I’ve seen a lot of games while on this blogging journey. When trying to formulate an opinion on a game, I try to look at every aspect: Cover art, rule book, storage trays, components, replay ability, awards, accurate time ratings, age groups, on and on and on. There are so many details that make a game good or bad, and I try to keep all of them in mind. However, after playing so many games, I have also started to amass a list of things that just really cheese me off. Those small things (and sometimes not so small) things that just make me want to shake the designer, or in some cases, the publisher. So without further ado, here is my list of things that will greatly annoy this reviewer (and likely get you on my bad side).
1.) Giving yourself an award.
Yes, we all know that you think your game is cool. Why else would you have put so much time and money into it? But having your company give your own game a pretty golden seal for your box, well, that’s just lame and deceiving. And I know why you do it, because Americans don’t read boxes. We look at the pretty pictures and take in the visual appeal of the game as a whole. We might even notice that the little gold seal says “Best new game of 2011”, but we don’t usually read the fine print that says who picked this as the best, aka your company. If you need to count on your players being gullible in order to sell your game, it’s already suspect to me. If it’s a good game, why be deceitful?
2.) Giant boxes, small product.
This is another example of preying on the gullibility of Americans. For some reason the American psyche always assumes that bigger is better. That something is worth paying a little more for because it’s bigger. Why would I pay $40 for a card game? But a big board game in a big box? Well, that must be worth $40, right? It sickens me when I see companies prey upon this fact and put nothing more than a deck of cards and some dice into a huge box. Not only is it deceitful, but it takes up valuable space for retailers on their shelves, and for gamers in their closets.
3.) Spaghetti Instructions: “See Section A, Diagram 57, on Page 34”
Rules that are segmented and continually reference other portions of the rules drive me crazy. I call this spaghetti rules, because just like a bowl of spaghetti, it’s difficult to follow each noodle because it’s a tangled mess. I am typically the designated rule reader in my house, and so nothing turns me off faster than rules that continually references parts I haven’t read yet and force you to flip back and forth in the book. I understand this might be necessary occasionally, but if you are doing this two to three times in each section, or even worse, each paragraph, you need to hire someone else to write your rules. “After taking step 6 on the dungeon track (see “dungeon track” on page 15) you roll initiative (see “rolling initiative” on page 3) to determine turn order (see “determining turn order” on page 84) and then proceed to attack the creature (see “attacking” on page 27).” AHHH!! Isn’t that just the most annoying thing you have ever tried to decipher? For me it absolutely is.
4.) Inaccurate play times.
I understand that play times can be a hard thing to decide. I mean, there are always going to be that one run of the game that takes twice as long as what every other run of the game has taken. If you remember a bit from math class, those are called “outliers”. However, those not withstanding, the play time on your box should be relatively close to accurate. But when I sit down to play a two hour game and it suddenly turns into a five hour game, you can bet I’m going to be a bit annoyed. Especially when it continually turns into a five hour game. Play times are put on the box for a reason, if yours are not accurate, don’t list them!
5.) Zero replay ability.
I play each of the games at least three times on average, some more, before I review them. I figure that is only fair given the learning curve involved with any new game. So I find it exceptionally irritating when the game is exactly the same from play to play. While I might not have paid for the game, some other poor shmuck did. Given the cost of games, if I can’t get at least three good games out of it before I’m “over it”, then I don’t feel like anyone is getting their moneys worth. Crappy games with poor replay ability drive away new gamers. I can’t blame them, why would they want to keep gaming if all gaming is like that.
As you can imagine, these are only a handful of my pet peeves. After you play enough games you start seeing these kinds of things pop up everywhere. It’s enough to drive a sane woman absolutely nuts, which may explain a few things.
Have you seen instances of these kinds of annoyances? Please let us know! Our handy-dandy comment box is the perfect place to join the conversation.
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