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"Worst Game or Period You Ever Got Into..." Topic

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06 Dec 2021 11:36 a.m. PST
by Editor in Chief Bill

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Personal logo Editor in Chief Bill The Editor of TMP Fezian06 Dec 2021 11:34 a.m. PST

You were asked – TMP link

Worst Game or Period You Ever Got Into?

9% of the votes [TIE]: "Flames of War" OR "Warhammer 40,000"

6% [TIE]: "Warhammer Fantasy" OR "Warmachine/Hordes"

5%: "Bolt Action"

cavcrazy06 Dec 2021 12:34 p.m. PST

Bolt Action. I have a very nice British faction for the desert, I have played multiple games. I'm just not that excited about anything after the 19th century.

Personal logo Editor in Chief Bill The Editor of TMP Fezian06 Dec 2021 1:21 p.m. PST

So is it Bolt Action, or WWII? grin

cavcrazy06 Dec 2021 2:00 p.m. PST

Bolt Action WW2.

robert piepenbrink Supporting Member of TMP06 Dec 2021 3:12 p.m. PST

Inevitably, a popularity contest, made worse by the unwillingness to distinguish between game and period. Surely there are hundreds if not thousands of published rules worse than any of the "winners" and almost all of us have played at least one--but few of us the same ones.

Wargamer Blue06 Dec 2021 3:28 p.m. PST

Usually the popular most played games score high in these polls. It's a strange phenomenon.

14th NJ Vol06 Dec 2021 6:41 p.m. PST

I'd have to say Bolt Action too. I have two full platoons early WW2 Brits,two platoons of desert Brits and two platoons of late war Brits plus a dozen vehicles. I play it but just don't like it that much.

rmaker06 Dec 2021 7:43 p.m. PST

Usually the popular most played games score high in these polls. It's a strange phenomenon.

Not at all surprising. As Mr. Piepenbrink points out, these are, inevitably, the most likely to have been played and thus disliked.

smithsco06 Dec 2021 7:44 p.m. PST

I enjoyed Bolt Action at first but it was ruined by a difficult to deal with player for me. US Airborne platoon, US armored cav platoon, and a fallschirmajger platoon have been disposed of.

Perris070706 Dec 2021 7:47 p.m. PST

Worst game that I ever got into was at Historicon many years ago. It was a Crusader game with homegrown rules put on by a guy that was promoting his rules set with a game. It was Arsuf. I was in command of a Muslim wing under the command of Saladin. The player who was "Saladin" charged into the Crusaders and was killed on the second turn of the game. The way the rules were structured the other Muslim commands could not move without orders from our (now deceased) C-in-C. The guy who was originally Saladin left the game after his "death" and we were left to sit there and get slaughtered by the Crusaders who had a grand old time. The game master kept saying "Well this has never happened before!" as the slaughter went on. At least the rules accurately depicted how devastating the death of a commander could be in the Ancient/Medieval era. I still love the period though! I also learned the most important rule of Convention gaming: NEVER let the guy who immediately volunteers to be the leader be the leader!!!

Personal logo Editor in Chief Bill The Editor of TMP Fezian06 Dec 2021 8:00 p.m. PST

I enjoyed Bolt Action at first but it was ruined by a difficult to deal with player for me. US Airborne platoon, US armored cav platoon, and a fallschirmajger platoon have been disposed of.

You could have kept the minis, and changed your ruleset! grin

Personal logo Editor in Chief Bill The Editor of TMP Fezian06 Dec 2021 8:03 p.m. PST

As Mr. Piepenbrink points out, these are, inevitably, the most likely to have been played and thus disliked.

Yes and no. Some well-played rules did not make the list.

Howler06 Dec 2021 8:32 p.m. PST

40K was a money pit. I had three painted armies and then codex changes affected them.

Prince Alberts Revenge06 Dec 2021 8:35 p.m. PST

Worst game was a VBCW game at a convention where the GM gave a cursory overview of very basic rules. Anything not covered by those rules (which was pretty much everything) triggered the umpire the GM to ask the player to roll a die. Without telling us what result was needed, he'd arbitrarily announce the outcome of the die roll. Incredibly painful experience.

mildbill07 Dec 2021 5:48 a.m. PST

A game with home grown rules. The terrain and the figures looked great.. I knew we were in trouble when the judge says the British hit on a 1 or 2 at short range, 3 or 4 at medium range and 5 or 6 at long range. zulus, thousands of them.

Personal logo FlyXwire Supporting Member of TMP07 Dec 2021 6:28 a.m. PST

My worst "rules", we're actually a pretty good set of grand-tactical rules in themselves – Volley & Bayonet.

Why my opinion that they were the worst I have experienced – they're ugly basing recommendations.

The stand conventions recommended in the rules were close to being blocks of figs, either as being regimental or brigade size units. These block-shaped stands are all well and fine today, with so many smaller scale figure lines available, where many lines of miniatures can be positioned onto chunky bases, and actually look like little brigades (even dioramas). Back when I mounted my smallest figures readily available then (15s) to V&B, they just looked awlful in my opinion – not linear warfare lines, but fat blocks instead.

I did eventually break off all these 15s and re-mount them on my own smaller stands, but that was a huge undertaking, so that's why I say V&B was the worst for me…..and the ugly stands probably kept the great looking figures from attracting anyone else in my area from investing, and collecting into V&B, because the games and formation bases just didn't look that great on the tabletop.

Personal logo Jeff Ewing Supporting Member of TMP07 Dec 2021 8:33 a.m. PST

I've played more than one convention game where the win condition was something like "Exit X number of units off the far edge" that were physically unwinnable due to the movement rates of the units. That is to say even if the units did nothing but move full speed the whole game, they'd come up short.

robert piepenbrink Supporting Member of TMP07 Dec 2021 10:04 a.m. PST

I've played that scenario myself, Jeff. In fact, if you set aside Napoleon's Battles, I'd have to say most of my worst experiences on a wargame table involved respectable to good rules with bad scenarios. Good or bad "period" is preposterous. There are a hundred ways to play any period.

Bill, run the same poll next week, saying "best" instead of "worst" and you'll get the same periods and rules nominated--and some of the same winners. When the mainstream media run out of lies to tell and causes to promote, they announce polls of most and least admired, best and worst dressed and so forth. Usually about 5-7 of the top ten are the same on both ends. All you've done is establish who's well-known, and we mostly already knew that.

Personal logo David Manley Supporting Member of TMP07 Dec 2021 4:51 p.m. PST

Worst game I think was an ACW home brew set at the old NWS show at Fort Brockhurst. It used "Janes-esque" strikers and each hit (if you ever scored one) did hardly any damage. Played for 2 hours with no discernable effect until I miraculously scored a flooding critical There were no rules to stop flooding so I gleefully said "he's sinking, I've won" and legged it. The GM wanted us to keep going though n- I reckoned another 4 hours and we'd have finished.

Runner up was a Fletcher Pratt variant game where the size of the playing area (a church hall) and the length of each game turn meant that there was no way the torpedoes on my Japanese CA would get even half way across the distance from our ships to the enemy before the game ended. Realising this I launched all my torpedoes on turn 2 as I didn't want the risk of gunfire damage setting them off. GM moaned about it but I kept track of where the spread got to as the game progressed and at games end they were indeed only half way there. Even better, I suffered a hit on the tubes which would have had the torfpedoes go off. In the same game the US players wanted to know why they had to estimate the range when they had perfectly good fire control radars….

Finally – a convention game at the old Chippenham show, The game was a WW2 Western Europe skirmish, Brits vs Germans with a Tiger. The GM was an absolute Tiger nut, nothing could defeat his pride and joy and it was clearly an exercise in him blatting any British tank that turned up on the table. Eventually I got a Firefly on its flank but he was adamant I had no chance to kill it. I asked what I needed, he said 6 to see, 6 to hit, 6 to kill. I rolled three dice – three sixes. He was livid :)

Personal logo FlyXwire Supporting Member of TMP07 Dec 2021 5:41 p.m. PST

David, that last one – remarkable!

Hope that guy never show-ed up again (to this day we still need to be hobby ambassadors – not total turnoffs).

oldnorthstate08 Dec 2021 9:20 a.m. PST

As the editor points out, once you've invested in individually based figures for Bolt Action the world is your oyster…plenty of other rules options. Perhaps the real issue is getting into WWII skirmish gaming.

Dragon Gunner08 Dec 2021 9:41 a.m. PST

As much as I love 40K I hated what it morphed into. I loved 40K Rogue Trader but later tournament style games I hated, they favored players that could throw more money at the hobby and the codex were not balanced by any means.

Wolfhag Supporting Member of TMP08 Dec 2021 11:32 a.m. PST

The worst experience I observed was a WWII miniatures game at a convention where the GM spent 45 minutes of boring instruction and commentary before the game started. Most of the players had 1000 yard blank stares on their face.

My friend was on the attackers side and had an armored column coming in from just off the board. The game used a random card activation system (red and black cards for each side) with a "Joker" card that would randomly end the turn.

His team mates were in an intense engagement and needed their activation's first. The problem was before he could get an activation card the game turn would end. This went on for almost 2 hours while he just sat there waiting. I've seen similar things happen in other games.

I've run many games at conventions. Players are paying good money and you need to make sure the they have fun and are entertained. Realism and learning something should take a back seat.


Dragon Gunner08 Dec 2021 3:56 p.m. PST

"Exit X number of units off the far edge"

I have had similar experiences where my distaste for a game was created by a poor scenario design. Scenario design should be a tutorial and good subject for TMP. Perhaps someone else could start the topic I am sure I am stifled to hell and back.

In more than one game I had to point out if my troops stayed on the road and double timed across the board with nothing in their way and no enemy forces, I still could not complete the victory conditions.

A six-foot table, twelve-inch maximum movement for my troops and if they take the maximum move, they cannot fight. My troops do not start on the table and enter from the long edge. He gives me six turns to get across the table (The GM tells me I need to, "press the attack". The GM cannot take personal responsibility when presented with basic math…) It gets worse if there is a random element to movement…

IronMike10 Dec 2021 10:28 p.m. PST

The worst game I ever played was billed as a 'fun-filled age of sail game' that was simply terrible. I realize it was someone's passion project and they worked really hard on it, but when your 'quick reference guide' is fourteen placemat-sized pages long, something aint right. After thee hours of just being confused by the rules some guy on the far end of table won literally beacuse of a single random dice roll…

Green Tiger11 Dec 2021 4:17 a.m. PST

DBA – I just find it dull…
And Warhammer could be a bit ridiculous- I had a friend who built a large army with magic this and extra that (all thing I never bothered with) and coupled with my crappy dice luck I just couldn't begin to compete I was just a whipping boy – that wasn't much fun. I have played both quite a few times though.

joedog11 Dec 2021 11:00 a.m. PST

"I enjoyed Bolt Action at first but it was ruined by a difficult to deal with player for me. US Airborne platoon, US armored cav platoon, and a fallschirmajger platoon have been disposed of."

"You could have kept the minis, and changed your ruleset!"

Better yet, kept the minis and the ruleset, and just dumped that opponent.

Twoheart18 Dec 2021 10:56 a.m. PST

Fletcher Pratt, Mediterranean. Not sure if this could have happened. My four Italian "Torpedo Boats", just DE types with 3.9 inch guns and torps closed on a Brit heavy cruiser in the middle of the floor with over a dozen ships on each side. Few chose to shoot at low value Italian torpedo boats, a fraction of the size of a cruiser. My Eyeties put 65 non penetrating hits on the cruiser during the game. The target took some fire from other ships being large. She was going down by the head when one of my torpedoes took her amidships. I liked the outcome. Cruiser commander shrugged. Give me the small ships.

Jeffers20 Dec 2021 6:46 a.m. PST

Easy. It's a draw between D&D and What A Tanker. Both had me bored senseless.

If push comes to shove, it would be D&D. At least in WAT I had a model tank to look at.

nugrim05 Jan 2022 3:35 a.m. PST

worst game for me was man o' war, played only a few games and had to give away the ships due to losing all interest

Best Lasalle 1, been playing it since 2012

Legend of Doom23 Mar 2022 2:00 p.m. PST

field of glory- slow, and dull. Thankfully I never rebased to accomadate it

QUATERMASS01 Apr 2022 5:13 p.m. PST

For my game group the fun we get from it is how silly the rules are! Their are some good individual game mechanism's but as a whole it sucks.
And the online fanboys are all the same you point out some stupid rule and they will tell you don't know what talking about and when you quote the rulebook back at them tumbleweed! Birdsong!.
I've come to the conclusion that most of those guy's who tell ya how great the game aren't playing it right.

pfmodel22 Apr 2022 8:49 p.m. PST

I've come to the conclusion that most of those guy's who tell ya how great the game aren't playing it right.

I suspect you are correct. The same could also apply in reverse, although rules which are very hard to even learn can be classed as bad, even if you have not played it very much.
I use to believe the old WRG Armour rules from back in 1973 were awful, but I later discovered most of my issues was not understanding the rules. It still had issue which needed a lot of scenario design to overcome, but I eventually learned to have a good game. The only problem was the effort was too great, so i still do not class this as a good set of rules.

QUATERMASS24 Apr 2022 8:44 a.m. PST

Hi pfmodel
I was a 1 year old in 1973 so I'd probably be more interested in the box.
But you make a good point in your post, I think when your learning a new rule set and come across a a counter intuitive rule you sub consensually right it and if you don't reread it a few time's you can filter it into the rules.
My group has a ammeter game designer and we play test and their can be a designer myopia and Preciousness.
From my experience in art school such notions in any creative endeavor need to be broken down with constructive criticism and so the games we test for our designer have improved to the point that the latest game to come from her mind has had very few issues! a little tinkering hear and their but little major issues.

Zephyr124 Apr 2022 2:35 p.m. PST

I bought the Combat Zone! boxed set a long time ago. I would have saved myself two Jacksons if I'd been able to look at the rules in the box first, and seen that they were basically Nick Lund's Kill Zone rules…

Stalkey and Co Supporting Member of TMP18 May 2022 9:30 a.m. PST

After several disastrous games including those run by experience people at conventions, I refuse to even try it or its derivatives.

Next would be Warhammer, both 40K and fantasy, and hey, throw in Historicals for a good measure.
I can number the great games I've played on one hand, and the crappy games need an abacus. I enjoy some of the less icky story lines, but the game is best played with other skirmish and battle rules like Kings of War, One-Hour Skirmish Wargames, etc etc. Basically, historical rules solve many of the problems..

Maxshadow20 May 2022 3:42 a.m. PST

Impetus. I've wargamed since the 70's from Sumer to Spaceships and they are the only rules that have given me an unenjoyable game.

Foxhole Terrain Company Sponsoring Member of TMP03 Jun 2022 5:04 a.m. PST

Good GMs & players can deal with rotten rules, however some rules just plain suck. I found a number of rule sets were ok, or even bad, but everything centers on the GM to smooth things over concerning the rules. Sometimes the rules are so out of touch with reality, it is a trip to play them straight to get some unforeseen events.
Good generals can overcome bad die rolls, and bad generals can overcome good die rolls

1) Piquet. The only time I played the game, I was not unable to to move or shoot the entire game.

2) Volley and Bayonet. A British dragoon unit charged a raw militia unit in the open, and the dragoon unit was routed.

3) Warhammer Fantasy Rules, we were playing ancients. This was similar to the event above. A loophole in the rules allowed a skirmish unit to charge a Roman cohort. The cohort was routed and almost destroyed.

pfmodel09 Jun 2022 2:21 a.m. PST

1) Piquet. The only time I played the game, I was not unable to to move or shoot the entire game.

Ugg, if you mean "not able to move or shoot" than that is a good definition of bad rules.

79thPA Supporting Member of TMP27 Jun 2022 5:57 p.m. PST

Yep. Many years ago I played a Naps game as a Russian commander and did nothing for almost the entire game. I think I was able to fire a couple of times, but that's it. I believe the new/er edition has corrected that problem, but I am not sure. That game really put me off to the whole system.

pfmodel28 Jun 2022 3:13 a.m. PST

Many years ago I played a Naps game as a Russian commander and did nothing for almost the entire game.

That is about the best definition of a bad set of rules that i can imagine.

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