Eurogames: The Design, Culture and Play of Modern European Board Games

Eurogames: The Design, Culture and Play of Modern European Board Games

Stewart Woods

Language: English

Pages: 269

ISBN: 0786467975

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub

While board games can appear almost primitive in the digital age, eurogames--also known as German-style board games--have increased in popularity nearly concurrently with the rise of video games. Eurogames have simple rules and short playing times and emphasize strategy over luck and conflict. This book examines the form of eurogames, the hobbyist culture that surrounds them, and the way that hobbyists experience the play of such games. It chronicles the evolution of tabletop hobby gaming and explores why hobbyists play them, how players balance competitive play with the demands of an intimate social gathering, and to what extent the social context of the game encounter shapes the playing experience. Combining history, cultural studies, leisure studies, ludology, and play theory, this innovative work highlights a popular alternative trend in the gaming community.

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the new player. Clearly the act of gaming is far more complex in terms of situated action and social negotiation than can be accounted for by formalist explanations. The play of the social game brings into being a complex web of interpersonal and metacommunicative actions and behaviors that demand the constant attention of the players, even as they strive to maintain the semblance of ordered rationality that a strategic competition suggests. The bringing together of these elements, the formal

game system, the expectations of individual players and the social context of the encounter bring the game to life in the form of play. Despite the temptation to look to the game box and perceive a game within it, this is only half of the picture. It is the players, acting within the context of the gaming encounter, who create the game. To repeat the words of Erving Goffman, “While the game defines the situation it does not bring the situation into lively existence” (1961, p. 41). This is both

Game]. Information Erdgas, 1982. _____. Heimlich and Co. [Board Game]. Ravensburger, 1984. _____. Auf Achse [Board Game]. F.X. Schmidt, 1987. _____. 6-Nimmt! [Card Game]. Amigo Spiele, 1994. _____. Detroit-Cleveland Grand Prix [Board Game]. Mayfair, 1996a. _____. Expedition [Board Game]. Ravensburger, 1996b. _____. “The German Game Market.” The Games Journal. Retrieved June 8, 2007, from, 2000a. _____. “What Is a Game?” The

2007. Yu, B. Voltage [Card Game]. Mattel, 2006a. _____. Desert Bazaar [Board Game]. Mattel, 2006b. Yu, D. “2009 Interview with Tom Werneck.” Retrieved August 3, 2011, from, 2011a. _____. “The Art of Design: Interviews with Game Designers #7—Wolfgang Kramer.” Retrieved August 3, 2011, from

Early wargame magazines are filled with suggested rule variants—a tradition that is continued in fanzines such as Sumo and Counter—while many hobby games have inspired enthusiasts to develop alternative rules, maps, and scenarios that modify the base game. Role-playing games in particular encourage creativity through the provision of a rules system that is adaptable to a wide variety of scenarios and player-created narratives. While the existence of an active participatory culture is not

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