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Pirate Games: Theme or Function?

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Pirate games: Theme or function?

Two very different approaches to pirate games seem to embody the age-old Ameritrash vs Euro conflict.

Who doesn't like pirates? (I mean, other than Richard Phillips...) And, more importantly, who doesn't like pirate games? Whether it's pickup-and-deliver or raiding someone else's attempt to do so, pirate games have usually held a special place in the hearts of many gamers, both for the romantic notions of the era and the similarly thrilling way those games and stories are usually rolled out. Pirates tend to be idealized alongside dragons, zombies, and robots as another stalwart of the geek, gaming crowd (pointed and accurate comment by Elizabeth Hargrave goes here...) However, despite the proliferation of said games, as with all topics, it's difficult to make one really stand out from the crowd. Many would argue that what a pirate game really needs is flavor, so that the Curse of the Black Pearl kind of sheen really comes through (formerly known as "the Ameritrash approach.") OTOH, all the sheen in the world won't cover up a game that isn't working from a solid design (formerly known as "the Euro approach.") So, what I thought I'd do here is take a look at two of the most beloved of the pirate scene and see what makes them emblematic of their respective styles and which created the lasting appeal that both have today, long after their publication (and with one, unfortunately, out of print.) The two games I'm speaking of are Merchants & Marauders and Black Fleet.

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Merchants & Marauders is essentially Talisman on a boat. You have a captain who has a collection of stats, a unique ability, and whom you sail around trying to fulfill Missions, resolve Rumors, and collect money to increase his/her power until others are willing to acknowledge them as the most glorious seafarer of the 17th-century Caribbean. Black Fleet, in contrast, is a much more abstracted version of that effort (no captain, no stats, no rumors) but which still manages to carry the theme along with it, albeit much more mechanically and, in some ways, with a sounder design approach. And that's kind of the crux of the oldest argument of the modern gaming era: What really makes a game- theme or system?

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Merchants and Marauders is dripping with theme. The board represents the, you know... actual Caribbean region, from Cartagena to St. John. Many of the captains are very loosely based on actual historical figures who were present in that area: Dutch captain in the game, Machiel van Riebleeck, is an almost-namesake for actual Dutch navigator Jan van Riebeeck, for example. Nassau was notorious as a haven for pirates at the time so, in the game, scouting naval ships have to succeed twice to find players. And that theme extends to basic elements, as well. If you're being pursued by the French authorities, you can't dock in French ports. But you can also just make a lot of money by shipping tobacco, sugar, lumber, and cocoa to various ports where they're in demand. Furthermore, there's nothing that prevents you from being a plain, old merchant and suddenly swinging to the more aggressive end of the spectrum by ransacking another nation's boat with a letter of marque; just like the "privateers" of the time.

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In contrast, Black Fleet has no names of people, places, or even things. The game is set in a nameless archipelago. The cargo that you're shipping is defined solely by five different colors, as are the naval ships that pursue the players' pirates. Just like Merchants & Marauders, you do get to be both a merchant and a pirate at the same time, although it's not an option, but rather an essential part of the game. Even the game's name, "Black Fleet", comes from the color of pieces that the first player always uses, which is one among the more mundane selection of colors ever offered to a gaming group: white, gray, and brown being the others. But the most interesting thing about all of this nondescript setting is that it detracts from the game in not the slightest bit.

The system that embodies the game of Black Fleet is simple, but with remarkable depth. Merchants do what merchants do: ship stuff from one place on the board to another, in search of the highest profit. Pirates do what pirates do: raid the merchants so they can take their cargo and bury it as treasure on a desert island. And navies do what navies do: hunt the pirates and try to sink them. What brings Black Fleet a bit closer to Merchants & Marauders in terms of chrome are the Development cards, which give each player unique abilities for at least one of the ships that they'll be moving on their turn. What takes it one step further are the Fortune cards, most of which focus around movement advantages, income advantages for Merchants, or breaking the cardinal rule of the game: 1 action per ship per turn. But it's the system that is the driving point of the game. The Fortune cards are almost all based on movement, because movement, while a huge part of games like Merchants & Marauders, is absolutely central to Black Fleet. It's something that encourages the players to engage with the basic strategy of the game, much like an abstract (chess, etc.), rather than with trying to emphasize the unique aspects of oneself (i.e. not Cosmic Encounter.) That is, again, until those Development cards come into play.

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The contrast in chrome between the two games ranges from nonexistent (various mechanical upgrades) to extensive (Rumors, Missions, etc.) The latter are all Merchants & Marauders because, as noted, it's an "Ameritrash" design. The primary focus of Merchants & Marauders, as with many AT games, is to tell a story. You can do that with your unique captain and by following a Rumor to Tortuga and outiftting your ship with Heated Shot and Chasers. On top of that, you also have an element that Black Fleet, like most "Euros", tries to minimize: random events. The Event deck for Merchants & Marauders can shape a large part of that game's story on its own, as you suddenly find yourself unable to enter ports because your home nation is at war or a hurricane is sweeping through the area or plague has hit a couple ports or the local population is in the midst of an uprising and so on. Plus, completing Missions or Rumors or simply generating a lot of cash as both merchants and pirates hope to do brings Glory cards, which range from fancy crew members (Master Gunner, etc.) that help your basic functions to Perfect Navigation that gives you extra actions for good Seamanship rolls to being able to bring on a sudden Fog before a battle (How Curse of the Black Pearl can you get?), among dozens of others. Again, every game a story.

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But those Glory cards are kind of where the two games intersect, as the Development cards in Black Fleet give similar advantages that are often even greater in magnitude, because of the more straightforward mechanics. This is where the minor chrome actually accelerates the system to a significant degree. Development cards are gained with the intention of being able to turn over your last card to win the game, but they also provide a good dose of the replayability of the game. From the easily obtainable options like Quick Launch, which allows your pirate to move up to 4 extra spaces upon entering the board (Movement!), to Insurance, which pays you doubloons for both missing cargo and sunk merchants (and was a genuine aspect of sailing in classical pirate times, as it is today), to Expert Crew, which lets you use movement values from both cards you draw, rather than one, to The Black Spot and Letter of Marque, which lets your pirate and merchant ships attack their own kind and gain doubloons for doing so, these cards also bring in the story aspect of the game that is integral to Merchants and Marauders. Similarly, knowing when and how to build up your Fortune cards to a "big combo" turn is often an excellent approach to putting your opponent's sails a long way toward the horizon.

One major difference between the two that hits both the "system" and "theme" perspectives is combat. In Black Fleet, it's basically nonexistent. It exists inasmuch as when a navy ship gets next to pirate, it attacks and sinks them, and when a pirate ship gets next to a merchant, it attacks and steals goods from them and maybe sinks them. But there is no "combat", per se, anymore than there is in chess (again, hearkening back to the abstract nature of the game.) In contrast, the combat system in Merchants & Marauders has been the source of most of the complaints about the game over the years, as it's quite involved, can slow the game down, involves copious dice rolls (Randomness!), and can be unusually punishing to the losing player. But this is also why Merchants & Marauders resembles games like Talisman, where there is also combat, both PVE and PVP, and where the losing player is set back markedly compared to his opponents. It's this one aspect that stands out most often in the fabled "Ameritrash" vs "Euro" comparison, wherein the former tends to have both combat systems and deleterious results for the loser, while the latter category typically does not (cue Tigris and Euphrates fans talking about the difference between revolt and war in one of the most "Euro" games of all time.) To many players, that's part of the essential tension and story of those games. To many others, it's a pretty "unfun" drawback and something they normally choose to avoid.

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That said, Black Fleet, for a so-called "Euro" is still extremely ruthless in its player interactions. Just because there's not a drawn out system of Seamanship rolls and Grapeshot blasts doesn't mean that losing your last cube and seeing your merchant sunk on the verge of completing a crucial sale isn't a frustrating experience for the victim. Black Fleet is, after all, still a pirate game and it's that atmosphere that still embodies its play, abstracted or no. Things are rough out there on the ocean and it's all about being the hardest sea dog you can be if you're going to take home the victory. In fact, in some ways, the abstraction makes "combat" in this game almost more ruthless than in Merchants & Marauders because it's so quick and efficient and the prospects for revenge might be less likely because the card draw usually makes efficiency paramount when you're trying to win the game.

And that brings another insight. For all that Boardgamegeek is often decried as being dominated by Euro players in its rankings, when one looks at this one example (and, honestly, many others) that would seem to be counter-intuitive. Black Fleet is ranked as a relatively modest 809, whereas Merchants and Marauders is in the roughly elite status at 261. Given that said rankings aren't particularly scientific or measures of genuine quality, that may not tell us much. But what it might indicate is the question I started this piece with: Theme or function? Is Merchants & Marauders so much more highly regarded because it fully embraces the romantic notions that circulate around the idea of 17th- and 18th-century pirates? Or was it just better marketing and the typical Z-Man knowledge of the zeitgeist? Zev Shlasinger had a long record of putting quirky but deeply involving games under his banner and Merchants & Marauders is certainly one of those. OTOH, I've had multiple hardcore gamers, whose opinions I respect, tell me that they think that Black Fleet is, systemically, simply the superior play. Is that the difference between "hardcore" and widely experienced gamers and the wider crowd that rates things on BGG? Or is this questioning the very theory presented here: Does theme vs function matter on a broad level or is it down to personal and/or group preference?

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Right away, I'll say that I can more easily talk my girlfriend into playing something like Black Fleet. She tends to dislike games that seem to thrive on rolling with the punches of randomness and story elements. (She is, of all things, not a Cosmic Encounter fan. I know. I don't understand it, either.) But I know a friend who would vastly prefer to play something "crunchy" like Merchants & Marauders because she, too, is interested in stories and referring back to games from our history (She will never forgive another friend for stealing her Rage Blade and then losing it in his next challenge in Runebound and routinely brings it up.) But I have even more friends whom would gladly play either of them with very little debate. Asking most what they thought was a "better" game would probably produce something close to an even split, although I'd bet that the disdain for Merchants & Marauders's combat system would drive more visceral negative opinions than the lukewarm story elements of Black Fleet. So I don't think there is a definitive answer to the age-old Ameritrash vs Euro "conflict", even as we've moved well past those confining definitions that serve to label games about as well as specific music genres label performers in the modern era. It's a matter of convenience, certainly, but not a restriction. In the end, most games are privateers.

On a personal level, while I own and really like both of them, I will say that I tend toward Merchants and Marauders more often, despite its much longer play time and less elegant approach, largely because I tend to prefer games that emphasize story over function. Does that make me a romantic? Probably. But it doesn't mean that I wouldn't grab Black Fleet and more mechanical games like it (like, say, T&E) off the shelf in a second because I like games like that, too. Frankly, when it comes to the question of story, I'm even more likely to be a romantic about a game with ninjas than pirates... (Deep dive into Shogun/Samurai Swords/Ikusa incoming.)

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There Will Be Games

Marc Reichardt  (He/Him)
Associate Writer

Marc started gaming at the age of 5 by beating everyone at Monopoly, but soon decided that Marxism, science fiction, and wargames were more interesting than money, so he opted for writing (and more games) while building political parties, running a comic studio, and following Liverpool. You can find him on Twitter @Jackwraith and lurking in other corners of the Interwebs.

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Articles by Marc

Marc Reichardt
Staff Board Game Reviewer

Articles by Marc

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Gary Sax's Avatar
Gary Sax replied the topic: #318735 02 Feb 2021 13:02
M+M is a truly a savage and merciless combat system, like way more than most comparable AT games. I get why people aren't into it but talk about very real high stakes.
WadeMonnig's Avatar
WadeMonnig replied the topic: #318736 02 Feb 2021 13:04
One interesting note is that Sebastian Bleasdale (Black Fleet) is a long time playtester of Reiner Knizia. It's hard to unsee Knizia's influence on the design (all in fantastic and pure gameplay ways).
Jackwraith's Avatar
Jackwraith replied the topic: #318738 02 Feb 2021 13:19

Gary Sax wrote: M+M is a truly a savage and merciless combat system, like way more than most comparable AT games. I get why people aren't into it but talk about very real high stakes.


No argument there. It is extremely punishing. But that's kind of why I drove the comparison with Talisman. When you lose a combat in Talisman, you're dead. You have to start over and all your gear drops on the board and you start without anything you may have gained with that character. In contrast, death in M&M at least allows you to keep all the Glory (VPs) that you've gained AND all the gold that you've stashed. So, you're starting out with a new boat and without all the gear/crew you have had, but you're at least not completely starting over.
Jackwraith's Avatar
Jackwraith replied the topic: #318740 02 Feb 2021 13:21

WadeMonnig wrote: One interesting note is that Sebastian Bleasdale (Black Fleet) is a long time playtester of Reiner Knizia. It's hard to unsee Knizia's influence on the design (all in fantastic and pure gameplay ways).


Heh. That's a great point. In fact, Amun-Re probably would've been the better comparison, since it employs a card system roughly similar in terms of the bonuses that you can gain for that single turn, like the Fortune cards in Black Fleet. But T&E has combat, which Amun-Re doesn't, so I went in that direction.
the_jake_1973's Avatar
the_jake_1973 replied the topic: #318744 02 Feb 2021 14:24

Gary Sax wrote: M+M is a truly a savage and merciless combat system, like way more than most comparable AT games. I get why people aren't into it but talk about very real high stakes.


Being able to pull off a boarding action and capture an opponent's galleon or NPC man o war when you have a sloop is one of the greatest feelings in the game.
jpat's Avatar
jpat replied the topic: #318747 02 Feb 2021 16:01
"The board represents the, you know... actual Caribbean region, from Cartagena to St. John. Many of the captains are very loosely based on actual historical figures who were present in that area . . ."

If memory serves, several of the captains, at least in the expansion, are loosely based on game company staff members, or at least their likenesses.
the_jake_1973's Avatar
the_jake_1973 replied the topic: #318748 02 Feb 2021 16:18

jpat wrote: "The board represents the, you know... actual Caribbean region, from Cartagena to St. John. Many of the captains are very loosely based on actual historical figures who were present in that area . . ."

If memory serves, several of the captains, at least in the expansion, are loosely based on game company staff members, or at least their likenesses.


The expansion captains were playtesters and the like. I really dislike the expansion captains for that reason. That and the neckbeardy artwork.
the_jake_1973's Avatar
the_jake_1973 replied the topic: #318751 02 Feb 2021 16:33
I tend to be a Theme over Function person for my games. Anyone familiar with my post history will not be surprised by this. I love a game that tells a story and can have those points of high drama where fortunes are won, or lost, with the roll of a die. It's the gambler in me I suppose. I've not played a pirate game that would supplant M&M for my gaming time. The tie into history is a definite draw. The combat has not been an issue with my group thankfully. It could be streamlined, but then you need those combat options to represent war at sea I think. Pirates like cutlasses and the combat system is a cutlass to the face....no elegant rapier fights here.

I've said it before, but if Christian reskinned his game to be in GW's Old World setting.....Sigmar be praised!
Shellhead's Avatar
Shellhead replied the topic: #318754 02 Feb 2021 17:15
I like pirates, but I only need one pirate game in my collection, and I have it. Not Blackbeard, which I tried over 20 years ago and found to be cumbersome with chrome and detail. Not the small euroish filler game from early FFG that I can no longer remember by name. No, my pirate game is Pirate King. At it's heart, Pirate King is an unholy marriage of Monopoly and Risk, but it is lavish with components.

Every player has a plastic treasure chest, where they keep their (plastic) coins and (glass bead) gems. They conquer ports and plant their flags. They can shore up the defenses at the ports they control. You hire crew and purchase cannons, and the crew tokens have great art. There are goods to ship and battles at sea, plus an NPC naval vessel hunting players for a bounty. You move your ship by aiming for a particular nearby space and then randomly determining how much the wind helps or hurts your movement. There are even curses and magic artifacts.

The game is designed for 2 to 4 players, but runs a little long for modern tastes, up to maybe 3 hours. With respect to this discussion, Pirate King is a triumph of theme and style over function.
dysjunct's Avatar
dysjunct replied the topic: #318759 02 Feb 2021 17:47
I'm one of the (apparent?) few that prefers Black Fleet over M&M. I tried M&M but found it really overwrought and clunky. BF looks great too, with the sculpts and metal doubloons. Plays much faster, smoother, and still has lots of potential for fuckery. I suppose it would be nice to have a bit more heft in the combat, but I don't know that it would really be worth the extra cruft.
Gary Sax's Avatar
Gary Sax replied the topic: #318761 02 Feb 2021 17:56
Last time we checked in, I got the sense that most people here preferred Black Fleet fwiw. Lot of movement away from the cruft of Merchants and Marauders.
Jackwraith's Avatar
Jackwraith replied the topic: #318764 02 Feb 2021 18:09
That was my impression, as well. There seemed to be favor for Black Fleet, mostly because of extra chrome that suffuses M&M. I think dysjunct is right that adding on to BF would only be a detriment, since the system is already pretty tight and Knizia-like (as Wade pointed out.) It's an open question as to whether M&M's combat system drags it below the "lighter" game that Black Fleet represents. That, again, is what most of my rambling was about: What do you value in your games?
san il defanso's Avatar
san il defanso replied the topic: #318765 02 Feb 2021 18:34
The problem with the M&M combat is that it's SO punishing that players tend to avoid it altogether. It's not totally possible with the NPC ships, but pvp combat almost seems rude, like your forcing another player to play a totally different game that can knock you out of this one.

It's a fun game, but at this point I like it in spite of its combat.

I really like Pirate's Cove too. It's the kind of pirate game that feels designed for me, with all its bluffing and double-guessing.
jason10mm's Avatar
jason10mm replied the topic: #318766 02 Feb 2021 18:57
I loves me some pirate games and i have a small stack of them. I like the holistic experience of M&,M but i kinda want a solo version because when i play it i just want to play sid meiers pirates! Instead.

So i tend to gravitate to the more focused games like pirates cove that just does 1 piratey thing instead of a much more complex game that tries to do it all.
Josh Look's Avatar
Josh Look replied the topic: #318767 02 Feb 2021 20:00
I dislike M&M for a plethora of reasons, the combat only being one of them. It's been ages since I've played the game, but I do remember that my biggest knock against it that it the choice between merchant and pirate is a total farce. The captains all definitely lean in one clear, easily indentifiable direction. You could play against type, but unless everyone else is, that's quite a disadvantage you're putting yourself in. It's not a choice, don't sell it as one. Oh, and the combat sucks.

I do think it might very well be the game that started pushing pick and deliver games into adventure game territory, a sungenre we have plenty of choices in now, but every single game to come after that I've managed to feel more open. Even Western Legends, which essentially boils down into two morality camps offers more options to dabble in (though, if it's dabbling you want, that's where Outer Rim wins out).
RobertB's Avatar
RobertB replied the topic: #318768 02 Feb 2021 20:13
I guess it doesn't do it very often, but M&M can generate stories. A friend has a story that he loves to tell about getting in a fight with one of those NPC frigates. All the die rolls went his way in a fight that he absolutely didn't want, and he ended up the owner of a British frigate.
charlest's Avatar
charlest replied the topic: #318769 02 Feb 2021 20:26
It has generated a great story every single time I've played it. The expansion even enhanced the narrative as you pursue the Urca gold or assault islands.

I agree that the base game captains lean hard into one role, but in roughly half the games I've played, merchants late game have switched entirely to a pirate strategy once they're kitted.

The expansion also helps build up the roles with stuff like contraband. That allows for a more merchant-y player to dabble in criminal enterprises.

This is still one of my favorite games.
Jackwraith's Avatar
Jackwraith replied the topic: #318770 02 Feb 2021 21:16

charlest wrote: I agree that the base game captains lean hard into one role, but in roughly half the games I've played, merchants late game have switched entirely to a pirate strategy once they're kitted.


Yep. Anyone assuming that they're completely bound by whatever direction their captain leans in basically lacks imagination or ambition or something essential to actually, y'know, trying. I've seen people win with all combinations of captains, ships, crew, and other accoutrements. The variety is what makes the game strong in the first place, but it needs players to embrace it, not fight it.
the_jake_1973's Avatar
the_jake_1973 replied the topic: #318772 02 Feb 2021 22:52
No matter the captain, I will go hard pirate right out of the gate. I am thankful that our group embraces the PvP aspect of it. We are all looking at who is trying to run to their home port or make a dash to St. Kitt(?) for the sweet ship trade in. losing a combat can be harsh, but not necessarily a game losing proposition. But you also get the games where the merchant raids never fall your way and you end your career in ignominy. The expansion really brings a ton more to the table. There is a TTS mod that plays up to 10 people.

As far a solo variant, there is no reason you couldn't play to a certain amount of glory. I would probably increase the NPC ships or something. The expansion allows for the NPC ships to be kitted out as well to make the battles tougher.
san il defanso's Avatar
san il defanso replied the topic: #318774 03 Feb 2021 01:25
Josh, I think the boundary between merchant and marauder is more permeable than you let on. I've seen people switch between the two quite a bit, although more often from law-abiding citizen to brigand. It definitely produces a lot of variety and narrative moments, which is why I still hold on to it.

It's a weird design though. It has that lumpy feeling where it's a lot of smaller games that are all in the box together. It's definitely cut from the same cloth as Android or Arkham Horror 2e. Those kinds of games would become better-integrated and more streamlined in time, and indeed had already started making that transition when M&M was released. It had a famously long gestation, I think it had actually been pitched to publishers as far back as like 2006. That would definitely explain why it felt so distinctly mid-2000s.
southernman's Avatar
southernman replied the topic: #318776 03 Feb 2021 04:39
Well I think you answered your 'Theme or Function' question when you posted the ratings from euro-centric website BGG with Themey M&M taking the prize.

Been a while since I played M&M, it's still on the shelf but i have a lot of great 3-4 player games it has to compete with, but from memory it could be a bit too easy based on how VPs are assigned for someone to game the system and race away for a 'boring' win - so we found a variant in the BGG files where you were restricted to getting VPs from sources a certain number of times, requiring you to try most of the VP options to get the win, this made it a bit harder and competitive.
Jackwraith's Avatar
Jackwraith replied the topic: #318785 03 Feb 2021 09:50

southernman wrote: Well I think you answered your 'Theme or Function' question when you posted the ratings from euro-centric website BGG with Themey M&M taking the prize.


Is it still Euro-centric, though? Like I said, those ratings aren't anywhere close to being properly weighted polls. You look at the top 10 and see two versions of Gloomhaven, TI4, Gaia Project, Pandemic: Legacy, and Star Wars: Rebellion. The only really Euro-y design is Brass: Birmingham. The next 10 gets a little thicker in that respect (Concordia, Castles of Burgundy, more Brass) but still has things like War of the Ring. I think BGG has evened out quite a bit in recent years, which may help explain the ranking of M&M over Black Fleet (or it could be any number of other random factors, including the fact that BF is out of print.)

southernman wrote: Been a while since I played M&M, it's still on the shelf but i have a lot of great 3-4 player games it has to compete with, but from memory it could be a bit too easy based on how VPs are assigned for someone to game the system and race away for a 'boring' win - so we found a variant in the BGG files where you were restricted to getting VPs from sources a certain number of times, requiring you to try most of the VP options to get the win, this made it a bit harder and competitive.


Huh. That's interesting. I've never even thought about altering the victory conditions. Our games always seemed like weather and random events threw up enough interference to keep everyone in the same ballpark until more than one player had been able to make a ship purchase and started moving ahead. But it also depends on how aggressive your group is (i.e. Are there people willing to risk the combat and take someone else down?)
southernman's Avatar
southernman replied the topic: #318800 03 Feb 2021 15:51

Jackwraith wrote:

southernman wrote: Well I think you answered your 'Theme or Function' question when you posted the ratings from euro-centric website BGG with Themey M&M taking the prize.


Is it still Euro-centric, though? Like I said, those ratings aren't anywhere close to being properly weighted polls. You look at the top 10 and see two versions of Gloomhaven, TI4, Gaia Project, Pandemic: Legacy, and Star Wars: Rebellion. The only really Euro-y design is Brass: Birmingham. The next 10 gets a little thicker in that respect (Concordia, Castles of Burgundy, more Brass) but still has things like War of the Ring. I think BGG has evened out quite a bit in recent years, which may help explain the ranking of M&M over Black Fleet (or it could be any number of other random factors, including the fact that BF is out of print.)


Still a lot more euro-centric than Theme or War gamey, also consider those ratings are over ten years so a lot of that time would have been when it was very euro-centric. I think that the fact that you pointed out non-euro games that are highly rated shows that if a Theme\War game gets get a high rating then it must be pretty GOOD :)

I was going to attach an image of the Glory Point variant but adding attachments is still broken for my Windows/Browsers combinations, so here's the post at BGG:
boardgamegeek.com/thread/731788/gp-rule-more-thematic-game
Sagrilarus's Avatar
Sagrilarus replied the topic: #318808 04 Feb 2021 08:59

Jackwraith wrote: Is it still Euro-centric, though?


It's both euro-centric and non-euro-centric, because ratings never expire. For older games the ratings and comments are far more euro-centric. For recent games there's far more gushing over big miniatures in bold primary colors.
Josh Look's Avatar
Josh Look replied the topic: #318810 04 Feb 2021 09:33
What Sag said.

It's not Euro-centric anymore. It may seem that way in comparison to this site which rarely features Euros and, for as forward thinking we may be in some areas, a portion of the vocal community here is still content to to talk about 15 year old games and put dated "AT" design on a pedestal. I'm not saying we should all be embracing the point salad games, what I'm saying is that the name might have changed, but have we?