Games that really are too luck-based, even when you understand them
Zoe M
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Inspired by a discussion that came up on the other GeekList, Games that only seem overly luck-based when you don't really understand them.

It was suggested that *all* luck-based games are like this. So far, the only counterexamples that have been suggested are very basic games like Candy Land. But I'd like to see what other people can come up with.

Are there any meatier luck-based games that seem to be aiming at a level of play beyond Snakes and Ladders, but that still fall short because the luck element is just too high? Or are there only bad players who haven't yet figured out how to mitigate the luck?

How often does the better player need to win to make for a satisfying game?
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1. Board Game: LCR [Average Rating:3.18 Overall Rank:15342]
 
Zoe M
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2. Board Game: Candy Land [Average Rating:3.17 Overall Rank:15345]
Zoe M
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3. Board Game: Chutes and Ladders [Average Rating:2.79 Overall Rank:15346]
Zoe M
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4. Board Game: The Big Bang Theory: Rock! Paper! Scissors! Lizard! Spock! Dice Game [Average Rating:3.71 Overall Rank:15066]
Zoe M
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5. Board Game: Derby Days [Average Rating:4.99 Overall Rank:13598]
Zoe M
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6. Board Game: Gute Freunde [Average Rating:4.95 Overall Rank:13487]
Samo Oleami
Slovenia
Ljubljana
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It's ludo with frogs and you go in the circle, but what's important is that when you land on another's frog's space both frogs can kiss and hug and this benefits both. So the more your kid learns to love their friends the better they'll all be - if this is not more important than the kid learning to use skills and care about trivial things like choices (and whine about luck on bgg when they turn 13), I don't know what is.

Also the frogs look pretty cute.

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7. Board Game: Fluxx [Average Rating:5.69 Overall Rank:6637]
Justus
United States
Las Vegas
Nevada
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Would that fit in this category? I'm not totally sure, but certainly it is a very lucky game, though I have to say I've quite enjoyed my plays, just about picking the right group!
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8. Board Game: GUBS: A Game of Wit and Luck [Average Rating:6.01 Overall Rank:3924]
Robert Seater
United States
Ashland
Massachusetts
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I've gone back and forth on this one.
(1) At first glance, it definitely looks very very random.
(2) As you learn the cards, you can control the luck by being aware of which super-powerful cards/events have come out, and play accordingly.
(3) But, once you learn to do the basic card counting (it's not that hard, since there are only a few cards you need to count), the game returns to being almost pure luck. It's really all about who draws purple crystals after the hand-destruction events have come out.

Actually, that's a common dynamic of high-luck games. Knowing the odds plus a little memory can give you a big edge. But, once everybody at the table knows the odds and what to memorize, it goes back to being random.
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9. Board Game: Ys [Average Rating:6.93 Overall Rank:905]
Robert Seater
United States
Ashland
Massachusetts
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Here is a game that I thought was very strategic/tactical, until I played against someone who was playing blindly and randomly. He came in with a strong second place against two players who knew the game moderately well. So, while I can't say for sure that the game is really all luck, it was disconcerting that random play was so effective.

In Ys, you place bid tokens/workers face down on regions, and the highest sum wins and triggers that effect. However, the granularity of tokens is very coarse, and your tokens are spread very thin.

I would contrast Ys to the mechanically similar game Aladdin's Dragons, which has much finer grained bids plus meaningful second place rewards and an overall tighter board. I've never seen a new player or random player do at all well at AD. With Ys, it's not clear if experience means much.
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10. Board Game: 6 nimmt! [Average Rating:6.89 Overall Rank:574]
Robert Seater
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I haven't played enough to be sure, but (as I mentioned on the other list) I've seen random play win the game. Even when it doesn't win, random play often does reasonably well even against serious gamers. That's pretty suspicious, although far from definitive.
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11. Board Game: Defenders of the Realm [Average Rating:7.36 Overall Rank:364]
Adam Kemper
United States
Parkville
Maryland
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I come so close to winning and roll so poorly it kills me every time. Wife refuses to play this and almost any dice games thanks to this one. PandemicI can beat ~50% of the time so I get it but the dice kill me!!!
 
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