What's the worst House Rule you've ever played?
Bryan Thunkd
United States
Northampton
MA
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We've all seen games that people thought were "broken" and the kludges they put in place to "fix" them. Occasionally it works, but more often than not, it just makes things worse. So what's the worst House Rule you've ever played? It can be one you set up, or one you were forced to play.

I've set up a companion geeklist for best House Rules.
http://boardgamegeek.com/geeklist/150548/whats-the-best-hous...

Let's see which list does better (judged by thumbs on the geeklist header)
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1. Board Game: Bohnanza [Average Rating:7.04 Overall Rank:438]
Board Game: Bohnanza
Bryan Thunkd
United States
Northampton
MA
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I first learned this game when playing with a group that included kids. The person who taught this game to me used a house rule (which they didn't explain was a house rule) where you didn't have to plant the cards you drew on a turn, instead you could discard them. Which changes the game significantly. Anyway, I thought that was the real way the game was played and taught my family that way. When I finally ended up playing this game with some gamers, I was shown the error of my ways.
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2. Board Game: Monopoly [Average Rating:4.36 Overall Rank:19003]
Board Game: Monopoly
Jeffrey D Myers
United States
Albuquerque
New Mexico
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Free parking house rule that is ubiquitous.
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3. Board Game: Axis & Allies [Average Rating:6.56 Overall Rank:1376]
Board Game: Axis & Allies
The Honorable Mayor McCheese
United States
Windermere
Florida
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Many years ago, I played this with a friend who was a tad younger than me and he didn't quite understand that technology we have today wasn't around in WWII. His house rule was that subs could do offshore bombardment. I tried explaining to him that WWII subs had a deck gun but wouldn't be used for offshore bombardment. He said that they could do it because subs have missles. I tried to explain in WWII they didn't but he insisted that was how they always played. So I relented and we played with his awful rule.
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4. Board Game: Euchre [Average Rating:6.77 Overall Rank:1560]
Board Game: Euchre
Joe Pastuzyn
United States
Midland
Michigan
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We've seen some people play this where you can throw in the cards if you have a "Farmer's Hand" composed of Nines and Tens forcing a redeal. Don't understand that. And we've seen the rule where if you "Go Alone" you get "Partner's Best", basically looking through partner's hand and swapping a card. Why play the game at all?
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5. Board Game: Pirate's Cove [Average Rating:6.58 Overall Rank:1221]
Board Game: Pirate's Cove
Gláucio Reis
Brazil
Rio de Janeiro
RJ
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First time I played it, the owner suggested his house rule of moving the black ship randomly after the players had chosen their destinations (instead of following the fixed path). I realized the game already had more than enough random screwage in the simultaneous selection of destinations (if two players choose the same island), but the guy was bothered that players could always choose to avoid the black ship. I was against the change, but I was the only one. After two rounds, everyone agreed to quit.
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6. Board Game: Catan [Average Rating:7.16 Overall Rank:369] [Average Rating:7.16 Unranked]
Board Game: Catan
Joerg Schaefer
Germany
Frankfurt
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The worst house rule I encountered was hidden numbers at game start. I knew the correct rule but the girlfriend of my buddy and another girl insisted on placing houses without knowing the numbers to increase "fun" and "suspense". Guess which numbers I ended up with.
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7. Board Game: Arkham Horror [Average Rating:7.27 Overall Rank:305] [Average Rating:7.27 Unranked]
Board Game: Arkham Horror
Tim Thornhill
United States
Ashland
Oregon
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Our friend thought that we didn't like the game because it's too hard. His solution was that he'd draw two cards per encounter and choose the most thematic.

My friend and I don't like this game because we're Eurogamers who find AH fiddly, random, and way too long for what it is.
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8. Board Game: Descent: Journeys in the Dark [Average Rating:7.30 Overall Rank:347]
Board Game: Descent: Journeys in the Dark
Einmal ist Keinmal
United States
Andover
MA
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I played my first couple games of this at a brick and mortar game store where the guy playing the overlord was the one teaching/organizing the game. He had this horrible house rule (I didn't know it at the time, as he taught me the game) not for a fix, but more likely just to appease his play style. Anyway, he would hoard the creature-summoning cards or threat or whatever until the Heroes encountered the baddie at the final room. Then, he would summon all his saved-up creatures at once. I didn't let that ruin my impression of the game.
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9. Board Game: Twilight Imperium (Third Edition) [Average Rating:7.85 Overall Rank:64]
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Full S
United Kingdom
Bristol
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"Victory points suck, we're playing to the death." In any game where you can win without grinding every enemy into dust and eliminating all other players.

Some people have a pathological aversion to victory conditions. It's really painful when they're vocal and persuasive and they badger the group into going along with it.

To make matters worse, I don't drink.
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10. Board Game: Mamma Mia! [Average Rating:6.47 Overall Rank:1486] [Average Rating:6.47 Unranked]
Board Game: Mamma Mia!
Esteban Fernandez
Spain
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Someone translates the rules to spanish and in those you can read that the pizzas are played face down.

Now a lot of spanish people don't know that is a translation mistake, other ones thinks that the game is way better played like that, while I prefer to play with the original rules.

So it's not maybe the worst house rule, but probably is one of the most played around here (and the one we most argue about it)
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11. Board Game: Age of Mythology: The Boardgame [Average Rating:6.13 Overall Rank:3056]
Board Game: Age of Mythology: The Boardgame
Brian M
United States
Thornton
Colorado
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I have to plead guilty to a 'worst house rule'.

We came up with a variant of Age of Mythology where players of the same faction were fully allied, sharing victory conditions.

This worked fine and good.

But mid-play, we thought "Hey, we've got allies, why not let a Trade card also trade with your ally?"

Sounded good, so we added that.

This rule lasted for less than one game before we a player dump ALL of their resources to the other player for an outlandish Great Temple VP trade in.

Then we changed it to being able to trade only up to 3 resources in a trade action.
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12. Board Game: The Campaign for North Africa: The Desert War 1940-43 [Average Rating:5.93 Overall Rank:14963]
Board Game: The Campaign for North Africa: The Desert War 1940-43
Matt Taylor
United States
Fairfax
Vermont
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After our first play through of this, we decided to use a house rule where... aaahhhh, who am I kidding? whistle
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13. Board Game: Risk [Average Rating:5.58 Overall Rank:18242]
Board Game: Risk
Randall Bart
United States
Winnetka
California
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I got to play with the very, very serious Risk group. They had at least four house rules, one I approved of, one which didn't bother me much, and then these two:

1) When you move into a conquered territory, you may move in additional units from other adjacent territories.
2) A the end of your turn, you can do one free move per territory. You can't move the same army twice, but you can move them in several places.

There is precious little skill involved in Risk, and if you eliminate the risk of getting your armies cut off where they are useless for a few turns, I find nothing left worth playing.
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14. Board Game: Catan: 5-6 Player Extension [Average Rating:6.99 Unranked] [Average Rating:6.99 Unranked]
Board Game: Catan: 5-6 Player Extension
Phil Fleischmann
United States
Fountain Valley
CA
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Some people I know play this with an expanded hand limit, rather than allowing the extra build phase. That is, you don't lose cards on a 7 unless you have more than *nine* cards, and you can't build on other players' turns.

This might seem like no big deal, but it almost completely removes any incentive to trade with other players from the entire game.

Some people complain that building on other players' turns takes too long. This is obviously stupid. Building takes the same amount of time on your turn as it does on someone else's turn.
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15. Board Game: You're Bluffing! [Average Rating:6.60 Overall Rank:1508]
Board Game: You're Bluffing!
Hilko Drude
Germany
Goettingen
Lower Saxony
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I once had to play a few times with the house rule that you cannot do any trading before the last animal was auctioned off. Now while it happens relatively rarely that someone does early trading, the fear of it happening influences the auction phase massively, so the rule took out a lot of tension. Of course, a majority of players insisted that these were the official rules. And this was on a remote farm in Sweden, with very little gaming selection. Didn't ruin the game, but made it much less enjoyable.

Even worse, there are rumours that trade sums are revealed afterwards, and that this abomination is even accepted in some translations of the game. shake
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16. Board Game: Ticket to Ride [Average Rating:7.43 Overall Rank:159] [Average Rating:7.43 Unranked]
Board Game: Ticket to Ride
Helmut Hohberger
Germany
Munich
Bavaria
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I once played with a couple who insisted that completed tickets would be scored immediately upon completion. Then they had a rule that "blocking" was banned, i.e. you weren't allowed to claim a route that another player obviously needed when you didn't needed it yourself or some such nonsense. It was pretty unspecific, essentially you couldn't play "nasty".

Wimpiest group I've ever played with.
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17. Board Game: Rock Paper Scissors [Average Rating:4.23 Overall Rank:18402]
Board Game: Rock Paper Scissors
Helmut Hohberger
Germany
Munich
Bavaria
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Ah, now I got a good one.

In Germany (at least in the part I live in), a variant of Rock Paper Scissors is endemic. A fourth object is introduced to the game, the Well. You form it by connecting your thumb and forefinger (which is an obscene gesture in some cultures, but NVM). The Well beats both Rock and Scissors, and is beaten by Paper.

As you can see, adding the Well is an incerdibly stupid idea, because IT BREAKS THE BALANCE OF THE GAME! Gah! Good job, Germans! You broke effin' Rock Paper Scissors FFS!

Sorry about that, but I can get really zealous about this. The sheer inherent stupidity in this really gets to me.
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18. Board Game: Wellington: The Peninsula War 1812-1814 [Average Rating:6.94 Overall Rank:2682]
Board Game: Wellington: The Peninsula War 1812-1814
John Vasilakos
United States
Annandale
VA
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The first and only time I played the game, my friend had the rules and as he explained them to us (Me and the two other guys were new to the game), he included his house rule that reduced the French Reinforcement rate (almost by half as I recall) Apparantly he felf the French were too OP and needed a nerf.

Anyway by the end of the game the British and Spanish had pretty much wiped out most of the French units on the map for a crushing victory. So at end of the Game the French players remarked how weak and undermanned the French seemed, more then they were led to believe by history. That is when the Game's Owner revealed his little house rule.

Needless to say, the French Players were not amused
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19. Board Game: King of Tokyo [Average Rating:7.20 Overall Rank:297]
Board Game: King of Tokyo
Adam Brocker
United States
Gilbert
Arizona
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We played a short game of this and when the first person got knocked out, the rest of the players felt like they should get to come back in with a new monster.

This turned the game into solely a VP game and took all of the fun out of it.
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20. Board Game: Agricola [Average Rating:7.96 Overall Rank:29]
Board Game: Agricola
Actually, I would think crawling around looking for someone's eye would be a pretty fun game in its own right.
United States
Kansas City
Missouri
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After having played Agricola a few times, my wife and I played it with some gamer friends. They had a house rule that there was a "Turn #0" before the official Turn #1, and after Turn #14 (the end of the game), they played a "Turn #15". This gave the game a total of 16 turns. They did this "so players could really get their food engine going and build a great farm."

After some discussion, I pointed out that the reason for having only 14 turns was the tension created by forcing the players to make good choices in their actions, and to use their cards carefully. I remember the husband said "Oh, so the whole point is the pressure on the players?" I told him "Yes". We played the next game with the correct rules and they ended up liking the game a whole lot better, and played that way from then on.

So, not exactly a "horrible" house rule, but one that really changed the way the game was played, and the final outcome.

(Edited for clarification.)
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21. Board Game: Risk [Average Rating:5.58 Overall Rank:18242]
Board Game: Risk
Actually, I would think crawling around looking for someone's eye would be a pretty fun game in its own right.
United States
Kansas City
Missouri
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I think that all right-thinking people in this country are sick and tired of being told that ordinary, decent people are fed up in this country with being sick and tired. I’m certainly not, and I’m sick and tired of being told that I am.
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It's been years since I played Risk, but I remember a house rule that about half the folks I played with always included: There is no upper limit to the number of armies obtained by turning in a set of cards.

I can't recall if a limit was specified in the rules, but some folks said that when the listed limit was reached, all subsequent sets turned in received that same amount. Others said each additional set went up by 5, IIRC.

I can recall turning in a set once and receiving 175 armies for reinforcement. This was in college back in the late '70s, during a marathon game someone in our dorm started during finals week. They had combined several sets so there were enough armies (this was the "caltrops" version) and as guys would leave the game to go take a test or go to bed, someone else would sit down and take their place.

That house rule of the ever-increasing armies insured that someone would eventually get a big enough bunch to take over the world.
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22. Board Game: El Grande [Average Rating:7.76 Overall Rank:63]
Board Game: El Grande
Rob Doupe
Canada
Calgary
Alberta
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Played El Grande (with the King & Intriguer expansion) at a convention once where the moderator imposed an awful house rule.

Normally, the players who play the highest and lowest value cards do not get their card actions, but instead automatically take the role of King and Intriguer respectively.

In this version, those players still get to perform their card actions, and do not take the King or Intriguer actions.

Anyone who has played the game should see how terrible this is. There is no longer any defence - once anyone plays a card, that action will be carried out. One of the main tactics of the game - denying card actions to opponents - is thrown out the window. First and only time I've complained about the moderation of the game. In fact, I took over moderating the El Grande event for seven years.
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23. Board Game: Dominion [Average Rating:7.63 Overall Rank:86] [Average Rating:7.63 Unranked]
Board Game: Dominion
Some friends of mine had a special rule: "When you play Moat as a reaction, you can immediately draw 2 cards."

They also had another special rule: "Regardless of the number of players, play with the full stack of all victory point cards."

Painful.
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24. Board Game: Winner's Circle [Average Rating:6.98 Overall Rank:790]
Board Game: Winner's Circle
The Dave
United States
Ogden
Utah
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The new edition has the rule that two horses can't be in the same space, making the game less more cutthroat.

I can't stand that horse rule!
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25. Board Game: Catan [Average Rating:7.16 Overall Rank:369] [Average Rating:7.16 Unranked]
Board Game: Catan
Josh Davison
United States
Hartland
WI
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A few years ago I learned my sister-in-law and her husband had learned to play Settlers from some of their friends. So, I decided the next holiday when I was visiting to bring the game along so we could all play. Not too long into the game, one of my in-laws attempts to build a settlement one road-space away from another settlement. I inform them that this is an invalid play but an argument ensued because that was apparently the way they have always played. For some reason I decided to let it slide as this was the first time I've played with them, but after the game I pointed out the graphic example in the rulebook that illustrates the rule.

Needless to say, if you really want to kill player competition for resources on the board, this is a good house rule to do it.
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