Wednesday, June 09, 2010

In Which The Warlock Rants Just a Little Bit...

This is going to sound like heresy to some of my gaming friends, particularly in the Springfield area. Really, this is going to sound like heresy to the PlatinumChick even, as it's going to sound a little off-putting, even though it fits.

I, your friendly neighborhood Warlock, can't stand EuroGames.

By EuroGames, I'm referring to the genre of board games that have been coming out of Europe for the past decade or more, which include "Settlers of Catan", "Carcassonne", and "Galaxy Truckers". U.S. developers and the like have been creating these as well, with games like "Kingsburg" and the like. Eurogames are epitomized by their 'friendly' nature--they're built for the family and the like to sit around and kibitz. They're rarely competitive, because people are only rarely "knocked out" of the gameplay. They're rarely involved, because they're meant for a whole family to play, which means that they tend to be unfocused.

They bore me. To tears.

The passive agressive nature of conflict in these games aggravates me beyond belief. Even the most aggressive PvP player in "Settlers of Catan" can only build from their own starting position, and only pursue other players with The Robber when the dice allow. Strategy isn't involved--it's pure dice luck, as you're more focused on building up your own cities.

"Kingsburg" is a really killer in that nature. For the entirety of the game, you have no contact with the other players, aside from placing your dice. And, even then, the most aggressive that you can get is placing your dice in a space that another desires.

That's miserable. That's sad.

Conflict is, and must be, at the root of all games. It's human nature to want to win, and to use our wits (and other resources) to do it. When a game removes that conflict, it becomes nothing more than a table-piece--something to decorate your room with.

Without conflict, what's the point?

As I set out on the 5th (and hopefully submission!) draft of "Dungeon Slam!", I've been keeping this idea deeply in mind. "DS" has really become something different than everything out there. At every level of the game--from start to finish, and from high to low powered--there are ways to interfere with other players. Even a freshly dead, weakened character can make the life of a fully beefed-out champion into a living hell.

Smirk and Dagger Games have always done a great job with this, as have a few other companies, such as Fantasy Flight. Of course, Steve Jackson's "Munchkin" series emphasizes this philosophy, but it's a true rarity in a sea of Euro-trash. Most uniquely, "Arkham Horror" (and games of its ilk, like "Fury of Dracula") include conflict, but rather force the players to group together, as they attempt to defeat the game itself. Conflict remains, whereas games like "Settlers" leave me wanting.

Alack, alas, fellow gamers...a great void exists for us cut-throat bastards, who want nothing more than to stab their brethren in the back, betray them in underhanded manners, and break their words. With any luck, "Dungeon Slam!" and its follower "SunnyVale Acres" will break new/old ground in the gaming world!

1 comment:

  1. Most definately it like the early wargames form Japan in the 70 all the rage until you find the unplayable ruleset..

    Long live Dungeon slam it rules.