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Subject: Transitioning into the Ameritrash. rss

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Alexandra M
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I know some people hate that name...sorry. I know others don't mind it and embrace it too soooo... *shrug*

Anyway! I never really considered myself to be a Euro gamer (considered myself more eclectic, to be honest), but I find new euros really great and easy to pick up, and sometimes even too simplistic. When my boyfriend and I tried to play Elder Sign this past week, however, we ran into problems. The mechanisms, the amount of rules, the sheer difference, was overwhelming to us. To be fair, I did have a bit of a headache and wasn't at my strongest cognition-wise, but it was no much more intense than I expected. We did win, but I'm not convinced we were playing it right.

I chose Elder Sign because I've wanted to try Arkham/Eldritch Horror, and I'd heard it was easier, but I feel I may have jumped too fast. What would you recommend I do to make the transition easier?

(I still love euros, but I want everything!)
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Marina SC
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I also generally find ameritrash games harder to play because of the (usual) plethora of rules, and I think the main thing to do to help with that is some preparation. Did you crack open the box and immediately start to play, or did someone read the rules in their entirety first? Watching a short gameplay video will also help with understanding the general flow of the game (especially if there's lots of upkeep and fiddliness).

alexangiraffe wrote:
When my boyfriend and I tried to play Elder Sign this past week, however, we ran into problems. The mechanisms, the amount of rules, the sheer difference, was overwhelming to us. To be fair, I did have a bit of a headache and wasn't at my strongest cognition-wise, but it was no much more intense than I expected. We did win, but I'm not convinced we were playing it right.

For Elder Sign in particular, I found the rulebook not particularly well-written, with the example of the final showdown with Cthulhu being especially bad as it doesn't explain his power properly. However, vanilla Elder Sign (without expansions) has a reputation for being fairly easy, so you very well could have played everything perfectly!
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Alexandra M
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Mashpotassium wrote:
I also generally find ameritrash games harder to play because of the (usual) plethora of rules, and I think the main thing to do to help with that is some preparation. Did you crack open the box and immediately start to play, or did someone read the rules in their entirety first? Watching a short gameplay video will also help with understanding the general flow of the game (especially if there's lots of upkeep and fiddliness).

alexangiraffe wrote:
When my boyfriend and I tried to play Elder Sign this past week, however, we ran into problems. The mechanisms, the amount of rules, the sheer difference, was overwhelming to us. To be fair, I did have a bit of a headache and wasn't at my strongest cognition-wise, but it was no much more intense than I expected. We did win, but I'm not convinced we were playing it right.

For Elder Sign in particular, I found the rulebook not particularly well-written, with the example of the final showdown with Cthulhu being especially bad as it doesn't explain his power properly. However, vanilla Elder Sign (without expansions) has a reputation for being fairly easy, so you very well could have played everything perfectly!


Yeah, we just cracked the box and tried to do it. It was just the two of us, and we are used to just being able to do games on the spot. The rulebook honestly was daunting though, and I think that's part of the reason it was overwhelming - we expected to open it, read the rules, and be ready to play within 20-30 minutes which is our usual and was...not the case. I think we still started at that point but were feeling more like ???? the whole time. Watching a video is definitely something we thought might be helpful next time, so that seconding of that thought is reassuring.

Also glad to know that the rulebook isn't really well written, and that it actually is easy. We were very confused by the whole experience, as we didn't really understand the game, but still beat it quite easily..
 
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Look on my works ye mighty and despair
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alexangiraffe wrote:
I know some people hate that name


Fuck 'em if they can't take a joke.

Quote:
What would you recommend I do to make the transition easier?


Is it just you and your boyfriend or are you gaming with others?

There's definitely some options if it's just the two of you (Snit's Revenge is one of my standard recommendations for people looking to explore the simpler end of 2p Ameritrash) although I can never keep up with whether it's currently in print or not), but you arguably won't get the full AT experience without at least 4 people. Especially the negotiation/PvP/backstabbing end of the spectrum.
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Robb Melenyk
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Isn't Robinson Crusoe: Adventures on the Cursed Island a great transition game? A worker placement that isn't simply converting X to Y to acquire Z.

Oh wait it kind of is. But the theme masks all that

If Elder Sign has too many rules, avoid Arkham Horror. Maybe get someone to show you Eldritch Horror.

But RC might be your ticket. You could also check out something like RoboRally. Not all Ameritrash games are Cthulu, Zombie themed nor are they all dice fests. Just most of them
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Darth Heisenberg
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There's a "rules that you can easily play wrong" thread at bgg elder sign board which helped me big time, check it just in case.
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Tomáš Sládek
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I consider myself an eclectic gamer as well, I'm willing to play anything at least once and my favorites are on both ends of the AT/EG spectrum.

For AT, lots of small rules is almost the norm, especially for games by Fantasy Flight Games. That doesn't mean they're bad though! I'd say skip Elder Sign - it is nowhere near the experience AH/EH give - and chin up and dive into the glorious messy stereotype of AT that is Arkham. Best if you do it by watching videos beforehand like other suggested and trying it out at a friends' or something, instead of blind buying it. Best thing about AT games is they tend to tell a story so even if the gameplay may be a bit off, or you're not achieving the goals you'd wish, you can focus on the story unfolding in front of you.

If you want to try games that are somewhat on-the-fence, I liked these:
Smallworld- all direct conflict yet no dice yet caked in a funny theme
Scythe - mix of fighting, resource gathering and character encounters, also gorgeous art. Not as complex rule-wise as might seem at first glance.
Cyclades - a bidding game, yet you get to control troops and fleets and mythical monsters
Kemet - at its core an engine building game where you acquire upgrade upon upgrade, but you get your resources by fighting dudes on a map.
Discworld: Ankh-Morpork if you can get it - area control but no combat, secret objectives, hand management. Sadly out of print now.
Blood Rage / Chaos in the Old World - Somewhat similar games of area control with combat and victory points, in one you get dealt asymmetric factions, in the other you create asymmetry by drafting power cards. Choose mostly by theme, they're both good


None of the above are classic AT - no dicefests, no zombies etc. Yet still they feature heavy theming and a substantial element of randomness (save for Scythe perhaps).

For ultimate AT experience, look into Flying Frog Productions games, personally I only own Last Night on Earth, but I understand they're all in the similar vein of recreating the b-movie feeling in the chosen theme. And don't let anyone tell you otherwise, Zombicide is much more of a shoot-em-up action movie and Dead of Winter a more abstract survival drama, while Last Night is the golden middle path :-) Bonus points for being just as well playable with 2 as with 6.
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Alexandra M
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Quote:
Is it just you and your boyfriend or are you gaming with others?


We play the most, just because we both have a membership to the local boardgames café, and have since June (just until the end of August though!) so we have the most chances to play together. My roommate does join us a reasonable amount too, and she's game for most stuff. We do have other friends that play, but tend to be more into the easier stuff, and not as much into the hobby.

We will have to look at Snit's Revenge!
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Tomáš Sládek
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Abiezer Coppe wrote:

(Snit's Revenge is one of my standard recommendations for people looking to explore the simpler end of 2p Ameritrash)


Never heard of that, but seeing it's from Steve Jackson games should probably be cause for caution... they're the penny dreadfuls of board games - cheap, shiny, interesting at first sight but ultimately low on quality.
 
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M M
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King of Tokyo is about as pure and simple as it gets. Survive! Escape from Atlantis is a fun lark. I'm a big fan of Kemet. Arcadia Quest is a good one.

There's been a lot of bleeding between Ameritrash and Euros the last few years. A lot. There's very few pure examples of either at this point, especially pure Ameritrash. So something like Cyclades or Dominant Species or Chaos in the Old World which frequently get labeled Ameritrash have feet firmly in Euro. I don't think of Scythe as Ameritrash at all.

If I just wanted a flavor, I'd go King of Tokyo. It's pretty cheap. It's very simple. And it's about as pure of a dice chucker, high emotions, screaming kind of game as you'll get. It's awesome.
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Alexandra M
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Mat628 wrote:
King of Tokyo is about as pure and simple as it gets. Survive! Escape from Atlantis is a fun lark. I'm a big fan of Kemet. Arcadia Quest is a good one.

There's been a lot of bleeding between Ameritrash and Euros the last few years. A lot. There's very few pure examples of either at this point, especially pure Ameritrash. So something like Cyclades or Dominant Species or Chaos in the Old World which frequently get labeled Ameritrash have feet firmly in Euro. I don't think of Scythe as Ameritrash at all.

If I just wanted a flavor, I'd go King of Tokyo. It's pretty cheap. It's very simple. And it's about as pure of a dice chucker, high emotions, screaming kind of game as you'll get. It's awesome.


We've actually played KoT and Survive! Survive is great, and we did like King of Tokyo, but we tend to like a little more strategy to our games and didn't find it scratched all our itches. We like Survive, but it's so simple to learn that our casual gamer friends have latched onto it, and we are bored of it. We loved it at first though.

These are great suggestions, thanks!
 
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Alexandra M
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Registrau wrote:
There's a "rules that you can easily play wrong" thread at bgg elder sign board which helped me big time, check it just in case.


I'm suspecting the answer will be everything for us . Thanks - I'll head over and check it out now!
 
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RJD
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Borghal wrote:
Abiezer Coppe wrote:

(Snit's Revenge is one of my standard recommendations for people looking to explore the simpler end of 2p Ameritrash)


Never heard of that, but seeing it's from Steve Jackson games should probably be cause for caution... they're the penny dreadfuls of board games - cheap, shiny, interesting at first sight but ultimately low on quality.


Ya know, Steve Jackson Games has produced many, many, many great games over the years in addition to some of the ones that are less popular on this particular site.
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M M
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Ok. Try looking at Area Control games. A lot of them have heavy theme and good strategy. Dune (Rex: Final Days), Dominant Species, Small World, Kemet, Cyclades, El Grande, Chaos in the Old World, Lords of Vegas, Shogun, are all examples of games that incorporate some variability and chance, have a strong theme, and are still pretty strategic. May be what you're looking for.
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Jeff Y
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Mashpotassium wrote:
I also generally find ameritrash games harder to play because of the (usual) plethora of rules, and I think the main thing to do to help with that is some preparation. Did you crack open the box and immediately start to play, or did someone read the rules in their entirety first? Watching a short gameplay video will also help with understanding the general flow of the game (especially if there's lots of upkeep and fiddliness).

alexangiraffe wrote:
When my boyfriend and I tried to play Elder Sign this past week, however, we ran into problems. The mechanisms, the amount of rules, the sheer difference, was overwhelming to us. To be fair, I did have a bit of a headache and wasn't at my strongest cognition-wise, but it was no much more intense than I expected. We did win, but I'm not convinced we were playing it right.

For Elder Sign in particular, I found the rulebook not particularly well-written, with the example of the final showdown with Cthulhu being especially bad as it doesn't explain his power properly. However, vanilla Elder Sign (without expansions) has a reputation for being fairly easy, so you very well could have played everything perfectly!


The Elder Sign episode of Tabletop is helpful and entertaining, plus you get the whole Felicia Day/Tentacles scene. That episode was what enticed me to buy Elder Sign in the first place and it is now a favorite with my family.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Jh4nSpV2n4k
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Look on my works ye mighty and despair
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Borghal wrote:


Never heard of that, but seeing it's from Steve Jackson games should probably be cause for caution... they're the penny dreadfuls of board games - cheap, shiny, interesting at first sight but ultimately low on quality.


Not only do I agree with others that SJG have produced some genuinely great games as well as some dross, Snit's Revenge massively predates them picking up the publishing rights anyway.

It was originally a pull out from Dragon, later picked up by TSR.

Even if you don't like Steve Jackson's designs in general, it would be unwise to write off all the Tom Wham stuff because of that. The company have very little influence on them, it's Tom alone that designs those.
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Jason
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Legendary Encounters: An Alien Deck Building Game - A lot of theme, buy not a very heavy game.
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zoran
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You could go 'full-Glorantha', ameritrash at it's brashest. Though if Tropic Thunder taught us anything, it's you should never go full-retard, haha!
 
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Damo
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The whole idea of Ameritrash (Love the term) is theme.

Pick a game that has a history/background/story you like. Chances are you'll like it no matter what.

Edit: Oh, and Welcome! You'll have much more fun now. devil

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M M
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Damjon wrote:
The whole idea of Ameritrash (Love the term) is theme.

Pick a game that has a history/background/story you like. Chances are you'll like it no matter what.

Edit: Oh, and Welcome! You'll have much more fun now. devil

That's one of, but not whole.

I've never seen a better description of what it is than this geeklist: http://boardgamegeek.com/geeklist/16485/tribute-ameritrash

Some of the things are a little bit outdated but still very much more right than wrong even still. And a really entertaining read.
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Sean Conroy
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Axis & Allies 1941

It's a lighter Axis & Allies game for those that haven't played A&A before.

Other than that, AT games require at least one rules read-through before sitting down to play. That's part of the fun of AT games. The big thick colorful rule book sitting on your desk at work impresses your friends and coworkers

So keep at it, and don't let this setback get you down. AT games may not have you sitting down to play as you quickly scan through the rule book, but you'll be rewarded handsomely for your time investment.
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Steve R Bullock
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Since you tried Elder Sign, and have an interest in Ameritrash, please consider Mansions of Madness, 2nd edition.

Although not a perfect game by any means, it will introduce you to two of the biggest concepts in AT, namely theme (a spooky old mansion represented by great tiles) and plastic (wonderful miniatures of the monsters and your investigators).

Yes, you will need to own some kind of tablet (iPad, Android, Fire) or computer (which I'm sure you have), but that is just one more feature that makes this game so...Ameritrashy.

This might very well be the game that causes you to get that AT urge that will never go away.
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Ray
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I'd also like to chime in that if it's mainly the two of you...Claustrophobiais an amazing game.

And if taking a Holy Man and a group of convicts down a hole to push demons back to hell isn't Ameritrash enough for you...I don't know what I can tell you!
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Chris Graves
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One thing I would recommend, as you pick up A.T. games, is to plan to read the rules and/or watch YouTube vids before you plan on playing. Sometimes that can be daunting, and sometimes you'll have a rule book sitting on your coffee table for weeks waiting to be read (I have Scythe on my table right now), but it is worth it. Then, play a trial game or two to get the gist of the rules and mechanics and find out any "grey" areas that need clarification. I guess what I am saying is, allow the learning curve with these rules heavy games, because, most of the time, you'll probably have a hard time of unboxing and playing right away.
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Freelance Police
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Dominion Intrigue and Hinterlands are a great *entry* into Ameritrash. The rulebook is only a few pages and easy to understand (a rarity for Ameritrash), as it follows the game design paradigm of pushing the complexity onto the cards, and can be played as a two-player game.

IMO, Elder Sign isn't a gateway to Eldritch or Arkham Horror. Eldritch Horror, Arkham Horror, and Mansions of Madness use a Skill Check system (roll dice for success values), which Elder Sign doesn't use (roll dice to match icons).

If you're up for trying roleplaying games, get the free Call of Cthulhu Quickstart, which uses a simple skill check system (roll dice under your skill level to succeed) that's easier than most boardgames. Skim it and play the free Alone Against the Flame solo adventure. Then play it with your boyfriend (you read the paragraphs, and he makes the choices).

http://www.chaosium.com/content/FreePDFs/CoC/CHA23131%20Call...

http://www.chaosium.com/content/FreePDFs/CoC/Adventures/CHA2...

 
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