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Discussion with Chat GPT: Eurogames vs American Style Board Games

Gabriel N
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I tried a conversation with Chat GPT about board games, just to see what answers the AI will provide. I found that most of the answers were based on the common community consensus about board games types and genres, the normative truth. However, Chat GPT is not always accurate with the information. I find this an interesting exercise though and want to share it. I am adding my comments at the end of each question.

GN: Please explain in two short paragraphs what is an euro game and how it is different from american style board games.

Chat GPT:

Eurogames, also known as German-style board games or designer games, are a type of board game characterized by strategic gameplay, relatively simple rules, and a focus on player decision-making. These games typically involve little to no luck, and players are often required to balance various resources and make long-term plans to succeed. Examples of popular eurogames include Settlers of Catan, Carcassonne, and Ticket to Ride.

In contrast, American-style board games tend to prioritize player interaction, thematic elements, and luck-based mechanics. These games often have more complex rules and are often designed to be more immersive and entertaining than strategic. Examples of popular American-style board games include Risk, and Clue.

GN Comment: This answer is politically correct and very accurate,, however I do not completely agree that Eurogames always involve little to no luck, many eurogames have lots of random elements.Also, Ameritrash mechanics are not always luck-based, there is usually luck in Ameritrash games, but it’s not always the case. There is also strategic gameplay and decision-making in many American Style board games. The thing is that Ameritrash games prioritize Theme and sometimes having luck-based mechanics makes sense to create drama and immersive thematic experiences, but that is not always the case.

GN: In the context of american style board games and eurogames, can you please explain in one short paragraph what is a hybrid game?

Chat GPT:

Hybrid games, also known as Ameritrash or Thematic Eurogames, are board games that blend elements of both American-style and Euro-style games. They typically feature a strong theme and immersive storytelling, but also incorporate strategic gameplay and player decision-making. Examples of popular hybrid games include Gloomhaven, Scythe, and Blood Rage.

GN Comment: Ok, I mostly agree.

GN: Are epic victory conditions better than victory points as win conditions?

Chat GPT:

Whether epic victory conditions or victory points are better as win conditions depends on personal preference and the specific game design. Both can be effective ways to determine the winner of a game.

Victory points are a common way to determine the winner in board games, where players earn points for various actions they take throughout the game. This can include completing objectives, acquiring resources, or controlling territories. Victory points are a flexible and often easy-to-understand win condition that allows for a wide range of strategies and gameplay.

Epic victory conditions, on the other hand, are more thematic and often involve achieving a specific goal or preventing a catastrophic event. This type of win condition can add an extra layer of excitement and tension to the game, as players work together or against each other to achieve a meaningful outcome. Epic victory conditions can also create a more immersive and thematic experience for players, as they feel like they are working towards a larger goal than just accumulating points.
In conclusion, both victory points and epic victory conditions can be effective ways to determine the winner of a game. The choice of which to use will depend on the game design and the experience the designers want to create for players.

GN Comment: I am very biased towards Epic Victory conditions, I do agree they are more thematic and help create a more engaging and immersive gameplay experience. Very subjective indeed. But Chat GPT did mention it was a matter of personal preference anyway, which is true.

GN: Please describe in two to three paragraphs what is a Threat Management board game.

Chat GPT

A Threat Management board game is a type of game where players work together to overcome an impending threat or danger. These games typically involve players taking on specific roles or characters and working together to complete tasks, gather resources, and make strategic decisions in order to prevent the threat from becoming a reality.

The threat in these games can take many forms, such as an impending invasion, a looming natural disaster, or an outbreak of a deadly virus. The players must work together to mitigate the risk and prevent the worst-case scenario from happening.

Threat Management games often involve a high level of tension and strategy, as players must balance short-term objectives with long-term goals, manage limited resources, and make difficult decisions that impact the entire group. The games typically have a strong thematic element, with immersive settings and richly-detailed storylines that add to the overall experience. Overall, Threat Management board games are challenging and rewarding games that require teamwork, planning, and a bit of luck to succeed.

GN Comment: Ok, it is clearly defining this genre as it has been defined over the years by the community by a large. Not sure why BGG still does not categorize games by genres and subgenres. Mechanics, Themes, Gameplay modes, and other kinds of categorizations used on BGG can help define a genre or subgenre but are not the same thing. Threat Management is a genre that includes many other subgenres: putting out fires, tower defense, survival, boss fights, etc.

GN: Are threat management board games an evolution of American Style Adventure Games after they took many elements from the Eurogame design school? If so, please elaborate.

Chat GPT:

Threat Management board games are a product of the evolution of board game design, which has been influenced by both American and Eurogame design schools. While it's difficult to attribute the development of Threat Management games to one specific influence, it's fair to say that they draw on elements from both design schools.

American style adventure games, also known as Ameritrash, have traditionally focused on immersive settings, complex narratives, and high levels of player interaction. These games often involve elements of combat, exploration, and adventure, and typically have a strong thematic element. While some American style games may also include elements of Threat Management, it's not a defining feature of the genre.

On the other hand, Eurogames have traditionally focused on strategic gameplay, resource management, and efficiency. These games are often more abstract and less thematic than American style games, but they offer a deep and engaging gameplay experience. Eurogames typically do not include elements of direct player conflict or combat, but they may include elements of Threat Management as a way to create tension and add strategic depth to the game.

Threat Management games, then, draw on elements from both design schools, blending immersive thematic elements with strategic gameplay and resource management. While they may have evolved from American style adventure games, they have also been influenced by Eurogames and other design schools. Ultimately, the development of Threat Management games is a testament to the ongoing evolution and innovation of board game design.

GN Comment: Agree. This shows and evolution of board game design. But I think the starting point was Adventure games anyway.

GN: Was Pandemic the first Threat Management board game?

Chat GPT:

Pandemicis often credited as one of the first and most influential Threat Management board games. It was first published in 2008 by designer Matt Leacock and has since become a classic and highly popular game. Pandemic features cooperative gameplay where players work together to prevent the spread of deadly diseases across the globe.

Pandemic's innovative gameplay mechanics and emphasis on teamwork and strategy have inspired many other games in the genre, and it has been a major influence on the development of Threat Management games. However, while Pandemic was one of the earliest and most successful Threat Management games, it was not the first.

Other games that could be considered early examples of Threat Management include Arkham Horror (1987), a cooperative game where players work together to stop an invasion of eldritch monsters, and Lord of the Rings (2000), a cooperative game where players must work together to destroy the One Ring and defeat Sauron.

Overall, while Pandemic was not the first Threat Management game, it was a groundbreaking and highly influential game that helped popularize the genre and inspire many other designers to explore the possibilities of cooperative gameplay and Threat Management mechanics.

GN Comment: I agree that Arkham Horror (1987) and Lord of the Rings (2000) preceded Pandemic in many of the mechanics and gameplay features that will letter be attributed to the Threat Management genre, however I would not call those two games Threat Management games. They were very influential and served as the basis of what was going to be developed later. But the genre defining game was definitely Pandemic, and it has since been considered an absolute reference point for Threat Management games.

GN: Please list all threat management games that have been published so far.

Chat GPT:

There are many Threat Management board games that have been published over the years. Here is a list of some of the most popular and influential ones:

Arkham Horror
Eldritch Horror
Dead of Winter
Robinson Crusoe: Adventures on the Cursed Island
Ghost Stories
Spirit Island
Aeon's End
Shadows of Brimstone
Forbidden Island
Forbidden Desert
Burgle Bros.
Flash Point: Fire Rescue
The Captain is Dead
Escape: The Curse of the Temple
Deep Space D-6
The Grizzled
This War of Mine: The Board Game

Note that this is not an exhaustive list, and there are many other Threat Management games out there, as well as games that include elements of Threat Management as part of their mechanics. However, these games are some of the most well-known and popular examples of the genre.

GN Comment: Many of the listed games are not Threat Management games, but they do feature threat management elements. However, most of the games listed do belong to the genre.

GN: Is deck building an eurogame or an ameritrash mechanic?

Chat GPT:

Deck building is a game mechanic that is not exclusive to either the Eurogame or Ameritrash design schools, as it has been used in games from both schools of thought. While the mechanic was popularized by Dominion, which is considered by many to be a Eurogame, it has also been used in games that are considered to be Ameritrash or hybrid games, such as Arkham Horror: The Card Game and Marvel Legendary.

The Eurogame design school tends to prioritize strategic decision-making, resource management, and indirect player interaction, while Ameritrash games tend to emphasize theme, player interaction, and randomness. Deck building, as a game mechanic, can be used to achieve different gameplay objectives depending on the design goals of the game. For example, in a Eurogame, deck building might be used to create a more streamlined and efficient engine-building mechanic, while in an Ameritrash game, it might be used to create more narrative-driven gameplay.

Overall, deck building is a versatile game mechanic that can be used effectively in a variety of game designs, regardless of whether the game is considered to be a Eurogame or Ameritrash game.

GN Comment: Deck building is largely used in euro games for sure. But I still think it's a mechanic that originated in the American Style school. More on this later.

GN: Which was the first board game to feature deck building as a game mechanic during the game and not before the game like Magic The Gathering?

Chat GPT:

The first board game to feature deck building as a game mechanic during the game, rather than before the game like Magic: The Gathering, was Dominion, designed by Donald X. Vaccarino and published in 2008 by Rio Grande Games.

In Dominion, each player starts with a small deck of basic cards and uses these cards to acquire other cards from a shared pool. The acquired cards are added to the player's deck, which becomes more powerful and specialized as the game progresses. The game is won by accumulating the most victory points, which are obtained by acquiring certain cards.

Dominion was a revolutionary game that popularized the deck-building mechanic and spawned a whole genre of similar games, known as "deck-building games". Since its release, many other games have used the deck-building mechanic in a variety of ways, but Dominion remains the most influential and iconic game in the genre.

GN Comment: Not true. The thing is that people believe this is true, so Chat GPT considered this to be true as well.

GN: You are wrong. It was StarCraft: The Board Game, published in 2007.

Chat GPT:

I apologize for the mistake in my previous response. You are correct that StarCraft: The Board Game, published in 2007 by Fantasy Flight Games, was the first board game to feature deck building as a game mechanic during the game, rather than before the game like Magic: The Gathering.

In StarCraft: The Board Game, players use a deck of cards to recruit units, research technologies, and activate special abilities. The game also features a resource management system that allows players to accumulate resources by controlling territories on the board. The game is won by achieving one of three victory conditions: military, economic, or technological.

StarCraft: The Board Game was a significant innovation in board game design, and it has since influenced many other games that use deck-building as a core mechanic. I apologize for any confusion caused by my previous response.

GN Comment: So, after my observation, Chat GPT did answer correctly.

GN: Is Magic The Gathering an Eurogame? Is Starcraft: The Board Game an Eurogame?

Chat GPT:

Magic: The Gathering and Starcraft: The Board Game are generally considered to be American-style board games, rather than Eurogames.
Eurogames are typically characterized by a focus on strategy over luck, simple and elegant mechanics, and minimal player conflict. Magic: The Gathering, on the other hand, is a collectible card game that involves a high degree of luck and player interaction through the use of powerful spells and creature attacks. It also involves building a deck before the game begins, rather than during the game, which is a key feature of Eurogames like Dominion.

Similarly, Starcraft: The Board Game is a highly thematic game that involves a significant degree of player conflict and a complex rule set. While it features some Eurogame elements, such as resource management and strategic planning, it is primarily a game of tactical combat and area control.

In summary, both Magic: The Gathering and Starcraft: The Board Game are American-style board games that focus on different types of gameplay than Eurogames.

GN Comment: No comments.

GN: So, given that these two games are widely accepted as being the first games to feature deck building (before the game as Magic the Gathering and during the game in StartCraft The Board Game), can deck building be considered an ameritrash mechanic?

Chat GPT:

The terms "Eurogame" and "Ameritrash" are subjective and can be difficult to define precisely, as they are often used to describe a set of characteristics rather than a specific game mechanic. That being said, deck building as a game mechanic is generally associated with American-style board games, rather than Eurogames.

Deck building is often used in games that focus on player interaction and direct conflict, which are hallmarks of Ameritrash games. Games like Magic: The Gathering, Starcraft: The Board Game, and Dominion all use deck building as a core mechanic, and are generally considered to be Ameritrash games.

However, it's worth noting that deck building has been incorporated into a wide variety of game genres, and is not limited to Ameritrash games. For example, deck building mechanics have been used in Eurogames like Concordia and Clank!, which are more focused on strategy and resource management than direct conflict.

So while deck building is often associated with Ameritrash games, it's not necessarily a defining characteristic of the genre, and the mechanic has been used in a wide variety of games across different genres.

GN Comment: Obviously “Eurogame” and “Ameritrash” terms are subjective. I also agree that no mechanics is a defining characteristic of the Ameritrash “genre” (which is nor really a genre but more like a “school of design”). The thing is that Ameritrash games prioritize theme and drama and use mechanics as tools to provide a thematic, immersive and strategic experience to the players, but the mechanics are never central, they are just tools to achieve what these games try to achieve. Deck-building was first used by Ameritrash games, and paradoxically it was much less random originally as a mechanic than how it is used nowadays in Eurogames.

GN: Could you please describe in two to three paragraphs what is a hidden movement board game?

Chat GPT:

A hidden movement board game is a type of board game where players take on two different roles: the hidden player(s) and the pursuing player(s). The hidden player(s) control one or more pieces or characters on the game board in secret, with the goal of moving them from one location to another without being discovered by the pursuing player(s). The pursuing player(s) control one or more pieces or characters on the board that are actively seeking out and attempting to capture the hidden player(s).

These games typically involve a high level of strategy and deduction, as both the hidden player(s) and the pursuing player(s) must make careful decisions about where to move their pieces or characters in order to outmaneuver their opponents. The hidden player(s) must attempt to stay hidden and avoid detection by the pursuing player(s), while the pursuing player(s) must use clues and deductive reasoning to narrow down the possible locations of the hidden player(s) and capture them.

Hidden movement board games can be set in a variety of different themes, from historical settings to sci-fi or fantasy worlds. They often require a good amount of player interaction and can be very engaging and intense, making them a popular choice for gamers who enjoy a challenge and a bit of mystery in their games.

GN Comment: Ok, pretty accurate.

GN: Could you please provide a list of hidden movement board games?

Chat GPT:

Certainly! Here are some popular hidden movement board games:

Scotland Yard
Fury of Dracula
Letters from Whitechapel
Specter Ops
Nuns on the Run
Escape from the Aliens in Outer Space
Hunt for the Ring
Black Orchestra
Whitehall Mystery
The Last Friday

These games often feature one player who controls a hidden character or characters that the other players are trying to track down or capture. The hidden player moves secretly on a board or map, while the other players attempt to deduce their location and catch them before they can complete their objective or escape. The genre has been popular since the release of Scotland Yard in 1983, and continues to be a popular style of board game today.

GN Comment: Black Orchestra is not a hidden movement game, all the others belong to the genre.

GN: Are hidden movement games Eurogames or Ameritrash games? Or are they hybrid?

Chat GPT:

Hidden movement games can fall into both categories, and they are often considered a hybrid of Eurogames and Ameritrash games. The game mechanics of hidden movement games can vary widely, from simple deduction games to complex strategy games.

Some hidden movement games are designed with a stronger focus on theme and narrative, such as Fury of Dracula, which immerses players in a gothic horror setting as they take on the roles of hunters trying to capture the titular vampire. These types of games are often considered more Ameritrash in design, with an emphasis on immersive storytelling, thematic gameplay, and a greater reliance on chance and luck.

Other hidden movement games, such as Scotland Yard, focus more on deduction and strategy, with players taking on the roles of detectives trying to track down a criminal mastermind. These games often feature more streamlined rules and mechanics, and are typically more focused on strategy and problem-solving than narrative or theme.

Overall, the design of hidden movement games can vary widely, and they can incorporate elements of both Eurogames and Ameritrash games. The level of strategy, luck, and thematic immersion can differ greatly between different hidden movement games, making it a diverse and dynamic genre of board games.

GN Comment: Agree. But even the simpler and more “mechanical” games are very thematic.

GN: Please narrate the history of 4X board games in four to five relatively short paragraphs.

Chat GPT:

The roots of 4X games can be traced back to the board game "Empire" designed by Walter Bright in 1957, which focused on empire-building and expansion. However, it wasn't until the release of "Civilization" by Francis Tresham in 1980 that the 4X genre began to take shape. "Civilization" introduced the core concepts of 4X gameplay, including exploration, expansion, exploitation, and extermination.

In the years following "Civilization," several games were released that expanded on the 4X formula, including "Reich Star" (1986), "Space Empires" (1993), and "Master of Orion" (1993), which introduced more complex gameplay mechanics and increased the focus on combat and diplomacy.

The turn of the millennium saw a surge in the popularity of 4X video games, with titles like "Sid Meier's Civilization III" (2001) and "Master of Orion III" (2003) further cementing the genre's popularity. This led to a renewed interest in 4X board games, and several notable releases followed, including "Eclipse" (2011), "Twilight Imperium" (Fourth Edition, 2017), and "Sid Meier's Civilization: A New Dawn" (2017).

Today, the 4X genre continues to thrive in both video games and board games, with new releases and expansions regularly adding to the breadth and depth of gameplay options available to players. The genre has also spawned several sub-genres, including space 4X games, historical 4X games, and fantasy 4X games. Overall, the 4X genre remains a popular and enduring staple of both the video game and board game industries.

GN Comment: This answer is sort of accurate but slightly imprecise and it is missing important parts of the 4X genre development which I am too lazy to detail here. These 4X games are also mostly considered hybrid nowadays, but they emerged from the American School as well.

GN: What would you consider an acceptable size for a board game collection?

Chat GPT:

The size of an acceptable board game collection is subjective and can vary depending on the preferences and needs of each individual. Some people might be content with a small collection of only a few favorite games, while others may enjoy collecting and playing a wide variety of games.

Ultimately, the size of a board game collection should be determined by factors such as personal preferences, available storage space, and financial considerations. It's important to ensure that the collection is manageable and sustainable, and that the games are being played and enjoyed rather than simply being accumulated for the sake of collecting.

In general, having a collection of around 20-30 games can provide a good variety of gameplay experiences while still being manageable and accessible. However, the ideal size of a board game collection will vary based on individual preferences and circumstances.

GN Comment: What do you think about this one?
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