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Quest List: Most Overrated Games

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Most Overrated Board Games

It’s only appropriate that after discussing the games that don’t get enough love, we focus on the games we think get too much attention. Like I mentioned in the last Quest List, the increase in the number of board games released per year is uncountable compared to 20 years ago. Some games break through the wave of releases and stand tall with universal praise. But not all of those games deserve the praise they deserve.

There are no guidelines for what we consider overrated, unlike the stipulations we set in place prior. We may say that a classic game has aged poorly, or a hyped new release is merely “fine”. To be honest, we may just think a game isn’t as good as everyone else thinks. To note, these are our opinions. Also, if we think a game is overrated, it doesn’t necessarily mean it’s also a bad game or one we hate. Finally, because we may say a game is overrated or even bad doesn’t mean we think lower of those that enjoy it. Board gaming tastes are so different that you may not agree with our reviews or games that we mention in today’s Quest List.

Also, many of us thought of choosing Gloomhaven, but our thoughts on that one are already well documented in our Quick Hits review last year.

Most Overrated Games

Clank! In! Space!

Chosen by Brian W.
Clank In SpaceI’m a fan of the original Clank! that was released in 2016. This is despite the fact that I’m not a big fan of deck builders. But I own it and love playing it. However, I am still confused by the reimplantation of Clank! In! Space! a year later. Aside from the sci-fi theme and changes like the modular boards, escape pods, and bounty hunter cubes, there’s not much else that makes Clank! In! Space! stand apart from the original. Both versions play so similar and use so many of the same mechanics that Clank! In! Space! seems to be nothing more than a reskinned money grab.

2-4 Players • Ages 12+ • 45-90 minutes • $50Get Your Copy

 

 

A Feast for Odin

Chosen by Michelle
A Feast for OdinI cannot understand the appeal of this game for the life of me. You buy stuff, you follow improvement trees to buy better stuff, you cover stuff up. For. Two. Hours. On top of this, the box containing this game is an absurd size and because it comes with so much cardboard, the thing could easily fall on someone and injure them. A Feast for Odin touts some kind of magical experience you’ll have about being a Viking, but I barely had a glance at the life of feeding my people and raising livestock before I was just so bored.

2-4 Players • Ages 12+ • 45-90 minutes • $80Get Your Copy

 

 

Terraforming Mars

Chosen by Dylan
Terraforming MarsI’ve owned this game before. I’ve given it high praise after my first few plays. I continued to like it as a solo game. But with each time I joined up for a multiplayer session, the flaws continued to become more and more apparent. A game of Terraforming Mars is long for what the game does, sometimes taking more than three hours. Many people say that drafting cards is a necessity to lower the amount of luck, but in return adds more time spent playing. There’s also a good number of unnecessary “take that” cards that feel out of place in a lengthy eurogame. Players dictate the end game as their actions are the only way to advance the three lengthy game conditions, and players too often focus on their engines instead of rushing to end the game. And now there are five expansions, which adds bloat to a game that already has a 208-card deck. I understand the appeal of Terraforming Mars, but I don’t understand why players rave about it when there are at least a dozen other card-based engine builders that are better.

1-5 Players • Ages 12+ • 120 minutes • $40Get Your Copy

 

 

Codenames

Chosen by Tony
CodenamesDo you ever get excited to play a game that’s super hyped, and then afterward, think “huh, that’s it”? That was my experience with Codenames. I saw people posting about how it completely changed their game nights, how it was so amazing, and that they ended every game session with a game of it…and I just didn’t get it. The game isn’t bad by any stretch, but I always thought it was just OK. A filler to be played a few times and then forgotten like most party games. I call it my Lil’ Sebastian game. If you are a fan of the TV show Parks & Rec (and you should be), there was an episode in there where the entire town goes bananas over a miniature horse. Outsider Ben Wyatt’s reaction is “It’s just a horse, right?”. That’s kind of my reaction to Codenames. It’s fine, but I don’t get why people were fawning all over it.

2-8Players • Ages 10+ • 15 minutes • $15Get Your Copy

 

 

Scythe

Chosen by Tahsin
ScytheI’m prepared for the rage-filled comments on this one. When the game was first released, I was eager to try it. I played it once, and afterward was undecided. It wasn’t bad, but I didn’t see the excitement and energy others were getting from it. Then I played it again, and again. And…you know where this is going. Nothing. No emotion. No diegetic energy. It’s a collection of mechanisms for Euro-points that betrays the scope of the narrative the game illustrates (not to mention that it makes no sense). When I look at the art of the game and am enthusiastically sold by the re-imagining of turn-of-the-century tech, I don’t see a Euro game of competing resources. I see possibilities for engaging players in stories of adventure and mechanized warfare on the level that Nemesis achieves with the Alien theme. In short…Scythe over-rates itself with promises and fails to deliver.

1-5 Players • Ages 14+ • 90 minutes • $70Get Your Copy

 

 

Sagrada

Chosen by Jason
SagradaI want to let you guys know something about my personality: in most cases, if someone or something gives me a bad impression the first time we interact, I am willing to chance it a second time to see if my opinion changes. Call it the law of averages if you will. I did not, however, want to give that courtesy to Sagrada. In fact, its lack of appeal to me after one game led me to give away my unopened copy at a white elephant gift exchange later that year. The game just didn’t connect with me. I felt somewhat helpless and restricted in my choices. I vaguely remember being towards the end of around and thinking, it literally doesn’t matter what die I select. Nothing is going to help me. I can own that this may have been in part due to my previous poor decisions; if I’m going to be punished this badly late in a game, I’m not going to be enticed to try again. I was ready to throw a brick through a stained-glass window after this.

1-5 Players • Ages 8+ • 30-45 minutes • $40Get Your Copy

 

 

Star Realms

Chosen by Alex
Star Realms BoxUnlike Brian, I am a huge fan of deck builders. Finding all sorts of ways of optimizing the construction of my deck as it evolves over the course of gameplay. Trying to figure out the best combinations and permutations based on the available cards. However, I don’t think that Star Realms, when viewing the whole picture, earns the hype that is built upon it. Yes, it has quick gameplay and simple rules, but that’s really it. I don’t think I’ve played a game where one side hasn’t completely run away with the game (No catch-up mechanic, Tas!), nor do I find any of the strategies or combos particularly interesting or innovative—you’re just hoping the cards you are building your deck towards show up to be available. Is it a fine game? Sure, but not nearly worthy of the glory bestowed on it.

2 Players • Ages 12+ • 20 minutes • $15Get Your Copy

 

 

While only seriously gaming for four years, Dylan acquires, plays, and trades away games at an unprecedented pace. In the time he’s worked to develop his ever-changing taste in games, he recorded and wrote for the podcast Cardboard Reality, which came to an end in October 2019. Before games, Dylan comes from a journalistic background, covering traditional sports and competitive Super Smash Bros for various news sources and websites. Dylan games with his wife, Marianne, and their cat, Squishbutt, who doesn’t actually game because he’s a cat, but sits on the table next to games while they play. Be looking for Squishbutt in pictures posted with some of Dylan’s articles. Some of Dylan’s favorite games include Tigris & Euphrates, Gaia Project and Maria.

12 COMMENTS

  1. Tahsin – no hate from me, I actually agree and clicked on this to see if Scythe would make the list. Just because a game is Overrated doesn’t make it bad, Scythe just has way to much hype for what it is. I think the Steampunk theme, the miniatures, the gorgeous artwork people get a bit blinded and think that should think its a classic game. I personally own it and will probably keep it, but it is definitely one of the most overrated games of the past 5 years.

  2. So…first time posting…but I had to chime in. Most of these I agree on…especially Scythe & Terraforming Mars. But Brian, I think you’re WAY off regarding Clank! In Space. I felt the same initially about CIS until I played it. The depth of play on this one is much more strategic, the fact that you can’t run in and run out like Clank, results in a more planned excursion throughout each play. I think you’re way off in the claim of a re-skinning. Just my two cents…

    • Hi Christian – thanks for the post. and you’re not wrong I have to be honest – I was looking for to CIS but I was greatly disappointed mainly because felt too much like the original Clank!. to me. Maybe I should give it another shot but I’m just so old and bitter. 🙂

      • I agree with Christian – I played the original CLANK and enjoyed it, but the modular board of CIS and the need to gather nodes in 2/3 of the areas before getting the final item leads to a game that doesn’t favor experienced players as much. The space theme is well implemented, overall, and the cards are different enough to be interesting – particularly the interactions between the different factions.

        Funny enough, I agree with everything else on the list that I have played. Terraforming Mars is decent, but overly long. Codenames seems decent, but is MUCH better with the Duet cooperative version. I played Sagarda once, and was impressed with how pretty it was and that it could make transparent dice pretty, but was just an okay game. Star Realms is better as an app than a physical game, and as a physical game goes Hero Realms is greatly superior.

  3. Hi Dylan. A question in response to your Terraforming comments. “… there are at least a dozen other card-based engine builders that are better.” I really like card-based engine builders (and Terraforming, but that’s not the point). Could you give me some examples of these in case I am unaware of them?

    • So it really depends on what you are looking for in a card-based engine builder. Some are entirely cards, or only have a board to track points or provide a card market. For that, I would suggest London 2nd Edition, Race for the Galaxy, or Century: Spice Road/Golem Edition.

      If you’re looking for a hybrid mix of cards and a board, I can suggest Bruges, Expedition of Newdale, Ecos: First Continent, or Underwater Cities.

      If you’re looking for one that is a more complex or is worth playing over a couple of hours, I can suggest Food Chain Magnate, Bios Origins Second Edition, or any of the Pax series (Pax Porfiriana, Pax Pamir 1st or 2nd Edition, Pax Renaissance, or Pax Transhumanity).

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