems to separate Ameritrash from Eurotrash is the presence of player interaction. Most of the interaction in Ameritrash is of the direct form and most of the interaction in a Eurogame is of the indirect form. Which one makes for the better game?
The other night, we played a game of "War on Terror" and had a blast. The week before, we played a game of "Illuminati" and had a blast. The night before, we played "War of Terror", I went to a friend's house and we played a game of "Containers". The game seemed okay but I didn't really have a blast. Then we played a game of "Iron Dragon", fun but not a blast.
I think the main difference between all of these games is that "War on Terror" and "Illuminati" involve direct interaction. In both cases there is active negotiation and direct confrontation. Each player can take an active role in preventing another player from taking an action. It's not like "Puerto Rico", "Caylus" or what I've heard about "Agricola" where you prevent the action by doing it yourself. While there is screwage, it's not the same as plopping that Terrorist cell on the city or attacking the entity that would remove a whole branch from someone's Illuminati cell.
The interaction in a Eurogame leaves to some bitter feelings but there isn't an outlet for the frustration that an Amerigame provides. I mean, moving the provost back three steps for 3 gold to prevent that one tile from producing doesn't have the same satisfaction as plopping a nuke down on the city that happens to be on the 7 Oil Producing spot knowing full well the same could happen to you.
Granted, the Eurogames have some tighter mechanics, but I think there is more to a game than just the mechanics. Tight mechanics are fine for two player games but I think multiplayer games need something else. They need negotiation, backstabbing, trading, etc. Most of the Euro-euros do not provide that. Imagine being able to trade your corn for Indigo in a game of Puerto Rico, it would make for a different game. Or better yet, imagine being able to play a card or something where that pile of 10 corn sitting on someone's dock suddenly catches fire. Tha would definately make for a different game.
So which makes for the better game? In my opinion, the direct approach makes for a better game. Certainly less bitterness.