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Subject: Are there any Gateway Ameritrash (thematic) games? rss

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Graham Dean
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Personally I would definitely place myself in the Euro (balanced strategic) gamer category, but lately I have found myself liking the look of some simpler, faster and more thematic games. I've also had a surprising hit with The Resistance (not an Ameritrash (thematic) game, I know) with my family, which is making me wonder whether a lighter game encouraging a bit of trash talking banter might go down well.

I have also very much enjoyed Dice in King of Tokyo, and loved the look of the upcoming Fortune and Glory: The Cliffhanger Game.

I am definitely working towards trying an Ameritrash (thematic) game out with this particular gamer group, and this got me wondering - are there any games which could be recommended as "Gateway Ameritash"?

All suggestions welcome, although ideally the player group I have in mind is 4-5 people, with duration 60-90 minutes and as little text as possible (my Dad had a stroke a few years ago and struggles to read a lot of text, although we can help if it's public information).

Many thanks in advance.
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The Adventurers
Ascending Empires
Cosmic Encounter
Survive: Escape from Atlantis
Cyclades
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Dan Cain
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I'll second Survive, and The Adventurers.

Here are some other options:
Drakon (third edition) (Undervalued AT gateway game. Plays 2-6)
Arcana (One of my all time favorites. AT Deckbuilding game. Plays 2-4)
Betrayal at House on the Hill (Another great one, and with the reprent much easier to find. Plays 3-6)
Condottiere (Another undervalued game. One of my favorite card games, and nothing but bluster and threats. Plays 2-6)
Escape from Colditz (OOP, but well worth the search. Plays 2-6)
Nexus Ops (OOP, but is considered THE gateway AT game. Plays 2-4)

I hope these help.

LA
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Brad Miller
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Yes, I would have said Nexus Ops as well, other than the 'not too much reading" part. You have to read the simple card texts to know what you are shooting for. Not sure how much reading is too much though.
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Ben Kyo
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Dungeon Quest

Haven't played the third edition, but the original is light, daft fun that is very heavily themed but playable by absolutely anyone. No text to speak of, over in 30-60 minutes and good fun all round with experienced players just as likely to die horribly as beginners.

I heard they made the combat mechanics more complicated for the third edition, but with the original I always do rock, paper, scissors instead of fiddling with cards. Keeps the pace up and non-gamers love it.
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RJD
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It's out of print, but I believe HeroQuest can be easily found on ebay for fairly affordable prics. It might make a great group game as long as one person is willing to play the, ah, gamemaster role. It's sort of RPG-lite in a boardgame.
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Graham Dean
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lastalchemist wrote:
I'll second Survive, and The Adventurers.

Here are some other options:
Drakon (third edition) (Undervalued AT gateway game. Plays 2-6)
Arcana (One of my all time favorites. AT Deckbuilding game. Plays 2-4)
Betrayal at House on the Hill (Another great one, and with the reprent much easier to find. Plays 3-6)
Condottiere (Another undervalued game. One of my favorite card games, and nothing but bluster and threats. Plays 2-6)
Escape from Colditz (OOP, but well worth the search. Plays 2-6)
Nexus Ops (OOP, but is considered THE gateway AT game. Plays 2-4)

I hope these help.

LA

Thanks for all the posts so far. I actually own Escape from Colditz already, and we play and enjoy it from time to time, although I never really thought of it as AT before now.
 
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Freelance Police
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Yeah, there could, but most AT still has a good deal of text compared to Euros, and many of them are over 90 minutes long.

Wiz-War, Nuclear War, Munchkin, Red Dragon Inn, Talisman, and Magna Blast, are gateway AT, for casual "I just want to kill something" gamers who don't play Eurogames. These are mostly pre-teen wannabee alpha males, not calm Eurogamers growing up with farm themes.

But for your folks, I'd second Drakon. Minimal card text and short game play. I classify it as hybrid, myself.
 
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CJ
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lastalchemist wrote:
Nexus Ops (OOP, but is considered THE gateway AT game. Plays 2-4)


Great game but one clearly influenced by Eurogames. It's interesting to see how games have evolved in recent years with this being a good example.


Last Night on Earth: The Zombie Game is another good one although it has never worked with the females with whom I've played it. Might not be a great choice if you want to play with non-gamer women in your family...
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Lo Ma
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The Adventurers: The Temple of Chac is a thematic family game that plays in under an hour. It is one of the very few push-your-luck games I enjoy. The game has an Indiana Jones feel, as you try to plunder as much treasure as you can, while running from and trying to beat the rolling boulder, escape the lava pit and walls closing in on you, trying to cross rickety bridges and the waterfall, etc. Lots of luck in this one, like any your typical push-your-luck games. But a lot of fun if you're playimg with the right crowd. Plays best with 3 or more players.

Cave Troll is another good thematic game, complete with mini heroes and monsters in a dungeon. However this game is much less about smashing and bashing ans killing than it is about collecting gold. There is some gotcha mechanics with a couple of the mosnters in which your opponents (or your own) guys are "discarded", i.e., killed. But it's about the money. Note that the minis are realy small ones, and can be hard to distinguish from each other. Scales well for 2 to 4 players, bu I think is best with 3. Plays in under an hour.

Witch of Salem is a co-op game with a light horror theme. Plays in about an hour and is a tough one to beat unless you cheat and keep protal information open to all players once one player has examined a portal. Fast playing with intuitve gameplay and flow. The artwork on the board and location cards is reminiscent of Chas Addams or Edward Gorey, with the monster cards being a bit more horrific. Scales well from 2 to 4 players.

Games I haven't played yet but am looking forward to are:

Survive: Escape from Atlantis! - which has already been mentioned by others. looks like it would be a lot of fun.

Dungeon Run - supposed to come out in October I think - supposed to take a couple of hours to play, so maybe too long for you? Take a look at this review of it:
http://boardgamegeek.com/video/9329/dungeon-run/miami-dice-0...

King of Tokyo - which you're already played and enjoyed!


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Graham Dean
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I've not really heard of Drakin before - I will check it out.

Game length is an issue for us - we are limited to 2 hours (pushing two and a bit to finish a game) and a lot of thematic games go longer than that.

Cosmic Encounter is a possible. I looked reallyhard to the reprint, but at the time I didn't think my family game group would go for it. I'm starting to think differently now.
 
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James To My Friends
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lastalchemist wrote:
I'll second Survive, and The Adventurers.


Me too. Both are very fun games. You could also add Leaping Lemmings to that list.
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Uncle G wrote:
Personally I would definitely place myself in the Euro (balanced strategic) gamer category, but lately I have found myself liking the look of some simpler, faster and more thematic game.



Interestingly, I find Euros to usually be simpler than most American Style games due mainly to their symmetrical gameplay and "solve the puzzle" solutions. For my money, Settlers of Catan works well as a psuedo-American hybrid gateway game.
 
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Frank Franco
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elgin_j wrote:
lastalchemist wrote:
Nexus Ops (OOP, but is considered THE gateway AT game. Plays 2-4)


Great game but one clearly influenced by Eurogames. It's interesting to see how games have evolved in recent years with this being a good example.


Axis and Allies is a Eurogame now?

To the OP, every game is a gateway game. Just pick a theme you think people will like. You'll be more restricted by your 2 hour time limit than anything else.
 
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Clyde W
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There was a thread about this very topic a while back. I argued (unsuccessfully) that there is no such thing as gateway AT, and still believe that, but you must draw your own conclusions.
 
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Freelance Police
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clydeiii wrote:
There was a thread about this very topic a while back. I argued (unsuccessfully) that there is no such thing as gateway AT, and still believe that, but you must draw your own conclusions.


What's interesting is that, when a Eurogamer says "gateway gamer", we immediately agree who the target audience is: a family member, girlfriend, or co-worker. Namely, someone who's an adult (or as mature as what passes for one nowadays), who's willing to sit down and learn a game.

OTOH, With AT, I know there can be at least three different audiences:

* Pre-teen alpha males. They can easily digest reams of information and enjoy fighty games. Their first AT game may just be Axis and Allies, Magic the Gathering, or the three-volume set of Dungeons and Dragons.

* Hobby gamers. They play Eurogames, party games, AT games, whatever. Some of 'em get it, some of 'em don't.

* Non-gamers. Um... I'm going to need some time to sort out the expansion sets from my formerly newbie friendly AT base set...
 
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Graham Dean
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Some interesting posts here. For the record, the group consists of myself and a friend - both professional males in their early 40s. I'm a hobby gamer, my friend is although doesn't buy as many games. Two nephews in their late teens, and my Dad with whom I played games growing up, who enjoys the social aspect of the evening. Dad had the stroke, which limits text and complexity in a game, and we play from 8 till 10 due to other commitments.

I don't have a clear concept of gateway in this context - sorry to be so vague.
 
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TS S. Fulk
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Here's a geeklist I made of gateways for adventure lovers:

Gateway Games for People Who Love Adventure
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