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Subject: Can someone explain Euro and Ameritrash? rss

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I'm new to this concept. I tried looking up the origins but not sure what keywords to tag.

Can anyone explain what Euro really means and where it came from? (from my searches, it was something to do with Germany?...I think) And what is Ameritrash? And how did this term originate or what is its significance?

Thank you. Your newbie bgg member. Cheers
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Brandon
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Per Urban DIctionary:

Ameritrash is port-manteau of "American trash" meant as a pejorative towards a genre of American boardgames. In general, this connotes games that highly emphasize theme (i.e. story, background, motivation, etc), player to player conflict, and usually feature a moderate to high element of luck.

Popular examples would include pretty much anything by Fantasy Flight games, Risk, Last Night on Earth, Heroscape, Space Hulk, etc.



In contrast, European style games usually highlight a game's mechanics over theme. They usually have much less luck-driven play, commonly forgoing dice completely. Its given the name simply because a vast majority of games made by European developers share these common traits. Agricola, Puerto Rico, Power Grid, Settlers of Catan would be popular examples.
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Euro games usually have multiple paths to victory and rarely knock a player out completely. One of the early successful ones introduced to the USA market was Settlers of Catan.

Ameritrash to me means an abundance of pieces and significant luck involved. Also, these games may play too long.
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Jim Cote
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Short answer: Ameritrash games have monsters, zombies, ninjas, pirates, and explosions. Euro games have cubes.

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"Eurogames" is a term applied to a style of game. They have no player elimination so everyone always stays in the game; they tend to rely on mechanisms and rules (i.e., auctions, role selection, etc.) more than theme, and play in reasonably short time frames (under an hour). There is usually little to no luck--dice are rare, and most random elements are from card or tile draws. In many games, direct conflict with another player is nonexistent, but in some games there is a significant indirect element of interaction (such as outbidding another player for a card).

In the mid-nineties, many German games became more known (esp. in the USA), so the term "Eurogame" and "German Game" mean essentially the same thing. (You may also see them referenced as "Designer Games" since many game designers create multiple games, and their names become better recognized. Think of a director who makes movies--you kind of know the type of movie they'll make, but they're varied enough you still want to see the movie. And while you may not recognize their face, you'll certainly recognize their name.)

They used to be known for their elegant components, but this distinction has eroded in recent years as other games focus on quality components as well.

"Ameritrash" games are a bit different. They tend to feature a lot more die rolling and luck, have very strong themes, and emphasize conflict between players. Players can be eliminated. They also tend to be much, much longer.

See this page:

http://www.boardgamegeek.com/wiki/page/Ameritrash

for a pretty good overview.

To be honest, most new games are a blend of the two: Ameritrash games are a lot more streamlined than they used to be, while Eurogames have been emphasizing themes a lot more. Opinions will, of course, differ.
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http://www.boardgamegeek.com/wiki/page/Glossary


Ameritrash
n. A catchphrase for "American style boardgames". In general, this means games that emphasize a highly developed theme, player to player conflict, and usually feature a moderate to high level of luck. Examples of classic Ameritrash games include Axis & Allies, Dune, Cosmic Encounter, Talisman, and Twilight Imperium. See the Ameritrash page for more information.


euro / eurogame
n. synonym for German game This term emphasizes the more frequent publication of German-style games in other countries in Europe.

german game
n. A game from Germany. Such games typically have relatively simple rules, short playing times, fairly high levels of abstraction and player interaction, and attractive physical components. Games not from Germany that otherwise meet the criteria are occasionally included in this group, but are more frequently described as ‘German-like’ (See also family game)
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Steven Metzger
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From a design standpoint:

Euro: Mechanics first, theme second (or lower).
Amer: Theme first, mechanics second (or lower).

Madden 'XX is Ameritrash.
Tecmo Super Bowl is Euro-riffic.
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Gary Sonnenberg
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See these wiki entries.

Euros
Ameritrash
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Euros care about plot.

Ameritrash care about explosions.
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lol, thanks everyone. Did not know bgg had a wiki page. So...where does Monopoly, Taboo, Scrabble, Pictionary, etc. fit in?

--- edit ---
I see where Monopoly fits in now. Could I assume the rest are Mass-Market?
 
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Bryan Maxwell
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metzgerism wrote:
From a design standpoint:

Euro: Mechanics first, theme second (or lower).
Amer: Theme first, mechanics second (or lower).

Madden 'XX is Ameritrash.
Tecmo Super Bowl is Euro-riffic.


I'm sad that I can only give you one thumb, sir.
 
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Bryan Maxwell
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pcktlnt wrote:
lol, thanks everyone. Did not know bgg had a wiki page. So...where does Monopoly, Taboo, Scrabble, Pictionary, etc. fit in?

--- edit ---
I see where Monopoly fits in now. Could I assume the rest are Mass-Market?


Taboo and Pictionary would be Party Games. Scrabble's a word game. None of these fall under the umbrella of Eurogames or Ameritrash.

Some good examples of Eurogames (along with those listed above):
Carcassonne
Catan
Agricola

Amritrash games:
Last Night on Earth: The Zombie Game
Arkham Horror
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Leo Zappa
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This may sound a bit harsh, but I really don't mean to be harsh, especially to the OP, who is earnestly asking a question. However, in general, I would suggest that these terms mean very little and that the time wasted on considering definitions of these terms would be far better spent investigating specific games that you might be interested in playing and considering whether or not to play said game on its own merits.

This subject has caused more angst and distress amongst BGG'ers than it ever merited. People have left the site over this matter, and that is just stupid.

There are no euros and no ameritrash - there are only boardgames. Consider each individually.
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Ameritrash and Euros are what people play who can't play Wargames. ninja
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Alexandr Sirotkin
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desertfox2004 wrote:
This may sound a bit harsh, but I really don't mean to be harsh, especially to the OP, who is earnestly asking a question. However, in general, I would suggest that these terms mean very little and that the time wasted on considering definitions of these terms would be far better spent investigating specific games that you might be interested in playing and considering whether or not to play said game on its own merits.

This subject has caused more angst and distress amongst BGG'ers than it ever merited. People have left the site over this matter, and that is just stupid.

There are no euros and no ameritrash - there are only boardgames. Consider each individually.


I actually find the definitions of Ameritrash and Eurogames to be very well defined. They are evocative labels for games. That is a usual capacity to have when you are trying to discuss a game.

The term "Ameritrash" though, is kind of awful. It feels too derogatory for my tastes.
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desertfox2004 wrote:

This subject has caused more angst and distress amongst BGG'ers than it ever merited. People have left the site over this matter, and that is just stupid.

There are no euros and no ameritrash - there are only boardgames. Consider each individually.


Well, that's a rainbow filled bag of fluffy uselessness. Sure, people latch unwarranted superiority complexes to one type or the other, but that's not a legitimate reason to pretend that genres don't exist.

Sure, every game is a snowflake (excluding plagiarism of course), but there are general themes, and a good thousand games that try to blur the line.

Mostly what people have said in this thread are valid descriptions (some were just meant to be funny).

Eurogame typically are indirectly or non-confrontational. Luck is minimized, usually having no dice. Mechanics revolve around accumulating points and planning. Games promote calculation as the most promising route to victory.

Ameritrash typically are cutthroat and often have player elimination. Luck is highlighted, an uncontrollable force that must be considered and prepared for. Mechanics revolve around timeliness and opportunistic maneuvering. Games promote guile as the most promising route to victory.
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Sirot wrote:
I actually find the definitions of Ameritrash and Eurogames to be very well defined. They are evocative labels for games. That is a usual capacity to have when you are trying to discuss a game.


I agree with this - labels can be useful in some cases, and I think this is one of them.

OTOH, there is some factionalism over this, which has caused problems. I don't see that factionalism going away, though, even if the names ceased being used.

Quote:
The term "Ameritrash" though, is kind of awful. It feels too derogatory for my tastes.


I find the term, like many of the games, to be gloriously over the top.
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Sirot wrote:
The term "Ameritrash" though, is kind of awful. It feels too derogatory for my tastes.


I find it a term that the self-righteous euro gamers use to try and promote euro games and make newbies to realm of board gaming feel belittled if they enjoy any of them.

Seeing as how I play games to play with/against other players instead of playing with myselfshake, I prefer "ameritrash" over "eurotrash" (see? it rolls of the tongue both ways! )

Aside from what they are, I think it's been answered fairly accurate already:

Ameri-trash: luck, theme, pvp
Euro-trash: calculation, cubes, subtle almost nonexistent player interaction

I find that length of the game is not determined by the type of trash it is but rather by the game itself.
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Jim Cote
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gogoapoxy wrote:
Euro-trash: ...subtle almost nonexistent player interaction

Not a defining quality at all. Auctions, worker placement, competition for limited resources, blocking, etc. Unless you mean players "thematically" killing each other's stuff. Then I guess I agree.
 
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Nathan Little
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Sirot wrote:
The term "Ameritrash" though, is kind of awful. It feels too derogatory for my tastes.

I wouldn't worry about it. It's not nearly as degrading as what us American-style players call eurogames:

Not for the easily offended (you wimps).
Spoiler (click to reveal)
minigames.


Ahahahah! I'm gonna go blow up some zombies with my rocket pack now- if I can roll high enough! Bwahahah!
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desertfox2004 wrote:
This may sound a bit harsh, but I really don't mean to be harsh, especially to the OP, who is earnestly asking a question. However, in general, I would suggest that these terms mean very little and that the time wasted on considering definitions of these terms would be far better spent investigating specific games that you might be interested in playing and considering whether or not to play said game on its own merits.

This subject has caused more angst and distress amongst BGG'ers than it ever merited. People have left the site over this matter, and that is just stupid.

There are no euros and no ameritrash - there are only boardgames. Consider each individually.


I don't find what you say is harsh. I understand about the boardgame generality, which I do with video games as well. The only reason I ask, was because I thought these were genres. This helps narrow searches in my opinion. For example, I would not be able to browse the thousands upon thousands of video games out in the world right now. I sort search through them by their genres..

Right now, I am applying the same principle to board games. I'm extremely new to the scene and read about eurogames and ameritrash, so I expected them to be some sort of label for searching through games. Right now, it seems that there are a handful from each category I would love to try.
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This is something MrSkeletor, a former BGG user, wrote when he used to post here:

Quote:
Eurogame (Traditional) - Family games typically from Europe that have a small set of rules, quicker play times ('round 60 mins) normally not directly confrontational and played by all ages (ie a typical family). Themed but fairly abstract. Examples - settlers of Catan, Carcassone, Ticket to ride.

Eurogame (new) - Also known as engine efficiency games. More complex, longer and rule heavy that the traditional Eurogames. Games involve players manipulating the mechanics of the game in order to develop the most steamlined system to gather more victory points than your opponents, whom normally you cannot directly impact. Typically played quietly like an abstract game. Themed but fairly abstract. Additional complexity added to the system is normally for gameplay. Examples: Agricola, Princes of Florence, Caylus.

Ameritrash - A child of wargames and RPGs, features heavier theming and extraneous rules than eurogames. Typically longer. Range in complexity, but never as complex as wargames. Normally heavy on interaction, direct confrontation, gambling and drama. Typically played loudly with lots of trash talk. Heavily themed. Additional complexity added to the system is normally for thematic purposes. Examples: Heroquest, Twilight Imperium, Runebound

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While the distinction is useful they are far less relevant than they used to be. Many games have elements of both styles. Also many gamers like all types of games, like myself. So I never really care about the distinction I just go by a read of the rules and decent reviews.

They are useful distinctions for a new gamer to get into the hobby but it's best to not be too hung up about it.

Some players do deride gamers who enjoy other styles but those sort of people can be ignored. They exist in all hobbies and it's quite rare here anyway (except as humour which is fine). They just have personality flaws so they attack anything that they don't like.
 
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Coase wrote:
(You may also see them referenced as "Designer Games" since many game designers create multiple games, and their names become better recognized. Think of a director who makes movies--you kind of know the type of movie they'll make, but they're varied enough you still want to see the movie. And while you may not recognize their face, you'll certainly recognize their name.)

Actually, 'designer games' is a direct translation of the German 'Autorenspiele', which signifies a modern game designed by a named designer, in contrast to the classic games of unknown origin.

http://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Autorenspiel
 
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Eurogames:



Ameritrash:



Wargames:

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