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Subject: What's "ameritrash?" rss

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Gary Wilson
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I understand the concept of Euro games - Agricola / Puerto Rico / El Grande - But what's Ameritrash OR what games define it ? Thanks
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Taylor Liss
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According to the Glossary, Ameritrash is:

Quote:
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.
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Gary Wilson
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Excellent thanks - I'd not seen the Glossary - Thanks again
 
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Diz Hooper
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A good way to think about the difference between Eurogames and Ameritrash is this:

A typical Eurogame designer will create a set of game mechanics and then add a theme to it. Usually the theme can be changes without much change to the game.

A typical Ameritrash designer will think of a theme or story and then try to figure out how to make that into a game. Usually the mechanics relate directly to the theme.
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thdizzy wrote:
A good way to think about the difference between Eurogames and Ameritrash is this:

A typical Eurogame designer will create a set of game mechanics and then add a theme to it. Usually the theme can be changes without much change to the game.

A typical Ameritrash designer will think of a theme or story and then try to figure out how to make that into a game. Usually the mechanics relate directly to the theme.


I like this. Well put.
 
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For me it's a bit more harsh:

A typical Euro tends to be more dry in both theme and overall gameplay excitement, while offering a puzzle-like strategic solution that, once figured out, tends to lead to a more repetitive gaming experience. Most Euros also feature some sort of VP track to provide a victory condition.

A typical American-style game places theme and competition a bit higher than other games, exciting or more random gameplay is preferred over predictable "solution-based" gaming. Luck-driven game elements are frequently used and victory conditions tend towards successful achievement of a specific goal rather than the slow accumulation of VPs (victory points).

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Nathan Bergom
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Here's an old thread that pretty much covers this topic: The Whimsical Nature of Ameritrash.
 
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Anthony Simons
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For me it's a little less succinct:

A typical Euro design has a regular, polynomial structure with a tendency for fixed outcomes on the decision tree.

A typical AT design has an irregular, linear structure with a tendency for indeterminate outcomes on the decision tree.

In contrast to what others are stating, both games can have strong or weak themes; furthermore, the design ethic in general might focus on harder modelling rules in Euros, but that does not preclude the design direction from the theme, top-down. I find it irritating that the focus always seems to fall on theme for comparison of the two styles; it just isn't the best way to compare the genres.
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Liam
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I like both types but hate the term ameritrash

As binary as possible:

A typical euro:

Elegant gameplay with a few solid mechanics and little luck. Limited themes. No player elimination and limited conflict/interaction. Wooden components. General commitment to family values.

A typical Amerit:

Less or (In)elegant gameplay with lots of mechanics, rules and luck. Heavy commitment to themes. Player elimination with lots of interaction and conflict. Loads of plastic components and components in general. General commitment to tanks, dragons and veins in your teeth.

My slightly broken spectrum:

Euro: Puerto Rico / Brass: Lancashire / Le Havre
Family/ lucky Euro: Ticket to Ride / Catan / Pandemic
Nasty Euro: Revolution! / The Downfall of Pompeii
Hybrid: Cyclades / Small World
Amerieuro : Dust / Fury of Dracula (second edition) / Galaxy Trucker
Cooperative Amerit: Arkham Horror / Battlestar Galactica: The Board Game / Last Night on Earth: The Zombie Game
Amerit: Talisman (Revised 4th Edition) / Cosmic Encounter / Fortress America
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Asili Eiliaz
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It's a meaningless geographically-termed categorization that has more failures than applications.

Remember the term "Japanimation?" Remember how it went away after a while?

When the game that seems like a basis for this type "Ameritrash" is French (Risk), and the game that seems like a basis for this type of game "Euro" as described is American (Acquire), the terms just fall right apart. Particularly the latter one, "Ameritrash" because it was coined in response to a mostly-meaningless term "Eurogames" in the first place.

Basically people just assign whatever meaning they prefer, and run with it. AKA it's gobbledygook.
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Chris Fee
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Spacejack wrote:
Basically people just assign whatever meaning they prefer, and run with it. AKA it's gobbledygook.


Cool, I love gobbledygook!
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Spacejack wrote:
It's a meaningless geographically-termed categorization that has more failures than applications.

Remember the term "Japanimation?" Remember how it went away after a while?

When the game that seems like a basis for this type "Ameritrash" is French (Risk), and the game that seems like a basis for this type of game "Euro" as described is American (Acquire), the terms just fall right apart. Particularly the latter one, "Ameritrash" because it was coined in response to a mostly-meaningless term "Eurogames" in the first place.

Basically people just assign whatever meaning they prefer, and run with it. AKA it's gobbledygook.


There's a distinction between semantics and etymology. Words are often created by combining particles that do not strictly describe the referent of the whole word. The idea is only to give a suggestion of the type of entity described. If the pre-existing words sufficed, there would be no need to create a new one.

By your argument there could never be such a thing as a sawfly, since no fly is equipped with a saw and the supposed referent isn't even a fly. Common names for animals are only some of the most obvious examples. Strict application would result in inability to create any new words except by completely novel coinage with no antecedents. Perhaps we should coin the new terms "xerkelthma" and "uaspunegog" and go from there.

Concerning geographical designations, how about that North German Organ School founded by the Dutchman Jan Pieterszoon Sweelinck? I guess all the musicology textbooks need revising. Perhaps it should be re-named the Dutch Organ School? That won't do, what with many of the succeeding composers being actually German. Once again, the only way to comply with your demand would be by profusion of new anti-mnemonic terms.
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Lizbeth
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Ameritrash is a game where at some point the designer did the following: 'hey... that'd be really cool for theme, not neccissarily the elegant manner, or balanced, but most definitely awesome and fun, lets put it in there'.

Basically, you can tell ameritrash as a genre when they have rules that seem to be there purely to make it more thematic.
 
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Ken B.
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Spacejack wrote:
It's a meaningless geographically-termed categorization that has more failures than applications.

Remember the term "Japanimation?" Remember how it went away after a while?

When the game that seems like a basis for this type "Ameritrash" is French (Risk), and the game that seems like a basis for this type of game "Euro" as described is American (Acquire), the terms just fall right apart. Particularly the latter one, "Ameritrash" because it was coined in response to a mostly-meaningless term "Eurogames" in the first place.

Basically people just assign whatever meaning they prefer, and run with it. AKA it's gobbledygook.



Thanks for clearing that up, ace.

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Pete Lane
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Anjohl wrote:
Spacejack wrote:
Remember the term "Japanimation?" Remember how it went away after a while?



Yeah, to be replaced by the terribly trendy "Anime", which doesn't even have the formers benefit of almost resembling proper english.


Yeah, but it is what they actually call it in the native tounge... hardly trendy. It would like us calling Sushi "Japarawfishrolls."

"Anime" has been considered the accepted term for it in English speaking countries for 15-20 years now... the only reason Japanimation was ever really used was because retail chains didn't know what else to call it. It eventually became a deragatory term used for "poorly dubbed, US released, low quality anime" since many of the early releases in the US were shock titles and porn.

Anyway, sorry to digress. I actually worked in the industry when Anime was starting to get a lot of attention in the early 90's.

As for the OP... as you can tell, it's really a personal issue for many people. Euro fans are sometimes looked at like snobs or brainiacs, AT'ers tend to be looked at like the "frat boys" of the gaming world. Sipping tea or chugging beer if you will...



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Paul
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Every game I don't like, I call Ameritrash. Pretty simple. Feel free to ask if you need to know what games can be designated Ameritrash cool
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Ameritrash = Pure Awesome.

Thats all you need to know.

-M
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Neil Molyneaux
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Anjohl wrote:
Spacejack wrote:
Remember the term "Japanimation?" Remember how it went away after a while?



Yeah, to be replaced by the terribly trendy "Anime", which doesn't even have the formers benefit of almost resembling proper english.


My understanding is that the term 'Japanimation' fell out of use because of it being able to be turned into 'Jap Animation', which would be derogatory.

'Anime' is an abbreviated pronunciation of 'animation' in Japanese.

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Scott Nunemaker
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One of my favorite geeklists:

I'm a meeple, and I'm a Fortress Ameritrash soldier!
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Liam
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snunemaker wrote:


One of the famed works on this issue
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Asili Eiliaz
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Kiraboshi wrote:

By your argument there could never be such a thing as a sawfly, since no fly is equipped with a saw and the supposed referent isn't even a fly. Common names for animals are only some of the most obvious examples. Strict application would result in inability to create any new words except by completely novel coinage with no antecedents. Perhaps we should coin the new terms "xerkelthma" and "uaspunegog" and go from there.


Yes, because my argument was that extreme, and was meant to be universalized in this manner. It clearly was not specifically addressing the shortcomings of the particulars at hand, but rather was an abstract statement that no new words should ever be coined. I am deeply humbled at your clever dissection of my hubris.
 
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