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Euphoria: Build a Better Dystopia» Forums » Reviews

Subject: 10 Things to Like About The Game Euphoria rss

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Wallace E. Friedel II
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1. When I sit down to play a board game with 6 players at the table I often expect to be pushing cardboard and cubes for the long haul with enough time between turns to discuss the entire season of the latest tv series I most recently binge-watched on Netflix. In a six player game of Euphoria, however, if I take a sip of my icy cold Coca-Cola, it would be no surprise to hear my fellow players prompt me that it's my turn again before I have even had a chance to take a bite from my 5 cheese product value menu burrito. If you like games that don't have a lot of player downtime, then short player turns is something you might like about Euphoria. Warning: Friends don't let friends eat oozing gooey cheese product over their friends board games or their friend's wife's white carpeting--just sayin'.

2. Remember when game "art" was a photograph of two kids with bowl haircuts smiling over a 4-color game board with their parents looking on with those Stepford smiles? Whereas Euphoria gives us an opportunity for art appreciation. If you like the style and design of the Art Deco period, can call yourself a Fritz Lang fan and enjoy the 1927 film Metropolis or have a literary inclination for the likes of Aldous Huxley then a copy of Euphoria may be a source of right-brain inspiration for you by just sitting on your shelf. If one doesn't understand any of these references that's okay. It probably means you are already living and working in your own personal Utopia. Congratulations! Ignorance is "bliss." Please be advised: If you didn't get that joke you need to go play Euphoria right now for the sake of your own cultural literacy.

3. At some level all worker placement games have a racing element; i.e., there is some goal one player wants to reach before another and the tension of that race, as players jockey for position, is what makes the game exciting. Now ask yourself, is there any bigger letdown than when you discover that one of your fellow "racers" has been concealing the fact that his Midiclorian count is off the charts and not only did you lose the race you didn't even see the little weasel coming? While not a perfect information game Euphoria certainly is an open information game where players who like visible competition can race towards a simple 10 point win condition that doesn't favor the player with the best memory for counting points or has learned from experience all the game's "gotcha" tricks without which no new padewan to the game can compete. Note: If you were wondering what midicl... Ugh! Gag! Suddenly I have this cheesy taste in my mouth.

4. So, have you ever experienced the "Cinderella Effect" of worker placement games where the players that go before you takes the desirable, the glamorous, the prestigious spots while you are forced to take the "I'll scrub the scummy floor" spot because I go last this turn and all the good spots have been taken? In Euphoria almost every spot can either be shared or bumped by another worker or a substitute found with little bonuses and incentives such that it feels like you have your very own fairy godmother looking out for your workers. Thus, if you don't like that left behind feeling in other worker placement games you might like Euphoria. Speaking of cleaning scummy floors, does anyone out there know how to get cheese stains out of carpeting?

5. Anyone who likes a good conundrum will love Euphoria's catch-22. Everyone must help build every market or suffer a penalty, however, not everyone can help build every market, therefor there will be penalties, which is good for you if you are not the one being penalized, but you want to entice your opponents to help you build markets because it will help you win, and it's almost impossible to build a market without help, but if they help you build a market they are helping themselves to win, so they probably want to help you, but since everyone can't help you someone is going to be penalized and then that player is going to want to build a market and you are going to want to help because it will help you win, but that player doesn't want you to win that player wants to keep you from helping so you are penalized and he or she can win. If you understand this conundrum and run-on sentences then you can win, but if you use your understanding of this conundrum to win then your opponents can make you lose--got it!

6. "There's nothing more exhilarating than pointing out the shortcomings of others, is there?"--Randall Graves (1994) Clerks. One of my favorite parts of Euphoria isn't technically part of the game's rules, but it comes naturally to the portion of the game's themed mechanic of keeping the intelligence of workers low so they don't realize they are really in a dystopia and run away. I like to add a little role playing element and explain what I have done to lower my worker's intelligence. For example, "I recently helped establish self-help centers for Euphorians suffering from paranoid delusions about cannibals in the wastelands, but I can't tell them where the self-help centers are because it would defeat the purpose." Plus, there is nothing more exhilarating than making your fellow players part of these jokes and making Euphoria a truly exhilarating game--wink, wink.

7. If one remembers the classic Kung Fu tv series with David Carradine then the scene where his character, a Shaolin Monk named Caine, must pass over a path covered in rice paper and leave it undisturbed should be familiar. If it isn't familiar to you, then liken it to the challenge of buying a board game with a thin flimsy box and imagine that it must survive being shipped to you without being crushed, spooned, split, warped, cut and mushed before arriving. If there were such a thing a a Shaolin Monk of gaming then shipping an FFG coffin box would certainly be the master's test whereas the Euphoria box would be like a practice test for aspiring young and novice Shaolin Monk gamers whose only packing experience has been working at a large online game retailer.

8. Somewhere in the evolution of board game discussion board gamers had unprotected verbal intercourse with video game players and the vocabulary was infected, STD like, with video game terms like "replay" leaving board gamers with flare ups in our reviews of game qualities like "replay value". As if the replay value of backgammon has been adversely affected for the last 500 years by the lack of expansion sets. Let's just all agree that variety is the spice of life and that everyone, board gamers included, like it a little spicy--not every time but sometimes. For example, Euphoria players can sprinkle a little variety into their game from a recruit deck with a lot of different characters and special abilities and enjoy a dash of obstacles from a collection of market tiles that vary with each play that will keep the game fresh. Remember just one teaspoon of the right spice can make all the difference. It's 'kinda' like adding mild, medium or fire MSG high fructose corn syrup sauce to your 5-cheese product value menu burrito--your spice threshold might be a little different from someone else's but everybody likes the taste of MSG and we all recognize a few people will have a bad reaction to it--so be it. And should you encounter a fellow gamer complaining of a replay value irritation (or mixed metaphors) help a brother or sister out and suggest that they get a cream for that.

9. For those that like rules that are smooth and clean Euphoria's rule book delivers. Sadly, despite the good examples set by rules writers like Euphoria's and other notable rules writers like Chad Jensen, the hobby is still burdened with rule books that are like baby diapers--changes are needed and for the same reasons.

10. Euphoria has an uncommon quality one can appreciate--bibliotas or the potential for book length prose based on its theme or narrative. I know Euphoria exemplifies this quality because I just made it up and as the one who coined the term I say it so. If just any game had this quality then Merchant Traders of the Renaissance Volume 31 would be a hot title at Amazon right now. Euphoria's theme would certainly supply the frame for a good book and current events could easily inspire the action and drama. The only problem would be deciding if it should be shelved in fiction or non-fiction.
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Hendrik R
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Rarely does a review provide you with a satisfying list of go-for features and manages to make me laugh several times with the same dauntingly polished wall of well-set words. Great craftsmanship! And bonus point for succeeding to leave out the "oh and the components are great" staple (they are ).
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Dan Licata
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Great list (review?). I love this game, enjoy every game I play. This is a perfect intro to those that haven't played it yet.
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Jamey Stegmaier
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You are quite the wordsmith, Wallace! This was the first thing I read on BGG this morning, and it was a great way to start the day. Thanks for taking the time to write this, and I'm glad you enjoy Euphoria!
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Joshua Wilson
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So I've been mulling over this game for a while now. Watched the Rahdo videos, Tom Vasal, Starlight Citadel. I really liked what I saw, but continued to think it over.

However, after reading number six in this list, I could not order the game fast enough!
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Wallace E. Friedel II
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Jamey, thank you for the kind words and likewise to others in this forum for the same. I would like to offer a shout-out to you as well for the extensive writing you have done on your company's web page on the subject of Kickstarters. Although I don't see myself running a campaign, I was drawn to your passion for the subject. The part of me I like to call "night-guy" stayed up late reading in rapt interest. Unfortunately, the practical part of me, "morning-guy" that goes to work in the morning to put food on the table for his kids had some choice words in the early am; words that were mercifully lost in drone of my alarm clock and drowned out from even the keene hearing my kids tender ears. I am in a large gaming club with both aspiring and published game designers. I have encouraged novice and veteran alike, as I would encourage anyone interested in game design and Kickstarters, to visit your website, to read, learn and ultimately take the knowledge gained to make the positive contribution to this hobby that I think you have made in generously sharing your experience.
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Jamey Stegmaier
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Thanks so much for sharing my blog with your gaming group, Wallace. My intent is to help other aspiring Kickstarter creators achieve their dreams in ways that are fun and beneficial for them and for their backers, so I appreciate you spreading the word so it can help more people. I assume it's night-guy spreading the word, not morning-guy?
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Thomas Robb
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If Scientific American Magazine had a board game review, you would be the contributing author!

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Andy Leber
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This is the first... anything... that I've read about this game yet. I haven't yet made it to another review or even the rule book, however I think I'm already sold. Great work.
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Jamey Stegmaier
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Andy: Here's our media link if you want to read more about Euphoria (there are a LOT of reviews out there for it):

http://stonemaiergames.com/media-euphoria/
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Bryan Carpenter
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I came here to research the game a little and bumped into your review. One of the best things I've read on the Geek in a while. Here, have a
 
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Chuck Reed
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I'm BullTaco and I approved this message.
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Yes one of the best posts I have read on a long while....great work!!
 
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