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September 17, 2021 4:27 PM   Subscribe

ProZD: ameritrash vs euro games. That is all.. That's the video.
posted by Pendragon (38 comments total) 34 users marked this as a favorite
 
Oh man really good. Unnecessary quibble would be that in general I've found things broadly construed as euros to be generally shorter than things broadly construed as ameritrash.Not that that's the point of course.
posted by Carillon at 4:52 PM on September 17 [3 favorites]


I feel very seen by this.
posted by Slackermagee at 5:18 PM on September 17 [4 favorites]


The only inaccuracy is where the Euro game takes nineteen hours, because most Euro games are designed to play relatively quickly, in the 30-90 minute range. It's Ameritrash that takes hella long, as a rule.
posted by mightygodking at 5:21 PM on September 17 [2 favorites]


And after that hella long time, for some reason everybody loses.
posted by Quonab at 5:31 PM on September 17 [1 favorite]


I once was a replacement player in this game (Arkham Horror) that had been going for about four hours already. After another four hours we called it a draw and declared Cthulhu the winner. Some games just get ridiculously long.
posted by JustSayNoDawg at 5:44 PM on September 17


For anyone who has no idea what this is about, this comment on the BoardGameGeek forums is one of the better efforts to analyse the features that distinguish Ameritrash from Eurogames. But the video is fantastic at getting the point across and yeah, I too feel very seen.
posted by automatronic at 6:10 PM on September 17 [4 favorites]


Americans usually roll a die to see who's going to play the Germans. That's when I switched to playing traveler because I played it for 2 weeks and never rolled a die. There should be one more qualification: the size of your game table, so I would venture that if you're using a ping pong table for your game board(s), you're an American.
posted by clavdivs at 6:39 PM on September 17 [2 favorites]


Real gamers enjoy both!

(To a point)
posted by Windopaene at 6:43 PM on September 17 [2 favorites]


hey let's kitbash risk and warhammer and use a ping pong table and game for 21 hours straight!
posted by vrakatar at 7:40 PM on September 17 [3 favorites]


The best thing about that BGG comment is the way most of the subsequent comments don't engage with its substance at all... .

The most "Ameritrash"-like experience I've had since taking up board games is with the game Root (a game with *gasp* victory points). The Vagabond player had ended up with three swords due to our inexperience, and in one turn plus some insane rolls managed to completely wipe out an army of ~8 cats. While randomness certainly plays a role in Eurogames, I think this kind of low-probability lopsided outcome is a signature of "Ameritrash". As another member of our gaming group put it, "no one remembers individual games of Scythe that they played, no matter how well they did -- but we'll probably be talking about this years later." Two years on, this has turned out to be true.

This fits in well with the thesis that Ameritrash prioritizes drama.
posted by Slothrup at 7:50 PM on September 17 [3 favorites]


The Cones of Dunshire video we all reference when new game explanations get a little confusing.

I'd quibble with not just the length claim of Eurogames but also the idea that they ever are attached to 800 page defenses of their realism. I think we all get that 'take one fish on the boating action and immediately convert it to food' is just a mechanic, and it could as easily be a mining action, an ore and an ingot in a different skin. Terraforming Mars is the rare exception that seems like it's plundered a lot of actual research materials, but even there is a lot of handwaving.

. . . you're an American.

Just want to say IME there's not a strong correlation with the nationality of the players or even over much of designers these days. They're style of games and most people I know play both.

I once was a replacement player in this game (Arkham Horror) that had been going for about four hours already.

A typical game, back when I played, was 3+ hours and 4 is already on the long side. But there's no mechanic to guarantee an end; you can play just well enough not to lose until your soul shrivels up into a black ball of despair. It's one of the two games that made me cry; we were one move from winning then got a card that said "you can't win while this card is in play" and kept on going another two or three hours. I didn't care about winning, the tears were from being trapped in the game.

And for those unfamiliar with the game, it's cooperative: We weren't playing against each other. We just wanted to win without "cheating" and the game tortured us. All of wanted to stop but no one wanted to be the one who "quit." Of course, that group will now throw away any card that carries the faintest whiff of that effect.
posted by mark k at 8:01 PM on September 17 [4 favorites]


Well, many of the wargames these days, or even only wargame adjacent, will often include a playbook, with an example of play, then a long historical section. I'm thinking about GMT games, and Freidrich and Maria as examples...

And BGG is currently too busy doing the right thing and calling out racist dogwhistles followed by massive doubling down, to fight this ages long fight between AT and JASE...
posted by Windopaene at 8:57 PM on September 17 [1 favorite]


21 hours straight!
posted by vrakatar

oh no it took 21 hours to set up 39 game boards on two ping-pong tables for the invasion of Saipan.
won't even talk about Warhammer for those kind of prices it better be freaking dwarves who are making the pieces.
posted by clavdivs at 9:04 PM on September 17 [2 favorites]


Well, many of the wargames these days, or even only wargame adjacent, will often include a playbook, with an example of play, then a long historical section. I'm thinking about GMT games, and Freidrich and Maria as examples...

Assuming that was a response to my skepticism, sure! But wargames are like the antithesis of Eurogames.
posted by mark k at 9:22 PM on September 17


Which genre is Diplomacy?
posted by biogeo at 9:31 PM on September 17 [1 favorite]


Disagree. Many wargames, see the Root reference above, have morphed into Euros.
posted by Windopaene at 9:50 PM on September 17


I dislike Arkham Horror for many of the same reasons. It is so boring. There are better, multi-player, thematic games.
posted by Windopaene at 9:53 PM on September 17


The informative pamphlet is pretty common to a lot of Eurogames. I'm thinking in particular of Uwe Rosenberg, who has an entire separate Almanac booklet in his (so far) magnum opus A Feast for Odin that has almost nothing in it except explanations of the historical details of the various actions you can do with your Vikings.
posted by Scattercat at 10:09 PM on September 17 [2 favorites]


Which genre is Diplomacy?


Diplomacy is not so much a board game as it is a supremely efficient tool to free yourself of those pesky friendships that have been plaguing you for years.
posted by darkstar at 10:18 PM on September 17 [37 favorites]


Off subject but my parents had that bird clock (at 1:29). It would play a different bird species song every hour, and had a light sensor so it wouldn't bother you at night, unless the sensor was broken, in which case fun clock becomes annoying clock.
posted by eye of newt at 10:48 PM on September 17 [5 favorites]


Which genre is Diplomacy?

Going by the BGG comment, it's the epitome of Ameritrash, since it's ALL drama.
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 10:52 PM on September 17 [5 favorites]


Disagree. Many wargames, see the Root reference above, have morphed into Euros.

Root (which is a terrific game) is in no way a Euro in terms of game design; it gets lumped in with Euros because the various factions are all portrayed by cute drawings of animals. Mechanically speaking, the multiple randomness factors (the game uses both dice and cards), direct interplayer conflict, and the general level of rule complexity put it firmly in the American design tradition; honestly, its closest analogues in the current game landscape are the COIN series (COunterINsurgency) of multifaction historical wargames with semi-abstracted rules.
posted by mightygodking at 11:24 PM on September 17 [4 favorites]


If the box rattles when you shake it then it’s Ameritrash
posted by fallingbadgers at 1:45 AM on September 18 [4 favorites]


Going by the BGG comment, it's the epitome of Ameritrash, since it's ALL drama.

Alternatively, it's the opposite of Ameritrash, since it has NO dice. There's no random chance in Diplomacy; all the friendship-ending betrayals in it are entirely deterministic.
posted by automatronic at 3:20 AM on September 18 [4 favorites]


Yes, this is all well and good but where can I buy the Now With Wheat expansion and will it fit inside the original game box?
posted by fight or flight at 5:12 AM on September 18 [9 favorites]


My favorite part of the 12 Days of Board Games I threw for a communard who was home instead of on the road for the job during the holidays due to the pandemic, was the 12 teaches. And since most of the games were euro or euro-adjacent games, I got to open each teach with, "The object of this game is to earn the most victory points." I turned it into a bit, so by the end everyone would say it along with me.
posted by ob1quixote at 7:21 AM on September 18


A nice succinct video illustrating what I hear when gamer friends attempt to explain [insert title of game here.]
posted by Thorzdad at 7:39 AM on September 18


Yes, this is all well and good but where can I buy the Now With Wheat expansion and will it fit inside the original game box?

If you have the third edition, it comes with the Now With Wheat expansion included as well as the Racist Parts That Nobody Asked For, but they also simplified the rules in that edition, so really you're better off sticking with the rulebook from the second edition, although you don't want to play with that one because it has nasty plastic pieces. The art was better in the first edition though, so we play with that one, but the first edition version of Now With Wheat doesn't fit in the original box and it's hard to find on eBay these days and of course you get the original broken ruleset, but everybody knows the changes these days.
posted by automatronic at 8:30 AM on September 18 [11 favorites]


If the box rattles when you shake it then it’s Ameritrash

Gloomhaven’s box is too full of stuff to rattle.
posted by Going To Maine at 11:39 AM on September 18 [5 favorites]


Avalon Hill had heft, heft is important.
posted by clavdivs at 1:51 PM on September 18 [5 favorites]


Agreed on Root, it has direct conflict, diverse playstyles and win conditions depending on faction, and a reliance on dice. It also can be broken depending on how many people are playing which factions, something I feel is a bit anathema to Euro mindset. There's even a score some people assign to each faction, which you add up to see if the game is actually viable with the factions that were picked.
posted by Carillon at 2:03 PM on September 18 [2 favorites]


Do people actually use the term Ameritrash, unironically?
posted by Beholder at 6:52 PM on September 18


Pffft... I think I have three complete full World in Flames campaigns under my belt. Funnily enough, not since I had kids.
posted by Harald74 at 12:22 AM on September 19 [1 favorite]


Seems like the most recent all-inclusive edition these days are World in Flames Collector's Edition Super Deluxe Games' Set (even the name is long), and it has 9,240 counters and 15 maps.
posted by Harald74 at 12:26 AM on September 19


And then there’s then Economic games which may seem like Euros in some cases (as setting is secondary to the mechanics) but are so set in the world of economy (Profit, Access to Capital, Liquidity, Dividend/Returns), that they are a bit apart. Train games (cube rails and 18xx) fall into this, but so does Container, The Estates, and plenty of auction games that are in a grey area of Euro or not.
posted by yeti at 6:40 AM on September 19 [1 favorite]


Do people actually use the term Ameritrash, unironically?

#itsajokeson.gif
posted by praemunire at 9:39 PM on September 19


>Do people actually use the term Ameritrash, unironically?

When I try to talk people into playing Battlestar Galactica I do.
posted by Easy problem of consciousness at 7:39 AM on September 20


it's been 3 years since I've played Warhammer. used to ping pong table actually from the trash if it's in good shape fix it up make a board there you go.
posted by clavdivs at 8:37 PM on September 21


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