Board games are constantly increasing in cost. Many modern board games cost even more than the most expensive video games. Even the cheapest board games tend to cost $20 or more. As the cost of these games increase, game designers try to add additional replay value to the games in order to make customers feel the games are worth the money spent. While this is a goal, designers aren’t always successful. Sometimes a really good game comes out that has almost no replay value. The following are the best games that have almost no replay value.
Risk Legacy – In trying to add replay value to this game, the designer inadvertently removed more than they added. The game is designed so that the first time you play it has very basic rules. Then, as you play the game, you unlock new rules. Those new rules are used in the next game during which you unlock more new rules. With each play through you unlock rules until they have all been unlocked. While this may sound like high replay value, once you have unlocked a rule, there is no going back. You physically and permanently modify the board. There is never a way to return to the basic rules and build up again, except by buying a whole new copy of the game. So, essentially, you play one campaign and then never play the game again.
Axis & Allies – This classic war game allows you to play as one of five major countries involved in World War II. With hundreds of game pieces and world to fight over, the game seems to have a plethora of options and possible strategies to explore. That is just an illusion, though. In actuality, there is a purely superior strategy that wins for the Allies roughly 90% of the time. Once you stumble upon this or see someone else play it, there is no reason to every play the game again. It is a shame because the mechanics of the game are strong and the illusion of option makes the game fun for newer players.
Say Anything – This party game is similar to Apples to Apples, if you could choose any response, instead of being limited to a few cards. A judge names a category and then you need to give an answer that you think best matches the judge’s answer. The first few times you play this game, it is great fun as everyone tries to figure out what someone else would say is there “favorite flavor of ice cream” or “favorite actor from a TV sitcom”, but after a few times, the game grows stale. Like many games of this type, you tend to answer on instinct which means the same category gets the exact same set of answers over and over again. You can recover some replay value by playing with a different set of people, but as fun as the game is, it only lasts a few games before it runs out of steam.
Vegas Showdown – Vegas Showdown is a surprising game to have low replay value. On its face, it seems to have remarkable replay value. It is an auction game with semi-randomized tiles. But the game partially suffers from the fact that it isn’t fully randomized. This means that the flow of the game tends to be similar from game to game. Additionally, certain strategies, most notably the slots strategy, are purely dominant. For new players none of this will be immediately evident. In fact, new players are likely to feel that the game has almost unlimited options. This is good and means you will get to play the game a good half dozen to a dozen times before it begins to play the same. But once you see the patterns and optimal plays, even playing with new players won’t really do anything to change the fact the game will essentially always play the same way for you.