My Top 7 Most Intimidating Games

My collection has finally reached a size where there are some games I’m afraid to play. Whether it’s the setup time, the large amount of rules, or something else entirely, these games look down from the shelf, and intimidate me more than Stronghold Games’ new logo. So what are these scary games, and why do they frighten me so?

1. Flick ‘Em Up: Dead of Winter

This game is currently sitting on my dining room table. It’s been there for a couple of weeks. I’ve been meaning to play it, but having to set up every obstacle in the game is a chore. I really just need to sit down and get to it, and I might this weekend. Though, that’s what I said last weekend… and the weekend before, so we’ll see.


2. Alchemists

I’ve played Alchemists a couple of times, and it’s great, but having to explain the rules, and the puzzle within the rules, makes the game hard to bring out on the regular occasion. Not to mention every time I’ve played, I’ve managed to stuff up my recipe grid, leading me wildly off course.

Side note: I lost my Azul first player token, so there’s an Alchemists token filling that space at the moment.


3. Escape From the Aliens in Outer Space

This game looks amazing, and I can’t wait to play it. However, since nobody knows who’s on which team, everyone is on their own. Being a person who likes to ensure everyone is having a good time while playing board games, helping everyone on their first play, and trying to play myself feels like a nightmare scarier than being trapped on a ship with aliens! Caleb from Greenhorn Gaming recommended sitting out the first play, which I think is a great idea. Now I just need friends… Anyone?


4. Mansions of Madness 1st Edition

Everything about this board game sings to me, however, it’s crazy how much setup is required putting all the puzzles together. Also, trying to not crush the puny humans who attempt to stop me. This game makes me bipolar, at times I love it, at times I hate it. The only reason I still have it is for that shiny second edition.


5. Specter Ops

This falls in the same category as Escape From the Aliens in Outer Space, being that I can’t play both parts at once. Only, I’ve had this game for a year and a bit and haven’t been able to bring myself to play it. Maybe I should just tie myself to a chair one weekend, at this point it seems like my only option.


6. Archipelago

I’m really excited to play this mammoth of a game. I bought it because I read all the reviews, and at the time it was hard to get a copy. Well, I now have a copy, but I’ve yet to even think about getting it to the table. There’s a real expectation that I’m going to love this game, so I’m scared that it’ll be a better game in my imagination, than on my table. This is my board game equivalent of Troy meeting Lavar Burton.


7. Cosmic Encounter

This game. THIS GAME. I spent 6-8 months scouring every board game shop in Australia hunting down a version of this game. It’s rated extremely highly with both Tom Vasel and the Shut Up and Sit Down guys, so I had to have it.

After months of scouring I finally got it. That was two or three years ago, I’ve still yet to play it. Part of the reason is that the game is reliant on the group, and my friends didn’t have the experience with social deduction and mean games at the time I bought it. It plays best at the max player count, and I’ve never been able to herd the cats… err people together.


That’s my list. While not as intimidating as the Campaign for North Africa, or Heisenberg these games have managed to frighten me into not playing them. Now it’s your turn, which board games from your collection have you yet to play? Or if you have some feel good stories about the games above, let me know!

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9 thoughts on “My Top 7 Most Intimidating Games

  1. Luke February 23, 2018 / 9:55 pm

    So interestingly, I wrote an article recently (that I decided not to publish) called “5 Games That Made My Brain Melt” that included Escape From the Aliens in Outer Space. I agree with you. I loved it, but yeah, intimidating (my other ones were Mage Knight, TIME Stories: The Marcy Case, Tales of Arabian Nights, and Magic the Gathering).

    Ace list mate – seriously though – play Cosmic Encounters. It is a good game.

    Liked by 2 people

    • David Norris February 24, 2018 / 9:29 am

      So for Cosmic do I need to have max player count? Or should I just get into it?

      Also completely understand on those other games! I really want to get Mage Knight at one point, but seems crazy complicated.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Luke February 24, 2018 / 10:25 am

        It’s three to five isn’t it? You can play a decent game with three, but the more the better. You need enough to make the “random attack” style encounter to work. That being said, the aliens you can play with are so fun. I managed to win the last time we played with the mirror race of aliens who make high cards low and low cards high. Such great fun. It’s currently 96 in the top 100 so you should definitely play it at some point 🙂

        Mage Knight is insanely difficult. I’m actually going to release the article after all because I accidentally deleted a huge chunk out of the one I was going to release. Yeah, it is a complete mind melter!

        Liked by 1 person

  2. cgwilsonh February 23, 2018 / 10:27 pm

    As a person who loves deduction, Alchemist is gold to me. I have to agree that it is an immensely complex game, and you can’t just sit down with anyone to play this game.

    Liked by 1 person

    • David Norris February 24, 2018 / 9:32 am

      I’d also add it’s a game where distractions are costly. However nothing beats messing up a potion on a poor volunteer. :p


  3. Mighty Jo February 23, 2018 / 11:37 pm

    I realize I’m probably in a minority of one here, but I found Cosmic Encounter quite ‘meh’.

    Considering how much it has been hyped up by Sit down and Mr Tom Vasel, esq. Clearly there is something wrong with me.

    I really like mansion of madness tho. And escape.

    Liked by 1 person

    • David Norris February 24, 2018 / 9:36 am

      I think more people dislike it than you think. I’ve read a lot of ‘This is awesome’ and ‘This isn’t that great’ posts about Cosmic Encounter. It is part of the anxiety I have about playing this game. Also which board games you like, or don’t, is super subjective so don’t feel bad about it. :p

      Been looking forward to getting Mansions of Madness 2nd Edition since it seems like they’ve eliminated most of my concerns from the first game. However, it comes with a pretty hefty price tag which has put me off. Though with my birthday coming up in a couple of months, who knows?


  4. Will_GSRR February 24, 2018 / 12:40 am

    I’m put off playing Dead of Winter The Long Night just because there are so many bits and pieces and it can take ages to set up.

    Liked by 1 person

    • David Norris February 24, 2018 / 9:39 am

      I have Dead of Winter the original, and yeah it’s pretty bad to setup. Though if you can recruit a few people from around the table to help, I think it goes a lot quicker.

      Also if you haven’t done it yet: baggies. Bag everything, makes it a lot easier to organise.


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