My Top Ten Disappointing Games
Alex Ansari
United States
Temple City
California
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Here are ten games that I had high expectations for that, for one reason or another, ended up a disappointing experience. In some cases, I still enjoy the games, but haven't been able to get them to work with my groups, or they just weren't as good as advertised.
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1. Board Game: Trieste [Average Rating:6.71 Overall Rank:2364]
Alex Ansari
United States
Temple City
California
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I had heard many good things about this game and I was already a fan of a few other VPG titles so I figured this would work well. I am often in situations where there are only three of us so I didn't think the required player count would be an issue. While I do enjoy the game, I overestimated how well this kind of game would go over. It's a pretty light game, but the asymmetry of each faction makes it slightly more difficult to teach. In most cases, my group would rather play something else that works just as well with three so this didn't end up getting much table time.
 
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2. Board Game: Descent: Journeys in the Dark (Second Edition) [Average Rating:7.75 Overall Rank:78]
Alex Ansari
United States
Temple City
California
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While I never owned this game, a person in my group decided to splash the cash and get this for us to play. We had been big fans of HeroQuest when we were younger so this seemed like a nice contemporary alternative. I was chosen to be the DM and everyone was very excited after choosing their characters. We ended up only playing this for two and a half sessions. The pacing of the game was nothing like what we expected and I felt more like a game manager than an active player. There was very little hidden information and the turn structure was extremely boring. The rules were extremely ambiguous and we all ended up frustrated by the experience. Sad to say, we've never played this again and the group eventually disbanded.
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3. Board Game: Mascarade [Average Rating:6.68 Overall Rank:892]
Alex Ansari
United States
Temple City
California
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This was brought out one night as a better game than current favorite, Coup. I was really eager to play because I had a heard that it was extremely fun, especially for larger player counts. I think we maybe played it twice and each play was a complete farce. There didn't seem to be any point to taking any specific action and I won both games without doing anything. I still don't understand this game or the appeal as it just seems like a chaotic mess. We went back to Coup the next week.
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4. Board Game: Machi Koro [Average Rating:6.70 Overall Rank:744]
Alex Ansari
United States
Temple City
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After hearing about this game, I thought it would be a perfect fit for not only my gaming groups, but my family as well. As expected, the game was very hard to find until the English reprint was made available. However, the first copy I received was marred by production issues. Additionally, the game had some noticeable balance issues. Certain strategies became the standard and the each play was a carbon copy of the previous one. Even after integrating the "ten card" setup rules included in the expansion, the game lacked enough variability to keep it interesting. The expansion fixed this, but introduced even more issues with too many expensive cards coming out before anyone had any money and dragging the game out. We've adjusted the game and still play it, but it's safe to say that this didn't work out as well as I had planned.
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5. Board Game: Chaos & Alchemy [Average Rating:6.16 Overall Rank:7160]
Alex Ansari
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Temple City
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This was one of my first Kickstarters and I was very excited about how I perceived the game play. Of course, as with anything Kickstarter and Game Salute related, the project ended up coming in very late. The production did look pretty nice, but after a few plays, I noticed that the game was extremely light and very random. This isn't necessarily a bad thing, but the size of the box is way to big for this type of game. All of the key components could easily fit into a tuck box. I found out later that this is how the game was originally sold. The game itself isn't bad, although certainly not as good as I had hoped, but there is no reason why this game shouldn't be in a smaller-sized box.
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6. Board Game: Forbidden Desert [Average Rating:7.23 Overall Rank:265]
Alex Ansari
United States
Temple City
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Pandemic is my favorite game and I love Forbidden Island so this seemed like a home run. It took awhile for GameWright to finally release the game and I eagerly snatched it up as soon as it became available. After one night, I could see that this had problems. Unlike Forbidden Island, Desert is almost completely random in everything it does. Should I explore this tile or that tile? It doesn't matter because the storm could go anywhere and completely wreck you. Did you happen to draw three "Sun Beats Down" cards in a row? Too bad, you lose. Sometimes the game is ridiculously easy and sometimes you lose after three rounds. I don't understand the high praise for this game because while it isn't bad per se, it isn't anywhere close to what other cooperative games offer. If I want a "gamer" co-op, I'll play Pandemic, Ghost Stories, or a myriad of other fantastic games. If I want something light for the family, I'll go with Forbidden Island. The mechanisms are a mess and the game is about as random as using dice. Very disappointed in this one.
 
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7. Board Game: Rise of Augustus [Average Rating:6.77 Overall Rank:786]
Alex Ansari
United States
Temple City
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On the surface, I can't remember what initially excited me about this game. However, I decided to pick it up because it sounded interesting and it was an SdJ nominee. It's essentially BINGO and I thought it would be a fun game to open with or play with the family. 80% of people I played this with ended up frustrated by the experience. There would usually be one or two competitive people that would simply rush the end of the game by scoring easy cards and grabbing the high-point tiles. And even when we only had casual players, going for higher-point cards never seemed to work out. It really seemed like something was missing from the game. I eventually got rid of it because any time it was mentioned, pretty much everyone gave it a resounding "No!"
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8. Board Game: Mice and Mystics [Average Rating:7.41 Overall Rank:220] [Average Rating:7.41 Unranked]
Alex Ansari
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This was another game that seemed like a sure-fire hit for the family. As with Descent, coming from a background with HeroQuest meant we were always ready for a good dungeon crawl, even if it was on the lighter side. And this one had a fantastic story as well! After winning so many awards and praises from reviewers, I picked it up. We made it through several chapters, but at some point, we decided that this game was not for us. It was extremely repetitive. Everything in the game revolves around rolling dice. That is seriously all you do. The game just seemed to get in the way of the story and we would sigh whenever we had to continue playing before finding out what happened next. This game is more appropriate for younger children that want to play a game with their parents. I would definitely enjoy a novelization of the story though.
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9. Board Game: Pathfinder Adventure Card Game: Rise of the Runelords – Base Set [Average Rating:7.30 Overall Rank:292]
Alex Ansari
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Temple City
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Woo, was I excited for this one. I had recently concluded a long D&D campaign when this game came out. After my first play of this, I was ready for more. It had a great feel to it and captured the experience of a typical RPG encounter perfectly. However, as I added more adventure packs, I started to notice a power creep issue. It got to the point where I didn't even have to roll dice for some encounters. Wading through tedious waves of weak monsters and terrible gear made each subsequent play more unbearable than the last. When I heard that the new set wasn't going to be compatible with this one, I knew I was done. I sold the game off and haven't looked back. This game was the definition of too much hype and is one of my most disappointing board game experiences.
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10. Board Game: Shadows over Camelot [Average Rating:7.15 Overall Rank:322]
Alex Ansari
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Temple City
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There are very few Days of Wonder games that I don't enjoy. Even the ones that I didn't feel like buying were fun to play. This one is also benefited from great word-of-mouth. Almost no one I spoke to had a bad thing to say about the game. After buying it and setting it up, I was in awe of the production. That ended when the game began. There is no theme to this game. You play cards like you would in poker, except at one-tenth of the speed. This game drags like no other. Our first play was pure cooperative in order to learn how to play. We didn't even finish. Our subsequent plays included the traitor, but the tension barely increased. In games where the traitor was revealed, the game ground to a halt. It became a battle of attrition that ultimately ended with the knights losing to catapults. I dislike this game and was extremely disappointed in the experience I had with it. Games like Battlestar Galactica and Dead of Winter make this game obsolete.
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