Good, Bad, or Ugly? The Bottom Ten on BGG
Alex Bagosy
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The other day, I had an interesting conversation with a friend about the ratings of various games on BGG and elsewhere. We got to the subject of the top ten, and I mentioned that I wasn't a fan of all the games in the top ten, and he said he didn't think anyone would look at a list thereof without finding at least one they thought could be replaced by something better.

Which got me thinking - what about the WORST of the worst on BGG? You hear a lot of criticism about a lot of games (again, BGG being a prominent example, but in plenty of other places), but the common response that I often have is that I'd like to know -why- people rate games so poorly. After all, the reason you dislike a game may be a reason I'll really like it, and vice versa.

So, I went through the BGG listings and tried to find the bottom ten. This is surprisingly difficult, as new games are being added to the database all the time. As such, this is just a snapshot in the time, rather than a list of the "all time worst". It looks like this either hasn't been done before, or at least not in the recent past, so I thought I'd give it a shot.

Feel free to add games that I missed, or that plunge in ratings, etc. Mostly, though, I'm interested in what YOU think of these games. Do you agree with their low rating? Why? Why not?

A few rules for the selection of the games mentioned here:

1. The entries actually have to have a rank. There are thousands of games on BGG, and many of them have geek ratings, but no actual ranking number.

2. The games actually have to be board games: not board game expansions, miniatures games, role playing games, or anything of the sort. They -must- be board games (or at least classified technically as such.).

3. The games must actually have been published or available for PnP at a price. No free stuff. No prototypes that were never distributed.

4. An entry may not be public domain. This throws an interesting curve ball in, but does eliminate very common games that have been published thousands of times (Bingo, variations upon Snakes and Ladders, etc.)

5. An entry cannot be targeted primarily at children. Because BGG is aimed at a adults, primarily, the rating system unfairly schews against games intended for children, many of which are intentionally simplistic or otherwise very basic, and some of which are very charming. (Sure, you might rate "Cootie" pretty low, now, but you loved it as a kid, didn't you?)


This should prove to be an interesting experiment. I do apologize if this has already been done before.

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1. Board Game: LCR [Average Rating:3.23 Overall Rank:16039]
 
Alex Bagosy
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I'm very mixed about listing this as a board game, but it is from time to time packaged and marketed as such, so... why not.

LCR is a dice game, involving poker chips and more than a little luck. A very popular dice game with certain social groups, and as a drinking game.

Have never understood the appeal, myself. I do think it's safe to say that people either love this one or hate it.
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2. Board Game: Battle of the Sexes [Average Rating:3.46 Overall Rank:16031]
Alex Bagosy
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I have never played Battle of the Sexes, though I did date a girl who bought it once and threatened to bring it out on more than one occasion. I cannot comment upon gameplay or quality, but the game is described as thus by the BGG entry,

"Players divide into two teams: men vs. women. The goal is to move your team's pawns across the game board. Along the way teams will have to answer questions about the opposite sex in order to move. For example, "How many lugs are on the typical wheel?" or "Where is the Superdome located?" are questions that would be given to the female team. "How do you stop a run in stockings?" or "What type of nut is used to make marzipan?" would be given to the males. The first team to move all four of their pawns across the board wins."

How well does it play, then? Perhaps two, very telling reviews, can be gleaned just from their titles.

"Why God, Why?!"
and, perhaps one of my favorites of all time,

"Battle Of The Sexes: The Board Game Version Of 'Poke Yourself In The Eye'"
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3. Board Game: The Worst-Case Scenario Survival Game [Average Rating:3.27 Overall Rank:16019]
Alex Bagosy
United States
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Sweet Mithras, what a stinker...

I can't say anything positive about this game. My future wife and I purchased it not long before our wedding as a way to pass the nervous days leading up to the main event and figured it might be fun for a laugh, if for no other reason than to read the cards and see the unusual answers/situations.

Other than a very durable box, however, I can find absolutely NOTHING positive to say about this game. It is safe to say that I would rather douse myself in honey and milk to collect flies for Pharaoh than play this awful, awful game again.

Of course, your mileage may vary...
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4. Board Game: Global Survival [Average Rating:1.86 Overall Rank:15974]
Alex Bagosy
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I know very little about Global Survival, save for it's legendarily bad play. A friend tells me that the game was highly anticipated before release, and hey, it was an Avalon Hill game, after all. I'm also told that the game plays something like Monopoly, with too many spaces.

According to one review, there were at one point 90 ratings with an average rating of less than 2.0. There are now 93 ratings, with a whopping 1.68.

Wow. Is it -that- bad?



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5. Board Game: Assassin [Average Rating:3.45 Overall Rank:15983]
Alex Bagosy
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Another Avalon Hill Entry.

Described as thus:

"Players move around a map of Europe, scoring points for each destination they reach. Card play determines destination, transportation method, and distance traveled. Players may play hazard cards to block or slow down their opponents. One of the players is the assassin and scores bonus points by getting a "hit" on one of the other players. Game length is variable: when a weapon card is drawn by a player, it is placed on the map. When the fourth weapon card is drawn, the game ends."

Apparently a revised version of an earlier game called "Eurohit", which I'm told was better. I am also told this was Avalon Hill's worst "war" game of all time.



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6. Board Game: Anti-Monopoly [Average Rating:3.65 Overall Rank:16017]
Alex Bagosy
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A board game designed in the 1970s which involves rolling and moving around a board to bust various business monopolies... most famous, apparently, because of a large lawsuit fought, and won, by the author against Hasbro.

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7. Board Game: Fact or Crap [Average Rating:3.82 Overall Rank:16012]
Alex Bagosy
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This is a very basic trivia game. The object is to determine whether a fact, as presented, is true, or "crap." Another University game. So you... err.. know it's a winner.

Hey, at least it's better than the "Worst Case Scenario Survival Game."

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8. Board Game: Outdoor Survival [Average Rating:4.67 Overall Rank:15992]
Alex Bagosy
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We have a running bet in the local game group - we're all looking for the worst possible board game we can find. One friend has threatened to bring this in on more than one occasion.

Outdoor Survival was actually a very good seller for Avalon Hill and is apparently still popular with a select few. It involves, as the name would imply, various outdoor survival scenarios, and can be played solo, or with a number of other players. Apparently this is collectible.

This is sometimes used as an example of a designer being second-guessed by his/her publisher, as the original game as submitted was nothing like the finished project. Would be interesting to see what that original game was like, and if it was any better/worse.

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9. Board Game: The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring [Average Rating:3.30 Overall Rank:15988] [Average Rating:3.30 Unranked]
Alex Bagosy
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Described as thus:

"Relive the adventure of The Fellowship of the Ring with this board game. The fate of Middle-earth is in your hands, as you become the force behind the Fellowship of the Ring, guiding Frodo Baggins and his heroic companions on the first part of their epic journey. With majestic images and scenes taken directly from the film, life-long followers and first-time fans of The Lord of the Rings will find the game uniquely challenging, yet easy to play, as this saga of good against evil unfolds."

I've never played this one, though I have often seen it on shelves. There were also two expansions, though in this case this may not be an indicator of popularity since it's likely the licensing deal was to produce games for all three of the books in the cycle.


Any good? Or just a waste of time?
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10. Board Game: Wadjet [Average Rating:3.85 Overall Rank:15961]
Alex Bagosy
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Ok, I'll admit that when I'd seen this referenced in a number of posts here on BGG, I thought it was a modern adaptation of the Ancient Egyptian game of the same name. I was surprised at this, as to my knowledge, the actual rules for the Ancient Egyptian "Wadjet" have never been discovered.

However, now I'm not so sure. Appears to be an archaeologically themed game in which the players compete to collect various treasures by avoiding traps and solving puzzles. So maybe somebody took the ancient components and added a modern twist?

Nice looking board, but apparently not exactly a stunning game.
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11. Board Game: Dark Crusade: The War in the East 1941-45 [Average Rating:4.87 Overall Rank:14765]
Boaty McBoatface
England
County of Essex
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Legendarily bad everything was wrong with this game. Even its designer hated it.
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12. Board Game: Time Control [Average Rating:2.23 Overall Rank:15828]
Ryan Hackel
United States
Falls Church
Virginia
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Mikko Saari wrote:
Seemed like a cool game, but turned out to be the worst gaming experience in ages. The game is confusing, boring and simply no fun at all.


Martin Sigsgaard wrote:
Who allowed this one to be printed. The most broken game I've ever read the rules for!


Jason Little wrote:
Do not waste time or money on Time Control. I have never seen a game or read a rulebook so poorly developed, or seemed based on a dare... So why do I want it in trade? As a cautionary tale for game design, and to remind myself that things need to be evaluated, reviewed, tested and proofread before distribution.
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13. Board Game: The Game of Life [Average Rating:4.21 Overall Rank:16038]
Mil Myman
United States
Fountain Valley
California
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Why is there no Word Games Forum or Subdomain?
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There should be a Word Games Subdomain, or at least a Word Games Forum!
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This is the worst ever. Bearing no resemblance to its theme, having no useful decisions to make, other than a few no-brainers. The winner is pretty much determined about a tenth of the way into the game (it's whoever lands on the Doctor space).

Tic-Tac-Toe is at least useful in teaching some basic concepts of game theory and as a programming exercise.

Bingo - you can at least win some real prizes or cash.

Snakes and Ladders - fun for kids, and teaches counting

War - What is it good for? Absolutely nothing!

LCR - at least you can drink to it.

Candy Land - fun for kids, and teaches colors

Trouble - uh, the pop-a-matic? I guess not.

Operation - What is this one doing here? Operation is a fine game!

Battle of the Sexes - with better questions, could have been an OK game.
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14. Board Game: The Ungame [Average Rating:2.77 Overall Rank:16008]
Grand Prince Poutine Lord High Thrifter
Canada
Vancouver
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Please support the International Diplomacy Repository -- where your donations of Diplomacy games are always happily accepted!
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Doesn't the photograph tell you all you need to know?
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15. Board Game: Smokers Wild [Average Rating:5.01 Overall Rank:14902]
John Bandettini
United Kingdom
London
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That one not so much
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A game that parodies the tobacco industry that should be fun right? And the parody side is quite funny. The game renames well known brands of cigarettes with a suitable name. It's been so long though the only one I can remember is Rothman's (Well known brand in the UK then, no idea if they were internationally known) became Wreathman's.

But the designers forgot to include a game. It is the most basic roll and move ever. Roll the dice, move, do what it says on the space you land on and repeat. This is a game with zero decisions, not an easy feat.

Also had a sister game, Drinkers Wild. I never tried it but I assume it was just as exciting.
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