Tag: Euro Games

The Evolution of Area Control

The Evolution of Area Control

So another mechanic that I like a good amount is area control. Area control is the mechanic in which you get a bonus for having the most figures in the area or the only figures in the area, so, you have control of the area. […]

The Evolution of Story Games

The Evolution of Story Games

I don’t really think I planned on going with some board game history and mechanic posts for a series, but I liked how the previous one turned out, and I thought it would be interesting to look at some more mechanics in that in-depth a […]

TableTopTakes: Carcassonne

TableTopTakes: Carcassonne

Recently, Peder and I have started a new tradition that we’re having a great time with so far — every other Wednesday, we’ve taken to visiting Insight, one of our favorite breweries, and settling in for an evening of gaming. We choose a game we haven’t played in a while, or one we want to play together in order to get more familiar with the rules, and just generally have a great time nerding out and drinking tasty craft brews.

For our most recent game night out, we took it back to a classic and went with Carcassonne as our game of choice. Peder’s played this one quite a bit, but I had only played it once, over two years ago, and was due for a refresher course.

Image Credit: Happy Meeple
Image Credit: Happy Meeple

In addition to being a real live (and extremely old — we’re talking pre-Middle Ages) city in France, Carcassonne was one of the first European-style games to be released. Many, many others have followed in Carcassonne’s footsteps since its release in 2000, and the style is in large part responsible for the board game renaissance we’re happily experiencing these days. In spite of its many descendants, though, Carcassonne is still one of the best-loved and well-known Euro-style games out there.

The beauty of Carcassonne is in its simplicity. The gameplay style reminds me a lot of Tsuro, just with several more elements involved. Using tiles that represent areas of land, the players (numbering from two to five) build a map around a central river, piece by piece. There are several different types of tiles — the principal river pieces, monasteries, sections of towns, and road pieces being the main ones. And just like in a lot of other Euro-style games, Carcassonne players use meeples (small, wooden, vaguely people-shaped markers) to claim tiles, and thus rack up victory points.

Points can be won in a few ways. You can put a meeple on a monastery tile to act as a monk, and you get points when the monastery is completely surrounded by other tiles. You can put a knight meeple in a partially completed city, and when the city is walled in from all sides, you take the knight out and score some points. You can place a thief meeple on a road, and remove them for points when their section of road is intersected at both ends. Or you can set a farmer meeple in an area of empty land between roads and cities and such, and then score points based on how many completed cities are connected to your meeple’s land area.

Image Credit: Boxford Software
Image Credit: Boxford Software

In true Euro fashion, you can kind of tell who’s winning based on who’s ahead points-wise, but it ain’t really over ’til it’s over because some types of points aren’t scored until the end of the game. This is my favorite Euro-style game mechanic — it means you have to employ at least some strategy, but regardless of what strategy you choose or how well it works out for you, it’s basically anybody’s game until the very end.

Carcassonne is a great game for those new to Euro-style games and who want to try them out. It’s also an excellent choice for evenings when you want a game that’s fun and fast-paced but that isn’t too involved or strategy heavy. It was certainly a great game for a relaxing evening at a favorite brewery!

Have you played Carcassonne? What do you like about it? What other Euro-style games are you a fan of? Let us know in comments!

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TableTopTakes: Five Tribes

TableTopTakes: Five Tribes

First off, wasn’t it TableTopics before? Yes, it was, however, the guys who run The RPG Academy ran into a flimsy copyright attempt against them and their podcast called Table Topics. So preemptively we are going to be changing the name. The first try at […]

Board Game Types: Euro Games

Board Game Types: Euro Games

Euro Games are probably the biggest and best-known type of board game right now. They are the games that have really brought around a revolution in how we think about board games, and what we expect board games to be like. Euro games balance luck […]

Table Top Games 101

Table Top Games 101

We’ve all seen the stacks of old games at someone’s family’s place, possibly even your own.  Clue, Monopoly, Scrabble, and others. These games, while they have their place, are pretty straightforward and lose their excitement as you grow up.

Thankfully, board games have moved forward since then into the world of what is called “European style” board games. This type of game balances strategy by giving you many ways to win, hides who is leading, and sometimes even involves cooperative play. The original example of this type of game is Settlers of Catan. This game really created a new style of tabletop gaming, which has been expanded upon greatly since.

Welcome to Table Top Games 101.

There are many different types of board games to jump into, and it can seem like an overwhelming sea. Whether you are a new player or someone who grew up playing games, there can be too much to process. What I want to do is simplify the different types of games out there and give you a starting point so you can really enjoy playing games as a social experience (which will be an upcoming post in the board game curriculum).

Types of Games

Classic Games


Image Credit: Hasbro

These games tend to be either logic- or luck-based, and the winner is either the one who knows the best strategy for the game or the person who ends up being luckiest.

Some of these games are:

  • Monopoly
  • Clue
  • Scrabble
  • Uno
  • Phase 10

These games can still be enjoyable, and are nice to play when you want to stick with an old classic.

Party Games


Image Credit: BlackLightGames

Party games are best when played with large groups. They are more meant for a good laugh than actually determining a winner or a loser and are generally fairly fast-paced.

Some of the better ones of these are:

  • Scattergories
  • Catch Phrase
  • Wits and Wagers
  • Stipulations
  • Cards Against Humanity (NSFW)
  • Fluxx

These games tend to get played out fairly quickly, and if you play them too often, you start to learn the answers to the trivia, or start to see cards more than once. On the other hand, there are a lot of party games out there, so if you are fine buying several, they won’t become too repetitive.

Euro Games


Image Credit: Days of Wonder

What makes the “Euro” games different is that they tend to have more than one way of scoring–for example, both during the game and at the end of the game. This means that someone who doesn’t appear to be close to winning can come from behind in the tallying of the final points. These games also do a good job of giving the players a variety of ways that they can play and win the game.

Some examples of Euro games:

  • Catan
  • Ticket to Ride
  • Five Tribes
  • King of Tokyo
  • Carcassone
  • Smallworld

Cooperative Games


Image Credit: Z-Man Games

This category is pretty straightforward–instead of playing against someone, everyone plays together to try to beat the game. These games tend to be more story-based than traditional ones are.

Some cooperative games:

  • Pandemic
  • Forbidden Island
  • Forbidden Desert
  • Lord of the Rings
  • Castle Panic
  • Elder Signs

These games are great to play with a less competitive group, as no one will feel like they are getting ganged up on since you’re working toward a common goal.

Semi-Cooperative Games


Image Credit: Wizards

This category is similar to the one above, but instead of everyone working together, there is a player or a group of players working against the objective of the team, often hidden from the rest of the players.

Some of the best semi-cooperative/traitor games are:

  • Resistance
  • Betrayal at House on the Hill
  • Shadows of Camelot
  • Dead of Winter

Just be warned–if someone in the group is really good at lying, there could be hurt feelings at the end of these games, but since the traitor(s) are randomly chosen, that does help in that regard.

Deck-Building Games


Image Credit: Upper Deck

There are two types of deck-building games: one where you have a pre-constructed deck that you are playing from and one where you build the deck as you go. The second type is the most common. You add cards to your deck to be able to play more cards and perform more actions to get you closer to winning.

Some deck-building games are:

  • Magic the Gathering (preconstructed decks)
  • Dominion
  • Legendary

Role-Playing Games

Dungeons and Dragons

Image Credit: Wizards

This is a category that is hard to define, but the best way that I can put it is that these are cooperative storytelling games. They’re often directed by one person who sets the scene for the story while the other players fill in details.

Popular role-playing games include:

  • Dungeons & Dragons (check out our Dungeons & Flagons Podcast for what playing sounds like)
  • Pathfinder
  • Fiasco
  • Shadowrun
  • Star Wars

You can tell many different stories in many different ways giving a very fun experience for those playing the game.


Now that we’ve had a quick summary of the different types of games that are out there, you might be thinking, where do I start?

The one game that I’m going to single out is Ticket to Ride. It is fast to learn and light on rules. It really isn’t a game that ever causes hurt feelings, and can be played completely in about an hour, so it isn’t as much of a time investment. It’s a good introduction for those who want to check out games beyond the standards from 30 years ago.

Class Dismissed.

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