Games that feel like Work
Joe Sallen
United States
Boone
Iowa
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This is for any game you've been playing when you stopped and thought "Is this really a game? , because I feel like I should be getting paid to do it!"

Obviously, your occupation may influence your views. Ticket to Ride might qualify if your job is traveling on disconnected train routes. So to make sure were all on the same page, here is what is meant by "games that feel like work":

Games that are fiddly, with so many rules and regulations there should be a state-administered exam just to qualify to practi--hmmm. I mean play-- it.

This is not just for games you simply hate or dislike; this is for those special games with all kinds of wonderful qualities that add up to being more of a chore than a fun activity.
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1. Board Game: Prêt-à-Porter [Average Rating:7.26 Overall Rank:996]
Joe Sallen
United States
Boone
Iowa
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Yay! Fashion!-- so thought my wife when she insisted I buy it at the FLGS.

How does it play? Let's just say hiring an accountant and obtaining a contract with a designer didn't exactly make my wife feel immersed in the world of fashion. You vie for the most prizes at the fashion show, then obligatorily sell all the dresses you took and use the money to...pay your employees...and hire new ones...and build buildings that work pretty much the same as employees.

This should have been called Small Manufacturing Business Simulator, the Management Training Tool.
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2. Board Game: Triplanetary [Average Rating:6.91 Overall Rank:5524]
Kent Reuber
United States
San Mateo
California
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This applies equally well to other space vector movement systems. I have a physics degree but adding vectors together feels more like work. I mean, don't these ships have computers to handle the calculations?
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3. Board Game: RoboRally [Average Rating:7.12 Overall Rank:341]
Mike Young
United States
Sterling
Virginia
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I really want to like this one, but it feels just like writing software using an especially buggy API.
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4. Board Game: Formidable Foes [Average Rating:5.54 Overall Rank:12110]
If Actions Speak Louder Than Words, Then Actions x2 Speak Louder Than Actions
United States
Las Vegas
Nevada
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I loved this game. Such a fun exercise. But your turn is 10% fun stuff and 90% remembering the processing of the end of turn stuff correctly.

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5. Board Game: Descent: Journeys in the Dark (Second Edition) [Average Rating:7.76 Overall Rank:78]
Jordan S.
United States
Plano
Texas
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Descent is representative of a very specific element of my gaming history. Unfortunately, it is an element of negative connotation and one that I have very actively tried to distance myself from. That element: the grid-based, D&D3E-esque, meticulously-detailed, cooperative skirmish simulator.

I certainly understand why people like that style of gameplay and I know many folks who positively thrive on it. For me, it has always felt like a whole lot of work for relatively inconsequential payoff.

Quote:
John: "I'll move over here and activate my ability, which will give you a bonus to hit."

Bob: "Right. But before I attack, I'll take *blah* action so that those two skeletons can't attack at range this round. Then I attack and, if my weapon ability activates, Matt should be standing next to me so that he can recover his fatigue."

Matt: "Okay. Yes, let me move first and I'll move over here to block the corridor and leave this space open for your movement. But wait...if I move there, I won't have line of sight on the shaman and won't be able to interrupt his spell."

Tim: "Alright...wait, wait. Let me move to block the corridor and Matt can move over there and still get to shoot the shaman. I can activate my item for a defensive bonus and take the fatigue and then it can be removed if Bob's weapon triggers."

John: "But you've only got a few hits left and if they focus their attacks on you, blah blah blah..."

...15 minutes later...

Bob: "Okay. We're ready to take our turns. Matt will move to the end of the corridor and take a sho...oh...crap! I forgot those goblins have flaming arrows! If Tim doesn't get out of the corridor, he's gonna be toast!"

John: "Dang it! You're right. Tim, you're gonna have to blah blah blah...

cry

That may not be representative of everyone's experience but it is very much mine and it is agonizing to sit through. I don't play RPGs with this level of tactical involvement anymore and I don't really want it in my board games either.

And preparing for flames in 3...2...1...devil
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6. Board Game: Power Grid [Average Rating:7.91 Overall Rank:29]
Richard Irving
United States
Salinas
California
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I am a field engineer for an electric utility.

However this game is nothing like my job.
- We don't wear white lab coats. (Fire retardent) blue jeans and long sleeved shirts.
- We are not allowed to simply shut the power off to several cities.
- The rates for transmission and distribution are set by the government (as it is a natural monopoly).
- Generation is mostly controlled by other companies.
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7. Board Game: Pay Dirt [Average Rating:6.85 Overall Rank:2213]
Jacob Randolph
United States
Ames
Iowa
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I had high hopes for Pay Dirt and the BGG description made it sound so enticing
BGG wrote:
Pay Dirt is an engine-building, worker placement game set in frigid Alaska for 2-5 players

So I traded for a copy, learned it, taught it, played it... and 90 minutes later I apologized. At the end of the game we all looked around for where we were supposed to clock out.

Each turn in Pay Dirt consists of three phases.
First there's this innovative yet often confusing auction. This is the heart of the game and is probably really exciting for people who like auctions.
Next phase, go to work. Take whatever meeples you have acquired and send them to work moving dirt tiles, you can send better dirt tiles through faster if you win certain things in the auction.
Last phase, a thematic slap in the face. Players take hardships depending on how good it looks like they're doing which sometimes screws them over or don't hurt them at all. Adjust the temperature and repeat.

First off Pay Dirt is not an engine builder or a worker placement game. You don't have an engine you have a line. You can shorten it though. Also you don't place workers you use them to select actions on your personal board. A small but very important difference between the WP and Action selection mechanic.

Maybe as a dry euro lover I was finally so engrossed in a theme that I felt like I was there. I was burly orange hat man with the yellow hat first player marker token just trying to follow my bosses orders and hit pay dirt while constantly be beaten down by hardship after hardship. Maybe the exact same thing happened to the other players. Or maybe we all should have been paid because we were working hard.
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8. Board Game: Space Alert [Average Rating:7.49 Overall Rank:149]
Jacob Randolph
United States
Ames
Iowa
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Space Alert = Hand Management: The Team Building Exercise.

I respect Space Alert and if I ever have to go to a leadership seminar somewhere I'll be sure to pick up a copy. But, I still feel like I should be getting paid to play it, or at least a half credit in some management communications class.

Space Alert is a game that forces people to work on their communication skills, their ability to follow instructions in high pressure situations, and one lucky individual gets to work on their micro-managing skills.

Don't get me wrong these are all great things to work on but at game night I want to game.

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9. Board Game: High Frontier [Average Rating:7.42 Overall Rank:789]
John Chapin
United States
St. Louis
Missouri
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After playing this game, you are given an honorary degree in aerospace engineering.

From the description: "Various private and government enterprises race to establish a buckytube mechanosynthesis factory on a suitable carbonaceous asteroid. To do so, they accumulate tanks of water in orbiting fuel depots, to be used as rocket propellant. Also needed are remote-controlled robonauts to do the grunt work."
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10. Board Game: Power Grid: Factory Manager [Average Rating:6.89 Overall Rank:691]
Alan Gaskell
England
Lancashire
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After a hard week working, my friends suggest we play this.

And I punch them in the face.
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11. Board Game: Hawaii [Average Rating:7.21 Overall Rank:529]
Joe Sallen
United States
Boone
Iowa
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I bought this game because of how much Tom Vasel hated it. I figured it must have been too much of a euro for him so it'd be right up my alley. I have to admit Tom was right on this one.

I think the main reason it felt so laborious was the need to pay feet to move your chief. It's not just about buying the item for the right price; you have to get yourself there first. It made every move feel like it was costing me my livelihood along with a few shells or fruit.
 
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