Wolves in Sheep's clothing
Joe Sallen
United States
Boone
Iowa
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Has this ever happened to you?

1. You looked at a game and thought 'that looks so pleasant; playing it is probably like going on a nature walk'

2. You played the game and found it to be so cutthroat and/or difficult that it was less like a nature walk and more like walking on hot coals.

This is a list for Brutal Games with Innocent Artwork

Criteria:

1. Game art may not include depictions of war, weapons, or criminal behavior; or must do so in a whimsical fashion.

2. Game must have the potential of intense player interaction, i.e. ruining plans, killing dreams, outright extermination, etc.
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1. Board Game: Neue Heimat [Average Rating:7.28 Overall Rank:1526]
Kirk Thomas
United States
North Kansas City
MO
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Kids blocks with numbers on them - how wholesome!
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2. Board Game: Keyflower [Average Rating:7.89 Overall Rank:44]
Joe Sallen
United States
Boone
Iowa
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Keyflower's artwork calls to mind an agrarian utopia with its green hills and cobblestone homes. The Farmers expansion adds an even cuter aesthetic with little animeeples and pigs that are actually pink.

Look past this adorable facade and you will see that at its core the game is a knife fight with meeples. The first time you are outbid you feel something wicked begin to awaken within you. This feeling continues to pervade throughout the first round, innocently titled "spring" and represented by a leaf. As you advance to summer you are introduced to a whole new breed of fierce and rabid animal: tile activation. You can use tiles in other players' towns, and this becomes immediately apparent when the tile you bought in Spring and planned to use in summer becomes populated with meeples of a color you just ran out of.

Progressing to fall, you have begun to pick up your bruised and battered pilgrim and see a couple tiles that could combo well with what you have placed in the two earlier rounds. Then, you see a bid out on your tile, but it isn't a normal bid. It's the infamous green meeple, the destroyer of happiness. Green meeples only become available through unholy machinations such as the fabled "Peddler".

This whole time the cute artwork has been staring you in the face with what you start to see as a smirk. Those green hills, stone fences, wooden ships that invited you in have turned on you. This is Keyflower.
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3. Board Game: The Little Prince: Make Me a Planet [Average Rating:6.93 Overall Rank:876]
John F.
United States
Shelton
CT
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Haven't played this myself, but I hear it fits this category perfectly!
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4. Board Game: Fruit Fair [Average Rating:6.09 Overall Rank:8424]
Joe Pastuzyn
United States
Midland
Michigan
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Look at the box! You've got great fruit playing pieces, colorful board and a raccoon. This is a kid's game, right? Not so fast. Each round you have to collect fruit and one player will get screwed out of that. The raccoon is evil as well and there are plenty of ways to hose your opponents. This innocent looking game is pretty cutthroat in spite of its artwork.
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5. Board Game: Carcassonne [Average Rating:7.43 Overall Rank:138] [Average Rating:7.43 Unranked]
I like board games more than most people.
United States
Northlake
Illinois
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When I die I want people to look at the condition of my games and say, "Man, he really played these alot."
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Pick tiles, match sides, build buildings/make roads/create fields.

Not with two people - then it becomes incredibly cutthroat as you try to encroach on their fields, connect your buildings with theirs, and make their meeples useless.
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6. Board Game: Agricola [Average Rating:8.02 Overall Rank:17]
Nathan Eggers
United States
Ames
Iowa
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And from an ivory tower hears her call, "Let the light surround you"
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Doesn't the box art look so friendly? What could a farming game with such cutesy art possibly do to make your life miserable?

*Three begging cards later after someone blocks the bake bread action.*

Please Lord, let it end.
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7. Board Game: Ticket to Ride Map Collection: Volume 2 – India & Switzerland [Average Rating:7.83 Unranked] [Average Rating:7.83 Unranked] [Average Rating:7.83 Unranked]
James Patterson
United States
Utah
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It's Ticket to Ride. Look at the happy people waiting to board the train and go on a grand adventure. Who knew that frustration and agony were just around the bend.cry

These maps when played 2 player can be incredibly cut throat, especially India. (Watch what happens when you ruin someones mandala loop or snag the last north-south link.) I mostly play this with my oldest daughter. We haven't needed therapy yet after playing India, but we often do need some cool off time before playing that board again.
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8. Board Game: Black Fleet [Average Rating:7.07 Overall Rank:643]
Jacob Randolph
United States
Ames
Iowa
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We are all animated pirates and you have these beautiful ships and you sail around this beautiful board trading and selling goods.

Everybody got that, alright, on my first turn I will move here and steal a third of your cargo. I told you we were pirates guys, did I forget to mention that this is a cutthroat, brutal, and relentless game wrapped in beautiful art.

I love this game but I need to warn people before playing.
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9. Board Game: Reef Encounter [Average Rating:7.16 Overall Rank:492]
Richard Pomeroy
United States
Chester Springs
Pennsylvania
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Reef Encounter should be the poster child for this list.
It's pretty.
Ooh, growing corals, sounds pleasant.
Ha ha - fooled you!
Highly interactive, brain burny, NASTY game.
LOVE it!
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10. Board Game: Hey, That's My Fish! [Average Rating:6.75 Overall Rank:677]
Jan Alenus
Belgium
Wimmertingen
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Cute penguins collecting fish but this becomes a cutthroat game about area control and cutting off the other penguins.
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