Wednesday, 31 October 2007

Its official: According to BGG, Euros now suck

This blog’s not so secret origins lay in the fact that my fellow FATies and I got tired of hearing the trumpeting of the BGG ‘masses’ about the Euro revolution, the new enlightenment in gaming spreading like the word of Christ from Germany that was set to change the world of cardboard forever. Plastic trembled in its spurs as African rainforests were felled en masse in order to create the new messiah of gaming – the meeple.

Now according to those same people, Euros are suddenly not worth the money.

Yes, I am of course referring to mayfair’s decision to put a 20% floor price (also known as “price fixing” to intellectual simpletons who don’t know what price fixing actually is) on their games.

Let us take a quick look at the basic three gamer groups and their buying habits:

Ameritrashers probably have the most expensive games of the three; we like lots of stuff, and we don’t mind paying for it. FFG’s epic boxes seem to be big sellers, we are forever forking out into expansions, and our subgroups such as collectable card/miniature games and table top games are known as money pits in the wider gaming world. The out of print market on ebay is very strong, classics like Warhammer Quest, Dune and Magic Realm command a pretty penny, and each year more reprints of such classics as Talisman and Titan are announced to a hungry audience. Ameritrashers love their games and are willing to spend on them.

Wargamers are possibly worse. At least when we ameritrashers pay top dollar for a game we get top shelf stuff. Wargamers pay top dollar for a few paper maps and some thin cardboard chits for some game they will probably have to play online anyway! Not only that but they pay for these games months before they even come out! Certainly they are mad, but no one can deny that there is a deep seeded love there.

Now finally we come to Eurogamers, who will evangelise the hobby ‘till the cows come home, build new rooms to store their exponentially growing collections and try and fit a dozen different games into their schedule every game night. Then they boycott a company because they can’t get 35% off.

What the hell?

So let me get this straight – Settlers of Catan, Pillars of the earth, Modern Art, Tigris And Euphrates, and every other game these geek gold whores have been pimping since the moment I first logged into BGG are suddenly not that great because you have to pay full price. Let me repeat that – you don’t consider these games, which you have wasted reams and reams of bandwidth on, worth their full recommended retail price?

Get the fuck out of here you fickle bastards.

These games are not games are going UP in price (which would piss anyone off,) all that is happening is that these “fans” are now going to be expected to pay the normal price, actually not even that - 20% less than normal price. Yet this move is enough to apparently cause people to jump off the bandwagon. I really have to wonder why there aren’t more gay guys in the Eurogame scene with all of the big tight asses that are there.

Then again maybe if I was buying games with the mentality that a dozen plays is “more than I’ll get out of any game” I’d think RRP was a rip off too. Thankfully AT isn’t that disposable.

The biggest irony of course is that all of the people who are outraged because they have a right to 35% off, and who don't perceive games to be worth their RRP, are demonstrating the exact reason why Mayfair is doing this in the first place.

The net conclusion is simple – if Eurogames are only worth buying if your getting a hefty discount then they can’t be that great to begin with. Ergo AT and Wargames, whose fans happily pay full price for (notice StarCraft is selling out everywhere even though it doesn’t have the normal hefty discount,) are superior. You Euroclowns who were attempting to shove your “not worth RRP” shit down our throat for years can express your apologies bellow, starting with Monkey-Man.

Happy Halloween from Silver Shamrock Novelties

AMC is showing HALLOWEEN III as I type...what a nutty movie. The Silver Shamrock song is pretty much always playing in my mind at any given point in my life.

Anyhoo, Steve Weeks sent out a notice a couple of days ago...the Ultimate Podcast is resurrected for a special Halloween show. Love him or hate him, you know you're gonna listen.

And if that doesn't scare the Eurogamers off the lawn, just put up a FLGS sign and tell 'em they gotta pay full MSRP.

Monday, 29 October 2007

Wicked Thoughts on Games by Ubarose

When forced to play Euro auction games, pretend you have Tourettes. During the bidding yell out a random word or phase such as "Holy jump-a-mum-mum" or "underpants" or, if you prefer, words that cause your e-mail to be intercepted and quarantined by corporate IT security.

When forced to play a game with one of these, suddenly say, "Oh. I have to remember to pick up C batteries on the way home." Then write yourself a note so you don't forget.

When forced to play Leonardo da Vinci, carefully study the backs of the cards throughout the game.

and have a Happy Halloween.

Friday, 26 October 2007

A Case of the Mondays

Thursday, 25 October 2007

The Cracked LCD Halloween Special

With Special Guest Star Frank Branham

I rarely write fiction but when I do, I generally rip off H.P. Lovecraft as much as possible. Which means, of course that I am vicariously ripping off Edgar Allan Poe, Lord Dunsany and Arthur Machen, right? Steal from the best, I always says.

Anyway, this week's edition of Cracked LCD is the Halloween special. And yes, it is a "very special" Cracked LCD. We, along with "Branham" learn a few very valuable lessons about "supercollecting" and obsessing over German board games.

Wednesday, 24 October 2007

Rumors of my Demise have been Greatly Exaggerated

As a typical disgruntled Englishman, I have an inveterate dislike of American cultural Imperialism. Not so much American culture itself, you understand but more of circumstances when annoying aspects of your culture thoughtlessly overwrite lomh-cherished bastions of Englishness. Such as the fact that your bastardised dialect of our fine language is now known throughout the world as “International English” whatever the hell that’s supposed to mean.

Bearing this in mind, it is with a heavy and grudging heart that I have to admit that one thing Americans do better than we do is Halloween. Halloween is of course originally a Celtic festival, and I grew up in Ireland where it’s still celebrated passionately, and I learned to love it. I mean, a night of the year when the boundaries between worlds become thinner, magic is more potent and the dead are supposed to walk … come on, how cool is that? On arriving in England for the first time I was appalled by the off-hand manner in which it’s treated by everyone except young children. Seriously – over the past few years I’ve made a point of searching the terrestrial TV channels for horror-themed films or programmes shown on or around the 31st of October and there’s never, ever anything on. I don’t remember the last time we had trick-or-treaters at the door, even though I religiously stock up on sweets beforehand so I can reward anyone who is out celebrating the festival (and of course I get to scoff them all myself over the ensuing weeks when no-one turns up). Christian or otherwise, this is a seriously big chunk of our cultural heritage we’re missing out on.

Most gamers seem to love Halloween and no small wonder – many of us who were raised on the Ameritrash classics of yesteryear got into the gaming hobby precisely because we loved ghouls and goblins and all that fantasy stuff. I’d be curious to see if the younger generation who were raised on Eurogames have the same passion, but that’s an aside. The time-honoured way for a gamer to celebrate the festival is, of course, to pull out and play a bunch of horror-themed games. Witness, as evidence, the cavalcade of “games for Halloween” type lists that appear on Boardgamegeek around this time every year.

I’m no exception to this trend. At the same time as stocking up on sweets I always plan to spend the evening playing some horror games from my collection. Since I actually own very few horror games (for reasons we’ve discussed previously on the blog). I occasionally use it as an excuse to buy another one. And then the same thing happens every year: I call up my gaming friends and say to them all “You up to play some games on 31st October?” and, roughly five years out of every seven they replay “That’s a weeknight! No way! I have to go to work the next day!”. These people aren’t sleep wussies either – we used to have regular Titan sessions on a Monday night. It’s just the usual English apathy about the festival rearing its ugly head again.

My gaming friends are usually willing to compromise by having a horror game session at the nearest weekend instead. I am not. I have a firm and unshakable belief that if you’re going to celebrate something, you ought to do it on the specified date or nor do it at all. Would you celebrate Christmas in late January just because it suited your schedule a little better? Of course not! So why pay lip server to less well regarded festivals like Halloween? Indeed it seems to me that of all the yearly celebrations Halloween is perhaps the one which is best celebrated on the actual date. It’s a mystical event in the calendar: on this night and this night only the spirits break forth to terrorise the living. Come Friday night they’ll be gone, so what’s the point of trying to appease/commune with/exorcise them then? So, sad as it may be, I’ve managed to organise just one Halloween game that I can recall.

Because of this fashion for horror games on Halloween night, it ought to be absolute pig-in-mud time for Ameritrash evangelists because it’s the one occasion on which even the most dyed-in-the wool Eurogamer might be persuaded to sit down and trawl through a session of Fury of Dracula. Why? Well, to misquote Bill Clinton “It’s the atmosphere, stupid!”. For the one night of the year everyone can just put aside everything they think they know about “good” and “elegant” game design and just get down and dirty and enjoy the haunt. What they’re enjoying, of course, is what those of us who love our AT games any night of the year usually refer to as “theme”. They’re discovering that a game can be fun to play for the value and quality of the theme and narrative alone, and that in these sorts of games, strategy and elegance are just icing on a cake which is damn tasty all by itself.

So, come Halloween when you sit down to the smorgasbord of horror games that have been prepared for you, remember that the value you’re getting from your play is the value that Ameritrash gamers hold dear. Remember it well, and recall that feeling the next time you’re inclined to mock us for enjoying our pointless, luck-filled, over-chromed games and think carefully before offering an opinion.

Otherwise, next year, we’ll send the Hunting Horrors after you.

Tuesday, 23 October 2007

Human Sacrifice, Dogs and Cats Living Together, Mass Hysteria

In case you haven't heard, yes, it's true--Fortress: Ameritrash's own Mr. Skeletor is currently Boardgamegeek's resident "Geek of the Week".

You can see the thread here:

Mr. Skeletor's GOTW Thread

Here's a rare opportunity to find out everything you've ever wanted to learn about Mr. Skeletor--such as his favorite games (hint: some were published by Fantasy Flight Games) and also his favorite Golden Girl (hint: it's the slutty one.)

Monday, 22 October 2007

F:AT Invitational.

Ok So I have the 8 players for the game and I will be inviting 2 replacement players Just in case.

They are:
Will Kenyon
Mr Skeletor
Big A


I need everyone to who has not done so already to send me their email addresses. Either message me on BGG or email them to buccheri at

If i do not hear from you by 5pm on Tuesday the 23rd I will replace you.


Friday, 19 October 2007

The Weekly AT Snapshot--October 19th, 2007

Little Timmy has just received a Candyland set for his third birthday! He and his buddies tear open the box and sit down to play.

What game could be more appropriate for these overexcited, sugar-filled little scamps?It is a long, long journey, but Timmy has successfully navigated the lollypop woods, escaped from the molasses swamp, evaded the gooey gumdrops, and reached the final purple space. He draws his very last card...

(Unbeknownst to Timmy and his parents, the evil Michael Barnes has recently infiltrated Milton Bradley's printers, furthering his dastardly plot to insert the Horrible Black Void into each and every board game known to man.)

Today's photo and write-up come to us again from Mark "NeonPeon" Wrynn. Thanks, Mark!


If you've got a great image that just screams Ameritrash, email us the image or a URL.

It can be an image you created or an image you found on the web. We don't care! If it meets our strict quality standards, we'll publish it in The Weekly AT Snapshot, instantly making you an undeniable global celebrity.

We'll even pimp your website if you send us the URL for that. Send all submissions to with the word "Snapshot" in the subject line.

Thursday, 18 October 2007

This Glaive Kills "Discerning Gamers"

Yes, it's the Glaive from the film KRULL. Hop over to Gameshark to read about KRULL and a little game called...TALISMAN.

I was hoping we could use the feedback here to discuss the probability ratios and Bayesian statistics that reveal how TALISMAN is in fact, not a strategy game and that there are no meaningful decisions in it. Perhaps we, as "Discerning Gamers", can come up with an explanation why the game has been perennially popular for over 25 years and has outlasted many highly regarded and more sophisticated games. Certainly it's just nostalgia, right?

Fuck that, TALISMAN rocks.

Wednesday, 17 October 2007

First Annual F:AT Invitational TI3 game

The time has come to crown a champ. We here at F:AT play a lot of games. You, our sometimes faithful readers, play a lot of games; someone has to rise to the top and claim the prize as the most bad assed gamer ever to read an article written by Michael Barnes.

Thats right! it is time to put your strategy cards selections where your collective mouths are. It is time for the Inaugural Fortress Ameritrash Invitational TI3 game. This game will decide who among us will have the title of Ti3 Bad Ass '07.

Now I know you are asking yourselves "How the fuck can I get in on this action?" Well it is an invitational, so you need to be invited. But this is not some sort of inner circle Gathering of Friends type thing. No no we don't play like that here at the Fortress. I personally will be picking the players based on who proves themselves most worthy of competition. How do you do that? well the only guideline is that it must be done as a reply to this blog. So convince me that you are worth inviting.

Note: that you must be prepared to play Ti3 on the wiki site ( You have to be familar with the game. Sorry but no newbies can be crowned Bad Ass. In addition there will be some House Rules for this game that change things a bit (thanks to the folks who I ruthlessly stole these ideas from.) You must be willing to play the game online, this requires checking the Google group/wiki daily Monday - Friday. Also be prepared for a long game, these thing can take months to complete so be ready for the long haul.

So post up your reasons as to why you deserve a shot at the title. F:AT bloggers (save myself) are eligible to play. I will post up the players shortly as well as periodic accounts of whats happening in the game for all those weenies who don't make the cut.

The Winner of the game will be the F:AT Bad-Ass for the next 12 months. This entitles you to post replies that say things like "fuck off- I am the F:AT Bad-Ass", along with other "Fringe" benefits like getting all the hot chicks at the bar, that promotion at work and winning the lottery.

Good Luck


Official F:AT Essen Coverage (for Mike Chapel)

Here that lonesome, pensive gorilla-like bitching? That's F:AT regular MIKE CHAPEL complaining about the lack of Essen '07 coverage here. Now, of course, we do have EXCLUSIVE Essen coverage if you pay me a nonrefundal $25 paypal "membership fee". That's where you get EXCLUSIVE coverage on all the exciting games being released there, like HAMBURGEN, KINGSBURG, and so on. Bur for our freeloading members, I did a Google image search to round up some material for our very own Essen slideshow. Here's just a little taste of what those crazy "Spielfrieks" from all over the world are experiencing right now- even as we speak!

Impromptu Mailbag--Filling in for Skeletor

There's a good letter in the bag still left for Skeletor, but I had to take this one, BEFORE IT WAS TOO LATE...


Good Day, Please Read.My name is Mr.Song Lile i am the director of operation in Hang Seng Bank Hong Kong.

I have a business proposal in the tune of $19.5m. After the successful transfer, we shall share in ratio of 30% for you and 70% for me.

Should you be interested, please contact me through my private email (LIKE I'M GOING TO SHARE THIS WITH YOU GUYS! --Ken) so we can commence all arrangements and I will give you more information on how we would handle this project.

Please treat this business with utmost confidentiality and send me the following.

Full names:
Private phone number:
Current residential address:

Kind Regards, Mr. Song Lile.


Well, Mr.'ve just made my dreams come true! 19 MILLION?! Dude, that's a lot of coffin-sized FFG games right there! With those proceeds, I can buy the FFG crew some serious "Thank You" gifts....for Jeremy, a Slave Leia costume....for Thaadd, a "Game Designers Journal" to help her keep her myriad design projects safe...for Kevin Wilson, an autographed picture of me...the list goes on and on and on. I can even buy Mike Chapel a giant codpiece for his monkey genetalia. My altruism shall know no bounds! MY LEDGERDOMAIN SHALL BE KINDNESS AND LOVE!

I mean, I'm not sure how you got my email address Mr. Song, I'm assuming it's because you read my "Geek of the Week" posts on BGG and were so impressed you had to contact me right away. Believe me dude, I totally understand.

Here are the details you need:

Full Names: Michael Hunt
Private Phone Number: (555) 555-1212
Current Residential Address: 420 Paper Street, Wilmington, DE, 19886
Occupation: Male Stripper
Age: A lady never tells

Anyway, it's been fun writing for you guys, but now that I'm rich, y'all can bite me.

Friday, 12 October 2007

The Weekly AT Snapshot--October 12, 2007

"Gee Brain, what do you want to do tonight?"

"The same thing we do every night, Pinky - try to do...uh...whatever the hell it is that's supposed to be going on in this game."

Man, I hate abstracts.

Today's image was brought to us by Simon Mueller. Thanks, Simon!


If you've got a great image that just screams Ameritrash, email us the image or a URL.
It can be an image you created or an image you found on the web. We don't care! If it meets our strict quality standards, we'll publish it in The Weekly AT Snapshot, instantly making you an undeniable global celebrity.

We'll even pimp your website if you send us the URL for that. Send all submissions to with the word "Snapshot" in the subject line.

Thursday, 11 October 2007

LAST NIGHT ON EARTH Fails to Deliver Zombie Vs. Shark Action

Sadly, Jason Hill/Flying Frog's LAST NIGHT ON EARTH completely fails to bring us anything nearly as badass and amazing as this scene from Lucio Fulci's ZOMBI 2...instead, there's plenty of rural hick versus zombie action, which I think is boring. Give me the urban apocalypse of DAWN OF THE DEAD over the farmhouse follies of NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD. Anyway, it's a pretty darn good game and probably the best zombie game out there regardless of the fact that it isn't as different from ZOMBIES!!! as internet opinion seems to suggest it is. In fact, if you took ZOMBIES!!! and added scenarios, character abilities, and tweaked the combat system you'd have the same game but with someone controlling the zombies. You still wander around and search buildings for cards and roll a bunch of dice. BUT IT COMES WITH A CD!

I guess that's why it's "cool" to like LNoE but not ZOMBIES!!!...I give a good review and think overall it's going to be the next BETRAYAL- an easy to play, but not that mechanically great, horror-themed game that will have a lot of crossover appeal.

Speaking of zombies...just watched 28 WEEKS LATER. It's fucking great. Top shelf all the way and better than DAYS.

BTW, it's my birthday and none of you bastards got me all those SUPREMACY expansions I wanted...make up for it by going on to Gameshark now.

Wednesday, 10 October 2007

REALLY Deep Thoughts About Gaming...

So I was writing next week's Gameshark column (which is going to be a "Games from the Crypt" installment about TALISMAN) and I had an epiphany. There is one simple mechanic, one singular card, that could save the Eurogame fad from complete extinction while also making even the lamest games suddenly more thrilling.

Ladies and Gentlemen, I give you...the HORRIBLE BLACK VOID.

Imagine you're playing a game of say, PORTOBELLO MARKET when all of a sudden one player is sucked into the Horrible Black Void by an unlucky card draw. All of a sudden, a dull game about selling mushrooms (I guess) becomes dramatic and interesting and in the players' minds a narrative develops about how this mushroom merchant prior to the game's events crossed some wicked sorceror who cursed him to go sailing into infinite doom- how's that for profits being "in the black"?

Of course, the bitching and whining about "the luck element" and the gnashing of teeth that an hour or two was completely and totally wasted since the player's strategy didn't pan out will follow...but that's OK, because rather than monday morning quarterbacking why they lost it's real fuckin' clear- they fell into a Horrible Black Void.

I can't think of a single game that wouldn't benefit from a Horrible Black Void card. It should be a mandatory inclusion in every game just to keep people on their toes. Imagine the excitement it would bring to even the most boring auction game like MODERN ART or AUGSBURG 1620- the HBV turns up and players have to bid to avoid getting sucked into it and being kicked unceremoniously out of the game. Or a game like TICKET TO RIDE when a player's entire train line is immediately '86ed due to pulling the Horrible Black Void while trying to complete a set of green cards.

That's really the key to making it work- the player has to lose EVERYTHING and be put immediately out of the game so they can either fetch snacks and drinks for everyone or go home early, having wasted their entire evening.

I always thought the second person up there ought to be able to catch that guy's Talisman and helmet...

Burnout: Taken Down Edition

I've been debating writing this for the past several weeks or so. First of all, why should you care? Secondly, is this what the blog is about?

But then again...we've been posting here for six months, and most of us have babbled about whatever seemed important to us at the moment, and you guys (and gals) have kept reading. goes.

What do you do with boardgame burnout?

Right now, I've got it wickedly bad. Not to the degree where I don't want to play, but to the point where I do feel like I'm going through the motions. A few weeks ago we had a get-together to game; we ended up playing half a game of Original Trilogy Star Wars Risk before abandoning it to watch football and play Bioshock.

I thought that maybe it was just a bad session, but a couple of weeks later we tried Siege of the Citadel one of my favorite games. The energy just wasn't there. Somehow one of the best shoot-em-up boardgames ever designed didn't even inspire the type of excitement it should have.

Maybe it was to be expected. For the past two-and-a-half years I've done nothing but eat, breathe, and sleep boardgames. Time not spent playing them was spent reading about them. Time not spend buying them was planning on what I was going to buy. Time not spend trading them was spent meticulously figuring out what and when I could trade.

Problem #1 is that I'm one of the primary enablers of my boardgaming friends. For the most part, if it is going to get played, I have to buy it. I have to teach it. I have to help schedule it. Rules pile up in my brain like a freeway crash as I try to keep rulesets for a 100 games in my head. This of course fails miserably and our sessions grind to a halt as pages are flipped, rules are consulted, and the pace of our games slow to a crawl.

Problem #2 is the inertia of a larger board game collection. This poses a problem on many levels. First, you start to look at your collection as having certain areas "covered". You think, "I already have a game based on global conquest, one based on dungeoneering/adventuring, one on sci-fi shoot-em-ups, etc."

Also, and this is more maddening, you end up with the backlog. Gaming time just can't keep up with the acquisitions so you end up with a laundry list of games you were excited to get but just can't seem to get table time with all the heavy competition. Getting burned like that makes you hesitant to look into getting new games. You start to see them as "One more to add to the backlog."

Problem #3 is the demon temptress of video games. Like most board gamers, I'm a multi-hobby geek. I may own 170+ boardgames and CCGs but I own 13 consoles and nearly 350 games for them. In years past I'd always cycle between my hobbies; I'd be heavily into video games for a few months before drifting back into CCGs and after that it'd be back to buying movies and DVDs. Somehow I managed to avoid that during the past two+ years, even though I'd dabble again in dead CCGs or more games my primary interest was boardgaming. We'd game at lunch, we'd game at work, we'd plan monthly gaming sessions, we'd excitedly list off 10-20 games we'd like to squeeze in "sometime soon", the list goes on and on and on.

This has been reflected by the fact that I don't own a next generation console yet. Since having an Atari 2600 as a child, I have owned a new console that I wanted within a year of its release. Now, I'm starting to feel that as I play my brother's new Nintendo Wii or my cousin's XBox 360. If I took the money from the last few boardgames I'd purchased, I'd have one of these systems already.

Some of you have noticed that my contributions have diminished, and have rightfully called me out on having lower quality posts than in the past. The bit I wrote on theme vs. mechanics wasn't terribly inspired and something I cobbled together so I could contribute something. I was invited to write for to bring some Ameritrash flavor to the place, and what have I done with that? Nothing. I just...can't...think of what to write about that's of any interest.

(Unless they want a review of Bioshock. That's a hell of a game.)

The scariest part of all was looking at my closet last night and thinking what else I could be doing with all that space. And the sudden urge to flag half the games I have for trade on BGG (though what would I trade them for? More games?)

I'm hoping things will pass, and I think they will. There have truly been some great Ameritrash stuff released this year. Whereas Euro games seem to be stuck in even more of a rut than I do, a lot of energy is going into bringing us better Ameritrash games with clean rules (though still complex enough for flavor!), insane production values, and great themes. Look at Last Night on Earth--a game I do need to get, as it might be just the ticket to light the fire again.

Anyway, I just thought I'd put that out there. What do you guys do when you experience burnout? Can this gamer be saved? And are boobies on Boardgamegeek a bad thing?

Monday, 8 October 2007

Deep Thoughts on Games by Ubarose

A group of people who can not remember to move out the car at the foot of a driveway, before attempting to back out the car at the head of a driveway, should not play fiddly games unsupervised.

Play responsibly. Appoint a designated turn marker mover.

Friday, 5 October 2007

The AT Weekly Snapshot--October 5th, 2007

Setting: 15th Century. The principality of Wallachia employs unique processes that serve the dual function of deterring outside invaders as well as entertaining the royalty.

The prince has personally contracted the players to maximize process efficiency, through acquisition and utilization of resources. Among these resources are food, peasants, pikes and Turks. The prince will hold unexpected feasts at random processing sites - the players who can quickly lay out food and the proper atmosphere will receive the prince's utmost admiration. Players who fail will instead feel his piercing disappointment.

Today's snapshot and write-up comes courtesy of Mark Wrynn. Thanks, Mark!


If you've got a great image that just screams Ameritrash, email us the image or a URL.

It can be an image you created or an image you found on the web. We don't care! If it meets our strict quality standards, we'll publish it in The Weekly AT Snapshot, instantly making you an undeniable global celebrity.

We'll even pimp your website if you send us the URL for that. Send all submissions to with the word "Snapshot" in the subject line.

Thursday, 4 October 2007

A Night at the Opera

In honor of my gaming buddy Lyman Hurd, who often eschews gaming in favor of going to the opera (join me in heckling this bourgeois top hat-and-monocle mentality, won't you), I would like to present my review of TANNHAUSER. It's not about nazis. OR IS IT???

Big Game Event in Atlanta

Hey y' gaming buddy Steve "Tanktop" Avery asked me to post this here...this is a pretty big gaming event we're putting on in Atlanta so if you can make it, do so. I'm not responsible for the contents of this post, so any guarantees he makes are not guaranteed. Come help us make this something more than yet another gaming event featuring 30-40 middle-aged men sitting around quietly playing THURN AND TAXIS. Won't you please? Of course, he tried to bait Mr. Skeletor and get a jab in at me but he failed to put a date on it- it's the weekend of October 19th.

I would be remiss if I did not post the details of the Mercer Game Extravaganza here on Fortress AT. Why? because there's going to be more ATgames there than you can possibly indulge in playing. and if that weren’t enough – there’s also prizes and chili. Ok, I don't know where the chili fits into this but I *promise* you that if you make it down to the ATL you'll have a good time. In fact, I'll guarantee that if you don't have a good time, then I'll buy the first round of drinks at the Hispanic strip club around the corner.

Some highlights:

We'll be flying in Mr. Skeletor to engage in hand to hand combat with our own Rob Martin. Skeletor has size speed and skill but Rob fights dirty...It should be a good fight.

We'll be hanging a life size piƱata of Barnes that will spout real blood when you hit it. It also ridicules lesser board games on any genital hit.

and of course ...we'll be doing shots of tequila every time another piece of clothing is removed during Strip Ca$h n Gun$. Enough skin to make beached whales jealous.

Don't take my word for it for yourself here:


Tuesday, 2 October 2007

Ameritrashers are Leaders. Eurogamers are followers.

It has been said that there are 2 types of people in this world, those who lead and those who follow. I have a different way of thinking, a slightly more cynical boolean classification for the worlds population. The two types of people in Malloc's worlds are Creeps and Assholes.

So I was having a conversation with a friend the other day and we got onto the topic of gamer types. Why does this guy like Eurogames, why dose that guy like Ameritrash. It was clear that there were distinct personality types that favored each style of game. Eruogames with their passive aggressive nature, clearly defined mechanics and relatively short playtimes attracted one set or personalities. While AT titles with their in your face, heavily theme influenced rules and relatively long length appealed to others.

Now, I am sure my sample would not satisfy even the loosest of scientific standards, but I tended to notice that the people I would consider to be creeps, you know the kind of fella who is usually quiet, sometimes complains and gets his way through manipulation tended to favor eurogames. On the other hand those who I consider to be Assholes, brass individuals who never stay quiet when the opportunity to offer an opinion is concerned and tend to get their way via direct confrontation, these folks love a good AT game.

Now I am not condemning or condoning being either a creep or an asshole, remember we are all one or the other. (often this changes in different situations) I just wanted to get an idea of what you all consider yourselves when you are gaming. For the record, it should be obvious that I consider myself a total asshole.


Ameritrash--Theme or Mechanics?

Here's today's Ameritrash defined more by theme, or mechanics?

On the one hand, it's pretty obvious that it's theme that gets you in the door. Science Fiction and Fantasy are the two main themes that you'll find in most Ameritrash games. It's also why there is debate over what fits and what doesn't--"But...but it has Terminators riding Dinosaurs!"

Think about it--games with Zombies, or Cyborgs, or Dragons, or potty-mouthed Clerics...where is your first impulse to classify these? "Pff! That can't be Euro. It's got friggin' Pirates!" That's an actual train of thought when attempting to classify Pirate's Cove.

This often bounces right into the mechanics portion, and based on how European gaming influences have bled into American-style games--"cleaning them up" if you will--this adds to the confusion. Is Shogun Ameritrash? It has cubes and a highly abstracted combat resolution system, but it is about war, combat, and conflict, about duking it out on a Risk-style map.

What about individual elements of Ameritrash games? Dice? The first thing people hit you with is, "well, Settlers has dice." Yes, yes it does. Randomness in general? I've determined that Lost Cities is about as random as it gets, so much so that even if I played 200 games of it I still wouldn't feel comfortable putting money on any individual game. Plastic figures? Game manufacturers have figured out that plastic figs have a genuine appeal to a segment of gamers so it's not uncommon to see plastic figures in games that are not essentially Ameritrash. This adds to the confusion in games such as Bootleggers or Age of Empires III, which at a glance have all the plastic eye candy you could ever hope for but feature game mechanics that are not immediately at home in your typical Ameritrash game.

Mr. Skeletor doesn't like the term, but I can't help but think that the lines will further be blurred as each camp borrows heavily from the other. Euros seem to want to get out of their "pasted on theme" box and are trying very hard to give us games with crossover appeal, such as Arkadia or Pillars of the Earth. We're seeing American-style games incorporating more in the way of threaded turns, simultaneous actions, role selections, and auctions. We're seeing ambitious American-style designs coming from game makers the world over, including things like Duel in the Dark and Tannhauser.

Theme is going to continue to be important. I mean, imagine Risk, just like it is, but change the theme to ameobas battling it out in a petri dish or something. Imagine that Cave Troll is actually about a cave-in (oh wait, it almost was).

Just ask yourself--"would it seem out of place if this game included sharks with laser beams mounted on their heads?"