Games that didn't work for me - A previosuly owned Geeklist
Evan Dunn
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I try to play through a lot of different games. Often times I'm in a conversation with someone and they bring up a game I played a long time ago, but for one reason or another decided to get rid of. Rather than keep all that information at the top of my brain, I keep it here, so I can remind myself of why I made the decision I did.

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A list of under-played games

Favorite Games - Updated for June 2018

Hey these games... Keeping you, but let's keep it just friends
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1. Board Game: 1830: Railways & Robber Barons [Average Rating:7.83 Overall Rank:173] [Average Rating:7.83 Unranked]
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My 18xx experience is limited. I've so far only played 1846 twice. Since I loved that game, i've been really excite to give other 18xx games a try. 1830 is the other game I've seen recommended to beginners. We also made sure to play the Avalon Hill version, since I've seen people didn't like changes to the game that were made by the Mayfair edition, although I don't personally know what those changes were.

We setup to play at about 12:30/1pm, and the game ended at 10pm. The game started out fantastic, but once we hit the 7:00 point, the stock market element of the game stopped doing interesting things, as all the stocks were pretty much settled with their owners, and it felt like the game was just about to end. Then it went on for another three hours.

We did mess up one major rule, thanks to no help from the rulebook nor the player aid I printed out on BGG. The rule we missed is that if a company doesn't payout to the players, then it's stock needs to decrease, even on the first turn where it's not allowed to operate, because it has to buy a train. The rulebook passage, multiple players read multiple times, but we thought that this might just have been one of the differences between editions, or a difference between 1830 and 1846, but in fact towards the end of the game when things were feeling ridiculous, I did some bgg rules searches and found the answer. The really frustrating thing was I even printed out these nice player aids that only said the stock goes down if the company runs and keeps the payout for itself, and goes up if the company pays out. No mention of what happens if the company can't run because it has no train.

This brings me to the other issue I had. Twice in the game, a player sold off all the trains their company had, and then had turn order on me for stock selling, so they were able to dump their stock, leaving me with control of the company, and leaving me on the hook to buy the company a new train out of my own money. I guess that's the point of the game, and I was ready for it to happen once, but it happened twice, and really, once would have been enough to take me out of ever being able to win.

I'm conflicted about this game, because while I felt like it was far too long, I'm not sure I got the best sense of it because of our rules error. I liked a number of things about this game over 1846. I liked the small town rules, I liked the three dimensional stock market. I kind of want to give this game another chance, but really what I'd like is to play a shorter length 18xx game that brings these elements with it.

This game having three operating rounds, and infinite distance trains really drags down the time between turns.
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2. Board Game: 7 Wonders [Average Rating:7.80 Overall Rank:43]
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To a certain extent I'm just tired of this game, after 18 plays. I like the simple drafting mechanism, but this game's icons are really hard to understand, which undercuts the enjoyable simplicity. Especially when the leader's expansion is included. The game also gets less interactive the more players you involve, but with fewer players the cards get less interesting. The method of scoring the green science cards feels needlessly complicated in comparison to the rest of the game. I sold this game and it's expansions when I came to realize that I got the same positive feelings from playing a quick round of Sushi Go, as I did from a lengthy play of this game, but it didn't come with all the stuff I didn't like.
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3. Board Game: Abaddon [Average Rating:6.72 Overall Rank:4421]
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This is a miniatures combat game with three levels of random built into it's system. Level 1 of random is you roll dice, and depending on what you get, you get to activate different miniatures on the board. Then level 2 is in combat you play a randomly drawn card and roll a die, then compare against your opponent doing the same thing, winner deals damage. So far I'm still enjoying the game a lot.

Then, random 3, is if either player rolls a "1", then they deal a critical hit to the opponent which causes the rest of combat to be ignored, and the target draws an 'on fire' card and resolves the effects. Some of these effects are as bad as effectively making your unit useless until you fix it, and others are as good as healing your unit significantly. Very confusing. I'd say that it would be worth it to just keep it and play without the 'on fire' cards, but then it's still not as good as the other minis combat games I have.
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4. Board Game: Above and Below [Average Rating:7.57 Overall Rank:160] [Average Rating:7.57 Unranked]
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This is a really tight worker placement game where you don't have time to achieve what you want to do. In the game you are trying to make time to hire new workers, buy buildings, gather different goods and go adventuring. The adventuring mechanism is a big luck element. You send 2+ workers, draw a card, roll and die, and then another player finds the matching result number and reads the story snippet in the storybook along with two reactions the player can react with along with the difficulty rating of choosing that reaction. It's unusual, but possible to completely fail, as each worker sent rolls a d6 to see they contribute successes. Rewards can range from a few bucks, to valuable resources, to special characters. The unevenness in the value of the rewards can give certain players opportunity advantages over others.

The obvious comparison for this game would be Tales of the Arabian Nights, which also uses a choose your own adventure style book, however the two games have very different feelings. In Arabian Nights, you have a character, and when you are presented with a story choice, you think, what would my character do in this situation? In Above and Below, you are mostly looking at the numbers. If one decision requires 4+ successes, and the other has a different result that would succeed with 3+ or 7+, what I'm doing is looking at how many successes I think I can roll based on the workers I sent on the adventure. Not as much at the story choice. This isn't a problem with the game per se, but initially I was thinking that this game would solve the problem of Arabian Nights, where it's mostly story and not much game.

Nobody in my group felt particularly passionate about this game, but I'm excited to see where this style of game goes from here.
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5. Board Game: Acquire [Average Rating:7.36 Overall Rank:211]
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1999 big box version.

This guy hadn't been played in years. I probably would have been fine keeping it, but I couldn't ignore how high value this version had become in trades. I made a great trade for it and I'm happy with the result. I haven't missed this guy much since then, especially since getting Imperial 2030.
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6. Board Game: Ad Astra [Average Rating:6.89 Overall Rank:925]
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In many ways, this feels like a much more polished and modern Settlers of Catan, but you know... diceless and in space.

The fantastic thing about this game is that each player has a deck of cards that represent the actions they want to have happen each round. Players in turn order put their cards on the master board, and then everyone resolves everyone's cards from left to right. Some of those cards cause certain types of planets to produce, some cause trade phases to happen and some score based on very specific criteria.

It's an immensely strategic trading/resource management game where you really need to try to figure out what your opponents are up to. After returning to this game a year after my first play, I realized that while it was the right choice to replace Catan with this game, I still didn't need a replacement for Catan.
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7. Board Game: Adrenaline [Average Rating:7.23 Overall Rank:550]
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In this game, players move around a board shooting each other. When you damage another player, you mark this with tokens of your color, and when the player dies, you do a little scoring based on how often that player has died, who made the kill shot, and who had the most damage. While conceptually I like the idea of these walking majority areas, the game feels like it's missing something. Players move so much during a turn that where you position yourself doesn't appear to matter very much. The weapons have somewhat difficult iconography for a quick(?) game like this, and are perhaps too varied? Overall it just felt too chaotic for my taste.
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8. Board Game: Adventure Land [Average Rating:7.00 Overall Rank:1231]
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This is a cute game where players start with their meeples at the top left corner of the board. They flip two cards, which spawns things into a random square, and then they can move one meeple as far as they want in a straight line, or move 2 meeples one space. The catch is meeples can never move up nor left, so you are sort of playing some minor push your luck, as if you rush to the bottom of the board too fast you might miss the best powerups. The game scores differently depending on which of the three adventures you chose. There is some dice-luck but the items you collect from the board mitigate it nicely.

There's nothing wrong with this game, and it's not like any other games in my collection, but there's also nothing really drawing me in to make me want future plays.
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9. Board Game: Age of Steam [Average Rating:7.69 Overall Rank:122]
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In this case, I just didn't feel like I needed to hold onto this game when I already had Steam and Railways of the World.
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10. Board Game: Agra [Average Rating:7.45 Overall Rank:982]
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Agra is a worker placement game where you place your workers on the central board's spaces to produce resources, or on the figures at the top to resolve their special actions. The resources can be sent by various methods to fill orders, which gets you some combination of money and reputation. Reputation then in turn increases the amount you get on future deliveries.

The game is nearly devoid of luck. Every feature of the game is laid out at the very start, so the only thing in the way of you and your path is your own mistakes and the actions of other players. Unlike most worker placement games where you have to earn new workers, this game gives you a huge pile of workers right at the start, however they don't come back to you until someone else uses that space. There's also a possibility that you also get bonus marker when you get booted that can be spent on special free actions.

The goods in the game have an interesting mechanism where they sit on the central board in the building space that produced them, and then there are upgrade arrows leading to refinement buildings. Once you have the basic goods, and the refinement buildings are constructed, you can resolve an action to move those goods along the arrow making them more valuable in their refined form. Refining these goods also allows for other players to follow you which generated more bonus action markers for the active player. I absolutely love this mechanism.

The AP can be high in this game. The graphic design is also not great. Component wise, the game comes with this odd angled platform that tracks who delivered what to where, and it's easily jostled causing the tracking tokens to roll out. On the main board, the arrows that track the resource upgrade path are interrupted by the art so that the arrows can be shown going through an underpass or some such, which makes it slightly annoying to track what's connected to where when the board gets busy. There's also a boatman piece that tracks when new cards become available to send goods to, and along the river there are printed indicators as to when he moves. There's a spot where it shows two completed icons which indicates 2 completed cards in total instead of what we thought it meant, which was 2 more completed cards.

More troubling, there's a glut of mechanisms in this game which amount to being a bit too much. There are powerful action cards you can gain by delivering the most goods to, but the way they are sent to and evaluated is a bit convoluted. There's also an special pawn that wanders the board moneying up action spaces, which ultimately works out to be just extra fiddle, as it doesn't seem to add much in terms of choosing what to go for and when. I think the extra rulesiness would be forgivable if the graphic design was cleaner, but when put in combination, it becomes a bit too much for me to want to get this back to the table with any regularity.
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11. Board Game: Agricola: All Creatures Big and Small [Average Rating:7.46 Overall Rank:186]
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This is a farming game that focuses on the raising of Animals. Using a tight worker placement board, you build fences, gather animals and build point scoring buildings. At the end of each round, 2 or more of a type of animal will produce an extra one of that type. At the end of the game, animals will score depending on how many you have of each type. The game will give you negative points for missing a type. Without the expansions this game has very little replayability, as you see the same content every game, but with the expansions you get a semi-random array of buildings each game which keeps things exciting. This is a delightful little mini Agricola experience that discards a lot of what I disliked about that game.

The core issue with this game and it being in my collection is that it's 2 player. Having an Agricola that's specifically designed and balanced around 2 players is a great experience, and a great game, but it's high time for me to admit that if I feel able to get rid of a 2 player game I should, because it will never hit the table.
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12. Board Game: Alea Iacta Est [Average Rating:6.65 Overall Rank:1260]
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This game was cute, but we really felt it's age when we played it. It just seemed far too simple for our taste. Roll dice, place some dice. Rinse, repeat.
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13. Board Game: Alhambra: Big Box [Average Rating:7.53 Unranked] [Average Rating:7.53 Unranked]
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This is a tile laying and set collection game. The idea is you collect money cards of different currencies and then spend them in spots that match their currency to purchase tiles which you add to your tableau. In the money deck there are some seeded scoring cards, which when revealed, players get points for their majorities in different colors. It's a light, fun game where there's some tension as to if you get the building you want, but you still get to build your own little city, so there's limited aggression. The expansions in the big box change the game in little ways, and they're fun to swap in and out to change things up each time. The reason this didn't stay in my collection, is as a 6 player game, it's a little too chaotic, as the buildings you are planning to get from the display are almost always completely refreshed by the time it gets back around to you. As a 4 player game, the tile display works better, but the game won't hit the table in favor of all the other 4 player games I own and like more. The 4 player slot is really tight.
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14. Board Game: Among the Stars [Average Rating:7.17 Overall Rank:437] [Average Rating:7.17 Unranked]
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I wanted to like this game and have it replace 7 wonders, but the setup was too lengthy, and the cards were too busy looking to make a good sense out of other player's board states. It was fine, but I'm also fine with having traded it.
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15. Board Game: ...and then, we held hands. [Average Rating:6.25 Overall Rank:2459]
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This is an ok puzzle game for 2 players. I was expecting a lot more from the theme than it gave. The card art looked nice in pictures, but the linen quality of the cards muddied the colors. Nobody I played this with really understood the purpose of the emotions printed on the player cards. The game emphasizes that you aren't supposed to talk about the game while playing, but you don't really need to, as you can plainly see from the other player's cards and position what they need to do on their next turn. It's fine I guess, but not a keeper for me. I was hoping for something really innovative.
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16. Board Game: Ani-Mayhem [Average Rating:5.14 Overall Rank:14698]
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This was a game I played a lot in my youth, when we were taking a break from Magic. I had worked hard to try to get a full playset of everything. Years later, I decided I didn't have use for the big box of cards, so I traded it away to a fellow nostaligic.
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17. Board Game: Antarctica [Average Rating:6.34 Overall Rank:3480]
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This is a really interesting game where the whole board is a giant roundel. Each turn the sun marker moves one space, and the player who has their boat first in line of up to three boats, moves it to an open space anywhere on the roundel and then resolves an action in that space.

The most common action is to build a building, which allows the player to place a meeple in the area for endgame majority scoring. The value of each region increases for each thing in that region. The effects of buildings also get amplified for you depending on how many of your own guys are in the region.

One of the hurdles people have with this game is the downtime. If you place your boats into regions third in line, you might have to wait awhile a few cycles of the sun before you get a turn again. Often times players will also line up their boats in such a way as to get multiple turns in a row. This doesn't bother me, because it's a strategy decision to take actions in those crowded zones.

The other hurdle people have with this game is the scoring. When you do majority scoring, the players with the most meeples in a region get one point for every meeple and building in the area plus one. Players in second place only get points equal to the number of meeples the highest scoring player has in the region. This means first place might have three guys, second place has two, and there are five buildings in the area. In this case, first player would score 11, and second place would only score 3. Every game, no matter how much I emphasize this in the rules explanation, it results in hurt feelings. The intense frustration that they feel over not being able for whatever reason to get a third meeple into that region, they are giving another player 4 points for all of their work, and getting very little benefit for themselves.

I admit this kind of scoring feels wonky. I liked the process of the game enough that I forgave it for 2 plays. On my third, and for the third time, having my group just feel frustration with the game, I have decided that I can't champion it anymore.
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18. Board Game: Aquaretto [Average Rating:7.01 Overall Rank:885] [Average Rating:7.01 Unranked]
Evan Dunn
United States
New York
New York
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Better than Zooloretto, because the tile placement rules are more interesting, but ultimately wasn't seeing play.
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19. Board Game: AquaSphere [Average Rating:7.32 Overall Rank:362]
Evan Dunn
United States
New York
New York
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This game is about examining little octopuses in an underwater lab. Wonderful theme. Much like other point salad games, you can't do everything you want to do, and even trying will ensure you fall far behind other players. It's somewhat hard to describe all the intricacies of the game, but in essence, it's got what I like in Felds, which is meaningful decisions, tension about being able to beat players to spots and about reacting when a player takes a spot from you. The area control aspect is very well thought out, and it's both possible to play predictably and unpredictably. I'm still fond of it, but it got crowded out by other Feld games I enjoy more.
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20. Board Game: Archipelago [Average Rating:7.40 Overall Rank:290]
Evan Dunn
United States
New York
New York
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Fantastic game mechanics, but the semi-cooperative nature of the game makes it impossible to get to the table. Too much of this game is handing the hard decisions to the next player in turn order.
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21. Board Game: Archon: Glory & Machination [Average Rating:7.04 Overall Rank:1702]
Evan Dunn
United States
New York
New York
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This is a fantastic euro game where when you place your workers, you can bestow on them a special ability depending on the card you play along with them. Beyond this there's nothing innovative happening, but it still does the collect resources to complete cards and build buildings thing quite well. Unfortunately, this game is plagued with component problems. If they would do a 2nd edition of this game, where they tidy up the graphics and solve the component troubles I would absolutely rebuy. As it stands though, the work it takes to get this to the table outweighs my willingness to champion it.
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22. Board Game: Arkham Horror [Average Rating:7.31 Overall Rank:239] [Average Rating:7.31 Unranked]
Evan Dunn
United States
New York
New York
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A team game with the players vs the clock. Feels limited in what you are able to do. Often I like being the clue-findey guy and I get trapped or defeated by monster encounters. Gets frustrating and limiting.

Replaced by Eldritch Horror.
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23. Board Game: Artifacts, Inc. [Average Rating:6.89 Overall Rank:1012]
Evan Dunn
United States
New York
New York
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I liked this dice-as-workers game a lot more than the game it replaced for me, which was Machi Koro. The group I played it with didn't like it at all however. One person, who loves Machi Koro was annoyed at the random aspects of this game. The other person, thought the added complexity over Machi Koro's meant that the downtime between turns was too long, and he found himself bored by this game. Then, the next week we played Waggle Dance, which is more fun as a short dice-as-workers game, so I didn't want to hold onto this one.
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24. Board Game: Artus [Average Rating:6.29 Overall Rank:2826]
Evan Dunn
United States
New York
New York
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This game frustrated me with the card drawing aspect. It's a very dry VERY abstract euro, to the point I think it's much better classified as an abstract. As an abstract I may have liked it better because I wouldn't have gone into it with the same expectations. After playing Glass Road and Rococo, I couldn't play this guy.
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25. Board Game: Asara [Average Rating:7.04 Overall Rank:825]
Evan Dunn
United States
New York
New York
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This is a quick playing, color matching tower building game. The rules for building the different towers are very similar to the boat building rules of Shipyard and Nauticus. Much of the game is dependent on the different color cards you draw each round. Once an area is associated with a color, each spot in that area can only be used with cards of the same color, or two cards which become wild. This leads to some intrigue and pressure about not knowing what will be available and how, but ultimately while I enjoyed the game, it didn't have much depth.
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