Games That Can Theoretically Last Forever
Brandon Tibbetts
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Every game on this list will last forever if players make decisions not to win, but to make the game take as long as possible.

With your entry explain the pattern of player behavior required to make the game last forever.

Please do not include games on the list if the infinite game length is dependent random results, such as die rolls. Assume any random events in the games eventually produce every possible pattern of results.

Please do not include "any" game on the list claiming players can just stall forever on their turns. Assume players complete all of their decisions in a finite amount of time.
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1. Board Game: Catan [Average Rating:7.23 Overall Rank:279] [Average Rating:7.23 Unranked]
Brandon Tibbetts
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Oak Lawn
Illinois
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Catan ends if 1 player earns 10 points.

On your turn, you must roll the dice, but you are not required to take any other action. Rolling dice can cause players to gain or lose resources, but resources themselves are not worth any points.

Required: Players choose only to roll the dice on their turn.

Result: The game lasts forever with all players stuck at 2 points (earned from their starting settlements).
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2. Board Game: Terraforming Mars [Average Rating:8.38 Overall Rank:5]
Fabian
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The game end is player driven. It ends when there is enough water, air, and heat on Mars to make it liveable. Players are never required to do anything at all to achieve this.


The solo game is different though, as it has a 14 turn timer.
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3. Board Game: Concordia [Average Rating:8.07 Overall Rank:23]
Brandon Tibbetts
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Oak Lawn
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Concordia ends when any player supply of houses runs out or when a general supply of cards drops below a certain number. Consumption of houses and cards is caused by player actions, but players are never required to take those actions.

Required: Players never chose to take any action that consumes cards or houses.

Result: The game lasts forever without any player scoring a point (all scoring in Concordia is performed at the end of the game).
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4. Board Game: Power Grid [Average Rating:7.92 Overall Rank:28]
Russ Williams
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Nobody builds to the number of cities which triggers the end of the game.

PS: I think there is a very large number of games which could be added to this geeklist...
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5. Board Game: Ricochet Robots [Average Rating:7.00 Overall Rank:569] [Average Rating:7.00 Unranked]
Russ Williams
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Nobody finds a solution, so they keep staring at the board forever.

(And every other real-time "first person to achieve some task" game e.g. Set, Dobble, Ubongo Duel, etc can similarly be added to the list.)

(Edited "Ubongo" to "Ubongo Duel" as per comment below.)

PS: Since real time passing is an integral significant part of these games, it seems kosher to add it to the list for reasons of players taking forever, and not merely a sleazy ruse like adding ANY turn-based game and saying "some player takes forever to do their turn"...
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6. Board Game: 504 [Average Rating:6.50 Overall Rank:2008]
Russ Williams
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The exact behavior in this very rule-modular game will depend on which rule modules are in play. But in many worlds, players can make the game last forever by choosing not to reach other cities, for example.
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7. Board Game: Titan [Average Rating:6.95 Overall Rank:790]
Russ Williams
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Players do not attack each other players' Titan stacks. (You win by eliminating all opposition. Many games have this mechanism and so could be added.)
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8. Board Game: Tennis [Average Rating:4.70 Overall Rank:14804]
Don Clarke
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Nantwich
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Correct me if I'm wrong, but can't a tennis tie-break go on theoretically indefinitely? I have no idea if the board game simulates this aspect of the traditional dexterity game, but with a name like "Tennis", it ought to!
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9. Board Game: Cartagena [Average Rating:6.70 Overall Rank:845]
Russ Williams
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Players don't move all their pirates into the boat, but instead keep moving backwards to get more cards sufficiently often.
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10. Board Game: Lines of Action [Average Rating:7.19 Overall Rank:2516]
Russ Williams
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Both players intentionally avoid joining all their stones into a single contiguous group (the winning condition).
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11. Board Game: Hive [Average Rating:7.32 Overall Rank:203]
Russ Williams
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Both players avoid surrounding the enemy queen.
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12. Board Game: Terra Nova [Average Rating:6.42 Overall Rank:1974]
Russ Williams
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Players only move their dudes around and never build walls to form territories.
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13. Board Game: Homeworlds [Average Rating:7.43 Overall Rank:2911]
Russ Williams
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Players choose to never destroy an opponent's homeworld.
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14. Board Game: Gnostica [Average Rating:7.04 Overall Rank:5161]
Russ Williams
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No one ever declares victory. (To win, you must control a certain number of territories and then declare victory and survive one more round of opponents' actions.)
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15. Board Game: Blam! [Average Rating:6.42 Overall Rank:9109]
Russ Williams
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Players just peacefully recycle their own pieces forever.
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16. Board Game: Around the World in 80 Days [Average Rating:6.60 Overall Rank:3915]
Don Clarke
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Players might never achieve the requirements to cross the finish line if they play spectacularly badly and, similar to Cartegena, might oscillate up and down the board ad infinitum. Nice.

(I love the game, btw)
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17. Board Game: Impulse [Average Rating:6.91 Overall Rank:1161]
Justin
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Kentucky
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One player can set up a loop in moving his transport ships and can keep doing this for as long as they like.
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18. Board Game: Inis [Average Rating:7.82 Overall Rank:123]
Don Clarke
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Players never take a Pretender token, a prerequisite to victory but a voluntary action.
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19. Board Game: Go [Average Rating:7.66 Overall Rank:121]
Russ Williams
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If you're playing with some form of simple ko (don't repeat the previous board state) instead of some form of superko (don't repeat ANY previous board state), then Go can last forever if players choose to e.g. set up some chain of ko fights, capturing single stones back and forth in a chain at several locations.
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20. Board Game: Hellas [Average Rating:6.22 Overall Rank:2276]
Russ Williams
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Hellas can last forever if players never voyage to discover new tiles. You need to control 10 tiles to win. Each player starts with only 4.

Note: This is not just a theoretical possibility! I've seen real comments from newbies who did not realize the mathematical implications of this, and just kept fighting over the initial 8 tiles, capturing them back and forth, and then complained that the game never ended...
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21. Board Game: Zendo [Average Rating:7.27 Overall Rank:710]
Russ Williams
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No one ever correctly guesses the Master's rule.

This is sometimes not just a theoretical problem, if the Master makes the secret rule too difficult. (A common error for newbie Masters.)
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22. Board Game: TKO [Average Rating:4.90 Overall Rank:14893]
Alex P
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Rockville
Maryland
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No points are scored if both players just block, so if no one is willing to make an aggressive move (especially near the end of a round) the game could theoretically go forever.
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23. Board Game: Rock Paper Scissors [Average Rating:4.42 Overall Rank:14527]
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If you guys are very in-sync, this can in theory go on forever for obvious reasons.
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24. Board Game: Puerto Rico [Average Rating:8.06 Overall Rank:15]
Paul Jukes
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Chandler
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If nobody takes the Mayor, and all players take the same actions each turn, this game will never end.
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25. Board Game: Cube Quest [Average Rating:6.86 Overall Rank:1283]
Ends if a player's 'king' is eliminated.

On your turn you must flick a piece.

Required - players do not knock pieces off the board and just flick aimlessly.
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