Cool Games With Large Problems
Andrew Iverson
United States
Salt Lake City
Utah
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Sometimes cool games can have large problems. Is the game interesting enough to still play many more times, because it is so cool? Maybe the problems don't really exist, and are only false rumors, or have been fixed by later editions rulesets.

Anyhow, feel free to vent any gripes of irritation you have or have even just heard about in this very open-minded combative GeekList. The more entries the better!! Gripe on!!!! lol

P.S. I am not really well-informed as to games with problems, so PLEASE feel free to include your very expert information and opinion in HIGH DETAIL as to what these problems are (or are not!), with links to threads, etc. Thanks --NEO
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1. Board Game: Panic Station [Average Rating:6.04 Overall Rank:2863]
Andrew Iverson
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Salt Lake City
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Was all the buzz/rage at Essen 2011. I just heard from stormknight in geekchat that the first edition had a terrible flaw in that everybody could win by getting infected!! LOL Has this been fixed in later editions?

He then said that he also has not heard of the infectious not winning, which sounds like a very large problem to me also. What do you think? Gripe on
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2. Board Game: A Few Acres of Snow [Average Rating:7.41 Overall Rank:251]
Andrew Iverson
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Was also a very big hit at essen 2011, a very very big hit. BUT there was a huge amount of controversy over some very big flaw or other that this game was supposed to have. Elektro in geekchat assured me that these were vicious rumours, but i have no inkling myself. Please comment and feel free to link to the famous controversial thread, if you so desire. Thanks --NEO
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3. Board Game: Railroad Dice [Average Rating:6.19 Overall Rank:3990]
Andrew Iverson
United States
Salt Lake City
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Now I turn to an older (family of) game(s) -- RAILROAD DICE!!

Some of the seasoned geeks on BGG HATE dice, all dice. Others are driven to profess their love of dice games, especially COOL dice games such as Kingsburg and DiceTown (neither of which have any problems so far as i happen to know to date!!) LOL

In all my vast researches of the huge BGG database, no game either well-known or obscure looked cooler to me at any point than RailRoad Dice, which went on to spawn Railroad Dice 2, Railroad Dice Germany (very nice little map), and special Railroad Dice Crossing Dice!!

BUT this game quickly became UNcool, very very quickly, in fact. They say there is a huge runaway leader problem with this game, which apparently even Einstein-level geniuses are afraid to try to fix!! Hmmm, how bizarre is that??? Is it even true? I think the rumour killed this game too unfairly and too quickly. What do you think? --NEO
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4. Board Game: Tigris & Euphrates [Average Rating:7.71 Overall Rank:71]
Bernard Hopkins
England
Durham/Darlington
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I found a beautiful, Queen Elizabeth I coin from the 1500’s a few years ago. It would have been worth a nice little sum too if it were not for the deep scratch Queen Elizabeth had on her nose. It was glaringly obvious and was what you noticed on first sight.

That is what Tigris and Euphrates feels like to me - beautiful but with a blemish.

The advantage you have going first is huge. As I understand it -player 1 is guaranteed the same amount of turns as everyone else. It is even more likely though, that he is going to get extra turns on the other players, particularly players 3 and 4. With scores being pretty tight, that extra turn can make a big difference.

I’m sure I read a while ago that someone had taken statistics from a T&E tournament they held. It turned out that the people starting as player 1 won over double the amount of games player 4 did. Player 1 also won over double the amount of games player 3 did!

Ouch.
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5. Board Game: Pizza Theory [Average Rating:6.15 Overall Rank:4637]
Robert Seater
United States
Ashland
Massachusetts
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This is a fast, clever game about second guessing opponents with mixed-strategy game theory. It's clean, it's elegant, it's quick, and it has a serious runaway leader problem. Someone will lose out in round 1, and they have no chance of catching up. Even for a short game, this is unforgivable.

But there's hope! Play with the expansion (Pizza Theory: Anchovy Expansion). While the title sounds like it's just adding anchovies, actually the critical part of the expansion is that it significantly changes the rules! Specifically, it adds a substantial catch-up mechanic that, for me, completely fixed the game. With the expansion, once it becomes obvious that someone can't win, the game is just a turn or two (and a minute or two) from ending.

I recommend never playing this game without the expansion, as it may give you a bad taste for it. You may not like this kind of game, but play with the expansion to give it a fair test!
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6. Board Game: Twilight Imperium (Third Edition) [Average Rating:7.89 Overall Rank:49]
 
Martin Larouche
Canada
Longueuil
Quebec
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Ah the dreaded Imperial card from the base game...

The flaw is trully not apparent in your first game. Nor in your second... or third. After a while though, it will grow bigger and bigger as to become unbearable.

The basic of it is that the Imperial card is a card that only one player can take each turn. It gives that player automatically 2 Victory Points (you need 10 to win). It is, bar none, the most powerful strategy card in the game.

It was meant as a card that was passed around clockwise around the table each turn. A player would take it, the next one would take the Initiative card so that next turn he could take Imperial. Failing to do so would cost you the game about 4 times out of 5. A game of TI3 lasts on average 6 to 7 turns. Most people can only manage 1 VP per turn. Gaining an extra 2 is therefore a HUGE thing.

This present problem 1:
The player who starts the first turn with Imperial has more chance of being able to pick Imperial twice in a game than any other players. This gives him a big advantage.

But then, the game would still be "ok", even with that flaw... what breaks the game completely are some action cards that can mess with the Imperial card.

"You were going to win? nope... a random card i have drawn allows me to take Imperial instead of you. I get to take Imperial twice in a row and you get nothing... so i won. Yeah for me..."

And that's it. An 8 hours game decided on the last turn because someone has drawn a random card that messes too much with the core mechanics of the game.

FFG issued an official variant for Imperial on their website. In the first expansion, the replacement was included, as well as an alternate set of strategy cards that completely removed anything even related to the dreaded Imperial card.

And this is the reason why most people believe you NEED the first expansion to play TI3. Because the basic game is *almost* broken due to a bug that only becomes apparent after you played a while.

The base TI3 game, i would rate a "5" out of 10 as it's a frustrating mess because of Imperial. Without Imperial, it's my favorite game and the only one i rate a 10.

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7. Board Game: Railways of the World [Average Rating:7.69 Overall Rank:96] [Average Rating:7.69 Unranked]
Bill Gallagher
United States
Torrance
California
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Great game with a LARGE problem - as in this board is too LARGE to fit on many tables.
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8. Board Game: Feudal [Average Rating:6.02 Overall Rank:3810]
Andrew Iverson
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yay another item on this list, time to update:::

many folks own this classic 3M Bookshelf game, it is considered great by many, but tonight coyotelaughs in geekchat pointed out flaws:

1. "because you can move every piece every turn you should never lose a piece if you're paying attention"

2. "and since the archer has a distance shot you can set up the castle so that you place him on top and he kills every piece that moves into the courtyard"

he went on to say that "its been discussed for ever" and that "there are fixes but not in the offical rules"

any comments? please feel free to post links to these "fixes"!!

many thanks in advance --NEO
 
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9. Board Game: Abalone [Average Rating:6.44 Overall Rank:1440]
Andrew Iverson
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oh yeah, how could i forget this cool classic?

very aesthetically pleasing, reminds people of abstract Sumo wrestlers pushing each other's marbles off the board, including sideways! Very cool.

But..... people love to play defensively, and "turtle", leading to endless stalemates.

this has been (partially) fixed with alternate start positions, including a fixed marble (use a 3rd color) in the center of the board.

or you can get more extra marbles in different colors and play with more people than just 2, haven't heard any complaints about the game then.

This game is still played in tournaments, where the turtling problem rarely exists among top aggressive players, or is somehow not allowed (?)

comments and/or links? --NEO
 
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10. Board Game: Marvel Heroes [Average Rating:6.40 Overall Rank:1882]
Andrew Iverson
United States
Salt Lake City
Utah
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nothing cooler than marvel heroes, but the fantastic four are too fantastic!

here is a link to fix that: Fixing the Fantastic Four/Doom issue-a variant
 
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11. Board Game: Survive: Escape from Atlantis! The Giant Squid Mini Expansion [Average Rating:7.07 Unranked] [Average Rating:7.07 Unranked]
Andrew Iverson
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super cool expansion for a super cool reissue of a super cool game. BUT... lots of folks say the squids are TOO strong!!

Solution: Don't play with all the squids. WARNING
 
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