"Top" 10 Worst (or most disappointing) Games of 2011... add yours
Joel Eddy
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Coeur d'Alene
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I'm feeling a bit surly, as is my penchant on occasion. Also, I've been told it's a cop out not to do negative reviews. (I write and record reviews and post them here and elsewhere on the internet). So, here is my rant-ish slam on some of the games in 2011 that several people worked very hard to bring to us. I'll add 10. If anyone else wants to add more, feel free to do so!
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26. Board Game: Eaten by Zombies! [Average Rating:6.05 Overall Rank:2632]
Aaron Morgan
United States
Sacramento
California
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I only purchased and played one real stinker in 2011. I had such high hopes for this one, but the confusing rulebook and poor gameplay killed any excitement I had.

This card was the final straw. Stuff like this shouldn't even survive the design phase.

http://www.boardgamegeek.com/image/1115043/eaten-by-zombies-...

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27. Board Game: Innovation [Average Rating:7.29 Overall Rank:206]
Brian Mc Cabe
United States
Arizona
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At least I think we played this for the first time in '11. If not, just substitute the expansion, because it truly is an Echo of the Past.

If you don't draw a "score" card, you aren't going to score. 100% luck of the draw.

Brian
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28. Board Game: Elder Sign [Average Rating:7.01 Overall Rank:383]
Darian Tucker
United States
New Smyrna Beach
Florida
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Couldn't believe how disappointed I was with this. I didn't go in expecting Arkham Horror Lite, because I knew it would have little to do with Arkham Horror aside from the same Ancient Ones and the Investigators.

I never expected it to be so boring, though. The game is extremely easy and contains no rules to change the difficulty. Basically, the game should be harder because the odds of completing any given number of tasks are reasonably low, but through what I can only hope is sheer luck and not just easy design we never lost a game. Failure is often not very damning compared to success. Most of the time, you'll only lose a Sanity or two Stamina on a task which will give you a Unique Item, Spell, Elder Sign, and spawn an Other World. Really?

Speaking of "no rules", the rulebook for this game was rancid. Not only was it flawed in several areas, but it spawned an FAQ that was nearly as long as the base rulebook itself. How could a game this simple need 6 pages of errata and clarifications?

An absolutely atrocious attempt by FFG. It has made me wary to the point where I will wait for a reprint before buying an FFG game in the future.
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29. Board Game: Urban Sprawl [Average Rating:6.84 Overall Rank:805]
Christopher Bird
Canada
Toronto
Ontario
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ALL: Hey, let's play Urban Sprawl!
ME: Okay... I'll do this, this and this.
URBAN SPRAWL: Great! Now I'll do a bunch of things at random! It'll take about five minutes.
PLAYER 2: Well... I'll do this, this and this.
URBAN SPRAWL: Great! Now I'll do a bunch of things at random! It'll take about five minutes.
PLAYER 3: ...I guess I do these things.
URBAN SPRAWL: Great! Now I'll do a bunch of things at random! It'll take about five minutes.
ME: It's been fifteen minutes since my last turn and I haven't been able to use any of that time to plan anything since the board and my play options change so dramatically with every turn, a lot of it at random... I do these three things over here, I guess.
URBAN SPRAWL: Great! Now I'll do a bunch of things at random! It'll take about five minutes.
PLAYER TWO: I was winning for two turns by ten points and now I'm losing by five, all of it totally irrelevant to anything I did. I'll do these things.
URBAN SPRAWL: Great! Now I'll do a bunch of things at random! It'll take about five minutes.
PLAYER THREE: The majority of the time we have spent playing this game was spent watching the game play itself. Why am I going to sit here for two and a half hours playing this? I don't care if Chad Jensen designed it. This game sucks.
URBAN SPRAWL: Guys?
URBAN SPRAWL: Hey, guys?
URBAN SPRAWL: I still have, like, four hundred random events left here, guys! Just wait until I start giving you random jobs as well!
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30. Board Game: Eruption [Average Rating:6.45 Overall Rank:2444]
Steven Faulconer
United States
pittsfield
Massachusetts
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Someone had this and was ready to go. Was told it was a cross between a pipe game and (my favorite) Survive! Easy enough to play, rules are simple. But once one player gets burned first(me), they pretty much lost the game. Others are rewarded for the damage they cause, so once your hit you will continue to get hit. Played the entire game in Revenge mode.

Maybe its just me, but i want a game where if i play well I am rewarded. It was just too much screw you, and too much king maker for me.
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31. Board Game: Eminent Domain [Average Rating:7.18 Overall Rank:297]
Dan Bradshaw
United States
Farmington
Connecticut
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Deckbuilding with RFTG-esque tableau building and a leader-follower role mechanic like Glory to Rome? Yes, please. Played twice and found it dry, boring, and overly random for my taste. The technologies are cool, but other than that this didn't do it for me.

Certainly not the worst game I've played this year, but the most disappointing because I had such high hopes.
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32. Board Game: Panic Station [Average Rating:6.14 Overall Rank:1924]
Trey Chambers
United States
Houston
Texas
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Just a terrible game with broken mechanics. And yes, I understand the "Werewolf" aspect fully, with over 500 Werewolf, BSG, Shadows over Camelot, Mafia, The Resistance...etc. games under my belt, it's not rocket science. The fact that the rules have been rewritten multiple times since release is plenty proof enough, but when I played it several months back it was still broken. Hey, did you know you can ward off infections from contagious people by giving them gas cans? Heh, maybe they'll fix it eventually.

Runners-Up:

Kingdom Builder - No meaningful decisions to be made in this. Lighter than light.

Colonial - Great game until the end, when it's just "beat down the leader" for about an hour until someone finally sneaks away with a victory.

Dungeon Petz - Love most of the game, but the randomness of the cards play too large a roll and kill it for me. Same problem with Kingdom Builder.

Belfort - Actually a decent game, but I was hoping it would be an 8 for me, but it was more like a 6.

Coney Island - Not bad, but meh.

Airlines Europe - See above.
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33. Board Game: Ora et Labora [Average Rating:7.82 Overall Rank:48]
Tadeu Zubaran
Brazil
Porto Alegre
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Easy one, worst disappointment in my board game life.
Was really looking forward to this, read the rules and check the whole pre release hype.

Was ultra hyped, loved everything I rad/heard about it, expected a top notch Uwe game with top notch Lookout production... got to the store and saw an open copy... what a mess.

Pre warped terrible quality player boards, ruined sheets of counters, insufficient dials so you have to keep assembling and disassembling them with a small piece of plastic that look like will break if you look hard enough to it, player aids that you have to cut yourself written in the worst quality paper I ever saw something written on (I am including phone numbers in napkins).

Someone may say, yea you can still play the game. Truth... well I could just get some crayons a few sheets of paper and a few rocks to use as counters and I would have a working copy of Ora et Labora.

If you don't care for component quality you are set, it is a very good game, Uwe at his best, but for me that like nice components it was a kick in the groin.

[edit]: I may have the pleasure of removing this from the list. It seams Lookout heard the complaints and are improving the game next print run. [1]
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34. Board Game: Rune Age [Average Rating:6.91 Overall Rank:594]
Bill Bross
United States
Michigan
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I wanted to like Rune Age, I really did. I played a bunch of games of this trying to convince myself that I really liked it, but in the end I had to admit it just wasn't for me.

I know people will disagree, but I felt like it tried to mash up Magic, Dominion, Thunderstone, (insert popular card game here) into one game and I would really rather play any one of those instead Rune Age.
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35. Board Game: Stronghold [Average Rating:7.36 Overall Rank:300]
Taylor Liss
United States
Quincy
Massachusetts
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I got this game for basically free (doing some photo work for a game company in China) so I shouldn't complain but...

The invader is just so screwed. Every turn you try to do the best you can, and if unless the defender is an iditot, he'll just counter your every move. I really really really wanted to like this game. It seemed to have a great theme and would lead to an epic battle, but the gameplay was not so much two forces fighting as it was two forces placing workers against each other. Not to mention that the game can be called three or four turns before it's truly supposed to end.
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36. Board Game: Bloodsuckers [Average Rating:6.10 Overall Rank:7501]
Marco Arnaudo
United States
Bloomington
Indiana
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Long and repetitive, with clunky mechanics. It forces you to spend over an hour to then resolve everything through the luck of the draw. The mechanics leave no possibility to overcome or ever bend luck one bit - to the point that even when you win you don't feel it was YOU who really won. The theme is poorly represented (vampires hunting by day; humans using sunlight at midnight), the components look cheap, the art is pedestrian (look at the cover art: are those very large characters, or is that a very small church?).

I should have known what to expect from a game that has “suck” in the name!





edit: spelling
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37. Board Game: Pastiche [Average Rating:6.92 Overall Rank:788]
Joel Eddy
United States
Coeur d'Alene
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I think I missed another one. This is one that I would probably try one more time to see if I'm just not getting it yet, but I don't think a single person in my "gaming group" enjoyed it.

I found it "pretty" but I'm sure I wouldn't even try this with my "non-gamer" friends. It's just too obvious where to match the colors. The trading aspect was pretty flat, and there's a definite player order problem from what I could see.

Two plays at the maximum out of this one, and then it feels like a coffee table piece.
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38. Board Game: Fighting Formations: Grossdeutschland Motorized Infantry Division [Average Rating:7.65 Overall Rank:722]
John McLintock
Scotland
Glasgow
Lanarkshire
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I'm surprised to find myself adding this game to this list so I guess I should make myself quite clear: I think FF:GD is a good game. It's well produced with some neat rules and I enjoyed playing it. It's just that, well, I was hoping to play it a lot more than just twice: it has tanks after all. Somehow FF:GD just didn't generate enough enthusiasm on the part of me and my regular wargaming opponent to get past Combat Commander, designer Chad Jensen's first WW2 tactical wargame. I still don't really know why.

So FF:GD was my most disappointing game of 2011. It was as if I'd ordered a steak in a restaurant and it turned up perfectly cooked and delicious, only for me to lose my appetite after a couple of bites. shake
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39. Board Game: Hansa Teutonica [Average Rating:7.64 Overall Rank:76]
Adam Deverell
Australia
Melbourne
Victoria
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Got such a good wrap (#47), and we eventually got it to the table late in the year. Took so long, and I was constantly frustrated at getting bumped out of the control towers (or whatever they are). Seemed to be loads of options that were underused.

Played it again and, again, it took forever! I actually went to watch TV (News and sports highlights of 2011) during my turn. Then got so frustrated at the length of time it was taking and my plans getting constantly smashed, I almost flipped the game.

This could be: a. I slipped a disc in my back and was on pain killers, thus cranky and not very patient, b. the game took WAY too long (at least two hours both times) when I thought it should have been over in an hour, c. the decision making isn't as complex as I think some make it out to be. Just make a chain!

So I'm happy to give this another go, but it better not reach the 120 minute mark and my back better feel a lot more flexible! As it stands, worst game (or gaming experience) I had in 2011.
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40. Board Game: Singapore [Average Rating:6.25 Overall Rank:3196]
Martin G
United Kingdom
Bristol
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Well, this was interesting. I went through all my new-to-me monthly entries this year and the group of games I rated lowest are pretty much all ones I'd describe as "JASE" (Just Another Soulless Euro). A veritable wall of shame of cube-pushing and effiency optimisation.

Singapore wasn't the worst game, but it was the biggest disappointment as I love Peer Sylvester's minimalist gem King of Siam. The growth engine with topology is a clever idea, but seemed to be neutered by the catch-up mechanism of letting the last-place player decide where people could build. The buildings are almost universally tedious cube/money/VP conversions, and the risky 'illegal' buildings don't seem much more powerful or thematically different than the rest.

Principato was just woeful. The one clever idea is the action selection mechanism, but the actions themselves are dull and repetitive, and the two main resources are completely symmetrical. This makes it impossible to specialise, and the only thing driving the players to do anything differently is the two secret goals they get dealt at the beginning of the game.

The Speicherstadt and Egizia further showed that one clever mechanic is not enough if the game built around it is generic and boring.

And Saint Petersburg, the most-played game that I hadn't, was cold, calculating and tedious.
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41. Board Game: Dungeons & Dragons: Conquest of Nerath Board Game [Average Rating:7.03 Overall Rank:903]
John Watts
United Kingdom
Southwell
Notts
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Great ideas, great components but the downtime is just soooooooooooo loooooooong with soooooooo few opportunities (turns) to react to the other player(s) that i wrote my first ever session report as a consequence.

Really wanted to enjoy it but the sum of the parts was ultimately a big let down for me (and i did try it again).


Edit Thread : First and probably last session? A quick session report for a long game. for anyone interested
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42. Board Game: Fossil [Average Rating:5.42 Overall Rank:9985]
Andrew Harcourt
United States
Greenville
Pennsylvania
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Like watching paint dry. Horrible!gulp I would actually pay someone to take it from me!(Gave it away after one play)Sorry, this stream is for 2011 games, but just had to include this as the worst game for all time!(including 2011)
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43. Board Game: Zooloretto [Average Rating:6.90 Overall Rank:438] [Average Rating:6.90 Unranked]
David Wickes
United Kingdom
London
Greater London
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Ah screw it, it's five years old and I only played it in 2011. But I've just sold it after 3 plays and I never want it to darken my door again.

Loved Coloretto, simple and fun. Girlfriend likes animals and zoos - why not try this? Tried it with 2, 3 and 4 people - and eveyone's response was pretty much 'so... ?'. It's like the game got left out of the padding or something - felt like eating froghurt. Nasty froghurt. I mean, nobody liked it. Nobody. Everyone felt like the scores were pretty tight but that no meaningful decisions were ever made, or tactical choices. So dumb.

Probably great for kids. Or people with an excessive amount of time for pandas.

Thus ends my first rant on BGG.
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44. Board Game: The Resistance [Average Rating:7.52 Overall Rank:87]
Left Hand Reviews
United States
Atlanta
Georgia
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I don't like Werewolf so that is partly the reason that I found this to be a real turd. Go on a "mission", some secret voting, game over 4 minutes later, "oh you were resistance...cool?" A total flop for me.
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45. Board Game: Sentinels of the Multiverse [Average Rating:7.47 Overall Rank:143]
Mark Chapa
United States
San Antonio
Texas
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Now here was a game that really left me down in the dumps. I had heard some hoopla over this earlier in the year and I was pretty excited over it. A cooperative card game where we were comic book superheroes fighting some big baddie bent on breaking our bones to bits?! (alliteration rules) Well count me in! I had heard some complaints about scaling issues but didn't think it would be so bad....Well let me say, it WAS! Our three party group of Absolute Zero, Fanatic, and Haka was pulverized by Baron Blade. We stood absoultely zero (heh) chance. We sure did give it the old college try, though. What irritated the heck out of me was that Absolute Zero must have been the most weenie superhero I have EVER heard of. Hurt yourself to hurt your opponent later on?!? ummmmmm.....no. I would have probably done better playing as Jimmy Olsen or something. I have no interest in playing that game again. People might say, "you just didn't play to the heroes strengths" or "try it again with 4 players". I know I probably should give it another shot, but I had such a dissapointing experience I really don't want to. It's as if you heard that Moneyball was a great baseball movie, so you go to see it only to be treated to a kick right in the nuts! That's my experience with Sentinels of the Multiverse.

I did enjoy the little flair on the cards though, such as the quotes from made up comics. That I admit was a nice touch.
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46. Board Game: Startup Fever [Average Rating:5.62 Overall Rank:9387]
Dave G
United States
Illinois
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I'm not sure if this one was technically this current year or last year, but it's a disaster. Roll and move dressed up in fancy Euro clothes, and takes way too long for being completely random.
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47. Board Game: A Few Acres of Snow [Average Rating:7.50 Overall Rank:145]
Matt Graf
United States
Minneapolis
Minnesota
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I was super excited for this game as I really like a lot of Wallace games e.g. Brass, London, Rise of Empires, etc. I played it several times trying to avoid the ole Halifax Hammer approach, but I found that inevitably the British player has to get to that route organically after playing a few games. I found the balance to be very poor between the sides and overall the game to be rather dull. As a disclaimer, I haven't played with the updated rules that Wallace played a couple of weeks ago, but I can't say the game was riveting enough to make me want to come back and try them again.
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48. Board Game: The Walking Dead: The Board Game [Average Rating:5.88 Overall Rank:4307]
Matt Taylor
United States
Longmont
Colorado
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I love the graphic novel! I love the show! And I even really enjoyed the new novel. So I figured this had to be a decent beer and pretzel game. I even had a chance to demo it at Gen Con but passed it up. Now I wish I would have demoed it because it was horrible. Horrible! Zero replay value, boring and very, very luck dependent. So bad, I can't even trade this one away.
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49. Board Game: Boots on the Ground [Average Rating:6.38 Overall Rank:4724]
Joel Toppen
United States
Gallup
New Mexico
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GREAT concept! GREAT potential! HORRIBLE execution: holes in the rules you can drive a truck through. Mediocre artwork (which I really don't have a problem with). It's the gaping holes in the rules and the lackluster ability of the game company to deal with them that put me off. BIG, BIG, BIG disappointment.
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50. Board Game: Space Maze [Average Rating:6.03 Overall Rank:4395]
Jack K
United States
Milwaukee
Wisconsin
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A friend was kind enough to bring this back from Essen for me (with the promo) after I saw a video review. It looked and sounded like a lot of fun and I was really excited to get it to the table.

I soon realized during our first play that the game is heavily dependent on card draws. It starts as a race to the middle, and the first player to get there then races back to their UFO with the added benefit of not needing to match colours, unlike the people chasing them. At this stage, if that person has multiple extra move cards, it's pretty close to over. If you don't have them, and you're on the other half of the board, then you're out of it.

Our game saw precisely that scenario. One player drew one of those cards and expended it early on. Another player never saw one. I saw a few but the winner was a player who just kept drawing them. That person got to the middle and claimed the relic, but I was close enough to spend an extra move card to take it from them. They then took it back with extra move cards of their own and I was the only one close enough to even stand a chance of catching them - which I couldn't do because they had more extra movement cards and could go through any doorway.

What would go a long way to fixing this would be to remove the ability to ignore the door restrictions when you hold the relic.


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