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Subject: Is Forbidden Stars an ameritrash game? rss

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Andrei Savva
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So I was talking another day to one of my friends, telling him that I started to like ameritrash games (considering my positive experiences with Forbidden Stars, CitOW and Runewars). He asked me if I like Descent (no, I have never played it), Middle Earth Quest (no, I am not in love with the game, although I love Mage Knight), plus some other examples.

I told him I like Chaos in the Old World, Eclipse, Runewars and Forbidden Stars. He imediatelly interupted me - CitOW is El Grande with a fantasy theme on, so it is an eurogame. Forbidden Stars is a long game, with miniatures, but it is not ameritrash because everything about it is so streamlined. So considering the examples I gave him, I probably wouldn't like... ameritrash games.

That made me think about Forbidden Stars - this game is really polished, the footprint on the table is decent, even small, the mechanisms are straightforward, it lacks the ton of chits, counters, and other fluff. Yes, it is pure combat, but very well executed. This is definitelly not an euro area control game, I am sure of that, but it is far away from Runewars, with its many many decks of cards, and its mashup of area control wargame and hero quest minigame (which I love anyway).

So what is your opinion, can Forbidden Stars be called ameritrash?
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Valery Prikhodko
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Chaos and Eclipse is not ameritrash. Runewars and FS - ameritrash.
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Joseph Courtight
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I always hate the term ameritrash, it's a label given by euro gamers that think too much of their genre. Thematic game is the correct term.

Many games although many games blur the line between eurogames and thematic.

Eurogames hold tight elegant mechanics as the most important part of the game, hence eurogames tend to have a pasted theme but tight rulebooks.
Thematic games hold the mood of the game to be the most important part of the game. Hence thematic games tend to have lots of odd rules to simulate a small aspect of the theme.

The difference really comes down to weather the game was designed theme first or mechanics first. (Sometimes difficult to tell)

Forbidden stars is definitely a war game and those usually are not classified as eurogames.

Commonly people explain if you win the game the instant you meet a condition its a thematic game. While if the game ends and then you need to count points its a eurogame. Of course FS can end in an instant win or point counting.

I would conclude that it is a hybrid.

However, if I must choose one.
I would say eurogame because the mechanics are borrowed from starcraft (hence mechanic design first)
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James Lautermilch
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it's an Indoamerieurogermanoconflicttrashthemagenericabstractboardgame
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K
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I'd say all of the games mentioned in this thread except Eclipse are Ameritrash. Forbidden Stars certainly.

Why would I group them together? Because the same types of people like them.

Euros... people who really play exclusively Euro games run screaming at the mention of stuff like Starcraft, Forbidden Stars, and yes, even Chaos in the Old World. So they are Ameritrash games. Eurogamers often like Eclipse though! It's more likely to get ire from hardcore 'Trashers.

On the other hand, people who love other Ameritrash games love Chaos in the Old World

Chaos in the Old World is not a eurogame. And Forbidden stars definitely is not one.
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Joshua Schutte
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CitOW and FS are both hybrids. All most all games are anymore. If your euro contains some random elements (dice, cards, etc...) it's a hybrid. If your Ameritrash has actions you can do without rolling dice or drawing cards, it's a hybrid.

There are two scales that games fall on as I see it:

Simulation(mechanics fit real life) to Abstract(ie pasted on theme)
Random Results to Controlled Results

A pure Euro is controlled and abstract
A old school ameritrash is a random simulation.

but this would mean Eklund games are "ameritrash" when most would say they aren't...

Really conventions like this are meaningless, play what you enjoy...
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It's officially a dead game is what it is
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Frank Branham
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New Dia die Los Muertos. Lighter, sillier, and Stickers.
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Dalek5 wrote:
I always hate the term ameritrash, it's a label given by euro gamers that think too much of their genre. Thematic game is the correct term.

Eurogames hold tight elegant mechanics as the most important part of the game, hence eurogames tend to have a pasted theme but tight rulebooks.
Thematic games hold the mood of the game to be the most important part of the game. Hence thematic games tend to have lots of odd rules to simulate a small aspect of the theme.


The origins of the Ameritrash term came from fans of Ameritrash. Kind of a punk thing, mostly.

Interesting, the Ameritrash school has again embraced more streamlined and consistent rules and shorter play time, while Eurogames have become more sprawling and messy.

(As a note, Ameritrash has a reputation for giant messy rules. But look at Afrika Corps. And for Eris' sake play it--that's STILL one of the best games around. And the rules are dead simple. )

Poor Eurogames are just going through a phase. Maybe they'll come around (Scythe and Terraforming Mars are really good signs.)
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Andrei Savva
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Dalek5 wrote:

However, if I must choose one.
I would say eurogame because the mechanics are borrowed from starcraft (hence mechanic design first)


The mecanics of the game made me think about the FS genre. I was acustomed with the idea that ameritrash games are somewhat easy computationally - you draw a card, read it, do what it says, chuck the dices and see if you've passed the test. Plus some other decissions, but without a very deep process of planning/thinking.

While order placement in Forbidden Stars feels like placing Agricola people in late stages (12-14), when ou have many options, but you need to accomplish so many things, and you opponents can screw you easily. The same is true for Forbidden Stars, only it starts from second round: what order I put first in stack? What if my opponent covers my order? Should I Dominate and then Deploy? I need to move my troops to attack, but I better execute my upgrade (Strategize)order first, so I would have a stronger deck. And the amount of luck feels just so low, especially when you understand the concept of upgrading your combat deck. How can this be a dicechucking fest ameritrash? The amprent on the table is smaller than even for Castles of Burgundy, and the computational and memorisation effort - similar to Puerto Rico and Agricola (at least the first 3 games I have played until now).
This is just a good game, but I guess that my friend might be right - if I like Forbidden Stars, I might not like other ameritrashy games.
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K
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Quote:
I was acustomed with the idea that ameritrash games are somewhat easy computationally - you draw a card, read it, do what it says, chuck the dices and see if you've passed the test. Plus some other decissions, but without a very deep process of planning/thinking.


That just comes from a common misconception of ignorant Eurogamer folks, that Eurogames are the only games that reward strategy or deep thought, like there were no strategic board games until the concept of "Eurogame" was invented -- it's simply not true.

So if they find a game that seems Ameritrash in every other way but it happens to make their brain melt, cognitive dissonance causes them to try to convice themselves its actually a "Euro" or Euro-like (even when its made by designers and companies who pretty much exclusively create, publish, and play Ameritrash)

Being shallow is not a "feature" of an Ameritrash game.

therealtheshader wrote:
It's officially a dead game is what it is


Good games never die.
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instinctive
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SirHandsome wrote:
therealtheshader wrote:
It's officially a dead game is what it is
Good games never die.

En Taro Adun!
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David Ainsworth
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There are elements of all the games you mentioned that can be argued place the game in the Ameritrash category. And other elements that can do the same for the eurogame category.

The lines are blurring more and more every year. And to me that's a good thing.

Given the list of what you like though I think you'd like a number of games that are considered Ameritrash, definitely.
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Charlie Theel
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Forbidden Stars is definitely Ameritrash. A game being streamlined has nothing to do whether it is AT or not. Early Ameritrash games were much simpler than the FFG games of the past 10 years.

Thunder Road and Nexus Ops, both very streamlined, are the epitome of Ameritrash.

Chaos in the Old World is a hybrid. It has Euro elements but it has AT elements too. Including fighting, asymmetrical powers, and take that card play.
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Daniel Cassidy
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I use this method to describe what is what i call ameri-style (as i don't like to be punk, hip or derogatory about things) and euro-style.

And its simply where is the random or heavy limiting factors at. is it at action selection or action resolution

Ameri-style- random happens at resolution

players usually have all the options you will want to take; go here, do that, attack that. as free choices, they come from a list on play step guide or on a character sheet or memorized from a rule book. basically if you what to do it you can do, there are some limits like you can only move twice, or move then attack, or take the same action no more than twice.

however when if comes to resolving actions there will often be a randomiser mechanic. roll dice or play cards to resolve the action, if i want to move i may have to roll or play a random card from a deck to see how far i move, if i want to hit i have to roll/draw, it i want to raid or explore i have to roll or draw to achieve x amount of successes or beat a value.there are usually modifiers applied to these random resolutions which can be read as probabilities of success but you can try and beat the odds anyway.

euro-style- random happens at action selection

players usually have actions that they can take determined by the random draw of a hand or by placing tokens on action spaces but these spaces can be taken up. there is a probability of what cards you may draw or what actions will be taken before you can take them.

However when if comes to resolving actions in a euro-style game they just happen if conditions are meet. you get a good, you deal x damage, you trade x for y

But then there are the new kids on the block, gamers who have now become game designers and liked elements of both and i don't want to call them hybrids because that is too simplistic some are through hybrids and sit perfectly in the centre but often games will fall closer to one side or an other.

the day of this is a euro and this is ameri are very nearly over. The only way of accurately describing a game now is by its mechanics; drafting, area control, hand/deck/resource management, dice or card resolution, card play selection, placement selection or list selection etc etc.

so call FS what you like. But for me it probably leans more towards the ameri-style side of things.
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K
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charlest wrote:
Forbidden Stars is definitely Ameritrash. A game being streamlined has nothing to do whether it is AT or not. Early Ameritrash games were much simpler than the FFG games of the past 10 years.

Thunder Road and Nexus Ops, both very streamlined, are the epitome of Ameritrash.


Excellent point.
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Timothy Young
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As a side note, I prefer the term amerithrash. It feels less derogatory to me. Unfortunately, I seem to be in the minority.

Actually upon further reflection, I guess I don't mind using the term ameritrash for games I don't like, such as Risk or even for Monopoly. But when I'm talking about games I do like, such as Descent or Nexus Ops, then I like using the term amerithrash.
 
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Kevin Garnica
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jamesl59 wrote:
it's an Indoamerieurogermanoconflicttrashthemagenericabstractboardgame


Indo-ameri-euro-germano-conflict-trash-thema-generic-abstract-board-game...

For those who don't want to take the time to read it out slowly.
 
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Colm McCarthy
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TIM0THY wrote:
As a side note, I prefer the term amerithrash. It feels less derogatory to me. Unfortunately, I seem to be in the minority.


As noted above, Ameritrash was coined by Ameritrash fans. There's nothing derogatory about it. Amerithrash doesn't even mean anything. It was a slip of the tongue by Zee Garcia on an episode of Dice Tower, and then they just ran with it cos they thought it sounded "cool". The word Amerithrash makes my skin crawl.
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Dapperghast Meowregard
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colmmccarthy wrote:
TIM0THY wrote:
As a side note, I prefer the term amerithrash. It feels less derogatory to me. Unfortunately, I seem to be in the minority.


As noted above, Ameritrash was coined by Ameritrash fans. There's nothing derogatory about it. Amerithrash doesn't even mean anything. It was a slip of the tongue by Zee Garcia on an episode of Dice Tower, and then they just ran with it cos they thought it sounded "cool". The word Amerithrash makes my skin crawl.


Honestly I'm not a fan of either term, it's just two words lazily crammed together, like there's no pun, no portmanteau, it's like calling ice watcold.

Regarding the subject, while the lines have become rather blurred personally I go by whether the player interaction is direct or indirect.

Indirect interaction is where you can buy the back-alley orphanage before your opponent and then they can't use it anymore.

Direct of course being where you can say "Not on my goddamned watch." and send an army of murder-golems to wrest control of the back-alley orphanage from your opponent.

Which going by that definition FS definitely qualifies.
 
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mathew rynich
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Euro games were a movement. Ameritrash was a container term for all other games that were not Euro games. The hobby has grown beyond these labels. Most new games contain elements of what was considered staples of both types of games.
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Timothy Young
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colmmccarthy wrote:
It was a slip of the tongue by Zee Garcia on an episode of Dice Tower, and then they just ran with it cos they thought it sounded "cool".


Thanks for sharing this little tidbit. I wasn't aware of how it started. I just heard a few other people use it and figured since people were using it, it must be a thing that can be used.
 
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Chris Dennett
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TIM0THY wrote:
colmmccarthy wrote:
It was a slip of the tongue by Zee Garcia on an episode of Dice Tower, and then they just ran with it cos they thought it sounded "cool".


Thanks for sharing this little tidbit. I wasn't aware of how it started. I just heard a few other people use it and figured since people were using it, it must be a thing that can be used.

Unless Dice Tower was around back in 2000 (looks like it was formed in 2003, which is earlier than I would have thought), this is factually incorrect: Ameritrash Etymology. The exact origin will probably always be up for debate, but it's been in use for a long time.

As for its use as a pejorative or term of affection, I think it depends on who is using it. You can damn well be sure that the folks over at Fortress: AT aren't ever going to accept some other more PC term.
 
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cdennett wrote:
TIM0THY wrote:
colmmccarthy wrote:
It was a slip of the tongue by Zee Garcia on an episode of Dice Tower, and then they just ran with it cos they thought it sounded "cool".


Thanks for sharing this little tidbit. I wasn't aware of how it started. I just heard a few other people use it and figured since people were using it, it must be a thing that can be used.

Unless Dice Tower was around back in 2000 (looks like it was formed in 2003, which is earlier than I would have thought), this is factually incorrect: Ameritrash Etymology. The exact origin will probably always be up for debate, but it's been in use for a long time.

As for its use as a pejorative or term of affection, I think it depends on who is using it. You can damn well be sure that the folks over at Fortress: AT aren't ever going to accept some other more PC term.



They were talking about "Amerithrash," not "Ameritrash" as being coined by Zee.
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Chris Dennett
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DancingFool wrote:

They were talking about "Amerithrash," not "Ameritrash" as being coined by Zee.

My mistake, should have scrolled back up...
 
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Colm McCarthy
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DancingFool wrote:
cdennett wrote:
TIM0THY wrote:
colmmccarthy wrote:
It was a slip of the tongue by Zee Garcia on an episode of Dice Tower, and then they just ran with it cos they thought it sounded "cool".


Thanks for sharing this little tidbit. I wasn't aware of how it started. I just heard a few other people use it and figured since people were using it, it must be a thing that can be used.

Unless Dice Tower was around back in 2000 (looks like it was formed in 2003, which is earlier than I would have thought), this is factually incorrect: Ameritrash Etymology. The exact origin will probably always be up for debate, but it's been in use for a long time.

As for its use as a pejorative or term of affection, I think it depends on who is using it. You can damn well be sure that the folks over at Fortress: AT aren't ever going to accept some other more PC term.



They were talking about "Amerithrash," not "Ameritrash" as being coined by Zee.


Indeed, I was talking about hearing Zee Garcia absentmindedly say "Amerithrash". I wish I could remember the exact episode (I think it was a top ten list), but it stuck in my mind because it sounded so flipping stupid
 
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