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What are some glaring flaws in your favorite games?

Owner

After accidentally clearing out ~200 notifications several days ago, I've been responding to old comments in my previous post about 10 out of 10 games.

It ended up reminding me about an old forum post someone made a while back, so here it is again:

What are some glaring flaws in your favorite games?

I'll share my answer in the comments section later!

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30 days ago

One of my all time favourite games is #Archipelago, it embodies so many of my favourite aspects of games: negotiation, hidden information, semi-cooperative play it is a game that has the best, most-petty, hilarious discussions and at its best I've rarely enjoyed sitting at a table moving meeples around so much.

However, I do think that the game is very much one of those that gets significantly better the more you play it with the same group and one that makes it easyfor people to bounce off of hard. I'll explain: when the game is first set out and the rules taught it appears very much to be a Euro/4X game. You gather resources, get upgrades, hire (or brith) new meeples, explore new sections of archipelago and build an empire. If you play it like a straight Euro game it isn't great: everything is slow and resource gathering is inefficent/can feel impossible, you don't have enough actions and the traitor (although they are definitely the 'good' or at least 'best' player morally speaking) seemingly has the easiest time rallying the native peoples to overthrow their colonial oppressors and bring the game to a premature end. (On a side-, but important, note, the other glaring flaw of this game is that it very much puts the players in the role of the bad guys casually exploiting an island and its people, and while within my group of friends we are pretty aware of this and use it to spark discuss and comment on how awful we are I can absolutely see this being a deal-braker for some and I wouldn't blame them in the slightest.)

Rant over, the problem with the way the game presents itself is that it is in reality a negotiation and deal-making game much more that it is a Euro-game. The way we have found it plays best, is when everyone is cutting deals and trading with each other while trying to get an edge. The semi-cooperative aspect really comes to life when you are negotiating who is going to use their hard earned resources to deal with the current crisis and how much you are going to pay them for it. The engine building side takes off when players are trading freely, as this is a free action, and so instead of having to use all your actions to collect 1 stone, 2 cows and 2 wood, you instead use one action to collect 8 pineapples and then trade them to get everything you need from other players. When you are trying to work out who is the 'traitor' and then working together (while of course trying not to make any real sacrifices yourself) to economically stifle that player and taking over their 'territory' (no one really owns anything in the game which is amazing) to limit their influence that is is when the game takes off and is a non-stop joy. However, the game doesn't mudge you to do these things at all, it is very much a sandbox, and while I love that aspect in many ways I can see how other people might try it once, not like it and then never bother again. So while I could say that they are just 'playing it wrong' and blame other players instead of the game. I think it is a legitimate critiscm of the game that it hasn't made how it wants to played clear, either mechanically or otherwise, and as such has made itself less accessible than it could have been. 

However, I adore this game, and whenever I teach it I make a point of highlighting these aspects. It still usually takes people at least until the second game to really grasp what makes the game tick, but once they do I've had so many people fall in love with it.

Supporter30 days ago

I'm gonna go with the typical interview question where you say a weakness is actually a strength haha...

#Root is too awesome, so everyone always want to play it, which makes it hard to get other games to the table.

Supporter30 days ago

Lol Scott. Great answer except if I was interviewing you I would be less than impressed. 

Owner30 days ago

Lol giving me flashbacks when I first went through round of interviews...

I do wonder which game will eventually take that spot for you :D

Supporter29 days ago

I do to.  Right now I think #Root will hold strong but we will see how #Dune goes once I get that out.  I still need to share my first impressions of #Pax Pamir (Second Edition) (spoiler alert, short review... it was AWESOME!)

Owner24 days ago

Why am I only seeing this now?! (I looked through your recent comments after seeing your comment about playing #Pax Pamir (Second Edition) in my "which rulebook have you read recently" post)

I knew you'd love it so I'm glad :D

Supporter30 days ago

Man, Trent must've been really strict when he was bringing you on board. 

Owner24 days ago

Actually, it was super easy, barely an inconvenience!

(Hope someone gets this reference)

28 days ago

#Ora et Labora - WHY are there not more cards!?!? While I do enjoy Uwe's other games, why do they get more deck expansions but not this one? This could easily be my favorite Rosenberg game if there just more variablity in the cards.

Premium User30 days ago

I love #Power Grid but the last time we played it really hit home problems between phase 2 and 3 of the game.  People making more money are happy to sit there making more money.  So a player behind has to push to start phase 3 which means they end up going last, with less money, and end up missing lots of juicy build options to the other players as soon as phase 3 starts. I am hoping to try out the new rules next time to see if they help a bit.

Premium User30 days ago

#Wingspan - I feel there need to be some "free" options for reducing the R&D of teh birds that come out.  We still create a "tray" of 6 birds to compensate for this.  I am beginning to wonder if some of the endgame objective are underscored.  In general, it seems like going for objectives will now provide the points necessary to complete with a solid engine.

#Anachrony - has a good deal of setup which means I don't get it out as much as I'd like; same with #Gloomhaven , #Viticulture: Essential Edition

#Heaven & Ale - ends sooner than I'd like.  I always want another turn!

 

Supporter30 days ago

How'd you acquire#Anachrony? It's one I'm really interested in but to get the solo stuff seems very expensive. 

Premium User30 days ago

My wife bought the base game for me a few years ago. It comes with the solo board. I traded for the Exosuit Commander Pack later on.

Owner30 days ago

Surprised about Viticulture! I find it to be relatively low setup time. I should probably store all of the components separately for each player so that it speeds it up even more. I think got an organizer that leaves everything in trays for players to use from right away.

I remember looking at Anachrony and thinking that it has a lot going on haha

30 days ago

#Gloomhaven - The biggest flaw IMO, was the storyline.  I was really hard to remember between sessions which quest line lead to which scenario.  I'm really hoping #Frosthaven will make the story easier to follow.

#Pandemic Legacy: Season 1 - You can only experience it for the first time once.  :P

#War of the Ring: Second Edition - The rulebook could really be improved.  It's hard to find things in it.

Owner30 days ago

Gloomhaven's theme didn't strike a chord with me. I've only gone through the first two scenarios in Jaws of the Lion and while I like it since I don't have many games with story elements, the generic fantasy didn't grab me. Given its mechanisms, I feel like it could easily be adapted into popular video game IP's out there.

Supporter30 days ago

Hmm. It's not exactly generic fantasy. It's quite unique in that they don't really have any of the traditional races. Maybe the lore is lacking in JoTL?

30 days ago

I was just going to say that. #Gloomhaven is definitely not generic fantasy.  In fact, that's one of the strong points of the theme.  It's a unique world with unique classes and races that aren't found anywhere else.  I'm really glad it isn't based on an existing IP.

Supporter29 days ago

Exactly. Generic fantasy is like Orc Barbarian and Elf Ranger. There is none of that in Gloomhaven. Everything is quite unique. 

Supporter31 days ago

I am with and #Scythe. I do love it, but, there are some faction/player-mat imbalances in game. I do objectively consider it a flaw. But, I also really don't mind. If I get poor pairing, I just consider it a challange.

I will mention #Fief: France 1429 as a great game with some flaws. In particular I hate how the even cards can seem to often just freeze one guy up. I also really don't like how limited the mills in the game are.

 

31 days ago

Haha I just read your reply to my comment in which I talked about the severe faction/player-mat imbalance in #Scythe. Without rehashing too much, the competitive scene has a tier list for the factions crossed with mats and it goes from F-tier all the way to SS, with each tier loosely worth I think about 5 coins in score. This has led the current "metagame" to pre-game bidding for whatever combos come up, which can force some really interesting adaptations in strategy, but also requires a certain level of experience to wield properly.

A common issue with some of my favorite games like #Deception: Murder in Hong Kong and #Cosmic Encounter is a high amount of input randomness (in the case of these games, random card draw). Both these games depend on players to balance the randomness of the cards drawn, which can lead to some incredibly clever plays but just as often can lead to some less-than-stellar game experiences.

#Sherlock Holmes Consulting Detective: The Thames Murders & Other Cases is a fantastic game with a frustrating scoring method. The game tries to encourage players to make some logical leaps and refrain from dawdling, but the general consensus is that "beating" Sherlock in a case requires some truly hasty detective work. I mean, Sherlock's methods may be effective but they would likely not be considered thorough detective work in a court of law. Following leads is a really fun part of the game, and trying to do as little of it as possible to "win" is a good example of the "fun thing" and the "right thing" not being fully aligned.

Owner30 days ago

How many factions are there in Scythe?? It's awesome whenever a fanbase gets that passionate about a game. How did you get familiar with the competitive scene?

30 days ago

So nearly all my exposure to the game is through the Digital Edition, which has the base 5 factions and 2 expansion factions, which determine character and mech abilities. There are also 7 player mats which determine your action layout and turn order. So I'm used to playing with 49 possible combinations. As far as I know, the factions from the Rise of Fenris have not been incorporated into the current popular tier list.

I'm not super involved in tournaments but after playing a few games online I was interested to see what "good" play was like (because it wasn't coming from me lol) and that's when I stumbled onto the tier list posted by FOMOF, a highly ranked player in the Digital Edition who also has a YouTube channel with great videos. Also recommend Joydivision's YouTube channel.

Supporter30 days ago

With all expansions I believe there are 9 factions. But you also combine the faction board with an action board each game. There are loads of actions boards leading to tons of combos. Some are very broken feeling. 

31 days ago

Wow, I did not know that about Scythe! We'd never play enough to be able to tell a difference, probably, but that's pretty interesting that the competitive scene is active enough to work all of that out.

30 days ago

I think the silver lining here is that people loved the game to the point of discovering its flaws, and even then continued to love it and find ways to make those flaws interesting. In that way, board games are a little like video games back in the day before constant patching. Board games can have some mass appeal but also may attract a dedicated group of fans who find a way to take the game to the next level and keep discovering new things years after the game's release, even without updates. Biggest video game parallel that comes to mind is Super Smash Bros. Melee, a game from three generations back that is also unbalanced but nevertheless is constantly evolving because its fan base just keeps digging deeper and deeper.

Supporter30 days ago

Yeah, that's really awesome. I love it when people learn all these different things about the game.