The Invasion of the German Board Games
This was an interesting article from The Atlantic:
Catan, as Klaus Teuber’s hyper-profitable franchise is usually called, has many of the signature features associated with Eurogames: randomized board layouts, flexible scoring systems, an aesthetic that tends toward rustic themes and wooden pieces. But as Eklund and other Eurogame pioneers explained to me, these games’ philosophy of play is rooted in trends dating to the Second World War.
In North America, the complex board games created during the latter half of the 20th century typically took the form of simulated warfare. In Risk, Axis & Allies, Star Fleet Battles, and Victory in the Pacific, players take on the role of generals moving their units around tabletop maps. But for obvious reasons, this wasn’t a model that resonated positively with the generation of Germans who grew up in the shadow of the Third Reich. Which helps explain why all of the most popular Eurogames are based around building things—communities (Catan), civilizations (Terra Mystica), farms (Agricola)—rather than annihilating opponents. The result is a vastly more pacifist style of a game that can appeal to women as much as men, and to older adults as much as high-testosterone adolescents.
We’ve been playing this new game called Scythe that I think you’d like. It’s interesting because it’s a euro star board game but it also has mechs that can do combat. But more often than nuts there isn’t a lot of combat. You usually just focus on protecting your workers and producing resources and buildings. And there’s a mechanic called power that you use in fights. The more often than not, you’re using and growing that power so that you can deter attacks not use it to attack. It’s a cold war sort of situation.
I saw this article last night.
Long time, no see chas!
Hey John, I wondered if that was you. I'm good, trying to figure out if I can come out and play next SYR.