I’ve been meaning to write this post for a while, in large part as a response to an older article, The Essence of Euro-style Games by Lewis Pulsipher at the Games Journal. His article discussed 13 points, which he felt broadly defined the eurogame. Since the time the article was written, 2006, I feel the list remains only partially valid as the cauldron of eurogames has grown immensely since that time, and in particular the complexity of many euro designs has increased markedly since then.
Really, Pulsipher’s article is more successful at defining a particular slice of the broader euro-game spectrum: the “German family game.” German family games started the whole eurogame phenomena - and many of the underlying tenants of German family game design remain signature aspects of eurogames today. Yet the early German family games were designed to fit a particular social niche (note the word “family” in the label) and breaking out of that context we’ve seen designs evolve in all kinds of directions, particularly in regard to complexity and game length, yet they all share a common ancestry.
So, this post is an attempt to “update” the list of traits that typically make a euro a euro – and not something else. But first, a disclaimer: