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TOPIC: Games that did[n't] quite hit it for you

Games that did[n't] quite hit it for you 22 Nov 2017 06:54 #258038

"LOL OVERRATED GAMES"

Seems like a very popular topic on BGG that shows up every now and then. Same for Heroscape forums. What's your favorite hero? Squad? Why? The why is the fun part because it can give an insight into our personalities. Sometimes you can play a lot of games with the same group and have similar tastes, but something can come along and grip people's attention but fall totally flat for you. On the flip side, what are some games that you find yourself defending from Cult of the New folks who claim that some game now is so much better than one you've devoted a lot of time and love into appreciating?

3 GAMES I CAN'T SIT (and play)

1. Stone Age / Lords of Waterdeep

I respect what these games do for some people. But they taste like unbuttered toast. The decisions aren't interesting most of the time- I usually feel that I've more or less solved it and it can just come down to left/right binding and taking advantage of new or less astute players. When decisions seem obvious to me, I also hate analyzing their board state and wishing they'd pick something. I've gotten MUCH better about using this opportunity to chat up other players. But then there is a subset of gamers that demand absolute silence.

I'd much rather play: Race for the Galaxy offers a similar optimization experience in a much shorter time frame, and I feel that the choices are much more nuanced. There's also a bit of randomness in the card draw, which can help new players get a chance, maybe. The skill ceiling is so high that I'm probably wrong on that. This is a game that I refuse to teach my wife simply because I've played so darn much, even though I think she'd love it because we're wired mostly the same. The knock here is that the game is too "hard to teach," but there are two big factors most people overlook. All of the more complicated cards explain what they do in an (admittedly small) text box in addition to the funky symbols, which make sense for the most part. The second thing is that most gamers are god awful teachers, and lots of them are pretty poor listeners. I've noticed a lot of behaviors in certain groups that just don't occur with friends and family, like giving overly detailed strategic advice while teach the rules and going over the same rules too many times to prevent wounded egos because "YOU DIDN'T TELL ME THAT!" 7 Wonders is an honorable mention here, but it's not as deep.

2. Mottainai/Impulse

I love card games, so Carl Chudyk games always get my attention. These two are just too complicated and confusing for their own good, imo. Or at least I felt that way on my first play of each. The whole time I thought, "Glory to Rome and Red 7 are so much better.. These are too experimental." I played Innovation once and would play it again. Not sure where it falls on this. My gut tells me that it's cool enough to deal with the oddness.

3. Ashes: Rise of the Phoenixborn or any other excellent expandable card game/LCG

There are a number of games out there that are great, and probably objectively "better" games, but a huge part of games is finding opponents and developing a community. And unfortunately for some, Magic is here to stay. With the store I've gotten back into playing Magic, and I'm continuously blown away by A) How competitive you can be in a number of formats without spending too much money and B) How hard it is to get enough people to play any other card game in the shop. Final Fantasy TCG and Destiny and Pokemon are all well designed and fun, but they're just not happening. Luckily we're more based on a retail model. C) Bonus- flipping through people's collections and pricing them out occasionally has me finding some fun neat card that no one plays and coming up with a way to use it as a Commander or something. There are so many Magic players out there, and most of them are not socially stunted tournament grinders in my experience.

Hearthstone is an honorable mention for a game like this, since it's virtually impossible to wait for a game, but then we stare down into an existential abyss. I had it on my phone for awhile and deleted it once I saw how my family members would look at me if they came home and I was glued to a screen. Even if I was just two minutes away from ending a game, I'd always want to complete it instead of hearing about someone's day. I personally lacked the self control to play in a responsible matter. I might be better now, but why bother when I can clean my desk or something?

What about you guys?
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Games that did[n't] quite hit it for you 22 Nov 2017 07:21 #258043

I think that one of the things that I value most about AmeriTrash games is when a game does a great job of expressing an idea through game mechanics. For example, I love that a back injury in Arkham Horror limits you to carrying three items, or that drinking water in Saltlands lets your character take an additional action. So a couple of games that I have played lately bother me because they have a thematic disconnect between mechanics and what they represent.

Mysterium is a cool-looking game, but it doesn't quite make sense to me. An incoherent ghost is trying to reveal the murderer to a team of psychics via strange visions, but there is this whole lengthy process of identifying combinations of suspects/locations/victims, before voting on the various combos. It doesn't make sense that the ghost would expend effort on fingering non-guilty suspects. I think that the game would have been better if most of the players were playing profilers and the visions were instead crime scene pictures, with players trying to catch a serial killer based on theories about common elements in the crime scenes.

Chaos in the Old World has a great board, and the setting is rich with chaotic gods and monsters. But the whole corruption concept feels vague, and the limits on movement and card play feel gamey and not thematic. Because of that thematic disconnect, I don't have any intuitive feel for what I am supposed to be doing unless I am playing Khorne, so it feels more procedural than fun.
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Games that did[n't] quite hit it for you 22 Nov 2017 07:26 #258045

Small World -- Just seems pointless. A whole bunch of stuff moves on the board, but the board is more or less meaningless. It's a surrogate for generating points. It looks interesting but it's not, because nothing matters much on it. If there's a game on this earth that needs a die in the mix, this one is it.

Samurai -- Knizia does some interesting things with scoring in other games, but in this one it's just tedious. It's a game where you can have the most points and come in last place (in fact not even qualify to play to the end). The thematics are absurd, the board is so so so damn flat . . . I mean god damn . . . he couldn't make even one single piece of favored ground on the whole frikkin' board? It's like mountain biking on a flat field. He could not have made the board any less interesting.
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Games that did[n't] quite hit it for you 22 Nov 2017 07:30 #258048

Jim, I'm sorry but we're no longer friends anymore because you are a Stone Age Blasphemer. :)

Lately, the one that really kind of pissed in my corn flakes was Abaddon. Too much mostly meaningless card-play and waaaay too little control over your big robots. It's like giving someone a Lamborghini Gallardo Superleggero, but with the caveat that they can only drive it with a school bus's steering wheel knob. And also, while The Club (TM) is attached. It's not an objectively bad game at all. It has a lot of cool stuff in it. But the control mechanisms are kind of a strong meh-ven.

I think what really pisses me off the most is that I get to play new games so seldom that when I do, especially ones that I've bought, I want them to be bad ass.
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Games that did[n't] quite hit it for you 22 Nov 2017 07:30 #258049

I have never been able to get into 7 Wonders. To me it feels like someone played Ra, and then thought the most interesting part was the vaguely complicated scoring. For me there is no tension at all, just passing cards around and scoring points. I do like Duel however, I think that creates a much more interesting environment with its variation on the draft.

This might not be that controversial here, since Barnes has always been a vocal critic of it, but Imperial Assault ended up being pretty disappointing. I think I wanted a game that would focus more on the narrative. I think the scenario design in the campaign is what killed it for me. Every mission feels very similar to me. I never had much interest in the game as a straight tactical game, so I didn't explore that side of it much.

There are probably others too, I just can't think of them right now.
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Games that did[n't] quite hit it for you 22 Nov 2017 07:39 #258052

Stone Age gets a pass from me because there's quality dice rolling in it and it's the source of "Lazy Karl".

I forgot to include 7 Wonders, a fine choice for the list. Feels like work to me. And I just don't care. I play to lose and really don't care when I do. Nothing grabs me about this game, I like Fairy Tale much better which has a similar drafting mechanic (with more interesting drafts).
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Games that did[n't] quite hit it for you 22 Nov 2017 07:44 #258057

I would include Stone Age, but I only really played it when it first came out, and I haven't touched it since. I have never felt inclined to give it any more of my valuable gaming time, but I'm probably not qualified to give an opinion on it now.

Alien Frontiers ended up being this way for me. A couple problems were consistently there, especially the length, which always seemed to come in at about 30-45 minutes too long for me. The other problem is that the game just felt artificially close. It was very rare for people to win by more than a point in my experience.

In fact, all of my favorite worker placement games have been a little beefier. Agricola and Argent are still the champs. All of the lighter iterations eventually faded for me, like Lords of Waterdeep. I do kind of like Champions of Midgard, but not enough to buy it or really seek it out.
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Games that did[n't] quite hit it for you 22 Nov 2017 11:58 #258086

7 Wonders, esp with a lot of players, can be downright painful as you wait for the inevitable AP douchebag to decide which card to take.

7 Wonders Duel on the other hand plays very fast.

SCYTHE - "didn't quite hit" is an understatement. I thought it fucking sucked. .About as thematic as Wonder Bread.
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Games that did[n't] quite hit it for you 22 Nov 2017 11:58 #258087

This thread doesn't quite hit it for me.
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Games that did[n't] quite hit it for you 22 Nov 2017 12:03 #258089

Merchants & Marauders. Just when I start to feel like I'm getting somewhere my gf announces she won the game. Just like that, it's over. Really? Yeah. Because you have this cool chest to store your gold (win condition) and it's a secret. Surprise anticlimactic endings are not my bag, man. There were other things I didn't like but can't remember now. I couldn't get anybody to buy it so I still have it around for some rainy day.

Nexus Ops. I know, it's great. I just don't see it.
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Games that did[n't] quite hit it for you 22 Nov 2017 13:51 #258098

Hex Sinister wrote:
Merchants & Marauders. Just when I start to feel like I'm getting somewhere my gf announces she won the game. Just like that, it's over. Really? Yeah. Because you have this cool chest to store your gold (win condition) and it's a secret. Surprise anticlimactic endings are not my bag, man. There were other things I didn't like but can't remember now. I couldn't get anybody to buy it so I still have it around for some rainy day.

Oh man, dissing M&M is fightin' words in my book. You playing with the original end game rules where you can buy the last 5 VP for 10 old each? Admitedly, those always kind of sucked and we would house rule it. The expansion comes with an official variant that's pretty nice. You can still buy the last 5 VP, but instead now each additional VP past the first cost 5 more gold. So 1VP is 10 gold, 2 VP is 25 gold (10 for first, 15 for second), 3 VP is 45 gold, etc. It still leads to surprise endings, but 7 VP and 45 gold takes a little longer than 5 VP and 50 gold.

Also, if someone is hoarding gold to buy VP, they're probably skipping out on ship upgrades, so feel free to just take the gold from them.

Rules for expansion that include this variant are here: https://www.zmangames.com/en/products/merchants-marauders-seas-glory-expansion/
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Games that did[n't] quite hit it for you 22 Nov 2017 13:52 #258099

I'll bash on a classic: Twilight Imperium 3. If you're playing the base game, whoever has relatively easy VP cards that don't look something like, "Take someone's home system - good luck with that!" will win, usually if they take Mecatol Rex. If nobody has the balls to take Mecatol Rex, then whoever got Imperial for the sixth time wins. If you're playing with an expansion, add a couple of hours to however long you thought the game would take.

Seriously, for me it never clicks as much as teh sexy of All That Plastic promises. I'll play it, but I'll lobby for something else first.

ETA: 7 Wonders isn't horrible with three players, but it never gets played with three players; it gets played with 5 or more. So it turns into a crapshoot of getting lucky with whatever strategy you picked.
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Games that did[n't] quite hit it for you 22 Nov 2017 14:15 #258101

7 Wonders suffers from delusions of grandeur; it just doesn't feel at all like you're building a civilization. I prefer Sushi Go. It boils down the "draft sets, get points" to the bare essentials and it's got an adorable theme and artwork that help me to get even non gamers to try out. It also helps that the scoring is simple enough that we don't have to spend the first game or two passing around the player aids to help noobies decipher the language independent iconography that bogs 7 Wonders down.
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Games that did[n't] quite hit it for you 22 Nov 2017 14:28 #258102

Dungeonquest. The game is bad. Yes, it's wonderfully chaotic. Yes, it's the pinnacle of what some people see as "Ameritrash" (drenched in theme, half-assed mechanics.) But there are many games out there with similar attributes that aren't this bad. Player 1 gets hemmed in by pits and his one avenue out holds a spear trap... and he's dead. In the first 10 minutes. Everyone else: "OK. We're going to be here for we don't know how much longer, so the TV's over there. Have fun." It's a perfect example of what GW's design used to be in terms of RNG: "But the fact that you got killed so early makes a story!" Yeah, it does. It's the story of why I'm never going to play this game again. They used to do the same thing with Chaos in 40K and Fantasy. "The random effects of that powerful weapon are what happens when you truck with the powers of Chaos!!!" Right. That's why no one will ever take it because they'd rather play a game. Nice fluff, though.

I'll second Ufe's opinion on M&M. If you see someone hoarding gold with the same, old ship, just go take it from them. I've done it many times, to the point where a couple people in my group are determined to attack me in the early game just to try to slow me down with repair costs.
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Games that did[n't] quite hit it for you 22 Nov 2017 17:34 #258110

I, too, am a rabid Merchants & Marauders defender. I will send your outclassed dinghy to the bottom of the sea.
We have a bunch of Runebound characters that we use in Dungeonquest, so if someone dies and it is within a reasonable amount of time to reach the dragon and return, we let them restart. Although, we haven't found the game lasts too very long to make a mid-game death and elimination painful.

Two games that missed the mark for me:
Splendor - Dry and boring. I prefer less passive in my aggression.
Agricola - I recognize that there is a good game in there. I hate that the actions are limited to one per person since it doesn't make any sense to me in a thematic vein. Only one person can make a fence this turn? Tedious.
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