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Tales of a converted Ameritrasher: the years of doubt and re-lapse

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02 Oct 2018 04:01 #282570 by Shapeshifter

Weirdly enough, after having undergone a diet of ameritrash-only gaming, I recently found myself wandering mygame cellar, realizing that currently about 80% of my collection consists of euro's. Good, what a relief to get this out of my system. Actually writing it down somehow makes me a bit nervous. It is a change that I had not seen coming. If you had told me I would buy a game with a cover uncomfortably rendered in browns, with a rather serious looking medieval personholding some unexciting object in an unexciting environment of his living room, I would have told you to subscribe to group therapy for suppressed anger.
And now I do find myself in between mountains of boxes that show exactly that: old men covered in brown colors holding unexciting objects. And I am writing this in the epicenter of Ameritrash gaming. What does this all mean? And why does this not bother me as it should?

 

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02 Oct 2018 08:55 #282571 by Shellhead
I have been pondering some similar thoughts lately, though less than 2% of my collection could be described as euros. I started playing boardgames with a new group that is a mixture of very casual gamers and old school D&D players. They all like to drink craft brews while playing. So a certain amount of complexity is okay, but no heavyweight rulebooks so far. Also, I have been re-reading the Psycho Raiders rules recently, as I am hosting a day of horror-themed boardgames this coming weekend.

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02 Oct 2018 10:09 #282573 by Deleted
I gave up on massively convoluted games several years ago and never plan to return. Life is too short.

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02 Oct 2018 11:13 #282577 by hotseatgames
Just yesterday I broke out the rule book for Psycho Raiders again, in hopes of it hitting the table this month.
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02 Oct 2018 11:55 #282581 by WadeMonnig

SuperflyTNT wrote: I gave up on massively convoluted games several years ago and never plan to return. Life is too short.


With the Hotness bumping up on Brass, I feel this falls into that realm for me. Man, that game gives me a headache from the rules alone.

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02 Oct 2018 12:36 #282584 by Colorcrayons
I dunno about the elegant nature of Euros. The play may be smooth on occasion, but I find their rules are often as obtuse and convoluted as many trashy titles, if not moreso.

This is why I like the extremes in gaming. If I want thematic fun, I go whole hog into GorkaMorka or Wiz-War.

If I want elegant, I remove any thematic pretense and head straight towards abstracts with YINSH, or the like.

Euros toe a strange line, pretending not to be thematic, yet utilizing mechanisms that hide their poor design to fool the player into thinking the game and the player are "clever".

Not all euros are made of the clothe I paint above, but they are common enough for me to ignore them wholesale. Such discernment helps me not be a part of the churning consumerism present on BGG.

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02 Oct 2018 12:59 - 02 Oct 2018 13:01 #282587 by Josh Look
Most of this discussion sounds dated and regressive. AT is dead, the era of Euro flavor of the week is over, and the vast majority of new games fall into that midway “Hybrid” territory and we’re all better for it.

Sure, the occasional beige Euro bubbles to the surface, but few of them stick. Settings for pure Euro games have started tackling more interesting subjects, look no further than the alarming number of worker placement games about Vikings.

On the other end of the spectrum, FFG, the main offender in needlessly convoluted thematic Games has reeled their shit in. They don’t publish as many board games anymore, which is fine, but when they do it’s something like Rebellion or Civ: A New Dawn (both of which play so smooth for dealing with so much potential design space) or a streamlined cleaned up version of one of their older titles.

By and large, everything else falls somewhere in between. “Ameritrash” is over, it means nothing, and as someone who dislikes the extremes in both camps, I couldn’t be happier. Good riddance. Barnes will tell you we won, but I think balance did.
Last edit: 02 Oct 2018 13:01 by Josh Look.
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02 Oct 2018 16:21 #282604 by Colorcrayons
"Ameritrash lies not dead, but dreaming..."

~ Prophetess of The Great Unmaking

Chapter 8 - verse 16: "The true believers wait in darkness for our Master to return. We see the scorn made by the traitors and heretics, and mark their names in the pages of damnation."

Chapter 8 - verse 17: "Looming in the corridors that lie between time, the thrice risen Master shall feed deeply upon their kind, as It laughs at the unholy terror fermenting in their minds. Their broken collections, grasped in Its hands."

~ Voynich Manuscript
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02 Oct 2018 16:39 - 02 Oct 2018 16:46 #282607 by Josh Look
Meh.

If it wakes up, let me know. I don’t think that will be necessary though.
Last edit: 02 Oct 2018 16:46 by Josh Look.

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02 Oct 2018 17:29 #282610 by jeb
Get you one that does both.

Here's what I've played over the previous coupla weeks:
  • MERCHANTS & MARAUDERS - Hybrid? I think? It's a pirate game with combat that is fucking complicated but it's not pasta-counting complicated.
  • ARKHAM HORROR - AT all the way.
  • CRIBBAGE, CHESS, CHECKERS, BACKGAMMON - abstracts
  • SUSHI GO - Euro, right? "Filler" Should I call this "filler." Note: calling a game "filler" makes me feel like a douche.
  • CRY HAVOC - Hybrid all the way.
  • TERRAFORMING MARS, PUERTO RICO - Eurooooooos

Play games with lots of folks, play different games with them. You never know what'll stick. My figurine-collecting, comic-reading, nerdy kid enjoys TERRAFORMING MARS. The bookish brooder gets upset when we don't want to play WALLENSTEIN. Everyone likes AGRICOLA(?!).

Some games are rules soup, and that's fine. Don't spring them on folks, and you might be surprised.

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02 Oct 2018 17:46 #282611 by Colorcrayons
Josh, I'm positive that based on your interactions with people here, that you're an awesome guy and would be a hoot to play games with.

Although if I didn't already know that, and was judging by your oft repeated screed of...



...I would only surmise playing Automobile with you would feel like...



...and that the experience could only be described as...

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02 Oct 2018 17:49 #282612 by Jackwraith
I have an extremely varied (albeit rarely assembled) group. My girlfriend and one of my best friends prefer Euros (Terraforming Mars, Samurai, Power Grid) but will tolerate stuff that's more thematic (Fate of the Elder Gods, Blood Rage.) My more AT-oriented people will play basically anything (Crusader Rex, Tribune, Fury of Dracula, plus all of the aforementioned.) I recently brought a stack to a game night that included Villainous, Modern Art, Blood Rage, and Photosynthesis. When I mentioned Disney, that won the choice struggle for Villainous, which you can easily argue is a Euro but an extremely thematic one (and, yes, heavily randomized, dice-fearers. Cards. You must draw them.) The unfortunate coda is that both my girlfriend and one of my two friends didn't like it because they're not naturally aggressive players, whereas I and the other guy at the table definitely are.

I think there's still some level of worthiness/truthiness attached to the definitions, in that I'd never suggest something like Forbidden Stars to someone that I knew was mostly a fan of things like Agricola. It's true that FS is a wargame, which tacks on yet another definition/label, but wargames tend to get lumped in with AT-style stuff, since they often have more detailed and situational rules (and dice!)

So, I don't agree with the whole "definitions are dead" thing. I think the hybridization of recent output IS a benefit to everyone, but there are still distinct styles of games that will definitely appeal to particular players and its often useful to have some kind of descriptive label in that respect. But it's far from the all-encompassing definition that it seemed to be back in the day. You can say that Blood Rage is a worker placement game, because it is, but it's really quite different from even things like Lords of Waterdeep, with which it shares heavy thematic comparisons. Is one still Ameritrash because it has abstract combat or is the other because it has quests? Neither?
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02 Oct 2018 17:54 - 02 Oct 2018 17:55 #282613 by Gary Sax
For me, it's all contextual. If you have the players to consistently play the same complex games, I think that's my favorite situation by a long shot. But if your gaming life is different then I tend to agree that simpler euros are the way to go even if I prefer more complex games.

I must say, my biggest factor is not just those reps but also emphasis on with the same people. It's critical and it's not nearly as frequent as I wish it was.
Last edit: 02 Oct 2018 17:55 by Gary Sax.
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02 Oct 2018 19:27 #282615 by mc
So I'm far from an Ameritrasher in terms of the labelled games I play - no minis, very little fantasy or space in my collection - but in terms of my attitude - what I want out of games - laughter, drama, stand up moments etc - I'm right there.

On top of this most of my gaming gets done with family and non-"gamer (tm)" friends.

Those things dovetail pretty neatly and mean that the games I play are generally light in terms of rules overhead but open up to lots of good moments of interaction between players. For Euros that means old style "German" or whatever. I think "Ameritrash" does have a Family type end, maybe, as well? I don't know, I'm thinking of things like Roborally.

Anyway, these things are great because they get played and enjoyed.

I do have a love of big chromy simulations and stuff but they don't get played enough so there's just no point - i've got enough for the rainy day.

On that note though.

If a game is going to attempt to fix itself in a setting/theme then I want it to go all-in, or maybe pull the lens right back. A lot of modern optimisation Euros for me fit in this weird middle ground where they create an uncanny valley like experience... all the artwork says one thing but the actual play doesn't make any sense.... I'm running a hotel but I can't choose where to put my guests. ... I'm running a farm but someone else in the village is harvesting so I can't.... etc etc. Those kind of things I actually find so much harder to internalize than so much chrome, which at least makes sense most of the time.

So I find that on the whole I want things kept simple, or super complicated. And it's the simple ones that get the love.
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02 Oct 2018 20:38 #282620 by WadeMonnig

Colorcrayons wrote: "Ameritrash lies not dead, but dreaming..."

~ Prophetess of The Great Unmaking

Chapter 8 - verse 16: "The true believers wait in darkness for our Master to return. We see the scorn made by the traitors and heretics, and mark their names in the pages of damnation."

Chapter 8 - verse 17: "Looming in the corridors that lie between time, the thrice risen Master shall feed deeply upon their kind, as It laughs at the unholy terror fermenting in their minds. Their broken collections, grasped in Its hands."

~ Voynich Manuscriptv

And there you have it. The Cthulhu expansion of this thread. ;)

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