The worst board games

FiveThirtyEight crunches the data and identifies what players consider to be the worst board games.

The outliers have a relatively large number of user ratings — people actually play them — and a relatively low average rating — people do not like to play them. This hall of shame includes War (the card game), tic-tac-toe, Snakes and Ladders, Candy Land, The Game of Life and Monopoly.
The worst games, for the most part, have one thing in common: luck. They’re driven by it, often exclusively. Candy Land, Snakes and Ladders (also called Chutes and Ladders) and War are driven purely by chance. The Game of Life is close. It’s heavily chance-based, but one can make some decisions.4Overreliance on luck makes a game boring or frustrating or both. Good games are driven by skill, or, like Twilight Struggle, a healthy mix of skill and luck.

Luck is the reason I always hated playing Candy Land. It teaches you nothing at all, except perhaps to endure the random arrows of misfortune. At least some games of chance like blackjack teach you some basic probability theory.

I finally received my copy of what is considered the best board game, Twilight Struggle. Looking forward to cracking it open soon, though the manual is intimidating in its length.

Fantasy sports are underrated as a game in their cognitive lessons. Fantasy baseball, in particular, is a good teacher of statistics and asset management because of the predictability of player performance. Fantasy basketball is deterministic enough to be a useful teacher as well. Fantasy football, by virtue of all the injuries and extreme variance in game to game performance, is much too random to be as instructive, but playing is a great hack for upping your enjoyment of any random game if that's your goal.