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Subject: The 235th Edition of the TGIF Poll rss

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Ben Lott
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If you want updates on when new TGIF polls are posted, or want to look at the results of past polls go to The TGIF Poll Subscription Thread.

Poll: The 235th TGIF Poll
If you have a very bad first play of a game, how often will you try replaying the game (either with the same group, or trying it with a different group)?
  Your Answer   Vote Percent Vote Count
All the time
3.3% 10
Frequently
17.7% 54
Sometimes
48.2% 147
Rarely
29.8% 91
Never
1.0% 3
Voters 305
Do you think you are capable of differentiating a good game from a bad game even if the group playing isn't ideal for the game?
  Your Answer   Vote Percent Vote Count
Absolutely
16.7% 51
Probably
56.4% 172
Maybe
23.9% 73
Doubtful
3.0% 9
Not a chance
0.0% 0
Voters 305
If you spend a lot of money on a game, how does that affect your desire to see it succeed with your regular gaming opponents?
  Your Answer   Vote Percent Vote Count
Strongly increases
26.9% 82
Somewhat increases
51.8% 158
Neither increases nor decreases
21.3% 65
Somewhat decreases
0.0% 0
Strongly decreases
0.0% 0
Voters 305
This poll is now closed.   306 answers
Poll created by Blott
Closes: Thu May 2, 2013 6:00 am


4. If you can think of one, name a game that you think was probably a good game, but just didn't work for your game group. Why do you think it was unpopular?

Any discussion is encouraged.
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Wesley Kinslow
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Blott wrote:


4. If you can think of one, name a game that you think was probably a good game, but just didn't work for your game group. Why do you think it was unpopular?


I'd go with A Game of Thrones: The Board Game (Second Edition) for this one. I think there were several folks that went on to play it (and enjoy it) but I was definitely soured by the first play.

There was very little table talk and nearly no alliances the entire game - making the experience like playing a VERY mediocre 6 player war game.

I think everyone "got it" much later in the game but the ship had sailed.

I don't know if I'll play it again, honestly. The fact that it was very much like diplomacy in places didn't help my enjoyment of it
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Jerry Wilkinson
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1. Sometimes

2. Probably

3. Neither increases or decreases (because if it fails I can try to trade it to someone here on BGG)

4. When I tried out Catan Histories: Settlers of America – Trails to Rails with my best friend and his son, it ran way too long for what it was, and none of the three of us really wanted to play it again. I tried to get them to play it again to see if our first impressions were wrong, but there was little interest. I ended up trading it away.
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John Bandettini
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I am very lucky, my games group is so large I don’t think there are any games I could not get played there.
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4. If you can think of one, name a game that you think was probably a good game, but just didn't work for your game group. Why do you think it was unpopular?

Easy, Saboteur. I'm sure this game works very well for some, but my group is VERY competitive, and games like this turn into "If I can't win, NONE OF YOU WILL!" very quickly. Pretty much impossible for the miners to win.
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Ben Lott
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1 - There are so many proven good games that I rarely take the time to try and force the issue when a game is unpopular.

2 - I put Maybe, but I'm leaning towards Doubtful (and might change my answer at some point.) Bad experiences usually make me look at every flaw in order to understand why it was so bad. I find myself ignoring most of the good points and just magnifying the negatives.

3 - I don't think it affects me at all. I usually figure I can just trade the game for something else later if it doesn't work.

4 - I'm still ticked that my family didn't like Ruse & Bruise. I loved that game, but it was so unpopular I just sold it. I still don't know entirely why they didn't like it. I think, perhaps, they had some trouble grasping the strategy, but I would love to play it again some day.
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Middle Earth Quest. I think it's an amazing game but one of my players would just end up bitching non stop about how excited he was that the game would end soon and that was at turn 2.
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Doug Click
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I guess the best way for me to answer #4 is to repete from: End of Games

Quote:
Well, had a game session Saturday night, the first game I pulled out was Last Night on Earth, the Zombie Game. [I spent the time to paint the miniatures and print out] Now, before I start, let me preface this with the fact that I have taught games at local game stores, at home, at GenCon and at Origins. So, I have experence in the art of teaching games, and I feel like I am pretty good at it.

So, I set up Die, Zombie, Die and quickly go over the rules. I have found that a quick overview and jumping into the game is a great way to teach. So, Kenny and I split the zombies. He rolls a six and places his minons, I roll three and place mine. Alesia and Amanda place their two heros each and the game starts. I tell everyone the options for each turn, having them follow along on their overview card and we play two rounds... I see Amanda looking at Alesia, I see Kenny with a weird look on his face, and then my wife, Alesia, says, "We're not getting it, lets play something else."

So sad... made me a little mad because they didn't really give the game a chance, but three to one for playing it, I was out numbered and the theme for game night is aways to have fun. So, I put the game up and taught them Queen's Necklace. Played it twice. Broke out Zooloretto, taught it to them and played it twice. Then got out Guillotine, taught the game, and played it twice...

So, It seems like if a game has more than three rules, I will never get to play it again. But, I just wanted to let everyone know that this is not a game for casual gamers like the three I played with that night. If the game sounds interesting, please make sure you have gamers ready to play, otherwise, I will sit in the game closet and collect dust like my copy will be doing.


Quote:
The more I think about [a reply from "Sagrilarus"]. This game is, without a doubt, all about the theme, if your not into the theme the game play is pretty weak. The first thing the heros have to do it start searching for stuff, there is not imediate interaction like there are more most games, that may have been the problem.
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I may get hit pretty hard for saying this, but I think many people even on a specialized website like this overestimate their ability to judge the value of a game (or many other activities or items) after limited use such as a single play. They may find things they like or don't like, but most first impressions are based primarily on the experience that is generated including ability to get all rules correct, willingness of the participants, interuptions, atmosphere, and even how well the rest of the day was going prior to the game in question. I generally try to get at least 3-5 plays of a given game in before making a firm decision.

That being said, there are so many games that it may not be worth trying a game again if it was really bad.
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1. Never. "Very bad" means writing it off as irredeemable, give it a 1 or 2, trade/sell it if I'm the unfortunate soul who owns it, and put it on my "never again" list. There's just so many un(der)-played good games that I can't be bothered playing the awful ones a second time.

2. Maybe. This usually isn't a problem though, as I'm pretty careful to tailor the game selection based on who's playing.

3. Maybe a little. "Very bad" stuff gets relegated to the trade bin straight away, but I may give the expensive games that are merely "bad" a second chance. I usually research my purchases carefully, so anything expensive would have been carefully vetted, and I'm willing to cut some slack because surely this game is good if I spent so much money on it.

4. I can't think of specific examples. My groups' preferences are pretty well understood, so games that are likely to be poor fits probably won't get played in the first place.
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Circus Train (First Edition)

Played the scoring rules wrong but the rest of the game correct. But, my regular group (TEG) won't let it back on the table. I did play it after that with a completely different group (and the right scoring) and it was excellent!

As for me, I'm figuring I'm 50/50 on games that I thought weren't good in giving them another shot. Some, I couldn't get ride of fast enough...yes Primordial Soup, I'm looking at you.
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Fernando Robert Yu
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The only game I can say that the first play was a "meh" from the group was Cosmic Encounter. A month later we tried it again and this time it was better. It still probably won't be a favorite, but a few sporadic plays should be fine by the group.
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If I have a bad time playing a game, I generally try and look at what happened. It could be the group or expectations or the game might just not be what I'm into at the time. Same goes for games I invest time in money into and then introduce to other people. I admit that I try and tailor the game to who I'm playing with.

4. A couple of games come to mind, but the best example for me is Seasons- I loved how this game looked and I was interested in how it played. My group did not take to this game at all. The way that some of the cards worked seemed unfair to them to the point where someone would have to read the card a couple of times, then look it up in the rule book, then sometimes look it up online, only to finally declare that it was "stupid." I still think it's a good game, but it brings out the rules lawyers in my group to the point where it's not fun to play anymore. It's fine though, I don't really miss it and I'm usually the one poo-pooing games I don't like.
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I try to give games a 2nd play before making a final judgement on it, BUT many times it is tough getting a game to the table once more after a "meh" experience.

The Golden City was a game that seemed to fit my sweet spot of a 60 minute, 3-4 player Euro, with game mechanics I enjoy (area control/auctions/route building) and a colorful board. BUT it just fell flat with the other players and there were complaints of being "broken" after only one play which infected others desire to try it.

Got tired of bringing it to game night and sitting unplayed so I traded it. Too many other games out there I guess.
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Joe Huber

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Blott wrote:
4. If you can think of one, name a game that you think was probably a good game, but just didn't work for your game group. Why do you think it was unpopular?


The problem is that if a game doesn't work for _me_, I never get around to trying it with my game group. They're usually the lucky souls who get to try the oddball games I come across, which are unlikely to meet the "probably a good game" criteria.

The only case I can think of that comes close to fitting is Hansa Teutonica, where I was not the only one at the table who didn't care at all for the game, but which has a very positive reputation on BGG.

More often, I'll try a game which is popular but which doesn't work for me - but works acceptably or better for others.
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Tim Silver
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4. Mansions of Madness. I was unprepared to teach the game and had to keep referring to the rulebook which slowed things down. Also, and probably more likely, I was playing the Keeper and figured out a way to pretty much trap the three Investigaters in a hallway and keep sending monsters at them. They found this quite unfun and promptly declared the game a dud. I can still play with my wife, who was one of the players, but the other two won't touch the game again. Also, set-up is a bear.
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Jason Lott
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Blott wrote:
4 - I'm still ticked that my family didn't like Ruse & Bruise. I loved that game, but it was so unpopular I just sold it. I still don't know entirely why they didn't like it. I think, perhaps, they had some trouble grasping the strategy, but I would love to play it again some day.


Too much randomness between turns is what ruined it for me. Looking back at my note, I had written that it might be better with 3 players instead of 5 so you can actually strategize what to play.

d10-1 Rarely. As Ben mentions, there are enough good games I'm not quick to retry one that flopped, unless I feel passionately about it.

d10-2 Probably - that happened at least once this past weekend. I could see the good design behind Hanabi, we just had too much misunderstanding of the rules and got off on the wrong foot. Would definitely try that one again.

d10-3 and d10-4 Strongly increases, although I think that's going to diminish for me as I'm becoming a more active trader. The clear example for me here was Vinhos, which I went out of my way to get before the American release, and really loved everything about it - but it was just too complex for my group. It breaks my heart, but I will likely be trading it away soon. Just wish I could get in one more play first!
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1. Frequently

It sure is tempting to move on from a bad first-play experience. As other contributors note, there are plenty of great games out there, why spend time with one you don't like??!!

The answer for ME is that I have had the experience on numerous occasions now of finding I liked a game quite well ONLY after giving it one--or even two or three--additional chances.

To the point that--while I don't always live up to this standard--I do try to give a game at least three chances.

Examples for me of games that I didn't care for after the first play--but didn't give up on--and ended up liking:

San Juan
First play was just a mess. The rules are easy enough, but I didn't know the cards at all and the special power they provide, so it felt really random, without any plan. Well of course it does, until you learn the cards (and there aren't that many)! By the third or fourth try, I was liking San Juan a bunch.

Race for the Galaxy
Gave this a try too early in my gaming career. Took it out of the box...looked at the rules...looked at the cards...put it quietly back in the box...whistle Six months later, with more experience as a gamer (and the experience of playing San Juan), gave it another try and it was an instant winner for me, Top Five game.

Castles of Burgundy
Since I was teaching this game, for the first play I made it a four-player game, thinking I would have to teach it fewer times. It was horrid. Enormous down-time with four newbies. Hated this game. angry Only gave it another try because so many like it, and so I figured there must be something there. So I tried it as a 2-player. It was fun! Now I've worked up to liking it with 3 as well, and I would even consider a four-player session if everyone at the table at least has played a couple times before.

Kingdom Builder
After first play..."what was that?!" But I had the sense to recognize that with this game, perhaps above any other I can think of, I was going to have to give it a second play. If only to try to NOT do all the stupid things I did wrong on my first play. I like this a tiny bit more every time I play it. That's a good trend!

Hawaii
Probably the worst first-play experience I have had to date. Just totally bored with it. Wondered who had hid the Fun. This was an immature personal reaction, I later decided. I found my mind drifting back to this game long after that play, and, months later, gave it another chance. Glad I did. Four plays in now, Hawaii has gone from a "3" to a "7" for me. I think it has maxed out there. But on my scale, a "7" is a game I am always happy to play, and will even suggest in the right mood. That is a long distance from a "3" rating!

Ivanhoe
Got this for my kids because I knew they would be playing it in the Juniors room when we went to WBC. We tried it once at home, and it was just a totally ordinary game. Just not a special thing to be found in the box. Later, sitting around at the WBC open gaming room, a couple of gamers happened by and noticed Ivanhoe sitting on our table. And asked to play. Thanks so much for stopping by, Ben and Dacey! It turns out Ivanhoe is what I would call a Very Agreeable Time-waster. That is to say, the perfect game for sitting back in your chair, chatting over the cards, late at night, not thinking too hard. It fills that particular niche for me very well. And a game that fits a particular niche for me perfectly is a great find.
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Chris B
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Perikles. My group found it too confusing, too long and some of them thought there was too much fighting. To bad, I think it's a brilliant game.
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Sharon Khan
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There have been lots of games that I think are "good" games, as in they may work for someone else, but don't work for me, or our games group. Le Havre is probably the highest rated example - I can see a lot in it to like - collecting and converting resources into VPs appeals to me in many games - but overall it gives me a headache squinting to read bits, it's too long for our tastes, has too much downtime, and just wasn't fun, and we traded it away, just not interested in investing any more time in playing it.
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David Reed
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Blott wrote:
1. If you have a very bad first play of a game, how often will you try replaying the game (either with the same group, or trying it with a different group)?


I answered Rarely. I have plenty of games that I have not played. In most cases, the ones that haven't gone well are not ones I own anyway. There have been a couple where a rules flub had made the game unplayable, and I am willing to give those a second try if there was something to interest me - interesting theme, interesting gameplay, etc. I can think of at least one game where my opinion was dramatically improved by that second play.

Blott wrote:
2. Do you think you are capable of differentiating a good game from a bad game even if the group playing isn't ideal for the game?


I answered "Probably". I have a pretty good sense of "not for me" games, as opposed to "shouldn't have been released".

Blott wrote:
3. If you spend a lot of money on a game, how does that affect your desire to see it succeed with your regular gaming opponents?


I answered "Strongly increases". I will usually give a game I have purchased a couple of extra tries before I give up on it. There's certainly a desire to make sure that your money is not wasted, but there comes a point when you have to decide whether your time is being wasted, too. I can usually discern whether the factors that made a game play unenjoyable for me were the group the game was being played with ("good game, but not for this mix of players"), me ("probably a good game, but not for me) or the game itself ("this game is not enjoyable and will not be enjoyable no matter what is done - time to evaluate whether there are cool bits that can be repurposed or the game can be traded away").

Blott wrote:
4. If you can think of one, name a game that you think was probably a good game, but just didn't work for your game group. Why do you think it was unpopular?


Augsburg 1520 was a real dud for the group I played it with, but I suspect it is a good game. The first attempt to play it was at the second BGG.con. The learning was done the worst possible way (reading the rules while trying to play) and some key rules were missed. To add to the chaos, all of the folks in the game were signed up for the Puzzle Hunt (new that year) and, due to some other interruptions, it did not get very far along before it was time for the hunt to start. It was abandoned in mid-game, with hopes to resume it after the hunt was complete. The hunt went on - way too long - and, by the time we decided that we had endured enough, people were in pretty bad moods. Those bad moods carried over into the resumed game. We did play it to an unsatisfactory conclusion (thanks, in part, to the previously mentioned missed rules) and the game was packed up to the library. There was discussion about trying it again later, but it never happened - even when the game was suggested during the inevitable "what do you want to play" games later in the weekend and on subsequent weekends. There was always at least one of the guys who had been part of that game present who remembered the pain of the game at the convention and he would loudly veto it. Eventually, I gave up and it went to rest in the midst of my Alea collection - unplayed. It's been seven years now - maybe I ought to dig it out and see what happens...
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Enrico Viglino
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Quote:
If you have a very bad first play of a game, how often will you try replaying the game (either with the same group, or trying it with a different group)?


Sometimes - it depends on the why it was a bad play.
For some games, it's absolutely clear I will not enjoy.

Quote:
Do you think you are capable of differentiating a good game from a bad game even if the group playing isn't ideal for the game?


Playing with a group? Probably not. I can only be certain about a
game by playing it solo. Even if it doesn't work solo, I have the
time to think about it, and can usually see what might be enjoyable
opposed.

Quote:
If you can think of one, name a game that you think was probably a good game, but just didn't work for your game group. Why do you think it was unpopular?


Can't think of one that's not worked with some group I've played in,
yet I still thought it was good. I can think of plenty of good
games that didn't work with some groups.
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Michael Edwards
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I'm in the camp of "bad game" = pretty bad, broken. I'm less skilled at differentiating an OK game from a good one in just one play.


I have a few games I liked that didn't work out for various game groups. One group has no interest in Cards Against Humanity, which leaves the other group in stitches. One group more or less rejected Dice Town, but I personally like it.

In the former case, it was purely the theme was off putting / too raunchy. In the latter, I'm less sure - I may like the theme, but the play didn't catch on with the other players - too random, perhaps.
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Enrico Viglino
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Chanfan wrote:
I'm in the camp of "bad game" = pretty bad, broken. I'm less skilled at differentiating an OK game from a good one in just one play.



I've played plenty of games I consider good, but still broken in
some respect (for example requiring stepping in and fixing the
rules - or seriously unbalanced). I've played plenty of bad
games that are absolutely perfect in these respects.
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Aaron Cinzori
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I think that MegaCorps is probably a good game, but my group just doesn't seem to like games that are almost pure negotiation.
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