Monday, December 11, 2006

Worst. Game. Ever.

Well, not really.

But these are pretty bad.
This time around, the Apple Pickers simply nominated up to 7 of their most detested games... and those receiving 3 or more votes are listed here. The "winner" had four votes, so you can see that "ugly is in the eye of the beholder" and, probably more important, that there isn't any real consensus on what constitutes the worst game ever.

OTOH, I could never play any of these games again and be a very happy individual.

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13 Comments:

Blogger mark aka pastor guy said...

For the record:
- I own Fluxx & will play it... but for every enjoyable 10 minute game I play of it, there's a 45 minute "march of death" play to match it.
- I have never played Global Survival, but I enjoy torturing Greg Schloesser with its very existence.
- I have not played LCR.
- I actually liked The Game of Life as a kid... maybe it was those cool little cars and/or the spinner. But I'm working very hard to keep it out of my house now. (Of course, thanks to Frank Branham, I have a copy of Happiness, which is the trippy, early 70's self-actualization version of Life, so I guess I'm smoked either way. Bummer.
- I played part of a game of Munchkin not too long after it came out... the first 10 minutes were fun as each new card had funny art and/or funny text, but then the reality of the game set in. At 45 minutes, we all declared that we were done - and we didn't care that no one had won the game.
- I was asked to review Time Control... and after playing the game, chose not to. Why? I was so frustrated by the wasted potential of some very good ideas in a very bad game. Somewhere in there, in the hands of the right developer, is a very nice time travel game. It's just not there right now.

12:25 PM  
Blogger Stephen said...

Even if you used the loosest standards possible, I don't think you could call LCR a game.

LOOSEST STANDARD POSSIBLE = a minimum of one decision (even an obvious one) is made throughout the course of the entire game.

Playing LCR is the equivalent to flipping a coin or rolling a die. Even a lottery system is more of a game because you can choose to buy more tickets to increase your chances of winning.

LCR is, however, a fun experience that I enjoy from time to time.

12:40 PM  
Anonymous W Eric Martin said...

Oh, precious Fluxx -- don't listen to their insults, my darling.

As I've posted elsewhere, I love two-player Fluxx played at lightning speed (mostly with my brother). We finish three games in roughly 10 minutes or a best-of-five series in 15 minutes. No, the game isn't deep, but you can make decisions that affect your chances of winning, unlike Life and LCR. The game often feels like a Magic the Gathering combo deck in which players draw from the same pile and have to decide when's the right time to try to "go off" before the other player does.

12:58 PM  
Blogger Chris Farrell said...

The Game of Life, Muchkin, Fluxx, and LCR are popular whipping boys, but they really aren't that bad (Fluxx and Munchkin even have real choices). None of them were on my nomination list. Looney Labs, the maker of Fluxx, also makes (made?) a game called Q-Turn which, when played with 4 anyway, is far, far worse, in that it can easily put two players in a position where the first person to do anything other than pass loses. Fluxx is just boring; Q-Turn is flat-out broken.

I might make the same comments about Munchkin, LCR, and The Game of Life. They aren't particularly interesting games for the discriminating eurogamer, but they work, and Fluxx and Munchkin have humor, and The Game of Life has a narrative. There are plenty of eurogames that don't even reach this baseline level of functionality.

Global Survival, though. That's a pretty wretched game.

For the record, my picks for worst game were: Nero (Phalanx), Get Out! (Cheapass), Global Powers (Eggert-Spiele), Advanced Civilization (Avalon Hill), Bang! (da Vinci), Q-Turn (Loony Labs), and
Pirate's Plunder (Hillary's Toy Box).

For me, there is only so bad a game can be if it's at least short-ish and you always get to do something on your turn that effects the game, even if it wasn't necessarily a choice.

You had to know I was going to complain even about the choices of worst games :)

1:54 PM  
Blogger Womzilla (Kevin J. Maroney) said...

Am I the only person who sees Get Out! as a parody of Talisman (a far worse game than Munchkin, by the way)?

6:02 PM  
Blogger huzonfirst said...

Yes! My first (last?) choice of Fluxx finishes on top (bottom?)! We're Number Infinity!!! And Mark explains exactly why this game is so wretched--there's an excellent chance it will go on forever (or at least over an hour, which feels like forever with a game this simple).

I've never played Global Survival, LCR, or Time Control, but based on what I've read about them, I'd probably hate them if I had.

I honestly don't think Life is a bad game. It works fine for its intended audience. I enjoyed it as a kid.

And Munchkin is MUCH too long for what it is, but still doesn't rank as an all-time stinker in my book.

Here's what I had to say about the other six games I nominated (I listed them in reverse order, Late Night Top Ten style):

#7: Talisman - the pain goes on and on...

#6: Urland - there's so much wrong with this game, it makes me angry

#5: Tracks to Telluride - high luck, high frustration, high time we tossed it out

#4: Putsch - way too many rules, way too little control, way, way too little fun

#3: Polterdice - screwy rules and about five times longer than it should be

#2: Stock Car Championship Racing - one of the very few games I've left before it finished

7:10 PM  
Blogger Yehuda said...

The problem with this list is that it's really the list of "games that are targeted at people who know better games that are the worst".

For the worst games ever, you really need to think:

- Some crappy plastic dollar board game sold at a dollar store and themed about race cars with a die that doesn't roll properly and pieces that break and are cut improperly in the mold.

- Games that don't appeal to gamers at all, like "we will all share our experience with the afterlife with each other".

- Games that involve real pain, such as when you try to remove your hands before the other person slaps it.

- Psychological relationship games, including passive-aggressive behavior.

- Games played out between countries, militias, and citizens that cost lives.

Yehuda

12:17 AM  
Blogger Chris Farrell said...

- Games played out between countries, militias, and citizens that cost lives.
- Psychological relationship games, including passive-aggressive behavior.


I think these games fall into the "non-proprietary" category for the most part, and so were excluded from consideration.

Certainly there's an issue with the fact that knowledgeable gamers don't get exposed to the true barrel-scrapings. But it can still be an interesting exercise (even though I disagree with the results in this case).

9:35 AM  
Anonymous Joe Huber said...

This category was Mark's secret try to get me to quit; it worked, until he agreed to add disclaimers.

I have no problem with an individual spouting off on games they don't care for, but getting a collective vote on bad games seems way too negative for me. Particularly when decent - as in, games that work, that play to conclusion, and offer some choices - games will inevitably show up. I don't care to play Fluxx, but it's _not_ a horrible game. It may outstay it's welcome sometimes, but it's pleasant enough. And there are aspects of The Game of Life I enjoy. There aren't _enough_ choices - if you want something similar, but with more options, try Bist du Sicher? sometime - but there are some, and I'm more than happy to play it on occasion with my sons. Even Munchkin has something notable - humor - to recommend it; while I don't want to play it, objectively it's not a horrible game.

And - each of these games has a real, sizable audience. Probably a bigger audience than for the majority of the games listed in the various categories here. Just what good does it do to call out these games as the worst ever, other than perhaps to raise a flag to their fans to ignore the rest of the content here?

9:06 AM  
Blogger Kevin_Whitmore said...

Well said, Joe. I wish I had raised objections up front as well. When this subject came up on the voting, I entered my choices, as usual. But then I found myself not liking this entry.

The whole point of the Apples Project, in my eyes, is to applaud good games. Hopefully some people will read this blog and be inspired to check out even a single game we have honored.

I complained early on about some sniping at our winners; and I have largely tried to keep my commentary positive about what I do like, and thus spend less time grousing about winners I don't care for.

I agree with Yehuda - as dedicated gamers we often do avoid the dreck that others may encounter. As a group, we know our hobby and generally make informed buying decisions. Someone who buys a $1.99 discount game at a dollar store is seeing games most of this panel would never even look at.

12:51 PM  
Blogger Chris Farrell said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

3:50 PM  
Blogger Chris Farrell said...

I said this was still an "interesting exercise" above, and perhaps I should further explain myself ...

Several of these categories (perhaps many ...) are somewhat meaningless unless you know the biases of the voters. When I mentioned to a couple friends that Elfenland won the "best Fantasy game" category, they almost choked. Taken out of context, it's easy to misinterpret. But when you provide the context of all the other results, you get something more meaningful. And if you know that a lot of voters hate Fluxxx to the point of voting it into the Worst. Game. Ever. category, even though it's a little hard to defend as the worst game ever, that helps people reading the results.

I've been guilty of taking pot-shots at winners, and I'm not always sure it's a good idea even when I'm just honestly stating my opinion, but I think dialog is useful.

3:53 PM  
Anonymous estoote langobarden said...

There are scads of bad games which we have never seen or have completely forgotten about. Thankfully.

How about giving us some context yourself, Chris? What fantasy games do your friends who choke on Elfenland like?

11:30 AM  

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