At Gen Con this weekend, we were talking about our first euro game experiences. I was surprised to learn that my first game had started so far behind everyone else’s.
My first happened at Wizards of the Coast, c. 1998. Several members of R&D had been to Germany for some convention known as ” Essen Spiel”, and it was decided that all of R&D should have a day for being exposed to these new European-style games.
The first game I played was Mississippi Queen, a game of racing riverboats down a procedurally generated river (the procedure being, “roll a direction die and attach interlocking river tiles to create a linear board”). That day, I also played Zoff in Buffalo (Trouble in Buffalo, a game curiously better titled in a different language than its publication) and some 2-player blocking game about ghosts trying to stop you from crossing a room.
Mississippi Queen is a fairly simple racing game with some unforgiving player elimination. It would probably not even get picked up by a publisher today. But I own a copy, and pull it out occasionally with the right crowd.