Friday, March 16, 2007

Trashing Ameritrash

My mum once told me "if you can't say something nice don't say anything at all". I think at the time I'd been served curried sausages for dinner. Anyway, my personality is such that I was a whole lot quieter after that. But she never mentioned anything about blogging.

I've been watching the amazing events at BGG for the last few days and wondering what side of the argument I'm on. I like free speech, but I want people to shut up. I respect Aldie's decisions, I wish he didn't have to make them. I like Barnes' wit, I can see how he rubs people up the wrong way. But rather than go down that path too far I'm going to give honest opinions on games.

I can't tell you what Ameritrash is but I know it when I see it. Railroad Tycoon. Axis and Allies. Twilight Imperium 3. Many many games that I choose not to play. I'll admit it, I'm not a big fan of Ameritrash. Yes, I'm a Eurosnoot. So shoot me... with your tiny little plastic guns. I'm a mathematician at heart and I love to see mathematics at work. A Steiner triple system is mathematics, totalling the result of 2d6 is not.

BattleLore: I'm a fan of the Command and Colors system, rating each of them about an 8. Do they count as Ameritrash? It's hard to classify a game published by an American company that sells because of its tiny little plastic armies as anything else. So I have to admit I do like the C&C Ameritrash.

Railroad Tycoon: Takes way too long and isn't very interesting. The bizarre financial exploits of the 19th century railroad barons should be confined to history's shame file, not celebrated in games. I rate it a 4 because I was feeling kind that day.

Twilight Imperium 3: Takes way too long and isn't very interesting. The designer took some Euro ideas for this game but they didn't save it. Aimed at people who don't have a life, this game is completely unrewarding as you spend several hours building an economy so you can build space ships that you can lose with a dice roll. Only Americans can love this game - it gives them an opportunity to understand the Star Wars program. It's also aimed at people who think you should wage war just because you can... as opposed to Eurosnoots who know that you only engage in conflict if you expect to gain more than you lose, such as petrodollar hegemony for example.

Arkham Horror: As much as I aspire to despise all American culture, I often fail. Violent Femmes are awesome. House M.D. is awesome. H.P. Lovecraft is awesome. This game does a fine job of animating Lovecraft's milieu, and I admire it a lot. On the other hand, I try to avoid playing it against other people. It takes a very long time and you're at the mercy of the cards. It's also quite complex. I give it an 8, but I only want to play it as a solitaire game.

Heroscape: I bought a couple of sets of this because the bits are so cool and they were very cheap. We played once and even the kid didn't like it. Cool bits, no game. You've got to ask - are these people selling games or are they selling plastic? Of course Hasbro doesn't care. I gave it a 4.

Runebound: This game is similar to Arkham Horror in that I love the theme so much that I must play the game, but allowing other people to play as well would spoil it for me. I like to go off on a trip by myself... This is my favourite solitaire game and ... well just read my lengthy session report. I give the game an 8.5 at the moment, and I'm still buying expansions.

Nexus Ops: I only have time for one more item, so I'll make it a different one. I very much admire the design of Nexus Ops, I just didn't have fun playing it. I think the way VPs are awarded for small goals is very very good, much better than TI3, but I don't really want to play a game where I build stuff and then people trash it. It's too depressing. There's not enough maths. It's just being horrible to people, even though there is a good reason. I'm torn between disliking this game for that and admiring it for its success in achieving what it set out to do, so I sat on the fence and gave it a 6.

It seems the only Ameritrash games I like are those that play with 1 or 2 players. Sitting around a massive game board for 6 hours with people beating on me is just not my idea of fun. I'd rather play St Petersburg.


Ryan Walberg said...

Thanks for the tip, I'll definitely check out Arkham Horror.

Ty-BannGerald said...

My goodness, friendless, you show some teeth in this post.

I find myself in considerable agreement with you. Games and Barnes.

Ty-BannGerald said...

Er... I'm Bohemian, btw.

Mrs Mean said...

Ameritrash? I of Mean Manor thinks of the trash Americans pulp out.

Browsing Borders books recently with Mr Mean, I came across two Scrabble dictionaries, both 4th edition, both hard cover, both 40% off (doesn't Mrs Mean love a bargain!). Both the same quality paper.

The one made in America cost over $30 full price, the one made in China was a mere $25 full price, ($15 at 40% off, of course).

This is the trash of America! What trash! What trash!