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Thursday, June 24, 2010

Variant: Underrated Games


One of the nicer aspects of BoardGameGeek (the mega-resource for gaming) is that you can review the rating for each game.  Every user of the site can rate games on a scale of 1 to 10 (with five being 'meh').  The aggregate score is caluclated and you can quickly pull up a game you're interested in and see what the gamers have been rating it. 

Overall, it's a nice feature.  And you'll rarely be disappointed with a game rating above 7 or so.  But, sometimes, I find myself a gem of a game that, nevertheless, doesn't get much love from other gamers - whether online or in person. 

The one that sticks out in my mind is Munchkin.  Munchkin is a devious little game where you and a group of adventurers travel through a comical dungeon looking for treasure.  It also offers a lot of back stabbing and spite throwing.  Munchkin has numerous expansions and several theme spin-offs.  However, the original Munchkin is rated below a 6 on BGG, and rated lower than any other version of the franchise.  And some of my real life gamer buddies do not enjoy the direct attacks that are so flagrant in this game. 

Since I've played more than my fair share of D&D, the deliciously pun-fueled cards really strike a chord.  I enjoy reading the cards and running from the Plutonium Dragon as much as I like the game itself.  Perhaps non-D&D players are missing out on an essential part of the experience. (Stay tuned for a full review of Munchkin).

What about you?  What game do you enjoy that doesn't seem to get much love from your friends or the board gaming community?


  1. Here's my beef with Munchkin...

    It's super fun the first few times you play, when everyone is getting their bearings and getting used to the silliness.

    As soon as people know how the game works and start trying to win, then it goes to hell. It ends up dragging on forever as everyone piles on against whoever looks like they might pull ahead, and it's a one step forward two steps back all night.

    Of my games, I really like Race for the Galaxy and Formula D, and none of my friends can get into them. But then I can't get into the BSG game or Shadows Over Camelot. So it's a tradeoff.

  2. I hear what you're saying (typing?) on Munchkin. My group plays it only occasionally now, so that allows the silliness to creep back in. Plus, we don't mind the final assault where everything gets thrown at the leader. I like it even. You have to time your victory just right - or succeed despite the odds. Usually, after three or four attempts, everyone is about out of spite cards and someone can win easily.

    Race for the Galaxy is on my want to play list. I hear good things. And its interesting that you don't like both BSG and Shadows. Do you not like the secret team aspect of the game?

  3. That's actually a commonality I hadn't noticed, but no...BSG just seems to have tried too hard to cram in too many elements from the show and it made it a cluttered game, plus it seems like someone always spends most of their time in the jail

    Shadows I just really don't like the mechanics of how it's played, the card system of laying down xyz cards to accomplish stuff just never gels with me