Great disappointments in your board game history
Gunky Gamer
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Gardiner
New York
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Call it buyer's remorse. Call it WTF. Call it clever promotion. Heck, call your fellow BGGers insane.

If you've been in this hobby long enough and have a habit of buying games, you have likely found yourself let down at some point. Usually they are games that are purchased unseen, impulsively, on faith, or under the influence. Perhaps the game was from a designer or publisher you trust or sat at the top the hotness for six months.

Whatever the rationale, you paid your money, tore the shrink, opened the box and then it all went so very, very wrong.

I've started a Geeklist to capture those stories. This is not meant to insult any game designer. Heck, I expect for many people their biggest disappointment will have come from games at the very top of the rankings that simply didn't meet their expectations. This is purely based on personal opinion.

So let's hear your tale of regret--what game has let you down the most and why?
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1. Board Game: Dungeon Run [Average Rating:6.28 Overall Rank:2812]
Gunky Gamer
United States
Gardiner
New York
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I was so excited for this game. It is one of only a couple of games that I have ever pre-ordered.

The premise sounded like so much fun--a team of self-interested adventurers squabbling their way through a dungeon in search of a great prize, backstabbing along the way before turning completely against each other in order to be the one to emerge with all the loot. It sounded humorous, clever, fast-paced and crazy. The game was being guided and published by Plaid Hat, makers of one of my all-time favorites, Summoner Wars.

I tore the box open the moment it arrived and everything looked great. From the dungeon tiles, to the cards, to the minis, and even the glossy box art, I was pleased.

Then I pulled out the rulebook and said, "huh?" I just couldn't follow the logic of the book. It was a weird experience. Nothing about the rulebook was complicated, but for some reason the order and the style just wouldn't align with what my synapses expected.

Nevertheless I brought a couple of friends together, certain that we'd sort things out and get to the mayhem. And we did. That is, we figured out the game quite easily. It was just that the game never seemed to get going. Sure, we all acted in our own self interest, but we never felt particularly compelled by the game to either backstab or assist each other the way the game seemed to suggest. You could do those things; there just was no real motivation to do so.

In the end, the game just seemed removed from the experience I expected and what I had built up in my mind. There are plenty of games that I dislike more, but I can't think of any that I was so eager to love.
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2. Board Game: Pax Romana [Average Rating:7.37 Overall Rank:1831]
Enrico Viglino
United States
Eugene
OR
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I expected a lot more fun from this one. It just ended up way more
abstract than I hoped - and rather dull to boot.

Vid coverageof these thoughts.
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Enrico Viglino
United States
Eugene
OR
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Bought a pile of these on advice of like-thinking people
(those who enjoyed Musket & Pike or GBoH). It was just too
mechanically complicated (or 'fiddly') for even my tastes.

I didn't realize that there were people with a higher tolerance
for such than I have. Interesting lesson learned.


Video coverage of these thoughts.
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4. Board Game: Dominant Species [Average Rating:7.85 Overall Rank:49]
C Bazler
United States
Bronx
New York
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It seems everyone loves this game. EVERYONE. I got it with the full confidence of several reviews, I watched several video run-throughs, and I thought it looked great: heavy, deep, many interesting choices of timing and placement and area control. My husband gave it to me as an anniversary gift, and we pulled it out to play. What ensued was a very long and miserable first attempt at a two-player game. Calculating dominance was a chore, and since we still didn't really know what we were doing, we spent way too many actions manipulating pieces on the board without scoring. After two hours, we realized we still had a long way to go and we stopped the game early. I haven't played it since.
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5. Board Game: Flying Colors [Average Rating:7.45 Overall Rank:1722] [Average Rating:7.45 Unranked]
Enrico Viglino
United States
Eugene
OR
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I've had a great desire for a fleet-capable age of sail game.
Thought this would be it. It turned out (again) too mechanically
challenging. It also fails to really handle leadership in a manner
which enforces proper formations (for the most part). Still on the
fence though - maybe this CAN work under some circumstances.


Video coverage (in progress) of thoughts.

Update: This one is winning me over. Something I didn't think could happen.
But, the design does reward formations (for most admirals) in a manner
which makes it often more fleet-like. The burden is also much less
using paper to track much of the information.
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6. Board Game: Leonardo da Vinci [Average Rating:6.77 Overall Rank:1085]
Joe Salamone
United States
Billerica
Massachusetts
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Cool . . . a worker placement game that allows me to set up a laboratory and build inventions. Well, most of the worker placement choices on the board are for collecting cards. I think the most interesting part of the game is setting up the invention card deck before the game starts. No wonder this game is perpetually on sale for really low prices.
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7. Board Game: Dominant Species [Average Rating:7.85 Overall Rank:49]
Enrico Viglino
United States
Eugene
OR
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A favorite topic of mine, and one which almost MUST have a
reasonable amount of abstraction and 'gameyness'. But, DS somehow
managed to throw in so much calculation and decision making that
it completely subsumed the story. On top of that, the design is
detailed enough to show that it completely fails in telling a
believable story.


In progress coverage of these thoughts.
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8. Board Game: Wealth of Nations [Average Rating:6.92 Overall Rank:1289]
Enrico Viglino
United States
Eugene
OR
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I walked into this one expecting a good economic simulation.
It turns out it is just another cube-pusher, representative of
nothing in particular. Add to that the over-reliance on calculating
and optimizing (in turn no less), and it gets a big frowny face.


Video coverage of thoughts.
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9. Board Game: Die Macher [Average Rating:7.63 Overall Rank:222]
Enrico Viglino
United States
Eugene
OR
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Once again, seeking out a nice playable simulation of parliamentary
politics. Unfortunately, this was mainly commented on by those unused
to simulation games. So, another boring trip down the heavy euro lane,
finding nothing of interest.

I've (mostly) learned to stay away from things that even look like euros now.

Coverage of thoughts.
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10. Board Game: Origins: How We Became Human [Average Rating:6.78 Overall Rank:2857]
Enrico Viglino
United States
Eugene
OR
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A tentative call. I really do need to give it another shot.

But, the philosophy being modeled here makes little sense to me.
I also can't tell how much is the fault of the principles and how
much is simply trying to make this thing into a cube-pushing game.

Pity. I used to really like Ecklund's designs. But, High Frontier took
a second playing to grow fond of.


Vid coverage of thoughts.
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11. Board Game: Warriors & Traders [Average Rating:6.28 Overall Rank:5341]
Zeb Larson
United States
Columbus
Ohio
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This game was such a disappointment. It had a lot of premise, both thematically and mechanically, but so much of the gameplay is scripted and dull that the good parts get lost amid the bad. My group gave it three separate tries. The first one was fun: we liked what we saw and wanted to try it again. We played again and noticed the first half of the game was identical to our first play through, and the second half was more of a shuffle of where we'd been last game. You could see the review I wrote for this (or others) to get an idea. Suffice it to say, I smirk a bit when I see a copy still sitting at Guardian Games after two years.
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12. Board Game: Fortune and Glory: The Cliffhanger Game [Average Rating:7.10 Overall Rank:788]
Thomas Dunagan
United States
Clermont
GA
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This game was such an exciting new release from FFP, huge game lots of bits and miniatures.

Unfortunately it's not any kind of real adventure game. Forbidden Island/Desert gives a better adventure experience than this. Mechanically this was one of the worst flowing games I have ever played. Glad I was able to trade it away for an OOP copy of Java.
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13. Board Game: DungeonQuest (third edition) [Average Rating:6.63 Overall Rank:1408]
Ian Watson
Canada
Campbellton
New Brunswick
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I was so excited to get this one. Cool bits, cards, tiles, mini's, the whole nine yards. Then my wife and I played it and both died not far into the dungeon. We tried again later with the same result. Sold it in a yard sale the next year.
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14. Board Game: Race for the Galaxy: Rebel vs Imperium [Average Rating:7.94 Unranked] [Average Rating:7.94 Unranked]
Zeb Larson
United States
Columbus
Ohio
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Uggh, this was such a disappointment. We ordered this at the height of our (my house at the time) collective love of RFTG. In a house of gamers, we were playing at least three or four nights a week, and Gathering Storm had made the game perfect in our eyes. Alas, RvI threw off our precious game balance, making military too strong or at least too safe of a bet in a typical game while driving consume VP strategies to the brink of ruin. I ended up separating out the cards, only keeping the goals which we all agreed weren't bad.
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15. Board Game: Zombicide [Average Rating:7.21 Overall Rank:384] [Average Rating:7.21 Unranked]
Russ Rivet
United States
Pine City
Minnesota
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I fell in love with the mini's. It is not a bad game, just fell short of my expectations.zombiezombie 2 zombies out of 5.
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16. Board Game: Descent: Journeys in the Dark (Second Edition) [Average Rating:7.73 Overall Rank:82]
Zach Tedford
United States
Colorado
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I was a huge fan of the first edition(still am). I read every promotion or any bit of info I could get on this game after it was announced. I was so excited about it! New Descent!

Then I played it....about 6 times...

They changed all the wrong things...and in their attempt to simplify a good game, they lost every tactical and interesting thing from the 1st edition that made it good.

I haven't taken a chance on the expansions and maybe they have scenarios that make the game playable, but the base game scenarios are a joke...might as well roll a die and say...1,2,3 I win...4,5,6 you win.

shake
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17. Board Game: Notre Dame [Average Rating:7.37 Overall Rank:239]
Edward Uhler
United States
Commerce City
Colorado
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Everyone loves this. Everyone! We love Feld...match made in heaven, right? Yeah, notsomuch.

It's just...boring. Too simplified and just boring. I'm sure I'll catch hell for this one, but man, we just were really, really disappointed. soblue
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18. Board Game: Quarantine [Average Rating:6.14 Overall Rank:3706]
Drew Hicks
United States
Raleigh
North Carolina
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This might not be fair because I do still think this game is at least "okay" and probably better than that, but my expectations going in were something else. This game was going to be the BEST GAME EVER. The mechanisms all looked so wonderfully clever. I love any game that lets me build something out of tiles, I love games with clever auctiony/biddy/buy-y things on, I love games with variable special tiles, and I love games that let me build little machines and watch them work. So I should love Quarantine, right?

Quarantine's okay, and it upsets me that it's okay.

The fickle bag gives you whatever it wants, and it's so rarely a good option to give anyone else a cube that you'll probably just stick with the hilarious string of same-color patients it's handing you rather than pass points to anyone else. I don't hate luck, but luck coupled with the awful non-choice of "well you can give your points to Joe over there" makes me feel ill.

The really good special tiles mostly serve to BYPASS the puzzle at the core of the game; We're meant to rearrange our queue into neat little groups, admit patients, and cure them, but then... there's the Pharmacy (forget admitting anyone ever) the Triage unit (just rearrange your queue however you like) and so many others that just... skip that puzzle. In a game about "building a hospital" these tiles make the hospital that you've built largely irrelevant (except of course for the good tile itself). Rather than obsoleting your basic actions, why don't these tiles just UPGRADE them? Why not a room that lets me do two patient moves in one action instead of a room that let's me ignore my line's order? Why not a room that lets me admit and cure the patient in the front of my line whenever I cure other patients of that color, instead of allowing me to totally skip the admit action? Why not actions that build INTO and ON TOP OF that puzzle rather than digging a little tunnel around it?

The game rewards building a dense little cube, then arbitrarily punishes you by doubling the amount of disease you'll receive. This, of course, leads to everyone spending their last turn packing their hospital into a square like dirty laundry into a suitcase at the end of a trip. This is practically an edict from above with the way the rules are structured... Thou shalt not form nurses stations until the last go-round, or I shall smite thee with plague. Then, on the last go-round, thou shalt build many nurses stations, and thou shalt be prosperous. Awkward.

And then there are the Graysles. Masquerading as a "take that" element in a strategy game, the graysles are essentially "lose a turn" in disguise for the player receiving them, BUT ALSO THE PLAYER DRAWING THEM. UGH. I understand the need for player interaction in games like these, but if your opponents have a brain in their head the graysles will always be placed somewhere that you need to remove them, so essentially, they just take an action from you directly. On the other hand, if your opponents AREN'T paying attention, you can stick your infected room at the end of a corridor of rooms you don't care about, doing all your business on the clean end of the hospital. What's worse is, you don't get ANYTHING for curing them. If they counted as money (without the Lab, another special room which bypasses the game's systems rather than augmenting them) or could in some way be beneficial, then there'd be a thought about how and where to place them, and maybe incentive to place them in your own hospital instead! But no, they're just a double deal of bad. They're one less income for the player that draws them, and one lost action for the unlucky recipient. Bleagh.

All this sounds incredibly negative. And I suppose it is. Despite its flaws, I still like the game and will even suggest playing it, but I had SUCH DREAMS! SUCH DREAMS for this game, and they were not realized.


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19. Board Game: Innovation [Average Rating:7.24 Overall Rank:304]
Wade Ashton
United States
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Instant must-buy as soon as I heard about it. To me, it's a random mess with zero fun factor. Given the rank, I'm clearly in the minority.
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20. Board Game: Forbidden Desert [Average Rating:7.20 Overall Rank:300]
Homo Ludens
United Kingdom
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I had high hopes for this game. The same designer as Pandemic (a game I really like), his previous game Forbidden Island looked like great fun on Table Top, and this game got a thumbs up from The Dice Tower.

It stinks.

Okay, that is probably a bit harsh. But it sure ain't fun to play. I just don't understand why it gets such high scores and positive reviews. At least when I play Pandemic I have fun, even when I lose. In Forbidden Desert you just get hosed, over and over again, in a tile pushing bore-a-thon. The only good part of this game is that it is over quickly.

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21. Board Game: Dungeons & Dragons: Castle Ravenloft Board Game [Average Rating:6.98 Overall Rank:669] [Average Rating:6.98 Unranked]
Great Googly Moogly it's
United States
Raytown
Missouri
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I used to be addicted to the hokey pokey, but then I turned myself around.
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This is an unpopular opinion but I was so sad after playing this game.

I got this on sale at Amazon last year. I used to love playing D&D with my friends but after setting Castle Ravensloft up and playing it through twice I came to realize that this game encompasses NOTHING that I liked about true D&D. I guess I like the puzzles, roleplaying, character advancement and all that. This game is just a dungeon crawl with one attack or trap after another and it all seemed very pointless. Oh well, at least I got it on sale.
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22. Board Game: FlowerFall [Average Rating:6.04 Overall Rank:4296]
Andrew Roy
United Kingdom
Bath
GB
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I hate to add this because I love one of the designer's other games, Innovation (despite what a few items above says) and know that the designer's very active on here, but this game just fell flat for me.

Of course it's simple and not meant to the greatest game in anybody's collection, and sure it does have an as-far-as-I-know innovative mechanism.

Also, it sounds just like the kind of game I'd like! Light, a bit of dexterity, even a little silly. So why didn't I like it?

The biggest issue was with the scoring. For such a simple game (drop/throw cards with your colour on them to try to have your colour control as much of the play area as possible) I found the scoring to be a bit difficult to work out. We would play our cards in as much time as it took to work out the scoring.

I also found game play itself lacking in any enjoyment. Maybe my hopes were a little high for this one, or maybe I just didn't play it with the right people or at the right times.
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23. Board Game: War of the Ring [Average Rating:6.61 Overall Rank:2558]
Enrico Viglino
United States
Eugene
OR
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This was one of my early games I was SO excited about. But, it
never really lived up to the expectations - especially the military
game.

Vid coverage.
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24. Board Game: Twilight Imperium (Third Edition) [Average Rating:7.87 Overall Rank:53]
 
Enrico Viglino
United States
Eugene
OR
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All the talk of 'Epic' and tech trees, and I thought this would
be an exciting space game. Turned out to lose the story in the
fast decision cycle and annoying role selection mechanism (one
which works fine in simpler games).

Vid Coverage.
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25. Board Game: Dominion [Average Rating:7.65 Overall Rank:76] [Average Rating:7.65 Unranked]
Luke Morris
England
Faversham
Kent
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Got it, played it a number of times, traded it.

I (kinda) gave it a chance. Then people said you need to play it however much to really get into it. I tell ya what, there are so many games, other hobbies and family members in my life (as well as the need to work and sleep), that a game needs to earn that second, third, fourth, twentieth play.

I know it's loved and I'm fine with being in the minority, but Dominion is boring and soulless. I sit on the graph as a lover of party games, Eurogames, thematic games, abstract games, wargames, video games....hell, any kind of game, and I have to say that Dominion stands for the very worst of the hobby.





IN MY STUPID OPINION OF COURSE!!
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