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Things you hate about games you love!
Chad Ellis
United States
Brookline
Massachusetts
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Some of my favorite games have things I hate. I'm not talking about minor things that annoy me because the sully what would otherwise be perfection -- I'm talking about things that stop me from playing/enjoying them.

Some of these aren't even flaws -- they're even part of what I love about the games. Others are just things I think have no place and/or find annoying.
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1. Board Game: Chess [Average Rating:7.10 Overall Rank:324]
 
Chad Ellis
United States
Brookline
Massachusetts
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Long Learning Curves

I love Chess. I used to play regularly in tournaments and got pretty good (USCF 2100, BCF 185) although nowhere near really good.

The problem with long learning curve games is that once you've invested some significant time playing them you can only really play against other people who have done the same. If I want to play with a casual chess player I have to do silly things like give massive odds while playing blindfolded, in which case I'm not really playing chess -- I'm playing "hope the bad player blunders". By the same token, I can't give an International Master or Grandmaster even a vague challenge.
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2. RPG: GURPS (4th Edition) [Average Rating:7.32 Overall Rank:68]
Chad Ellis
United States
Brookline
Massachusetts
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Too Much Preparation Time

This keeps me out of RPGs almost entirely. I love to GM, love to develop scenarios and then take players through them. I just don't have anything like the time, either to prepare the way I'd want to or to run an ongoing campaign. If role-playing was a suit in bridge, having two kids would be trump.
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3. Board Game: Succession: Intrigue in the Royal Court [Average Rating:5.76 Overall Rank:6603]
Chad Ellis
United States
Brookline
Massachusetts
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Too Group Dependent

OK, Succession is only one of my favorite games because I designed it. It's my first design and while I'm proud of it I'm also happy to admit that it has some flaws. But it's biggest problem is probably that it's really, really group dependent.

When you design and/or publish a game you get a lot of data on how people respond to it. With Succession I usually hear either that an entire group loves it or that they hate it. That's because so much of the game depends on the negotiation dynamics (and arguably the humor) clicking, and it only takes one person with a negative reaction to kill the dynamic for everyone.

Most negotiation games have this, but other games have it too. Any game with a significant kingmaker element depends, in my opinion, on a group that either doesn't care or that agrees not to play kingmaker. I might love a game, but if half the time it comes down to who someone who isn't winning decides to crown, that can kill it for me.
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4. Board Game: Power Grid [Average Rating:7.99 Overall Rank:11]
Chad Ellis
United States
Brookline
Massachusetts
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Analysis Paralysis

This is arguably just a special case of group dependency, but I'll only play games where long and detailed analysis is necessary for optimal play if I know none of the other people in the group are going to play that way. Then I have to try very hard not to play that way myself.

I think every heavy game should be played at least once by Robert Dougherty before publication. If you play with Robert and haven't pulled off any of your own limbs then you're probably OK on AP.
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5. Board Game: El Grande [Average Rating:7.84 Overall Rank:27]
Chad Ellis
United States
Brookline
Massachusetts
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Trivial Memory Mechanics

I don't have a problem with memory games, and a lot of great games involve an element of memory, either directly or indirectly. What I don't like is the addition of an explicit memory mechanic into a game where it doesn't particularly fit.

El Grande is one of my favorite games. I love the play and as a designer I also find it extremely elegant. I think the Castille is a neat mechanic which (for me) gains nothing by being "blind", especially since you can calculate how many cubes your opponents have inside by counting the number the have in play, in the provinces and in court.
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6. Board Game: The Battle for Hill 218 [Average Rating:6.69 Overall Rank:1049]
Chad Ellis
United States
Brookline
Massachusetts
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"Hidden" Information That You Can Calculate from Open Information

The fact that you can count out the hidden cubes in the above example brings me to this one.

In the unlikely event that neither one of us has taken the enemy's base, Darwin (the designer) and I will always reveal our cards once we reach the end of our decks. At that point you can look at what's in play and what's been destroyed and figure out what your opponent has, so we'd rather just lay it out there.

Hidden information is great, but if it's not really hidden then it should be public.
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7. Board Game: Twilight Imperium (Third Edition) [Average Rating:7.89 Overall Rank:31]
Dave Brown
United States
Portland
Oregon
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Fiddly Bits

There are lots of games I really enjoy, mostly because of theme, that I never get to play because everybody (myself included) thinks they're too fiddly. TI3E is the grand-daddy example of this, in my book.
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8. Board Game: Battleground: Fantasy Warfare [Average Rating:7.01 Overall Rank:1089] [Average Rating:7.01 Unranked]
Kent Reuber
United States
San Mateo
California
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Chad,

Since you asked...

I really love the command system in BGFW--I like how the commands are "sticky" so that units keep doing what you last told them to do.

But, I've come to find the combat system fiddly.

- Units have 5 different combat factors (3 offensive and 2 two defensive)
- Combat modifiers can modify one or more of the offensive or defensive ratings, but the target number you have to roll is based on the difference, so any modifier changes the number.

I remember going through the modifiers 1 by one: "OK I start with 4 dice needing 3 to hit, but I'm in the Yellow, which means I drop to 3 dice, I'm charging so that modifies the damage dice, I'm moving into a pinching position so I get (0) +1/+1 which means that I now roll 3 dice needing 4's to hit and my damage roll is up by two". But I'm not done yet: both of us can play cards which modify the total. Then we have to resolve damage, which requires yet another calculation.

Maybe I'm just not good at this process, but I wish there were something much simpler for combat.
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9. Board Game: Twilight Imperium (Third Edition) [Average Rating:7.89 Overall Rank:31]
Patiently waiting for the zombie apocalypse...
United States
Colorado Springs
Colorado
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LENGTH

This was mentioned in a comment above, but when I read the title for this GeekList, Length is what I instantly thought of adding.

TI3's length is the road block getting it to the table. I love this game, but it is butt-numbing long! As mentioned above, that length is exacerbated by the fiddly game play. Nonetheless, TI3 is completely absorbing and great fun!
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10. Board Game: The Princes of Florence [Average Rating:7.64 Overall Rank:61]
suPUR DUEper
United States
Villa Hills
Kentucky
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Games That Play Best With 5 Players

Love Princes of Florence and Amun Re. Trouble is they play best with 5. It is really difficult for me to find 5 players of roughly the same skill level in order to get the max out of these excellent designs.
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11. Board Game: Go [Average Rating:7.71 Overall Rank:68]
Martin Windischer
Austria
Innsbruck
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Different rulesets

There are many different rulesets for this game. Of course there are not so many cases where it matters but this always bothers me.
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12. Board Game: Tichu [Average Rating:7.65 Overall Rank:64]
Bryan Maxwell
United States
Burtchville
Michigan
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Requires exactly 4 players to play.

It's really 'insert number here.' I adore Tichu, but the fact that it requires exactly 4 players means it doesn't get played very often.
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13. Board Game: Mahjong [Average Rating:7.05 Overall Rank:435]
p55carroll
United States
Minnesota
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Games are not movies or stories; they're vehicles for creative decision making.
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"Desire makes everything blossom; possession makes everything wither and fade." (Marcel Proust)
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Or Backgammon.

It's often (perceived as) a gambling game.

I don't gamble. I've tried it, but I've never understood what people see in it. To me, it reduces the joy of game playing to something too fast-paced and materialistic.

I love a good game of backgammon or mah-jongg when it's played quietly and soberly, at a moderately quick (but not frantic) pace.
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14. Board Game: Memoir '44 [Average Rating:7.53 Overall Rank:88] [Average Rating:7.53 Unranked]
Michael Wheet
United States
Melbourne
Florida
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Setup time.

No explanation needed.
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15. Board Game: Puerto Rico [Average Rating:8.15 Overall Rank:5]
Tanner Griffin
United States
South Ogden
UT
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It ends.
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16. Board Game: Brass [Average Rating:8.03 Overall Rank:16]
United Kingdom
Southampton
Hampshire
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I'll think of something witty to put here...
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Fiddly exceptions to normal rules.

Here I refer to the stupid Birkenhead link rule: "You can use a Shipyard card to build in Birkenhead if your network connects to Liverpool. HOWEVER the link cannot be used to transport coal (Note that building in Birkenhead always requires coal)."

I have no idea why it was included. It is more effort to explain than it's worth, as it only comes up maybe 1 game in 10, except I have to explain it otherwise someone will complain they "would have played completely differently" if they'd known that rule.
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17. Board Game: Space Hulk (third edition) [Average Rating:7.61 Overall Rank:120]
Kai Bettzieche
Germany
Eppelsheim
Rheinland Pfalz
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Great game,

But the game company?

Meh ..
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18. Board Game: Age of Steam [Average Rating:7.73 Overall Rank:60]
Greg S
United States
Maryland
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Age of Steam, Steam, Railroad Tycoon, etc. all encourage the most circuitous paths for delivering goods. A more realistic mechanic would encourage shortest path deliveries.

This is something that I really like about Jet Set: in order to complete a flight card, you have to remove planes (that you purchased) from the board. This strongly encourages you to use shortest paths.
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19. Board Game: Advanced Civilization [Average Rating:8.01 Unranked] [Average Rating:8.01 Unranked]
M Hellyer
United States
Aurora
Illinois
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I understand that calamities in the game represent events taking place over centuries and historical epochs, but they still interrupt progress and flow of the game.
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20. Board Game: Royal Tank Corps [Average Rating:6.60 Overall Rank:5737]
Elwyn Darden
United States
Richmond
Virginia
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Where to start? Ugly, washed-out map. Ugly helmet icons on counters. Flimsy, useless box. Very nice game.

Thank goodness for the Japanese Command edition with a beautiful map, NATO symbology, and a humble but honest zip-loc bag.
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21. Board Game: Railways of the World [Average Rating:7.72 Overall Rank:54]
John Bandettini
United Kingdom
London
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That one not so much
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First Player Auction

I hate the first player auction mechanic, and yet two of my favourite games have it. (Indonesia is the other one.) I understand that you don't always want a set turn order, but there are other ways to do it. Like Brass for instance.
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22. Board Game: Pandemic [Average Rating:7.66 Overall Rank:40]
Gudjon Torfi Sigurdsson
Iceland
Isafjordur
Isafjardarbaer
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The anti-climax when the game ends in victory! It's almost better to loose valiantly than to win...
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23. Board Game: Supremacy [Average Rating:5.55 Overall Rank:9821]
Doctor X

New York
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Broken Rules

Nothing's worse than a game you want to love weighed down by broken rules.

That said, I love Supremacy and its many fiddly expansions very much. It's just that we had to touch our toes while bending over backwards and juggle at the same time to neuter the broken "first turn stock market raid" issue.

My version is not the one pictured by the stock photo; I have the simple blue cover version with no illustrations except for the eagle.

Otherwise, I love this one. The base game is nuclear simplicity itself.
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24. Board Game: Paths of Glory [Average Rating:8.03 Overall Rank:45]
Duncan Flint
England
Unspecified
Worcs
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Maps that dont fold out flat. Actually I really dislike this game, but it applies to many others.
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25. Board Game: Tigris & Euphrates [Average Rating:7.77 Overall Rank:33]
Laszlo Molnar
Hungary
Budapest
Hungary
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Finding f2f players is extremely hard.

I was longing for this game for a long time. Then I finally bought it (after having played it some dozen times online). I introduced it to some friends and my wife. They all got confused during the rule explanation and we even had to finish the game before it really ended (family issues). Since then, whenever I mention the name of the game, all I get is just a grin. No one wants to play it with me at home, although it's one of the most precious games I have.
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