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The real deal: Really Unforgiving games
Fel Barros
Brazil
Rio de Janeiro
RJ
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I've recently played a game of Vinhos (my 2nd game) where I setup myself for a last turn big point madness and when I noticed, I wouldn't have available data for this. I spent 5 hours for naught. What a incredibly hard game it turned to be.

This being said, I looked on the Geek for unforgiving geeklists and I found one which contained San Juan (?!). So, I want the real deal (I'm not a wargamer, so we skip on those) and I never played 18XX (feel free to add the mean ones) on games that are REALLY punitive against the players. I don't want games that you make an error and you fall behind (like a bad bidding on PoF).Also, the focus is not how the players can punish each other but the game itself leading to that kind of meaning acts! It's not about depth, tough choices , it's about HARD TIME!

Feel free to add more to the list.
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51. Board Game: Civilization [Average Rating:7.53 Overall Rank:134]
Kirk Monsen
United States
Seattle
Washington
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There are a series of benchmarks in this 8hr long game. Get held back at any one, and you are guaranteed not to win the game.

People argue that isn't true, if everyone is held back one, then you all have a chance, but in the games I've played about 2-3 players (out of 7) are good enough to never be held back

-Munch "it's really sucks being held back at the first mark" Wolf
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52. Board Game: Container [Average Rating:7.09 Overall Rank:418]
Sara
United States
Hazel Park
Michigan
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We broke this game on our first play because we drove all of the money right out of the game. This game has to be played "correctly" to win. unfortunately, even though it might be a great game, the first play of it left kind of an icky taste in my mouth. I don't mind unforgiving, but I want to know about it first.

I would try it again but someone else is going to have to be the one to suggest it.
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53. Board Game: Diplomacy [Average Rating:7.09 Overall Rank:355]
M. B. Downey
United States
Alexandria
Virginia
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First one that came to mind. Fastest way to end a friendship!
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54. Board Game: Goa [Average Rating:7.70 Overall Rank:53]
Steffan O'Sullivan
United States
Plymouth
NH
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...much that he related belonged more properly to the category of what-might-have-happened-had-I-only-thought-of-it-in-time-instead-of-ten-minutes-afterwards. Those are always the best and raciest adventures...
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... a picked body of Toads, known as the Die-hards, or the Death-or-Glory Toads, will storm the orchard and carry everything before them, yelling for vengeance.
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Great game, but just try forgetting to tax one turn when low on cash ... you're done!
 
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55. Board Game: Pandemic: On the Brink [Average Rating:8.12 Unranked] [Average Rating:8.12 Unranked] [Average Rating:8.12 Unranked]
Eugene Ko
United States
Lakewood
Colorado
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It still surprises me (even though it shouldn't anymore) just how quickly a game of Pandemic can go straight to hell when two Epidemic cards hit close together, especially when playing with the expansion. Spend just a few too many actions keeping the outbreaks under control and whoops, that fourth cure's not going to come together before the deck runs out...
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56. Board Game: Chess [Average Rating:7.10 Overall Rank:324]
Bruce Keeney
United States
San Jose
California
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One wrong move and you will never recover.
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57. Board Game: Outdoor Survival [Average Rating:4.53 Overall Rank:11024]
Christopher Clark
Canada
Calgary
Alberta
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I think this fits the bill nicely, in some of the scenarios. If you make a wrong move, you'll starve to death. If you make the right moves, you'll only probably starve to death. laugh

Heck, the game comes with a set of fifteen counters for each player, showing exactly how unforgiving the game's been and how dead you are:

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58. Board Game: Agricola [Average Rating:8.12 Overall Rank:6]
Trey Chambers
United States
Houston
Texas
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Can't believe it took so long to mention this. I have only had problems feeding in one or two games out of my many plays, but it was enough to almost give me a heart attack. If you take even one begging card you are pretty much done vs. competant opponents.
 
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59. Board Game: Space Hulk: Death Angel – The Card Game [Average Rating:6.98 Overall Rank:414]
Guido Gloor
Switzerland
Ostermundigen
Bern
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The statement below is false.
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The statement above is correct.
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Genestealers left and right, surprises from event cards all the time, and a need for quite some forward planning spiced up with plenty of randomness (both from aforementioned event cards and from combat, which uses a die).

There's quite some ways to influence the madness with proper forward planning, but the game is very tough anyway.
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60. Board Game: Medieval [Average Rating:6.09 Overall Rank:3893]
Stephen Coney
Croatia
Zaprešić
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If you want to have a good time playing Medieval, you've got to be ready to be randomly smacked by crippling plagues, etc. Don't get too attached to the countries you pick at the beginning, because they might not be yours for long. Even if the other players leave you alone you can end up with your best territory yielding you nothing for much of the game due to random events. This is not a good gateway game.

It's a well-designed game, though. The key is to constantly adapt to changing circumstances.

Ps. When your buddy brings his brittle friend along to play something, don't pull out Medieval.
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61. Board Game: Acquire [Average Rating:7.38 Overall Rank:145]
Tony Hamen
United States
Austin
Texas
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I could also add Imperial for the same reason. If you make a series of unlucky/misinformed purchases of stock at the beginning of the game, you will sit there for 1 1/2 to 2 hours with absolutely nothing to do. I've played games of Acquire where all of my cash went into a large hotel with no merging potential, and left me cashless the rest of the game only to find out I placed 2nd or 3rd. It is rare to be able to win with a solitary investment alone. The same thing happened to me in Imperial. I made a few bad choices which secluded me from the game until it was over, even though I came in second place.
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62. Board Game: The Game of Life [Average Rating:4.05 Overall Rank:11060]
Commander Harris
Netherlands
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Can't believe this one hasn't been mentioned yet, it can be brutal
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63. GeekList: Completed Hunt
Pieter van der Knaap
Netherlands
Unspecified
Unspecified
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Not gaining momentum as the Reformers or losing cities as the Catholics are both recipies for disaster,
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64. Board Game: A Game of Thrones (first edition) [Average Rating:7.35 Overall Rank:189]
Ken Donagan
United States
Falmouth
Maine
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Isn't it possible for one of the houses to be eliminated from this game without even getting a turn?
 
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65. Board Game: Wings of War: The Dawn of World War II [Average Rating:6.91 Overall Rank:975]
Ken Donagan
United States
Falmouth
Maine
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This one is pretty unforgiving to my wife. All I have to do is stay away from her and she is sure to fly off the table. Of course she hasn't yet caught on that whenever we play this I make sure to set up the smaller of our card tables...whistle
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66. Board Game: Busen Memo [Average Rating:4.83 Overall Rank:10832]
Jim Ruddy
Canada
Hamilton
Ontario
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whistle
 
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67. Board Game: Troyes [Average Rating:7.74 Overall Rank:48]
Chad Hackman
Canada
Brampton
Ontario
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Just try to ignore the bottom of the board for a round or two and play selfish...good luck.
 
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68. Board Game: Britannia [Average Rating:7.26 Overall Rank:349]
Elwyn Darden
United States
Richmond
Virginia
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The game is deceptive because the methods for scoring points can disguise your true position. But it is unforgiving, and opportunities lost cannot be redeemed. For instance, the Red, Blue, and Green players are always screaming (for rookies it is panic, for experienced players it is diplomacy) that Purple is winning after turn 3 when the Roman points are tallied. Purple is going to be ahead by 30-40 points, but if he has not scored at least 45 points he has no chance in the remainder of the game, save as a spoiler. The other players will not come close to 45 for several more turns.

There was an excellent article in the General about the point goals for each nation (AH version). Failing to score the minimum for any of your nations is painful, but Purple needs the Romans, Blue the Angles, Red the Saxons, and Green the Welsh. (Blue also needs a strong performance from the Normans, but that is the endgame).

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69. Board Game: Zombie State: Diplomacy of the Dead [Average Rating:6.63 Overall Rank:1619]
Albert Jr. Cukingnan
Philippines
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Zombies, zombies spawning everywhere! Barricades failing, infrastructures depleting, armies exploding, freedom points disappearing! I knew we shouldn't have house-ruled quarantine!

To its credit though, it gets a bit lighter towards end game with tier 3 tech.

 
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