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Goodbye Monopoly, hello Eurogames

Members of the Knights of Gaming club meet monthly to play the latest Eurogames at the Holmes County District Public Library.

submitted photo

Enjoy board games but tired of the old and boring ones in your closet? Interested in meeting and competing with other board game enthusiasts? “We have what you are looking for!” declared Doug Gray, founder of the Knights of Gaming board gaming society. On the third Saturday of each month, Gray and his wife, Leslie, meet up with other avid board gamers to try out the latest Eurogames and to replay favorites.

Knights of Gaming was formed one year ago, soon after the Grays moved to Millersburg. The group had been meeting at the Grays’ home, but recently moved the location to the Holmes County District Public Library in Millersburg to allow for more space and accessibility. “It has been exciting to find others in the area already familiar with Eurogames who enjoy playing them as much as we do. We currently have gamers attending regularly from Holmes, Wayne and Ashland counties.”

When asked to define Eurogames, Gray explained, “Eurogames are board games imported from Europe, mostly Germany. Germans are into board games like Americans are into video games.”

Every year over 130,000 people attend the four-day Essen Game Fair in Essen, Germany; it’s the largest gaming convention in the world. Players stand in line for hours waiting to meet their favorite game designers and to play their games. Essen is also the home of the most prestigious board game award in the world, the coveted Spiel de Jahres, meaning Game of the Year.

“If you see the Spiel de Jahres award logo on a game, you buy it.” Gray said. “Some of my favorite games such as Settlers of Catan, Elfenland, Tikal, Ticket to Ride, Carcassonne, Power Grid, El Grande, and Thurn and Taxis are award winners.”

In general, Eurogames tend to have simple rules, are mathematically balanced, keeping all players in the game until the end, and often have changeable boards, making for new game experiences every time the game is played. “There are some games we play over and over again and they never grow old,” Gray said.

When asked about Monopoly and other American games, Gray said, “They play okay, but usually lack the balance of Eurogames. American game companies have done their research and found that their games are usually played two times and then thrown in the closet. So, they tend to put all of their effort into licensing major brand names. The game doesn’t need to play well as long as it has Toy Story 3 on it. While there are a couple of American companies making good games, the quantity of quality games pales in comparison to those coming out of Europe.”

When asked how he was introduced to Eurogames, Gray said, “I was at the Origins Gaming Fair in Columbus playing in a card collecting game tournament. Origins is the third largest gaming convention in the world, behind Gen Con and Essen. I had little time to look at all of the games for sale, but I did manage to buy a Eurogame called Settlers of Catan. When I got home and played it, I was hooked.”

One obvious challenge when playing Eurogames Gray mentioned is the games are, well, German.

“It used to be that American companies would import games from Germany as-is with German text on the boards, cards, and rules. The buyer received a typed English translation of the rules. I still have a few entirely German games on my shelf. Fortunately, the American market has grown enough that the German companies now do a separate print run entirely in English, making for a much more enjoyable gaming experience.” Even still, he mentioned that occasionally games are found with poorly translated rules, leading to some confusion.

The Knights of Gaming currently has a selection of more than 200 games. All games are privately owned. Concerning age of players, Gray pointed out that most of these games are not children’s games.

“While players are welcome to bring their children along, they need to understand that some games are for ages eight and up, most games are for ages 10 and up, and a few go as high as 12 and up. A few games are pretty intense, requiring lots of reading, basic math skills, and logical thinking. We strongly recommend players be 12 and up.”

The Knights of Gaming club meets on the third Saturday of each month, from noon to 7 p.m., at the Holmes County District Public Library in Millersburg. The public is welcome. Participation is free. To enjoy several hours of uninterrupted play, gamers may bring snacks and drinks. For more information, visit http://www.knightsofgaming.org.

Published: October 9, 2010
New Article ID: 2010710099978