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Subject: My problem with ameritrash games rss

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Bruno Pigeon
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In theory, ameritrash games should be my favorite type of games. Huge armies protecting their city againt orks invasions, burning starships desperately shooting at each other, scholars trying to overcome unspeakable horrors. Just thinking about it, my imagination gets full of images. I want to play them, I want to do those things.

But somehow it doesn't work for me. Maybe I have unrealistic expectations or something. It's hard to say. Three ameritrash games i have tried and mostly failed for me are arkham horror, descent second edition and mansions of madness. Oh and also last night on earth.

Maybe i've been spoiled by videogames, but i don't find the gameplay gripping in any way for these games. I don't get invested in the stories. They feel bland, slightly boring. And since those kind of games usually have a considerable play time, the blandness goes on and on...

I think that the complexity of the rules somehow gets in the way of my imagination. Those games usually tries to "simulate" the experience they represent. So there is a rule for everything you can think of. Rules for multiple types of weapons, characters and movements. Rules for cover, for sanity, for magic. And trying to hold all those rules in my head leaves no room for my imagination.

In the end, i find myself having much more fun playing Fresco, ticket to ride, and cyclades than any ameritrash games i've tried.

Any of you have the same problem?
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Chad Steward
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Nope. Ameritrash = #1.
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Josh Chen
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Congratulations, you're an Euro gamer. meeple
Welcome to the Victory Point Brother and Sisterhood.
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Andrew
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Consider trying hybrids like Chaos in the Old World or more streamlined Ameritrash like Nexus Ops.
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You could try more games not published by FFG...
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Chris Leigh
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I'm the same with proper Euros, I can't understand why people would enjoy a feldian game, abstract mechanics around paper thin theme, everyone looking serious as they try and eke out their last victory point, so so boring.

With Ameritrash you can be exploring the middle east as aladdin, fighting mutants in a post holocaust world, raising armies from the birth of civilisation to the gunpowder era, once you've experienced those awesome highs, painting a roof for victory points seems a bit tame in comparison.

Different strokes for different folks though, the only time I get cross is when people look down on thematic games and think they're somehow inferior or more childish than a euro. Games are games!
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M M
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You're thinking too limited. If you don't like fussy rules/games, stay away from Fantasy Flight. Try a good dice roller like King of Tokyo or a good attack game like Survive! There are games that are both in the Ameritrash realm and not a PITA to navigate.

Fwiw, i'm not sure many Eurogamers would claim Cyclades.
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John Austin
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I never feel immersed in the thematic games I play. But thats not why I play thematic games. I play them because I like the art direction, I like looking at Orks, or Wizards, or Warriors. I like killing Necromancers, I like rolling dice. I like looting swords, or uncovering tiles. I like stats and armor class, I like guns and Berkerkers.

I am never immersed in a board game the same way I am immersed in a video game. And thats absolutely fine.
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M M
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Tzer wrote:
You could try more games not published by FFG...

Ninja'ed
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Beyer
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super_bruno wrote:
...I don't get invested in the stories. They feel bland, slightly boring. And since those kind of games usually have a considerable play time, the blandness goes on and on...

I think that the complexity of the rules somehow gets in the way of my imagination... Any of you have the same problem?

I never realized why I don't really-really get Ameritrash games, but I think you nailed it.

I don't think board games do simulations very well. Wargames suffer from a bit of the same. All those rules aren't really adding anything 'gamey' to the game and only serve to clog my experience with needless rules fiddling. Miniature wargames (like Warmachine/Hordes/Warhammer Fantasy) and modern card games, like Netrunner, live off of those rules and you, as a player, are required to use them to win. It makes for a completely different experience when you're using the rules, rather than just applying them.

I play everything, except ameritrash games. Sadly they don't do it for me.
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Josh
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Sentinels of the Multiverse

There you go, Ameritrash-y goodness without a huge laundry list of rules. There's a lot going on, lots of biff zoom pow, Superheroes and victory!, but it's all just right there on the cards and doesn't get in its way.
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Bruno Pigeon
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Shadrach wrote:
Sentinels of the Multiverse

There you go, Ameritrash-y goodness without a huge laundry list of rules. There's a lot going on, lots of biff zoom pow, Superheroes and victory!, but it's all just right there on the cards and doesn't get in its way.


Personally, that's the worse kind of game for me. Yes, you have less rules to remember, but you do have unique rules for each cards, that interacts in some kind of ways with each other, which creates a lot of ambiguity, vagueness and possible interpretation.
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John Austin
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super_bruno wrote:
Shadrach wrote:
Sentinels of the Multiverse

There you go, Ameritrash-y goodness without a huge laundry list of rules. There's a lot going on, lots of biff zoom pow, Superheroes and victory!, but it's all just right there on the cards and doesn't get in its way.


Personally, that's the worse kind of game for me. Yes, you have less rules to remember, but you do have unique rules for each cards, that interacts in some kind of ways with each other, which creates a lot of ambiguity, vagueness and possible interpretation.


Have you tried Dungeons and Dragons Adventure System Board Games, they're light on rules. I believe Mice and Mystics is too, though I haven't played it.
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Captain Spaulding
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super_bruno wrote:
Shadrach wrote:
Sentinels of the Multiverse

There you go, Ameritrash-y goodness without a huge laundry list of rules. There's a lot going on, lots of biff zoom pow, Superheroes and victory!, but it's all just right there on the cards and doesn't get in its way.


Personally, that's the worse kind of game for me. Yes, you have less rules to remember, but you do have unique rules for each cards, that interacts in some kind of ways with each other, which creates a lot of ambiguity, vagueness and possible interpretation.


That's how I feel about Pathfinder and LOTRCG, but Sentinels, although fiddly, doesn't usually leave me feeling the rules are ambiguous and open to interpretation. In fact, I like it because it's just sort of mindless.
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Captain Spaulding
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blunder1983 wrote:


With Ameritrash you can be exploring the middle east as aladdin, fighting mutants in a post holocaust world, raising armies from the birth of civilisation to the gunpowder era, once you've experienced those awesome highs, painting a roof for victory points seems a bit tame in comparison.


Depends on the game. If the mechanics don't support the theme and it's just dice rolling and cool artwork, I feel little immersion. I'd rather read a book, where at least the flavor text is backed up by careful structure and a sense of progression. Flavor text on cards is always a red flag for me - it can mean the decisions you make (gameplay) are abstracted from the theme, so it's up to your imagination. I think I have a pretty good imagination, but certain game mechanics feel tedious.

On the other hand, take a euro-game like Railways of the World. I find it as immersive, if not more than, any board game RPG I've tried, because the decisions you make feel like the decisions you'd have to make if you were an actual railroad tycoon; deciding how to grow your railroad, figuring out how to impede your opponents, etc., or you won't win.

Civ games tend to be the type of AT I like because the basic mechanic, researching a tech tree, feels like what it is - decisions about upgrading your civ - there's no disconnect. But then, are any of those games really better than Antike?
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Chris Puram
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In my opinion, "Ameritrash" games are best thought of as one sitting Role Playing Games with a board. If you immerse yourself in the theme and embrace the story you'll likely have a blast. The interest comes from creating and experiencing the story, not from "clever mechanics" or brain burning exercises.

Euro games are like intricate puzzles with moving parts. If you enjoy discovering mechanics and like figuring out how things work, or like to test yourself against a challenge without a lot of luck, this is probably more your "cup of tea".
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Bruno Pigeon
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goldengamer wrote:
In my opinion, "Ameritrash" games are best thought of as one sitting Role Playing Games with a board. If you immerse yourself in the theme and embrace the story you'll likely have a blast. The interest comes from creating and experiencing the story, not from "clever mechanics" or brain burning exercises.

Euro games are like intricate puzzles with moving parts. If you enjoy discovering mechanics and like figuring out how things work, or like to test yourself against a challenge without a lot of luck, this is probably more your "cup of tea".


Yes, but immersion goes like this for me in the games I tried:
"You walk down the dark alley and hear strange noises coming from around the corner."

"I take a peek around the corner, and try to go around that thing without being noticed"

" ok, then you must pass an evasion test, so you have to roll... Hmmm, i think it's this stat, or is it this one? Wait i'll go check in the rules. Page flip, no, page flip, no, page flip...... A finally yes, that what you roll"

"Ok, but i have this item here, does it get added to the number of dice i roll or do i need to roll a lower target number?"

"Oh, hmmm, don't know, rulebook time again"


And, 5 turns later come another evasion check, find out you've been playing wrong and should have died 3 turns ago.


Not too good for immersion.
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It is not a game's fault the players don't know the rules, if you are basing this on a poor rulebook, then I would have to repeat my earlier comment, as it is fairly well-known FFG rulebooks are very poor, often requiring FAQs before the game is even out. Again, don't base your opinion of a whole genre on your poor experience of a few games of the same company.
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RJD
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It could be a generational thing. A lot of the younger people I game with these days don't handle long turns or downtime between turns nearly so well present day as I or others I've gamed with did in long years past. I grew up playing very Ameritrashy sorts of games, and many of them took forever to play, and my friends and I had no problem with that at all. These days though, most of my college kid friends and younger have a much harder time staying interested in such games. (Heh, especially with all their gosh dang cell/phone/I-pod/phone/thing-a-mah-jiggies constantly at hand, driving me crazy as they're all constantly typing or texting throughout our games - even on their own turns...)
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Matt Brown
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Tzer wrote:
It is not a game's fault the players don't know the rules, if you are basing this on a poor rulebook, then I would have to repeat my earlier comment, as it is fairly well-known FFG rulebooks are very poor, often requiring FAQs before the game is even out. Again, don't base your opinion of a whole genre on your poor experience of a few games of the same company.


This. In that situation if you are playing against an overlord who knows what they are doing, the issues with rules shouldn't be there.
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Josh
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super_bruno wrote:
Shadrach wrote:
Sentinels of the Multiverse

There you go, Ameritrash-y goodness without a huge laundry list of rules. There's a lot going on, lots of biff zoom pow, Superheroes and victory!, but it's all just right there on the cards and doesn't get in its way.


Personally, that's the worse kind of game for me. Yes, you have less rules to remember, but you do have unique rules for each cards, that interacts in some kind of ways with each other, which creates a lot of ambiguity, vagueness and possible interpretation.


Sentinels is kind of the Anti-MTG in terms of interpretation and vagueness. The cards are all succinct and clear. If you know English Grammar at a grade school level the cards all simply do exactly what they say they do. It says a lot about the design of a game this complex(in play not rules) that they've had to do so little errata(3 cards tweaked out of all the sets)
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It helps before playing to say the name of the Ameritrash game and do this: \m/-_-\m/
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Bruno Pigeon
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matthean wrote:
Tzer wrote:
It is not a game's fault the players don't know the rules, if you are basing this on a poor rulebook, then I would have to repeat my earlier comment, as it is fairly well-known FFG rulebooks are very poor, often requiring FAQs before the game is even out. Again, don't base your opinion of a whole genre on your poor experience of a few games of the same company.


This. In that situation if you are playing against an overlord who knows what they are doing, the issues with rules shouldn't be there.


Unfortunately, the expert player was not included in the box.whistle

I mean, isn't it kind of weird to recommend playing a game with an experienced player of said game. Shouldn't I be able to buy it, read the rules and play? Maybe the rulebook should state this: don't bother reading the rules and trying to play. Just find somebody who knows how to play to teach you.

Anyway, that's not really my point. My point was that while the games I played tried very hard to implement the theme through the rules, there are too many of them for me, which gets in the way of smooth play, and immersion. Not blaming the games. Just stating what doesn't work for me.
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Mat628 wrote:
Fwiw, i'm not sure many Eurogamers would claim Cyclades.

Dice rolling? Check.
Plastic miniatures? Check.
Super awesome fantastic monsters? Check.
Box cover art that says, "HULK SMASH"? Check.
Stealing all the work done by someone else? Check.
Events governed by a random mechanic (cards)? Check.
Direct player interaction beating on each other? Check.

At its most generous, Cyclades is a hybrid. But it's at least 70% in the Ameritrash camp. It has enough elements to make a Eurogamer break out in an asthma attack. It's not that you don't like Ameritrash games; you just didn't like some of them.

Ticket to Ride belongs to the German family game genre. And that's probably the genre that's closest to what you want.

Try reading this thread and see if it resonates with you. I'm guessing it will. If it does, there's a geeklist somewhere around here about interactive games. That will probably guide you to games that appeal.
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Bruno Pigeon
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Thanks for the link.

As for Cyclades, it's ranked as a strategy game and not ranked as a thematic game...
 
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