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Subject: Top 10 Disappointing Games? rss

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Carl Frodge
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Ever have a game hyped up for you, and then, when you actually played it, it just kinda...fell flat? Well, has that happened to you 10 times? If so, this is the thread for you!

What are your top 10 dissapointing games?

My criteria is simply that I went in expecting to enjoy the game, but didn't. You can define your criteria however you like.

In no particular order:
Camel Up: A lot of hype from the Dice Tower, and the concept seemed interesting. I was disappointed because ultimately, the game was pure luck, and it felt like none of my decisions really mattered. Later on I played much better betting games, like Long Shot and Winner's Circle.

Terraforming Mars: Again, lots of hype, this time on Twitter from lots of different people. I finally had the chance to play it recently, and...it was okay. I would play again, but my biggest problems with it were: It didn't feel like anything new, everything in the game felt familiar, and I wasn't impressed with really anything about it. It was fine, like I said, I'd play again. My second problem is more personal, I just don't like the graphic design of the game. It looks incomplete, like a near-finished prototype. Needs polish.

Ascension: Rise of Vigil: And Ascension in general. At the time, I was a big fan of deckbuilders (I'm not anymore). My favorites going into this were Dominion and Resident Evil Deck Building Game. It fell completely flat for me. All the strategy of Dominion had been replaced by luck, with random cards coming out for purchase instead of having everything available. And I hated that about it. On top of that, it just felt very boring. Even trying to make the different types of cards work together, it was more about hoping I got good cards and hoping I was able to use them.

Battle Line: I had heard a lot of good things going into this game. But it fell very flat for me. The card interaction was boring, and the poker hand system was hard to understand and remember for me (I kept having to look back at the rules to see what beats what).

Celestia: Celestia is one a lot of my friends enjoyed, and I figured I would too. I was wrong. It does something I very much dislike in any game. Something I call, "sudden winner syndrome," where a player suddenly wins/ends the game, but you can't see it coming. I also don't like how much luck is involved. I want to be clear, I don't dislike luck in a game, but when it's more than 50% of the outcome, it can bother me.

Colt Express: This one was hyped by the dice tower a lot. I really like the game in theory, and my chubby hands are not the issue I have with the game at all. My issue is that, in theory, you should be able to kind of plan what you're going to do, but you can't, because you can't see what other people have played, and if you play with a large group, you won't see half of what people play, so any planning you want to do is thrown out and it boils down to, "well, I'll play this, and hope for the best." I feel like there should be more strategy in picking a card. There should be more outsmarting your opponents.

Dice City: I am a big fan of Imperial Settlers, and when I heard about Dice City, it sounded similar to that, but different enough to keep it interesting. It was alright. There's a whole option of attacking other players' buildings, but because of how big each players board is, it's impossible to keep track of everything they're doing, and that's doubled with multiple opponents. I do like how you can customize your board, and kind of go for a specific strategy in that way, but overall, I feel like the game lasts too long, without keeping it interesting.

Forbidden Desert: Going into this one, I was a big fan of Forbidden Island and to a lesser extent, Pandemic. I kind of expected the same style of play, and I just didn't enjoy this one. I didn't like the sand mechanism, it felt tedious, and I dunno, just not enjoyable.

Roll for the Galaxy: Going into this I wasn't a big fan of Race for the Galaxy, so I thought this might be a better game (The Dice Tower certainly seemed to think so). It wasn't. It was convoluted and felt very restricting. The dice choice mechanic was overcomplicated compared to Race's selection mechanic. Actually, now I'm a fan of Race.

Tigris & Euphrates: In general, I've enjoyed a lot of the Reiner Knizia games I've played. And Tigris & Euphrates sounds cool every time I play it, but I end up hating the combat system, I hate the scoring system. It's just not for me.

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Michael
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Roll for the Galaxy (too little strategy, hidden dice, tedious dice changing, really loud cups, and more) and Suburbia with Suburbia Inc (low replayability, low strategy even with the expansion) are the most recent letdowns for me. IMO, of course.
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K S
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Mage Wars Academy - I never played Mage Wars Arena, but this game was supposed to be a great gateway for the franchise. It sounded like it should be fun, but in practice it felt like a more complex version of Magic: The Gathering, a game which I never felt lacked sufficient complexity. Seemed like it required quite a bit of familiarity with the decks to be really rewarding, and I just didn't really see the point of investing the time and effort when I have similar games which are already rewarding.

Betrayal at House on the Hill - Seems like it should be right up my alley, but in practice I've already played it 3-4 times and it tends to drag in the beginning, and then there's an obvious run-away victor when the Haunt begins. Perhaps there are better Haunts I haven't encountered yet, but it seems like the proportion of unbalanced Haunts is way too high for my taste.

Legendary Encounters: An Alien Deck Building Game - I love deckbuilding, I love co-op, and I love scifi, so I expected this to be a winner. However, I've only given the game one try because the setup was just so fiddly! Played 2-player and never had much of a sense of danger. I hear that it gets more difficult with more players, so I should give it a go with a higher player count.

Dixit Odyssey - I enjoyed Apples to Apples, and this game sounded like a better (more strategy, higher player count) version of that. However, this game doesn't really seemed to have "clicked" with any of the playgroups I've tried it with yet. Maybe it improves with experienced players?

Pandemic - Played it twice and it felt a bit draggy and prone to more experienced players "quarterbacking" my turn. However, I feel that Pandemic: The Cure addresses both of these problems and is one of my favorite games overall.

Dominion - I hesitated to include this, because I don't dislike the game. I have played at least 4 times now, but each time the "first game" setup was used since there were new players. That setup lacks in player interaction, and newer players being new, the games tended to grind out for a while. I understand that there is more interaction in other cards, so I haven't given up on this one yet.

Magic: The Gathering – Arena of the Planeswalkers - Another game I don't dislike, but have been a disappointed with. I wasn't expecting to be playing Magic: The Gathering with miniatures, but I was hoping there would be a bit more of those cardplay elements (e.g. mana casting costs, card-based "combat tricks"). While they did include the faintest hint of Magic cardplay, it really ended up being more of just a theme than anything else. A fine game definitely worth the $13 I paid, but not exactly what I was wanting.

FWIW, I love Roll for the Galaxy
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HenningK
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Hm, I don't think I can come up with 10, but here are a few:

Thunderstone: I like D&D and I love Dominion, so this should be right up my alley. But it wasn't - the game felt too random and unnecessarily clunky and convoluted. I also thought the card balance was off and the end game trigger just doesn't work. No thanks, I'll stick to Dominion.

Abyss: I almost bought this just for the super-cool artwork. After my first (and only) play, I was so glad I didn't. The game felt extremely simple and shallow, and I won before any of the special abilities kicked in. To this day, I think we played something wrong because it just felt off, like a non-tested prototype, but the other player who had played it multiple times before was sure we played correctly.

Pandemic Legacy: Season 1: Now, I actually do like this game. But being hailed as the messiah of boardgames, I expected a little more. So, it's Pandemic, only uglier. And each month, you add a new rule or two that basically only adds a bit of complexity and fiddliness without actually making the game more enjoyable (to me, at least). We are halfway done with our campaign, and if somebody from my group said tomorrow "screw it, I don't want to finish this", I would be totally fine with that.
As I said, I like the game, but I don't enjoy this more than regular Pandemic. Maybe I should mention that I don't see Pandemic as that uber-coop that so many others do, either. A good game, yes, but not exceptional to me.
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Andy Szymas
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For me: the Gen Con hotness Vast: The Crystal Caverns.

Wanted to love this game so bad... but it's got a double whammy of being hard to teach WITH also having poor rules. Some of the roles are also just more interesting than others - and the less interesting roles also tend to take very little time, so you're waiting for a full game round before you get to take your little "place a tile" cave action.
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Chris Smith
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In no particular order since I wouldn't play any of these ever again. One of my least favourite mechanics in a game is the inability to quickly gauge who's winning. Games without direct conflict rank fairly low on my list.

Agricola & Caverna: The Cave Farmers: Agricola version 1 and Agricola version 2 are roughly the same game. Neither do anything I particularly like.

Blood Rage: This was the most promising of my list, but it falls flat. I've seen most games won off of combo drafting.

The Castles of Burgundy: Roll dice for an indefinite amount of time where the results are largely irrelevant, check! Can't figure out who's winning because it's a Feld salad, check.

Dominion: This game needs more shuffling effects. It doesn't have enough. If I'm going to play a deckbuilder, I'd rather just play Magic.

Pandemic Legacy: Season 1: Only gave this a chance since my group really wanted to try it out. It's a co-op game, so I was already ranking this in the terribad category. The legacy component of the game was all gimmick and no reward.

Quadropolis: Really wanted to like this game because it seemed like a 3-4 player abstract. In the end it was just multiplayer solitaire, regardless if you could block certain rows/columns from your opponents. With so many choices each turn, the blocking mechanic proved largely irrelevant.

Scythe: I don't understand the hype of this game. If I want to play a 4x game I'd rather just play Space Empires: 4X or Exodus: Proxima Centauri. Both games are infinitely better in my opinion. The theme and artwork are irrelevant to my gaming experience.

Viticulture Essential Edition: An over-hyped worker placement game. Really love how the right/wrong summer/winter card draws can wildly swing a game.
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Zachary Homrighaus
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OP - It seems like you should rely a little less on the Dice Tower's recommendations. I love the dice tower, but it is well known that they tend to like almost everything they review.

Also, their tastes are likely different than yours. 2 of those games you mentioned (Colt Express and Camel Up) are light, fun, family games... so yeah, they are silly games with luck involved... they are not strategic or tactical games where you can outsmart your opponents. That doesn't mean you should like them, but I don't think the games are trying to be what you were expecting... for me those are both solid games, but I only pull them out in the right setting where I know my audience (kids, non-gamers, etc.)

Anyway, for me a few disappointments I've run across lately:

Duel of Ages II - I have had this on my shelf for a very long time and recently busted it out and tried a quick game playing both sides. Like the OP, this was hyped by Tom Vasel and several years ago when I was getting more into the hobby, I decided it sounded fun. Since then, my tastes and collection have matured considerably and it was really not very fun. I could see 16 year old me thinking it was amazing. It felt like it was a peer of Cosmic Encounter and Car Wars as far as sophistication... so yeah, it's on the trade list now as I can't imagine ever introducing it to my group.

Arctic Scavengers - I like deck building and adding battle to the mix should have been a nice improvement over the multi-player solitaire games i the deck building genre. But, man it really feel flat... mostly due to a runaway leader problem. If you get a nice draw in the first few hands, you are on a glide path to victory as having a better deck means you are better at everything in the game... and the good cards run out! So if you get the same good draws 4 rounds in that another player got in the first round... too bad, the good cards are gone and you're already way behind.

Roads & Boats - I know this is sacrilege among heavy Euro gamers, but this too had been on my shelf unplayed for a long time. I pulled it out and gave it a few run throughs... man is it dry. It is amazingly fiddly and you realize pretty quickly that you need to play this game many, many times to really grasp even a basic, workable strategy and I'm just not sure I want to put in that kind of time investment just to be able to play a game well. And did I mention it's not really fun at any point? If it was a laugh riot, but it was tricky to figure out, that would be one thing... but it almost immediately becomes a dry, fiddly puzzle solving exercise so I can't imagine wanting to spend 20 hrs playing this just to get to the point where I felt competent.
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David B
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Want me to list games that fell short of the hype? And you want me to limit it to 10? There are a lot more than 10. Here are a few of the major offenders:

Orléans: Once the bag building gimmick wears off, which it does very quickly, a soulless mechanical game with a very bland scoring system emerges. The game does not justify the set up time and space required.


Le Havre : A sprawling table hog that has just too many resources and levels of conversion to keep track of. I don't mind optimization, but this game just has too much of it.


The Castles of Burgundy: The Card Game: I enjoy the board game, but this is an example of how not to reimplement a popular board game as a card game. This kept too many things from the board game and just watered it all down. It should have kept less and focused better. As is, this game sucks.


Pandemic: One person runs the show, everyone else takes orders. Pass.

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N. P. P.
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1) Twilight Struggle
I went into this expecting the best game ever. And it was just boring, to me as well as the two guys I tried playing it against. There probably is an intense gaming experience in there somewhere, if you accept that you have to play a dozen times as a learning experience as you need to know the cards by heart. I'd rather play something that is fun right away.

2) Pandemic Legacy
Again, I went into this expecting the best game ever. And it's pretty much just Pandemic, presented in a way that forces me to play it over and over again. We've only played it through September so far, so there's still time for it to blow me away, but I don't expect that it will. It's not bad, it's just that after all the hype I expected something more.

3) Bang: The Dice Game
The guys from the Dice Tower sing this game's praise all the time, so I bought it. After one play I sold it as I have no desire to ever play it again. It was just a bunch of randomness that was over far more quickly than I expected and before anybody had a real clue what was going on.

4) Five Trives
I think this is fine as a two-player game, but more than that and it's just tedious.

5) Seasons
Fell completely flat for me the two times I tried it. Maybe that's because I tried the suggested decks of cards for starting players instead of drafting, and those don't seem particularly balanced. The best part for me were the chunky dice.

6) Viticulture Essential Edition
Hey, it's a game about making wine that you can most easily win by ignoring making wine completely. I wish the card drawing was less random here.

7) Abyss
Again something spoken extremely positively of by the Dice Tower crew. I found it mind-numbingly boring. Set collecting games are always in danger of being boring as spend turn after turn drawing cards or what have you, but this one makes it so much worse by having to ask every time you turn over a card if anybody wants to take it.

8) Ticket to Ride
Kinda the same as above. Long stretches of the game are just boring.

9) Ghost Stories
Apparently I am not enough of a masochist to find enjoyment in this.

10) Waste Knights
Maybe this should be #1 as this was my worst gaming experience ever. But then I didn't really expect much going into this. A friend had bought it last year in Essen, because "the ratings on the Geek were really good", which I am convinced was due to the designer and his immediate family. The rules were a total mess, the game is far too fiddly, and there are hardly any meaningful decisions to make in the game. Certainly not enough to warrant sitting around half an hour at a time to wait for your turn to come around. There probably are ameritrash afficionados who love this kind of game, but I got nothing out of it.
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Chris Graves
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You guys are bumming me out! So many games on my wish list.
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Matt Brown
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voodoochyl wrote:
You guys are bumming me out! So many games on my wish list.


Eh, I like some of the games mentioned. I wouldn't worry too much. It is about what works for you.
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Ned Meier
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matthean wrote:
voodoochyl wrote:
You guys are bumming me out! So many games on my wish list.


Eh, I like some of the games mentioned. I wouldn't worry too much. It is about what works for you.


I agree. Many games mentioned here are at the top of my list of favorite games. As most other things in the world, its all subjective.
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Ray
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In no particular order.

1. Dominant Species. The idea sounds good and there are many aspects of the game I like, but the whole figuring up who is dominant all the time is a major mental distraction. You thinking about what you want to do? The board changed...who is dominant NOW. Are you dominant NOW? How about NOOOOOWWWWW. It's not that it's hard, but annoying.

2. Smash Up. After the fun of combining two unique factions...i'm ready to throw it back in the box. This game made me realize how much I hate 100 wild abilities that everyone has to do this back and forth. It's not a bad game, but not for me.

3. Lewis & Clark: beautiful production, but takes WAAAY too long to do anything.

4. Mystic Vale: great mechanic, game is horrible. I enjoy playing Splendor with my wife as it's short. This is the equivalent of playing Splendor for 2 hours. Even though the game doesn't last that long; it feels like it.

5. Railways of the World. Is fantastic until you play Age of Steam.

6. Black Fleet: again, a beautiful production where random cards just give random powers. So out of the blue, an opponent can move 4 spaces and be close enough to attack. To be fair: I hate having random awesome powers AND being on the receiving end. There just is no planning. I'm not opposed to randomness in games, but when a player can finish a person because they happened to draw this one card that they didn't plan for: it's stupid.

7. Betrayal at House on the Hill. My first grail game when i got into the hobby. I played it and was puzzled what the deal was. Move around and draw cards until you can read a story?

8. Dominion. This was one of the first games I sold and bought back because I was worried I was missing something. My first play was not bad...but it brought to light my second thing that annoys me: dumb combos that are not exciting to watch. Wow, so you get to draw X then play X!?!!? We should write this down so it will live forever in infamy!!!! I think I'm more ticked at people who like to make people watch this as it unfolds like they are curing diseases!

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Darrell Hanning
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Dominion
It's a card game, about...getting cards.

And then, once you have those cards, you can get...other cards.

Reminds me of why Magic the Gathering bored me to tears.
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Andrew Kluck
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Lots of wargames are disappointing me recently, but I'll stick to the types of games regularly mentioned in this corner of BGG and that I purchased (enough initial interest to slap down cash and yet dislike so much you won't play again is true disappointment). In no particular order:

10.) Escape: The Curse of the Temple - I knew what I was getting myself into. SU&SD really liked it and when looking for light party friendly games I'm often on the same page. I played it three times and thought it was stupid. It's work, you don't have the opportunity to enjoy your friends company. Any 'joy' involved is when it's over and you can talk about it, which isn't a good sign in my opinion. I have no interest in bringing it to the table again and will probably give it away.

9.) Masquerade - "You don't know your own role! Isn't that hilarious!" No, it's pointless.

8.) Mr. Jack Pocket - Supposedly a quick playing distilled version of a popular title. Moving buildings is ridiculous and just sucked me out of the theme.

7.) The Grizzled - I even bought the expansion in hope of salvaging this purchase, but it didn't work. It's not an interesting game.

6.) Epic Card Game - Meh.

5.) Dungeon Petz - The game play is fine, just far more effort to set up and play than the art and theme would have you believe. Piles of chits, cubes and workers everywhere is an attraction to many people. It doesn't entice me, even when the game is solid in my bones it screams design inefficiency.

4.) Sylvion - Rahdo and Zee had my hopes up, but I just would rather play Onirim.

3.) Android: Netrunner - The game is fantastic. I've spent a fortune buying and sleeving the first two cycles for evening gaming with my wife. Turns out deck tuning is just not our thing and I have no interest in getting plugged into the local Netrunner gaming scene. I've put together premade decks a few times, but we just end up playing something else.

2.) Star Realms - The game is fine for what it is, I still play it on my iPad occasionally, but the 3 expansions I ended up purchasing are a naked money grab and caused me to get out rather than invest.

1.) Legends of Andor - Meh.
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Evan
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To the OP who didn't like Colt Express, you don't state if you dislike programmed movement in general or just Colt Express. Your critiques are generic to the mechanic itself, so I wonder if you would like RoboRally or Mechs vs. Minions for example.

Colt Express was the first programmed movement game I had ever played and I felt the same way you did, but I realized after doing more research and analysis that my mind simply doesn't work that way. I like planning things out and executing the plan. In programmed movement games, you can plan all you want, but the execution is left to chance. I simply don't like that. Perhaps you don't as well?

I was disappointed in Lanterns: The Harvest Festival. I think the game lends itself to AP once most of the tiles have been laid, I didn't like the point progression in the dedication phase (I think their should be a steeper decrease from early tiles to later tiles) and I also don't like how much downtime there can be if a player prone to AP is playing it in the group. I thought I would love the game, but I found myself thinking I would reluctantly play it again, but would never recommend it.
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Carl Frodge
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Quote:
The Castles of Burgundy: Roll dice for an indefinite amount of time where the results are largely irrelevant, check! Can't figure out who's winning because it's a Feld salad, check.

The die results drive the entire game, they're not irrelevant at all. It's also, unlike a lot of Feld games, one where it's fairly easy to tell who's winning. I will say it's long, and if you don't like the length that's one thing.

Quote:
Dominion: This game needs more shuffling effects. It doesn't have enough. If I'm going to play a deckbuilder, I'd rather just play Magic.

More shuffling effects? What? Why?

Quote:
Scythe: I don't understand the hype of this game. If I want to play a 4x game I'd rather just play Space Empires: 4X or Exodus: Proxima Centauri. Both games are infinitely better in my opinion. The theme and artwork are irrelevant to my gaming experience.

Yeah, Scythe is...weird. It's like a 2X disguised as a 4X, where almost every aspect is shallow. There's combat, but it's not very important, there's exploration, but...it's not very important. It feels incomplete to me, like the designers almost finished the game, but couldn't figure out how to finish it.

Quote:
Viticulture Essential Edition: An over-hyped worker placement game. Really love how the right/wrong summer/winter card draws can wildly swing a game.

I love Viticulture. Really elegant design. I gather from this, and your opinion of Blood Rage and Dominion, that you simply don't like card games, or games where cards play a big part. Is that accurate? Because with all 3 of these games, the cards are a big part of the game.
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George Nebesnik
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My list is based on games I was either really excited for or other people hyped them up for me or games I thought I would really like but just didn't.

#10-Archipelago
I really thought I would like this one. It was at one point the top of my wish list. After a couple of plays nothing in the game clicked for me. I still think the game has potential to be great but just wasn't

#9-Cuba
Being a huge fan of the game Colonia I was told, "try Cuba" it's kind of similar but way better. This game wasn't terrible but after 1 play I didn't see a need to ever want to play it again. Just a so-so game.

#8-Kremlin (Limited Edition)
This one hurts. Happily backed the KS and couldn't wait until it arrived. Read the rules, sounded great still. Now after two plays the game just doesn't do it for me. After the first two rows nobody else does any actions and overall I was just very disappointed in the experience. Still hurts me.

#7-Cosmic Encounter
Ok, this is one of those games I just don't get the love. It's random and if someone jumps out to an early lead nobody will work with them. Played it 4 total times and each time I try to get it and I just can't. In fairness I am more of a Euro guy so this is probably one of those instances where it's me not you.

#6-Vinhos
I will start of with a small disclaimer. I did not back the kickstarter and yes I know it removed the banking. It doesn't matter how well you plan your actions you still might have to pay other people to withdraw money out of your bank account. Huh? Yeah forget it. For me the banking section completely ruins the game.

#5-Village
Another game that I really wanted to like but I also don't really get the love. To me everything works great except for the fact that you pretty much decide the aging. If you want your people to die to get into the book just do actions that age them more. I tried. I played this game a handful of times and with all player counts. I think this game does a lot of really cool things, but in the end, I don't really have a desire to play it.

#4-Catan
I'm pretty sure this is more about me than the actual game. I definitely came late to the party. I was playing heavier much more complicated Euros when I first played Catan. After about 5 minutes I couldn't wait for it to end.

#3-Dungeon Petz
This is the only game on my list that really has me guessing? I don't like it and I don't know why. I love Dungeon Lords. Really love it. But this game falls way short for me. Every time I have played it I feel like the game is just OK and I always find myself looking forward to the end. Don't quite know why.

#2-Dead of Winter: A Crossroads Game
One of my problems is that I don't learn. I don't like coop games or even games with mostly coop with a traitor or two thrown in. But I keep buying them. After doing a ton of research I was convinced I was going to like this one. Since my game group is pretty split between Euro guys and Ameritrash guys I also thought I could find something for everyone. After all we all like Eldritch Horror. Again I only played this game twice. But those crossroads cards that are supposed to be the meat of this game were TERRIBLE. Either do this which adds good things to the group but spawns zombies or do nothing and nothing happens. Exactly how is that a difficult decision? Just disappointed all over the place with this one.

#1-Pandemic Legacy: Season 1
In all fairness you can add Pandemic to this list but this will take care of both. I know this game is loved and I know I don't like coops so my opinion is trash to most people to begin with. First, my issue with the main Pandemic game is still very much alive and well with this one. The roles suck. Sorry to be blunt but they do. I'm the dispatcher so my job is to get people into position where they need to be. Forget about dealing with sickness or actually curing a disease. The game plays you more than you play the game. Sure I can run around the board trying to cure diseases while the Scientist is trying to trade cards, but you won't win. In order to be successful in this game you have to play according to your roles' ability and that's more magnified in the Legacy version. It was a decent experience. We ended up going 9-9 as a team but after about halfway through the game I just wanted it to end and getting the group together for a night of Pandemic quickly turned into a chore instead of reward.
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Big Rob
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Dead of Winter: A Crossroads Game Jumble of mechanics with a theme that feels like an afterthought.

Smash Up over-hyped, just not that good (yet it sounded like something I'd love).

Small World I fell for the positive buzz... just fell flat.

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It's all about the eye of the beholder. I haven't played many of the games I've seen listed so far. Mostly I favor wargames and train games, but here's some thoughts:

Dominion just didn't do it for me (or my 4 player game group) either.

Age of Steam is fantastic until you play Railways of the World.

Ticket to Ride is a great game but a little played out.

Black Fleet certainly floated my boat. It was a great game for quite a while, but it got played out literally overnight; after one particular game, no one has wanted to play it since. This is a basically a light fun game, but some people took it way too seriously. I think it would benefit greatly from a small card expansion with more and different improvement cards.

I am definitely looking forward to teaching my 4.5 year old granddaughter to play both Black Fleet and Ticket to Ride when she can read a little better.

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I don't know about a full 10, but coming up with 7 is pretty easy. Listed from least to most disappointing.

7) 7 Wonders Duel - I like 7 Wonders a good amount, and a lot of people are liking this more than 7 Wonders. To me, the drafting from the pyramid means that the whole game felt like it came down to making your opponent flip for you more often than you do for him. It's very possible that there's not actually more luck in this than there is in 7 Wonders, but it does feel a lot more lucky since you can get some really great blind flips from your opponent and it seems like sometimes there's nothing they can do about it. The existence of the cards that let you take two turns in a row are helpful in this regard, but getting one or two turns a game in which you can do something even slightly clever is too little for me.

6)Through the Ages: A Story of Civilization - This is a competent design and I can see why other people would love it, but for me it just doesn't do anything unique or interesting enough. Well designed, well balanced, tight eurogames aren't enough to keep my interest. I need something that shakes them up a little bit, and to me this game doesn't really do anything new or interesting. Maybe that's unfair since it's 10 years old and so some of the stuff I'm taking for granted were new way back then, but at this point I don't see how it distinguishes itself from every other eurogame where you're building up resource generators to buy point generators in a completely straightforward, no frills way. Every card just does one ting that progresses you linearly toward one goal, and call me shallow but I'm a bit bored by that.

5) The Castles of Burgundy - There was a time early in my board game career when I thought Feld might be my favorite designer. At that point I'd only played Bora Bora and Trajan, his two best games and games which are still in my top 10. I've since played seven more of his games and only really liked one of them, Luna. CoB isn't his worst game I've played (ItYotD is) but it's the most disappointing, since it seems to be everyone's favorite. I like the action chaining stuff but that's all there is going on in the game. It's just way too light. Also, for me this game is unnecessary since the gamer version of this game, Grand Austria Hotel, exists.

4) Deus - The reason I was so excited about this game because it seemed very broadly like it should have been a sort of ZhanGuo-lite, and ZhanGuo is my second favorite game. Tableau building is fun, but the card luck tends to turn me off. I thought that in this game the discard actions should have mostly taken care of that and added an interesting layer of decisionmaking, but in playing it I found myself still feeling like there was too much card luck (the discard action doesn't help if your hand is all wrong colors) and the decisions didn't seem that hard.

3) Keyflower - This might be the most recommended game on the site. It was ok. I saw all of the resource conversion and the logistics aspect of moving the stuff around, in addition to all the meeple color management, and I thought that that stuff should come together to make for an interesting game. But then when I played it the guy who spent all of his time swapping out guys for different colored guys was able to so control the auctions that all of the other stuff felt like an afterthought. I felt like meeple color management and counting is such an important aspect that it drowned out a lot of the other stuff going on and made the game feel a bit one dimensional for me.

2) The Voyages of Marco Polo - Every time someone makes a top eurogames of last year list, this seems to end up at or near the top, and it makes me feel like a crazy person. The game is fine, I guess. It's pretty generic at it's core, you get resources to convert them into points in a very straightforward way. I was hopeful that the powers and the different income bonuses/action spots from travel could shake things up enough to make it interesting, but they actually were my biggest problems with the game. Between your power, your location goal cards, any contracts you might have, and the layout of the map spots, your strategy seems pretty locked in. And honestly I didn't see much opportunity for tactical play round to round to prevent the game from feeling like it was on autopilot. I think it goes a little far to say that the game was so on rails that I didn't even need to be there, but all of us playing did feel like the game played itself a bit too much.

1) Eclipse - This one's sort of my fault. I heard the Dice Tower guys complain that it was basically just a spreadsheet euro in space, and generally when something is too euro for them that means I should consider it. But it wasn't euro enough for me. Way too much luck in technology draws, combat dice, and exploration flips is a big negative, but I'd say the game's biggest flaw for me is how it entirely revolves around combat. I just wanted a nice resource management game in space, and it does some interesting things in that context, but at the end of the day the whole thing comes down to fighting and plundering, and I'm just really not into that.
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pfctsqr wrote:
Pandemic: One person runs the show, everyone else takes orders. Pass.

I see people write this on BGG, but I've played Pandemic dozens of times with different groups and have never had it happen. Of course, I've never played it at a meetup or con where you could end up at a table with a random asshole.

The most disappointing by far was Time Stories. It was like playing a handicapped RPG that revolved around memorization of which cards were good or bad.
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Chris Smith
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agentkuo wrote:
I gather from this, and your opinion of Blood Rage and Dominion, that you simply don't like card games, or games where cards play a big part. Is that accurate? Because with all 3 of these games, the cards are a big part of the game.

Love the COIN series and other CDG games by GMT.
I find with the three games I dislike, the cards can be disproportionately unbalanced.
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I hope this thread encourages everyone to put less stock in the Dice Tower. I've never had any use for them.

My most disappointing game ever is likely 504. This was supposed to be a huge breakthrough in game design, the most innovative thing ever, with near-infinite replayability.
Instead, the suggested intro scenario is the most generic pick-up-and-deliver game I've ever played. And THIS is the scenario that is supposed to introduce me to the game system and make me want to play more? Major failure. I'll never bother with it again.
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Will Moller
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No particular order:

Between Two Cities
It wasn't bad, but it was disappointingly dry. It does what it sets out to do well enough, but it feels pretty scripted and yet beholden to a lot of luck.

Flick 'em Up!
I managed to not buy this, though I was nearly all-in when I saw it at CSI. I'm glad I didn't. It's just way to slow for what it is with convoluted rules.

Scythe
I hesitate to put this one, because it is most definitely not a bad game. My personal troubles are with the graphic design at times feeling out of place, the board being too busy, and the execution of the stars-system being totally non-thematic. Which is only noteworthy in that so many other details were painstakingly made thematic.

Lanterns: The Harvest Festival
The artwork is great, but the gameplay is a huge *shoulder-shrug.* Lighter than I was expecting, maybe some play variants will amp up the decision making.

Knit Wit
Maybe I should revisit it, but my initial plays were pretty uninspiring. Definitely can see what the designer was trying to do, but it's ultimately not interesting. Compares pretty poorly to Codenames.

San Juan (second edition)
I never got into Race ftG, though I adore Roll ftG. My plays have only been 2p so far too, but it still felt uninteresting.

Orléans: Deluxe Edition
Great overall look, though the theme is a little 'meh.' (I'm personally shocked I've started caring more about theme in the last year) However, gameplay was very same-y.

Viceroy
Yeah, feeling a little like a sucker for buying the hype on this one. It wasn't awful, completely functional game, but not as interesting as I was expecting. Maybe I should give it one last chance, but I'm not inclined that way.

Tragedy Looper
Again, filed under "not actually bad probably." But the anime artwork is strike one for me right off the bat (TWO baseball puns!). The concept and mechanics are pretty hard to grasp too. Willing to come back to this one though.

Prosperity
This is the game that finally allowed me to trust myself and my instincts. Namely, to trust whether I will really like a game and not allow myself to get talked into something. There are too many games out there that I don't have that I know would be winners for me. It's great to be surprised or come across an unsung hero, but those are really exceptions to the norm.
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