The other day I started to look through my gaming shelf to see what my wife and I should play. While looking through, I realized that most of my collection was made up of euro-games. This really got me thinking about why this was. I then realized that by game mechanics, euro-games were way more fun to play. Even though they don’t have as great of a theme as ameritrash games do. I had a great thought that hey maybe I should put together a list of games that every board gamer should own in their collection. In this list I’m going to start out with the best gateway games and work my way to the meatier games, so here goes.
Ticket to Ride
Here is a game that to me was one of the first games I played that got me back into board gaming. What amazed me about this game was the fact that it takes longer to set up the game than it does to teach the game to someone new. This game takes such simplistic rules and adds a dash of strategy to it and boom you have an amazing game. Basically you are collecting colored cards to lay down trains around a map of the United States. Your goal is to connect two points that are tickets that you have in your hand. I have taught this game to many of my friends and every one of them love it. If you want to introduce some of your friends that are not sure about board gaming or have a loved one that you want to introduce into your hobby this is a game for you.
Now here is a game that is considered a worker placement game. It’s simplistic in the way you play the game. You are the chief of a camp of primitive people that has to survive. There are several ways you do this. You have to hunt for food, go out and pick up resources, feed your people, and build buildings for them to survive. The game takes turns in where players take turns placing people from your tribe out to do certain actions. As you perform these actions you either collect resources, food, etc. At the end you get points for the different buildings you make, cards you collect, and left over resources you have. This is another game that is great to play with friends as everyone sits there and sees where everyone is going to place their people. Once someone places their people down you will always have some great reactions from everyone playing and for this reason this game made my list.
Every time I think about the many games of galaxy trucker that I have played a smile comes across my face. From the craziness of building my ship to the amount of screams and profanities that have been yelled as you watch your ship get blown to bits they were all great times. In galaxy trucker you play the part of a space trucker that is trying to make him or herself some money. The problem is that you are broke to begin with so to build your ship you have to use leftover scraps. The game starts out with you having a basic grid where you can put squares that represent ship parts. In the center of the table are all these little cardboard squares flipped face side down. Once you yell go players start to flip the parts over only using one hand. You place your parts down on your ship board until someone finishes. The faster you finish the better your starting position. After everyone is finished then the real fun of the game begins. You flip over cards from a deck that represent what is going to happen on your trip through space. Everything from space pirates to planets, to asteroid fields. As the cards get flipped and these events happen you just have to sit and cringe as you realize that you forgot to place a laser on the side where an asteroid is about to slam into your ship. If you want to have some rip roaring fun with your friends this is a definite buy.
The Castles of Burgundy
Now this is a game that had made a bunch of top games lists for many people. I decided to pick this up when I heard that it was a great game especially for two people. I figured this would definitely be a game that would be good for my wife and I. Sure enough it only took one play through before she was hooked on it. In castles of burgundy you have a plot of land where you have to build your kingdom. The way you build your kingdom is that there are tiles that are out on the main game board that you have to pick up to place them on your own game board. You accomplish this by rolling two dice and that is how you determine what tiles you can pick up or place on your board. What makes this game great is the fact that every time you play the game the tiles that come out to the main game board are random. Also there are several personal game boards for you to choose from so you can change which home board you have. With all these different variables this game definitely is great.
The Settlers of Catan
This is another great gateway game for people as it is very simple to learn yet it is full of great strategy. In settlers of catan you play a new civilization that has come to inhabit the island of catan. Your goal in the game is to achieve 10 victory points before everyone else. You accomplish this by creating roads, towns and cities. You get the components for these by rolling dice and the numbered squares that match the result of the die produce goods. You trade in the required cards to create what you need. The only catch to the dice is that if a seven is rolled the thief is activated by the person that rolled it and gets to move him. The player moves the thief to a numbered square and from that moment until someone else rolls a seven the square he is on does not produce any goods. Also if there are any players along the boarder of where the theif is the player that moved him can take a card from that other player. It is a great game to play and even though it may be a gateway game it is still a really fun game to play.
Now we start to get into the meatier games on the list. Tzolk’in is a game that came out this past year but has definitely taken the board gaming community by storm. The game has a unique layout in that it has 6 gears that interconnect with one another. What is really neat about this game is that when you turn the central big gear it rotates the other gears around the board. This game is an advanced worker placement game where you place a worker on the lowest spot on the gear and as turns go by the reward that you get when you pick up the player gets greater and greater. The trick to the game is that on your turn you either have to place or pick up a worker so you have to really plan out your moves so that you are not stuck pulling a worker before you intend to. The game also does an awesome job in making it where you can’t just go through one spot on the board to score points. It is definitely a game that everyone should play at least once and that is all it is going to take before you own it.
Now this was the first Euro-game that I played and fell in love with them. In Power Grid you are trying to build an empire of power plants to power some cities. The thing that makes power grid great is the fact that the winning condition for the game is not who builds the biggest empire but who can power the most cities at the end of the game. The thing is that to power your plants you need to have fuel to power them. The game does this by creating a real like economy for the fuel you have to buy. Got a coal power plant? That’s great all you have to do is buy coal but wait, coal is going to cost me 7 electro per coal where if I had an oil burning plant it will only cost me 2 electro per barrel. The game really does a great job in having you think about what power plants you want to buy based on how the market for supplies is. Oh did I forget to mention that to buy a power plant you have to bid on one and hope that no one else out bids you?? It’s a great game that was one of the games that got me hooked on euros.
Another game produced by the same game developer that brought us the castles of burgundy is Trajan. The game is great in how he made a few changes to how castles plays and adds a whole bunch of new things. In Trajan you are trying to score the most points over a few rounds. The trick to the game and what makes it so great is the fact that to perform actions in this game you have a player board that has your actions. But to perform the action you have to move these colored wooden pieces so that the last one you place lands on the action you want to perform. It is a really interesting mechanic to the game and it really makes you think about what you really want to do as the more of these wooden pieces you move the faster the game ends. It’s a really tight euro that really makes you think about what you want to do and how fast you want to do it.
Lords of Waterdeep
Now here is a game that I felt was on the fence whether or not it was a euro game or an ameri trash game. I felt that it was more of a euro game as at its core it is a worker placement game with a dungeons and dragons theme to it. In lords of waterdeep you are trying to score as many victory points by completing quests. You complete quests by collecting the right amount of colored cubes to complete it. The twist to the game is that at the beginning of the game you are assigned a lord of waterdeep card that gives you bonus victory points at the end of the five rounds based on the types of quests that you completed. It’s a very well made game that gives tons of fun when played. I loved the fact that the dungeons and dragons theme to this game is very well done and gives the game a really great feel to it.
And finally on my list of games comes a great euro cooperative game named pandemic. In pandemic the players play as different parts of the CDC trying to prevent four viruses from growing into epidemics to the point where it becomes a pandemic. In the game players get colored cards that they have to collect to create a cure to the diseases. This game is a really tough game to beat and will definitely give everyone that plays it a great challenge. Even though it is a great challenge you will find that you and your friends will constantly want to replay it. The game has several losing conditions to it including if there are more than 8 outbreaks you lose, if you run out of disease cubes to place out you lose, and if you run out of cards that the players draw from you lose. There is only one win condition for the game and that is that you have to research the cure for all four diseases. I have played this game several times and have had no problems beating the game on the easiest difficulty as long as we have had the right combination of role cards. I have not had good success with the medium difficulty and I have yet to try the hardest difficulty. It is a game that is non-forgiving but it is so much fun to play.
Well guys there you have it I hope that this list has given you guys something to think about and that you will actually try some of these out for yourselves. I have had a blast introducing these games to my wife and seen the reaction that she has had while playing them, and she is not a gamer. If you guys have any questions feel free to drop a comment below. I hope that you guys can do the same and until next time remember go out and play some games will ya.