Gamer Confessions: Hi, my name is Will and I play evil games
Will Reaves
United States
Allison Park
Pennsylvania
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I have a confession to make: I play evil games.

I should clarify that I'm not talking about playing in an evil manner (backstabbing other players, ruthlessly attacking the weak, what have you)--I do that too, obviously, but that's not what I mean by playing evil games. An evil game is a game designed, both thematically and functionally, such that being evil isn't just an option, it's a requirement. This means that an evil game:

1) Is not a cooperative game with a traitor mechanic, or a one against all game like Descent or Mansions of Madness where one party takes on the role of a villain against the heroic other players. Narrative games like that allow you to be evil, but also allow you to be good. To be an evil game for the purposes of this geeklist, all players take on the role of a villain.

2) Ideally, is a game with both an evil theme and evil mechanics. You should read the description of an evil game and think, "Gee, if someone did this in real life, that would be horrible." You should also find, if you play the game, that you are thinking, "Gee, that was a really nasty thing I did to player x over there. Hope he'll still talk to me afterward." However, the theme is more important than the mechanics in this case.

3) Is not "evil" just because of the inclusion of magic or other fantasy elements. That's become a bit of a passe joke by now, as evidenced by the fact it's a recurring theme of other geeklists of this type, some of which date back from years ago. I'm looking for real evil here, folks, something that anyone with a reasonably functioning moral compass would recognize as such.

Since this is a "confessional" style geeklist, it's meant for you to chip in and add your own experiences with evil games. That said, I'm adding one other qualifier if you want to add a game to this list:

4) You have to have played, or otherwise experienced the evil in, the game yourself. Sharing about a game you've never so much as read the rules to defeats the point of the exercise. The more personal and directly evil a story you have, the better.

With that in mind, let's get started.
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1. Board Game: Chaos in the Old World [Average Rating:7.68 Overall Rank:93]
Will Reaves
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Allison Park
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Basically the trope winner for this topic. There's really not much more evil than taking on the role of a chaos god, vying with other chaos gods for the privileged of despoiling all the world, ruining the soil, slaughtering the innocent, and working your nefarious plots.

I've played this game twice and won it once. My particular claim to fame with this one is that I have played it in a church, or at least the social gathering space of one. (One of the other players was a deacon.) Maybe I should get corruption tokens awarded just for that.
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2. Board Game: Cutthroat Caverns [Average Rating:6.59 Overall Rank:1165]
Will Reaves
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Allison Park
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Perhaps the scenarios allow for a player's better nature to prevail--I've never used them. All I know that the base game turns the treachery and maliciousness of any take-that game and applies it to a subject near and dear to gamers' hearts: kill stealing. It's theoretically possible in a game like Diplomacy to win without backstabbing someone (though highly unlikely). Here, it's impossible.

Also unlike Diplomacy, here your characters are betraying in-game bonds of loyalty that presumably have existed for years, and which should be built up by the cooperative experience of working together to survive. Most cooperative games with a single winner (Legendary, Castle Panic) overplay the cooperative aspect too much and make the "only one can win" part seem tacked on and unthematic. Not so here.

My favorite experiences with this game include once when, entering the last round, I did a quick calculation and declared, "Player x over there has such a lead that it doesn't matter who kills this monster, he'll win anyway. He needs to die and he needs to die now." And so he did.

Looking back on it, I can't remember if I got my math right about him being able win even if anyone killed the monster, or if it was only that he would win even if I killed the monster (meaning I couldn't win if he was alive). No one thought to check and correct me.
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3. Board Game: Imperial [Average Rating:7.62 Overall Rank:143]
Will Reaves
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Allison Park
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In many genericwar/consim games, particularly abstracted ones like Risk, it's hard to tell if there is a good or a bad side; maybe one of the sides has some justification for fighting. In Imperial, it's pretty clear that all the great powers are just mucking about to increase their own resources and prestige.

That would be bad enough. However, Imperial doesn't settle for generic warmongering evil. Instead, the players take on the roles of the banker elite financing the wars and manipulating the powers to maximize personal profit. It's a conspiracy nut's dream.

I wish I could take credit for the most evil thing (thematically) I've seen done in the game, but it was done to me rather than by me. I was controlling Austria Hungary, and Italy's controller, correctly deducing that my three armies near his border were up to no good, preemptively sent in three armies of his own to trigger mutual destruction. His reasoning was first that through doing so, he didn't have to worry about defending at multiple points at once, but also that Italy was approaching taxation, and he didn't want to pay for any army he didn't have to. This led me to respond, "Well, I guess for soldiers of the great powers, 'living' is not part of the job description."
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4. Board Game: Junta [Average Rating:6.74 Overall Rank:965]
Will Reaves
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Much like Imperial, you get to maximize your profits at the expense of those without power. Here, it's ripping off foreign aid money to line your Swiss bank account. All the leading families are in on it, yet all of them are trying to increase their share by manipulating and betraying the others.

Only played this one once, and probably wouldn't do so again--it's bit too chaotic and random for me. Still, I like the fact that if you succeed in a coup, you can execute anyone and not just someone on the opposing side. The one time I launched a coup, the president successfully convinced another player to join the loyalists because if that player joined with me and we won, he was too tempting a target for me not to kill him. I protested I would never do something like that, but of course that was exactly what I was going to do. *Sigh* Sometimes it's bad when people know you like being evil.
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5. Board Game: Glory to Rome [Average Rating:7.49 Overall Rank:148]
Will Reaves
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This one was a game I didn't realize was intrinsically evil for a while--sure, there were plenty of opportunities to do nasty things via legionary actions or certain building effects, but it didn't seem inherent in the game.

Then I had to give a rules explanation, and began with the theme: "In Glory to Rome, we are all heads of powerful patrician families. Rome has burned to the ground, and we firmly believe in not letting a crisis go to waste. Therefore, we will work to build back up Rome and stamp our family name on everything to increase our public prestige and influence* while simultaneously filching building materials to sell later on the black market. Uh ... Glory to Rome!"

*This basically was how many of the public works in Rome were built, with individuals or families seeking immortality by literally getting their name out. Perhaps the most famous example was the Pantheon, a former pagan temple, eventually converted to a Catholic church, which still bears on its front the inscription: "Marcus Agrippa paid for this" (slightly loose translation). Oddly enough, that inscription stayed even when the building was destroyed by fire and rebuilt once or twice during the times of the Roman Empire.
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6. Board Game: Intrigue [Average Rating:6.37 Overall Rank:1818]
Rob Steward
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In this negotiation game, no agreements are binding.

Say one thing, do another... it's not cheating, it's following the rules!

Not for the co-ops only crowd, the thin-skinned or fans of multiplayer solitaire.
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7. Board Game: The Downfall of Pompeii [Average Rating:7.13 Overall Rank:448]
Rob Steward
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This game contains an actual volcano for you to throw your opponents' people into.

Make the lava flow so that all their exits are blocked and then cook 'em. Cook 'em all!!!

Maybe a little evil.
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8. Board Game: Diplomacy [Average Rating:7.06 Overall Rank:511]
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This list would be incomplete without Diplomacy. The whole idea of the game is to deceive your opponents and backstab them at the right moment. A thoroughly diabolic and most entertaining game that every true gamer should try at least once.
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9. Board Game: Hero Must Die! [Average Rating:7.30 Unranked]
David Cheng
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This is a game of evil theme & evil mechnaic I'm making.

Hero Must Die is a worker placement + tower defense game for print & play. It is a co-op + competitive game for 2-4 players. The goal is to gain most favors (VPs)from the overlord, so that you will get the most powerful monsters under your command. In each turn, a player is assigned to guard one of the 4 floors of the dungeons. Each player starts with 3VPs. You may lose vps by letting heroes pass your guarding floor, or gain vps by defeating heroes. The more vps you gained, the more say you will have in court phase. Beware! you won't want to see your VPs drop to zero. Your overlord is not a forgiving boss for sure.



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10. Board Game: After Pablo [Average Rating:7.37 Overall Rank:3717]
Ron Lacer
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Cobalt
Connecticut
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The players are rival factions trying to take over the cocaine trade after the death of Pablo Escobar. Things you can do in the game include assassinating opponents, smuggling coke into the US, and bribing DEA agents.
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11. Board Game: Nuclear War [Average Rating:6.21 Overall Rank:2337] [Average Rating:6.21 Unranked]
Julian Cullop
Oman
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You win by wiping out the entire civilian population of your opponents. No bonuses for keeping your own people safe just as long as you have got a few left over at the end to keep on pressing the button. Often produces the immortal line 'Has anyone got change for twenty five million people?'
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12. Board Game: Lifeboat [Average Rating:6.37 Overall Rank:1879]
Ken
United States
Portland
Oregon
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May I pass along my congratulations for your great interdimensional breakthrough. I am sure, in the miserable annals of the Earth, you will be duly enshrined. -- Lord John Whorfin
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Oh, you fell out of lifeboat? You couldn't have been pushed! But since you're down there, let's dump some chum in the water...

My best time playing this was with a group of folks I didn't know at a con.

Oh the evil done that day...devil
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13. Board Game: Blackbeard [Average Rating:6.34 Overall Rank:2428]
Jay Richardson
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Lindsborg
Kansas
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Players in Blackbeard (Avalon Hill edition) play various historical pirates, who are certainly evil. The game is realistic enough to be distasteful to some people: each Pirate has a Cruelty Rating, and if you obtain a Hostage you have the option to torture the Hostage to amuse your crew (making them less likely to mutiny) and to possibly learn valuable information, although if the Hostage dies from the torture you won't be able to claim a ransom for him.

The designer's original torture rule was even more evil, but AH didn't feel comfortable leaving it in the published game (although they did publish it later on in their magazine, The General):

The Original, Unpublished, Infamous Torture Table
http://www.boardgamegeek.com/thread/130438/the-original-unpu...

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14. Board Game: Pirates in a bag [Average Rating:9.00 Unranked]
David Cheng
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Pirates in a bag is a fan-made PNP card games for free. Up to four players can compete for the King of Pirates at Caribbean Sea.

Each player may send his/her ship to plunder ports & merchant ships, or attack other player's hideout. You may also send the captain or first mate to ports to do some secret missions like recruiting crews, gambling, collecting rumors & treasure hunting...No one knows what you have sent (ship pr crew?)to each place until they are revealed. So it's critical to guess where your opponent's ship is going.



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