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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101. Board Game: Genoa [Average Rating:7.10 Overall Rank:577]
Ben Bateson
United Kingdom
Ross-on-Wye
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Man oh man, this one dropped like an iPhone in a squat toilet.

Our group love Rudiger Dorn games. Goa is always a must-play; Arkadia is very well-spoken of by several of us; Waka Waka is a surprisingly good 3P option; and we even like his smaller efforts like Jambo and Gargon.

We also like negotiation games. Chinatown is a firm favourite; Pit is played at our Christmas party; and we still play Catan from time to time. In fact, I still enjoy Catan more than about 75% of other games we play.

So I'd had my eye on this for ages. I read the rules in advance. It looked fun. nothing could go wrong here, right?

WRONG!!!

The rules explanation took longer than I had considered due to edition and translation issues. People took the micky out of the dog-turd stack of brown discs. And then we played.

And played.

And played.

God help us - it took forever! None of the negotiating was fun because too few people had a vested interest in which way the caravan went. One gamer committed the mortal sin of updating Facebook while playing; another just resorted to rank sarcasm. With 5P it took over two hours, which is a big chunk of games night gone just like that. No-one felt they had achieved anything and the winners were at a loss to explain why they won. Certainly there wasn't much strategy involved.

Would I try it again? Maybe. I paid for it, after all. But I'd need to find some new people to play it with.
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102. Board Game: A Game of Thrones: The Card Game [Average Rating:6.89 Overall Rank:807]
Kai Mölleken
Germany
45147 Essen
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I wasn't sure if I should this or not. Maybe I'm a bit late now but here we go:

I was really disappointed by A Game of Thrones: The Card Game. It was finally released in German last year. I really liked the books, the series and the board game. But the different houses didn't feel that differently in the board game so I had high hopes for the card game. I read about it, watched the tutorial videos from FFG and I was really excited to play it and planned on buying it.

But one of the guys from my gaming group beat me to it and brought it with him when we met for a gaming session. And I'm glad that he did.

We played it with four players and it seemed to last forever. After some turns I just wanted it to be over. After that I was already quite disappointed.

However I thought I should give it a second chance when we met again with three players and the others suggested to play it. And I was sort of relieved since I really enjoyed the game that time.

So next time when it was suggested I happily agreed to play it again. The result was a three player game with two players ganging up on me since I had a bad start. With them ganging up on me there was nothing left for me to do in the game. No way to get anything started and I could only wait for the game to end. This wasn't exactly my definition of a fun gaming experience.

At another meeting I was willing to give the four player variant a last chance and it had the worst from my other bad experiences with the game. It dragged on too long and players were ganging up on a weaker player. This player wasn't me this time but it still annoyed me.

This was the last time I played the game and I don't see myself playing this again some day. I was willing to fall in love with the game but for me there was not much to fall in love with...
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103. Board Game: 1812: The Invasion of Canada [Average Rating:7.37 Overall Rank:710]
Alex Drazen
United States
Massachusetts
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The game itself is a lot of fun, but this is the only game I've actually paid full price for, and I just don't think I've gotten nearly as much bang for my buck out of it as I did with others.

I played it at Unity games, just the intro scenario, and thought it was fun and exciting. I never buy any game sight unseen -- I'll always get in a play or two first, to see if I actually like it.

Here are 1812's weak points:

(1) Canada is much stronger than the USA. They have more water movement, muster areas closer to the front lines, more dice, better dice, and the Native Americans are very (perhaps too) powerful. I've only won one game as the USA (two if you count a player just getting bored).

You can be the USA and take over York and Six Nations for 2-3 turns, and still lose. By comparison, if the British can seize Albany or Pittsburgh, they'll always win in a rout.

(2) The combination of turn order and the timing of Truce cards play a disproportionate role in who wins. To a lesser extent, the special card draws for the American players also hold too strong an influence, because they need their special cards on the last turn much more than the Canadians do. Of this, you can only intentionally mitigate the Truce cards.

(3) It is difficult to get people to play this, at least in my group. My fiance hates it, too (and she is a woman who will play Power Grid a couple times a month), so it usually sits gathering dust.

(4) Only three scenarios! I enjoy the 1813 scenario more than the base setup (I think the USA has better odds), but it would be cool to have more ways to play, because it has gotten a bit repetitive.

___________

Don't get me wrong. I actually do like the game, and I do enjoy it, but it has its frustrating points: rolling full dice as the Americans and watching four of your units flee when trying to retake Detroit in the 1813 scenario; your opponent waltzing in and one-shotting your entire army; the uselessness of Command Decisions when your forces are surrounded.

My favorite combat system is from "Maria" -- you're as powerful as you are willing to give up TC's, and you work around the luck of the draw deck, rather than the luck being flat-out dumped on you.

But still, when paying $40-60 for a game, I'd like to be able to play it more than once every month or two, and I'd like to be able to play against more opponents. "Carcassonne" may be vanilla, but light gamers will at least play it. "Stone Age" has been the go-to compromise game when nobody can agree on what to play. Even "Power Grid," at twice the length, sees four or five times the plays!
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104. Board Game: Catan [Average Rating:7.19 Overall Rank:327] [Average Rating:7.19 Unranked]
Sean McDonald
United States
Yonkers
New York
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I've tried, I really have tried to like this game.
I have given it a dozen chances. I've played it with friends, I've played it on Android. But this game just seems so arbitrary. Risk depends less on the dice than this game. You get a bad streak of rolls and its over. In none of the games I have played did the underdog come back in the end.
I hear so much ranting and raving about this game, but I just cant stand it.
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105. Board Game: Ticket to Ride: Europe [Average Rating:7.56 Overall Rank:102] [Average Rating:7.56 Unranked]
cubby
United Kingdom
Haywards Heath
West Sussex
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I bought this thinking that it will be a sure fire hit, in the same way that Carcassonne was with my group of friends. I was thinking that the sheer volume of goodwill towards it, and how it tops so many lists of gateway games, meant that there was bound to be something we'll like about it.

The thing is, when we figured out the rules, sat down and played it, we pretty much sat in silence. There was nothing to talk about! Carcassonne encourages chatter, as other players figure out where a good place would be for the player whose turn it is, maybe blending a bluff in the process so that the person suggesting doesn't get done over. In TTR you have no idea what the person playing is going to do until they've played their turn, and then you can comment on it, which at best is going to be a muttered "interesting..." or gritted teeth "gah".

I have a feeling that if the route cards were known information to all the other players then the game would be more fun to play.

Also, I kind of wish when playing this that there was some extra dynamic going on. Putting trains down should have some kind of function that is just not there in the game. The added bits like ferries and tunnels just don't cut it in this respect.

All in all, when I stumped up nearly twice as much for this than I did for Carcassonne, at the beginning of my board game collecting, I was really disappointed, and have been far more cautious on my subsequent purchases.

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106. Board Game: Crossfire [Average Rating:5.34 Overall Rank:16553]
Brian Jurney
United States
Tooele
Utah
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I don't know what I was really expecting, but I just remember the cool commercials from when I was a kid. I never got to play it as a kid, so I guess I had built it up over the years to be cooler than it actually was. I recently thrifted a copy of it, and its pretty terrible. You are constantly reloading your gun and the stupid little pucks barely move! I still think that the commercial was one of the coolest game commercials ever though!
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107. Board Game: Back to the Future: The Card Game [Average Rating:5.82 Overall Rank:5807]
Dion Baxter
United Kingdom
Canterbury
Kent
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Back to the Future is one of the GREATEST films ever. Fond childhood memories... (I loved wearing my own 'life preserver' in my early teens.) And my own kids will even request the trilogy.

Chrononauts. Played it at my local games night. Loved the whole idea of messing with time while avoiding the collapse of existence itself! Yes, I'm a Doctor Who fan...

This is simple maths. Great film + Fun game = Distilled awesome.

Oh. How. Wrong.

Disappointing is possibly the politest word I can offer to this fetid waste of potential. Many cards are pointless and just there to 'pad out' the time stream. When it is clear that everyone is trying to get the opposite of what you need, you are in for a long haul... I was crying apologies to my family and friends after my initial excitement to play it. They might not trust me to introduce a new game again!

It has tarnished my love of the trilogy. And that is an unforgiveable crime.

Shame on you Loony Labs. Shame on you. shake
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108. Board Game: The Lord of the Rings: The Card Game [Average Rating:7.64 Overall Rank:111] [Average Rating:7.64 Unranked]
Eric Stubbs
United States
Gaithersburg
Maryland
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I went in to this game favorably disposed towards it, and after experiencing initial frustrations with one of the starter decks (Tactics, as it happens), I did a bit of deck building and enjoyed the game well enough with the Mirkwood scenario, despite some difficulties. Later on, though, I set it up for the Anduin scenario one evening, stared at everything, then put it all back in the box, realizing I didn't want to play it at all. Shortly afterwards I gave the cards away to a very deserving BGGer who was really into the game, and I haven't regretted that move in the slightest.

I admit I found the difficulty a bit high for my impatience threshold and had a harder time than usual grasping what I needed to do to improve, but I think my major problem is that the game really bothers me from a lore/story perspective; it may seem silly, but are we to believe that Denethor, Aragorn, Eowyn, Legolas, Gimli, and Bilbo are all tearing around Mirkwood or hunting for Gollum? I just couldn't get over that aspect of it. A better connection with the story might have helped me want to become better at the game and tackle more advanced deck-building and harder scenarios.

(Above comments adapted from my comments on the game in my User Collection area.)
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109. Board Game: Commands & Colors: Ancients [Average Rating:7.78 Overall Rank:108]
Brian Lucid
United States
Mountain House
California
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It's a great game!

The dissapointment came when I ripped off the cover art along with the plastic wrapped 1st ED Box. They have since corrected that bit. The first ed. box is all white with the art on top affixed by what appears to be Saran Wrap.

I have since taped the cover to the box but I must endure my friends comments about having an inferior version of the game.
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110. Board Game: Magic Realm [Average Rating:7.17 Overall Rank:1033]
Mike West
United Kingdom
GUILDFORD
SURREY
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I've owned around 50% of the games on the list and few come close to the disappointment of Magic Realm.

After coming to bgg in the first place to research an old Schoolhood favourite, Talisman, I went about collecting other games that sounded cool.

One day I read about Magic Realm, a randomly generated replay able single player fantasy adventure, and it was complicated, great!

I design computer RPGs for a living, I code ai, balance gameplay systems, manage projects with 100+ people on them...

I couldn't work out the rules for Magic Realm at all at first. When I did, it was such a boring, slow and complicated experience I gave up after a couple of tries.

A few years ago Mage Knight turned up and the pain of Magic Realm was forgotten.... Until now!

Other disappointing games:
Die macher, nightfall, forbidden island, space hulk: death angel, defenders of the realm and talisman (childhood was a simpler time!)
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111. Board Game: Niagara [Average Rating:6.51 Overall Rank:1209]
Z. Martin
United States
Moscow
Pennsylvania
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I saw this and immediately pictured my boys and I sitting around the table full on anxiety and wishing our boats wouldn't plunge over the Niagara River. Wrong!! The idea was great, but it doesn't work. The game is shallow and the plastic disks (which represent the flow of the river) kept getting hung up on the crease in the board. Very anti-climactic. We played it once and I promptly sold it.
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112. Board Game: All Things Zombie: The Boardgame [Average Rating:6.18 Overall Rank:4361]
David Morneau
United States
Maspeth
New York
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This looked like a great game. There were multiple, linking scenarios, in what I hoped would be a lite-wargame feel. I even won a copy in a giveaway on BGG (see this thread).

When I got it iwas impressed with how it looked, the rules seemed easy enough to parse, but it just didn't feel right when I played it. Everything seemed to automatic with how the zombies interacted.

Thinking that maybe it would be more enjoyable with a group, I brought it to game night. Four of us slogged through a game, with repeated variations on "Is this really how this is supposed to play?" Every decision we got to make was more or less automatic since we knew what the zombies were going to do. It was not a lot of fun.

When we gave up and I was packing it away one of my friends declared, "That is a terrible game." I don't know about that, it seems popular enough. It wasn't for me though.

I was more than happy to trade it away the next time a Math Trade came around.
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113. Board Game: Boss Monster: The Dungeon Building Card Game [Average Rating:6.31 Overall Rank:1725] [Average Rating:6.31 Unranked]
Sam Hillier
Canada
St. Albert
Alberta
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I was so excited for this. Followed it on Kickstarter since the beginning. Waited and waited for it to arrive. Loved the Nintendo Power-esque strategy guide, the theme song, the Legend of Zelda sleeve, and all of the references on the cards themselves.

Then it came time to play.

I gave it five honest tries in a row. I may have won one of them, I don't know. I found the game very limiting. It tempts you with strategy and combos, but never delivers.

When you build a dungeon, each room has a certain treasure type. You can upgrade those rooms as long as the treasure type matches, but you cannot (easily) get rid of treasure types. So if you're dealt a handful of cleric treasures, say, then that's what your dungeon will look like. You'd better hope that no one got dealt better cleric cards than you, else they'll just keep taking all the heroes. You'd also better hope that you actually get heroes of your type, since you're virtually powerless to do anything once the heroes get to town.

Well, you have your one or two spells. Better hope you drew the good ones, not the useless ones.

What frustrates me the most is that there is the potential for combos here. Some rooms destroy other rooms for a bonus, while some rooms give you things when they're destroyed, and others bring back destroyed rooms. Cool, I love engine building and combos (Ascension, Seasons, Dominion, Magic, etc.). Except nothing comes together here. If you end up building a dungeon that does something interesting, you will have such a mish-mash of treasure types that you won't lure any heroes in, so you won't actually score points.

This game has the look, the feel, the theme to be so much more. It just doesn't deliver when it comes to gameplay. I'll probably trade it away, but I'll be sad to see that golden sleeve go.
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114. Board Game: Clash of Cultures [Average Rating:7.65 Overall Rank:242]
Bryon Quick
United States
Eugene
Oregon
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I was SO excited to play this, so much so I bought it before playing it. Civ building, check. Cool player boards, check (as an aside, why don't more companies do player boards this way?) Tech trees, doublepluscheck. Exploration, check.

But the cards. Oh, the cards. For me they added a much larger degree of randomness than I can take in a game that long. The event cards pretty much make a couple of the advances required, which sort of negates the feeling of Free-will-to-let-my-civilization-grow-however-I-want. And the cards you draw each turn that can earn you VP are just too swingy.

Traded it before I punched a single piece.
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115. Board Game: British Rails [Average Rating:6.90 Overall Rank:2424]
GMOFreePortland.com
United States
Milwaukie
Oregon
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Ironically, this is the game that brought me to BGG in the first place. I had already acquired Empire Builder, India Rails, Eurorails and Australian Rails. I was researching British Rails and stumbled upon the Geek in the process. I ordered a copy from eBay, not knowing how different it would be from the other editions I owned. Turns out it was a first edition, with tear-apart cards and crayons that didn't match the colors of the pawns. It was also very slow playing compared to the others. We played our first game the same day I joined the Geek almost five years ago. Two of the four games we have played have ended with a resignation. It is unlikely that this will ever see its fifth play.
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116. Board Game: Super Dungeon Explore [Average Rating:6.86 Overall Rank:1257] [Average Rating:6.86 Unranked]
Joel Lee
Australia
Burwood Heights
NSW
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I love cute chibi anime characters.
SO when this game was on watchitplayed i knew i wanted this game right away.

After reading the rule book which was super poorly written i got right into it with my SO and some friends. i was the overlord and I just completely crushed them over and over to the point where i didn't want to play they didn't want to play either. And there's no story in this game.

I was looking for a descent in chibi form... this was not it..it was move attack roll dice get treasure thats it.
rinse repeat no story, no sense of 'leveling' no anything....bleh...

the dragon was also a pain in the ass to glue together too
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117. Board Game: Android: Netrunner [Average Rating:7.90 Overall Rank:44]
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So, there are some great mechanics going on here, but:

The core set was kindof decent. Not horrible, but not very good. It's way more luck and deck based that the fan boys want to admit to themselves. The game-play has some good moments, but there are really boring match-ups, and the way the cards are shuffled in the corp's deck can really break the game.

I also hated that you do not get all the cards you need, but i just proxied the ones i though useful...c'est la vie.

But since the 3rd data pack, or so, things started getting out of hand. Runners got a massive economy boost and extremely powerful counters to anything that the coup could throw at them. The corps got..Fast Advance which is a play style that goes against the nature of the game.

The latest big box expansion really broke the game, throwing in some unbelievably good cards for the runner, shifting the balance even more in the runner's favor.

I guess this is what you get when you let FFG play-testers determine game balance.

I'm really looking forward to the reprint of Blue Moon Legends. Now that's a GOOD 2 player game, that involves skill and bluffing. Stay away from Android: Cash Cow
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118. Board Game: Eaten by Zombies! [Average Rating:5.89 Overall Rank:4738] [Average Rating:5.89 Unranked]
Melissa
Canada
Saskatchewan
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Per aspera ad astra.
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Just......terrible.
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119. Board Game: Ticket to Ride: Märklin [Average Rating:7.41 Overall Rank:263] [Average Rating:7.41 Unranked]
Clare Cannon
Wales
Trefforest
Mid Glamorgan
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I love ticket to ride, so when a new copy came out my b/f preordered and purchased me a copy and dutifully sat down to play it with me.

I HATED every minute of it!

The addition of the passengers makes the game fiddly and personally I find the passenger are to over-costed in terms of points you don't even have to bother with completing the routes on the ticket you have as the passengers will pick up the shortfall (much like the actually railways I suppose!)
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120. Board Game: Seasons [Average Rating:7.44 Overall Rank:176]
Joe Thomas
United States
Coshocton
Ohio
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I really didn't know what to what was gonna happen in this game. Maybe that's my fault for not looking into this game. I didn't realize that there was so much jerkery in this game. I wanted to punch everybody in the face by the end of this game.

This game made Glory to Rome like a co-op. I gave this game away to another gaming club (that's very far away from me) instead giving to someone else in the gaming group. I never want to see this game ever again!
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121. Board Game: Trajan [Average Rating:7.78 Overall Rank:73]
Vivienne Raper
United Kingdom
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I was so excited by the mancala. It was so cool and innovative and...

Once the novelty had worn off Trajan became a by-the-numbers 'crank out two extra victory point' game without the charm of a cool theme... Traded after six plays
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122. Board Game: Merkator [Average Rating:7.04 Overall Rank:907]
Edgard Massot
Spain
Borrassà
Girona
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When I saw the title of the geeklist this was the game that came to my mind. And to be honest I expected someone would have added it.

I enjoy almost all of Uwe's games, Agricola, Le Havre, Loyang, Ora et Labora I like them all, some of them are in my top ten games of all time but man I tried 2 or 3 games of Merkator and I can't...

It's in my collection still but I doubt it'll see the table again.
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123. Board Game: Onirim [Average Rating:6.70 Overall Rank:1027]
τὰ ὄντα ἰέναι τε πάντα καὶ μένειν οὐδέν
United States
Brookline
Massachusetts
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So.
MUCH.
SHUFFLING!
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124. Board Game: Warmachine: High Command [Average Rating:6.19 Overall Rank:4510] [Average Rating:6.19 Unranked]
Chris Enfinger
United States
Bluffton
South Carolina
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I picked up this game at Gencon 2013 with it's Hordes expansion, and it is by far the biggest disappointment I've ever had in purchase history.

I'd also like to add that I am an avid Warmachine/Hordes player and love the universe.

This game just had too many issues that my love of good board games ejected the venomous Kool-Aid that I was all ready to enjoy.

1) Colorblind incompatibility
2) Combat is terrible, required, and not necessary.
3) Location decks not compatible between the two games.
4) Copy/Paste Card Powers
5) Detachment VP's making 0 sense.
6) 1st turn advantage
7) ZERO balance in group play.
8) Bizzaro end condition.
9) Paying for cards twice slowing the game.
10) Warcaster/Warlocks having god like combat changing powers.

This list goes on and on.

Sold it on the bay for high five and a good luck.
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125. Board Game: Trains [Average Rating:7.20 Overall Rank:411] [Average Rating:7.20 Unranked]
Sean Turner
United States
Bexley
Ohio
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I got to sit down and play this at GenCon. It was one of the games I was really looking forward to. "It's Dominion with a board" I was told over and over.

I really don't get it. You use the board to build your routes, but other people can build on the same spaces. And if they have Tunnel, they can do it for no additional cost. There is no protection of routes, you just build anywhere and everywhere you want. I really don't feel that the board adds anything to this game. It is just a distraction

I think in a quest to improve Dominion it failed miserably.
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