Everyone’s had that experience. They get excited about an upcoming game. They hear the hype. It sounds great, just what they’re looking for, with interesting new mechanics and loads of fun to be had. Then… the product arrives in store. They pick up their copy, rip open the packaging, read through the rules, and get their friends together to play. Unfortunately, something doesn’t pan out. Something in the rules is broken, or the game takes too long, or none of your friends like it and you never get a chance to play it again. I dunno. Anything. Whatever happened… the point is, it was a big letdown. Not just a bad game you knew was going to be bad… something you had high hopes for that crashed and burned.
What was your biggest disappointment? Answer in the comments!
Oooh, this is a toughie. My answers are a little more abstract I guess. Munchkin ended up being pretty disappointing. I think the concept is hilarious and the game can be pretty fun—and it was one of the first games I got into in high school with my friends. We played it and had some good times there. But now, it seems like every time I play it, someone has a bad experience. Someone gets totally screwed with the cards they draw and can never seem to accomplish anything, through no fault of their own. Also, the game could stand to last between 45-60 minutes instead of 1.5-2 hours.
I was also a little disappointed after Star Trek: Expeditions came out. I love Star Trek a lot. I own Star Trek Uno, Star Trek Scene It, and Star Trek: The Trivia Game, none of which are great games. But when I heard about Expeditions, I had hope. Star Trek? Minis? Designed by a real designer? I haven’t actually got my hands on Expeditions, but from the reviews and things I’ve heard from others, it didn’t add up to a spectacular gaming experience. Not that it’s a terrible game—some people like it, some don’t—but it wasn’t looking as good as I’d hoped, which was disappointing.
My disappointments are mostly games that I bought for one purpose that didn’t fit that purpose. I got Citadels to be a group game with hidden identities but without player elimination (I don’t care for Bang!, and I wanted an alternative to play with my friends). I really like Citadels, but I couldn’t ever get anyone to play it. It looked too geeky for my non-gaming friends and too simple for my gaming friends. I eventually traded it away (for At the Gates of Loyang—I traded up) because I couldn’t find anyone to play with.
Similarly, I love—l-o-v-e—Race for the Galaxy. I originally had San Juan, which I didn’t care for, and I decided Race for the Galaxy would be my game to keep at work and play with my coworkers over lunch. But none of them liked it. Race is a game that improves over time, but they didn’t care for it. So I ended up trading Race as well.
In both of these instances, I really liked the game in question, but finding others to play was hard. That’s the disappointment.
A reminder: Each commenter’s first comment on this post will count as entry in our Dominion: Hinterlands giveaway. What are you waiting for?
7 Wonders was the biggest disappointment for me. I had heard so many great things about it, that it was going to revolutionizing gaming, etc. I played it at BGG Con last year before it hit shelves here and thought, “meh.” It didn’t grab me in anyway. I just thought it could have been a more full game. Luck is very dependent and you need all of the players to be on the same skill level and paying attention to what everyone has. I’m probably captaining this ship by myself, but it just didn’t hit the right chords for me.
I was really disappointed in Nuns on the Run. Gaming, to me, is a cerebral experience. So, when I saw that it had won something Mensa-related, I picked it up.
It’s not that it’s a bad game (very much like a reverse Scotland-yard), but it didn’t seem like it was particularly thought-based; rather, it was the opposite. There’s a certain amount of thought involved in choosing where to run, but aside from that it’s very luck based on if the Nuns hear you.
I was also disappointed in Quarriors (which will probably disbar me from legitimacy in certain gaming circles.) From the onset, I just thought it was gaining press based on a gimmick. Having played about 7-10 games at GenCon and 20-25 more subsequently, I don’t see what the big deal about this game is. The first player to get a good roll has a decided advantage and the requisite 12 honor goal seems awfully low.
Lastly, I was disappointed by Jab. I like SO many other Tasty Minstrel games (Eminent Domain, Martian Dice, Belfort) and the upcoming Kings of Air and Steam looks amazing. Likewise, Gavan Brown has put out some beautiful art for games. For starters, I think I was a little put off by the game’s initial speed, which can be overwhelming. I like to process my options in a game and Jab doesn’t really allow for that long, drawn out, process.
Scoring in the game, IMO, is also done really poorly. Block cards negate the highest card in the pile on which they are played on rather than the CARD they are played on. Likewise, once a round is over, a player covers on of the 3 piles and it’s wiped out, which requires an opponent to spread damage out over the 3 body cards. In real boxing, if you see a cut open up on an opponent, you hammer on that part of the body with everything you have. You can’t do that in JAB, because the opponent will just cover that pile with his/her hand and negate ALL the points on that pile.
Defenders of the Realm was a disappointment to me. I wanted to love it (co-op, fantasy, Elmore art – what could go wrong?), but after playing, I felt like it was trying to do what Pandemic does, but in a much more random fashion. It just failed to find it’s own place for me, and hasn’t been able to one-up Pandemic in my book.
The game that comes to mind most is Dungeon Lords. I was really excited about the theme on this one and was very much looking forward to playing it. My favorite parts of the game were when you actually got to run the heroes through your dungeon and generally be evil. However, it took so long to deliver on the concept and I felt like the game mechanics were getting in the way of me enjoying the parts of the game that I thought were fun. It’s possible that I would like the game if I played it more but it just didn’t grab me the way I wanted it to.
I’ll also second Games And Grub’s disappointment with Quarriors. I’m a big fan of deck building games and was excited to have a fun dice-based twist on the genre. Unfortunately it didn’t seem to incorporate any interesting dice based mechanics to add anything strategic to the mix. I love dice but I want some good ways to mitigate the significant luck factor that can occur.
My main game that I want desperately for someone to love is Innovation. I played it once and instantly loved it both for the theme and interesting game play. Unfortunately my wife detested it and no one in my game group seems to care much for it. There’s a pretty big learning curve with all the unique cards and seemingly chaotic game play. I’m holding onto it for now in hopes that I’ll eventually find someone that’s willing to play it with me.
FarmerLenny, I dearly hope that you find someone to play Race For The Galaxy with. Even if I didn’t have anyone to play it with I would keep a copy on hand much like I’m doing with Innovation. I try not to make a habit of holding on to games that don’t get much play but I think that Race would be a well deserving exception. It saddens me that you ended up trading it away!
@Ben: I wasn’t disappointed in 7 Wonders, but it received more hype than pretty much any game could warrant. I enjoy it, though.
@Games and Grub: I wasn’t disappointed in Quarriors because I didn’t expect much. It seemed like a gimmick from the start to me, and I don’t care for dice. I was interested in Nuns on the Run, but your take doesn’t sound too encouraging…
@Professor Beard: Pandemic is a tough co-op to top, and it’s hard not to judge other co-ops by it.
@Snuggles: I’ve heard that about Dungeon Lords. I’d love to give it a go sometime. I haven’t played any of that designer’s games, but the concepts are so interesting that I’d love to give them a try. (A friend has Space Alert, so that’s the most likely one.) I’m a little disappointed I traded Race away (though I got a good deal–Fresco), but I’ll allow others to initiate that game with me. Besides, Eminent Domain is similar in many ways to Race, and my coworkers prefer that one.
P.S. @Games and Grub: I love that your Blogger photo has a Pinochle deck in it. I grew up on Pinochle, but finding other players for that is more difficult than finding others for Race for the Galaxy!
Mine is Tikal. SdJ winner, lots of good press. I received it in trade and got right to it. My reaction: “Bleh.” Too many action points to keep track of (especially if a player wants to “undo” something and you ahve to add and subtract multiple times), volcano drawers having a significant upper hand, and the gameplay itself was uninteresting to me.
As for Nuns on the Run, I really enjoy it – but only with 5+ players. A two player game is too random. But with more players, someone is always being chased and that allows for exciting play along with some opportunities for the novices.
I’d have to take up as a crew member on Ben’s ship. 7 wonders just didn’t do it for me. It felt like a lot of little things that didn’t add up to much of a bigger picture. To be fair I should give it another try or two, but the first go left me with a less than stellar impression.
I jumped on Masters of Venice since I love economic games, I acquired it in a trade. It was way to tedious of a game. you have to constantly adjust pegs for everything you own every time someone does something. Needles to say I traded it for Endeavor, which I am very happy with.
@FarmerLenny – My great Aunt is a Pinochle addict, so I grew up playing it during holidays. I haven’t been up there for quite a while, but do have a few coworkers that play it from time to time.
@Snuggles – I will play Innovation with you wherever/whenever. My wife doesn’t like it as a 2P game, but will break it out when we have 4 players. The expansion is a little confusing at first go-round but is still a blast once you gain familiarity with the cards.
My biggest gaming disapointment would have to come from none other than the dominion series. The Alchemy expansion had potential to be great but Donald X was rushed to make a small expansion so the cards didn’t get the proper test play (so the story goes anyway). I love everything else with the Dominion name on the cover though, cannot wait for Hinterlands!
@Snuggles & @Games and Grub – I to was also disappointed in Quarriors. Fun concept, poor implementation. Too easy to skew heavily towards the first person with a good roll.
for the record, I never rejected Race for the Galaxy. I told you to keep it.
I really enjoy Small World and most of the expansions for the game add some fun new options for races or global events, but I was really disappointed with Necromancer Island. It turned the game into a pseudo-co-op game that really wasn’t fun. If I want to play a good co-op game I’ll play Shadows Over Camelot, not try to add co-op features to another good game and hopes it works out.
Mystery at the Abbey. I thought it would be a grown up version of Clue, but instead I found it to be a tedious version of Clue.
Lord of the Rings. It’s actually a pretty good game overall, but the way the board works it’s way to easy to get caught up in mechanics and lose any sense of the theme. Also, I want me some Hinterlands. 🙂