Saturday, December 31, 2005

2005: My Year of Boardgaming, Part I - The Worst Games

Happy New Year!

2005 was a pretty good year for boardgaming in our circles. For the first time in a while we did not have a regular RPG running, and we managed to meet on most Saturdays for a evening. We averaged 2-3 boardgames a night, spread out around dinner and a lot of conversation. We can only hope 2006 is just as good, if not better, gaming-wise.

So, some lists. Let's start with the BAD.

The Shit List: 5 Games played in 2005 that I'd rather not play again

5. Reef Encounter

This game would also win my "Greatest Disappointment" award, if I gave one out. After anticipation at getting it due to all the good comments from my online buddies, I got to try it on spielbyweb. Ick. Even online, a format which the game is well-suited to, the clunkiness and patchwork mechanisms oozed through my monitor. I tried it once face to face (and hey, the Z-Man edition is pretty) and it was far worse. No rhythm. No soul. No more plays for you RE.

4. Niagara

Another example of a game with no soul. Niagara couldn't hold my attention for five turns, much less a whole game. I can't pinpoint anything particularly wrong with it, but I can't see anything right with it at all. There's just nothing fun or interesting about Niagara. Whiff, the SdJ strikes out with me again.

3. Roborally

This was... painful. Richard Garfield's "other game" got the reprint treatment from Hasborg in 2005, but it's one reprint that I wouldn't have minded getting passed over. Roborally is a chaotic mess, and one that I personally consider unplayable due to this. If you have no control, what's the point?

2. Shadows over Camelot

Proof that "gimmick games" don't work. SoC's gimmick is the mechanism stolen from Werewolf - having a secret traitor working against the team. How is this supposed to work if all the other players work together? The game depends on conflict between the players. In a group agreeable to designating a leader (who makes final decisions and breaks impasses) and everyone else cooperating completely, the traitor does not have a chance. In the end, it's all in the luck of the cards.

1. Wallenstein

I don't get it. I just don't. The silly cube tower is the absolute worst resolution mechanism I have ever had the displeasure of experiencing. There is no way to calculate odds, and it doesn't make any sense! You have armies going into the tower, and some getting stuck there, and those stuck armies can fight in another battle on the other side of the map? What the hell? Stupid, stupid, stupid. Add that to the tepid area-majority mechanism of Wally and you get the worst game to ever race the BGG Top 10. It's even worse than Settlers, which is saying a LOT.


ekted said...

Wow! It's nice to see others rant. :)

Actually, I agree with all your comments, except that I am not so much against Wallenstein since I consider it an abstract game as opposed to a wargame.

Joe Gola said...

I'm surprised at the vitriol for Wallenstein. I'm not a big fan of multiplayer wargames, so it's not necessarily one of my favorites, but I do think it's one of the standout games in that genre (though you have to take into account that I prefer euros to honest-to-god wargames).

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