I mentioned a couple of weeks ago that I recently traded Puerto Rico for Arkham Horror. Since than I've played few times and I came to the conclusion that Arkham Horror is the best gateway game to Ameritrash for Europlayers. Arkham Horror isn't a gateway game for your non-game player neighbor that mows, trims, weeds, fertilizes, waters, grooms and makes love to their lawn 80 hours a week. Actually, gateway to Ameritrash games is even a little too ambitious. Maybe, I should just say, Arkham Horror is an Ameritrash game that many Europlayers actually enjoy playing a couple of times a year.
Why Arkham Horror? Why not Ti3, a game that uses role selections like Puerto Rico? Why not Nexus Ops? It's easier and shorter. Why not StarCraft? Which has worker placement and very little randomness. I think the biggest problem Europlayers have with Ameritrash games is direct conflict with each other. In Arkham Horror there is no direct conflict with other players.
Let's take a look at this years Euros. Agricola takes two or more hours to play. So many Eurogamers are adjusting to longer games. Many of the newer Eurogames such as Kingsburg, Stone Age, Agricola, Ys, Tribune and Wallace games all have randomness build into the game. So Europlayers can't complain about randomness of games. Many of the newer Eurogames are more and more complex. It's takes 10 minutes just to explain how to bake bread in Agricola. I think we can all agree that you're not going to find a Europlayer who will say I want my games to have less theme. Well, maybe Clearclaw want less theme.
So, what are we left with? Wood vs. Plastic? I don't think so. Every time, I pull out StarCraft, the Europlayers will stop by to check out the cool pieces. I've never seen an Ameritrash stop by a Eurogame and look at the cubes and say hey nice cubes.
So what I'm left with is direct conflict. Direct conflict is the number #1 problem that many Europlayers have with Ameritrash and Wargames. Maybe, it's our liberal education system or growing up watching the Cosby show. I'm not sure but many people don't like conflict in games. That's why it's just as unlikely to see a heavy Europlayer play Hannibal, Squad Leader or War of the Rings.
Which brings me back to Arkham Horror as the gateway or enjoyable AT game for Europlayers. Not all but some Europlayers won't mind the length and randomness of Arkham Horror because it's a theme driven - co-op game. I know a number of Europlayers that enjoyed Shadow over Camelot, Lord of Rings and Pandemic. All the games have quite a bit of randomness but randomness in co-op games is more acceptable for Europlayers. Europlayers don't like randomness when it decides an individual winner or loser.
At Trashfest, which was held at the home of Euroquest. The most popular Ameritrash game was..... Yes, you guessed it Arkham Horror. 4 total boards over the weekend with 19 players. At Malloc's Wednesday night gaming group, there is a wide range of guys that will play Arkham Horror. Even Euro Phil likes AH. Last week, I mentioned to a couple of my Eurogaming friends that me and Iganaditty were thinking of playing Arkham Horror but we might try out Warrior of God. It ended up that 4 other people are asking to if they could play AH with us and I'm sure when we start setting up the board 1 or 2 other people will be interested in playing.
So, if you're in the mood for some Ameritrash and you have a bunch of Eurogamer deciding whether to play Cuba or StoneAge, why not suggest Arkham Horror.