Improbable Games - I Can't Believe They Made That!
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This list is dedicated to those games whose existence I find remarkable for a host of different reasons: creativity, racism, over-simplicity, amount of effort put into development, etc.

In general I'm not knocking these games, mind you. If a game made it to market and we ended up playing it, then kudos to the designers and publishers for pulling it off.

Feel free to add your own additions!
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1. Board Game: Squad Seven [Average Rating:6.49 Overall Rank:2571]
Terry
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"Gaming tables were made for running around."

There aren't many games where you find yourself running around the game table with a dart gun shooting targets, only to return to a game board to play some tiles, but this one manages to do it.

Add in a sound track with weird noises, and you've got yourself a special game.

This is certainly one of the most unexpected and improbable games on this list, just dripping with creativity with a hint of insanity.
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2. Board Game: Pfusch [Average Rating:6.18 Overall Rank:5039]
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"Now this is creativity."

If I told you that I was going to create a game where players had to hide cubes inside clay, and then use toothpicks to determine whether there is a cube inside clay or not, and I pitched it as a game idea, would you develop it?

Someone did just that, and "Pfusch" was born. The whole part about trying to bluff other players into thinking there's a cube in your clay when there isn't really takes this game to the next level of kitchiness.
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3. Board Game: Tales of the Arabian Nights [Average Rating:7.31 Overall Rank:228]
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"How long did THAT take to make?"

Once in a while you stumble upon a truly remarkable or improbable game, where it's clear that the designers put in immense amounts of time in order to pull the game off.

Tales of the Arabian Nights is one such game. Its adventure book is so thick and detailed that it must have taken years to develop it. While it's not a game I'd play all that often, I have always found this game to be very entertaining and impressively put together.
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4. Board Game: Ugg-Tect [Average Rating:6.42 Overall Rank:1544]
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We're going to ship this game with big plastic inflatable clubs.

Then we'll encourage players to make grunting noises, stomp around, and hit each other with those clubs.

A new take on Tokyo Train, this game is utterly ridiculous, fun, and unexpected.
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5. Board Game: Euphrates & Tigris: Contest of Kings [Average Rating:6.11 Overall Rank:2373]
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"Not everything has to be a card game, you know..."

One of the only Knizia games I really can't stand (the other is Figaro).

Why do companies constantly have to try to convert everything into card games? This game clearly misses the mark, as the rules are horrendous, it's all terribly confusing, and the boardgame is far better (and IMO more straightforward) than this game.

What's next, Tigris & Eurphrates the dice game?

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6. Board Game: Game of Politics [Average Rating:5.31 Unranked]
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"Let's use pins!"

This game wins honorable mention for using a mechanic that just doesn't work, never did work, and never will work. PINS.

Yes, you stick little pins into this board. Hundreds of them. Of course, fingers get in the way, so pins end up falling all over the place, getting bent, and they don't really stick well into the board to begin with. I wonder how many kids hurt themselves playing this one!

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7. Board Game: UNO Attack! [Average Rating:5.41 Overall Rank:10726]
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"It's going to spit cards out at you"

You'd think that a game that spits cards out of you would be interesting, or at least in some ways entertaining. This one is not. It pastes on a gimmick and completely fails. Why did they bother?
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8. Board Game: Tops [Average Rating:5.64 Overall Rank:8661]
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"What if we spin our pieces?"

This game should not exist. Someone should never have said "hey, we can spin some tops and try to throw things on top of them". Someone else should have said "yeah right, that's not a game!"

Alas, it does exist, and it is actually somewhat amusing for a short period of time.

I'm glad games such as this exist, giving some flavor and creativity to the games we play.
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9. Board Game: Gloom [Average Rating:6.43 Overall Rank:1096] [Average Rating:6.43 Unranked]
Terry
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"Hey, let's use see through cards!"

It's interesting in theory, but poorly executed. Perhaps the little quotes in the game are interesting, and perhaps the storyline is interesting. Problem is, you can't really read any of the text, so who knows.

The cards are printed in a hard to read font, using hard to read ink on plastic.

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10. Board Game: Keltis: Das Orakel [Average Rating:7.04 Overall Rank:1435]
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"Lost Cities: Infinite Milk"

I find it remarkable that the Lost Cities / Keltis game line continues to march forward, one game, card edition, renaming, language edition at a time. It's fascinating watching the brilliant designer and master of repackaging Knizia putting out yet more Keltis/Lost Cities games. It truly is impressive.

We're getting to the point here where games are being inspired by games that were inspired by the game that we're looking for inspiration from.
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11. Board Game: Flix Mix [Average Rating:6.30 Overall Rank:3125]
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"I made a game this morning"

This game is so brain dead simple, that I rated this game a 9 just because the designer managed to SELL it. He just painted some dots on cards and said "That's a Game!"

That's ballsy. 9 for you, sir designer!
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12. Board Game: Hart an der Grenze [Average Rating:6.45 Overall Rank:1740]
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"I'm going to have to search your suitcase"

What a fantastic little bluffing game dripping with improbable theme. You're given little suitcases and have to try to smuggle cigars, whiskey, etc across the border. You can bribe the sheriff to look the other way. A very kitschy game. I think it's the little suitcases that each player has that makes this game special.
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13. Board Game: Roads & Boats [Average Rating:7.73 Overall Rank:181]
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"I'm going to set aside the next 5 years to make a game..."

There's not much else to say about this monstrous classic. There are so many pieces and so many design elements involved that it's remarkable that such a game was ever developed. I really like this game.
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14. Board Game: Ca$h 'n Gun$ [Average Rating:6.71 Overall Rank:623]
Terry
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"Shoot your opponents"

In what other game do you get to point fake foam guns at other players and pretend to shoot them?

I think some people feel a little uncomfortable playing this one, but it's certainly an innovative concept.
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15. Board Game: Pony Express [Average Rating:6.53 Overall Rank:1911]
Terry
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The "I can't believe they did that" mention goes to "Pony Express", where you throw pieces at the board trying to hit the Indians, and can bribe them with liquor.

While I'm not easily offended or even very sympathetic to over-sensitive political correctness, I am still amazed that this game was released in 2009 with such a theme.
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16. Board Game: Khet: The Laser Game [Average Rating:6.61 Overall Rank:1049]
Terry
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"It's got frickin laser beams!"

Yes, this game has lasers. There's really nothing more to say. A fun, highly improbable 2 player game.
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17. Board Game: The Downfall of Pompeii [Average Rating:7.15 Overall Rank:327]
Terry
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"Watch out for the... hot liquid magma"

I just love this game. It's a fairly solid game in its own right, but the concept of having your little people running away from an erupting volcano is fantastic. The little paper volcano completes it. Rules allowing you to throw other players into the volcano just add to this one. A truly improbable and creative game.
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18. Board Game: Catan: 5-6 Player Extension [Average Rating:7.04 Unranked] [Average Rating:7.04 Unranked]
Terry
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Just who thought Settlers of Catan with 6 players was a good idea? Someone who thought that inclusion was more important than playability, I suppose.

I have sat through such a game twice. It just doesn't work, particularly if players try to push trading every turn. Just because you CAN play a game with 35 people doesn't mean you should. This expansion is a detriment to universal karma.

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19. Board Game: Winhard [Average Rating:5.16 Overall Rank:9703]
Terry
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"I canz drawz squirrelz"

I'm usually a sucker for card games of all types, but to be honest this game just didn't make sense. It just felt all tacked together.... like it was designed in about 5 minutes with no plan whatsoever....

"damn, I can't draw too well... so let's start with ovals. Hmm, what can I turn them into.. hmmm.. how about.. NUTS!" "Now let's have squirrels... uh... getting the nuts. And uh, a trash can... because squirrels throw away nuts in... uh... trash cans. And uh, wind cards... because I can draw clouds ok... and uh, clouds are outside, just like squirrels"

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20. Board Game: eBay Electronic Talking Auction Game [Average Rating:6.03 Overall Rank:3781]
Terry
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"Can't go wrong with talking components"

Who thought of this? And why? A fun game for a short period of time, the existence of this game is certainly a head scratcher. Putting together those electronics has got to have been a non-trivial task.

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21. Board Game: Worm Up! [Average Rating:5.92 Overall Rank:3343]
Terry
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"I know what's going to happen before we even begin"

Yes, someone (with reasonable probability that someone being me) is going to veer directly to their left or right and block another player, just because it's possible, taking both me and him out of the game. I won't win -- I will never win -- but this game just compels at a caveman instinctual level to veer left or right and surround another player for the entire game.
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22. Board Game: Auf Achse [Average Rating:6.30 Overall Rank:1831]
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"Trucks!"

It's the trucks in this game that make it unusual. You have these big truck pieces that move around the board. They're just funny, okay? At least I think so.
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23. Board Game: Chopstick Dexterity MegaChallenge 3000 [Average Rating:6.56 Overall Rank:2721]
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"Let's use chopsticks to take pieces out of a bowl"

That really describes this game. Being able to whack at other player's chopsticks really spices this game up. Fun for a short period of time.

Someone put chopsticks and some little random pieces in a bag, and sold it as a game. How cool is that? Kudos to them!
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24. Board Game: Amyitis [Average Rating:7.01 Overall Rank:530]
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"Let's take every piece, concept, rule, and mechanic known to eurogame kind and stick them ALL IN ONE BOX!"

Let me start out by saying that I am not directly bashing this game. From its rank it clearly has some redeeming qualities, and I'm sure that some people out there love it. It just explodes my brain just thinking about it.

There are simply so many concepts thrown into this game that it's completely overwhelming when going through the rules. There's just so much STUFF.

There are coins, victory points, plants, plant upgrades, obligatory CAMELS, temple markers, worker markers, coin cards, camel cards, starting player rules, last player messing with the temple rules, victory point bonus cards, hanging garden tiles, resource cards, irrigation spots, irrigation cards, temple cards, ending conditions, a board that a camel runs around.... AHHH MAKE IT STOP!

Maybe it's simpler than it seems. I just have a problem with all of the "stuff".


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25. Board Game: Isfahan [Average Rating:6.95 Unranked] [Average Rating:6.95 Unranked]
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Honorable mention goes for the "expansion" Isfahan, for the game Samarkand.

It's the only expansion that I can think of that actually results in the game having fewer pieces. It just removes stuff. It's more like a "contraction".
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