Great disappointments in your board game history
Gunky Gamer
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Gardiner
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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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176. Board Game: Myrmes [Average Rating:7.30 Overall Rank:456]
Enon Sci
United States
Portland
Oregon
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I love Ystari -- I'm a Ysatari nut, actually.

So, imagine how large I must have been grinning to open a gift on my birthday last year and see Myrmes, #2 on my Wishlist at the time, staring me in the face.

Sadly, a play or two later, and I was left wanting.

This game is weird. Very weird (and not in a charming way).

You can tell this was Yoann Levet's first mature design, and for as much as I wanted to like it (and still do), it fell flat at our table multiple times.


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177. Board Game: Robinson Crusoe: Adventures on the Cursed Island [Average Rating:7.91 Overall Rank:41]
mike m
United States
palisades park
nj
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This was #1 on my list for many months before i bought it. I read the designer's blog notes regularly, watched several videos, and thought it was perfect for our family in every way. My sons and I had played Forbidden Island a couple years before and enjoyed it, so we expected this to be even better in every way. When I finally pulled the trigger, I acquired the trait expansion, the dice tower expansion, the beast expansion, and also got the beagle expansion shipped in from London - before even playing the base game.

The thing that really sold me on the game was how deeply themed it was. Decisions you make early in the game come back in the event deck later. Being risky in your adventuring can lead to injury. etc. It sounds super cool just writing about it here!

But every game boiled down to one or two key tactics. We might lose the first time on a scenario, but would figure out the strategy and beat it the second time. The only time we would lose was if luck was strongly against us. One game, we couldn't save Jenny simply bec we didn't have rope, and we didn't have rope bec we didn't have the grass terrain - even though we explored every single turn, sometimes both of us. Grass terrain was just on the bottom. Bad luck. Thematically, it's a nice story - we are frantically searching for grass, alas it is far away from our camp.

But, I would leave every game thinking that a story was told and i was along for the ride. One can take a few actions here and there to maximize the chances, but really the world will beat you down or it won't.

This game did help me learn about my board gaming interests. Until i played this game, I thought theme was by far the most important thing to me, but turns out that it is important but secondary. If i was really interested in a story, i would much much much rather read a book.

Eventually I sold everything here on bgg. My disappointment was so great that i sold the beagle expansion, unopened, at a loss just so to be get rid of it quickly - though I could have made quite a bit more on it, being hard to find here in the US.

I am a big fan of the designer, and really appreciate his interaction and openness here on bgg. I love the concept of this game, and can see how many people would like it. Somehow, it didn't click with us.
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178. Board Game: Terror in Meeple City [Average Rating:6.89 Overall Rank:703]
Gunky Gamer
United States
Gardiner
New York
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This seemed liked a perfect game to play with my two boys. Destructive silliness, monsters, dexterity, etc.

Nope. If it wasn't my older son yelling at my younger, "Gross. Stop spitting on the board," then it was my younger son accusing my older of being a jerk. Mostly though, it just seemed to take longer than it should.

Oy vey. And it was so much damn work to put the stickers on all the meeples.
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179. Board Game: Secrets of the Lost Tomb [Average Rating:7.36 Overall Rank:3067]
Kevin Shaud
United States
Harleysville
Pennsylvania
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I backed this game during the first Kickstarter campaign and went in for all of the expansions - the whole shebang. This game appeared to encapsulate everything I loved in games: exploration, adventure, rich theme, monsters, supernatural elements, pulp-fiction, mythological and legendary creatures, etc. The game was more than a year overdue (no big surprise on Kickstarter), but that just built my anticipation to an even greater degree. I watched videos of Gencon showing the game and was almost salivating.

It arrived a few weeks later and I opened that gargantuan box full of what I was sure would be the greatest gaming experience of my life. Yeah, not so much. I realize that my expectations were probably way too high and maybe it's just because the game didn't turn out to be what I thought it would be. After taking several days to read through the rulebook, I finally got it to the table. The first play took four hours; half of which was flipping through the rulebook or searching BGG forums to clarify missing or ambiguous rules. I was soul-crushingly disappointed, but I forced myself to play again using a different scenario. I found myself anxiously awaiting the end of the game as it still took three hours and involved more forum-trolling. I sold the game within a week after that.

I made money and the buyer got a great deal so it was a win-win in the end, but the whole experience was such a huge disappointment for me. I am much warier about which Kickstarter project I will back now. If it's a game company that I've never heard of or a first-time designer or publisher, I figure it's just safer to wait for it to be available to the general public.
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180. Board Game: Legacy: The Testament of Duke de Crecy [Average Rating:7.21 Overall Rank:606]
Tim Freerksen
United States
River Forest
Illinois
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You can make your own family dynasty? Yes please. I was salivating for this game and when I got it... it just bombed. Played it three or four times to see if maybe the solo variants helped, nope. Still a cattleprodding Euro wrapped around an interesting theme.
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181. Board Game: Android [Average Rating:6.73 Overall Rank:1133]
Tim Freerksen
United States
River Forest
Illinois
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First saw this when I bought BSG and I was like cool, this and Tannhauser are gonna be my next purchases. They weren't and I wish I didn't trade for this. It is extremely long, extremely random, incredibly unbalanced and a terrible rule book. People say it's about the experience and the experience was awful and boring. I can watch Blade Runner and get the same experience in 117 minutes. This game is like that and a half.

Traded it for Overpower and while I have nobody local that plays Overpower and the cards are expensive as all get out I would rather have them and use them as a cool conversation piece (and play with my brother when it strikes him) than this garbage game.
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182. Board Game: La Isla [Average Rating:6.92 Overall Rank:806]
Tim Freerksen
United States
River Forest
Illinois
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I bought this because I wanted to give Stefan Feld a chance and this was said to be his lighest game that still resembles his more well-known stuff. Well apparently Stefan Feld's definition of "light" is Race for the Galaxy levels of iconography, incoherant rules, bizarre amalgamations of mechanics that are maladjusted and just one player aid.

I now understand
Samo Oleami
Slovenia
Ljubljana
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's dislike for Feld... sigh and this is what I get for seeing the best in people sometimes.
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183. Board Game: Histrio [Average Rating:6.65 Overall Rank:2775]
Tim Freerksen
United States
River Forest
Illinois
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The final chapter in "Games Rahdo Tricked Tim into buying or trading for" trilogy. The previous 2 were Legacy and La Isla in case you didn't know. Histrio's a cute game, but it's simplistic, repetitive and the game that made me realize "you know maybe people who diss light games have point." Also the dummy players are the fiddliest dummy players I've ever dealt with.
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184. Board Game: Milestones [Average Rating:6.61 Overall Rank:2285]
Tim Freerksen
United States
River Forest
Illinois
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Ok I'll be honest this isn't a *great* disappointment for me like the other 3 rahdo recommendations because all of those three I either hated or so hyped I deflated almost immediately. In fact rahdo was the second opinion for this game as Sam Healey baited me into this one. Sam's not a big Euro gamer, so the fact he not only liked this one but it was underrated was something I could get behind. The fact rahdo looked at it was even more validation that this game unfairly came and went.

Now I know why it came and went, there's nothing new here. It's barely above average but I was expecting more, a lot more (but reasonable, I wasn't expecting anything perfect but something fun or unique). It tries to be a Feld/Rosenberg design that had multiple ways to score points but they're no way equal so once someone figures out the puzzle they win. Only thing I liked was the In the Year of the Dragon like loss of workers giving me some tension and my love of Network building games (though oddly enough building milestones isn't the best way of scoring, it's bakeries).

On the plus side between Legacy, La Isla, Histrio and Milestones I would actually play Milestones again over the others though not my copy (as I wouldn't want to keep my copy). Hence again why it's not a great disappointment.
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185. Board Game: Mice and Mystics [Average Rating:7.37 Overall Rank:248] [Average Rating:7.37 Unranked]
Tim Freerksen
United States
River Forest
Illinois
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I really don't like this game and I had so much high hopes for it as a huge roleplayer fan and a Redwall fan... however the rule book was incomprehensible and obtuse that I mistakenly called it heavy on here and was laughed at for calling it that. Stuffed Fables fixed everything in this game and honestly I like theme so much better.

This is proof that a rule book can kill a game no matter how good it is. I didn't even want to try to get back into it since my gaming group already soured on it.
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186. Board Game: Smash Up [Average Rating:6.80 Overall Rank:705] [Average Rating:6.80 Unranked]
Tim Freerksen
United States
River Forest
Illinois
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This game didn't feel like anything than just moving cards around and just delaying and "not losing" over actually winning. Really drags with more than three and just not that great.

Plus Tricksters in the base set is stupid
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187. Board Game: Scythe [Average Rating:8.29 Overall Rank:8] [Average Rating:8.29 Unranked]
Tim Freerksen
United States
River Forest
Illinois
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Dropped 80 bucks on the base game (this will be important as this game not only disappointed me in gameplay but also market value). Decided to keep it NIS in case I would hate it and trade it so I watched the Watch it Played video, yeah the 34 minute length scared me but I know Rodney knows his games better than the rulebook (hence why I kept it NIS as well). As every minute passed I realized. I would not only hate this game but I was flat out lied to by BGG and its 3.36 weight (which I saw as a great next step for what I'm usually into when it comes to Euros). The rules even with Rodney's succint words made no sense to me and it was just a mess to keep track of what the hell I do. This combined with Rodney IIRC not telling me what the hell the variable factions did differently made me put it up for trade.

Trading it was surprisingly hard from me. Yes I got a lot of trade requests but as soon as I said it was base game no KS, no promos, ect. All but one was still interested, and one of those offers was one I suggested that involved a game I really wanted. I still got a great deal but the fact that Scythe, which has 1,800+ people who want it in trade but most people decline because it's just the base game. That's a disappointment for me on two levels.

So yeah Scythe sucks so bad I never even got to play it.
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188. Board Game Designer: Guglielmo Duccoli
Tim Freerksen
United States
River Forest
Illinois
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Here's an odd twist on the list. I actually really like Gonzaga. However I was disappointed to see that Mr Duccoli hasn't made any other games apart from a game which seems like I won't like. Wish he did make another game to see what he would do. If he has passed on, I apologize if I sound like a complainer.
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189. Board Game: Wingspan [Average Rating:8.10 Overall Rank:51]
Jérôme
Netherlands
Eindhoven
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Wingspan is the hottest game and rising in the charts like a comet. I saw the drawings of the birds, read something about 170 different, unique cards and noticed the little birdhouse dice tower. Then an interview with the designer in the New York Times was linked, in which she told that everything in the game was based on facts and she worked with a huge spreadsheet to balance things out and so on and so on. I was sold. I fell in love with the birds. And it was my birthday very soon, so I started hinting that this would make a very good gift. Of course I got it and I was thrilled to play it.

At first impression there was quite a lot of plastic in a game about nature. Plastic containers for plastic eggs and a big plastic cardholder of which the plastic lid was supposed to be placed in the middle of the table. OK.

The actual game play was fast, simple and extremely luck driven. Maybe it was a fluke, so I tried again with a different opponent. Same result. Solo? Worse.

When I play Wingspan there was hardly any interaction with my opponent, except that I got an egg once or twice and on some rare occasions a food die was grabbed before I could take it. Maybe there are all kinds of interlocking characteristics of the birds but as far as I’m concerned, it takes too many actions to get enough cards to build that engine the game is lauded for.

It’s my fault. There were early warning signs that Wingspan is in fact a very light game. I’ll probably sell it soon but since I haven’t seen all beautiful birds yet, it gets a few more plays before.
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