Rich, I am all on board with your picks!
Oh god yes. I tried this once at a convention and felt like I had wasted the whole day. Boring boring boring and takes way too long.
Yeah, from the very first time I've always thought, "This feels like a late 70s Steve Jackson game." It's like you're playing Munchkin or Awful Green Things with none of the art or humor. I have yet to experience a single game that wasn't a 2-3 way tie. My old game group LOVED this game and squeezed it in almost every session. Fuck Cosmic Encounter!
I enjoyed the iPad version. Maybe human players being more competitive makes in unbearable?
I feel about Powergrid how you feel about Caylus.
Dominion feels like I'm trying to play Bridge with my grandmother's group: an impenetrable game that appeals to people I cannot possibly understand. It's the game equivalent of a magic eye painting: you spend 5 minutes staring at your hand until you either declare, "I see it!" or you don't.
Every time we've tried it's been "Maybe THIS combination of variants will make it good?" I've been witness to over a dozen online games where I predict the winner at setup and I've been 90% right. It's such a waste investing that time, money, and space to the luck of the draw and bad balance.
Another "call the winner at setup" game based on who gets the superior west/east coast routes, at least with the base U.S. map.
I really tried to like Arkham Horror: the card game. $15 per hour long scenario with little replay value? Pass!
Another popular game that stinks:
Diplomacy- This one is always fun in theory as you organize the game and every has fun roleplaying during the first half hour.
Then the slog sets in and everyone stops having fun. After 6 hours everyone just wants it to end and agrees to let one player win just to make the pain stop. I've never seen a game of Diplomacy where anyone was actually having fun beyond the 60 minute mark, or one that didn't end with half the players passed out groaning in misery. Also doesn't help how imbalanced the nations are (pity the poor fool who draws Italy or Austria).