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Subject: Are the Top 2 Thematic Games Actually Euros? rss

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Tom P
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I've read a lot of comments saying that both Eclipse and Mage Knight: Board Game are more Euro/Hybrid games than AT.

From my understanding, the thematic rankings are meant to show case the best AT games so does having 2 Euro leaning games dominate these rankings go against the point of having these rankings?
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Derry Salewski
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Well, it's not called 'ameritrash.' I haven't played either game, but it seems like they are certainly designed with a heavy theme first.

Many of the top wargames are light/hybrids, but they are still designed to be simulated conflicts first.

Rankings show what people like, and Hybrids (perhaps obviously) appeal to wider ranges and often grab nice ratings!

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B'Cup x
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I dont get the relevency of this. Is it meant as an implication that one genre is better than the other? because that would be putting far too much relevence into something that is somewhat trivial, a good game is a good game.

I cannot speak for Eclipse, but Mage knight is very thematic. I run around a country saving villages from orcs, adventuring in dungeons, learning at monastrys and mage towers and then assualting cities (all the while dicking my girlfriend over by attacking her at every oppurtunity). Regardless of what mechanics are used in the game, it is VERY thematic x
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Darrell Hanning
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The distinction was already becoming meaningless, when it was first tossed into the ring. The cross-pollination of ideas was always there.
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Wim van Gruisen
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tparel wrote:
From my understanding, the thematic rankings are meant to show case the best AT games [...]

Then why are the rankings called 'thematic' and not 'AT'?
Unless the T in AT stands for 'thematic', but I always understood that it meant something else.

If a ranking is called 'thematic' then it is about the best thematic games / games with the best theme implementation. And those can be euro, ameritrash or anything else. FWIW, I've seen complaints that Eclipse is not euro enough because of the random aspects in there (dice-based combat, random tiles and discoveries, random VPs for combat). So maybe that lays down your fears that eurogames are taking over the thematic list.
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Derry Salewski
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heifetz wrote:
This will probably start some argument but I own eclipse and love the game, in fact now with 3 plays, I bumped it to a 10. However I wouldn't say the game really feels thematic in any way, especially not compared to the most thematic game I have ever played, war of the ring.
I love eclipse but it reminds me a lot like power grid( my other 10 BTW) and not some epic space adventure.
I cannot comment on mage knight as I have never played it.


Given that war of the ring is one of the best integrations of gameplay and source material ever, though . . . is it realllly fair?
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Matt Brown
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tparel wrote:
From my understanding, the thematic rankings are meant to show case the best AT games so does having 2 Euro leaning games dominate these rankings go against the point of having these rankings?


What? They merely rank thematic games. It has nothing to do with those games being euros or not. The fact that euros tend to lack in theme just means they aren't typically listed there.

heifetz wrote:
This will probably start some argument but I own eclipse and love the game, in fact now with 3 plays, I bumped it to a 10. However I wouldn't say the game really feels thematic in any way, especially not compared to the most thematic game I have ever played, war of the ring.
I love eclipse but it reminds me a lot like power grid( my other 10 BTW) and not some epic space adventure.
I cannot comment on mage knight as I have never played it.


Rankings have nothing to do with how thematic the game is versus others. It's merely how well does it rank overall compared to other thematic games.
 
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Tom P
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Whymme wrote:

Then why are the rankings called 'thematic' and not 'AT'?
Unless the T in AT stands for 'thematic', but I always understood that it meant something else.


The "Thematic Games" wiki seems to imply that thematic games are also sometimes known as "Ameritrash":

http://boardgamegeek.com/boardgamesubdomain/5496/thematic-ga...
 
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Shawn Fox
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While admitting that regardless of what they do in regards to categories there are going to be a lot of people that are unhappy with the solution, as it stands we are clearly missing something.

To me Mage Knight is obviously a thematic game, I don't even think there can be a question of it. Eclipse is arguable, it is really a hybrid but the results are so heavily reliant on dice rolling at the end of the game that I feel it is more of a thematic game than it is a strategy game and voted for it as such.

At minimum there should be a "luck factor" or some such in addition to the "game weight" which already exists, then at least it would be possible to filter out games with have low/high luck depending on your preference. It might be better to add another category for strategy games that have large luck factors vs small, but then of course you end up with games that have "medium" luck and where do you put those?

With all that said, I still think the "strategy game" category needs to be split into two categories; One for games where most of the randomness (if any) is presented up front (random initialization) and another where randomness occurs during the game (random events, combat, etc throughout). Of course there will still be hybrids, but to me that is the main thing which separates the two types of strategy games.
 
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Matthew Watson
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The definitions are pretty terrible. They are written in a way that implies that "strategy" and "thematic" games are mutually exclusive:

"A Thematic Game is usually created around its main dramatic theme, which its rules and mechanics aim to depict. This is contrasted with Strategy Games, also known as "Eurogames." Eurogames tend to be built around an elegant set of mechanics, with a more general theme (e.g. Power Grid or Agricola)."

Now that a game such as Eclipse has come along, the above definition is looking a bit rubbish. (IMHO!)
 
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Ralph T
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Could be. Never played Mage Knight but all of that designer's games are Euros. Thematic to me just means you'd need rules re-written if you attempted to retheme.
 
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Jessey
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Mage Knight (and most everything else Vlaada designed) is a Euro/Thematic game. His game's (mechanics) often only make sense in the context of their theme.

Two points of contention against things said above:

1. It is a mistake to tie 'randomness' to the 'thematic' category. Theme and thematicness has nothing (at all) to do with the presence of randomness in a game.

2. With enough creativity rules can be almost entirely preserved in a 'retheme'. That said, almost no game can go without a rules rewrite in the face of a retheme because often games replace common notions (ie: action) with in-theme lingo (ie: click).
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Shawn Fox
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Candi wrote:
1. It is a mistake to tie 'randomness' to the 'thematic' category. Theme and thematicness has nothing (at all) to do with the presence of randomness in a game.


It depends on if you use the dictionary definition of the word Thematic or if you use the BGG definition. The point is that BGG definition of Thematic includes Ameritrash style games and an Ameritrash game does not necessarily have to have a high amount of theme (although they usually do). Of course, that is just my opinion, but since there is no "official" definition of what an Ameritrash game even is, my opinion is as good as anyone elses right?

While I agree that there is a lot of room for people to disagree in regards to random = Thematic = Ameritrash, the problem is the definition provided by BGG isn't very clear (and most people just make up their own definitions anyway) so there is always going to be a lot of room for argument as to what games belong in each subdomain.

Along similar lines, I've always though it was funny that the game War of the Ring shows up in Wargames subdomain. I'm sure that one sends a lot of war gamers into a frothing rage. I'm personally very annoyed that Twilight Struggle shows up the in strategy games section at all, when it is clearly either a war game or a thematic game according to BGG definitions. Certainly it isn't a Euro.
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Rich Uncle Pennybags
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DarrellKH wrote:
The distinction was already becoming meaningless, when it was first tossed into the ring. The cross-pollination of ideas was always there.


Yep...+1. Arguing about such distinctions is a useless activity.
 
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Jessey
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sfox wrote:

It depends on if you use the dictionary definition of the word Thematic or if you use the BGG definition.


My point was, implicitly, that the BGG definitions are not adequate (or accurate!). Based on the rest of your post, I think this is a point we both agree on, at least to some degree.
 
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