12 Things I Don't Like In My Board Games - cutlassboardgame.com

12 Things I Don’t Like In My Board Games

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What makes you like a game? Or dislike a game for that matter? In this video I went over the 12 things that are likely contributors to whether I like or dislike a board game. Not guarantees by any means, but they are generally factors I dislike and why.

Variability in Games –

0:00:00 – Introduction
0:01:27 – Variability
0:03:37 – Cascading Failure
0:05:39 – Luck In Heavy Games Without Mitigation
0:07:52 – Choosing Points Over Fun
0:10:04 – Excessive Take That
0:11:58 – Finishing Blow
0:13:20 – Campaign Games
0:15:10 – Fixed Number of Rounds
0:17:48 – Not Enough Player Agency
0:21:03 – Small Increments of Reward
0:23:43 – The Work To Reward Ratio
0:26:05 – Bad Art & Components
0:27:43 – Wrapping Up

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  1. I wonder… these bad game mechanics are known for years. Why are those games even published in modern games?

  2. Hi Alex. I have only been board gaming for a couple of years and I sometimes feel like I can’t articulate why I don’t like some games. This can often result in patronising comments on forums that usually allude to one being more educated and that’s why I didn’t ‘get’ the game. We are almost identical in terms of some of the reasons we don’t like games and I’d like to ask if you could recommend some of your favourite games. You could argue I should know if I follow your channel but I came here due to your review of Lords of Hellas and will be subscribing now 🙂

  3. Really appreciate this video. I always say that a great reviewer isn’t someone who likes the same games as you (because that is almost impossible) but rather a reviewer who does a great job of explaining why or why not they like a game.

  4. I value mastery and variability almost equally. I love both styles.I hate cascading failure with no way to catch back up in a long game IF that failure had any chance involved.I'm with you on the luck thing EXCEPT for games like TI4 or Nemesis (or Eclipse 😄) as those are much more negotiation or cinematic experience.I LOVE final blow if it's all strategy and no luck. And I love the math/cost-benefit analysis of games, so fixed round optimization puzzles are actually fun for me.Gotta agree on Mage Knight being a lot of work, but to me the reward is waaaay worth it. Way worth it. I've heard Game Brains ask "is the juice worth the squeeze".

  5. My biggest dislike is really badly written rule books, books with no contents or index page etc.

  6. couldnt stop looking at that dented corner of Vagrantsong

  7. The points v fun struggle in Oceans is good, where the deep cards are tremendously powerful but require points to spend. If anything I overspend on fun and leave myself point-poor

  8. Do you ever find yourself being overly critical on board games because of these points? Or do you find yourself remaining objective during the play/experience of the game?

  9. Interesting video and I agree with a lot of these.

    But what is this "game mechanic" repair person you keep talking about? 😛 #DefinitionOfMechanic

  10. 23:00 the pokey mans game does that. Every health and damage is in increments of ten, and they're not subtle about it. But the kids want their Pikachu to do 80 points of damage rather than 8

  11. This would be one of the reasons you prefer "Cubitos", to "Quacks of Quedlinburg" Quacks has a set number of rounds, while in Cubitos the length of the game depends on the pace of the players.

  12. What you just said about Dominion tells me that you haven’t played Dominion that much.

    The whole “all you need to do is buy gold” just ain’t true.

  13. On your point about small increments of gain, I think that Clans of Caledonia might be guilty of that.

  14. Thanks for this discussion, I finally have a name for something I hate in games lack of "Player Agency". I have this gripe with Solomon Kane the illusion of agency but in most cases it felt like it was on track and not fun. It is also the reason I really like Unsettled, even though I do not like co-ops, is because players have a lot of agency.

  15. Sometimes bad art really lends itself to the game. Obviously it depends on the game, but sometimes I really dig an old school looking game with really bad art

  16. I particularly dislike the effect in multiplayer competitive games when player who has no chance of winning ends up "picking" the winner in the end, e.g. by conflicting with second best player or in any other way (like selecting specific target they want to achieve but ignoring losses in any other dimension which benefits one player). This happens in many Ameritrash games but also in area control classics (that I strongly dislike btw) like Game of Thrones.

    Another aspect that I HATE in multiplayer competitive games is not controling the "outside" social dynamics of the game in the form of making alliances etc. Multiplayer competitive games usually involve some alliance making (I don't attack you, you leave me this area but I do not enter in your area etc), however not that many games transform it into a core mechanic. This, however, SHOULD be a core mechanic if alliance making is important for how the gameplay unfolds. That's why for instance I like Rising Sun with the "tea" ceremony mechanic that incentivizes and in some cases forces players to make pacts between themselves.

    I actually like fixed turns because I dislike another element – games that drag for so long you cannot finish them. I personally believe that designers do not think enough about duration of the games.

  17. I dislike a game saying “plays up to X players” but really it’s only good with 2 or 3 or whatever

  18. and yet you are a fan of Food Chain Magnate– that violates a number of these rules

  19. Have you played princes of the renasonce? It's an old game but got rereleased. The set up is almost the same each time but every game is always different… You have to always adapt to everyone else's actions.

  20. I would argue on pinning this to your main youtube page. This a clear "know your reviewer" disclaimer that everyone should have!

  21. I wish you were a little more specific as far as referencing what you mean for each game. Fir example you say vagrant song has i obvious choices but don’t give an example. Are you referring to the skills? Going for the rituals?

  22. I agree on the Cascading Failure. There are some games (Talisman – like) get to the point where if you fail, you'll get too far behind and have a low chance of winning. As far as the Set number of rounds, I don't mind, as long as it is balanced. Some of the round numbers you get to the end an you're wishing there were more. But some, you're getting to the end and you wish it would end sooner. But one that I don't think you covered that is on my list is "No risk for death". Some games if you character dies, and there is no penalty, then some people will just play with little to no thought. "oh well, I died, let me just move my piece back to the start", as opposed to "oh crap I'm about to die, I'll loose everything I worked for…..let me think about my next move" . My main concern on this is that sometimes, their "respawn" puts them in a decent position for their next move. I used to not keep score when I played Racquetball, I just wanted to play. A friend of mine taught me, you need to keep score, otherwise you won't go for the tough ones. And he was right, without the risk of loosing a point, I wasn't playing at my best. The risk needs to be there.

  23. I play the same games with three distinct groups of people, with different capabilities for understanding and retaining rules. I am far more likely to invest in games that have different levels of variability built in to the same game. I couldn't do a 70 page rule book, because I would have to teach it three times, which would kill me.

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