Geekbuddy Question #2
Mike Jones
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Gainesville
Florida
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This one comes from Steve:

Pick one game that someone else on this list rates a 10 that you would refuse to play if asked.

Let's do one (or more) and have some fun with it. Obviously our tastes do differ, but we all do know that many games do boil down to taste.
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1. Board Game: Twilight Imperium (Third Edition) [Average Rating:7.90 Overall Rank:47]
Mike Jones
United States
Gainesville
Florida
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So, Henry has this rated as a 10. I have it somewhere around a 4.

I don't particularly like it, because it's one of those games that becomes a 'rules lawyering game'. While they have a HUGE FAQ, many questions still are open to interpretation and of course that means arguing about them. While I don't play it nearly as much as others, when it first game out I'd actually research rulings/discussions. Yet, if it came up I would always get ruled against because "I wasn't the 'expert'".

I dislike like that there was a 'vocal' minority in 2nd edition that 'hated' 'turtling', so they completely wrote out the ability to set up a defensive perimeter without a 'special' card. Even before you still had to be somewhat aggressive to score points. But, at least you could protect yourself when you weren't having the best of games. Now you can't 'protect' yourself. So, if you aren't getting the resources or the cards you need or all the laws are being passed to hurt you. You can't just try and build. You are completely exposed to others that are having a better beginning game then you. So, you will come in and beat you up without fear of counter attack. Of course, leaving you week enough to not being able to do much (and therefor not have much fun). But they won't take you out so you can get out of the game. I'm getting to hate games that have more then 10 pages of rules and more then 10 pages of FAQ.

Which then leads to the other biggest problem. I don't mind a long game. I'll play Die Macher for 5 hours. But, it is rare. BUT, I don't want to play a game that takes 6-8 hours. Blah! Someone said I'd like this game at 4 players because it's a more manageable game. So, I'd be willing to try it, but I tried to set one up once, and everyone else always wants to play with 6 (or more) players, so others 'got invited' and I decided to sit out. I wasn't to sure I'd like it at 4 anyway and I got my first game of Hannibal in, so it had a silver lining. Anyway, I'd rather play 6 different games in the time it takes to play this one game.

The sad thing is I have friends that use to game with me that never game with me any more because I don't play this one. I've got 800ish games now, but they think that we should only play TI3.

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2. Board Game: Charades [Average Rating:4.93 Overall Rank:15137]
Ben Lott
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Mason
Michigan
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Wow, a game I would flat-out refuse to play? I don't know if that exists. But out of the games that others have rated a 10 I had a few choices of games that I would prefer not to play. I considered some of the heavier wargames, as they don't interest me very much. But really there was only one game that I would avoid and even suggest something else as an alternative before agreeing to play...Randy Cox gives a 10 to Charades.

Now I grew up in a household where a game of charades with my parent's friends wasn't unheard of, in fact I learned the basic charade rules (and traditional clue-giving) from my Mom & Dad. These were good times. I was always one of those kids who wanted to hang out with the adults and be like them, so any chance they gave me to join in their games was a real treat. These game nights became less and less frequent as I got older, though.

After moving out of the house, I never played charades again until it popped up as just a part of the game Cranium. When I tried playing that with my wife, she had difficulty following my clues because she didn't grow up playing charades and didn't know all the conventional clue-giving techniques. I realized just how frustrating a full game of charades would be with her family because they didn't know what pulling your ear meant or what tapping 2 fingers on your forearm meant.

I never felt compelled to teach all the traditional clues of charades to Rikki because there are so many other games in our collection that use just a taste of charades, but have great mechanics to offer. If I want that charades feel I'll usually suggest Time's Up, Guesstures, or Charoodles, where the charading is more rapidfire and the feeling remains light.
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3. Board Game: Colosseum [Average Rating:7.23 Overall Rank:351]
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Howell
Michigan
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This was a tough call. Besides Colosseum, I noticed Blott has Say Anything rated a 10. In my first play of that, I hated it, but I would gladly play that over Colosseum.

There's a lot of reasons why I think this one failed:
1) I was so hyped to get it that when I finally did, it was almost impossible for it to live up to my expectations.

2) With the exception of El Grande, I haven't really liked any Kramer game I played.

3) There didn't seem to be anything going on. I just didn't like the way it fit together at all. I'm having a hard time putting this into words, but something about the auctions, performance, and all the little add ons, it seemed so completely inelegant. When you add in the track for the nobles it was just too much. I feel like this game lacked focus which made it just not work for me.

This game has left a bad taste in my mouth. I don't think I've ever been quite so disappointed with a game.

Whew, I feel a lot better now!
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4. Board Game: Shadows over Camelot [Average Rating:7.15 Overall Rank:317]
Randy Cox
United States
Clemson
South Carolina
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While it is easy to mention games I have never played and will certainly refuse to play (like Twilight Imperium (Third Edition) or Heroscape Master Set: Rise of the Valkyrie and Arkham Horror and Age of Empires III: The Age of Discovery and any hex-and-counter wargame), I decided to use three game I have actually played and would refuse if offered a game. I would either ask for another game or say, "Y'all go ahead and play, I don't like that game." It's important that I'd say I don't like it so they'll never ask me to play it or a game like it again.

First off is the wargame of the lot: Up Front. A very good friend of mine is arguably one of the two best players on earth at this particular title (the other is also a friend). He's won the WBC championship several times and almost always makes the final game. And, after all, two-thirds of the world's avid Up Front players go to WBC.

Anyway, he told me how great it was and convinced me to play. We set up a scenario and played. All the way through three runs of the deck. Took forever (two hours?) and he said afterwards that he has never seen a game go so long or have so many odd occurances to drag it on. Didn't convince me. Fool me once...

The next game I thoroughly detested is Shadows over Camelot. I played this at a game meetup in New York City while away on business. We didn't use the traitor (which would have made it even worse) and it still took two hours to play (6 players). And what was the point? When it was over, we looked at one another wondering where the game had been and whether we could get our time back, but no one wanted to say anything to the guy who really wanted to play it.

Finally, there is a game I used to play quite a bit, Cosmic Encounter. It was oh so neat, cool, nifty, and groovy back in the late 1970s. Ah, what a time it was. A day consisted of getting up at the crack of noon two and eating a few boxes of cereal as high school students do. Then I'd shower and maybe watch some TV before hopping in the car visiting friends (the old school equivalent of hopping onto Facebook). Eventually, we'd gather a bunch of guys and play games, including CE. We'd sometimes do silly stuff like play two or three powers together. And we loved the chaotic silliness known as the Moons. Finally, after capping everything off with hours of D&D and late night runs for pancakes, we'd crawl into bed at someone's house (usually ours) around 3 or 4 a.m.

Doesn't sound like much of an adult existence, does it? Particularly if you're over 30 and have kids. Hence, I don't do that anymore and what's more, as I grow older, I have less and less desire to revert to those slovenly ways. With that goes CE. I played it once when the Hasbro abomination came out, with my wife and brother. Nope. No fun. Don't want to endure it ever again. I guess I've grown up and away from chaotic games, thank heavens.

And to make this even stranger, I once conducted a Great Games Showdown (much like the march madness game geek lists here) and which game did I proclaim to be the very best ever (in 1990ish)? You guessed it. Cosmic Encounter. We were all once young and foolish.
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5. Board Game: Diamant [Average Rating:6.83 Overall Rank:612]
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    First of all, the official disclaimers. I own the game, and have only played it 28 times.

    The "only" in the sentence above is the key phrase. To be fair, all of you have really good games in your ten spots so it was a bit of a challenge to find something. But Diamant has become one of the "please, not again" titles that I fear. My buddies like it, my kids like it, my wife likes it, everyone wants to play and after the first hundred or so mines the action starts to become juuuuuuust a bit predictable.

    Frankly I think Bruno and Alan must be laughing pretty hard about how well it's done. There's almost nothing there, but everyone loves it. It's the simplest game in wild-success history.

    Add to that my buddy Chris. When Chris and I play, we leave the mine at the exact same time. Every time. I decide it's time to leave, but I wait one turn to change the mix so that Chris will go first. He waits too. I go a turn early to get the stuff before he does, he goes early too. It's uncanny. Now we just eyeball each other, shrug, and toss our cards on the table in unison. Takes a fair amount of the fun out of it when someone is mimicking your every move.

    To be fair I've rated the game a 7, which it likely deserves. But when someone asks to play I fake an injury and lie still until the moment passes.

             Sag.

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6. Board Game: Chess [Average Rating:7.09 Overall Rank:415] [Average Rating:7.09 Unranked]
 
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Well, someone had to do it.

Now, would I actually REFUSE to play this? Probably not, but it is waaaay down on the list of games I really would want to play at the moment.

To me, Chess is a game where similar skill levels are extremely important. I don't consider myself anything but a novice, but if I played the wife (who has probably never played), I'd trounce her.

Likewise anyone who even remotely has played a few games recently would decimate me. I'd much rather play a game where the playing field is equal - even for beginners.

Take Carcassonne for example. A very experienced player isn't going necessarily kill a newbie. Know what I mean?
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7. Board Game: El Grande [Average Rating:7.79 Overall Rank:53]
Charles Smith
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San Jose
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Mike and manowarplayer have this rated as 10. I didn't notice if anyone else did.

The strange thing about this game is that I have played it exactly twice. The first time was on my very first playing with the Gainesville Gamers. And both times I have won by a lot.

So maybe the bad feelings are just my natural aversion to games I win at. Not much challenge in games that you don't feel like you have to work that hard on.

I don't know, the last game I didn't get ahead by my own means (someone else played a card that ended up pushing me ahead). But it seems like once you get away it is very hard for others to catch up.

On the other hand when others play it their games are reportedly very close. Maybe I am just that good.

But it boils down to the fact that I would rather not play and not enjoy the game, especially if it makes the people I am playing with enjoy the game less.
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8. Board Game: Power Grid [Average Rating:7.92 Overall Rank:28]
David Kahnt
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Youngstown
Ohio
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I've tried... oh I've tried.

This game just doesn't do it for me. I don't know why, maybe its because it just never clicked... but I just don't care for this game.

-DK
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9. Board Game: The Pillars of the Earth [Average Rating:7.31 Overall Rank:230]
Brad
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Anthem
Arizona
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No one here has any high rated games that I absolutely hate, but I really try and avoid this one. I played this game many times on BSW prior to starting to log plays on the geek. I want to like this game, but after 20 or so plays, I have determined that the master builder bag draw mechanic ruins it for me. No matter how much planning or smart decision making a player does, it seems like more than 50% of games are decided by who gets optimal pulls from the bag. The biggest issue for me with the pull mechanic is that although the money or pass choice on the dial is supposed to help compensate for people who get early pulls, it has no effect on people who get their pulls at 2g or 1g, and then the first and second free pulls. Given the fact that many of the options on the board are only available once per turn and are worth less and less as the game goes on, it can be nearly impossible to catch the player that gets good free cards in rounds 1 and 2. Overall, I feel like the luck factor in the game is on par with many AT favorites, but the game masks itself as a strategic euro. Basically I like my strategy games to have outcomes based on planning and good decisions, not a heavy luck element. On the other hand, if the game is going to have a heavy luck element, I want it to be thematic and fun, and Pillars falls somewhere in the middle. The expansion set seems like it may partially correct this problem, but I would prefer not to play the base game.
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10. Board Game: Die Macher [Average Rating:7.65 Overall Rank:186]
Andy
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Manchester
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I really wanted to add a game that I've played and hence made an informed decision to not play... however I really couldn't find anything on anyone's list, that I'd played before and wouldn't play...

So I've settled for Die Macher.

I'll admit I like a game with plenty of theme - I know the arguments about how a good game is a good game, regardless of theme, and that a strong theme does not necessarily make good gameplay and all that... but for me part of the attraction of gaming is the camaraderie, the atmosphere, and having fun.. for which theme is more important I feel... anyway... in the case of Die Macher, the political theme just turns me off cold. (another game with a similar issue would be 1960).

Die Macher is also well known for being a particularly heavy game (with a 4.4/5 weight rating!), and despite having an intellectual pedigree, I often prefer lighter games.

All that said, I probably wouldn't refuse a game of Die Macher anyway.... In the right circumstances there is a time and place for almost every game (possibly even Fluxxx!!).. and, in truth, one of my reasons for turning away particular games at particular times is often down to who would be playing, and hence the style of how it will be played.

edit: Randy and Manowarplayer both have this listed as a 10
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11. Board Game: How to Host a Murder: The Watersdown Affair [Average Rating:6.39 Overall Rank:8208]
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Well this was a tough question, I will play almost anything. I thought I would be locked on with Steve's list but he only had Carc (hey, we agree on something) and Scripts and Scribes which I would like to try.

I had almost given up hope when Randy came up trumps.

I don't know what it is about "How to host a murder" games. I don't mind roleplaying, I don't mind mysteries, I don't mind dressing up and I certainly don't mind parties...

But somehow, the thought of all of them in combination just turns me off completely. Maybe it is because I barely go out to parties any more (young kids and all) but I think it is more than that - I would probably have found this sort of thing excruciating when I did. And perhaps that is the problem - the cringe factor.

When I think of the friends I might have a dinner party with, all dressed up and role-playing. Well it is almost like thinking about your parents role-playing. *shudder*
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12. Board Game: Formula Dé [Average Rating:6.99 Overall Rank:576]
Jeff Cramer
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Littleton
Colorado
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I really had a difficult time determining what game to add to this list. Either Geekbuddies had similar tastes to my own or games were ranked high that I have never played. The title that fit the "not wanting to play" criteria for me is Rygel's (Wally Jones) highly ranked Formula De.

I have to admit that I don't hate the game. I'm partial to dice-rollers. I like the theme and components. I even like the general mechanics. The main problem I have is with the time invested in playing Formula De.

My buddies decided to have a racing championship over the course of a few months using 4 tracks. By the last race, we just wanted to get it over with. Playing the last race took about three hours for two laps. I won the championship, but I was more relieved that the whole thing was finally over. I can't imagine how I would have felt if I had lost.

Anyway, Formula De is a fine game for the right tastes. I have to say that I would shy away from it if offered to play again.

(Maybe suggest something like Formula Motor Racing.)
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13. Board Game: War of the Ring (First Edition) [Average Rating:7.79 Overall Rank:82]
Jae
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Bryan
TX
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Just thinking about this game makes me want to hurl.
It isn't the components, which are gorgeous, or the theme, which is intriguing.

It's the blasted rulebook.

I've NEVER read worse rules for a game in my life, and I've played some real stinkers!
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