In Case of Emergency, Break Game >> The Anarchist's Guide to Making Games Implode
Jay Little
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WARNING -- THIS INFORMATION IS TOP SECRET -- WARNING

Proceed at your own risk

Sshhh... Close the door behind you. And keep your voice down. We don't want any of the other gamers to overhear what we're about to discuss. Yeah, games are great and stuff -- but some games (and gamers) are highly volatile. In fact, some games mechanically break down if you give 'em a little push in the right (or wrong) direction.

We're not talking about kingmaking or throwing the game toward/away from a particular player... That stuff's for amateurs. Instead we're talking about the insidious business of taking legitimate ingame actions which cause the game to either seize up and become unfinishable or ends the game prematurely.

When the game breaks down and everyone loses, Chaos Wins!!

Please Note:
1. I'm not endorsing these tactics... Mostly... Sorta... Unless you really, really can't stand the game and want to get it over with. But even then, I'd never condone these sorts of things. Mostly... Sorta...

2. Use of such tactics could make you very, very unpopular and result in getting kicked from the gaming group, kicked in the shin, or other sorts of getting-kicked side effects that I will not be held responsible for.

3. Please add your own ultra secret mega uber anarchist implosion techniques... You know, so we can identify and stop them before they start.

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1. Board Game: Marco Polo Expedition [Average Rating:6.20 Overall Rank:3333]
Jay Little
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Eden Prairie
Minnesota
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The game is bad enough as it is, with the surge-and-draw pace and thin hand management. But you can bring this game to a grinding halt and reach a stalemate situation where literally a player cannot take an action.

In fact, this just happened the other day, and is the impetus for the list. The game was dragging on anyway, despite an earnest effort (at first) to play as intended. But about 1/2 way through, Player A (whose name rhymes with "stroglide") passed each turn and simply drew a card.

Sounds benign, right? Except that with only 3 players, and 1 of them never contributing cards to the discard pile, the draw pile, when reshuffled, only had cards we had already discarded... Eventually, Player Y was able to collect important cards needed to advance on the trickier spaces, and eventually the two other players were locked out of movement -- the cards in our hand were unplayable to pass the current sets of requirements, and without more cards added to the discard pile to shuffle in new options, we were stalemated.

It's actually far more satisfying than you might think to see a camel go kaaa-BOOOOOM.
 
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2. Board Game: Quo Vadis? [Average Rating:6.45 Overall Rank:1716]
Jay Little
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Eden Prairie
Minnesota
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This is less subtle, and more annoying. You can maneuver all you want in the few 1-space chambers, but a senator leaving a three or five-member committee must have the majority support of the committee he wishes to leave (even if seats are empty).

So position yourself into a few of these 3- and 5- seat committee spaces, then set in for the long haul. Deny every petition to advance. Play it up if you want, that the person needs to "get into character" and come up with compelling arguments to pass. Or have arbitrary reasons why you just can't give your ok ("You forgot to recycle that can of soda" or "I'll only let you pass if you call me Imperial Majesty Rex the rest of the night").

This isn't foolproof, because you need a modicum of cooperation to get yourself into a position where you can play the proverbial monkeywrench.... But still, timed just right, this one triggers a fairly big kaaa-BOOOOOM.
 
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3. Board Game: Dragon's Gold [Average Rating:6.46 Overall Rank:1515]
Jay Little
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Eden Prairie
Minnesota
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This one is easier for Anarchy to worm its way into, given the already fickle and backstabbish flavor of the game. But for maximum implosion, never ever ever double up characters on the same dragon -- always spread them out to get involved in as many horde distributions as possible.

When a dragon gets whacked and you're involved, demand the entire share -- nobody gets anything else. Be resolute and unyielding. If no one caves in to your demands, nix the entire dragon horde and send everyone home empty handed.

Eventually, someone may cave in, thinking you'll change for the next time around. Otherwise, everyone will shirk the dragons you tag, possibly allowing you to claim an entire dragon horde solo (but don't be tempted unless you actually want to try to win).

Otherwise, only folks who can somehow manage to snag a weak horde here or there before you get a chance to muscle in will have a chance to win and avoid a big draconic kaaa-BOOOOOM.
 
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4. Board Game: Tigris & Euphrates [Average Rating:7.71 Overall Rank:70]
Jay Little
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Eden Prairie
Minnesota
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For a 4 player game of T&E, here's some Anarchic Algebra:

153 total Civilization tiles
141 in the bag at the start (6 tiles in hand/player)

If we assume a low average of 1.5 tiles played per player per turn for 6 tiles/turn drawn (accounting for placement of civ tiles for scoring and used during conflicts) the game would last 23 rounds.

So speed things up by constantly purging and refreshing your hand, bringing up the average from 6 tiles/round to 16.5 tiles/round (because yours went up from 1.5 to 12). Suddenly the game lasts 8 rounds -- or less if there are any sorts of conflicts, or players grab whatever they can by placing more tiles per turn.

With just a slight bump to 2.5 tiles/player/round, you're churning through 19.5 tiles/round, or just about 7 rounds.

And while this doesn't directly target a specific person, it certainly does benefit someone who manages to grab a few points early on. But it's quite possible that the final scores could all be in the 1-3 range and require the 2nd or 3rd tie breaker to resolve.

Never complain about 2 or 3 hour sessions of Tigris & Euphrates again! In fact, never expect to be invited back... not after you just made such a sacred game go kaaa-BOOOOOM.
 
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5. Board Game: Excape [Average Rating:6.31 Overall Rank:2247]
David Bohnenberger
United States
Swarthmore
Pennsylvania
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When you roll big, ALWAYS put your dice on the "Zero". 3-hour games of Exxtra are EXXTRA FUN!
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6. Board Game: 7 Ages [Average Rating:7.08 Overall Rank:1458]
Mike Ricotta
Japan
Okinawa
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Vizer the Vizer, repeat till infinity...especialyy if you are winning slightly...
 
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7. Board Game: Genoa [Average Rating:7.12 Overall Rank:497]
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If you think you're in the lead, just use a Any Start Space chit and put the tower on the Market, shortening the game by a round. It's really funny if two people think they're in the lead and do that, or if the Market is rolled immediately after.

"So, uhhh, got time for another game?"
 
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8. Board Game: Go [Average Rating:7.66 Overall Rank:121]
Billy McBoatface
United States
Lexington
Massachusetts
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Technically, a game of go does not end until both players agree not to make any more moves.

So...well...what if you never agree, just keep making moves, no matter how stupid or pointless they are?

You can probably guess. Play continues until you have no legal moves, which usually means at least 100 moves of absolutely awful boredom for your opponent. It can be several hundred moves if your opponent doesn't figure out a way to reduce your legal moves faster. Wheeeee!!!

I once saw this used effectively on the go server I run. A player started calling their opponent four-letter names for some reason or another. The opponent responded with this "strategy", also taking the maximum amount of time possible for each move. The victim of this strategy then complained to me...when I saw what had happened, I just started laughing and told the victim that they deserved what they got! This punishment was surely even worse than losing the game would have been, it took over an hour of sitting there and waiting for the next idiotic move to be played for the game to finish.
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9. Board Game: Grass [Average Rating:5.95 Overall Rank:4291]
Fritz Schwartz
United States
Modesto
California
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In Grass, the Market Close card ends the round and then scoring is computed. We had one player who would use it as early as possible, even in the first round if he was certain he had even a slight advantage. This could get pretty frustrating, so one time I took all five Market Close cards out of the deck beforehand. It was nearly impossible to keep a straight face (pun intended), especially as his obvious frustration mounted as the game went on (and on and on). The other players caught on since there ended up being a lot more points piling up, a lot more stealing going on and a lot more penalty cards being played than normal. When the intended victim finally caught on at the end, he did an arm swipe across the table just to make sure that it was impossible to calculate a score for that round. It took him months to get over it, but it was worth it.
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10. Board Game: Pit [Average Rating:6.40 Overall Rank:1351]
Alfred Wallace
United States
Champaign
IL
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I was in a seven-player game of Pit once, and one player--just to screw with everyone else, and the game--decided to collect one of each commodity, thus making it impossible to corner anything. One could, obviously, do this with fewer numbers of players, but the "one of each" was actually kind of impressive.
 
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11. Board Game: UNO [Average Rating:5.35 Overall Rank:15223]
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United States
California
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Some say the world will end in fire, Some say in ice. From what I’ve tasted of desire I hold with those who favor fire. But if it had to perish twice, I think I know enough of hate To say that for destruction ice Is also great And would suffice.
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One of the funniest moments in my gaming history occurred while playing Uno. It was a six player game, comprised of three couples, playing after several rounds of adult beverages. My friend and I were mercilessly dropping cards on each other, to the point where it was obvious that we weren't going to win.

It was at this point where we decided to play "Inverse Uno," and see who would be holding the most cards in his hand when someone went out. We howled with glee if someone dropped a "Draw Two" card on us. We tried to avoid playing those cards on each other.

Finally, with about thirty cards in his hand and needing a yellow card, my friend plays a Draw Four on his wife. I'm ticked that it wasn't played on me, so I say "That's crap! You have to have a yellow card in your hand!" He looked at me like the cat who ate the canary and said "Oh, you're right. I guess I have to draw four cards myself!" giving him more cards in his hand.

At this point, the third woman throws her hand down in disgust and says "*#$@ it! If you guys aren't going to play seriously, all you had to do was quit!" She stormed off, and the remainder of us couldn't stop laughing.

Yeah, yeah. Location joke, I know (you had to be there). For those of us that were, we still laugh about Kim's meltdown to this day.
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12. Board Game: Chrononauts [Average Rating:6.22 Overall Rank:1946] [Average Rating:6.22 Unranked]
Chris Kice
United States
Shorewood
Illinois
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In Chrononauts, you can destroy the universe by creating 13 paradoxes in the timeline. If the game is going badly for you, just take everyone out!

You can also just start making random changes to the timeline (preferably ones that discard already-played patches) to completely screw everyone and stop them from sending their characters home.
 
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13. Board Game: Werewolf [Average Rating:6.61 Overall Rank:1165]
Arjen Lissenberg
United States
Granby
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Not entirely fitting this list, but fun nonetheless.

The next time you're the storyteller and play with people who know how to play, deal only innocents. Each night you pick the person to be eaten by wolves (pick those persons that will get the joke first) and watch.

Expect to be eaten or lynched unanimously the next few games you're playing though. One time they payed me back by letting me be the only innocent person in a village full of werewolves, that first night the whole group jumped me.
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14. Board Game: Civilization [Average Rating:7.52 Overall Rank:225] [Average Rating:7.52 Unranked]
Mickel Knight
United States
Flower Mound
Texas
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I played a game of Civ once where a player decided he was going to be the barbarian hoard. Who needs cities when you can roam the world destroying them! My recollection is that no one could get past five or six cities. When someone got a handful of cities the hoard would sweep through their kingdom like the four horsemen of the apocalypse. Of course he was losing in an epic way, but an already long game was taking so damn long that we eventually gave up.
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15. Board Game: BANG! [Average Rating:6.54 Overall Rank:1017]
David Fair
United States
Damascus
MD
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I swear I am going to do this one day:

Take three sets of Bang cards, and setup six deputies, and 1 sheriff as the role deck. Deal them out to your unsuspecting friends.

When the second person dies, the jig will be up, but until then, it will be an interesting psych experiment.
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16. Board Game: Give Me the Brain! [Average Rating:5.85 Overall Rank:4197]
Matt Armstead
United States
New Brighton
Minnesota
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In this game when the brain is dropped players must bid to reclaim it and continue the game.

But there are a few cards that make players unable to bid (the "Blindfold" and "Lock in the Bathroom"). There just happen to be three of these total. If you're not careful you can set it up so that in a three-player game no one will be able to bid to reclaim the brain. I haven’t seen it happen, but we are always careful to watch out for it.

This has happened in a two-player game (yes I know that this game doesn't officially support two players but it work). I did it when trying to win. If I hadn’t dropped the brain I would have won. Instead the game was a draw.

 
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17. Board Game: Diplomacy [Average Rating:7.06 Overall Rank:499]
Philip Thomas
United Kingdom
London
London
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This one takes some co-operation from the other players...
4 player game, 3 players 2 countries, 1 player (me) England. Insisted on by guy who was really keen on it.

Anyway, I start the game by seeing if I can get any alliances. All 3 players (and 6 countries), sign a defensive alliance with me. I announce this. The players think hard and then they set up treaties so all 4 players are obliged to attack if one player attacks another. Ok, so first two years we get the neutral Supply Centres. 1902, no-one moves. 1903, no-one moves. "OK" I say, "I'll just call out the seasons and if anyone wants to move they can raise their hand."

We reached 1930 before someone cracked- and that was only cos he had an appointment in half an hour...

The really keen player went of Diplomacy after that...
 
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18. Board Game: Mystery of the Abbey [Average Rating:6.55 Overall Rank:1077]
Lyman Hurd
United States
Cupertino
California
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Neglect to put a suspect card under the board. I once did this by accident and the endgame was not pretty!
 
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19. Board Game: Shadowfist [Average Rating:7.11 Overall Rank:2525] [Average Rating:7.11 Unranked]
Jim Campbell
United States
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In the original Daedalus Games incarnation of the Shadowfist CCG, the card "Positive Chi" could be used as an evil game-spoiler. The game was designed with 4 or more players in mind, and it was structured so that after a few rounds of escalation several of the players would each get fairly close to winning and attempt to end the game by attacking another player's stuff. Once the "victory attack" was announced it was up to the other players to stop it, often cooperatively. By playing Positive Chi during the attack, it allowed every player to replay, at no cost, any card from their discard pile. This would give the attacker a free play, but also give every other player a free play...unless the original Positive Chi user chose to play Positive Chi *again* as their free card, in which case everyone else got *another* free play. There are two flavors of evil in this recursive loop: 1. If you have the resources to introduce Positive Chi into every victory attempt situation, you can stymie almost any conceivable attack; 2. Who says the Positive Chi ever has to be fully resolved? Just keep playing it for free over and over again until your opponents' desire for food, water and/or sleep outweighs their desire to finish the game...

Thankfully, a small change to the card text was introduced in the more recent Z-Man Games re-release and this little loophole was closed.
 
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20. Board Game: No Thanks! [Average Rating:7.04 Overall Rank:391]
D Weimer
United States
Unspecified
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Of course, it's a short game to begin with. But any player may, on his turn, pick up the whole deck and end the game. He loses, of course, but if you really don't like the game, you can end it in ten seconds.
 
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21. Board Game: Attribute [Average Rating:6.39 Overall Rank:2367]
Garth Hilderman
Canada
Winnipeg
Manitoba
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There is nothing that can ruin a fun game of Attribute other than a player that is playing to lose. Getting a red card, picking "The Old West" and then playing the "Wild" Attribute card is a good start. So is picking only those cards that you know are unrelated to the topic.


Although there might be a fun little variant mixed in there if half were going for positive and half for negative...
 
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22. Board Game: Shadows over Camelot [Average Rating:7.15 Overall Rank:317]
Karl Benisch
Sweden
Stockholm
Stockholm
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The Traitor Strategy

If playing as the traitor there is a sure way to win.
Always place a catapult outside the castle at the beginning of the turn. During your heroic action phase you can trade three good fight cards for life, draw cards to horde merlin cards as they appear or throw cards in the lake.

The loyal players will figure out that you're the traitor, but accusing the traitor will only make him more powerful.

I've never used this strategy myself but I've seen it been used by others.
 
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23. Board Game: Jenga [Average Rating:5.56 Overall Rank:11171]
Eric "Shippy McShipperson" Mowrer
United States
Vancouver
Washington
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[player one grabs a center block]

[player two grabs one of the side blocks on the same level]

[crash!!]

Player2: "Ooops. I guess player 1 wins. I never was very good at this game."

repeat as necessary.
 
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24. Board Game: Nomic [Average Rating:7.02 Overall Rank:6649]
Get up, get up, get up, get down, fall over.
United Kingdom
Bolton
Lancashire
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Alright, first post, go easy on me if the links don't work.

Judging by some of the comments and geeklists associated with this game we are not the only set of gamers to identify the obvious flaw in a game where the only rule is that anyone can change the rules by majority vote.

When somebody (lets call him cry ) finally pursuaded a group of us to play this, we spent about half an hour debating the first rule change before it was passed on a thin majority.

So the second proposal was 'cry doesnt get a vote'. Everyone caught on and the resolution passed with one vote against and almost no debate.

The next was 'cry loses a million points'. Passed unanimously.

The next was 'cry has to stand on a chair and shout "I am a ***"'.

Funnily enough cry 'took his ball home' big-style and the game stopped there.
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25. Board Game: Masons [Average Rating:6.54 Overall Rank:1462]
Brian Casey
United States
Medford
Oregon
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Find the Game Ending Scenario that isn't covered in the rules.

In Masons it is possible to play the game in such a way that there are no more legal moves available and yet not meet any of the conditions that officially end the game. Discovered that it is possible to create a city so large (in 9 - 10 turns if a second player helps) that no other legal play is possible since new walls can not be placed inside already established cities. This will not use up all of any piece type (walls, houses, palaces, or towers) if done properly and will leave the game in an unaccounted for ending situation. Watch in awe as players with wonderful scoring strategies discover that their plans are totally hosed. Can be used to force a VERY early game end if you find yourself sufficiently ahead early on.
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