The Eurogame Phenomenon

I enjoy strategy games. I’ve been playing them since the heyday of the elaborate hundreds-of-tiny-counters hex-map historical-simulation wargames in the 1970s and early 1980s. But those games don’t get played much any more, largely because they took so long to set up and
learn; after 1985 or so younger gamers moved to computer simulations instead, and as the hex-wargame genre stagnated many old-school gamers eventually abandoned it in favor of military-miniatures gaming.

Ace game designer Greg Costikyan (coincidentally, an old friend of mine) has a different theory about what killed old-school wargames. He tells a lurid tale of mismanagement and blunder; I have little doubt it’s true, but I also think he understimates the impact of computer gaming.

Be that as it may…in the late 1990s we started to see a new wave of fresh, innovative game designs in a different style. Settlers of Catan in 1995 was the harbinger. This game of trade and civilization-building featured an elegant combination of simple mechanics with tricky, relatively deep strategy. There are several possible routes to victory in Settlers, all requiring both positional tactics and careful management of constrained resources. The game is made more attractive by colorful, high-quality physical furniture and tasteful artwork. It can be played lightly and socially or in an intense minimaxing mode, and (importantly) is really designed for three or four players though it can be played one-on-one. It rewards repeated playing.

These became signature traits of a huge freshet of new games that hit the U.S. market in the new century. Other standouts have included Puerto Rico, Domaine, Power Grid, Alhambra, Shadows Over Camelot, and Ticket To Ride. Most of these games are imports from Germany, republished in English; the style is generically known as “German games” or “Eurogames” and I’ve heard it alleged that in Germany these games are a mass-market form of family entertainment rather than being confined to gamer-hobbyists, science-fiction fans, and technogeeks as they still mostly are in the U.S.

I’ve long thought that the Eurogame is in part a response to competition from computer games. Computers do the detail-crammed historical-simulation game better than you can with counters and a board, so they got steamrollered. Eurogames, on the other hand, do something computer games are poor at — face-to-face multiplayer games — and they do it with furniture that’s pleasant to look at and handle. Silly as it sounds, Puerto Rico would lose some of its play value without the colorful wooden barrel-tokens it uses for commodities.

The newest wave is Eurogame-like designs that are aiming to retake some of the territory the old-school games lost to computers. I got to play two of these recently, Commands and Colors: Ancients and its sibling Memoir ’44, and was favorably impressed.

Commands and Colors: Ancients does what old-school ancients games like the old SPI PRESTAGS (Pre-Seventeenth Century Tactical Game System) aimed to do — reward players with a good feel for ancient-period tactics. If you know how Alexander or Scipio Africanus used missile troops and skirmishers; if you know how Hannibal used cavalry differently from infantry, and why; if you understand the difference between phalanx and manipular tactics — then these games will give you the sorts of results period commanders got.

In C&C Ancients, for example, I was able to use bowmen to disrupt my opponent’s formations and goad him into entering the engagement range of my heavy infantry just as a period commander would have done. I used to do stuff like that in PRESTAGS too — the difference is that C&C Ancients gets the feel right with far simpler and cleverer mechanics. Two bits of business that stand out are the use of multiple blocks per unit to simulate attrition steps, and the special symbol-marked dice (rolled in groups varying in size with the unit’s combat strength) to replace lookups on a combat results table.

Simpler makes a difference. It made the game faster to learn and play; and, because I wasn’t spending as much mental effort on the mechanics, I could think about tactics more (and that’s the fun part). Overall, I’d say this game is an excellent design and a clear improvement over the old-school ancients games I remember.

I wasn’t quite as impressed with Memoir ’44, a variant of the same system applied to WWII-era gaming. I don’t think the C&C mechanics work as well for modern warfare. Still, it’s a respectable effort; I’ve played many WWII games that weren’t as good. And if your figure of merit is how much realistic tactical feel one can get per paragraph of rules text, it scores pretty high.

Some of these differences are down to technology. In the old days, thick rulebooks full of tables full of numbers were the only kind of presentation we could imagine. But the kind of manufacturing and printing needed to produce Eurogame-style pretty pieces and custom dice is far less expensive than it was, and that suggests possibilities that are just beginning to be exploited.

I hope these are the beginning of a trend. I miss the old-style hex wargames almost as much as Greg Costikyan does. Is it too much to hope that that experience might be coming back, with simpler rules, in brighter colors?

I sure hope so. I’d never give up the railroad games and the colonization games and the trading games I’ve learned to enjoy. But they’re…bloodless. Sometimes you want to send your panzers rumbling forward on a misty morning north of Kursk, trade broadsides with the French fleet off Trincomalee, or orbital-insert your drop troopers on an Arachnid hive-city. Eurogames, as we’ve known them, wouldn’t get you there. Maybe, now, they’re growing into a genre that will.

42 thoughts on “The Eurogame Phenomenon

  1. ESR: I hope these are the beginning of a trend. I miss the old-style hex wargames almost as much as Greg Costikyan does. Is it too much to hope that that experience might be coming back, with simpler rules, in brighter colors?

    I’m going to have to check some of these out. I love Settlers of Catan, it’s a lot of fun and captures the same fun that old Avalon Hill games used to have. I always thought the simpler, less “realistic” games (Waterloo, let’s say) were more fun than the very complex, very realistic games. One of the few that managed to get it reasonably right and still remain complex was Third Reich. It just took forever to play out a game. You could set up Waterloo or Alexander the Great in 15 minutes, play a game in 2 hours, or so, and have a lot of fun doing it.

    And yeah, Settlers doesn’t give you the chance to send the Imperial Guard in to battle. But, other than that, it’s great fun.

  2. Quote:

    I hope these are the beginning of a trend. I miss the old-style hex wargames almost as much as Greg Costikyan does. Is it too much to hope that that experience might be coming back, with simpler rules, in brighter colors?

    If you are looking for modern wargames with a European approach, maybe you should try the game “Friedrich”. It’s got an incredible challenging but fast system of combat, along with simple movement and supply rules in a really nice board. I think it has opened a path for new types of wargaming.

    And I haven’t tried them yet, but I’ve read that “Bonaparte at Marengo” and the forthcoming “Napoleon’s Triumph” achieved the goal of perfectly recreating complex Napoleonic battles with a wonderful look in just 3 hours.

  3. My family and most of our friends really enjoy Settlers of Catan. I have the 5 – 6 player expansion for the basic game as well as the Cities and Knights expansion. Cities and Knights adds several dimensions to the game that fundamentally alter the basic paths to victory from the basic game as well as adding a level of cooperation between players that I have yet to see duplicated in any other board game. We also have Ticket to Ride (North America) which is a lot of fun if you only have an hour or so to play a game. The European version of Ticket to Ride has some interesting twists on the game (tunnels, ferries, and train stations).

  4. >Cities and Knights adds several dimensions to the game

    I’m not sure I think it’s an improvement over the original. Fancier, yes…but the clean lines of the original design are rather lost in the clutter.

  5. I’ll have to give settlers another try. Maybe I was playing it with the wrong people. It always seemed to descend into a bartering competition.

  6. >but the clean lines of the original design are rather lost in the clutter.

    I would agree C&K game play can get a little too complicated at times, but I’m curious to know what examples you would cite to illustrate this. I think the C&K expansion adds a level of complexity that, while not necessarily for everyone, can add to the fun (and game play time) when playing against people well steeped in the basic Settlers version. What parts of C&K would you keep, and what parts do you think blur “the clean lines of the original”?

  7. >What parts of C&K would you keep, and what parts do you think blur “the clean lines of the original”?

    I’d junk Knights and the whole barbarian-invasion mechanic — Defender of Catan is just too easy a way to rack up points, and invasions tend to produce games in which an early leader gets impossibly far ahead of the pack while lagging players struggle to recover from having their cities pillaged.

    Mixed feelings about the new development system; it has fun aspects, but the welter of special abilities is confusing to keep track of without broadening the range of available stategies much.

    Sometime I’m going to suggest a game of basic Settlers with the walls rule from C&K added. I think that would work well.

  8. The problem I have with Settlers and most of these games I’ve played is that when you play them a few times with experienced and intelligent players the imbalances and ‘optimal’ strategies appear. I’ve yet to find one where the strategy can’t be largely solved over 5-10 playings. The same was true of Risk and Axis&Allies too.

    At that point it’s more fun trying to rebalance the rules than to play the game anymore.

  9. >I’ve yet to find one where the strategy can’t be largely solved over 5-10 playings.

    Maybe you play with a less varied group of playerts than I do. For every ‘optimum’ strategy, a counterstrategy…

  10. _You’re all lost_

    A look at any of the Paradox Games, especially the Europa Universalis series is *required*.

    Cheap plug:

    “Europa Universalis invites you to a global struggle for supremacy from the dark times of Jeanne D’Arc to the flaming wars of Napoleon. As the leader of a country you have to guide domestic and foreign policies. Engage in religious struggles, set up expeditions to claim the New World, lead your country to prosperity and victory. Send your Privateers to roam the seven seas, muster mercenaries to bolster your defences, and send missionaries to convert infidels to your State Religion. Interact with true historical events and persons to determine which path your nation will take in the game.”

  11. Ok, but why mostly Germany? Why not the rest of the world, too?

    I have a notion that there’s a blind spot in Austrian economics–it seems to assume that people will reliably take advantage of opportunities, but in fact, someone has to think of a business idea and someone (possibly the same person) has to make it happen.

    I’m not sure what theoretical implications this has, but the longer I’ve had a business, the more the assumption that innovation/entrepreneurship just happens grates on my nerves.

    I can believe that Eurogames are a family thing–I’ve played a German game (name forgotten) which was Candyland for adults. It was rabbit-themed, and what was most interesting about it was that there wasn’t a linear relationship between the number of carrots you spent and the number of squares you moved–moving one square was cheap, but the cost per square went up rather sharply if you wanted to move a long distance in one turn.

  12. For me, Settlers always comes down to “One person rolls hot on a needed commidity, and gets an early enough lead that they’re unassailable.”

    There is NO “screw the leader” mechanism in Settlers, which means that if someone manages to get two-to-three turns ahead with 3 settlements (usually enough to upgrade one to a city), they have a near unassailable lead, even everyone else gangs up to park the robber on them.

    Our solution to this was the Godzilla rule. Someone had a wind-up plastic dinosaur in their game kit at a con. It was 2 AAM. He proposed that instead of buying a development card, he summoned Godzilla from the depths. We made it a house rule that Godzilla had to appear in an ocean hex closest to your own city, facing the island. You wound him up, you set him loose. Anything he knocked aside was destroyed.

    If you had an army card in your hand, you could play it face up to rotate Godzilla by 60 degrees.

    It made the game take longer, but the giggly slap-happiness more than made up for it.

    I have found TTR and TTRE to be snoozefests. Never understood why.

    I love Puerto Rico for this genre of games.

    I can point to nearly anything by Columbia Games (Especially EastFront and VolgaFront) for the “I want a crunchy wargame, but don’t want teetering piles of cat amusers and lots of clunky table lookups”. The games take some time to play out, though.

    Napoleon at Marengo is pure brilliance. Its system doesn’t translate too well to many other battles, though.

  13. >There is NO “screw the leader” mechanism in Settlers,

    Sure there is. You stop trading with him. It’s very unusual for a player to have all five commodities covered with good numbers.

  14. I also liked computer wargames when I was a teenager, but my problem is with todays games that they don’t let you win in an elegant way. Elegant means I’d like to concentrate on building up the infrastructure of my territories and building up a small army consisting of elite forces – usually, games rather force me to conquer as much territory as I can in a rush with a ragtag army of dozens of different units.

    The way the games do this is twofold. First, if you don’t rush to conquer territory, some of the computer players will beat everybody else and conquer any other territory, thus becoming near invicible. The second is that if you are starting to get the upper hand, everbody else attackes you.

    For example, there is Medieval – Total War. It could be an amazing historical simulation with your people becoming more zealous when Thomas Aquinas released the Summa Theologiae and hundreds of knights charging on Italian heavy infantry on 3D battlefields – but when you try to run, for example, France like it really happened in history, meaning small skirmishes with the Brits and the Navarrese, going on some crusades to the Holy Land and generally not concentrating on conquering everything like some completely un-historical Attila V2.0 but just rather running your kingdom, sixty years later you find the Holy German-Roman Empire has conquered everything from Norway to Constantinaple and now it’s attacking YOU with everything they gained…

    So the only way to win such games is conquering everything in a rush with a ragtag horde of whatever units you can swiftly recruit… rather unelegant and boring.

  15. We have a name for this phenomenon, Shenpen: KEKEKE ZERG RUSH ^________^

  16. Nancy,

    I think that blind spot runs a lot deeper than that. Hayekian economics assumes that everybody wants to be as rich as they can, willing to take risks and work hard for it. In reality, the great majority of people prefers a moderate success with a reliable source of income and low levels of risk and stress. They think that if you can make a decent living by importing market-proven games, why would you take risks on innovating something new that maybe wins, maybe not? And what if you win? You could buy ten Ferraris instead of the one you bought from importing the games, but what sense would that make?

    Of course, if people had really thought the way I described above, the US, England and Germany would not got even close to where they are today. And if we want to understand why people did not think this way, we have came to the concept of the work ethics of the two most enterprising religious groups: Protestants and Jews. Both of them generally believed that starting an enterprise is not about making money to buy Ferraris, actually, a hundred or so years ago, luxuries were looked down upon by both groups. They simply believed in business just for business’s sake, just because it’s a good game, fun or challenge or I dunno – I never really understood that…

    I think this kind of work ethics is slowly disappearing…

    This has both good and bad sides. The bad side is that that was this work ethics that made the Western Civilization rich and great, and if it disappears, with migh find ourselves in a dangerous situation. The good side is that people are starting to realize, that money is not a perfect measurement of all values and dying rich at 50 in a heart stroke might not be the only decent goal of one’s life. Just like Genuine Progress Indicator is slowly replacing GDP in macroeconomics (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Genuine_Progress_Indicator), it seems people are starting to adopt a similar approach in their personal lives too.

  17. Jeff,

    sorry, could not find a Wikipedia article for that :-))))) Maybe you want to start one? :-)

  18. Nancy: Austrian economics only assumes that innovation and entrepreneurship “just happens” because the free price system makes sure it does. If people are not satisfied with the current set of things they can buy, they will stop spending money, and start saving money. They could stuff their savings into a mattress, but usually savings get invested. The more people who are looking for new things to buy, the more capital there will be to start new businesses, and the greater rewards there will be for people who create the right things.

    So, the real assumption is “people respond to incentives”. I’ll pay you $10 not to argue with me on this point. :-)

  19. Shenpen: you would have more success arguing against any particularl kind of economics if you actually KNEW any. Sorry, no, I don’t have the time right now to explain exactly where you’ve gone wrong. Start reading books like Human Action, and Economics in One Lesson, and you’ll figure it out on your own.

  20. Shenpen: actually, I have a moment, and I feel bad for you. So, as a start, let me explain that there are ZERO economists who believe that the GDP is a measure of progress, or prosperity. The GDP is a measure of the size of an economy. The only people who think it means anything else are not economists. I think that the confusion comes from the media, who want people to pay attention to the financial news, by reporting “the score” every day.. Ooohhhh, the GDP is up! Pay attention to us! Oooohhhhh, the GDP is down! Pay attention to us.

    Ignore the GDP. It has very little use beyond its technical measurement.

  21. Shenpen: I have another moment. If you think you can summarize someone like Hayek in one sentence, and then knock his ideas down in two, what you should probably think is that your summarization is wrong. And you’d be right!

  22. Sorry, but I learned that stuff in school – the supply/demand graphs, and the distortions like Veblen-effect, oligopolies etc. My problems with the model are it’s two underlying assumptions:

    - a perfectly informed market (which is not true, but this is the lesser problem)
    - the concept of the homo oeconomicus, the perfectly rational being who seeks to maximize personal gains

    My argument is about the second assumption – that the homo oeconomicus is but a rude approximation: generally and in the long run it is more or less a correct model, but only if the surrounding culture is generally materialist (means when people prefer to get fun from impressions from the outer world rather than from the processes within their mind) and rationalist (when people care more about personal gain than either helping or screwing others ) but there will always be a lot of exceptions and short-time distortions, because the mindset of real people is often different to the homo oeconomicus – for example, like I mentioned here, lot of people prefer safety, low risks and low stress level over high gains. And of course, cultural traits like materialism and rationalism are also subject to change.

  23. Or, from a bit more philosophical perspective: why I mildly oppose hayekism is the same reason I strongly oppose marxism: both philosophies want to describe people’s actions with simplified and predictable models. Both models state that when people make decisions, they do almost like an automata, reacting predictably to the impressions of the other world. Psychologically, they are nothing but a form of behaviourism, reducing people to Pavlov’s dogs that drool when the ring bells, or laboratory rats pushing a pedal.

    Agreed, the homo oeconomicus is a largely acceptable approximation of the general behaviour of well-fed, rational, materialist, comfortist human beings. But nothing more.

    If you would like to stick to this model, let’s play with a thought experiment. What happened if somebody invented Huxley’s “soma”, the perfectly healthy drug with an overwhelming happyness-effect similar to MDMA (ecstasy pills), and it would be legal and cheap?…

  24. Shenpen wrote:
    > So the only way to win such games is conquering everything in a rush with a ragtag horde of whatever units you can swiftly recruit… rather unelegant and boring.

    Have you tried playing Civilization 4? There’s no separate real-time combat map (combat is autoresolved, and rather RPG-like), but at the strategy level it’s infinitely better than the TW series.

  25. >> There is NO “screw the leader” mechanism in Settlers, which means that if someone manages to get two-to-three turns ahead with 3 settlements (usually enough to upgrade one to a city), they have a near unassailable lead, even everyone else gangs up to park the robber on them.

    I have played over 50 games of Settlers, and have seen a runaway leader in less than 5 games of it. The robber mechanic, combined with lack of trading, usually reigns the leader in fine.

    >> The problem I have with Settlers and most of these games I’ve played is that when you play them a few times with experienced and intelligent players the imbalances and ‘optimal’ strategies appear. I’ve yet to find one where the strategy can’t be largely solved over 5-10 playings.

    Settlers of Catan is usually referred by hobbyist boardgamers (the kind that frequent http://www.boardgamegeek.com) as a gateway (ie introductory) game. Ticket to Ride and Carcassonne are the other two main ones (I personally dislike Carcassonne, but whatever). All three of these games have fairly simple strategies. But they play fast, they are quick to teach (especially Ticket to Ride) and they have a decent level of player interaction. (As an aside, Memoir 44 is generally thought to be a gateway wargame).

    If you want more complex strategic decisions, crank up to the more complex games. Puerto Rico is a great game in which you learn better and better strategy every game (newbies think the best strategy is ‘obvious’ – until they have played someone who’s played it 30 times before!). There are heaps more examples that come to mind – Tigris and Euphrates, El Grande, Through the Desert, Modern Art, Power Grid, Samurai, Die Macher, Friedrich, Taj Mahal. Most of these games are a bit heavier than the gateways and your wouldn’t play them with your family (with the exception of El Grande, Through the Desert and Samurai). And there are heaps more where they came from.

    http://www.boardgamegeek.com/browser.php?itemtype=game&sortby=rank (http://tinyurl.com/jrpf4) will get you started…

  26. (I just wrote another lengthy response but your spam filter blocked it. Kindly, it neglected to show me the contents of what I typed in (thereby making it impossible for me to attempt to alter and resubmit it).

    You may want to look into that. A much shorter version follows.)

    >> Ok, but why mostly Germany? Why not the rest of the world, too?

    Google for ‘Spiel des Jahres’ and ‘Essen games fair’.

  27. Shenpen: no economist actually does the things you have been taught as “economics”. You are a victim of government schools. If they actually taught real economics to people, nobody would want a government, much less government schools.

  28. you know greg costikyan!? tell him i say hi and thanks. ogre. gev. (& th egenre and the times)

    gta = carwars vn 3.0
    too bad he didn’t patent it… (…)

    i have been really enjoying over the last 15 years watching people re-format games(‘ playability/UI) for the new technologies/capabilities. every time i point out that something new is just a refactoring of stuff previously done on paper, people look at me like i’m nuts. “you know you’re playing D&D, right?” “NO! it’s ‘second life’/’WoW’!!” very nice to see someone else say it.

  29. crap, no, wait, that was steve jackson — greg was a prolific part/lynchpin/mainstay of the whole group/culture then and did some variants and particular maps/battles but not ogre specifically.

    *google* – right, i still have a copy of Toon somewhere, and Paranoia was a lot of fun.


    is there a hole i can crawl into?

    sorry, big weekend. brain still mostly at half-mast.

  30. “Maybe you play with a less varied group of playerts than I do. For every ‘optimum’ strategy, a counterstrategy…”

    No that’s not it. The group includes a competitor in the ‘world puzzle games’ or something like that, and a few other hyper intelligent folks. Usually after each game we discuss what happened, why the person who won did so, and what moves other people should have made but didn’t. We generally spend some time trying to create new strategies. Here and there something unexpected but successful may get missed, but these games aren’t so complicated that there’s a lot of unexpected possibilities. When you get several geniuses analyzing the games in depth, they just don’t hold up that long.

    As far as counterstrategies, that’s all part of the optimal strategy. It depends on the nature of the game of course, but there’s the best paths to try for, and the best ways to try to thwart people on those paths.. They pretty much reduce down to either the luck if there is any, or the diplomacy.

    For example in base settlers the best strategy is to settle high probability stone and get some wheat and sheep and buy tons of cards and a few cities. The primary factors in the game are then luck (both to have initial access to the best squares and dice rolls), and diplomacy, as it’s not too hard to team enough to change the balance. But if I wanted to play diplomacy, I’d play.. well… “diplomacy”, which is a much better game, though I don’t really like it.

    My friends and I changed the rules of base settlers to add 1 sheep to the cost of cards, which balanced it much better, but it’s still not perfect.

  31. On a completely unrelated note – I am finishing page layout of Nexus Journal #1.

    Eric, we have functional orbital mechanics rules for Attack Vector: Tactical now, covering both inclination and orbital velocity changes and their impact on the maneuver capabilities in the map-frame of reference that are accurate to the physics being used.

    And by “functional”, I mean “If you know how AV:T thrust works, I can teach these to you in 10 minutes”

    This is, in many ways, the last hole in the AV:T physics model. A part of me is relieved that it’s done (lots of gnarly math that I barely followed by holding on with my fingernails). A part of me is sad – this sort of means reaching the top of Mt. Everest in this genre, and there are no other mountains to scale.

  32. Shenpen,

    I think you’ve got Hayek confused with someone else, perhaps Samuelson. Hayek (and the rest of the Austrians for that matter) don’t assume that everyone seeks maximum riches, that people are perfectly predictabile, act like homo economicus, etc. A great deal of the literature produced by Austrians deals with the problems of such approaches. If you want to criticize Austrian economics in the future, can I ask a favor? Do us the kind service of criticizing the Austrians for what they actually believe so that those of us with Austrian tendencies can correct our errors.

    At any rate, even with your own understanding of Hayekian econ, you’re still all wet. You are taking the Hayekian view to be along the lines of, “If X and Y and Z, then free markets are the right idea; X and Y and Z; Therefore, free markets are the right idea.” (At least this is what you seem to believe as I read you.) That much is basically right, although you attribute to Hayek some X, Y and Z other than what he actually believed. Where you screw up is in thinking that by denying the antecedent of the conditional, you’ve disproved the conclusion.

  33. >> For example in base settlers the best strategy is to settle high probability stone and get some wheat and sheep and buy tons of cards and a few cities. The primary factors in the game are then luck (both to have initial access to the best squares and dice rolls), and diplomacy, as it’s not too hard to team enough to change the balance. But if I wanted to play diplomacy, I’d play.. well… “diplomacy”, which is a much better game, though I don’t really like it.

    This is *a good strategy*. The best one? Debatable.

    There are two ‘main strategies’ in Settlers, of which one is very close to what you describe above. The other main strategy is the brick-wood strategy (enabling fast building of roads and settlements).

    http://www.boardgamegeek.com/fileinfo.php?fileid=2291 is a good doc that may be helpful.

    If you still find that your ‘best’ strategy is too powerful, then check out the Seafarers expansion (or Cities and Knights, but C&K changes the feel of the game alot more than Seafarers). The introduction of the exploration aspect means the ‘winning’ strategies for the base game need to be altered somewhat.

  34. As one of the guys who lost his lifetime sub to S&T when TSR took over, as well as seeing an excellent RPG (Universe) fall over and die… I’d have to say Greg’s analysis is pretty spot-on.

  35. Eh, my first inclination playing settlers was to go for the brick-wood route. But I think it’s much weaker than card builder. I haven’t played much of the expansions, I got bored of settlers and moved on the other games.

  36. I’d like to second Matthew’s Seafarers recommendation. I always found Settlers a bit cramped, but the extra room in Seafarers (and the flexibility of the boats) makes for a much better game.

  37. “Europa Universalis invites you to a global struggle for supremacy from the dark times of Jeanne D’Arc to the flaming wars of Napoleon. As the leader of a country you have to guide domestic and foreign policies. Engage in religious struggles, set up expeditions to claim the New World, lead your country to prosperity and victory. Send your Privateers to roam the seven seas, muster mercenaries to bolster your defences, and send missionaries to convert infidels to your State Religion. Interact with true historical events and persons to determine which path your nation will take in the game.”

    It also has some of the worst-written rules in the history of gaming. I own this Azure Wish monstrosity, and despite my interest in the period, my admiration for the complexity of the game, and the beauty of the counters, I’ve _never played it_.

    Walter.

  38. Hey, has anyone here tried “Federation Commander” yet? I’ve got it, but I have yet to find anyone else who is willing to play it.

  39. hi. i am currently developing a game that, if done well, should be very interesting. i have a few questions though and i really want players to dictate how the rules for the game evolve. i am a huge fan of letting others make me look smart by listening to their ideas. since you seem like a smart bunch of individuals i would be interested in your ideas. two important questions that will hopefully stir up debate here is how complicated do you want a game to be and when does a computer game truly benefit from high-quality graphics? if you are interested in participating at all with this project please feel free to email me at matthew.coke@purchase.edu.

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