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Author Topic: Most Criminally Disappointing Game?  (Read 7676 times)


  • Ghost of the Navigator
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Most Criminally Disappointing Game?
« on: December 22, 2011, 03:21:22 PM »
Kinda companion thread to the others I started a while back.

What I'm looking for here are those games that maybe lived up to the hype with every other gaming group, and was everything you wanted it to be, but after playing the first and subsequent sessions the game just left you feeling ill and empty inside. Now I know this will be very subjective, but I'd like your opinions to be at least backed up with something tangible.

I'm looking for that game in which you read the reviews, adore the designer or publisher, bought the rules, liked it and started buying up the other books in the line, only to find when you sat down and ran the game, it left you cold and wondering exactly what you're meant to do with the game.

Essentially the game sounded good in principle, but a dead duck when it came to presenting it at the table. The other players may have bought into it as well, sweep up in the hype.

Now maybe your players agreed with you, and you collectively dumped the game within a few sessions, never to return, or perhaps they loved it despite you hating the game to death.

Has this ever happened to you?
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Most Criminally Disappointing Game?
« Reply #1 on: December 22, 2011, 04:10:41 PM »
DC Adventures/M&M 3rd edition.  Also Icons!

I don't believe it to be a coincidence that both were designed by the same person.
« Last Edit: December 22, 2011, 04:34:35 PM by daniel_ream »
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Most Criminally Disappointing Game?
« Reply #2 on: December 22, 2011, 04:12:55 PM »
Aces & Eights for me. All those detailed systems slow the game to a crawl. Not exactly a desired feature of a fast paced western game.

Serious Paul

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Most Criminally Disappointing Game?
« Reply #3 on: December 22, 2011, 04:14:24 PM »
I guess maybe I'm a game optimist because I just haven't really had this problem. But I chalk part of that up to having played the same game for twenty years now-with a few small breaks; and low expectations on my part of RPG's. My buy in to make a game fun is just pretty low. A few good ideas is all I really need.


  • SeƱor Wences
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Most Criminally Disappointing Game?
« Reply #4 on: December 22, 2011, 04:17:21 PM »
The closest this happened to me is AD&D 3e, however I never bought the materials. I worked in a game store at the time of release and all my coworkers and friends already bought a copy of everything as it was coming out.

I remember as we went through the rule changes i found things I always wished previous editions had. A good example is spell caster Concentration. Another is tactical maneuvers game focus, with more minis. Melee being harder to disengage (AoO and 5' steps to this day trigger mild nausea). Initiative being rolled before actions declared, greater HP progression, evened out XP tables, etc. Everything I thought I wanted in a new D&D.

Boy, was I wrong. In practice it perpetually devolved our games into endless metagaming bitchfests with agonizing interludes of spell caster dominance playing Belle of the Ball co-GM whenever the poor GM fell into the Rules As Written clutches. And then there's the power inflation that became more arcane in its prerequisite system mastery, with its accompanying ever-pervading fear of Inflation-as-All-Consuming-Oblivion chasing down parties into optimized builds as some sort of hyper-evolution. Oh god, the pain...

I can honestly say I've never played a fun game of D&D 3e. Not one, and damn have I tried. I can't think of an RPG I hate more. It's absolutely true when they say be careful what you wish for, you might just get it.
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Bloody Stupid Johnson

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Most Criminally Disappointing Game?
« Reply #5 on: December 22, 2011, 04:19:09 PM »
Same for me with DC Heroes. I was revved up about it after reading a review in Dragon, but the one time we tried it, for us it ended up with most of the session being point-spending, then too many tables in actual play.
I suppose things might have been different if they hadn't sold out of 2nd ed (which supposedly had this "action wheel" instead of tables) and made people play pregenerated heroes :(


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Most Criminally Disappointing Game?
« Reply #6 on: December 22, 2011, 04:22:18 PM »
Mutants & Masterminds.

I played in  couple of cool convention games and bought second edition to use in some convention games of my own. Did two but the rules never got a good flow in game and I find character creation a chore. So the next game in my superhero series will be written for BRP instead.

I'm sure there's a good game in there, especially if you really get the rules under your skin, but I simply don't have the patience for it. So all in all I found M&M a disappointment.
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Most Criminally Disappointing Game?
« Reply #7 on: December 22, 2011, 04:27:29 PM »
OSRIC is to me.   It is nothing but a knockoff...


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Most Criminally Disappointing Game?
« Reply #8 on: December 22, 2011, 04:39:28 PM »
4E Essentials D&D.

Initially I thought 4E Essentials would be easier to play than the original Heinsoo 4E D&D.

But after playing it for several months late last year, I found it was just as tedious to play as Heinsoo 4E.  Playing a knight, slayer or rogue was not much better than playing similar Heinsoo 4E counterparts.  Low level combat encounters were still taking 45 minutes to over an hour to adjudicate.

In the end, it was another waste of 30 bucks (for the first two 4E Essentials books).


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« Reply #9 on: December 22, 2011, 04:41:47 PM »
This is a toss-up for me.

Hackmaster - the alleged jokes and humor really really really detracted from what might have been a stellar re-representation of AD&D.  YES I KNOW THEY HAD TO PUT THEM IN THERE.  

Mekton Zeta/Zeta+ - I was so looking forward to a nice, cleaned up Mekton+MTS system and instead they threw everything out and started over and nothing was worth a fig.

Castles & Crusades.  Yes, I know I wrote for the system and worked with the Trolls, and this isn't a slight to them personally in the least, but I found the Prime system onerous, I didn't care for the art or layout, the adherence to ascending ACs, the saves system, and on and on.  Yes, I am told, but you can just flip the AC system, drop Primes, reuse AD&D's saves and...yeah but man at the end of the day why don't I just stick with what's already there?  Hackmaster and C&C might have been there the firstest but as re-presentations of AD&D, OSRIC had the mostest (and I don't think it's perfect by a long shot).

Mcbobbo sums it up nicely.

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Most Criminally Disappointing Game?
« Reply #10 on: December 22, 2011, 04:59:45 PM »
Gamma World 6E/7E
We always new radiation didn't work that way. I knew when I was 8. That doesn't mean we cannot enjoy the fantasy of mutant irradiated shapeshifting plants, or eye laser shooting racoons or what have you. Its sad that exempting the need to use D&D spells, the Omega World article did them both better.
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Most Criminally Disappointing Game?
« Reply #11 on: December 22, 2011, 05:06:47 PM »
I haven't really had this happen... usually, if I'm not going to like a game I'll realize it long before it gets on the table.
Deadlands/Savage Worlds did kind of surprise me in how I didn't care for them despite high expectations (that were based on little more than hearsay).


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Most Criminally Disappointing Game?
« Reply #12 on: December 22, 2011, 05:20:32 PM »
When I read the thread title I thought that "criminally" meant "disappointing due to either malpractice or active intent". In this case my answer is straight: D&D 4E. However the enthusiastic reviews and the specific kind of hype that surrounded it were the very first signs that it was going to be stupid, so it is not an answer to your question (*).

Hmmmm... strange... the only game that qualifies, for me, is Risk - which is not an RPG at all, of course, but which is up there with Monopoly in popularity and still makes my nose bleed with boredom and me put baffled question marks around his success.

Partially GURPS 3E, which I actually loved and played a lot, but that suffered from fatal idiosyncrasies that jumped on you on the most unexpected moments and had to be house-ruled to hell before the game became fun again.

And partially MERP: great fluff (Moria!), but I.C.E. choice of RM Lite for the crunch was a disgrace.

Pathfinder, now that I think about it. Which is a bit of a paradox, since I'm happy that 3.5E lives on, viva Pathfinder and stuff. But they didn't really fixed the problems of the earlier game, and the Pathfinderunfanboys agree that "The biggest open beta-testing evah'" was a little bit a total farce. At the end the best solution, if one has 3.5E on the shelf, is to download the free conversion booklet and maybe buy the PDF of the main book, integrate the best bits (like the skills' streamlining, the streamlining of combat maneuvers and the new cantrips rules) and live happily ever after.

(*) I still consider the $$$s I spent for the two FR books - bought in Washington D.C. while vacationing there, read with increasing disbelief over a week, and left in a bin at the airport - as money lost due to malpractice, though.
« Last Edit: December 22, 2011, 06:01:54 PM by Reckall »
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« Reply #13 on: December 22, 2011, 05:29:50 PM »
Quote from: Ancientgamer1970;496723
OSRIC is to me.   It is nothing but a knockoff...

wasn't that the point?  :huhsign:


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« Reply #14 on: December 22, 2011, 05:31:15 PM »
CthulhuTech didn't turn out to be quite what I wanted it to be. Unhallowed Metropolis, either. Supernatural, Serenity--any other great licenses bolted to that Cortex system. I dislike the rules enough that it detracts from play. That doesn't happen with me very often.
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