This was not my experience :-D
I loved BARIS! Loved it to death. It was a game with a Big Idea, which was that manned spaceflight is much more dangerous than you think, and (IMO) it did a great job of communicating that while still remaining fun and playable.
The whole game was built around a relatively simple structure. There was a series of missions that you had to successfully accomplish in order to get to the moon, starting with launching an unmanned satellite and working up all the way to a full manned moon landing. You had to choose space hardware to get you through each step, and develop an astronaut corps with the skill to operate that hardware. And each time a space vehicle completed a mission successfully its reliability would increase, making future missions with that hardware a little safer.
That was important, because each mission had multiple stages -- launch! orbit! extravehicular activity! docking! lunar insertion! lunar orbit! lunar landing! lunar EVA! lunar extraction! re-entry! -- and each stage involved a die roll against the safety factor of the hardware you were using. So you could have a vehicle with an 80% safety factor and think "wow, that seems pretty solid," only to realize that there were going to be a dozen d100 rolls against that safety factor in a single mission, and suddenly 80% doesn't sound so reliable anymore. And if a mission failed -- and it only took one failed roll to fail the entire mission -- the safety factor of that hardware would fall through the floor. So the challenge was to use each set of hardware just enough to build up its safety factor to a point where it can make it through all the dice rolls you need it to make it through, without doing one mission more than you needed to, since each mission was basically a crapshoot. The result was that every mission was a nail-biter, as you prayed that you hadn't pushed ahead too far too fast.
There were also big-picture, budgetary decisions to make. You have a budget, given to you by the political Powers That Be, and that budget tracks the ongoing success of your program. So if you're doing well you'll have plenty of money, so much money that you can consider things like doing for a direct-ascent moon landing using the gargantuan Nova rocket. And if you're not doing well, you find yourself willing to take on more and more risk to try and turn things around. Maybe it's worth trying to go all the way to the moon in a two-man Gemini capsule, which you've already developed and teched up to a respectable safety rating, rather than starting from scratch with the three-man Apollo. Or maybe it's worth abandoning disposable capsules altogether and going with a reusable mini-shuttle, which will have a higher up-front cost but save you money with each consecutive mission. There are a lot of these kind of big strategic choices to make, and they're all crunchy and satisfying.
If this all sounds interesting, I'd encourage you to try out the game yourself. The rights to it reverted to the developers in the mid-2000s, and they generously open sourced the whole thing, so a version that will run on modern Windows machines without a hitch is just a click or two away. (And the source code is on Github, if you want to root around in its guts.) It's not a perfect game -- a few missteps early on can crush your budget, for instance, making it more practical to just give up and restart than to try and soldier on -- but it rewards patience and teaches some important lessons about just how many risks both the US and USSR ran in their pursuit of lunar glory.