No luck
Daniel Hale
United States
Canyon Country
California
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Ok, I’ve had it!

Every game I read about here, somebody is complaining about how there is too much, “Luck” involved. I mean somebody complained about luck in Cranium! CRANIUM! The family party game. Give me a break. I can’t think of a game (except maybe one) that does not involve some kind of dice roll, or drawing of the cards, or some kind of luck factor.

I’ve been gaming for over 20 years but I’m not a hard core wargammer who plays games designed in the 70’s from Germany, so maybe that’s why I don’t know. So let’s hear it!

What games are out there that is 100% pure strategy? No luck of any kind. There is one game that I’ll list below, that I can think of…
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1. Board Game: Diplomacy [Average Rating:7.06 Overall Rank:501]
Daniel Hale
United States
Canyon Country
California
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Let me say first that this is the game that got me into this hobby. I will never forget how in 1987 I first played this game, and having never played this type of game before beat everybody and won. I guess since I was the novice player nobody paid much attention to me. Ha Ha! Suckers.

That game in 1987 was the last time I played it. The ONLY time I played it. So my memory of it is fuzzy. If my memory severs me, this is a game of talking, bribing. 100% pure strategy? Maybe. I don't remember. What else?
 
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2. Board Game: Go [Average Rating:7.66 Overall Rank:121]
Jim Cote
United States
Maine
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Pure skill.
 
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3. Board Game: 1830: Railways & Robber Barons [Average Rating:7.83 Overall Rank:164]
Dave Eisen
United States
Menlo Park
CA
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No luck. Only random element is who goes first, second, third etc., after that all that matters are the decisions the players make. Excellent game and this is part of the reason why.
 
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4. Board Game: Blokus [Average Rating:6.92 Overall Rank:519]
Kristof Tersago
Belgium
Sint Truiden
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Blokus has no luck (apart from picking the start player). All players start with the same pieces and in the same position.
The best proof that this is not luck-based is the fact that it is, just like e.g. chess, solvable.
 
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5. Board Game: Lord of the Rings: The Confrontation [Average Rating:7.21 Overall Rank:414]
Snowball
Belgium
n/a
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Gender: pot*ato. My opinion is an opinion.
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Nothing random here.
 
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6. Board Game: Through the Desert [Average Rating:7.05 Overall Rank:435]
Bart van der Ouderaa
Netherlands
Maarssen
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Through the dessert has no luck and full information, everybody knows/can determine the current standings and all the possible actions, just like chess. However this game has nice camels and is therefore more fun
 
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7. Board Game: Stephenson's Rocket [Average Rating:6.86 Overall Rank:1020]
Mary Weisbeck
United States
Black Hawk
South Dakota
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Stephenson's Rocket. No cards, dice, randon draw of any kind.
 
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8. Board Game: Medina [Average Rating:7.07 Overall Rank:731]
Mary Weisbeck
United States
Black Hawk
South Dakota
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Medina. Just you, your pieces and the board.
 
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9. Board Game: WarpWar [Average Rating:6.24 Overall Rank:5372]
Matthew Nadelhaft
Scotland
Edinburgh
Scotland
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I have always appreciated diceless combat systems...
 
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10. Board Game: Maharaja: The Game of Palace Building in India [Average Rating:7.15 Overall Rank:506]
Dave Eisen
United States
Menlo Park
CA
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If Through the Desert qualifies, so does Maharaja. A different random setup each time --- the governor markers are shuffled and placed randomly along the governor track before the game starts --- but once this is done, there is no luck whatsoever in the game.
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11. Board Game: O Zoo le Mio [Average Rating:6.63 Overall Rank:1392]
Alan Kaiser
United States
Aurora
Colorado
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The only luck in this game is the tile draws between each round (year) but since 5 tiles are drawn and each is auctioned seperately it cuts down on the luck of the draw. Each players money is secret but since there is so little of it you can generally keep track of approximately what everyone has. Other than that, everyone knows what each of the 5 tiles each year are, everyone can see everyone elses zoos, everyoen knows exactly when scoring will occur and can calculate the points for each player on every turn. Very little luck.
 
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12. Board Game: Candy Land [Average Rating:3.17 Overall Rank:15339]
Kelly Bass
United States
Venice
California
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When using the "Draw from all cards face-up" variant. Someone on Spielfrieks was claiming there was a "perfect" strategy involving taking the Ice Cream Float card first, then the Double Orange, etc., but I cannot find the thread and they were booted for being a Sugar-Sympathizer.
 
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13. Board Game: Fire and Ice [Average Rating:6.73 Overall Rank:4194]
dale walton
Thailand
Bangkok
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The complaints are more toward finding the right amount of luck. As mentioned, many abstracts fit the bill of no luck. If the people here really wanted no luck, then abstracts would rank higher.

Re abstracts, I indeed DO count inability to understand or find a mathematical solution, irrational play and mistakes as luck factors that every abstract game must incorporate to be successful. And as with other games, too much luck makes the game chaotic and unsatisfying, just as to little makes it not a game. (If players are rational and fully comprehend the universe of the game, then it is cooperative solitaire, but if only one does, it is ego tripping)

Getting it balanced is the challenge of abstract game design.

I think many gamers distrust the lasting power of abstracts, as they know such games theoretically "can" be solved, and some indeed are solved. This is relevant only if the solution can be memorised. More relevant is that abstracts, as well as games of other types, can be broken in the sense that after a few plays it becomes apparent that certain moves or approaches are much stronger than others in a way that reduces the meaningful choices more than it increases the game's depth of strategies.

Adding luck to games can help obscure such flaws, but reduces the feeling of accomplishment.

BTW not that you know of some luckless games do you want to play any? -- I shamelessly put this one up because I helped produce it, and am also fond of playing it.
 
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14. Board Game: Roads & Boats [Average Rating:7.74 Overall Rank:271]
Lars Vogt

Berlin
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In my opinion THE GAME. No dice or cards involved. The game evolves slowly around a logistics and transportation theme and is the best game I played so far.
 
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15. Board Game: Full Metal Planète [Average Rating:7.42 Overall Rank:1520]
Gerald Squelart
Australia
Melbourne
VIC
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The only luck factor in this game is the tide... But unless you somehow lose the weather-predicting unit, you know what the next tide will be.

It's a mix of wargame and strategy, combats always involve two attackers shooting together at one target (no defense throw). I've always been unlucky at Risk and more recently Memoir 44, so if you're like me and hate throwing dice, get this game!
 
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16. Board Game: Caylus [Average Rating:7.83 Overall Rank:45]
Dave Eisen
United States
Menlo Park
CA
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No luck at all after the initial setup is done.
 
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