Games I wanted to love but for ONE THING...
Ruben de Kemp
Canada
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Hi all! Just got to thinking about the various games I've played over the years. Many of these may fall into the critically-acclaimed category and most of these are certainly well-designed games and full of merit. It's just that these may not see as much playtime as I've hoped because of one thing that dampens the experience.

Interested to see what other peoples' are.
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1. Board Game: Alchemists [Average Rating:7.73 Overall Rank:81]
Ruben de Kemp
Canada
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I love deduction games, and the beauty and table presence of this game can't be overstated. This game sounded like the perfect game for me going in to it.

Unfortunately, the time we brought it out, the learning curve killed the experience. Several not-unintelligent people in my group tripped up on the whole "alchemy" aspect and by the time it was over (which was admittedly not soon enough) most people were just glad it was done.
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2. Board Game: Masmorra: Dungeons of Arcadia [Average Rating:7.22 Overall Rank:958] [Average Rating:7.22 Unranked]
Ruben de Kemp
Canada
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The time we played this one, I think we were playing the Epic mode. That was a bad idea for our introduction.

The downtime between turns became too much. Eventually we just halted the game about 3 hours in.
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3. Board Game: Cyclades [Average Rating:7.54 Overall Rank:129]
Ruben de Kemp
Canada
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While I enjoyed the game, what our first play ultimately boiled down to was my wife being forced to make a choice as to who won -- myself or a friend. There are enough existing threads about Kingmaking in Cyclades and although this particular example wasn't exactly Kingmaking (she had no other options by that point), it came pretty close.
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4. Board Game: Dead of Winter: A Crossroads Game [Average Rating:7.76 Overall Rank:63] [Average Rating:7.76 Unranked]
Ruben de Kemp
Canada
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While I love the theme and do feel it comes out well in the game, this is another one of those games bogged down by downtime between turns.

I'm also still on the fence about whether the whole "sort-of-a-co-op" mechanic is really a good thing or not.
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5. Board Game: Betrayal at House on the Hill [Average Rating:7.11 Overall Rank:422]
Ruben de Kemp
Canada
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While I personally enjoy this game, it's also hard to trot out with a newer group. There's a pretty good chance halfway through the game you're going to have to send one of the newbies out of the room and ask them to learn a whole new set of rules on their own.
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6. Board Game: Mage Knight Board Game [Average Rating:8.13 Overall Rank:18]
Ruben de Kemp
Canada
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It just takes too damn long. Tried this three times with the same people. Ran out of time every time.
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7. Board Game: Above and Below [Average Rating:7.59 Overall Rank:158] [Average Rating:7.59 Unranked]
Ruben de Kemp
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I love that they added a "Choose Your Own Adventure" mechanism to this game. Unfortunately, those interludes seem too disconnected from the rest of the game (i.e. the stories are self-contained and don't really shape the game beyond their resolution). Once you've gone through a story you're back to playing another Euro-style.

I haven't played Near And Far yet (though I own it) so I don't know if they improved upon the idea in that one or not.
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8. Board Game: The Lord of the Rings: The Card Game [Average Rating:7.63 Overall Rank:105]
Ruben de Kemp
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I think some of what I say here may be the reason Fantasy Flight came out with Arkham Horror: TCG.

Too much deckbuilding (which, admittedly, I suck at) for stories that are self-contained and not really part of a larger narrative experience.
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9. Board Game: Mysterium [Average Rating:7.47 Overall Rank:152]
Ruben de Kemp
Canada
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By all rights this is a very cool game. I just wish most of the cards weren't so abstract. It really makes making connections a tenuous experience at times.

I'm probably missing the point since it's a game about visions.
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10. Board Game: Bears vs Babies [Average Rating:5.77 Overall Rank:8051]
Ruben de Kemp
Canada
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This is a game that owes its popularity to its predecessor. It just came off as way too random for me.

I think Exploding Kittens is the far more enjoyable game.
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11. Board Game: Comanchería: The Rise and Fall of the Comanche Empire [Average Rating:8.09 Overall Rank:1933]
Paul Jukes
United States
Chandler
Arizona
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Excellently researched game about the rise and fall of the Comanche.

The game has one thing that totally ruins it for me: Cultural Attack.

Everything else can be dealt with in this solo game. Sure, you can lose to this or that, but at least it feels like something you can control or at least mitigate. If you lose in other ways it truly felt like it was your loss and you can look forward to changing up strategy to deal with it.

With Cultural Attack? Tough luck. You have to play a completely scripted style in order to avoid a bad set of operations from making you instantly lose. Ruins the game.

I have thought about how to fix that, but it's such a tightly woven game that I'm at a loss.
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12. Board Game: Kingsburg [Average Rating:7.23 Overall Rank:266]
Peter Chien
United States
Rome
New York
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I loved this game when I first got it. Loved the dice rolling, loved assigning them to the various court members. I loved it so much, I pimped the game with better dice--good plastic ones with sharper corners and numerals instead of pips.

But as I continued to play it, I got really tired of the arbitrary nature of the fight against the enemy at the end of each year. The rest of the game was so enjoyable, and the fight at the end was so...not. I haven't played Kingsburg in a while, and I'm very willing to give it another chance, but the enthusiasm I had for it wore off much more quickly than I anticipated.
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13. Board Game: Munchkin [Average Rating:5.93 Overall Rank:3351] [Average Rating:5.93 Unranked]
Peter Chien
United States
Rome
New York
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The Munchkin family of games (large and still growing):

I love the theme, LOVE the tongue-in-cheek satire of D&D/fantasy RPGs, love the artwork and leveling up the characters. Just wish there was a way to finish a game without having to play so long that eventually players give up and let someone win just to be done.
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14. Board Game: Panic Station [Average Rating:6.05 Overall Rank:2730]
Daniel Blumentritt
United States
Austin
Texas
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Just about everyone I played with seems to have the same opinion, something like "It's soo close to being amazing, but ends up falling flat."

Issue is, the infection mechanic doesn't quite work because if the alien can't infect anyone all game, the uninfected humans win. And you pretty much have to succeed the first try, because there's no reason, upon a failed infection attempt, that both players wouldn't instantly say "Hey! He/she's the alien!"

One friend and I decided it would work better if you couldn't immediately say anything to the table. We came up with some basic rules that you normally couldn't engage in any table talk (just rules questions or outside-the-game banter), but, for 1 action point you could pick a room you had a piece in and everyone with a piece in that room could go away from the table and talk privately (1 minute time limit). Or, if you were at the computer terminal, you could take up to 30 seconds to "broadcast" to everyone at the table at once - but nobody else could respond, you essentially got a soapbox.

Seemed good in principle, but we never got the chance to test it out.
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15. Board Game: Mystery of the Abbey [Average Rating:6.55 Overall Rank:1076]
Ruben de Kemp
Canada
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Going back to my love of deduction games...

This is supposed to be the Clue-killer for me. Nice theme (very obviously inspired by The Name Of The Rose)...fun mechanics, nice board and artwork. And the fact that you can ask just about ANYTHING really opens up the realm of possibilities for creative deduction.

...but then, WHY OH WHY do you have to pass along cards from your hand every turn?

I just don't get it. Given how that throws the info given out of whack you might as well be starting a new game at that point.
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16. Board Game: Bora Bora [Average Rating:7.58 Overall Rank:154]
andrea melegari
Italy
parma
Italy
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If it wasn’t for The builder man/woman tile that is clearly overpowered this would be my fav Feld game and probably in my best 3 games of all time.
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17. Board Game: Scythe [Average Rating:8.30 Overall Rank:7]
Kevin Garnica
United States
West Covina
California
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Love this game...except for the fact that I never seem to win.
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18. Board Game: Lords of Vegas [Average Rating:7.32 Overall Rank:352]
Todd
United States
Phoenix
Arizona
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I have a similar complaint about Lords of Vegas and Chinatown.

Both are excellent games but I don't enjoy playing either of them because of the same issue: The unlimited and open-ended provisions regarding trading between players. Sure, it avoids the runaway leader "problem" but it also means that the players who aren't winning can effectively become super-kingmakers by making repeated trades. I like games with trading provisions, but in these two games, it seems way too open-ended and ruins the experience for me.
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19. Board Game: Dungeon Petz [Average Rating:7.55 Overall Rank:136]
Martin Larouche
Canada
Longueuil
Quebec
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The theme looks like it's right up my alley. The fiddlyness of it all killed it. It's just too much.

At the end round you need to:
- move an imp to the backstage
- remove your other imps from the board
- reset contest imp markers
- fill in artifacts
- fill in food
- fill in fences
- fill in fence improvements
- move neutral imps on the board
- spoil your food reserve
- advance turn marker
- flip the next customer
- flip the next contest
- change the critters fences for those not bought
- age your critters (and those unbought)
- return your cards used this turn
- more than likely have to redraw a few card piles that are exhausted.
... probably missing a few steps.

... and i am not counting the seveeal steps required by the expansion.

Every turn, it's a mad scramble by players to fill in everything. It a struggle to remember everything.
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20. Board Game: Thebes [Average Rating:7.17 Overall Rank:377]
Ed
United States
Oakland
California
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Great looking, thematic, family game, but drawing nothing but dirt out of the bag is a fun killer.
 
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21. Board Game: Scoville [Average Rating:7.22 Overall Rank:515]
James C
United States
McLean
Virginia
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Beautiful looking game, fun pepper mixing mechanism, cool ways to score points.

But, why does going from the morning to afternoon phase have to require checking multiple things? Same with determining the end of the game? I never want to play because I always have to look up what to check for and whether it means the game ends now or if there's another round.

Too bad.
 
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