Top 10 Board Games We Secretly Hate

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Everyone loves board games, right? Right? I mean, we all have fond memories of playing with our kids, parents, Uncles, Aunts and friends, don’t we? Actually, when you stop and think about it, you probably didn’t like playing board games as much as you thought. Now, its all coming back. A nice, friendly game that you thought would last about 30 minutes took 3-hours and becomes as competitive as skating for a medal in Olympic Figure Skating. Well, now that I’ve stirred up childhood trauma you thought you had buried long ago, we might as well take a look at the top 10 board games you secretly hate, well, not so secretly anymore.

10. Candy Land

The Good: The game teaches color recognition and matching while reinforcing the lesson of taking turns and being a gracious winner or loser.

The Bad: This is basically a game of pure chance, which means there is a very real possibility you will lose to your 3-year-old without you intentionally throwing the game. Sure, you want your kid to win, but on your terms. As a thirty-something adult, your life is going downhill fast enough and the last thing your self-confidence needs is a can of butt-whup opened by someone whose diaper you were changing this morning. Even worse, you could lose by a considerable margin if you get lost in Lollipop Woods or stuck in Molasses Swamp. Gramma Nutt may not be there to save you. And can we please change her name to something more palatable, no pun intended.

My advice: Never play a game with a child, unless you are guaranteed to win.

The Ugly: After your toddler beats you for the third time, getting any respect from them will be near impossible and your road to parenting just detoured into the Gooey Gumdrops.

9. Stratego

The Good: Stratego is a unique blend of strategy, memorization, and unit management.

The Bad: What better way to teach your child the horrors of war than with some plastic pawns that are given a numeric value. The game says it teaches strategy. I say it teaches you to sacrifice the weak so the strong may survive. A cruel but universal truth. For example, you send a scout forward and he lands on a bomb; no problem because you can send the miner to disarm it. Heartlessly you then send another scout to his death, finding another bomb so the General can move forward. Callous and indifference are the lessons learned here on the scorched cardboard that used to be a peaceful, evenly spaced grid.

The Ugly: You child takes a real interest in explosives after seeing how simple it is to disarm a bomb in Stratego.

8. Chutes & Ladders

The Good: This delightful game is simple and easy to play, even for children who can’t read.

The Bad: This game teaches the way life really works, which is good. But learning those hard lessons before you have lost all your baby teeth is a bit stressing on a child. Just like in life, you move forward trying to get to the ladder (of success?) and you move up; then before you know it you are back where you started when the chute gets you, and you’re wondering where the the last 5 years of your life went. I mean, what the heck is going on? Yeah, you’re going down a chute now, buddy, except the chute is a set of steps leading down to your parent’s basement, because you can’t roll a freakin’ 6 to get to the big ladder in the game of life…uh, I mean the game of Chutes & Ladders. Oh, and if you think you might actually win, well that’s when your kid hits the jackpot and takes the tallest ladder in the game and steals the victory. And now your self-esteem takes a chute.

The Ugly: Breaking the spirit of a child or adult is large price to pay for 40 minutes of ups and down, mostly downs.

7. Operation

The Good: Operation is the classic skill and action game where you’re the doctor!

The Bad: I’ll skip the over the disconcerting open body cavities “Sam the patient” is exposing to your family, but the medical misinformation is reprehensible. Let’s face it, children aren’t smart and they are impressionable. What if they think we really have rubber bands and miniature horses in our bodies. Didn’t we tell our children not to eat rubber bands…but now Sam has one in his leg?

And, my God, the pressure! Asking our little Sally to remove a broken heart has to be traumatizing. But wait, there’s more, don’t touch the sides or you will get “buzzed” and poor Sam will die. Life and death, its your child’s call.

I guess Milton Bradley also didn’t take into account a child’s underdeveloped motor skills when designing this pressure cooker of a game. And one more thing, shouldn’t we try to fix his heart, not remove it. What scary-a$$ medical college did we go to?

The Ugly: Whether your child wins or loses, they are a emotional and mental wreck for the next few days. Playing God with your patient on the surgery table will do that to a 6 year-old.

6. Battleship

The Good: You try to deduce where the enemy ships are and sink them.

The Bad: Another war game teaching the annihilation of your opponent. Of course you will be teaching this lesson for a long time as they game is very long. There is a lot of open water in the game and actually hitting a battleship can take some time. Kind of like a demented Bingo game where you call out coordinates, Battleship isn’t high on action until the bloodlust hits after scoring a direct hit on your opponent’s battleship. Then all hell breaks loose as you take evil glee in sinking the ship and murdering men and women whose only crime was defending their country from likes of you. Hooray! Warfare was never so much fun! Let’s play again when we have 3 hours to “kill”, emphasis on kill.

The Ugly: Just try coming down off the “high” of sending thousands to their watery grave. Good luck, Colonel Carnage.

5. Checkers

The Good: Two players square off against each other trying to jump the other’s colored discs until only one color remains on the checkered board.

The Bad: I thought racism was on the way out, but it appears Checkers will not let it die. Two separate color discs face off against each other, seeking complete genocide of the other by literally jumping over the other to remove them from the face of the board. Where is the ideal of living in peaceful equality? Apparently there isn’t enough room on the board for that, even with 64 squares. No, only one race of colored discs can survive in this apocalyptic analogy of our world. In the words of Jack Nicholson, “Can’t we all just get along?” No, Mr. Nicholson, we cannot. Now king me!

The Ugly: Don’t expect racial harmony and equality in our lifetime as long as Checkers, a game for hate-mongers and racists, is around.

4. Life

The Good: This classic family board game has been loved by generations. Just like your so-called “real life”, this game has paydays, marriages, babies, revenge, and chance.

The Bad: This game is just like your so-called real life. Isn’t the point of a game to let us take a break from real life. Why would I want to play a game that forces me to consider all the stressful decisions a 80-year life would include, but in just 2 hours? As a child, don’t I have enough peer pressure without adding the decision to get married, have children (how many children) and what the heck my career is going to be? I don’t know if I want McNuggets or a cheeseburger in my Happy Meal and now I have to decide whether or not I need Fire Insurance? How is this fun? And guess what, even if you finish the game of Life you still lose if you don’t have the most money. Greed is good according to Milton Bradley. This game teaches you that whoever dies with the most toys does indeed win.

The Ugly: The game also teaches you about revenge, bankruptcy and taxes. After playing this game you want to take your own “Life”.

3. Sorry

The Good: This classic game of luck, strategy, and determination is easy to grasp for children as young as 6 years old.

The Bad: This game is labeled as a game of sweet revenge. I can see it now, our nuclear family of Mom, Dad, Sister and Brother sitting down to a game of sweet revenge where all family ties are shattered, feelings are scorned and love gets sent back 3 spaces. The name of this game was aptly chosen as you will be sorry you ever played it. The only time the word “sorry” is uttered is with a sarcastic tone as your opponent (family member) sends back to your “home” base, alone to start over once again. Well, guess what, Mac, they ain’t sorry and they have learned that family means nothing when you are trying to get ahead. Thank you, Parker Brothers for destroying the family, one space at a time!

The Ugly: You will forever question the sincerity of any apology from your family members.

2. Clue

The Good: “Clue” is a game of deduction that the whole family can enjoy together.

The Bad: This game claims to teach deductive reasoning, and that is true and I applaud that notion, but Hasbro misses the fact that they are desensitizing our children to cold-blooded murder. Are we sure its good for little Jimmy to be fantasizing how a murder was accomplished? We are teaching the devaluation of life as we callously call out “It was Professor Plum in the kitchen with a lead pipe.” Does this sound like something we want our precious doe-eyed babes to be screaming at us? Oh, you may be thinking it instills moral values as the crimes are being solved, but think about this: With every wrong guess we are teaching them how easy it is to get away with murder in any room of a house and killing with a variety of household items. Murder isn’t a game, so why does Clue insist on treating it like it is?

The Ugly: You better hide your candlesticks, rope, lead pipes and wrenches after this unseemly game shows how easily a life can be ended without worry of capture.

1. Monopoly

The Good: The game that teaches capitalism and big business.

The Bad: Let’s start with the fact that no one has actually ever finished a game of Monopoly. Oh sure, you have stopped playing because of starvation, sleep deprivation and most likely sheer hatred for the other players you used to like before you started playing. But never did you finish a game. It’s impossible and much like a car accident you can’t look away from the board. Boardwalk and the St. James Place look like nice places to visit, and the rent ain’t bad, but it will cost you your soul to stay. And no railroad can take you home, not even Reading Railroad. $200 is never enough and when you circle the board for the 800th time and you realize you are never getting out of the nightmare world of Monopoly. You can bet your sweet Marvin Gardens that you will think thoughts about you friends and family that will shock you.

“Did Uncle Joe just take and extra $50? He is the banker, he had the access and opportunity to do so.”

“Why am I in jail again, life is so unfair, my brother should be in jail, not me…not me!”

“My stinkin’ brother owns Park Place, living it up while I’m dying slowly on Baltic Avenue, where is the justice?”

While these thought invade your mind it is now 3am and no one is out of the game yet and the fun stopped 5 minutes after you started. Greed is good, power is everything and it will never end. No chance, even when you land on Chance! And the game’s mascot, Rich Uncle Pennybags, isn’t the type of Uncle who lends you money and forgets about it. You’ll pay, brother. You…will…pay.

But other than the lust for money, lack of compassion for you fellow man as you force them to mortgage everything and the strain on you physically, emotionally and mentally, this game is great family fun.

The Ugly: It will be days before you speak to any fellow players from the last game. You will never trust or love the same again. And in the end, you still didn’t finish the game. Once you start a game of Monopoly, it never ends…even when it ends.


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90 Comments

  1. Man, you are right on the fake money with Monopoly. That game should be banned. How many nights ended up with the board being tossed in the air from frustration? I think you missed adding Risk as that can go on and on.

  2. When I read this in the Candy Land part of the blog post, I laughed, "Sure, you want your kid to win, but on your terms." As a parent, I totally get this. The day your child beats you in a game of skill is sad day indeed. Who needs games of chance increasing this inevitable outcome.

  3. Of course. This whole post is a poking fun at these classic board games. Of course within every joke there is a grain of truth. That is what makes it funny. Although, I do find many of these games annoying.

  4. Definitely too true about Risk. You really missed an opportunity there. And why no Chess?

    Thank god modern board games (Euro games specifically) are so much more interesting.

  5. Cannon Fodder on

    I used to be obsessed with Stratego as a child. Odd because there's really only about 3 strategies you can use. But I used to do strange experiments like put bombs in all the places in the front expect one. It became obvious that they were all bombs though because they never moved, so I don't recall that working very well, haha. Or I did things like put the flag in a random place on the board surrounded by sevens, since most people always assumed the flag was in the corner of the back row of the far left or far right. I don't recall that working very well either. The thing that was always interesting about Stratego was that it was a poker match too. What's someone's facial expression as you get closer to their flag? You could watch for "tells" etc. Stratego really combined elements of many games, but it had more violent undertones than most board games, automatically making it better.

    Surprised Hero Quest didn't make the list.

  6. Just to be sure everyone knows, this list is full of sarcasm. Do not take it too seriously. It is supposed to be a fun list of board games.

    Canon Fodder – I actually do like Stratego, but the tension can be high when the opposing player starts getting to close. I can understand the strategy of looking for tells. Nice comment. Thanks.

  7. Forget Stratego, just give them a controller and Grand Theft Auto or Halo. You're never too young to frag anyone. Actually, Stratego is probably my favorite board game. Great list man!

    • I think you’re supposed to be seventeen before playing GTA or Halo. It’s not the developers fault the average kid will bend to a bit of peer pressure and their parents will bend to a bit of whining.

  8. My in-laws and my wife call Monopoly, the Divorce Game. Apparently, when my wife was younger, it caused a great deal of strife. I hate the game, but my wife kept pressing me to play it. I guess she thought we were mature enough to handle it. Nope. I annihilated her, and reveled in my dominance. Since then, thankfully, I haven't had to play it.

  9. Madimack – I can also attest that Monopoly puts a strain on the Father & Son relationship. Any game that the endgame is to destroy the other financially has to have some bad mojo.

  10. I confess. I took the Plumpy card out of the Candyland game and shredded him while my three-year-old wasn't looking. Life has been better ever since.

  11. Monopoly Hater on

    The worst thing about Monopoly is that there are 1,000,001 different versions out there! Seriously, do we really need America's National Parks Monopoly or I Love Lucy Monopoly? At least McDonald's Monopoly ain't bad, you can win free food.

  12. This list is hysterical. However, you forgot the one we all (not so) secretly hate – Mouse Trap. Has anyone ever followed the directions to that game? And what's up with the cardboard cheese pieces? The only point to this game is turning the crank and trapping the mouse. There's no need for the spaces in the game board. Has anyone ever really used any of those spaces to go around the game board? Worst game ever . . . and for the record for all you Monopoly haters out there – you should try the Electronic Banker version. I finally finished my first ever Monopoly game (and at 48 years old, I've played ALOT!) and it was pretty painless and even kind of fun.

  13. Christine – I almost added Mousetrap, I remember that being my favorite game in the 4th grade. I actually thought it was too innovative and fun for this list. At least you got to build something and it set you up for a career as an exterminator. I'm glad you liked this list it was very fun to write. I'll try to do more comical lists in the future as this one has had a great response. Thanks for the tip on the Electronic Banker Monopoly, maybe there is hope for Monopoly?

  14. Yeah, where is Scrabble. That game is terrrible. Yes, I used three r's. Nothing like being called out in front of friends and family as a poor speller and having a limited vocabulary. Lotsa fun there.

    Loved Stratego though.

  15. Well, i thought Clue, or Cluedo was fun back in the old days. But now, i can finish the game in just 3 to 4 turns LOL. It's not fun anymore.

    For Scrabble, i still playing it. I agree that Scrabble should not on the list.

  16. I will never play Risk or Monopoly again.

    But there are new board games now like Colonists of Catan and Carcasonne which have much shorter rounds. The first thing we do when buying a board game is checking how long it takes to play.

  17. Modified mummy on

    I love playing Monopoly… now I'm a grown up, in a grown up relationship, and with grown up substitutions for the 'rent'. πŸ˜‰

  18. Tanya Bennett on

    What about that horrifying game called 'Concentration'? You wound it up and then had to fit all of the puzzle pieces in before the timer went off or it would pop up and throw all of the pieces up at you. Great way to get your anxiety levels up right before bedtime. Even when I had the pieces lined up I couldn't get them in on time…

  19. I agree that Concentration is a horrible game for people that are more anxious. My anxiety level was so high that I had a 10 minute nosebleed after i failed to put all the pieces in correctly. The box should come with a health warning and not the one for choking on the pieces.

    This isnt a board game but i think its pretty dangerous. It invovles sticks flying through the air and can potentially poke out someone's eyes.

    Yes, Pick up sticks. Never had a steady hand and almost poked my eye out.

  20. This list was so great, I laughed so many times and I laughed so hard at the monopoly part I cried and couldn't breath for two minutes. Amazing. Thank you, this was the highlight of my day.

  21. Great list !

    The monopoly part is so funny and true : "You will never trust or love the same again" :)).

    Used to play it with my family on Sundays and we would always get mad at one another and almost never finish a game.

    Stumbled !

  22. i hate monopoly to no one really wins you can play for hours and some jest ends up yelling @#&? and

    throwing the board across the room.

  23. i now what you mean Christine mouse trap is a @#&?

    annoying game i hate spending hours putting the @#&?

    thing together and the only playing for ten minutes.

  24. My niece and nephew (ages 6 and 5) love it when I bring "the Clue with the weapons" to their house. I recently relented and explained to my nephew how you could hurt someone with the weapons. Does that make me the best or worst aunt ever?

  25. I got so ill at the concept of tic-tac-toe tonight that i started dry-heaving! How has this dingle-berry of a game stayed on our collective tukis for so long? My son asked me to play tic-tac-toe on an Itouch(TM Copyright plus tax) and I think i became a little critical and my wife had to dislodge the contraption from the dogs [email protected]#!! I bet you a million dollars that we have a draw son. How did you know pa? Mousetrap? ha. connect four? where i can't see? here diagnoly! genious! thanks for the list…

  26. Roderick McGwier on

    You're right! Checkers is racist! Let's just give both players the same color. Then there's no racism involved. But what color? You can't use black, red, white or yellow cause they're racial. Can't use pink cause that's feminine and the guys won't like it and you'll have a sex war. But then this list had to be done for fun cause my family has played most of these games together at one time or another.

  27. I was playing Candy Land with my then three year old granddaughter, and it was taking forever and we were supposed to be somewhere. I made the bad choice to cheat just a little bit, so she could win and we could go. That smart little girl realised exactly what I had done and she was so angry with me she cried, told on me to her mommy (my daughter), and wouldn't talk to me the rest of the day. I don't think I can ever play Candy Land again!!

  28. It is an evil game, you are right, TTM.

    This Christmas she wanted a Hi Ho Cherry-O game, so we bought one for her. When next we visit our daughter's family, I think I'll let Grandpapa play the board games with our granddaughter; I don't know if I can play a board game with her ever again!!!

  29. The Momopoly one is sooooooooo true.. I don't know anyone who has ever finished it! In my house, there is always a fight over who gets the little dog too!

  30. "Monopoly" was great fun with the stupid people who usually played with me. They thought I had fantastic luck and never realized that being the banker was actually the source of my luck (and all my extra money). I loved "Life" but never won a game in all the times I played. Even when I was the banker.

  31. Excellent list! Monopoly is by far my most hated board game. Did I mention I f'n hate Monopoly?

    Loved this:

    The Ugly: The game also teaches you about revenge, bankruptcy and taxes. After playing this game you want to take your own “Life”.

  32. Monopoly can be a nightmare, but it can also be a genuinely thrilling game. The key is to act like adults follow the rules, and follow to a conclusion. But Thanks for not putting Scrabble on the List.

  33. I agree with the guys who think you forgot Scrabble, i mena the last time I palyed it we nearly killed each other (especialy because the oly Dictionary around was form 1987)

  34. I didn't speak with my friend for 2 weeks after an exhausting game of monopoly, and haven't played the game since. Now i want to play it again. >(

    Wonderful list though, good job πŸ™‚

  35. LOL, nice list dude. Although, my family had more fights about the game of Life than the game of Monopoly. Of course, we always had special Family Rules for Monopoly, such as if another player rolls before you notice someone has landed on your space, that person doesn't have to pay rent. Or if you didn't count the money after you got it you most likely will find out you got shorted, if you didn't remind the banker that you passed go you missed out on your $200, if you rolled snake eyes you got sent to jail. We were an odd, odd family. In Life it was always people hiding life chips, or taking revenge with the trade-a-salary.

  36. Paul F. Villerius on

    I personally think you're focusing to much on the negatives of these games. Monopoly and Clue are some of my favorite board games.

    • Uh, Paul … did you happen to notice the name of this list?? By the way, it is "too much" not "to much". Is there a list of Top Ten Common Words People Can't Spell Correctly?

    • @Paul – Hey, I wrote the list and did so very tongue in cheek. I loved all of these games as a child and played all of them with my children. But you have to admit, many of these games can get on your nerves at times. I thought it was obvious from my writing style and the scenarios that I was joking.

  37. It's weird. It'd never struck me before that I'd never ever finished a game of Monopoly but, now that the issue's been brought up, I realise it's true. By the way, "Chutes and Ladders" is more fun if you call it by the British name, "Snakes and Ladders." Somehow, it seems more glamorous that way.

    • It annoys me when people call it Chutes and Ladders. When I was a kid it was Snakes and Ladders, I remember when I was about 12 (I think) hearing it called Chutes and Ladders for the first time. Someone told me the name was changed so as not to psycologically traumatized kids, or some such nonsense. I didn’t realized it was called different names in Britain and North America. I like it better with snakes.

  38. The newest Monopoly game is a little more fun because each player gets his own little debit card so it little harder to cheat and you do not have all that paper money to deal with lol.

  39. lol I love it! So true. And i those are all games I hate except Clue and Life so now I have a perfect excuse next time someone wants me to play one. πŸ™‚

  40. Hilarious list, thanks! And I'm so glad you put Monopoly #1! Our 4 year old beat the pants off us every time playing "Memory" back in the day – my theory is there was nothing else in his little mind except where he saw that image last – however, he did grow up to be pretty bright.

  41. This is the best review that I've ever read. It's full of Hollywood-sarcastic-line kinda style. Constantine, John Mclane, whatever. You have any movie review, man? I'd curious to read it.

  42. Loved the list. Also – Mastermind. Did anyone else find "guess the code with no clues but only fifteen tries" a stupid board game?

    • Mastermind is maybe my favorite game! But then, I was a math major and studied logic and reasoning. I suppose if a person only plays it as a literal "guessing" game then yeah, it sucks. After all, the basic six color, four spaces per row game has 1,296 possibilities and trying to guess the right one in 10 to 15 chances would just be dumb luck. If, on the other hand, you learn how to best use the info from those little black and white pegs, the game can be a good mental workout (and the code can often be found in 5 or 6 tries). Part of Mastermind's beauty is that it can be simplified in enough ways ( e.g. use fewer colors, 3 spaces vs. 4, or have the black and white clue pegs correspond to exact guess pegs) that I've used it with 7th graders to everyone's enjoyment.

      By the way, I know there are at least two books on playing and analyzing Mastermind.

      • That game can drive a person crazy too, especialy when your wife and seven year old son don’t know how to properly mark the red and white pegs and your trying to tell them they did something wrong because if row 2 has two right colors in the wrong spot and two right colors right spot then in row 4 the exact same colors are used and I get two right colors wrong spots and 1 right color wrong spot!? COME ON! What is wrong with you people?! Get your s#@t together! Any idiot can see that this is not possible! I want a divorce! And as for you, go to your room and do some home work or something! ARRRRRRGHHHHHHHH (little pegs go everywhere as mastermind gets smashed against the living room wall)!!!!!!!!!! Yeah that game can get a little frustrating….. just a little πŸ™‚

  43. I actually loved life when I was younger and I still do! It is very stressful though especially putting those dumb pegs in the car! The electronic version of it is so much better but I find that playing with my sister and friends it's very easy to cheat and change your own salary when no one's looking hahaha. And the fact that you can play AS MANY TURNS AS YOU WANT can really make for an endless game! Too bad you can only have 9 children πŸ™ lol

  44. Wow, it’s easy to tell that you are American – Stratego and Clue are bad for our children? Oh god, sounds like whiney American parent drivel again. I love this site, but come on – relax!

      • Thanks, Jim. When I wrote this list I chuckled at a few of things I wrote, which is rare. I am usually far too close to the joke since I’m writing it. But, yes, I did think the satirical nature of the list was quite obvious. Although I really do despise Monopoly.

  45. I think the person that wrote this wasn’t really thinking. These games I loved as a kid except candyland. And monopoly is very educational my cousin is only five and he’s better with numbers than me

    • Hey, I thought plenty about this list and I love most of these games. I was attempting to be funny. Some of you got it (thanks) and some of you didn’t (sorry). I still chuckle when I re-read it, so I’m happy with it.

  46. How come once something involves the colours black and white, it immediately becomes racist? My friends (or various ethnicities) and I have played Checkers (and draughts and chess) for years and have never related any of them to racism. Racism is a more serious issue than the colour of board game pieces. Personally, I think some people just need to grow up.

    • Dude, he was being satirical. He’s not being serious. I don’t think anyone ever really played checkers thinking it was racist. This was meant in humour.

  47. Seriously man!? lol! so we should make it all white or just black then so we can easily distinguish which color is yours and mine right? but you are right on some things. but who cares about a boardgame when it is worst what you provide your kids using war movies, even transformers although not a considered a war movie, I doubt you took em there. how bout harry potter where it teaches kids that in the end your friends and teachers die for ya and who cares, your a freakin hero and celebrated. and video games like Halo and Counter Strike, they teach your kids that shooting someone is fun and easy. all you need is to pull the trigger and who cares what happens to those morrons you shoot. they will just respawn again in real life right? πŸ˜€

  48. They’re just board games made for fun!!! I have/had some of these as well…..Its to pass time and have fun with family!

  49. i cant beleive u put monopoly 1st because it is so awesome!!! That operation is not suitible for little kids though, thats hould be number 1!!!

  50. Charles Campbell on

    A hilarious list? Using racism in your critique of checkers is stupid. There is enough real racism in the world(and always will be) !

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