To start my series on Game Genres Explained, I want to discuss Euro games. The term Euro or Euro-game is a term that is used to describe a wide variety of games. This category was named because many of the games of this style hail from Germany, although there are certainly American born Euros these days. In addition to Euro, most of these games will also fit into a group that more closely describes what mechanics they use. Alan Moon’s Ticket to Ride for example is a Euro and a Set Collection Game. You collect sets of colored train cards to be able to play them on the map.
There are a number of traits that are common in Eurogames. Not every Euro follows all of these rules, but most of them share many of the things below:
Easy to learn/easy to teach: Many games in this genre are teachable in 5 minutes. Often it takes many play-throughs to catch all the nuance of the varied strategies that could be utilized, but teaching and understanding the rules and mechanics are very simple.
Short/Medium play times: Games can be played in under an hour, and often will be played multiple times in a sitting. I don’t think I’ve ever played Ticket to Ride with my wife where, after the first games she hasn’t said, ‘Let’s go again’. This isn’t to say all Euros are quick. Power Grid can go on for much longer than that, and I don’t think anyone will argue that it is truly a Euro.
Indirect player interaction: Often in these games the interaction comes from competing for resources. Continuing the example of Ticket to Ride, once a player lays down their trains on the board, that section of the board cannot be used by other players. In this case the players may need to go around, or simply choose another destination. There is no direct manipulation of opponents’ pieces, once they are on the board, there is nothing you can do.
Indirect Chance: In non-euro games such as Monopoly, your entire move is dictated by luck. You roll the dice and hope that you land somewhere that you can benefit from. In Euro-style games, there may be an element of luck, but it is usually followed by a choice that either mitigates the random chance, or allows you to make a decision after a random element to give you back control of your turn. If you are trying to collect a specific color of cards in Ticket to Ride, and there are none of that color out, you can draw from the deck and take whatever it gives you. Random chance dictates what colors are available to select, and you can choose to take a chance by drawing blind. You can also choose to skip the random chance and take a card that might help you in the future instead of taking the chance you’ll pull a card you know you’re not going to use. Although I want to note that other versions of Ticket to Ride introduce additional randomness with tunnels and bridges.
Multiplayer: Most Euro style games are multiplayer and many are designed to allow social interaction in between turns.
Player Elimination: It is rare that a Euro game will eliminate a player before the game ends. Often there is an element of scoring that is kept hidden until the end so it never feels like you’re out of the game. In Ticket to Ride, players have one or more route cards that give them (or take away) point for completing specific routes. The longest track also gets extra points and is not scored until the end.
There are many other elements that are present in the Euro game style, but what I have described are what I believe are the most important, and most fun in this style.
If you have any questions about this or anything else, please comment below.
Thank you for reading