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Subject: More luck in German games in the future? rss

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Henrik Lantz
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I have been thinking about what to expect from the German gaming industry in the near future. Or any of the other countries that follow the German tradition. I hesitate to use the word eurogames here since that category is in part defined by a lack of what I think we might see more of in the future: luck.

Andreas Seyfarth's newest game is Giganten der Lüfte, a game based solely on dice. One of the most popular releases from Essen was Kingsburg, a game that also relies heavily on dice. Perhaps the designers are looking for good ways to introduce luck in their games to bring a bit of fresh air to the german style games? I would really like to see that. Some of the Essen releases, like Cuba for example, recived comments that it was too much similiar to what was already out there and perhaps it is time to find new ideas.

Has anyone looked at the Nuremberg releases? Any trend that is noticeable? What do YOU think we can expect to see from these great designers?

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Mark Luta
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Friedrich has a huge luck factor, which really enhances the excitement in playing, and underscores the historical reality that Prussia at the end of the Seven Years War was saved only by luck (and by the fact Maria Theresa understood Friedrich was willing to destroy Prussia rather than give up Silesia, and as his Empress she was not willing to destroy Prussia--also lucky for him!). One can indeed lose this game by playing badly, but the luck factor can be counted on to either bail a player out from a few minor mistakes, or punish someone who played well and decided to take a chance at a really unlucky moment!
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J C Lawrence
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Bolger wrote:
Perhaps the designers are looking for good ways to introduce luck in their games to bring a bit of fresh air to the german style games?


I hope not. What motion there has been in that direction has dampened my interest in the new games of recent years.
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Matthew Kloth
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Luck mitigation is a fun game mechanic, and I enjoy some games with it (Like Bloodbowl, since I noticed it in th OP's badges).

What german games should steer clear of is throwing in dice to add chaos and randomness to a game. That's the opposite of why those games are fun. A little bit of luck can be added, just like a little memory, or a little bit of social diplomacy.

As long as they don't turn into dice infested table talking four hour marathons with hundreds of cards to memorize I think I'll cope with the change.
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Mik Svellov
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Bolger wrote:
Has anyone looked at the Nuremberg releases? Any trend that is noticeable? What do YOU think we can expect to see from these great designers?


The trend started actually 7 years ago, after the disastrous sales figures for the German Game of the Year, Torres.

I don't think the situation has worsened in later years. In fact I can see a greater and greater exposure of specialist games from small micro-publishers.

You are mentioning two dice games which are actually far better than most of the dice games that are published each and every year.

Just compare Queen Games 'Giganten der Lüfte' with their efforts from previous years: 'Alhambra Dice Game' or - even worse, 'Lucky Loop'!

And I prefer newcomer 'Kingsburg' to earlier efforts like 'Polterdice'.
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Henrik Lantz
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Yeah, there are definitely good and bad ways of using luck in games. Some games are just too random and chaotic, I really don't like that. One game that comes to mind is Parthenon: Rise of the Aegean. The event cards and hazard cards in that game often completely ruin all the plans you have, and that is just no fun. Or in Wings of War where you can draw the explosion card which means you explode and are out of the game. I never play with that one. I like luck of the draw, but the cards should not be too powerful. I guess I am very influenced by my Warhammer FB background, where a lot of dice are rolled but the success is dependent on the figures stats and the players skill. Not random, but luck definitely plays a roll.

To me, games without luck in them can become too static. For example, Antike was probably the most boring game I have ever tried. I would really have liked action cards or something to introduce a bit more random effects into the game. At the same time I know that exactly the reason why the game is popular is that it has no luck. Antike is just not for me, but is great for a lot of other players.

Still, anyone else see a trend? Or will we se more games like Cuba, In the Year of the Dragon, and Hamburgum that very clearly follow in the footsteps of their predecessors?
 
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J C Lawrence
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Bolger wrote:
Or in Wings of War where you can draw the explosion card which means you explode and are out of the game.


We simply ignore those symbols when we play Wings of War.
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Bolger wrote:
... snip ... I guess I am very influenced by my Warhammer FB background, where a lot of dice are rolled but the success is dependent on the figures stats and the players skill. Not random, but luck definitely plays a roll. ... snip ...


Fantasy Battle may be able to sell this, but for a fact, 40K cannot. 40K is a testament to poor balance and game design. If you don't play the broken army (which seems to bounce between chaos and eldar), your only chance to win is pure luck.
 
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Dave VanderArk
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There is no trend. I believe that luck has been a fairly common element in German-style games for years. It is the rare German-style game that does not include some element of luck. Even things like Puerto Rico and Power Grid have luck elements, i.e. which tiles or cards are drawn at crucial times during the game.
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clearclaw wrote:
Bolger wrote:
Or in Wings of War where you can draw the explosion card which means you explode and are out of the game.


We simply ignore those symbols when we play Wings of War.


    Do you ignore the amount of damage on the card as well, or is that a level of luck that you are comfortable with? Given aircraft with about a dozen hit points the range of zero to four points of damage can make for significant unpredictability.

    We removed the "instant death" card from the deck for one of our games last night. In one of the threads in Wings of War a poster mentioned that exploding on one shot is quite frustrating, and someone replied that actual WWI pilots pretty much felt the same way. That cracked me up!

    I enjoy luck in a game provided it does not disenfranchise me from what's going on on the board (or the table in this case). Likely everyone reading this could make the same statement, but have a different threshold for when that disenfranchisement occurs. My buddy and I were comfortable with gun-jam, smoke, fire, etc., AND the range of damage points on the cards. But the instant death card was just too jarring an end to the game for me (and my buddy who was on the receiving end of it in game 1). Apparently ClearClaw likes things more predictable. To each his own.

    I think game producers would do well to provide a broad spectrum of game mechanics so that under-served markets get the opportunity to spend some money. But business is business and when you see a product sell well it's just human nature to get on that fast-moving train.

             Sag.
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Bolger wrote:
I have been thinking about what to expect from the German gaming industry in the near future. Or any of the other countries that follow the German tradition. I hesitate to use the word eurogames here since that category is in part defined by a lack of what I think we might see more of in the future: luck.

Andreas Seyfarth's newest game is Giganten der Lüfte, a game based solely on dice. One of the most popular releases from Essen was Kingsburg, a game that also relies heavily on dice. Perhaps the designers are looking for good ways to introduce luck in their games to bring a bit of fresh air to the german style games? I would really like to see that. Some of the Essen releases, like Cuba for example, recived comments that it was too much similiar to what was already out there and perhaps it is time to find new ideas.

Has anyone looked at the Nuremberg releases? Any trend that is noticeable? What do YOU think we can expect to see from these great designers?



When did "no luck" become part of the definition for Eurogames? Have you ever played a Eurogame?

The biggest thing I see is a quiet rebellion against throwing auctions into games. Speaking of which, does Seyfarth ever put auctions into his games? I've only played Puerto Rico and Thurn & Taxis.

With the exception of StarCraft, none of the trendy new games have auctions as far as I can tell.
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Mark Bigney
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Good point. Auctions certainly have been in the decline of late, though that may be just a blip.
I agree with the OP, though, that there have been a few relatively high-profile recent games that feature dice prominently. I love dice, but I dislike extreme randomness in games--thus novel integration of dice is something I see as promising.
But there will always be a soft spot in my heart for no-randomness games, such as Antike, Imprial, and more recent stuff like Wabash Cannonball.
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clearclaw wrote:
Bolger wrote:
Or in Wings of War where you can draw the explosion card which means you explode and are out of the game.


We simply ignore those symbols when we play Wings of War.


We remove these cards entirely.
 
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Morgan Dontanville
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Bolger wrote:
I hesitate to use the word eurogames here since that category is in part defined by a lack of what I think we might see more of in the future: luck.


Euros started out being much luckier and later started appealing to those that wanted more control.

The heaviest early Euro, Die Macher had dice and random card draws. Teuber games almost always had dice. Knizia got big because he started developing games that cut the luck down a bit (mainly by using auctions for self balancing). Moon reinstated Sackson's drafting to allow for more options and less luck of the draw. Kramer started developing games that allowed for a higher decision making process by drafting actions, including multiple options on cards, or with action points.

Bolger wrote:
Some of the Essen releases, like Cuba for example, recived comments that it was too much similiar to what was already out there and perhaps it is time to find new ideas.


Fortunately for us there are numerous games that are coming out every year. Cuba is one of the few games that came out last year that I really enjoyed. If you look at the top of the hot games list you will see Agricola there. Certainly no new ideas, but it just scratches and itch in the right way. I'm glad that it is there, and it suits my tastes and needs just fine.

Bolger wrote:
Has anyone looked at the Nuremberg releases? Any trend that is noticeable? What do YOU think we can expect to see from these great designers?


Every year there will be games with tons of luck and games without much. Pick up what you'd like.
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Eric Jome
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Gyges wrote:
Good point. Auctions certainly have been in the decline of late, though that may be just a blip.


Off topic, but I'd like to see more trading. Auctions are good, but have been done a lot and are often very mechanical and soulless. A good trading game has banter and convincing, which is very nice.

And rather than dice (which I love, but anyway) I'd be interested in seeing what the great minds of our time could come up with in the hidden information area. Hidden information seems like the great undiscovered country of gaming with only Stratego and block wargames stirring the water.
 
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Gyges wrote:
Good point. Auctions certainly have been in the decline of late, though that may be just a blip.
I agree with the OP, though, that there have been a few relatively high-profile recent games that feature dice prominently. I love dice, but I dislike extreme randomness in games--thus novel integration of dice is something I see as promising.
But there will always be a soft spot in my heart for no-randomness games, such as Antike, Imprial, and more recent stuff like Wabash Cannonball.


I think the idea of "Euro" game (however you want to define it) easily ecompasses games where luck is largely absent (Caylus, Imperial) to games that use dice prominently (SoC, AoS) to other randomizers from card/tile draws to cube towers.

With all due respect to Bolger, perhaps dice are becoming a more popular trend in Euroized games. But they have also always been there.
 
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Henrik Lantz
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rayito2702 wrote:

When did "no luck" become part of the definition for Eurogames? Have you ever played a Eurogame?


Well, many of the most well known and popular eurogames have very little luck in them so I would say that is certainly one of the trademarks. I can mention Tigris and Euphrates, Power Grid, Caylus, and Princes of Florence as low luck games. Although I see now that my wording can be interpreted as no luck, that is not what I had in mind, I meant low luck.

And why do I get a feeling you try to put me in the "does not iike eurogames" camp? I like and have played several euros, but I would not perhaps count any of them as my favorite game. Since many euros are shorter than my favorite games (Descent, Runebound etc.), I play them a lot. Last evening session we played Attika twice and Santiago once and I still got to bed in time. Not to shabby for three games played.

And you are right that few of the most recent releases included auctions. Right now I can only think of Filou and possibly Container which I think had some kind of auction in it.
 
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Henrik Lantz
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rayito2702 wrote:

With all due respect to Bolger, perhaps dice are becoming a more popular trend in Euroized games. But they have also always been there.


Yeah, I know. A while ago I did a geeklist where I wanted people to add eurogames that used dice, and I got many more hits than I expected. Had no idea for example that AoS used dice. Interesting is, however, that they are removing the dice in the next edition. For those that are interested, here is the list: http://www.boardgamegeek.com/geeklist/22229

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Bolger wrote:
I can mention Tigris and Euphrates, Power Grid, Caylus, and Princes of Florence as low luck games.


T&E is almost completely dominated by luck. Drawing tiles from a bag is luck.

Power Grid is essentially a game of efficiently auctioning power plants... which are turned up randomly from a stack. Ever get the killer plant because the person before you bought the crappy one because it was the only one available?

Princes of Florence can be greatly influenced by the set of works you draw; draw matching or complimentary sets and you get quite a jump.

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Henrik Lantz
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cosine wrote:
Bolger wrote:
I can mention Tigris and Euphrates, Power Grid, Caylus, and Princes of Florence as low luck games.


T&E is almost completely dominated by luck. Drawing tiles from a bag is luck.

Power Grid is essentially a game of efficiently auctioning power plants... which are turned up randomly from a stack. Ever get the killer plant because the person before you bought the crappy one because it was the only one available?

Princes of Florence can be greatly influenced by the set of works you draw; draw matching or complimentary sets and you get quite a jump.


Wow. Well, what can I say. We obviously have very different views of what low luck is. And I really do not mean that in a negative way, and I most definitely am not saying you are wrong, but I am pretty amazed that we even are discussing the same games. I like Power Grid ok, but I much prefer games that are not as calculating. Perfect information games are the worst for me, they scare me! I do not want all that control. Feels like work.
 
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cosine wrote:
T&E is almost completely dominated by luck. Drawing tiles from a bag is luck.

Yeah, I'm surprised anyone would consider T&E as a game with very little luck. I've seen games won or lost based on those tile draws, and if that's not a sign of a heavily luck-driven game, I don't know what is.

Chris
 
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Bolger wrote:
We obviously have very different views of what low luck is.


Probably not that different. Power Grid has a larger component of luck than most fans of the game are willing to admit, but it isn't very much at all. Princes of Florence has very low luck.

But T&E is pretty obviously very dominated by luck. Just try getting a few unluck external conflicts and your leaders are bounced... got no red tiles? Fold up and concede. And you only get about 12 actions per game, blowing actions on discarding tiles for redraw only mitigates luck to a limited degree.

And calling T&E on it's luck component doesn't mean I don't like it. I prefer games with a bit of luck in them - the ideal amount is enough to have a player of medium skill occasionally beat a player of good skill. It keeps it interesting.
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Greg Jones
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Doesn't sound necessarily like more luck, just more dice. Many Eurogames already have luck, but it has to do with cards or tiles. Maybe it's just that Euro designers are discovering how to make games with dice where bad rolls don't completely spoil the game.
 
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The *only* thing that has drawn me to Euros is their fairly low luck. Finding multiplayer games with low luck wasn't something that was easy to do until Euros got popular.

If I want to deal with more luck, I'm going to want a more rich and satisfying theme *at least*.

In any case, I'm not planning on buying any Euros with much luck in them.

-Settlers? has moderate luck and isn't bad
-T&E? forget it
-Goa? Yes, it has a bit of luck, but not much at all
-Carc? I only play the three-tile-hand variant which is pretty fun
-Leonardo da Vinci? Nearly total skill. I'll play any time.
-Medici? Nearly total skill. I'll play any time.
-Arkadia? Nearly total skill. I'll play any time.
-Taj Mahal? Nearly total skill. I'll play any time.

Heck, even Yspahan, a very light and quick Euro that actually has dice, doesn't have too much luck, since the dice choosing becomes an action!

Euro + high luck = no sale to me

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cosine wrote:
Off topic, but I'd like to see more trading. Auctions are good, but have been done a lot and are often very mechanical and soulless. A good trading game has banter and convincing, which is very nice.


Agreed. It seems that trading is limited to card games these days. I'd love to see some of the new design mechanics integrated in with aggressive trading. Lots of potential here.
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