A lot of games today are difficult. I remember the first time I played Agricola. The constant pressure to accumulate food was like a cracking whip, driving the game forward come hell or high water. Used properly, innate difficulty in a design makes for a lot of good stuff. It can add tension and really juice up decisions in-game. But when it’s overused it can be a drag. Euro designs are often guilty of this. I have a friend who loves the games of Stefen Feld, but most of his stuff leaves me cold for this reason. It’s just not much fun for me to eek out a couple of extra gold to take a slightly more powerful action. Oh hooray, I lose a little less ground than usual this turn. It’s getting bad in more American designs too. Games like Middle Earth Quest and the Lord of the Rings card game both give the rack an extra crank. You spend as much time struggling against the game as anything else. This is true even in games that aren’t cooperative. It becomes an question of who can manipulate this system the best, and I’m just not very interested in that.