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Subject: What games would you think I would think are thematic Euros? rss

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CARL SKUTSCH
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I find I generally prefer Euros that seem thematic to me. There are exceptions to that statement. I like Terra Mystica and that has about as much theme as mayonnaise on white bread. But mostly I like theme. So I'm looking for which Euros folks think are particularly thematic, especially if they think I'd think they were thematic.

Recently, for example, I tried out Madeira. I'd owned it for a while. Like too many of my games it had gone unplayed. Finally I pulled it out and was... disappointed. It was a solid game, intricate mechanisms, there were some islands, and nobles and guilds and... it still seems pretty themeless. (Will I feel the same way about ZhanGuo and Nippon?!?) Prettier than Castles of Burgundy or Power Grid but just as lacking in any real theme. Arbitrary mechanisms linked together, because.

What Euros do I consider thematic:
Agricola - You are a farmer, your family could starve!
The Gallerist - You get to collect real art! Use publicity to make your artist a success!
Food Chain Magnate - You're trying to market those damn burgers and not be undersold by Booger King!
Viticulture - You gotta grow them grapes, turn them into champagne!

Not very thematic:
Terra Mystica, Power Grid, Castles of Burgundy, Madeira
Elysium - Man those are pretty cards, and the could be really anything. It's just trading cards for other cards, oh boy.
St Petersburg - Buy cards because they make you money or points (although I think this is a wee more thematic than some of the others in the unthematic zone)
Splendor - Man this is lacking in any real theme, I mean, completely.

So tell me what are the super duper thematic games in your collection/experience?

P.S.

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Bryan Thunkd
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The real question is what Eurogames do you think I would think that you'd think were thematic?


Skutsch wrote:
Will I feel the same way about ZhanGuo and Nippon?!?
Probably. They don't feel like fully realized settings/themes so much as a framework to hang the mechanisms on.

And while you might not care for the theme of Powergrid, I think it's fairly thematic. It's just not as exciting as, you know, Agricola's exciting farming theme.
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Pete
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I voted for bacon hope.

Pete (hopes for bacon)
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David Debien
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Tammany Hall
Dungeon Lords
Concordia
Strangely Grand Austria Hotel is very thematic. Of course, running a hotel may not be what a lot of people would find to be an exciting theme.
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I'm surprised you don't see any theme in Power Grid, as you are literally building your power grids, buying the resources to power them (using an actual supply/demand simulation of a marketplace) and burning those resources. And, with the different types of power plants and their different resources, including the Green plants, etc.

Well anyway, here are some you might consider:


Hawaii
It's got a lot of theme-mechanism links.
Like the different currencies. You use "feet" to move around the island - energy. You use "shells" to buy things. What about "fruit"? You can eat it to move around the island (energy) OR you can trade it to buy things.

Tikal
There's debate on how thematic this is, not sure where you'd fall. Some say no, some say it's dripping with theme (as much as a Euro can drip theme). Personally I see the theme. You're clearing the jungle. Posting guards at the temples you uncover. Collecting treasures.

Fire & Axe: A Viking Saga
Has a TON of theme. So much so that some consider it a Euro/Ameritrash hybrid, but the argument could be made that it's just a very thematic Euro. There's even a mechanism for fair/foul weather.

Wallenstein (second edition)
One that could be considered a "Waro" (War/Euro hybrid) but it's also arguably a very thematic Euro - you have to really focus on your building and positioning, and the battles are few (but important). If you play it like an all-out combat game and downplay the Euro/building elements, you will lose. It's got a lot of theme in the rules, like you play out the different seasons, and have to feed your people, and have to raise taxes from the populace (which makes them not very happy), etc.

Antiquity
Very heavy, very thematic civ builder.

World Without End
Very punishing, thematic Euro - based on the novel.

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Mister P
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Without answering the question, I think the OP has identified games where the mechanics reflect the theme. i.e. Not pasted on theme.
 
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Marina SC
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I'm still a bit fuzzy on what actually defines something as a Euro, but in my collection I suppose the most thematic games that *I* think are also Euros are:

After Pablo - be a leader of a drug cartel trying to gain control of the cocaine trade! Wage wars in Mexico/Columbia! Smuggle cocaine into the US!
Letters from Whitechapel - be or chase Jack the Ripper!
Tammany Hall - slander your enemies! Win elections! Push around immigrants!
 
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Bryan Thunkd
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Have you played Kanban yet? I'd recommend that... Mostly for the great gameplay, although I do enjoy the theme.
 
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CARL SKUTSCH
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casualgod wrote:
Tammany Hall
Dungeon Lords
Concordia
Strangely Grand Austria Hotel is very thematic. Of course, running a hotel may not be what a lot of people would find to be an exciting theme.

Being the sick game collector that I am I (as perhaps you noticed) own all of these. Tammany Hall I agree is quite thematic (and I quite like it!). I'm glad to hear that you think the others are as well.
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CARL SKUTSCH
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Thunkd wrote:
Have you played Kanban yet? I'd recommend that... Mostly for the great gameplay, although I do enjoy the theme.


In my closet, waiting to be played. Some day.
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Nicholas Palmer
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My two favorite Euros (and two of my favorite games period) are incredibly thematic IMO:

Dungeon Petz
The Prodigals Club
 
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Dungeon Petz
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Snowdonia
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Phil Triest
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Trickerion: Legends of Illusion. I don't get how you think FCM is thematic. It is completely abstracted.
 
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Chris Williams

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I personally like In the Year of the Dragon
I'm a theme nut, so I prefer games ooozing with theme. But I do like strategy Power Struggle, Discworld: Ankh-Morpork, Friedrich, Witch of Salem.

 
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Jason Brown
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My first and still favorite euro is Viticulture Essential Edition.
 
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Jonathan Er
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I would suggest

Argent: The Consortium
Automobiles (its still cubes but i think the theme is there)
Dungeon Petz
Grand Austria Hotel
The Pursuit of Happiness
Ristorante Italia
Suburbia
 
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Aaron Brogdon
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Francis Drake
And although I know I'm going to be in the minority Trajan

As explanation, let me repeat what I said in a different thread.

brog5108 wrote:
I don't get the whole "Trajan's theme is pasted on" argument. I think Trajan is very thematic. You are a powerful Roman family trying to gain even more power by becoming the the most famous and influential in the city. This is done through publicly funding military campaigns, building great works of architecture throughout the city that have your name on it, pushing favorable votes through the senate, amassing personal wealth (shipping), currying favor with emperor Trajan, and being vocal in the forum. This is done by setting up favors from well-placed people that you can call in to aid you (working the mancala).

Personally I think that its mechanics are more thematically attached than games like Descent, a staple of the "thematic" camp.
 
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Giovanni Wassen
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casualgod wrote:

Strangely Grand Austria Hotel is very thematic. Of course, running a hotel may not be what a lot of people would find to be an exciting theme.

Amusing. I don't think the game is thematic at all. It doesn't make any thematic sense to have guests that prepare rooms for you or bring food/drinks for other guests.
 
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Denise Lavely
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+Trickerion

Also, any of Vital Lacerda's games - CO₂, Vinhos, Kanban: Automotive Revolution, and the upcoming Lisboa - all do a great job of reflecting the theme in the mechanics.
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Jeff Connell
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brog5108 wrote:
Francis Drake
And although I know I'm going to be in the minority Trajan

As explanation, let me repeat what I said in a different thread.

brog5108 wrote:
I don't get the whole "Trajan's theme is pasted on" argument. I think Trajan is very thematic. You are a powerful Roman family trying to gain even more power by becoming the the most famous and influential in the city. This is done through publicly funding military campaigns, building great works of architecture throughout the city that have your name on it, pushing favorable votes through the senate, amassing personal wealth (shipping), currying favor with emperor Trajan, and being vocal in the forum. This is done by setting up favors from well-placed people that you can call in to aid you (working the mancala).

Personally I think that its mechanics are more thematically attached than games like Descent, a staple of the "thematic" camp.


I completely disagree. Trajan is one of the most theme less games out there. It's a bunch of mini-games thrown in a box mixed in with point salad. Don't get me wrong I like the game. But telling me, for example, the mancala represents running a family in the Roman Empire is at the best, humorous.
 
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chris thatcher
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Amun-Re The way the game is split into the old and new world with just the pyramids remaining between each age is a great thematic mechanism.

Quote:
I completely disagree. Trajan is one of the most theme less games out there. It's a bunch of mini-games thrown in a box mixed in with point salad. Don't get me wrong I like the game. But telling me, for example, the mancala represents running a family in the Roman Empire is at the best, humorous.


And i disagree with you. I always feel like the mancala represents the political maneuvering going on behind the scenes. It feels far more thematic to me than many euros.
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CARL SKUTSCH
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philtrees wrote:
Trickerion: Legends of Illusion. I don't get how you think FCM is thematic. It is completely abstracted.


FCM seems much more thematic to me than Trickerion (which is quite pretty, but the whole making fancy magic trick thing just seemed...arbitrary).
 
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sthrjo wrote:
JohnnyDollar wrote:
Wallenstein (second edition)
One that could be considered a "Waro" (War/Euro hybrid) but it's also arguably a very thematic Euro - you have to really focus on your building and positioning, and the battles are few (but important).

The theme is pasted on: You are building cathedrals in the middle of a devastating war, instead of ruining them! I had high hopes for this game, imported it by myself for a huge cost in customs and bank transactions, but had to let it go eventually.


There are two different thematic questions -

1. Is the game thematic? I'd say it's hard to argue it's an abstract, pasted-on game. So many rules make thematic sense. Raising grain stockpiles for the winter, then feeding your peasants and soldiers in the winter after losing some to spoilage and vermin; if they don't get fed they revolt; peasants fighting on your side unless you tax them and take too much of their harvest, etc. I really feel like I'm a field general making a plan and then having to deal with on-the-field changes and curveballs that force me to make adjustments.

2. Is the game true to the 30-years-war theme? That's a different question than whether the game is abstract. You might have a point there, I don't know enough about the 30-years-war. However, Wally is a thematic resource-management-light-conflict euro that is set during two years of the 30-years-war - it never claims to be a simulation of the greater conflict. If you want something truer to the actual 30-years-war, you'd want more of a simulation, you'd want more of an all-out wargame, of which there are some you could try:
-Thirty Years War: Europe in Agony, 1618-1648
-Thirty Years War Quad (second edition)
-Thirty Years War: the Great War 1618-1648
-Holy Roman Empire: The Thirty-Years War
-With Fire and Sword-A Strategic Game of the 30 Years War
 
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