Welcome to the introductory article for the Gaming Guild of Terrasylvae. Listed below are some common terms that every gamer should know. At some point, these sections will each likely be expanded into their own article for more depth in addition to many other important terms, but until then let’s get started!
Primary Game Types
The cube pusher Euros
Eurogames originally came from Europe, primarily Germany. They are low on confrontation, little or no randomness, and generally weak on theme. Think lots of wooden cubes being traded for other wooden cubes. On the upside Euros often involve deep strategy and thoughtful gameplay.
The dice chucking Ameritrash
Ameritrash games have a bit of a bad reputation, hence the name. Ameritrash games are typically high confrontation, high randomness, and stronger on theme. Think games like Risk or Monopoly for games that gave this category its name. More recently the games in this category have improved a great deal and are more involved than your mass-market game from the ’70s (or earlier).
Conventions have a large impact on the board game hobby. This is were many games are released and big announcements are made.
The Eurogamer Essen Spiel
The largest convention for many years has been the Essen Spiel. Essen is a city in Germany and hosts a yearly convention where literally hundreds of games are released or announced. Also every year they award the Spiel des Jahres (Game of the fair) that is the biggest award in the industry. The Spiel des Jahres is typically awarded to “family weight” games, i.e. games that aren’t that complicated. There are also awards for the Kinderspiel and the Kennerspiel for best kids game and best expert game respectively that are awarded as well.
The Ameritrash Gen Con
The next largest convention is Gen Con. Gen Con was originally held near lake Geneva in Wisconsin which is where it received its name. Gen Con has moved and is now held in Indianapolis, Indiana every year and can be thought of as the American version of Essen. Many games of a more Ameritrash tilt are announced or released here and it has grown to be a very large event.
Board Game Geek
Often referred to as BGG or “The Geek” this is the best and most comprehensive board game website available. With tens of thousands of entries for games, you will find just about any game ever created or announced. You can find information on games, written reviews, answers to rules questions and more here.
All right, we all know what YouTube is but you may not know the videos available for board games. If you are curious about if a game is any good you can easily find reviews from channels like “The Dice Tower“. If you want help learning a game you can easily find how to play videos from channels like “Watch it Played“. Or you can even watch people play the game from channels like “Rahdo Runs Through“.
There are really too many game publishers to mention here, many of whom have made very large and important contributions to the board game hobby but there are two that are larger than all others.
Hasbro is the largest board game company around, They specialize in mass-market games that you will find on the shelves of Walmart or Smiths but also branch out into more involved games occasionally. Many labels fall under the Hasbro umbrella that you have heard of like Milton Bradley, Parker Brothers, Magic the Gathering, Dungeons and Dragons, Avalon Hill and many others.
You know how tech companies can be so big that everyone has an opinion on if they are good or evil, think Microsoft, Amazon, Google, Apple and the like. Well Asmodee is definitely in that category for board gamers. Years back an investment firm took control of Asmodee and went on a buying spree buying up dozens of smaller studios and bringing them under the Asmodee umbrella. As a result Asmodee has become fairly controversial with gamers hating or loving them. Labels under their umbrella include Catan Studios, Fantasy Flight Games, Space Cowboys, Matagot, Z-Man Games, Days of Wonder and many others.