|Lots and lots of fiddly bits in Archipelago.|
Unfortunately for me, Eurogames occupy a pretty pervasive position in gaming culture. Mayfair Games, creator of the mother of all Eurogames, Settlers of Catan, is easily one of the biggest gaming companies worldwide. Asmodee, as well, has made an empire on Eurogames, with thousands of players pushing small cubes and meeples to and fro with abandon.
So what don't I like about these games? Let me set the record straight and count the ways...
1) The ability to play for hours, doing nothing. Sonya got to experience this firsthand after being put in a precarious position at the various start of the game. By chance, her starting location ended up being one rich in ore, one of the randomly-determined victory conditions. Naturally, this caused a rush on her location, driving her out of the area before her turn even started. For the rest of the game, Sonya was playing from behind, unable to contend in any reasonable way.
3) Theme. With little fail, Eurogames tend to rely on the same theme over and over: build civilization. Either you're building a farm, building a castle, building a state, building a space empire. In all cases, your entire point is to grow bigger and bigger, with victory points as secondary objectives at best. There's no variance, there's no change. While your resource cubes might represent ore in one game, chickens in another, and dilithium crystals in a third, in the end they're all the same: X wood plus Y clay makes a city/woodshed/starship, while Y clay plus Z uranium makes a city/farmhouse/capital fleet.
|Great theme, great PvP gameplay, with none|
of the problems of a Eurogame!
4) Standing on the fence. This one's a matter of taste entirely. You see, I love Player vs Player games. I have a reputation in Munchkin, simply because of my cut-throat tactics. Ninja Burger is a perennial favorite, simply because of the balance between personal motivation and sheer dickery. But, concurrently, I love cooperative games. As I've mentioned, Arkham Horror and Sentinels of the Multiverse are fixtures at my game table. But, Eurogames tend to ride an uncomfortable fence between the two that makes playing them unpleasant. Settlers of Catan is a killer here, where the trade economy involves a passive-aggressive balance of self-improvement and prevention of others from doing the same. That balance is rarely executed well and I find that devotion to one or the other provides a better game experience overall.
Obviously, I'm not the be-all and end-all of gaming. People have different things that they enjoy. I simply haven't come across any Eurogame that really scratches any itch for me, while most have the same flaws over and over, which tend to get my goat. But, to each their own!