THAT'S how you're selling this? Good games with terrible first game setups.
Mark Green
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Ever had a game that you know is good, but is just terrible on the first game because the first game rules mangle it so much? That's what this is about.
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1. Board Game: Pathfinder Adventure Card Game: Skull & Shackles – Base Set [Average Rating:7.42 Overall Rank:647]
Mark Green
United Kingdom
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The first adventure on the path stacks a barrier-heavy deck in a single location you can't leave and everyone's hand size capped at 1 plus the number of banes defeated. We drew "bucket brigade" (ie, boat on fire) as the first barrier, meaning everyone's turn went: roll hopelessly against the barrier, discard their card to fire damage, draw one card, discard it in someone else's turn to prevent the ship being wrecked. Repeat until someone got a good roll. Ugh.

Oh, and on top of this? The first scenario has a major errata in it, which if you don't know about, either all the PCs will die or you'll play a major rule wrong.
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2. Board Game: One Night Ultimate Vampire [Average Rating:6.87 Overall Rank:1556] [Average Rating:6.87 Unranked]
Mark Green
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The "default" starting character set for early games includes two vampires, one of whom can shut down another character's action. A huge number of the random combinations of characters that pop up will thus guarantee that of four players, two will be vampires from the start, one will be bitten, and the other will be shut down. Great.
 
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3. Board Game: 504 [Average Rating:6.50 Overall Rank:2008]
Mark Green
United Kingdom
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You know what's not a good game? 123.
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4. RPG Item: Firefly Role-Playing Game [Average Rating:7.63 Overall Rank:690]
Mark Green
United Kingdom
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Sample adventure: "Roll to achieve X. If you don't, make the next roll harder. Repeat until you win."
 
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5. Board Game: Space Alert [Average Rating:7.50 Overall Rank:147]
Mark Green
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A tricky one, this. The fun of the game is in managing complexity. The recommendations for the first few games tone down the complexity to avoid it being intimidating.. and thus remove the fun. It'll take a bit of patience to get through them.
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6. RPG Item: Unknown Armies [Average Rating:8.00 Overall Rank:65]
Mark Green
United Kingdom
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I really love this game, but seriously? "An incomprehensible god-NPC teleports you into three scenarios where there's practically nothing you can do and nothing happens either way, then you get left on an empty road?"
 
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7. Board Game: Archipelago [Average Rating:7.40 Overall Rank:283]
Nicola Bocchetta
Italy
Milano
MI
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This game is controversial, as the semi-coop nature will trouble many players.

Anyway, most of first games end up with a revolt, that can leave a sour taste in players mouths. You end up playing a second game, or forgetting about this, with all of its unclear rules.

To add up on that, the game lets you choose the ga,e duration via objective cards. As a
Most everyone will choose the short duration for their first game, the game will end suddenly as if you were right in the middle of it.
 
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8. Board Game: Monsterpocalypse [Average Rating:7.22 Overall Rank:1384] [Average Rating:7.22 Unranked]
Brian M
United States
Thornton
Colorado
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MonsterPoc recommends a learning game without special abilities. That's not inherently a bad idea; there's a good bit to learn about how to move your units around, shift the dice pools and attack. But the special abilities include all the ways to do more than 1 point of damage at a time; without that extra damage in play the game really drags out, taking much too long for an intro.
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9. Board Game: Catan [Average Rating:7.23 Overall Rank:279] [Average Rating:7.23 Unranked]
Freelance Police
United States
Palo Alto
California
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The Mayfair version had a "Your First Game" setup so new players could play the game and skip the placement phase (which would be difficult for a group of players who had no idea about the strategies of the game).

Unfortunately, the setup even said that Red would (almost always) win.
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10. Board Game: High Frontier (3rd edition) [Average Rating:8.59 Overall Rank:1252]
Glitchy Predator
United States
Portland
Maine
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The game is heavy and comes with multiple rule books (4), one of which is labeled "Read this book first." But this book doesn't really have any rules in it and leaves you absolutely confused and maybe wondering if they even forgot your rule book and put the cover on the wrong book. No you're not crazy, it's actually a walk-through for people the first time they play AFTER they have a basic understanding of the rules, which are in the rule book labelled "colonization".

The game is hard enough to learn, they didn't need to add to it by hiding the rule book from us as well. The tutorial walk-through just leaves you completely confused as to what you are even doing.
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11. Board Game: Dominion [Average Rating:7.67 Overall Rank:72] [Average Rating:7.67 Unranked]
Armando Gurrola
United States
Houston
Texas
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This one has one of the most vanilla setups in the older edition. With some near worthless cards (Spy and Woodcutter). I played this likely 20+ times. It got worse every time. I'm not sure of the newer edition, but the first edition's first setup got very tiring to play.
 
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12. Board Game: Order of the Stick Adventure Game: The Dungeon of Dorukan [Average Rating:5.81 Overall Rank:5108]
Mark Green
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This game comes with an excellent Order Of The Stick comic that teaches you the rules for your first game. It's really clear and clever. It also leaves out some rules that are absolutely essential, like how to attack without a weapon and how to have the magic user attack at all.
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