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Subject: Ameritrash and Eurogame rss

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Atanasije Stojkovic
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Since I am relatively new to the world of gaming, could anyone clarify a bit what is the difference between the two, with indisputable examples? I know there is a significant amount of confusion regarding where are the borders between the two, so when we strip down to what most can agree to, what remains?

I've seen a large number of games classified, both; e.g. the Republic of Rome.
Is really dice-rolling the key factor that separates the two?

Where do the War of the Ring and Twilight Struggle classify?
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Pete
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Finally a new topic! And such an easy-to-answer one too!

Pete (can't wait to see the answers)
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CARL SKUTSCH
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Check out Clockwork Wars. It's a pretty darn good dudes on a hex map Euro'ish steampunk game. Quick and fun.
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Well this isn't a controversial topic at all. Why don't you just go and ask who'd be the best US president?!? Or is Brexit a good idea?!? Or is Star Wars better than Star Trek?!?

OK, I'll try.

Euros refers to games that tend to be less luck based, less direct conflict, less heavy duty theme and story. There's also just less "stuff" in the games. The pieces are more elegant, less glitzy. None of these characterizations is universally applicable. For example, the classic grand daddy of Euros is Catan and that has a fair bit of luck. There are also plenty of Euros that seems thematic, at least to me.

Contrariwise, Ameritrash tend to have more luck, more direct conflict, and a lot more theme and story. They also tend to have more colorful pieces, either cardboard or plastic miniatures.

Looking at the BGG top 100 I'd say the Euros include:
Terra Mystica, Caverna, Puerto Rico, Agricola, Castles of Burgundy, Power Grid.

Ameritrash would include:
Star Wars Imperial Assault, War of the Ring, Star Wars Rebellion, Eldritch Horror, Arcadia Quest, (and off the top 100 I'll add my favorite: Fortress America!!!)

Now besides those big two major categories there are other smaller groupings, including wargames, social games, and 18xx games.

There's even hybrids, mixing Euro and Ameritrash elements, like Eclipse, or Cyclades.

Hope that helps. Keep in mind, whatever I've said, plenty of folks will be explaining why I'm wrong.

EDIT: P.S. War of the Ring, as I said, is clearly Ameritrash. Twilight Struggle is kinda weird but I think it comes closest to being a wargame.
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Greg
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The other thread about favorite articles on BGG reminded me about this excellent blog post. It might answer some of your questions.

Schools of Design and Their Core Priorities
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Atanasije Stojkovic
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plezercruz wrote:
Finally a new topic! And such an easy-to-answer one too!

Pete (can't wait to see the answers)


I was fully aware of the controversy behind the division; no point in mocking me.
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Aaron Brogdon
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Ameritrash is about creating drama, Euros are about solving an ever-changing puzzle.

Betrayal at House on the Hill = Ameritrash

Mombasa = Euro
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Josh J
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Easy! Ameritrash has theme, and Euro does not. OK, not quite, but Euros normally has less theme to them. Or, a theme that is not as immersive as the AT counterpart is.

Ameritrash, in my experience, tries to capture a certain them in its entirety. Killing zombies, exploring dungeons, escaping the island, etc. Scenarios and "special powers" are also frequently used.

Euro games on the other hand focus on tight mechanics that, when functioning properly, create a machine... some being more efficient than others. Economics of some kind plays a big role in many, and direct confrontation between players is limited more so than many Ameritrash.

There could be a lot more said, but that's the major points in my opinion. When I first started in this hobby, I took the term "trash" in "Ameritrash" to be a negative thing! It's not so.
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Richard Keiser

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Yes.
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Bryan Thunkd
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Sargeras777 wrote:
Is really dice-rolling the key factor that separates the two?
No. There are a lot of euros with dice rolling, like Castles of Burgundy. But in an Ameritrash game you're likely to be rolling a bucket of dice, the dice will be resolving a battle, and it's possible to have an epic swing of luck that completely reverses everything that's happened in the game so far.

Skutsch's explanation was pretty good. The only thing I might mention is that Ameritrash used to have a lot of player elimination, although that may have changed more recently.

To me, Ameritrash focuses on creating an experience. For example, that experience might be a huge roller coaster ride of a battle that you talk about for years recounting how Bob rolled eight sixes and devastated John's fleet. Eurogames focus on gameplay and creating elegant brilliant mechanics. It's kind of like whether you want a blockbuster summer flick which is exciting but maybe not so deep, or a really interesting foreign film that makes you think.
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Gretchen Fontenay
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Sargeras777 wrote:
plezercruz wrote:
Finally a new topic! And such an easy-to-answer one too!

Pete (can't wait to see the answers)


I was fully aware of the controversy behind the division; no point to mock me.


Just my two cents... but I think the mockery was pointed more to people who make it such a controvery in the first place.

I'm glad you asked because I see the words brunted about a lot and have not been able to sort out which is which either!
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Pete
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Sargeras777 wrote:
plezercruz wrote:
Finally a new topic! And such an easy-to-answer one too!

Pete (can't wait to see the answers)


I was fully aware of the controversy behind the division; no point to mock me.
That was not my intent!

Pete (apologizes if it looked that way, and appears to have failed to be funny)
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Bishop of East Anglia
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I'm, I'm afraid there's been a mistake. The man who has been speaking to you is an impostor. He is not in fact the Bishop of East Anglia, but a man wanted by the police. I am the Bishop of East Anglia and anyone who doesn't believe me can look me up
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I wish I'd come up with this definition, I really do, but

Strategic (Eurogames) are where you build or develop things

Thematic (Ameritrash) games are where you destroy things.


So King of Tokyo (monsters menace America) you destroy things
La Isla you collect animals and build.

Dominion you collect Money, castles of Mad King Ludwig building = Strategic
A touch of evil/ Arkham anything, evil things have to be killed, anything Superhero = thematic .


This is not a perfect distinction, but it usually works particularly for the big games, rather than fillers.

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Daniel West
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This is a bare bones definition, but a good starting one:

Ameritrash games are about dramatic combat with a lot of narrative, while euro games are about competition other than combat that focuses on new, inventive mechanisms that are elegant.

So with that in mind, some clear cut examples of each:

Ameritrash: Nexus Ops, Risk, Axis & Allies

Euro: Isle of Skye: From Chieftain to King, Tikal, Lords of Waterdeep

Now, to expand a bit, this is not to say that all Ameritrash games are just about combat. They often are about drama in other ways that closely resemble combat, as in taking a thematic action with uncertain outcomes, like Betrayal at House on the Hill, Eldritch Horror, or Tales of the Arabian Nights. Additionally, Ameritrash games often have what is called "chrome", extra rules or pieces added to the game to add story flavor that may make the game system a bit clunkier, but still fun nonetheless.

Likewise, euro games can have combat in them, but they are usually highly calculable or deterministic, such as Small World or Imperial 2030. Euro games can be thematic, but often the theme is to help make the rules more intuitive.

What muddies these definitions is the growing number of hybrids coming out that cross these boundaries. There are combat games that borrow some of the more popular elegant mechanisms coming out of the euro market like Blood Rage and Kemet, just like there are games that are mostly euro, but gladly add some dramatic combat into their systems like Cyclades, Scythe, and City of Remnants.


Now, a few false things some people will say you should be prepared to ignore:

1. Highly thematic games cannot be euros.

2. Euro games are supposed to be multiplayer solitaire. If there is high interaction, it can't be a euro game.

3. Ameritrash games are all about dice.

4. euro games can't have any luck

All four of these things are highly inaccurate.

Edited to add one more major misconception that even people in this thread got wrong.
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Phil Triest
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skutsch wrote:
Euros refers to games that tend to be less luck based, less direct conflict, less heavy duty theme and story. There's also just less "stuff" in the games. The pieces are more elegant, less glitzy.


Wooden cubes are elegant. WTF is this site coming to? I like both genres but come on. I would have said the pieces are more practical, less glitzy.
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Abdiel Xordium
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s3kt0r wrote:
The other thread about favorite articles on BGG reminded me about this excellent blog post. It might answer some of your questions.

Schools of Design and Their Core Priorities

Uggg, so much personal opinion masquerading as fact.

The underlying, if unintended, message of that blog post is that Ameritrash and Euro are descriptions of gamers, not games.
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Darth Heisenberg
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SamNzed wrote:

So King of Tokyo (monsters menace America Japan)


FTFY
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David Winter
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Thunkd wrote:

To me, Ameritrash focuses on creating an experience. For example, that experience might be a huge roller coaster ride of a battle that you talk about for years recounting how Bob rolled eight sixes and devastated John's fleet. Eurogames focus on gameplay and creating elegant brilliant mechanics. It's kind of like whether you want a blockbuster summer flick which is exciting but maybe not so deep, or a really interesting foreign film that makes you think.


Poor analogy

I generally prefer to be playing games that make me think, particularly thinking on your feet and adapting to unexpected events, I lean towards Ameritrash as I find Euros tend towards executing one of a handful of base strategies over and over with minimal variation.

I do particularly enjoy the newer hybrid games that blur the lines between the two genres(Through the ages, Clash of cultures, Hyperborea, Imperial settlers are some of my favorites)
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Greg Infi
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Don't you guys think that the name "Ameritrash" creates unnecessarily negative connotation? I think such negative name suits more closely mass produced, casual, beaten to death old games like Sorry, Monopoly, Pictionary, etc.
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Look on my works ye mighty and despair
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It's worth remembering that these are broad descriptors, not hard and fast categories. It's an analogy I use a lot, but it's like trying to classify what "punk" music is. There's definite tendencies there you can point to. But it's still a bit fuzzy at the bounderies.

As well as Oliver's blog post, I'd point youi towards this geeklist - https://boardgamegeek.com/geeklist/16485/tribute-ameritrash Again, it's looking at trends. Many of those things are found in Ameritrash games, but not all of them are in every Ameritrash game.

If you want my own pithy description, in Ameritrash games mechanics are there to illustrate the setting. In Eurogames the setting is there to help clarify the mechanics.

Of the games you mention, I haven't played War of the Ring. Twilight Struggle is a euro/wargame hybrid. And one of the very few genuinely successful hybrids in my view; there's a reason it's so popular. Republic of Rome is not a euro in any way. But there's a fair argument on whether it's a wargame or Ameritrash. I lean towards the latter, but it's very debabtable.

abdiel wrote:

Uggg, so much personal opinion masquerading as fact.


I find it useful, but horses for courses. It's a framework rather than the be and end all, but having a framework can be productive for these discussions.

Quote:
The underlying, if unintended, message of that blog post is that Ameritrash and Euro are descriptions of gamers, not games.


Can you expand? Certainly, I'd see that certain types of gamers overlap with certain games. But you might mean more than that?
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Bishop of East Anglia
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I'm, I'm afraid there's been a mistake. The man who has been speaking to you is an impostor. He is not in fact the Bishop of East Anglia, but a man wanted by the police. I am the Bishop of East Anglia and anyone who doesn't believe me can look me up
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Registrau wrote:
SamNzed wrote:

So King of Tokyo (monsters menace America Japan)


FTFY


Um.... Monsters Menace America
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mortego

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when I first got into the hobby this distinction mattered to me a lot but now is just an informal way of me thinking about games and has very influence on me. I like both genres.
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Dave Lartigue
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AT and Euro are more of a continuum, but for me the defining qualities of AT are:

* emphasis on war and warfare in theme: not just loading spice onto a boat
* direct conflict: I can specifically attack you and can wreck your stuff
* random elements: dice, cards, none of this perfect information nonsense
* heavy devotion to theme

Not all AT games will check every box and some Euros will as well, but for the most part those elements, to me, push a game into that realm.

Of course, I'm a heretic who believes that Tigris and Euphrates is only a Euro in the sense that many college students are "part Cherokee", and that if it came out today and Uncle Reiner's name weren't on it the Tzolkinites and Agricolians would hate it.

Also want to add, regarding dice. While it's true that some Euros now have dice, you know you're still playing a Euro when there are mechanisms included for filing the numbers off the dice and making sure whatever they roll makes no difference.

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Darth Heisenberg
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SamNzed wrote:
Registrau wrote:
SamNzed wrote:

So King of Tokyo (monsters menace America Japan)


FTFY


Um.... Monsters Menace America


Ooops, didn't know about MMA game and thought you were describing KoT blush, thanks for letting me know about that!
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CARL SKUTSCH
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Check out Clockwork Wars. It's a pretty darn good dudes on a hex map Euro'ish steampunk game. Quick and fun.
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philtrees wrote:
skutsch wrote:
Euros refers to games that tend to be less luck based, less direct conflict, less heavy duty theme and story. There's also just less "stuff" in the games. The pieces are more elegant, less glitzy.


Wooden cubes are elegant. WTF is this site coming to? I like both genres but come on. I would have said the pieces are more practical, less glitzy.


From Merriam Webster online:
showing good taste : graceful and attractive
: simple and clever

There is a strong emphasis on simplicity in the idea of elegance. The elegantly dressed debutante wears one simple strand of pearls; the tacky new money wears a thick gold necklace with flashy diamonds. Cubes are simple, elegant.

These are elegant:



These are not:


(All 3 are good games.)
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CARL SKUTSCH
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Check out Clockwork Wars. It's a pretty darn good dudes on a hex map Euro'ish steampunk game. Quick and fun.
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infi01 wrote:
Don't you guys think that the name "Ameritrash" creates unnecessarily negative connotation? I think such negative name suits more closely mass produced, casual, beaten to death old games like Sorry, Monopoly, Pictionary, etc.

Most of us are not bothered by the phrase. Many of us are even fond of it.

Poll: Ameritrash
Is Ameritrash an offensive term?
I like games characterized as Ameritrash and I am at least moderately offended by the term.
I like games characterized as Ameritrash and I am not offended by the term.
I like games characterized as Ameritrash and I'm quite fond of the term.
I don't particularly like such games but I still think the term is offensive.
I don't particularly like such games and I think the term is not offensive.
      808 answers
Poll created by skutsch



As of now, only 14.7% are offended by the term.
 
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