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Subject: Do you see Pandemic as a Euro or an Ameritrash? rss

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Ale Jones
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I was trying to explain to my girlfriend the other night about the differences between Eurogames and Ameritrash (no offense intended, I love them all), an imperfect and yet admittedly somewhat useful distinction. I was using all kinds of examples, but then I came to one of her favorite games, Pandemic, and I was quite shocked to find myself unable to decide one way or another!

Is it a Euro? But then it's more about achieving a specified objective rather than accumulating victory points...and isn't it more similar to Shadows over Camelot, Battlestar Galactica (or perhaps even Descent) than, say Agricola or Puerto Rico?

Is it an Ameritrash? But then there aren't any dice at all and the whole thing is more like a brainy logistics puzzle (again, no offense either way)?

I really don't mean to start another one of "those" threads -- and I certainly hope I didn't by asking this question. I am just curious how people answer this question WITHOUT getting too bogged down by the exact definition of Euro or Ameritrash...
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Robert Niccolai
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If Pandemic isn't a Euro I don't see how the distinction between the two genres has any meaning. It's clearly a euro IMO.
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Bruce Gazdecki
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In my opinion it's Ameritrash.

All kidding aside, I would think it's not either specifically, but leans toward Ameritrash. Euro's to me generally have worker placement or role selection and have some sort of victory point scale. Ameritrash is more direct in action (go here and do this) and tend to be more of a last man standing or first one to a certain objective wins.

But that's just me, YMMV.
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Liam
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A euro -with a prefix; lucky-euro or light-euro or family-euro or Cooprative-Euro

It's no Brass: Lancashire.

How come?

No player elimination.
No direct conflict/conflict at all.
No dice, no mini's.
No Dragons, Tanks etc.
Family friendly material.

Of course the terms are deeply flawed but still.

Edit:

ninjaed Ralph - sweet.
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Ralph T
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Ameritrash typically have
1. Dice or blind luck
2. Plastic figures
3. Dramatic themes involving conflict or destruction
4. Frequently have a long playing time
5. If there are cards, there's a lot of text on the cards.

Only the theme of Pandemic barely satisfies #3. While you could argue there is a lot of luck in Pandemic, Ameritrash seldom allows you to "puzzle anything out."
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Brad Pasmeny
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IMHO - Euro...you just get one role selection!
Then you have to puzzle it out.
The only randomness is the cards, and even that you can mitigate by paying attention to what comes out for when the outbreaks occur!

meeplemeeple
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Blorb Plorbst
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Euro.

It's impossible to have this conversation without defining Euro and Ameritrash.

I consider games that favor theme over gameplay to be Ameritrash. Games that require more strategic decision making than luck would fall into the Euro category. The inverse of those would also be true.

Victory points and mechanics are secondary markers for the 2 genres. Power Grid is definitely Euro but doesn't use Victory Points. Merchants & Marauders is Ameritrash (though not really trash) but uses victory (glory) points.

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S. R.
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I have always seen the distinction between Ameri and Euro mainly based on mechanism and theme.

Whereas with Amerigames, mechanisms of the game facilitate the theme that is the focus point, with Eurogames the mechanisms are most important, with themes facilitating them (if at all, mostly barely).

Then there are several other distinctions like player elimination, balance ignored for sake of fun and/or theme, more luck (Amerigames) vs. victory points, several ways to earn VP and/or win, and less luck (Eurogames). But the first distinction was, in my mind, always the one that was most important.

So to me, the game is definitely a Eurogame. The theme is nice, but could have been replaced by others with a bit of clever adjustment.
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Since it encompasses both Europe and the Americas, indeed the whole world, why not come up with a new category? We'll call it Global-Garbage, something like a new organism (virus, in this case) with DNA from both that allows for cross-species transfer (has elements of both Euro- and Ameri-Trash), to create an entirely new strain of gaming sub-genre, that's destined to take the (gaming) world by storm.

"And One gaming sub-genre to unite them all ..."
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Sean Boyll
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Pandemic, like most all cooperative games, is a puzzle game.
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Shawn Fox
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False dichotomy, why does it have to be one or the other? There is no consistent definition of what the term 'euro' or 'ameritrash' means anyway due to too many people trying to hold on to the old useless definitions of the terms (what mechanics are used) rather than more useful terms that define the target audience. Eventually more useful definitions will win out or the terms will fall out of use to be replaced by something else.

Personally I'd call Pandemic a social game.
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Pete Goch
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My copy came with a bunch of multicolored wooden cubes.

Need I say more?



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Darrell Hanning
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TheOneTrueZeke wrote:
My copy came with a bunch of multicolored wooden cubes.

Need I say more?


And in what way would plastic pieces replacing wooden cubes change the nature of the game?

Ameritrash is less a category, and more an allegation - a label some gamers use to lay claim on a game as being of their style.

"Euro-style game" or "Eurogame" is less specific every year, and the definition thus becomes more diluted. In a hobby where all designers borrow mechanisms from all styles of games, like people eating at a buffet, the current categorizations are becoming useless. Lots of "Euros" have strong thematic content, lots of what people claim are "Ameritrash" use mechanisms long found in Euros. Even "wargame" has had to expand in what it encompasses.

It's probably time to stop measuring with the current metrics (which are pretty damn vague to being with), and use a completely different system.
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Pete Goch
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DarrellKH wrote:
TheOneTrueZeke wrote:
My copy came with a bunch of multicolored wooden cubes.

Need I say more?


And in what way would plastic pieces replacing wooden cubes change the nature of the game?



It's a joke, hence the winky smile!!!


But I'll spoil it and say more. Euros (as I've come to understand the term) tend to favor an economy of style when it comes to rules and design. Pandemic has a simple yet clever little ruleset. Particularly the notion of having the infection pile top decked by the discards when an epidemic is drawn - it's recursive! A simple and very effective way to ratchet up the tension.

I'd call it a euroish approach to creating a tense coop without resorting to the so called "ameritrash" method of creating chaos and obstacles by throwing a huge assortment of different mechanics at you.

Personally, I really enjoy both approaches when done right: Pandemic and Arkham Horror are two of my favorite games!

Check out this comparative review of Pandemic and Arkham Horror. I think it does an excellent job of delineating the differences of the two games in terms of these genres...
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Kevin Lui
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wormization wrote:
Is it a Euro? But then it's more about achieving a specified objective rather than accumulating victory points...and isn't it more similar to Shadows over Camelot, Battlestar Galactica (or perhaps even Descent) than, say Agricola or Puerto Rico?


I don't think that Euros are always about achieving a specified objective rather than accumulating victory points.

Alternatively, you can think of victory points = number of cures discovered, and the team wins when it reaches 4 points. (And there are plenty of Euros that have reaching a certain number of victory points as an end-game condition.)

Now one might point out that we can always reclassify victory conditions as victory points, and then first to 1 wins, which would be silly, but Pandemic really is different from such a case: the four objectives really are not so different from one another, so it is much more natural to say that we have scored a point when we have cured a disease. And there are certainly Euro games in which 4 can be a winning score (the first game that comes to mind, for me, is Fist of Dragonstones - first to three wins).
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Pete Goch
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To your point isn't "set collecting" (in this case 5 city cards of the same color) thought to be a euro style mechanic?
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Jim Hansen
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Are cooperative games inherently Ameritrash? If so, that's the only thing about Pandemic that isn't Euro (other than a non-zero theme that isn't about resource collecting/trading/building in the Mediterranean).
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Sam Cook
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But there is player elimination, it's just that all the players get eliminated at once surprise
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HenningK
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I see it as a coop.
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Wesley Jones
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The original question is too limiting. Why limit the genre to one or the other? There are other genres out there besides Ameritrash or Euro. In my opinion Pandemic is either a "Hybrid" or simply a "Co-op".
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Dustin
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Eurobore for sure

ralpher wrote:

4. Frequently have a long playing time
5. If there are cards, there's a lot of text on the cards.


most eurobore games I've tried take just as long as ameritrash games. sure they are some super long ones out there. but I've watched euro games take forever too.

and I'll take cards that say what they do over iconography any day!
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James
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AmeriEuro/Eurotrash.

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Junior McSpiffy
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If I picture the cubes as infected people who are dying off, it's a Euro.

If I see the cubes as zombie hordes, it's Ameritrash.
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MGS
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It is an Euro. If you think too much, you will get confused in the minutiae. I look at other games in each group to decide which one resembles Pandemic the best. To me, it is much closer to Ticket to Ride, Settlers and Carcassonne than to Magic Realm, DungeonQuest and Marvel Heroes.
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Justen Brown
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Leacock is American therefor it's Ameritrash.
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