Oh, It's THAT Sort of Game - Games That Didn't Look Nasty At First
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Australia
Rozelle
New South Wales
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Often the rules of a game don't tell you much about how it's played. Some games may seem like a cooperative building game, and even be played as such by some groups, but other groups will interpret them as an uncooperative blocking game. Please list games where the rules just tell you what the rules are, and then when you play you discover that the game is much nastier than you thought.
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1. Board Game: Hey, That's My Fish! [Average Rating:6.70 Overall Rank:861]
Board Game: Hey, That's My Fish!
John Farrell
Australia
Rozelle
New South Wales
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So it's all about skilfully moving your penguins to collect the most 3-fish tiles, is it?

Not at all - it's about blocking your opponents' penguins so they can't move at all, then eating all of the rest of the fish at your leisure. By the time you realise how to play the game you're on an ice floe by yourself watching the rest of the flock drift out of sight.
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2. Board Game: Coloretto [Average Rating:6.97 Overall Rank:552]
Board Game: Coloretto
John Farrell
Australia
Rozelle
New South Wales
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So we collect sets of coloured cards? That sounds easy enough.

No, it's not like that at all. We devote our entire intellects to forcing other players to be only able to take cards they don't want. And once they've got one of every colour we make them have another one. He who gets screwed least wins the game.
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3. Board Game: Metro [Average Rating:6.37 Overall Rank:1843]
Board Game: Metro
John Farrell
Australia
Rozelle
New South Wales
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So I have to make the longest track possible? OK, I can do that.

Of course you have to do that while your so-called "friends" are trying to finish your own tracks for you as quickly as they can. They might look like they're helping, but when you're eliminated halfway through the game you'll have time to observe their true reasons.
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4. Board Game: Carcassonne [Average Rating:7.42 Overall Rank:182] [Average Rating:7.42 Unranked]
Board Game: Carcassonne
John Farrell
Australia
Rozelle
New South Wales
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We're all building an area of the French countryside...

And we're evil barons who will hoard as much as we can for ourselves. If you help me build a city I will send my soldiers in to evict you. I will run your thieves off the streets, and I will outproduce your quaint farmers with my massive agricultural conglomerates.
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5. Board Game: Loopin' Louie [Average Rating:6.77 Overall Rank:938]
Board Game: Loopin' Louie
John Farrell
Australia
Rozelle
New South Wales
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So I've just got to save my chickens from being knocked off?

Yes... but did we mention that the player to your right is skilful enough to aim at you, and he will subject you to a merciless barrage of dive bomb attacks? And as soon as you realise that you'll start doing the same?
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6. Board Game: Lost Cities [Average Rating:7.18 Overall Rank:325]
Board Game: Lost Cities
John Farrell
Australia
Rozelle
New South Wales
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We have to build the best expeditions we can, OK?

Well I think I was doing alright but I couldn't find any of the high yellows, and I went negative on that ... HEY! YOU HAD THE 5, 6, 7, 8, 9 AND 10! Oh... now I know how to play.
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7. Board Game: Tigris & Euphrates [Average Rating:7.70 Overall Rank:92]
Board Game: Tigris & Euphrates
John Farrell
Australia
Rozelle
New South Wales
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So like I build a civilisation here and you build one there and we see who gets the most points?

Well yeah, this is my civilisation. It had all my leaders in it until you started that conflict... Yes, I know that the civilisations don't REALLY belong to anybody... whaddya mean "what's mine is mine and what's yours is mine?"
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8. Board Game: Killer Bunnies and the Quest for the Magic Carrot [Average Rating:5.49 Overall Rank:20344] [Average Rating:5.49 Unranked]
Board Game: Killer Bunnies and the Quest for the Magic Carrot
Chris Johnson
Australia
Perth
Western Australia
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The "Killer" bit in the name gives you some hint, but while you're thinking the idea is to keep some bunnies alive while having the odd go at the other players' you're rapidly learning that the aim of the game is to nuke your opponents so far back into the dark ages that they're completely incapable of participating in the game on their turn.

Winning has nothing to do with the carrot. You win if you had fun. I didn't win either of the games I played.
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9. Board Game: Terra Nova [Average Rating:6.42 Overall Rank:2632]
Board Game: Terra Nova
Jim Cote
United States
Maine
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Even nastier than H!TMF!

"Haha! I have you almost closed in 2 to 1. I'm going to get all the points!"

"Oh yeah? I'll just close you both off into a little corner and take most of this space all for myself."

"OMG!"
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10. Board Game: Aqua Romana [Average Rating:6.32 Overall Rank:2948]
 Missing Image
Richard Voorintholt
Netherlands
Soest
Unspecified
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Like Metro. It's not about building the longest canals. It's about blocking your opponents, denying them the usage of valuable architects and in the end finishing your canal early so your opponent can only score a handful of points for his long canal.
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11. Board Game: Bohnanza [Average Rating:7.04 Overall Rank:456]
Board Game: Bohnanza
Esa Junttila
Finland
Helsinki
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The players are supposed to trade beans and get good deals?

Player A draws a valuable red bean. To avoid planting, they wish to trade it.
A: "Feel free to offer me some soy beans and wax beans."
The only player wanting that red bean (B) then refuses to give anything in exchange, even though they certainly have some extra wax beans in hand.
A: "Why won't you give me a wax bean in exchange for a red bean? You don't have any use for wax beans, anyway."
B: "Because you will donate it to me in any case."
Realizing that only B is eager to have the red bean, A chooses to donate it to B.
A: [Grunt]
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12. Board Game: You're Bluffing! [Average Rating:6.58 Overall Rank:1653]
Board Game: You're Bluffing!
Andrew C.
Australia
Sydney
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OK, it's about collecting sets of cute little farm animals?

WRONG. It's about screwing your opponents at every turn. Double and triple-bluffing to determine the correct actions. This is a very, very evil little game.
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13. Board Game: Pick Picknic [Average Rating:6.57 Overall Rank:1860]
Board Game: Pick Picknic
Rob
United States
30° 12′ 38″ N, 95° 45′ 2″ W
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"Ah, look at this. A cute game about birds eating corn."

"Hey! I was about to eat 15 points in corn. Where did that fox come from?"

My 6YO daughter's sneaky side comes out in this one. devil
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14. Board Game: Saboteur [Average Rating:6.58 Overall Rank:1093] [Average Rating:6.58 Unranked]
Board Game: Saboteur
Get up, get up, get up, get down, fall over.
United Kingdom
Bolton
Lancashire
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The first game I thought of when I read the title.

The first few games all the happy mining gnomes work together to defeat those evil saboteurs. Consequently the saboteurs always lose, then suddenly it clicks that the miner who uncovers the gold gets the lion's share.....

1st happy miner - "I'm not letting you get to the gold first" *places corner leading away from the gold*,
2nd happy miner - "oh yeah?" *smashes other miner's lantern*

And the saboteurs start to win a few....
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15. Board Game: Keythedral [Average Rating:7.05 Overall Rank:998]
Board Game: Keythedral
Jeff Wiles
United States
Macon
Georgia
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Oh, we send our workers out to tiles and use the cubes they gather to build the Ketheydral and earn points? It's like Caylus!

Well, yes. But it isn't immediately apparent that you will have to screw your neighbor out of being able to place all of her workers. And then you'll need to manipulate who the starting player is so that you can continue the screwage.

My standard opening remark when explaining Keythedral is: This looks like a nice friendly cube-pushing game, but it's not. It's nasty and you will hose someone. You can't help it.
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16. Board Game: Fjords [Average Rating:6.74 Overall Rank:1447]
Board Game: Fjords
Mary T.
United States
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La, la, la...building some nice Scandanavian countryside...

Oh, you put your farm there? Let me put mine right next to yours and cut you off from all this nice farmland. devil My husband is evil when we play this game.
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17. Board Game: Castle Merchants [Average Rating:5.78 Overall Rank:9870]
Board Game: Castle Merchants
So it's all about finding the shortest path and carry your stuff to the castle, isn't it.

Not at all - it's all about hurling rocks on the path after you used it and destroy the landscape in front of other players' carts.
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18. Board Game: Zooloretto [Average Rating:6.83 Overall Rank:770] [Average Rating:6.83 Unranked]
Board Game: Zooloretto
See Coloretto and may be it's even worse !

So, it's all about buying the right animals for your zoo, isn't it?

Not at all, it's about sending the wrong animals to other players' zoos.
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19. Board Game: Dragon's Gold [Average Rating:6.44 Overall Rank:2014]
Board Game: Dragon's Gold
John Shanahan
United States
Quincy
Massachusetts
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First we work together to defeat dragons, and then we haggle over the division of treasure, right?

No.

First we focus our self-interest on certain dragons, then we stonewall, stymie, bitch, accuse, and inevitably fold our arms across our chests and steadfastly refuse to give you ANY of the treasure unless you agree to my unreasonable demands while the timer runs out...again.

Oh, and if I played a thief, I'm also going to steal from you.
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20. Board Game: The Market of Alturien [Average Rating:5.40 Overall Rank:19094]
Board Game: The Market of Alturien
So it's all about buying shops in the best streets and having the richest customers go there, isn't it?

Well, don't forget you play again if you first send a thief to an opponent's shop...
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21. Board Game: Tongiaki: Journey into the Unknown [Average Rating:6.23 Overall Rank:2902]
Board Game: Tongiaki: Journey into the Unknown
United States
Thornton
Colorado
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So, you're just trying to spread your guys into as many islands as possible, and have to work somewhat cooperatively to do so, right?

Well, yeah... but then you realize that when your opponent starts migrating with your guys he puts all your ships on a beach that leads to certain doom and proceeds to fill up that beach to claim the island for himself!!
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22. Board Game: Ticket to Ride [Average Rating:7.42 Overall Rank:178] [Average Rating:7.42 Unranked]
Board Game: Ticket to Ride
So it's one more train game, all about playing the right cards and build the lines on your ticket cards.

No - or may be it's so with two players, but with four or more, the only way to win is to focus on blocking what you think are the opponent's big tickets.
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23. Board Game: SET [Average Rating:6.48 Overall Rank:1444]
Board Game: SET
Mendon Dornbrook
United States
Phoenix
AZ
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The ticket to the future is always open.
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So each card has four aspects and there are three types of each aspect. Ok, each aspect in a group of 3 cards has to be either totally the same or totally different? OK. I got it.


Wait, I can't see the cards, you're going too fast!
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24. Board Game: Löwenherz [Average Rating:7.03 Overall Rank:1163]
Board Game: Löwenherz
An open-eyed man falling into the well
United States
Roswell
Georgia
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"It is my firm belief that it is a mistake to hold firm beliefs."
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Microbadge: One Ring to rule them all...Microbadge: Lemony Snicket's A Series of Unfortunate Events fanMicrobadge: DiscordianMicrobadge: Terry Pratchett fanMicrobadge: We're all mad here.
Oh, you want to create your own little kingdom? Ok.

Wait, you can expand it?

Wait, you can take over *my* silver mines?

You have more money than me?!?

You have a Renegade card!?!?

........I'm screwed.
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25. Board Game: Kanaloa [Average Rating:6.19 Overall Rank:7642]
Board Game: Kanaloa
Gil Hova
United States
Jersey City
New Jersey
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It seems like such an innocent bridge-laying game, until you start blowing up bridges and players start losing their control markers. It's much more evil than it seems...
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