Do you prefer to play games that involve strategy and planning, or games that are more fast-paced and chaotic? If you’re like most Americans, you probably prefer the latter. This is because American-style board games tend to be more chaotic, while European-style board games are more strategic and take some time to master. Some Euro games have enormous amounts of rules so they require a lot ot time and commitment to play them. However this is paid back in thoughtful, involved, fascinating game play.
American-style board games, also known unflatteringly (by Euro fans) as Ameritrash, and are characterized by their reliance on randomness. This means that the outcome of the game is often determined by chance, rather than skill. Ameritrash games are typically more fast-paced and exciting, as there is less time for planning and more opportunity for surprises. However, this also means that Ameritrash games can be frustrating, as luck plays a larger role in determining the winner. If you have spent a lot of time building up cash and / or resources through patience and thoughtful play, to have it taken away on simply a random throw of the dice or spin of the wheel can be very disappointing. Some examples of American style games are Monopoly, Risk, and The Game of Life. These games are quick to learn so are ideal for family gatherings as you can sit down, explain the rules and play a game in a short space of time. Kids particularly enjoy these type of games.
European style games, on the other hand, tend to be much more strategic. This means that the outcome of the game is usually determined by skill, rather than chance. European-style games tend to be slower and more methodical, as there is more time for planning and less opportunity for surprises. Games like Settlers of Catan and Carcassonne require players to think several moves ahead in order to win. The purest type of Euro game has NO element of randomness in it at all.
Ameritrash games are more random, and thus have less player control. In comparison, Eurogames tend to have very little randomness, giving players a higher degree of control over their destiny. Ameritrash games often feature theme and story elements heavily, while Euros place greater emphasis on mechanics.
So which is better? It depends on what you’re looking for in a board game. If you want something with lots of player interaction, interesting stories, fast-paced and purely based on luck, Ameritrash might be up your alley. If you prefer games with clean mechanics, strategic play, something that’s going to take some time to master, requires critical thinking, the ability to pit your wits against your opponents and rely far less on luck, then Euros might be more your style. Of course it depends on the personality of the player. Some people enjoy the fact that they (or an opponent) can be wiped out in a nanosecond as that’s what makes the game fun. Ultimately, it’s up to each individual player to decide what they enjoy most about board gaming.
Personally, I enjoy both types of games, but I tend to lean more towards the European style ones. What about you? Do you have a preference for Ameritrash or European board games? Let us know in the comments below!