College students who like to play fun board games often enjoy the style of board game sometimes called the Eurogame, or German style or designer board game.
A Eurogame is not necessarily from Europe though many have originated in Germany. The term Eurogame generally refers to a genre of board games that share similar characteristics.
Player conflict and competition is not often head-to-head as in a war game. Instead it involves gaining resources and accumulating victory points.
Players are rarely eliminated part of the way through the game, as they are in Monopoly. The winner is often unknown until the very end of the game when scores are calculated.
If there is any randomness, such as that introduced by dice, it can be offset by other facets of the game including the player’s skill.
The game’s artwork and components are chiefly cardboard and wood and are often quite lavish and detailed.
There is a theme to the board game, such as life in a Medieval castle or maneuvering through a desert, but said theme seldom has much to do with actually playing the game. When it does, players consider it a real bonus.
Eurogames are often closely connected to their designers, several of whom are very well-known in gaming circles. Of particular note are Reiner Knizia, Wolfgang Kramer, Uwe Rosenberg, Klaus Teuber, and Bruno Faidutti. Fun board games by these men are among the most highly rated in the 1990’s and 2000’s.
The Settlers of Catan
Possibly the most well-known Eurogame to date is The Settlers of Catan created by Klaus Teuber. Using a game board that changes from game to game, resource cards – wood, brick, sheep, grain, and stone – and a single die, you build roads, cities, and settlements to earn victory points. Do so more quickly and efficiently than your opponents and you’re likely to win.
Puerto Rico is one of the most highly-ranked games of all time. You play the role of a plantation owner on the island of Puerto Rico. Grow your crops – corn, indigo, sugar, tobacco, and coffee – build your business, and ship your products while paying close attention to what your opponents are up to.
Carcassonne is a very popular tile-laying Eurogame that uses meeples. Meeples are little wooden game bits that vaguely resemble tiny people. They are placed on tiles to indicate ownership of roads, cities, and fields. Finish off roads and cities to score points and reclaim your meeples for reuse on more construction projects.
El Grande is the grandfather of all area control Eurogames. Deploy your caballeros (wooden cubes) in the regions of old Spain to maintain a majority rule so that when one of the 3 scoring rounds comes, you get more points than your opponents. Wise use of power cards, which determine turn order, and careful choice of action cards, which determine caballero placement (among other interesting things), are key to winning this fun board game.
Agricola, by Uwe Rosenberg, is a game about farming. You don’t have to know anything about farming to play this fun Eurogame however. This is a worker placement game in which you start with a farmer and his wife in a 2-room wooden hovel. You job is to improve your farm and its pastures and fields. Hundreds of improvement and farmhand (loosely speaking) cards aide you over 14 rounds.
There are hundreds of great Eurogames that college students can explore. Sharp wits and wise choices are not only encouraged but often required do play well and win these board games. Check them out today – for yourself or a college student you know. You’ll be glad you did.