Baxter’s Top 10 Favourite Euro Games

Hey hey folks!  It's great to see all of your smiling faces again, and by see I mean imagine, because I have no idea what any of you look like.  This week I wanted to share with you some of my Top 10 Favourite Euro Games!  There are so many incredible euros out there I couldn't possibly fit them all on one list, but these are the ones that have captured my interest and found a permanent home in my den.  So, onward and lets see if we share any favourites here!

 

10. Terraforming Mars

I have kind of a love hate relationship with Terraforming Mars, on the positive side, there can be no denying its a fantastic euro game with a compelling theme and has become the keystone of many gamers’ collections, on the other hand, I find the game becomes too much of a numbers game to the point where the the concept of colonising Mars takes a back seat to simply making the optimal play.  That’s why Terraforming Mars works so well though.  Strip out the theme and you’re still left with a challenging puzzle to solve. Sure the components are a complete mess and the card's artwork looks like it was bought for a buck from Getty Images, but the core of the game is so strong that most players, including myself can look past its rough edges and enjoy a solid, no fuss euro experience!



9. Imperial Settlers

Four nations compete for control of a newly discovered land in Imperial Settlers.  This card game lets players take the lead of the nations, Romans, Barbarians, Egyptians or Japanese to conquer the land and build their empire. Using cards, players place them to gain rewards and take actions to contribute to their expansion efforts. The game is played over five rounds and what I enjoy most about it is its simplicity.  Often, euros can be complex beasts to master with multiple overlapping systems and strategies which give the brain a real workout.  With Imperial Settlers I feel like I can kick back and relax a little, enjoying the experience while still being presented with a puzzly strategy game.  The solo variant is a great way to spend an afternoon alone as well!



8. Concordia

Set in ancient Rome, Concordia presents a take on the ancient super power absent of war and conflict often associated with that period, instead opting to focus on Rome’s economic development.  Here you get to enjoy Rome at a time where it was reaching its greatest potential, providing a stable centre of commerce and trade to the surrounding city states, sending colonists off to populate outlying areas at the edge of the empire, expanding its wealth and prosperity and becoming a beacon of civilisation during an otherwise barbaric period of history.  Outwit your rivals and build the strongest seat of power in the Empire, all while providing a stable economy and centre of trade. Concordia is an elegant euro game that’s been experiencing a resurgence of popularity in recent months.



7. Brass - Birmingham

Martin Wallace’s follow up to his original industrial age economic strategy game, Brass, Brass Birmingham provides further emergent strategies and a slightly tweaked rule set, making this a new fan favourite for many gamers.  Featuring updated artwork and graphic design Brass Birmingham brings the industrial English city to life giving a surreal sense of beauty to what is often envisioned as a smoggy, bleak period of the city’s history.  Players compete to build their networks, shipping coal, steel and beer and the mid game transition from using canals to the railroads shakes things up a bit. Brass Birmingham is a game where thinking ahead and planning out your strategy is vital to developing a winning strategy. 



6. Terra Mystica 

This classic favourite offers 14 races, each seeking to expand their domains by terraforming the surrounding lands to suit their species’ particular needs.  Terra Mystica offers players a wealth of choices and replayability with mechanisms designed to reward a player’s skill and decision making rather than luck, which is a hallmark of any good euro game.  Many point to Gaia Project as being the better version of the game, but personally I enjoy the high fantasy setting offered by Terra Mystica.  While some aspects of the game may seem a little dated  when compared to more recent offerings, Terra Mystica holds its own against most contenders. A solid, fun and vastly replayable game! 



5. Isle of Skye: From Chieftain to King

In Isle of Skye players work to become the leader of a Scottish clan.  The core of the game is based on tile laying, similar to Carcassonne, but with an interesting twist, players each have three tiles per turn, hidden behind player screens, one is chosen to be discarded, while the remaining two are assigned coins to the value that player wishes to sell them.  If another player buys them, the owner gets the coins, if there are no takers, the owner has to part with the value they themselves assigned to the tile, but they get to keep it, presumably players would do this for tiles they needed to assist their strategy.  Additionally, only four types of tiles are scored at the end of each game, so choosing which to keep and which to discard or sell becomes a vital strategy. At the end of the game the player who scored the most wins!



4. Coffee Traders

When I first discovered Coffee Traders I initially wondered how appealing the theme of playing coffee farmers could really be.  Then I played it and I have to say, it works surprisingly well!  The concept of farming and trading is a staple of some of the finest euro games on offer, but trying one’s hand at the coffee trade has never been so appealing as it is here. Coffee is such a massive industry yet few people think about where their cup of morning pick-me-up even comes from. Cultivating beans, fulfilling orders and watching the industries in the game develop is extremely satisfying. I found Coffee Traders to not only be an enjoyable play experience, but an enlightening one, as it made me realise just what a journey it is to get from bean to mug!  Including rules for 2 players makes this traditionally 3+ player experience more accessible to smaller groups, which only serves to heighten its appeal.

 

3. Glen More II: Chronicles

This sequel to the original Glen More, Glen More II: Chronicles takes the game to the next level, or rather, the next 8 levels as this version of the game includes 8 modular expansions which can be added to the game one or two at a time as recommended by designer, Matthias Cramer or you can go all in for an epic game with all 8 modules in play.  The objective, much like Isle of Skye, is to become the most influential Scottish clan leader by expanding your territory and becoming the most wealthy.  These Scottish clan leaders really love their land!  Glen More II is a massive overhaul compared to the original, with a host of new gameplay options to help leaders get a leg up on their competition.  The game now lasts for 4 rounds as opposed to the 3 rounds of the original and in addition to the 8 chronicles, there are several other improvements including better components, new game systems, improvements to older systems and game balance adjustments.  Glen More II: Chronicles is a beast of a game and one that is sure to keep delivering the fun to lovers of the euro genre.

 

2. A Feast for Odin

Uwe Rosenburg’s A Feast for Odin depicts the development of a clan of Vikings in one of the designer’s most epic offerings to date.  Described as a saga in board game form, I tend to agree.  There is so much going on here the game pushes the limit of what you can pack into a single game.  Beginning with -80 points, players use polyomino tiles to cover spaces on the player’s grid to reduce their negative score.  There are a multitude of other mechanisms including worker placement, recourse gathering, action economy, dice rolling and more.  There is some luck involved, but where this comes into play tends to make sense, for example when hunting, your prey simply may not be cooperating that day. Every play through reveals more of the game’s quirks and strategies.  Not recommended for beginners, but fans of heavy euros are likely to find a lot to like here.

 

1. Praga Caput Regni

In Praga Caput Regni, players are wealthy citizens contributing to the building projects of King Charles IV in the city of Prague.  The King’s efforts to revitalise and improve the city to be worthy of the centre of his seat of power mean there is favour to be curried and rewards to be had.  I’m not sure what curry has to do with building, but what do I know, I’m a fox! Players have a selection of actions they can choose from each turn and the costs and benefits of these actions vary as the game progresses. Deciding how best to please the King and perhaps gain an opportunity to work on the famed St. Vitus Cathedral means finding the right synergies to play out your strategy.  A fantastic euro game and a beautiful production, Praga Caput Regni is destined to become a mainstay of many a game collection!



Thats it for this week.  Did any of your favourite euro games make an appearance here?  Either way, share your comments below or make yourself known on our amazing Game Kings Gamers group where a bunch of like minded gamers gather to discuss their favourite pass time!  See you there!

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