The Strategic Frontier of ‘Eurogames’

February 8, 2015 3:12 PM

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The Strategic Frontier of ‘Eurogames’

A new form of board game blossomed in the 1990s, combining simple rules and strategic complexity. These “Eurogames” (which are most popular in Germany) put a premium on interacting with other players, long-range planning and managing limited pools of resources. Unlike traditional games like Monopoly, they de-emphasize direct conflict between players; capturing enemy pieces or eliminating opponents are rare occurrences. And they’re ripe for the same kind of deep study that people have given to chess, backgammon and poker.

The leading Eurogames have sold fast. Carcassonne, in which players place tiles next to each other to complete roads and cities, assembling the board as they go, appeared in 2001 and now has seven million copies in print. The Settlers of Catan, a game of trading and managing resources, has sold 30 m...

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