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The Loneliest Games Collection You’ll (n)Ever See

Welcome to the board game dead zone. Here you’ll find great games that just didn’t crack the inner play circle.



You know, as someone who enjoys trying new board games, I have a fairly extensive “grave-yard” of games that I’ve bought and basically never had a chance to try or played once. Come to think of it, maybe grave-yard isn’t the right term; it’s almost like limbo or exile.

And it’s not like I don’t want to play them again, I just can’t find people with the same desire to try a new game and take the time to learn the rules and all that garbage. It’s brutal. Making it extra sad is that I can’t bring myself to sell the damn games either so they sit….silently….in the dark.

So I’m just going to give a quick shoutout to the games I love but likely will only play maybe a handful of times before I join the big board game club in the sky. Here it goes.


I first read about this game while researching new CCG or TCG games being released. This was back around 2016 I think. Also, come to think of it, most of the games I’ve bought and that are on this list were games I read about, got super excited to play and purchased before realizing the futility of the situation.

So EPIC plays a lot like Magic: The Gathering. In fact, it was created by a couple of MTG hall of famers. It’s a really fast moving game with huge creatures, lots of combat and lots of blowing things up. Now, remember, it’s a CCG so this is all done through cards but the thematics and artwork are on point so it’s really great to play.

In the version I learned, players randomly build a 30 card deck using cards from a communal pile. I like using cards from the same master deck because it stops people from creating overpowered, custom decks (Magic, anyone?). You win the game by either reducing your opponent to 0 or by drawing through your deck and being the first to run out of cards.

Me being the over-the-top person I am, ended up getting not only the core game but all of the expansions as well. It was a beautiful time in to be alive. My friend Tyler came over. He used to play Magic which has many similarities to EPIC. We played once. It was awesome.

I have never played it since. It’s been 6 years. EPIC fail.

2. Patchwork

My wife and I don’t have a ton of overlap in our common hobbies. It’s nice because it gives us personal identities and saves us from crowding each other as can happen in relationships when you have the same hobbies and can’t find separation.

I would say one unfortunate gap is that while I’m a somewhat voracious gamer, she is much more tepid on the subject. On the other hand, she loves to quilt and sew; something that is calming, methodical and fairly non-interactive.

Enter Patchwork.

I saw the game while (once again) doing some research on games I’d never heard of. The combination of strategy, timing and resource management appealed to my senses. On top of all that, the game was literally about putting together a freaking quilt! I was sure this would be a hit. I was wrong.

Board games are a little bit like television shows. The first season is always met with a touch of side-eyed skepticism. Learning rules to a game, without an underlying enthusiasm, can lead to less than stellar reviews. Instead of attacking the game with the intent to learn really well; like well enough to take advantage of the mechanics that make it hum, we end up sitting there waiting for the game to come to us.

Growing pains are part of just about any journey. Alas, Patchwork has been almost completely abandoned. I’m hoping when my son is older, he’ll be interested in it or I suppose it’ll be on the donation block.

3. Wrath of Ashardalon

Where to start with this game? The box is huge. There’s a ton of miniatures. It’s an RPG, co-operative game where you and up to 4 friends play heroes who are tasked with a variety of dungeon crawling missions. It’s a Dungeons and Dragons licensed game and I really thought I’d get more plays out of it. The problem is, the game is just so clunky.

As you explore the dungeon, you flip up random dungeon tile cards which expand the area of gameplay. The tiles look good, and the miniatures look good too. There’s even a big, freaking red dragon figurine in the box. The thing that gets annoying is the pacing of the game. Every new tile brings a monster, as well as a trap or maybe an environment card (tunnel cave-in, as an example). But if you don’t explore and flip a new tile, new monsters just appear anyway. The traps are also hard to disarm and go off every round so it’s just kinda hard to slow down and regroup.

Ultimately, anyone who’s into playing this game is likely just going to take the added time to make an official D&D character and, you know, just play an actual game of D&D. I will say this, while I’ve only played the actual game a handful of times in close to 10 years of owning it, I do use the tiles and minis frequently in other games so this one isn’t a total loss.

4. Talisman

Holy hand grenade, this game was a whiff. Kinda like Wrath of Ashardalon, I bought this game when I was looking for some RPG light style games to play with people who were RPG curious but not ready to commit. Reviews for Talisman are great. The artwork is sweet. The high-level rules to the game are exciting too!

In case, you don’t know, the game plays like an adventure. It’s every player for themselves as a variety of champions, complete with unique abilities, journeys around the board, collecting items and vanquishing monsters. The board has built-in “levels” to work sort of like concentric rings; as you move towards the center of the board, the creatures and terrain become more difficult.

At the core of the board is a powerful crown. The champion who wields it is given strong magical powers. At the end of the day, the last player left standing is the winner. Talisman’s premise is strong but my word does it take a long freaking time to play.

Because you roll a D6, there’s very little control over where you move to and land. That doesn’t seem like a big deal until you realize you need specific items to have a chance of winning. These items are only found on certain parts of the board. If one player rolls lucky early on in the game, they have a distinct advantage.

Player combat suffers the same fate. Some characters are better at fighting than others and a couple of early rolls where the troll faces off against the rogue or wizard can result in some early game salt. All-in-all, I’ve played Talisman 4 times. On the last try, one player made it to the innermost level of the game but kept getting sent back to the entrance because they kept failing their rolls (a lot of this game hinges on success roll checks to advance).

You can tell when players are tapped out on a game. That slouchy posture. People start talking about what happened to them at work that day. The edge is gone.

Maybe one day, I’ll have a cottage with these games sitting, patiently waiting to be played. I know I should just donate them but it’s hard to let go.

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