Going Analog

Where video game industry veterans introduce great board games to video gamers

Board Gaming Sins: Disastrous inserts and chaotic colors

Etching two disorderly new entries in the grim book of board game grudges.

There are criminals in your home. In fact, you’re likely harboring them intentionally. Beguiled by their charms, you invited these cardboard culprits inside and even welcomed them to your table. You shouldn’t blame yourself, but no matter how much fun they may seem, it’s time to admit it. Many of the board games residing on your shelves have done you wrong.

In our Board Gaming Sins series, we’re taking justice into our own hands. Or, er, words. Collected below are two more entries in a long list of the worst board gaming sins: heinous crimes so vile that the guilty parties should be cast into the fiery depths, to be locked away eternally by the barons of board game hell. It’s time to bring out the scales and discover which of our favorite games are guilty.

Sin #3: An intolerant insert

Board Gaming Sins Episode 2 Intolerant insert
Oh no, not again.

Aaaand there! Slotting that final board game piece into a carefully crafted insert/inlay is pure organizational bliss. We suspect that insert designers -- we’re assuming that’s a job title -- may have slightly misinterpreted our love for putting pieces away, however. Because all too often, taking a well-organized box and attempting to slide it vertically into a shelf will only result in its innards churning themselves in a chaotic blend of cards, tokens, and regret.

The level of hell assigned to poor-quality inserts was overflowing within minutes of its creation. But we’d like to reserve a special (and painful) space for the boxes which pretend to have their parts in order, only to collapse into a shambles at the slightest of tilts. We all know that storing games vertically makes sense, so why are we still making boxes that think they deserve special treatment? It only makes us less likely to get them down for a game in the first place.

The Guilty Parties:

Arctic Scavengers

Rober K. Gabhart’s deck builder generously offers a bunch of expansion decks you can swap in and out each time you play. In an especially thoughtful move, the carefully spaced slots they’re stored in will even shuffle them all together each time you stand the game on its side. How kind.


So the tokens go here, the dice go there, the cards slot in this bit, and then all of them go wherever they damn please the second we pick the box up. The monasteries of Portugal may represent beautiful harmony, but their organization drives us into an ugly rage.

Lords of Waterdeep

Ruthlessly vying for control of the city of Waterdeep, successful lords must ensure they keep all their pawns in their place. A shame, then, that the game itself sets such a terrible example by spewing its components everywhere when returned to the shelf.

The punishment: Your house is flipped upside down and given a good shake the second you finish tidying it. Live in the chaos you so clearly crave, criminal!

Sin #4: The color-blind killer

Board gaming sins color blind killer going analog
More like eye-roll for the galaxy! (please laugh)

OK chaps, listen up. The operation is about to commence, and I want everyone’s undivided attention as we lay the groundwork. Collins, I need you to keep an eye on the whereabouts of the man in brown. Tail his movements before reporting back. Harper? You’ll be tracking the beige-suited fellow. No, I said beige -- that guy is clearly wearing brown. Come now, you’re just being ridiculous, that’s evidently a copper-colored jacket, maybe warm tan at a push. Where did you learn your sense of fashion?!

Not inside a board game box, that’s for certain. We get it, art and production quality have become increasingly important factors for modern board games, and we’re absolutely here for it. That said, a love for visual perfection shouldn’t get in the way of the game’s readability, especially for those of us already dealing with color blindness. To that end, please make sure your player colors and game tokens are distinct -- and not three different shades of red, pink and orange. We want our board game nights to feel fun and less like we’re attempting to differentiate shades of paint. Now, was I the Ruby Fountain colored player, or Volcanic Splash? Oh how embarrassing, I was obviously Rose Trellis all along.

The Guilty Parties:

Roll for the Galaxy

The ships are prepped and ready to soar, their cargo holds full of Rare Elements to sell. Or at least we think they’re rare elements. Honestly, they could be genes, novelties or even consumption thanks to these similarly colored dice. Wait, what even is consumption?

The Oracle of Delphi

Okay, we get that the Oracle’s whole schtick is delivering omens in an obtuse and mysterious manner. But did she literally mean for us to paint our ships the exact same color as all the temples, monsters, and waves in our path? Still, at least she didn’t tell us we’d soon by marrying our own mother like that last sucker who came by.


No one likes to reach the end of a game only to realise that they’ve cheated their way to success. Thanks to unfortunately similar purple and blue dice, it's an all too common experience in Sagrada. What’s even worse is realizing you’ve cheated and still lost.

The punishment: Attempting to pick out “Grecian Spa 2” from over a million unnamed shades of green paint. 

Want to check up on our previous offenders? The first two board gaming sins of terrible boxes and baffling rulebooks can be viewed (disgusted tutting is compulsory) by clicking here. Got your own despised board game transgressions? Share with us on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter! While you’re at it, be sure to check out the Going Analog Podcast as well for more cardboard chit chat.

Author bio: When he’s not losing himself as a mercenary in Frosthaven, Henry Stenhouse can be found scouring the web for the latest and greatest games, then wondering why he never has time to actually play them. Share your love of deck builders with him at @Fernoface on Twitter or drop an email to henry@moonrock.agency.