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Subject: Abstract games with pasted on themes? rss

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Tony Sanfilippo
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Exactly what are abstract games. I always considered Chess, and Checkers, Chinese Checkers, Go etc as abstract games. One abstract game I do like is Ingenious. I noticed that there is some kind of reference to games that are abstract with pasted on themes What are some of those games? Maybe I might like more abstracts than I thought.
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HenningK
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Kingdom Builder is a prime example.
Replace the different landscapes with colors and you have an abstract.
 
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One Armed Bandit
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Poison, Dominion... almost everything Knizia does, actually.
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Eugene
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I wouldn't call the previous two suggestions abstracts. Instead, consider:

Through the Desert
Hey, That's My Fish!
Terra Nova
Mexica
Torres

There must be a geeklist on this.
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Daniel Niemann
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palmerkun wrote:
Poison, Dominion... almost everything Knizia does, actually.


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Anthony Simons
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Don't fall too far into the myth of the "pasted on theme". As some have said, this is true of some games; however, it is demonstrably false in others.

As somebody has pointed out, Knizia's games are pretty abstract; one prime example is Tigris & Euphrates. But the line between "pasted on" and "tied to" is often quite vague; it is a matter of record (or at least was) that Reiner Knizia at least started with a theme here. The presence of the two rivers is testament to this. However, one cannot deny the highly abstract nature of the game.

Other games which come to mind are Torres and Java, from the Kramer/Kiesling teaming; whether they started with a theme or not, they are both fairly abstract.

Abstract purists would probably cringe at the mere thought that they would have to play cards as part of the game, however deterministic. That means Torres is probably out, despite its clear abstract qualities.
 
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John Farrell
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Chess has a pasted-on theme if ever I saw one! Check out most games by Michael Schacht or Leo Colovini, they are usually quite light on theme with strong mechanics. I recommend Alexandros, Hansa, The Bridges of Shangri-La, Carolus Magnus, Fae, Masons.
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Eugene
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fellonmyhead wrote:
Abstract purists would probably cringe at the mere thought that they would have to play cards as part of the game, however deterministic. That means Torres is probably out, despite its clear abstract qualities.

Ah, I play by the advanced rules that give all action cards to players at the start of the game. This variant turns Torres into a perfect information game.
 
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Anthony Simons
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garygarison wrote:
fellonmyhead wrote:
Abstract purists would probably cringe at the mere thought that they would have to play cards as part of the game, however deterministic. That means Torres is probably out, despite its clear abstract qualities.

Ah, I play by the advanced rules that give all action cards to players at the start of the game. This variant turns Torres into a perfect information game.

Me too (when I play it); but the abstract purists tend not to like this hidden information aspect.
 
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Eugene
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But it's not really hidden, is it? You could just leave the cards out displayed in front of each player and flip them when used.
 
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Anthony Simons
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garygarison wrote:
But it's not really hidden, is it?

No, but then again, you don't see many pure abstracts which use cards. And I don't need convincing.
 
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Fernando Robert Yu
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Hive????
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Moe45673
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Battle Line. The tactics cards do give it a tiny bit more theme, but in actuality it is a semi-climbing trick-taking card game influenced somewhat by Poker hands
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Matt Brown
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keso55 wrote:
I noticed that there is some kind of reference to games that are abstract with pasted on themes What are some of those games? Maybe I might like more abstracts than I thought.


Euros.

devil
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Fernando Berdichevsky
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Daniel666 wrote:
palmerkun wrote:
Poison, Dominion... almost everything Knizia does, actually.





That! Knizia=abstract+pasted theme
 
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Matt Brown
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Tigris & Euphrates is Knizia's best attempt at mechanics and theme. He does at least gets creating games that are easy to learn but offer lots of depth.
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Bruce Murphy
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The designation "pure abstract" is both pretentious and unhelpful. I'm working on a project to better define abstracts at the moment. Watch this space.

B>
 
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GeekInsight
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I really think the idea of a "pasted on theme" comes down to personal preference. Some games are themeless (Chinese Checkers fits into this category), but most have a theme of some sort - even Chess.

And if you boil any game down far enough, it's all just dice rolls and cubes. Take, for example, Dungeon Petz. The game is very thematic. The Petz all have unique back stories. When they die, meat gets added to the meat pile. You have to clean cages. Your imps can get hurt dealing with the petz. Etc. Etc. There are tons of rules put there simply for thematic purposes (like the adding of meat when a pet is not purchased).

But, if you strip away the theme, you are still using resources (gold) to acquire items (the Petz) which cost other resources (the needs) and will give points based on the resources met (through exhibitions or sales). Any game has a mechanical, themeless core.

One person's "pasted on theme" is another person's "highly thematic experience."
 
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Anthony Simons
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thepackrat wrote:
The designation "pure abstract" is both pretentious and unhelpful.

I disagree; it draws a clear distinction between something abstracted and something wholly abstract. You can substitute the word "pure" with a number of alternatives, but that won't lessen the significance of the designation. Furthermore, by definition an abstract can never be "pretentious"!
 
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that Matt
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garygarison wrote:
There must be a geeklist on this.

Of course, complete with the requisite arguments about what is or is not "pasted on": My favorite games with pasted-on themes
 
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Trevor Schadt
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matthean wrote:
Tigris & Euphrates is Knizia's best attempt at mechanics and theme. He does at least gets creating games that are easy to learn but offer lots of depth.
I'd put forward Lord of the Rings as a candidate for that title as well.
 
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Moe45673
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MyParadox wrote:


One person's "pasted on theme" is another person's "highly thematic experience."


I disagree. A game with a pasted on theme is easily identifiable because one major mechanic or many minor mechanics (or a combination) don't make sense from a thematic standpoint to the point where you can tell the designer didn't care about the theme. Someone like Martin Wallace (with minor exceptions, like coal vs iron in Brass) generally prefers the game fits well within the theme and though his great games are wonderful designs and are by no means Ameritrash, noone can say they have pasted on themes. Uwe Rosenberg, on the other hand, is arguable
 
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Eugene
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thepackrat wrote:
I'm working on a project to better define abstracts at the moment. Watch this space.

More power to you, Bruce, but I wonder whether this will ever be resolved to everyone's satisfaction.
 
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George Falconer
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fellonmyhead wrote:
thepackrat wrote:
The designation "pure abstract" is both pretentious and unhelpful.

Furthermore, by definition an abstract can never be "pretentious"!


The designation was called pretentious, not the abstract game. Furthermore, I could understand someone perceiving that designation as pretentious.whistle
 
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Bruce Murphy
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fellonmyhead wrote:
thepackrat wrote:
The designation "pure abstract" is both pretentious and unhelpful.

I disagree; it draws a clear distinction between something abstracted and something wholly abstract. You can substitute the word "pure" with a number of alternatives, but that won't lessen the significance of the designation. Furthermore, by definition an abstract can never be "pretentious"!


Wholly abstract? Themeless? Luckless? No hidden information? No pictures on the pieces. Different people seem to answer this differently.

B>
 
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