International Ludigang #04 – September 2020

What games do the International Ludigang members dislike while everyone else seem to love them?

Do you recognize the feeling? Everybody is raving about a particular game while you are dumbfounded and really can’t understand the appeal. Let’s find out what popular games the Internatioinal Ludigang members seem to keen to avoid.

Click on the person of your choice to read what they have to say on the subject.

visuel ludigang French ludigurl
visuel ludigang French Siegfried
visuel ludigang French Rudy
visuel ludigang French yo
visuel ludigang French yo



The game that I really hate while everybody else seem to love it is the immensely famous UNLOCK!

So why am I so dispassionate about UNLOCK? Well, first of all I am decidedly unenthusiastic about the whole idea of a one-shot game, it is just not satisfying enough. I am all about the thorough discovery of a co-op game, to be able to explore its inner depth, to first lose badly, and then getting progressionally better until you finally achieve sweet victory. But UNLOCK doesn’t contain any of these preferred ingrediencies, instead there is a stopwatch that make it impossible to enjoy the game even a second more than necessary. And when you’re done the game is useless to you and will just simply go on the sale pile.

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But initial skepticism aside, I still wanted to experience UNLOCK to get a better grasp of the game and to understand what all the fuzz was about. Verdict: A DEFINITE PASS! The card deck is small which makes it hard for all the players to quickly understand the meaning of each card. And with more than two players it will be difficult for everyone to have full access to important information and to be able to handle the game components without getting bothered. But as I prefer investigation games where multiple brains work simultaneously in tandem to find the solution, this “gathering of information one by one each turn” nonsense that UNLOCK encourages really rub me the wrong way, the process feels inelegant if not straight up awkward. Additionally, I take great pleasure in the analog aspect of board gaming so when being forced to place a phone in the middle of the table I got somewhat provoked, to put it mildly.

In summation, I will not deny that UNLOCK succeeds in delivering a true escape game experience, but I neither appreciated the components, the one-shot aspect, nor the fact that a digital device gets center stage.

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The fact that there is a board game suitable for every board game group, setting and timeframe is thing I really like about this hobby. My board game taste is also very diverse. So it rarely happens that I refuse when someone suggest “Hey, do you wan play X?”. When it does happen however, the shock and horror of the others is evident on their faces.

One game I refuse to play is Terra Mystica. It was first released in 2012 and is still popular today. It’s a super solid territory builder with a very interesting resource management system. What turns me off however is the fact that at the start of the game you need to choose your starting position on the map. From there on onwards you have to expand your territory and build structures. Choosing the wrong spot will make the game excruciatingly annoying for you.

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I hate that people who have played the game multiple times have a big advantage in knowing which starting spot is better. I hate seeing those smug faces when I randomly choose a disadvantage hex. I hate it even more when they kindly suggest “are you sure you want to start over there? That might not be smart..” Writing this piece made me realize I steer clear of all games that have this freakishly annoying element. Like for example Trains by AEG. I’ve played it once when me and my boyfriend just started dating. With all good intentions he suggested “Here let me help you, because it seems you’re picking a really bad spot”. I told him “I can make my own decisions, thank you” and learned after one round my strategy would derail soon.

Luckily there’s an easy fix that some game designers already implement: modular, variable game boards! It took the designers of Terra Mystica 5 years to see their flaw and correct it: along came Gaia Project in 2017! Even experienced players will yet sweat again when asked to choose their starting position on a game board layout they’ve never seen before. I beat two experienced Terra Mystica players in my first game of Gaia Project and I felt whole once again 😊 !

Find Eline on Instagram

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Everdell? Never-again-dell

I have a secret. I hated my one and only play of Everdell. Everdell, you know, the game that seems to get nothing but love and looks so adorable with the cute anthropomorphic animals, the overproduced resource tokens and the clumsy tree. Tantalized by all the praise at the first release of this game, I was happy to join a 4-player game at my game club, about 2 years ago. I got excited while the rules were explained to us (all new to the game). It has tableau building, worker placement, combos – I love all these things in boardgames! But when we got to playing and the first few rounds passed, my initial excitement dropped rapidly. I felt like the cards I needed to pull off my combos never came around, or they came around as soon as my turn was over, only to be gone by the time the turn came back to me.

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I could spot the strategies and synergies and was desperate to get something to work, but it just didn’t. I ditched cards trying to get other cards for other combos – all to no avail. My lack of luck of the draw became all the more frustrating as the player before me in turn order seemed to have all the luck in the world: every turn she got to grab the cards she needed (even that controversial husband-wife combo), making her tableau grow quickly while I sat there grinding my teeth and trying to salvage some enjoyment of this game. In the end, it just felt repetitive and I disconnected while I just went through the motions.

When the game was finally over, I felt disappointed, but I also realized that maybe it was just a case of bad luck. But then again, do I want that amount of luck (good or bad) to be in a game? Not if it takes 2 hours to play. I felt like most of the game I was fishing for certain cards so I could improve my tableau. The worker placement part of the game is just okay, not much challenge there either. I realize this is just a flawed first impression, and I might have been willing to try this game again, if horses dragged me to the table, but I don’t own it myself and the friend who brought the game to game club felt the same disappointment as I did and traded it away after 1 or 2 more plays.

Does this mean I think Everdell is a bad game? No. I don’t feel like I’m in a position to judge that by just one (bad) play. The only thing I’m certain of, is that I didn’t enjoy it, it just didn’t click, and I don’t feel the urge to play again, not when I know there are so many other games that I have enjoyed, from the first round of the first play. I’d rather play those. To each their own… the world would be a boring place if we all felt the exact same way about every game.

Find Stephanie on Instagram

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This monthly topic is a total no brainer to me, even if I never really imagined that Terraforming Mars wouldn’t click for me because it should have so many selling points that usually work.

The space race theme, card drafting mechanism, tile placement and engine building elements all mixed together but the final result never impressed me. Despite all the good feelings I had reading about this game before playing it for the first time, I barely enjoyed every game so far for some different reasons, here we go. First of all, despite its no dice, just cards, cubes and tiles the game is less deterministic as it seems, it has A LOT of luck involved in the game!

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I know you should know the game better before beginning to build your engine properly, but the very first games of Terraforming Mars could be very stressful waiting for the right card to pop out, so you are just watching them passing by without any idea if you’re doing some good moves or not. Especially for new players, it’s very difficult to gauge the value of many cards. You can pick a card that gives Victory Points for « pets » without any idea how many cards generate pets or what resources you need to do it! There are so many (probably way too many cards!) in the base game deck and an experienced player has a huge advantage over newbies!

Another big let down to me is the overall artwork and general production. Player mats are very thin and flimsy, plus metal cubes can easily move around the various sections of the mat if someone hit it will be very challenging trying to rebuild its resource situation! In addition, i barely remember many games uglier than Terraforming Mars especially when I take a look at most of the Space themed games, usually they are so rich in details and sense of atmosphere. The graphic on cards is also very generic and unappealing to me and with so many cards to look at it is really a shame.

But my main problem with Terraforming Mars is that it doesn’t pull its weight. The game is too long for what it offers and personally quite tedious to play. Every turn just takes longer and longer to play with very low sense of growth. You are on your own for a couple of hours (and more and then everybody discovers who won by counting the victory points (mostly with combo cards) during the last turn.

I’m still pretty amazed when I hear someone praise this game and the fact that it’s ranked so high in the BGG shocks me every time! I actually never played Terraforming Mars with any expansion so I don’t know if they fix these aspects in any way, I’m just talking about base game so maybe in future I can change my opinion about it, maybe a little bit!

Find Ian on Instagram

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When I entered this wonderful hobby of ours, the number 1 spot on the boardgamegeek ranking was a pretty big deal, and deservedly so. The initial titleholders Paths of Glory, Tigris & Euphrates, Puerto Rico, Agricola and Twilight Struggle are all games I adore, and I have felt that their top ranking was thoroughly justified. But then Pandemic appeared followed by Pandemic Legacy: Season 1, which pushed Twilight Struggle down from the BGG throne. And from that moment I suddenly was a stranger in a strange land, because I can’t for the life of me understand the point of playing a co-op.

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The two most important aspects in gaming, from my point of view, are competition and interaction. And it is the dynamic between these two facets that create the tension, the allure, and the excitement that keeps me interested and engaged. In Pandemic this dynamic is completely gone and has instead been replaced by the equivalent of a school project where we need to get our paper in on time. But instead of the rather powerful incitement of getting decent grades in school, the only motivation I can think of for trying to cure some brightly colored diseases in Pandemic is that I don´t have to endure this meaningless venture again. Unless, Heaven forbid, we are playing Pandemic Legacy

Find Pontus on Instagram

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