Five Great Euro Games
I really like playing board games, but the traditional “family” games like Monopoly or Scrabble aren’t as interesting to me as Eurogames. These are board games that focus more on strategy than luck, and they’re called Eurogames because they were created in Europe. These are my favorites:
This is the original Eurogame. Originating from Germany in 1995, it has spawned a dozen different versions and continues to be wildly popular. One of the things that first attracted me to this game was that the board is never the same. The layout changes every single time, which means your strategy must also change – what works in one game may not work in another. It’s not hard to understand the game mechanics, but to actually win requires more complex actions than just rolling dice and moving pieces around.
Numero Uno on BoardGameGeek.com, this is by far the most popular Eurogame out there. It’s more complex than Settlers but doesn’t have dice; you really have to pay attention to what your opponents are doing because every action you take affects them, and vice versa. This can be both good and bad.
This game seems to have fallen a bit out of favor in the past couple of years, probably due to the popularity of the game Agricola. They’re both extremely complex strategy games (think Puerto Rico on steroids) but I still prefer this one. In this game you have to keep track not only of what you plan to do but what everybody else is doing, too!
Another extremely popular Eurogame, Power Grid has some seriously devoted fans. Here you are an electric company that must supply power to cities – how you do that encompasses several levels. Buy plants, build them in cities, and get resources to power the plants (coal, garbage, etc.). To keep things interesting, there are multiple boards showing maps from different countries, and each one has slightly different rules (for example, the map of France is more nuclear-friendly than the USA). There’s a lot going on here, and having some decent math skills is a big help.
Technically not a “board” game, Dominion is actually a card game with several expansion sets. It is not, however, a “collectible” card game like Magic: The Gathering. Here you actually start with a small deck of cards and gradually increase it by use of coins and actions, which enable you to buy points, and whoever has the highest number of points wins. Sounds easy? It is. But watch out for the attack cards!!
Other games of note:
These are fabulous “starter” games – less complex than the ones I’ve listed above, but still a lot of fun to play.
A tile-laying game that also has a number of different versions. Very popular with kids!
One of the simplest rail games. Easy to learn, easy to play, tough to master! I highly recommend using the USA version with the 1910 cards.
TransAmerica and TransEuropa
Another amazingly simple rail game. Super fast, too! TransEuropa is the same thing as TransAmerica, but with a map of Europe
Kids will love the shapes and colors of this game, but it does require a little strategy.
This has got to be the most interesting of the “fast” board games! Incredibly simple to learn and play – just be the last one standing! Plus, it only takes like 15 minutes to play! A fabulous filler game.