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TOPIC: The Death of the Mid-Weight Euro (from BGG)

The Death of the Mid-Weight Euro (from BGG) 06 Feb 2017 19:11 #243571

Really good post over at BGG about the death of the mid-weight euro. I'm not going to summarize it but it's worth a read. Most the comments are of the "nuh-uh" feathers-ruffled variety, but there are some good ones in there too. Chris Farrell weighs in on page 5 with some good points.

I'm highlighting it here because it very much echoes what I've been feeling about euros for a few years now.
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The Death of the Mid-Weight Euro (from BGG) 06 Feb 2017 20:10 #243574

Interesting that this is finally starting to catch on over at BGG. Maybe in 3 or 4 years they will be going ape shit for GW and mini games.

All kidding aside...I still think mid-weight Euro games are coming out just as frequently as before...the problem is that most people don't seem to go nuts for them. They will get good to middling reviews and have a niche group of fans, but they never catch fire like Terraforming Mars, Terra Mystica, Agricola etc... Medium weight Euros are equivalent to a breezy, well made, feel good, summer film. Not flashy and bombastic enough to please the AT crowd, and not snoody or award winning enough for hardcore Euro lovers to take notice.

Stuff like Abyss, Via Nebula, Hit Z Road and Last Will have shown that these games are alive and well. It's just that the tastemakers in the industry have chosen to toss them into the "merely good" category. I think the last medium weight Euro that really made a splash was Bruno Cathala's Five Tribes. It was beautiful game that was simple to play, offered lots of choice, and was generally well received. Still, you don't hear much about it anymore despite it getting a couple of expansions.

It's interesting to see FFG's Euro Line become Wind Rider Games as they are single handily putting out all of the classic mid weight Euros in new beautiful editions. Ra, T&E, Samurai, and Citadels....damn you can't go wrong as a primer for a person just getting into Euro games. I'd point people to those titles over the typical hotness found over at BGG any day of the week.
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The Death of the Mid-Weight Euro (from BGG) 06 Feb 2017 21:02 #243578

I generally dislike playing euros, but I found the classic mid-weights to be more tolerable than any of the lightweights or the heavyweights.
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The Death of the Mid-Weight Euro (from BGG) 06 Feb 2017 22:20 #243580

Personally, I want to say the same thing about ameritrash.

Gorechosen was the best AT game in recent memory. Which is kinda sad, really. Silver tower is good, but as a person who doesn't appreciate co-ops, it loses me a bit.

So I think there is a dearth in a variety of games, considering how many are produced at an exponential rate lately. Mid euros are seen as a minor component to a full game, instead of the entire game itself. Variety suffers as less chances are taken.

AT doesn't even stand a chance when eurosnobs dictate how the latest feldian point enema are compared to a game that has a slight tweak and is carried around on a palanquin then set on the Dias of "#1rank" on bgg.

Pandemic legacy.... God damn. If that isn't the punch line to a ridiculous joke.
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The Death of the Mid-Weight Euro (from BGG) 07 Feb 2017 00:00 #243582

It seems like an ill-posed question. "Heavier than Splendor but lighter than Agricola" is subjective enough that you can make that line vanishingly narrow. For example, I think Concordia is good, but you might say it's too heavy. Santorini is good, but you might say it's too light. Five Tribes? Oh that's an exception. It just feels like a very arbitrary statement.

I suspect that the real complaint is that there are way too many mediocre games being released nowadays that it becomes impossible for a casual observer to find the wheat from the chaff, especially if you don't want to rely on tastemakers and hive minds. It's a situation where you're just going to get drowned in recommendations for games you don't like. I sympathize too; one should be able to enjoy playing games without embedding oneself in "the hobby".

In any case, if it's a problem, maybe I just don't feel it's *my* problem. Hybrid games are in fashion too, so it doesn't really matter to me if other people have their Feasts for Odin, I'll be playing Argent and Scythe and Inis at my table and having a great time.
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The Death of the Mid-Weight Euro (from BGG) 07 Feb 2017 00:26 #243583

All those games listed as counterpoints to the death of the mid-weight euro I haven't heard of or haven't played. Sounds like a win to me.

At some point it gets curmudgeonly to the point of parody, but as a general rule if a game isn't offering anything new other than a coat of paint, what's the point?

I played Ra last weekend and it ruled.
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The Death of the Mid-Weight Euro (from BGG) 07 Feb 2017 04:24 #243588

I found it an interesting thread. The title echoed my feelings, so I had a read and then I realised something that I don't think has been covered there. Namely that this is more about semantics and evolution than it is about an actual dearth of games.

Take Splendor, for example, which the OP singled out as a "lightweight" game. Y'all know I have a soft spot for Splendor and I've played it quite a bit with a wide variety of opponents. My daughter, for instance, could play it from the age of nine. So in that sense, it's certainly a "light" game, suitable for family play. On the other hand I don't think I've ever seen a neophyte player beat an experienced one. There's too much strategy and too little randomness to allow it to happen. Giving weaker players a chance is a critical part of family game design. So in that sense it's certainly not "light".

So here's my take: mediumweight Euros haven't disappeared, they've become disguised. Designers have got so good now at pulling the maximum amount of strategy out of the minimum of rules that it's increasingly hard to tell the difference between light and medium games, at least at first glance. Repeat play, however, will still tell you which is which.
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The Death of the Mid-Weight Euro (from BGG) 07 Feb 2017 08:40 #243592

I'm just glad euro designers have finally realized that every single game doesn't need to have a renaissance or farming theme.
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The Death of the Mid-Weight Euro (from BGG) 07 Feb 2017 10:49 #243600

The thing is that people new to games will love those light to middleweight Euros that they can actually buy. Five Tribes, Istanbul, Tyrants of the Underdark, whatever. To them it'll all be totally knew and worth getting excited about. I think a lot of us that have been around for awhile are just getting jaded.
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The Death of the Mid-Weight Euro (from BGG) 07 Feb 2017 11:54 #243605

I'm using my family gaming group as anecdata. I know that they've been playing for years, but they don't like learning new rules. For them, learning new rules is an obstacle to overcome, to get to the fun of the game. Tz'olkin is not hitting the table, unless "Everyone get mad at RobertB" is the experience that I'm looking for. Once they get past learning the rules, they'll have fun with it.

I think that's a key difference between games like Takenoko and games like Dominant Species. If new rules don't bother you, or you actually like learning new rules, then heavyweight games might be your thing.
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The Death of the Mid-Weight Euro (from BGG) 07 Feb 2017 13:26 #243611

^YUP. Key insight. Great post, Robert. Modern Euro/AT gaming has a lot of "learning new rules" during the game. That's the card thing in every game with a different power, or different player powers. Most folks who aren't big gamers that I tend to play with DO NOT LIKE THIS. It's an impediment to their gaming.

FWIW, I love powers, cards, variable player powers, etc. I try to chill the fuck out about it, though, because I know it's because I like learning new rules and being surprised.
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The Death of the Mid-Weight Euro (from BGG) 07 Feb 2017 13:44 #243614

I'm not big on learning new rules. If I like a game system enough, I'll maybe dive into it. Cthulhu Wars annoyed me with all of the exceptions to stuff, although it's a game I might like if I gave it more chances. The price point is stupid though, so I have no interest in getting it.

A lot of gamers aren't good at teaching rules, or they buy too many games to get really good at teaching any of them... I had a time where I sat through a 40 minute lecture to play a 60-minute kids' game. I really enjoy teaching games, but I also like games that can get people playing within minutes even if they have a lot of breadth. Summoner Wars, Dominion, Revolution!, Nexus Ops, Settlers of Catan, all of those social deduction games, etc. I can play heavier games, but I find a lot off them dull even when I know them. I'm playing my annual game of Advanced Civilization this weekend! The rules are remarkably simple for something that long, and it's mostly about diplomacy and trading, which I like.
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The Death of the Mid-Weight Euro (from BGG) 07 Feb 2017 14:07 #243615

That's why Pandemic Legacy is the number one game on the Geek-- every time you play, you have to learn some new rules.
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The Death of the Mid-Weight Euro (from BGG) 07 Feb 2017 18:15 #243633

For me the great medium-weight Euros are of the "do one thing (or two things) and do it well" variety. These games don't necessarily need to be very thematic because the gameplay and what you need to do to be competitive is self-evident as you play.

Once you start adding mechanics and tweaks you probably slide out of medium and into heavy-weight on my scale. Reason being that if I have to explain how different systems and subsystems interact then the game has already lost that intuitive appeal and starts wandering into mechanical interaction territory. This is when things get puzzley and more opaque. This is when things become frustrating to learn. AT games can be guilty of this also.

Additionally we've gotten to a point where the obviousness of how a mechanic works is being taken for granted. There seems to be a design nod-and-wink that things like area control and auctions and worker placement are the simple and easy-to-learn. That is definitely not the case when I'm trying to teach a game to non-regular gamers. Recently it took a full playthrough before a new group of players I was teaching really fully grasped Beowulf: The Legend. Not because the game is difficult or opaque or that I'm a bad teacher, but because there are several different auction types and that's pretty intimidating for non-gamers. On my scale Beowulf: The Legend is about the heaviest a medium-weight Euro should be. BGG's complexity scale ranks it as medium-light.
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The Death of the Mid-Weight Euro (from BGG) 07 Feb 2017 23:47 #243646

A new acronym:

FPE: Feldian Point Enema
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