10 years ago Euros were all the rage. They involved low luck, simple rules, shorter playing time, slightly abstracted components and a lower level of player interaction that rewarded strategic play. We are talking pre-2005 here. When we were lucky to get 20 good new games are year (now we get hundreds). We still get ‘Euros’ today but often they will try and involve a little more theme and interaction. The great designers of that period were Reiner Knizia, Wolfgang Kramer and Andreas Seyfarth. The term often used to describe these games is ‘elegant’ and if you haven’t had to chance to play them, get on down to the cafe and give one a bash, we’re always excited to teach these classics.
They also have a lot of cubes…
– Andreas Seyfarth
This was rated the best game in the world by gamers on boardgamegeek (the main board game website) for 5+ years. Its main game mechanic is role selection (like in Citadels), whereby a player will choose an action to do, which everyone else also gets to do, but he gets to do it first and a bit better! The theme is creating a plantation in Puerto Rico (No!!!! Really!!!) to grow crops and sell them or export them for points. Building certain buildings also gives you certain advantages to direct your strategy. People would often complain about the ‘player to the right’ syndrome i.e. the game has so little luck, that if the player before you was weak he would pick sub-optimal roles and could throw the game to the player to his left. However, in general, people who complained about that were usually knobs and you wouldn’t want to play with them anyway! Its really good. Play it.
Tigris and Euphrates
(Written by Del our Friday Night Game Expert) – Reiner Knizia
Tigris & Euphrates is the most Knizia game ever Knizia’ed. Being from Knizia’s “awesome games” period, T&E has unique mechanisms seldom repeated in modern eurogames. It has the elements that made Reiner Knizia a household name:
- collecting different kinds of points but you
- pulling random crap out of a bag,
- theme and mechanics
- tiles Tiles TILES, and of course
- getting all up in your opponent’s faces
Build kingdoms in the cradle of civilization, vying for influence amongst the 4 factions of early society. You can try to become a new trader-baron, ousting the previous one with the support of the church. Or you can attempt to merge two kingdoms and, in the clash of cultures, hope to profit and come out king.
Since it’s from the old-times when space at the old Interactivity was limited, Tigris & Euphrates is hidden in the “Through the Desert” box.
– Reiner Knizia
RA, RA, RA, RA, RA, RA, RA, RA, RA, RA, RA, RA, RA, RA, RA, RA, RA, RA, RA, RA, RA, RA, RA, RA…..You get to say RA a lot playing this game. Its an auction game, where you get to bid for tiles that get you points and the token that you will use to bid with for the next round (they range from 1-16 and you have three to use each round). Its set in Ancient Egypt, but could just as easily be set in a sewer or a chicken coup or perhaps even dystopian future where children kill each other on TV. The fun of the game is in attempting to put a value your own bidding tile in relation to:
- The bidding tile you’ll get next round
- The tiles you’ll get for points
- The amount of time you think the round has left
- What other players want and need.
I like this one a lot, its pretty quick and fairly simple, but there is a lot to think about. Oh and did I mention you get to say RA a lot.
Kramer and Ulrich
Did I mention low player interaction. Well I lied when it comes to this one. It’s an area majority game (whoever has the most bits in an area gets the most points) where you pretty much spend the whole game ganging up on the leader and pretty much anyone else who gets in your way. It has a big tower that you put cubes in and a huge King piece that looks like THIS…not phallic at all.
Its one of my favorite games ever, but is sadly out of print. But as it came out in 1995, I am hoping for a 20 year anniversary edition next year. Here’s a few words on it from Chris Rudram of Day of Board Gaming fame:
“If you really want to test how strong your friendships are, play this. If you like being ganged up on, unreasonably, or better yet, being the one to always claim you are losing while you win… play this.”
Princes of Florence
– Kramer and Ulrich
I was going to do write something nice about this one as well. A lot of people love it, but to me its dryer than a desert rock in the midday sun and I would rather grate my own eyeballs than play it. Jack, the other half of IBGC loves it and said we should add this, but he’s not writing this so…..err….here are a few words from Chris on this who has similar feelings to me:
“Fun, if taking part in a cattle auction before playing an obscure version of Tetris in order to have the chance to pick a scoring card is your idea of fun.”
Sorry PoF fans!