Going through the Alphabet: My Least Favorite Games
Joe Huber

Westborough
Massachusetts
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Tom provides the worst games for each letter of the alphabet; I thought, for comparison sake, I'd just go with my least favorite.

I rather suspect Tom's list is of more interest to most, as there are a number of very obscure games here. So I would recommend you go read that instead.

I do wonder what the 10 games Tom has played beginning with the letter X are...
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1. Board Game: 5 Card Nancy [Average Rating:6.85 Unranked]
Joe Huber

Westborough
Massachusetts
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Games starting with a number or special character.

My least favorite: 5 Card Nancy
Runner up: 1835

I really like the concept of 5 Card Nancy, so when a set was put up in a auction, I was very happy to bid early and often. Unfortunately, for me it was one of those great ideas that's just not so interesting in practice.

And much as I love 18xx, I found 1835 to be a very static and dry version of the game, and thus not of much interest.
 
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2. Board Game: Assassin [Average Rating:3.45 Overall Rank:15394]
Joe Huber

Westborough
Massachusetts
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Games starting with the letter A.

My least favorite: Assassin
Runner up: Age of Renaissance

Assassin, as released by Avalon Hill, is missing something. Well, _many_ somethings I suppose - fun, for instance - but to a large extent the gap can be summarized as there not being a reliable method to get from one city to another. Absent that - and cards that actually allow for movement seem to be few and far between - there's really just not a game there.

Age of Renaissance should have been right up my alley - but after three attempts to find the fun, I gave up. Long, with obvious choices and very little action, and odd bits of randomness.
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3. Board Game: Bingo [Average Rating:2.72 Overall Rank:15449]
Joe Huber

Westborough
Massachusetts
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Games starting with the letter B.

My least favorite: Bingo
Runner up: Beziehungskisten

Bingo has none of the elements I enjoy in a game. Such as choices.

There are a lot of contenders for the runner-up slot here - Bau Auf!, Bin'Fa, Borneo - but Beziehungskisten takes it for falling pray to the classic game design blunder. No, not starting a land war in Asia - but asking players to predict the result of a race from all possibilities, and then giving them some control over the race. The result is nearly always that the participant chosen by the most players (or in the best position by the most players) will win, making the game boil down to predicting the other players.
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4. Board Game: Chicago Poker [Average Rating:5.90 Overall Rank:5341]
Joe Huber

Westborough
Massachusetts
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Games starting with the letter C.

My least favorite: Chicago Poker
Runner up: Curses!

I'm no fan of Poker, and Chicago Poker might make the game even less enjoyable for me.

Curses! is the first game I designed as an adult. Fortunately, nearly all information about the game has been destroyed, leaving just the unpleasant taste in the mouth of the playtesters.
 
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5. Board Game: Duck Dealer [Average Rating:6.39 Overall Rank:3482]
Joe Huber

Westborough
Massachusetts
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Games starting with the letter D.

My least favorite: Duck Dealer
Runner up: Dodge City

Duck Dealer started with a wonderful idea - space trading, in the grand tradition of Merchant of Venus - and mixed it with mechanisms that turned the game into a uniquely painful game. I suspect that - played as intended - the game is pleasant enough. But when three of us came to the same conclusion about how to exploit the system, there really was no chance of the game escaping. And I think if only one player reaches this conclusion that he or she will run away with the game...

Dodge City - well, I'm hoping there was a giant hole in our translation, because we couldn't find the game...
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6. Board Game: Election USA [Average Rating:5.07 Overall Rank:13949]
Joe Huber

Westborough
Massachusetts
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Games starting with the letter E.

My least favorite: Election USA
Runner up: Earthquake

I think Election USA wins this category for me because of how slapdash it felt. Martin's designs don't always strike home with me - they might even fail to, on average - but they're usually interesting; I can see what he's trying to do. (Or, perhaps - as with Lancashire Railways - what I want him to be trying to do.) But Election USA - felt like a throwaway that Martin _knew_ was a throwaway. I'd rather have seen a game Martin liked, but no one else did...

I played Earthquake over a decade ago. Fortunately, it registered under 1.0 on the Richter scale, so I really didn't notice it.
 
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7. Board Game: Falling [Average Rating:5.51 Overall Rank:13330]
Joe Huber

Westborough
Massachusetts
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Games starting with the letter F.

My least favorite: Falling
Runner up: Fish & Chips

While I do enjoy some realtime games, I have a strong general preference towards digital games - games without fuzzy edges. (Dragon Delta is a good example of an analog game - is a particular bridge legal or not? A slight bump of the table can change the answer, because pieces can lie anywhere.) Falling was too analog a game for me to enjoy, even if the concept is interesting.

Fish & Chips represents what I don't like about many of Sackson's designs - they're _very_ abstract, offer limited choices, and throwaway themes. When his games rise above that - for me, with Acquire and Samarkand most pointedly - that's a minor concern. But often they don't, and you're left with - well, Fish & Chips.
 
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8. Board Game: Go Wild! [Average Rating:5.19 Overall Rank:13873]
Joe Huber

Westborough
Massachusetts
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Games starting with the letter G.

My least favorite: Go Wild!
Runner up: Go

I remember very little of Go Wild!, save that I couldn't wait for it to end. A common characteristic of many of these games, really.

Go is a great game, in contrast. Absolutely fantastic. Historic. And I do not like it at all - for me, it's like Chess played with only pawns.
 
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9. Board Game: Quidditch: The Game [Average Rating:2.67 Overall Rank:15294]
Joe Huber

Westborough
Massachusetts
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Games starting with the letter H.

My least favorite: Harry Potter Quidditch The Game
Runner up: Heuchel & Meuchel

Harry Potter Quidditch The Game captures all of the fun of quidditch in a boardgame. None of the action, though. Flip tiles, until someone happens upon the Snitch and wins because it's essentially impossible to gain a 160 point lead. Yea.

Heuchel & Meuchel might have felt so awful because of translation issues. I certainly hope so, because as we tried it there was no game. I'm not convinced it would be that much better under any circumstances - it still might be the runner-up for me here - but like Dodge City, it didn't feel like a Hans im Glueck game at all.
 
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10. Board Game: Isis Süsse Sünde [Average Rating:4.50 Unranked]
Joe Huber

Westborough
Massachusetts
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Games starting with the letter I.

My least favorite: Isis' Süsse Sünde
Runner up: Illuminati New World Order

Isis' Süsse Sünde is a fine example of a type of game that often catches my eye - and often disappoints. It's a very different theme, and while there are dice for movement, this doesn't inherently dissuade me. But here, the theme is used for education - OK, though often indicative of a game where fun for the players is low on the objective list - and there's randomness on top of randomness, where a player may take a needed and healthy starch or an awful one, with no control over the process. And very little control in general, for that matter...

Illuminate New World Order took a game I liked - particularly at the time - and added CCG elements to it, which completely failed to work for me.
 
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11. Board Game: Janus [Average Rating:5.64 Overall Rank:11770]
Joe Huber

Westborough
Massachusetts
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Games starting with the letter J.

My least favorite: Janus
Runner up: Juwelenzauber

There really aren't a lot of games which start with the letter J. But if choosing one, Janus would not be my recommendation. Well - the _other_ Janus, by Rudi Hoffman, isn't bad but isn't my style. This Janus was forgetably bad.

Juwelzauber is a game I'll remember little of in three years. It's not _that_ bad, really, but struck me as a less interesting try at designing Carat.
 
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12. Board Game: King of the Elves [Average Rating:6.22 Overall Rank:2629]
Joe Huber

Westborough
Massachusetts
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Games starting with the letter K.

My least favorite: King of the Elves
Runner up: Keytown

K is the first letter of the alphabet with no games I rate below a 3. Both King of the Elves and Keytown were fatally flawed for me - but close enough to working not to rank so very low. King of the Elves seemed interesting at first, and I did get some fun out of - until I started to think about the game, and realized how much was just drawing well, and how uninteresting the constantly shifting card play really was for me.

Keytown was an enormous disappointment for me. After Keywood and Keydom, I was thrilled to see another Key game - but there didn't seem to be anything to it. After a second try to be sure, I let it go without regret. Fortunately, Keythedral and Keyharvest are much more interesting games - if not as much to my taste as the first two.
 
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13. Board Game: Lockhaven [Average Rating:6.50 Unranked]
Joe Huber

Westborough
Massachusetts
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Games starting with the letter L.

My least favorite: Lockhaven
Runner up: Lewis & Clark Exploration Card Game

Lockhaven had one very high rating at the time I acquired a copy, making me curious to understand why. Unfortunately, I still don't know.

I have nothing against pasted on themes, if the paste is well applied. But somehow a Lewis & Clark game that really doesn't involve exploration just doesn't work for me...
 
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14. Board Game: Metropolys [Average Rating:7.04 Overall Rank:642]
Joe Huber

Westborough
Massachusetts
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Games starting with the letter M.

My least favorite: Metropolys
Runner up: Mystic Wood

I know folks enjoy Metropolys, and quite a bit. But while I like the _idea_ of Metropolys, I find the execution completely off, with mostly obvious and uninteresting plays. And that's without even thinking about the game board...

Mystic Wood too has a far better reputation than my single play would suggest possible. It felt like a slow game of doing very little, hoping to have the opportunity to complete something vaguely interesting. A lot like Assassin, really...
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15. Board Game: Nur Peanuts! [Average Rating:6.06 Overall Rank:6310]
Joe Huber

Westborough
Massachusetts
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Games starting with the letter N.

My least favorite: Nur Peanuts
Runner up: North to Alaska

Nur Peanuts is one of the rare games I've played where everyone else at the table was having a fine time - and I was having a miserable one. No interesting choices at all, in my mind, and annoyingly abstract to boot.

North to Alaska is a game that I knew would be awful, at least for me, but couldn't stop myself from picking up. It was, in fact, not at all to my taste, and not quite bad enough to just laugh through.
 
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16. Board Game: Operation Corndog [Average Rating:5.91 Unranked]
Joe Huber

Westborough
Massachusetts
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Games starting with the letter O.

My least favorite: Operation Corndog
Runner up: Overthrone

In general, in close cases I've tried to give the nudge on this list to games from major (or at least well known minor) publishers. In this case, I can't; Operation Corndog should have been a game for me. The theme is right up my alley. And I could take some silliness, so long as interesting choices were available. But they weren't the game was one I'd be tempted to use as kindling, if only we used our fireplace.

Overthrone wasn't really much more enjoyable for me, but at least it seemed to be trying, and I appreciated that effort.
 
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17. Board Game: Pferdewetten [Average Rating:2.00 Unranked]
Joe Huber

Westborough
Massachusetts
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Games starting with the letter P.

My least favorite: Pferdewetten
Runner up: Poker

Pferdewetten managed a really impressive accomplishment - it gave me a game to rate below poker. Amazingly, my non-objective description of the game has, so far, survived...

Poker represents an aggregation of two of my least favorite game mechanisms - gambling and bluffing. Add in the large luck element, and I have no interest in playing.
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18. Board Game: Quo Vadis? [Average Rating:6.45 Overall Rank:1722]
Joe Huber

Westborough
Massachusetts
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Games starting with the letter Q.

My least favorite: Quo Vadis?
Runner up: Quadriga

Quo Vadis is my most played game on this list; it might also be my favorite. It has issues - it doesn't work with open scoring, which means that with players who pay attention, it doesn't work. But it's otherwise not a bad game.

And Quadriga I actually like, some; it's an abstract, and not one I felt the need to keep, but is pleasant enough to play.

That's what happens when picking from just 11 games...
 
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19. Board Game: Rapscallion [Average Rating:5.96 Overall Rank:10258]
Joe Huber

Westborough
Massachusetts
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Games starting with the letter R.

My least favorite: Rapscallion
Runner up: Riddles & Riches

Both Ted and Frank are very nice gentlemen; I'd just as soon not be putting either of their games on this list.

But Rapscallion is way too reminiscent of Poker to rate any better for me; I suspect the game will appeal far more to those who actually enjoy Poker.

Likewise, Riddles & Riches has an audience - it's just not me. Looking for items in the rooms wasn't very interesting for me, and sometimes frustrating.
 
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20. Board Game: Schickeria [Average Rating:4.29 Unranked]
Joe Huber

Westborough
Massachusetts
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Games starting with the letter S.

My least favorite: Schickeria
Runner up: Stymie

Playing Schickeria, we found that the game broke - literally, reaching a point where we couldn't go on - near the end of the first round. But perhaps that was just a translation issue - dodgy Hexagames English was the dodgy Adlung English of its day. So I tried Big Funeral - and it wasn't the translation.

Stymie is an attempted variant on Uno. That's not inherently a bad thing, but here it made for a game of much less interest than the original.
 
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21. Board Game: The Three Stooges Card Game [Average Rating:4.82 Overall Rank:14513]
Joe Huber

Westborough
Massachusetts
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Games starting with the letter T.

My least favorite: The Three Stooges Card Game
Runner up: Tic-Tac-Toe

I've blocked my memory of The Three Stooges Card Game. Well, mostly; I think it was Dan Blum who inflicted it upon me. OTOH, after some of the games I've inflicted on Dan, I can't complain.

Tic-Tac-Toe just isn't interesting...
 
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22. Board Game: Blockers! [Average Rating:6.70 Overall Rank:1380]
Joe Huber

Westborough
Massachusetts
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Games starting with the letter U.

My least favorite: Uptown
Runner up: Uno

I'm not sure just why, but I found Uptown _really_ annoying to play. Usually abstracts just strike me as dry and bland, but this one didn't manage that.

Uno just doesn't offering interesting choices or interesting things to do.
 
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23. Board Game: Vernissage [Average Rating:6.35 Overall Rank:5370]
Joe Huber

Westborough
Massachusetts
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Games starting with the letter V.

My least favorite: Vernissage
Runner up: Vampire

Much as with Age of Renaissance, I played Vernissage three times trying to find the fantastic game other people were raving about. Never found it, or even a hint as to where it might be; felt like a jumble of ideas to me.

Vampire might be the game where Knizia jumped the shark for me; until then, even his games that I didn't love tended to be very interesting. After - well, let's just say it became more important to try the games first.
 
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24. Board Game: War [Average Rating:2.19 Overall Rank:15448]
Joe Huber

Westborough
Massachusetts
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Games starting with the letter W.

My least favorite: War
Runner up: Wealth of Nations

I don't think I need to say much about War, save that it gives me headaches to play.

Wealth of Nations was a game I really wanted to like. It felt M.U.L.E.-like - a good thing. It was an economic game - a good thing. There were multiple choices - a good thing. But actions are so limited that the game drags horribly and uninterestingly on; very little can be done to change one's course, once it's set.
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25. Board Game: X Pasch [Average Rating:6.23 Overall Rank:8134]
Joe Huber

Westborough
Massachusetts
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Games starting with the letter X.

My least favorite: X-Pasch
Runner up: Xe Queo!

Of course, my _favorite_ game I've played starting with an X is Xe Queo!...
 
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