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Michael
Canada
Niagara Region & Buffalo
Onatrio & New York
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I am a fan of Euros. By far, they're the most enjoyable games for me to play. Why? Well, I've been reconsidering and adjusting my ratings for games in my collection and I thought, "Why are these (top 15) so much more enjoyable to play compared to these (all the rest)?"

I thought it might be fun to ask the same question to all of you who enjoy Euros as much as I do, and not only to consider your collection, but also the games you don't have which may fit the criteria.

These are my top 15 games:

1 Dungeon Petz
2 Hawaii
3 AquaSphere
4 Kanban: Automotive Revolution
5 La Granja + 2nd ed. Promo Cards
6 Trajan
7 Viticulture Essential Edition + Moor Visitors
8 Shipyard
9 Glen More
10 ZhanGuo
12 Nations + Dynasties
13 Forge War
14 Bora Bora
15 Caverna: The Cave Farmers

A few lower on this list may move up with more plays.

What I came up with was the following list. All my top 15 games have at least 80% of these characteristics.

1. Very interesting design - solid, balanced gameplay, interesting mechanisms, all parts fit together very well, etc.

2. Well executed and connected theme and mechanisms - some are off the charts brilliant (Dungeon Petz, Hawaii [see my review], Kanban), most are very thematic but have some quirky parts (La Granja, Viticulture, Shipyard, ZhanGuo, Nations, Forge War, Caverna), and others are a step below (AquaSphere, Trajan, Glen More, Bora Bora).

3. Engine building with fun tactical combos (esp. AquaSphere, La Granja, Trajan, Glen More, ZhanGuo, Nations, and Caverna)

4. Strategic - it's fun to think!

5. Variability with low luck - card draws and dice are ok, but must have ways to mitigate.

I'm sure these have more in common, but this is what I've come up with so far.

What do you think - am I missing something?

What about you Eurogamers out there, what makes the games you love great? Are there games you don't have that might fit your criteria?
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John Burt
United States
Portland
Oregon
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The games I like to play the most have these features, in no particular order:

Low luck (not to be confused with high variability, which is good).

Rewards long term strategy.

Game turns feel like puzzles.

Long enough play time to become immersed in the game. Usually, that means 2+ hours.

Low rules complexity, low choice complexity, high emergent game state complexity. For example, Roads and Boats doesn't have terribly complex rules, and your choices in a turn are easy to grasp, but the logistical optimization puzzle gets deeper and deeper as the game progresses.

The core of the game is engine building.

Plenty of interaction but no conflict. A number of my favorite games do have some conflict potential (blocking, mean cards, etc), but my wife and I houserule peaceful play.

Has a good solo variant.
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Michael
Canada
Niagara Region & Buffalo
Onatrio & New York
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Although not a perfect fit, I think you'll like AquaSphere.

I'm surprised our collections don't overlap much.
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Curt Carpenter
United States
Kirkland
Washington
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quill65 wrote:
Plenty of interaction but no conflict.

How do you have meaningful interaction without conflict? Or are you just quibbling about the actual nouns and verbs used in the thematics?
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John Burt
United States
Portland
Oregon
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VolleyGame wrote:
Although not a perfect fit, I think you'll like AquaSphere.

I'm surprised our collections don't overlap much.


Thanks, I'll give it a look. I think one of the local FLGSs rents it.

Yeah, I guess I'm more of an Uwe fanboy, and TBH I haven't played enough Felds to have an opinion, but I'm open minded.
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John Burt
United States
Portland
Oregon
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curtc wrote:
quill65 wrote:
Plenty of interaction but no conflict.

How do you have meaningful interaction without conflict? Or are you just quibbling about the actual nouns and verbs used in the thematics?


Actually I think our quibble would be over adjectives, like what "meaningful" means. Pure coop games are meaningfully interactive with no conflict, are they not? How about trading and auctions? Leaching? There are lots of ways to interact apart from zero sum conflict.
 
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Curt Carpenter
United States
Kirkland
Washington
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quill65 wrote:
curtc wrote:
quill65 wrote:
Plenty of interaction but no conflict.

How do you have meaningful interaction without conflict? Or are you just quibbling about the actual nouns and verbs used in the thematics?

Actually I think our quibble would be over adjectives, like what "meaningful" means. Pure coop games are meaningfully interactive with no conflict, are they not? How about trading and auctions? Leaching? There are lots of ways to interact apart from zero sum conflict.

I don't know about coops, since I don't play them, and maybe they're an exception to what I'm saying. But trading, auctions, and leaching, all seem to be forms of conflict. I don't understand how you can even have a game with no conflict unless the game is pure luck.
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Daniel Blumentritt
United States
Austin
Texas
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Cooperative games have conflict with the opponent, which is basically a bot played by the game itself.
 
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John Burt
United States
Portland
Oregon
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curtc wrote:
quill65 wrote:
curtc wrote:
quill65 wrote:
Plenty of interaction but no conflict.

How do you have meaningful interaction without conflict? Or are you just quibbling about the actual nouns and verbs used in the thematics?

Actually I think our quibble would be over adjectives, like what "meaningful" means. Pure coop games are meaningfully interactive with no conflict, are they not? How about trading and auctions? Leaching? There are lots of ways to interact apart from zero sum conflict.

I don't know about coops, since I don't play them, and maybe they're an exception to what I'm saying. But trading, auctions, and leaching, all seem to be forms of conflict. I don't understand how you can even have a game with no conflict unless the game is pure luck.


That seems like a pretty extreme position to me and I'd bet that most people would not consider trading to be a form of conflict. I think you're confusing conflict with competition. I would define conflict as a direct zero sum form of interaction: when a move benefits the player and immediately costs one or more others. Playing an attack card in Dominion is conflict, trading wood for sheep at 1:1 in Catan is not (but placing the Robber on somebody's tile is).

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Curt Carpenter
United States
Kirkland
Washington
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quill65 wrote:
I would define conflict as a direct zero sum form of interaction

Ok, you can certainly avoid zero-sum interactions, at least in games with more than 2 players. I had never thought about conflict requiring zero-sum.
 
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Peter Bowie
United Kingdom
Crewe
Cheshire
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Largely deterministic gameplay. Streamlined, interconnected rules. High interaction. Rules tie into theme. Preferably not Worker Placement (although I was pleasantly surprised with the recent Trickerion - fantastic game).
 
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Steve B
Ireland
Derry
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Does it allow you to store a sheep in a house? Is it the best designed game of all time? Is it called Agricola? If the answer to all 3 questions is "yes", you have a great Eurogame.
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Jimmy Smith
United States
Tavares
Florida
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You left out the most important criterion:

Is the word "Feld" somewhere on the box?
 
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Maarten D. de Jong
Netherlands
Zaandam
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quill65 wrote:
That seems like a pretty extreme position to me and I'd bet that most people would not consider trading to be a form of conflict. I think you're confusing conflict with competition. I would define conflict as a direct zero sum form of interaction: when a move benefits the player and immediately costs one or more others. Playing an attack card in Dominion is conflict, trading wood for sheep at 1:1 in Catan is not (but placing the Robber on somebody's tile is).

Personally I think you're not entirely comfortable with the terms yourself. The entire game is competition: only one player out of the total can win. Thus every move had better be a conflict, i.e. an uneven exchange, which increases your odds of being that one player, and decreases those odds for the opposition. (Silently assuming that you are behaving like everybody else and playing for the win.)

Trading wood for sheep is not a conflict you say? I'm sorry, that's just a semantic romanticism. If it's not a move which benefits you more than your fellow trader, then why are you making it in the first place? At best it is a null move which keeps the competition at an constant distance. At worst it is a move which puts the competition closer to you (if you're ahead) or further away from you (if you're not). It's really just the particular kind of conflict we're discussing here. You eschew sudden highly asymmetric types, but welcome nearly symmetric ones. But they're all uneven exchanges, and that makes them a conflict.

Of course this doesn't yet take into account that for all intents and purposes zero sumness doesn't exist in multiplayer games. Even if your exchange was very symmetric, it is very likely not symmetric with respect to the other players.

You can consider the above a lot of theoretical hot air, but at the same time consider the following: if trade were not a form of conflict, nearly pure trading games like Genoa would not be able to exist. The game functions like any other, and can be played (and won!) like any other. Thus it features competition, thus it features conflict. Because the core mechanism is trade, trade has to be a form of conflict.

What remains completely unaffected is your preference for one thing or the other. And that's perfectly okay. It's not diminished in any way by the above.


As for the OP's question: sandbox designs, within what is possible with mere cardboard.
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Chris Mcpherson
Canada
Sarnia
Ontario
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Nice list.

I'm actually in the middle of my first game of Aquasphere and I'm really liking it so far.

Glen More is easily in my top 5. What you get for the length of time, to me, is unmatched.

I'm about to make a trade so I can acquire Dungeon Petz so I'm excited to try it.
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Daniel Krauklis
Sweden
Bandhagen
Unspecified
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Another perspective: I'm not a fan of Euros, so for me, a great title is one that actually gets me excited. They tend to have storytelling or wargaming influences, I guess.

Among those I consider at least a bit Euroish, and quite like, are:

Scythe
Agricola
Onward to Venus
Pandemic Legacy
Letters from Whitechapel
Dixit
 
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adam wilson

Oklahoma
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1. Theme, it is possible to match euro mechanisms to a great theme.

2. Mechanisms, I really like the puzzle-solving aspect euros have.

3. Interaction, I do like some interaction but it isn't a deal breaker for me.

4. Game Length/Complexity, 2+ hours is too much for me, at least for a euro. My brain melts.

Although some people say Agricola has no theme I find it very thematic and interesting. I also like Pay Dirt. I own Container but haven't gotten anyone to play it with me yet.
 
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Kirk Thomas
United States
North Kansas City
MO
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For me, the "perfect" Euro is Troyes. Planning your objectives and having to carry them out in a common place, having to take into account what order you need things vs what others may by vying for, adapting to what the specific game conditions offer you in that particular play (and having those conditions be genuinely variable game-to-game).

And, plays well (albeit differently) at all player counts, and is easily played in under two hours including setup / take down.
 
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Sam Eckels
United States
Wisconsin
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curtc wrote:
quill65 wrote:
curtc wrote:
quill65 wrote:
Plenty of interaction but no conflict.

How do you have meaningful interaction without conflict? Or are you just quibbling about the actual nouns and verbs used in the thematics?

Actually I think our quibble would be over adjectives, like what "meaningful" means. Pure coop games are meaningfully interactive with no conflict, are they not? How about trading and auctions? Leaching? There are lots of ways to interact apart from zero sum conflict.

I don't know about coops, since I don't play them, and maybe they're an exception to what I'm saying. But trading, auctions, and leaching, all seem to be forms of conflict. I don't understand how you can even have a game with no conflict unless the game is pure luck.


I'm not the one who originally said it, but his examples read like "no deliberate conflict" or more judgmentally but clearer "no spiteful conflict".

If you're playing Ticket to Ride, don't grab that little 1-segment route to block unless you actually want it for your play. In Lords of Waterdeep, if you have reason to want to head to Waterdeep Harbor and the only useful card you have is a Mandatory Quest, go for it, but don't do it in order to stick it to you opponent.
 
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Jim Carvin
United States
Hamburg
Pennsylvania
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1. Choices...and lots of them but they should be balanced choices where each one is meaningful.

2. Game length... I personally don't care if a phenomenal game is two hours or five, so long as it keeps me on edge the whole time. However, everyone is not me and longer games are much harder to get to the table so I (try to) limit the number of really lengthy games I own.

3. Short turns...we all want to do 15 things on our turn but you get just one. Lots of short turns (i.e. one action at a time) are waaaay better than everyone taking full turns in order. It keeps the time you're twiddling your thumbs to a minimum and gives you time to consider your next move and to react to the other players.

4. Meaningful conflict...I don't want Risk style conflict, it doesn't always need to be obvious that it's coming your way but you need to be ready for it. Without some conflict, what's the point? Go do a jigsaw puzzle.

5. Long term strategy and tactics... sometimes you sit on your hands and wait and sometimes you pounce. Have situations were either can apply.

6. Games with CLEAR tie-breakers...seriously, who doesn't hate that "you all share the victory" ending?? (some co-ops excluded)
 
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Kevin Garnica
United States
West Covina
California
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Fun question! Here are my thoughts:

Top 10 games in my current collection:

Scythe
Medici
Codenames
Isle of Skye
The King is Dead
Paris Connection
Among the Stars
Gold West
Arboretum
Hanabi

1) High replayability (either through setup, or through players' interactions)

2) Streamlined rules, with very few (zero) rules exceptions

3) Few mechanics interactions. If there are many mechanics, it has to make cohesive sense from a design standpoint.

4) Either a) lots of different ways to score points (Scythe, Gold West, Isle of Skye), or b) one very tricky way to score points effectively (Hanabi, Medici, Paris Connection)

5) Consistant visual design/interface; the clearer the icons and visual language, the better.
 
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