So it's just a week until Christmas, and you're wondering which games you should ask Santa to put under your tree. Well, first things first - there's no such thing as Santa, he isn't bringing you dick, and with only seven more shopping days, it's too late to get anything here on time. You should have planned better, and asked for your Christmas presents in July, with frequent reminders through Thanksgiving, and a list posted on the refrigerator. You're not thinking, dammit.
So you know what's going to happen, right? You waited too long, and now your mom is going to buy you a really crappy game. You're going to have to play it with her on Christmas, when you really just want to slam four fingers of expensive scotch and giggle your way through your mandatory day off. Then, having opened it, you'll have to put it up for trade and try to get something you actually wanted. And how do you know what you want?
Hell, don't ask me. I don't even know you. You might be into the kinds of games you play with rubber pants and water-based lubricant. I don't know your life. It's none of my business. So instead, I'll just warn you about some games you don't want. If someone offers you a trade and says they'll send one of these games, ignore them. Don't even answer. If someone is going to ask you for a real game in exchange for one of these stinkers, they are clearly trying to rob you.
1. Fantasy. This stupid little card game is probably worth five bucks, and that's only if you need coasters for your coffee table. It's like Kim Kardashian, because it looks nice, but it's pretty much worthless. Only at least in Kim Kardashian's case, she can get a couple bucks if she takes off her pants. Fantasy can only make a couple bucks if you can sell a couple cases of it for firewood.
2. Uncle Chestnut's Table Gype. If you ever decide to self-publish a game, don't print it on a napkin. And don't put grammatical errors all over that napkin. And don't include a hundred stickers that you have to slap on tiny dice. And don't put it in a crappy plastic box so that all the parts fall out when you pick it up. Come to think of it, if you have an impulse to do any of these things, just don't make a game at all.
3. Swat. This ultra-dumb Reiner Knizia game will have you and your friends doing math in your head and trying to remember every card that's been played for the last twenty minutes. When you finally decide that the numbers are what you want, you slap the cards. When you figure out that the game is stupid and painful to play, you leave the table and curse whichever friend brought this crappy game to your house.
4. The Isle of Doctor Necreaux. A cooperative game where pulp heroes assault the island headquarters of an evil genius should have been an out-of-the-park success. Instead, it doesn't work, because it was apparently tested by three gerbils and a recording of Leonard Nimoy signing about hobbits. There's a pacing mechanic whose failure is so obvious, it should have been spotted by the first person to play it, and event cards that fail worse than a drunk bus driver on a crowded street in the snow.
5. Pressure Matrix. If this is how futuristic game shows will look, then we're all going to be really, really bored. The best part of this game is the art on the cover. There's a ton of reading, mandatory slowdown as you read all the tiles you could hit on your turn, no planning, and a butt-ugly game with no decisions that have any impact on the way the game ends. This game is very, very bad.
6. Buzz It! This is not exactly a bad game. In fact, it can be rather enjoyable. The problem is, you don't actually need the game to play it. You just need tequila and some imagination. Of course, if you have enough tequila, you may not have any imagination. So maybe you do need the game. Never mind, let's leave this one off the list.
7. U-Build Battleship. It's Battleship. If I have to say more, you're reading the wrong blog.
8. Yin-Yang. This is another crappy Reiner game, which is no surprise, because 'crappy' and 'Reiner' go together like fleas and a dog's ass. This is one of those math exercises where you try to reach some sort of mathematical goal, but have virtually no control over the outcome and end up wondering why games like this ever get reprinted. Hint: It gets reprinted because it's a Reiner game, and some people will buy anything if it has Reiner Knizia's name on it.
9. Crossroads at Darklion Pass. There are small-press games that are simply unfortunate, and then there are games that are such devastating failures that everyone involved in the production should flee the country and change their names. Crossroads is one of those disaster games that screams abject failure, with art designed by blind people and rules designed by a calculator. Avoid at all costs.
10. Legitimacy. If you ever have the hankering to play a pointless roll-and-move game with cards that fall apart and extra rules that don't add anything, then you could just play Chutes and Ladders and toss in some drinking rules. Don't play Legitimacy.
So that's the list of games you should not buy. It only covers games I played this year, and I skipped a few that other people actually liked. If you want a list of favorites, try a site where the writers are in a good mood every now and then. Ask me about games at Christmas, this is what you get. Be grateful I didn't rant about Christmas carols and mall traffic.