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Sweet Spots, Gamer Types, and Similarity
Randy Cox
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I set out to create a Cranky-esque geek list about games' "Pain Index." It was, of course, tongue in cheek and rated games as being "bad" because they were too highly rated, too popular, too long, and had too much consensus about their quality. In essence, it would have shown great games that are just too damn popular to be played by "cool" gamer geeks. If Yogi Berra were a gamer, I could see him saying “Puerto Rico is too popular. Nobody plays it anymore.”

But in doing this exercise, I took a few side turns and recalculations and changed my course entirely. I started to look for the "sweet spot" games. Games that, statistically, measure up to exactly what a particular person is looking for.

For instance, say you prefer games rated around 7.5 (there is a theory around here that 7.5 is the "sweet spot" for games--higher gets to be too fiddly or brain-burning or something, while lower dips into the realm of common games). Say you also like games that have been tried by a reasonable number of people (maybe 500 votes). And you dislike contention, so you prefer games with a standard deviation of around 1.00 (it doesn't get much better than that). You prefer weighty games (whatever that means), but not too weighty so, your perfect game might be a 4.0 in weight. And finally, you don't like quick games, but you don't want games that take forever. So you peg your favorite to be in the 2-3 hour range. So what's the perfect game for such a person? What's the "sweet spot" for all these categories when viewed collectively?

So, I set out to determine the perfect game for such a gamer. Turns out, the game most closely mimicking those parameters (7.5-1.00-500-4.00-2.5) [that's average, standard deviation, votes, weight, and hours] is...

In the Shadow of the Emperor (7.35-1.23-464-3.56-2)

That's what the numbers show.

Then I started tweaking more and came up with some classifications and similarities. Read on to find out just what was unearthed...

Note: I used the game length figures here in the database, broken down into games up to 1 hour, up to 2 hours, up to 3 hours, and over 3 hours (1,2,3,4). I also selected only games that aren't listed as expansions, though that doesn't eliminate some games (e.g. ASL Starter Kits, Carcassonne expansions, etc). Also, I used only games with at least 30 ratings and 10 weight ratings.
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1. Board Game: Revolution: The Dutch Revolt 1568-1648 [Average Rating:7.35 Overall Rank:751]
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Games for the DEMANDING NICHE GAMER (10.0-0.00-100-5.00-4). These people want perfect games that aren't the latest fad and are ultra heavy. A good many wargames appear here, not surprisingly. The winner here got a score that was only 78% of perfection (as defined for this group).

Revolution: The Dutch Revolt 1568-1648 (7.95-1.50-103-4.37-4)
Roads and Boats (8.02-1.55-251-4.25-4)
1856 (7.58-1.56-184-4.36-4)
Macher, die (8.20-1.58-576-4.33-4)
Civil War, the (7.52-1.36-169-3.9-4)
Breakout: Normandy (7.87-1.41-207-3.76-4)
EastFront (8.07-1.57-231-3.94-4)
Sword of Rome, The: Conquest of Italy, 362-272 BC (7.59-1.52-147-3.84-4)
Advanced Squad Leader (ASL) Starter Kit #2 (8.57-1.10-42-3.9-3)
Europe Engulfed (8.17-1.89-295-4.23-4)
Advanced Squad Leader (ASL) (7.83-2.08-552-4.91-4)
Rise and Decline of the Third Reich (6.53-1.78-304-4.82-4)
Republic of Rome, The (7.67-1.78-538-4.4-4)
Empires in Arms (7.42-1.89-249-4.47-4)
Paths of Glory (8.13-1.95-458-4.18-4)
1830 - Railroads and Robber Barons (7.64-1.67-578-3.96-4)
World in Flames (7.16-2.12-229-4.69-4)
Twilight Imperium 3rd Edition (7.99-1.73-805-3.98-4)
Ambush! (7.17-1.50-451-3.59-4)
Rommel in the Desert (8.11-1.34-186-3.93-3)
7 Ages (7.54-1.97-275-4.07-4)
Magic Realm (6.85-2.08-435-4.65-4)
Arab-Israeli Wars, The (6.05-1.37-137-3.5-4)
Civilization (7.45-1.60-1305-3.95-4)
Twilight Imperium (7.12-1.62-440-3.5-4)
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2. Board Game: Goa [Average Rating:7.70 Overall Rank:54]
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Those who enjoy GAMER GAMES might ratchet down their requirements a bit (8.00-1.00-1000-3.5-1.5). They're looking for extremely high ratings, low dissention, better than average popularity, moderate weight, and not an extreme time involvement). What does the calculation show? Goa’s score achieved 90% of the stated parameters.

Goa (7.97-1.25-1380-3.5-2)
Louis XIV (7.59-1.11-713-3.13-2)
La Città (7.57-1.27-1092-3.27-2)
Maharaja: Palace Building in India (7.73-1.26-832-3.22-2)
Traders of Genoa, The (7.62-1.32-1097-3.32-2)
Bonaparte at Marengo (8.27-1.11-135-3.24-2)
In the Shadow of the Emperor (7.34-1.22-464-3.56-2)
Taj Mahal (7.79-1.30-1267-3.24-2)
Power Grid (8.20-1.23-1959-3.45-2)
Keythedral (7.48-1.05-556-2.90-2)
Reef Encounter (7.77-1.34-310-3.55-2)
Amun-Re (7.66-1.21-1449-3.05-2)
Java (7.12-1.33-766-3.63-2)
Löwenherz (7.47-1.27-725-3.07-2)
Caylus (8.61-1.25-396-3.75-2)
Das Zepter von Zavandor (7.70-1.32-236-3.68-1)
Liberté (7.37-1.30-433-3.68-2)
We the People (7.46-1.32-333-3.35-2)
Hammer of the Scots (7.94-1.46-607-3.26-2)
Tycoon (7.14-1.03-206-2.91-2)
Primordial Soup (7.37-1.15-727-2.72-2)
Wooden Ships & Iron Men (6.91-1.28-407-3.37-1)
WildLife (6.93-1.30-378-3.41-2)
Stephenson's Rocket (7.31-1.34-640-3.17-1)
Santiago (7.57-1.10-563-2.58-2)
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3. Board Game: Battle Line [Average Rating:7.42 Overall Rank:130]
Randy Cox
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For the next group, I used the parameters of a 7.5 rating, 1.2 standard deviation, 1000 votes, a weight of 2, and a length of 1 hour. I'm calling this the MAINSTREAM GEEK GAMER. For whatever reason, a lot of games that get pegged as "girlfriend/SO games" seem to appear here. The winner here scored 98.5%.

Battle Line (7.57-1.20-818-1.95-1)
Wyatt Earp (7.16-1.22-1015-2-1)
Carcassonne - The Castle (7.48-1.17-1246-2.04-1)
Ingenious (7.58-1.15-873-1.91-1)
Blokus (7.60-1.18-1088-1.82-1)
Battle Cry (7.59-1.28-1162-2.01-1)
Fearsome Floors (7.03-1.18-1074-1.85-1)
Caesar and Cleopatra (6.73-1.19-1125-2-1)
Colossal Arena (7.25-1.25-1190-2.14-1)
Ticket to Ride Europe (7.91-1.11-1201-1.97-1)
Manhattan (6.77-1.19-699-2.04-1)
High Society (7.21-1.22-875-1.61-1)
Basari (7.08-1.19-430-1.86-1)
Schotten Totten (7.43-1.12-496-1.82-1)
Jambo (7.41-1.05-595-2.03-1)
Clans (6.79-1.29-1124-2-1)
Kahuna (6.85-1.31-987-2.06-1)
ZooSim (6.99-1.17-593-2.13-1)
Carcassonne - The City (7.75-1.17-497-2.22-1)
Ta Yü (7.32-1.17-256-2.14-1)
Odin's Ravens (7.04-1.15-909-1.63-1)
Carcassonne - Hunters and Gatherers (7.47-1.22-1936-1.84-1)
Big City (6.99-1.16-658-2.22-1)
Mystery Rummy: Jack the Ripper (7.14-1.21-596-1.66-1)
Medici (7.41-1.36-1018-2.30-1)
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4. Board Game: Bohnanza [Average Rating:7.09 Overall Rank:280]
Randy Cox
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The previous group was fairly light, but let's increase the helium content a little (7.00-1.35-1000-1.5-1). Let's call this the group that should be liked by the LIGHTER GAMERS (and I'm not talking about their girth). I see a few SdJ winners here. The top score here was about 89%.

Bohnanza (7.34-1.35-2989-1.64-1)
Lost Cities (7.45-1.27-2925-1.55-1)
Citadels (7.44-1.31-2929-2.00-1)
Ticket to Ride (7.77-1.26-3164-1.79-1)
Bang! (7.07-1.44-2080-1.50-1)
Carcassonne - Hunters and Gatherers (7.47-1.22-1936-1.84-1)
Guillotine (6.57-1.44-1671-1.19-1)
Alhambra (7.25-1.22-1903-2.10-1)
Elfenland (6.95-1.32-1330-2.07-1)
Memoir '44 (7.92-1.36-1878-2.14-1)
6 Nimmt! (7.04-1.18-1559-1.15-1)
Cartagena (6.87-1.21-1219-1.56-1)
Hoity Toity (6.83-1.38-1089-1.87-1)
TransAmerica (6.64-1.49-1351-1.36-1)
Lord of the Rings - The Confrontation (7.73-1.31-1697-2.25-1)
Balloon Cup (6.99-1.21-1047-1.35-1)
Mamma Mia! (6.71-1.28-963-1.35-1)
Metro (6.75-1.28-869-1.60-1)
Clans (6.79-1.29-1124-2-1)
San Juan (7.67-1.14-2135-2.24-1)
St. Petersburg (7.47-1.37-1547-2.45-1)
StreetSoccer (7.03-1.36-471-1.59-1)
Modern Art (7.85-1.30-1789-2.41-1)
Through the Desert (7.70-1.25-1718-2.26-1)
Lord of the Rings (7.25-1.59-2283-2.63-1)
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5. Board Game: Guillotine [Average Rating:6.54 Overall Rank:812]
Randy Cox
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What about people who want their games REALLY LIGHT & TRENDY. They want something where they won't appear to be a dolt if they lose and a game that is quite popular. Let's use numbers like 6.5-1.35-5554-1-1. The 5554 is the highest number of votes in the system at the time I pulled the data. This list is pretty much the same as the last list with a few of the "better" games shoved out of the mix. Hmmm. Top score was around 88.5%.

Carcassonne (7.63-1.31-5161-1.78-1)
Bohnanza (7.34-1.35-2989-1.64-1)
Guillotine (6.57-1.44-1671-1.19-1)
Lost Cities (7.45-1.27-2925-1.55-1)
Villa Paletti (6.61-1.35-406-1.11-1)
Midnight Party (6.49-1.32-233-1-1)
Citadels (7.44-1.31-2929-2.00-1)
Bang! (7.07-1.44-2080-1.50-1)
Pickomino (6.46-1.38-262-1.07-1)
Cloud 9 (6.45-1.31-268-1.10-1)
Ticket to Ride (7.77-1.26-3164-1.79-1)
Raj (6.52-1.36-314-1.22-1)
Mamma Mia! (6.71-1.28-963-1.35-1)
TransAmerica (6.64-1.49-1351-1.36-1)
Heimlich & Co. (6.47-1.33-445-1.42-1)
Amazing Labyrinth (6.24-1.31-610-1.30-1)
6 Nimmt! (7.04-1.18-1559-1.15-1)
Barbarossa (6.67-1.36-315-1.36-1)
Mississippi Queen (6.55-1.28-927-1.66-1)
Settlers of Catan, The (7.90-1.43-5554-2.34-2)
Duell (6.72-1.31-217-1.2-1)
Typo (6.58-1.35-106-1.38-1)
Loopin' Louie (7.09-1.37-332-1-1)
Coda (6.32-1.34-279-1.46-1)
Heave Ho! (6.46-1.29-346-1.4-1)
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6. Board Game: Sorry! [Average Rating:4.54 Overall Rank:11055]
Randy Cox
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But what of our NONGAMING friends? They deserve a little love. Let's plug in the numbers 4.5-1.75-500-1-0.5 to see what someone with no game geek blood might think. Top mark here is 95.5%.

Sorry! (4.48-1.71-583-1.09-1)
Aggravation (4.54-1.75-199-1.14-1)
Memory (4.49-1.76-139-1.23-1)
Pay Day (4.23-1.69-305-1-1)
Mouse Trap (4.09-1.72-337-1.10-1)
Bitin' Off Hedz (4.65-1.71-225-1.2-1)
Pass the Pigs (5.29-1.73-639-1.05-1)
Twister (4.53-1.86-291-1.26-1)
MindTrap (4.52-1.84-299-1.58-1)
Masterpiece (4.95-1.63-322-1.16-1)
Battle of the Sexes (3.71-1.69-115-1-1)
Connect Four (4.69-1.59-638-1.28-1)
Before I Kill You, Mr. Bond (5.16-1.69-423-1.37-1)
Game of Life, The (3.68-1.78-865-1.12-1)
Battleship (4.32-1.56-794-1.13-1)
Dominoes (5.50-1.70-560-1.27-1)
Guess Who (4.92-1.57-202-1-1)
Skip-bo (5.15-1.62-398-1.18-1)
Sequence (5.76-1.72-439-1.13-1)
Cootie (3.33-1.72-127-1-1)
Phase 10 (5.15-1.89-479-1.22-1)
Yahtzee (5.06-1.63-1049-1.10-1)
Car Wars: the Card Game (5.14-1.87-208-1.3-1)
Hotels (5.37-1.79-237-1.5-1)
Jenga (5.27-1.55-779-1.02-1)
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7. Board Game: Chez Geek [Average Rating:5.77 Overall Rank:3989]
Randy Cox
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Maybe that last list was a bit harsh. Non-gamers might still want a little quality, so let’s go with a more reasonable mix like 6-1.75-1000-1-0.5 and call it the DISCERNING NON-GAMER . Top marks here are 94% of perfect. I’m not in this group by this measure (though there are some here that I do enjoy), but it is a better list of non-gamer games than the previous one.

Chez Geek (6.00-1.75-737-1.33-1)
Cranium (5.95-1.80-927-1.36-1)
Sequence (5.76-1.72-439-1.13-1)
Boggle (6.29-1.71-897-1.52-1)
Nuclear War (6.31-1.74-605-1.40-1)
Pass the Pigs (5.29-1.73-639-1.05-1)
Great Dalmuti, the (6.64-1.73-789-1.23-1)
Trumpet (6.06-1.79-151-1.2-1)
Guesstures (6.08-1.71-168-1.23-1)
Mille Bornes (5.70-1.60-1035-1.20-1)
Dominoes (5.50-1.70-560-1.27-1)
Family Business (6.28-1.67-570-1.5-1)
Dilbert: Corporate shuffle (6.03-1.60-246-1.15-1)
Zombies!!! (5.89-1.89-1356-1.42-1)
Grass (6.09-1.66-281-1.4-1)
Give Me the Brain! (5.97-1.60-584-1.46-1)
Scattergories (5.96-1.54-637-1.19-1)
Once Upon a Time (6.48-1.66-561-1.26-1)
Ninja Burger (6.25-1.74-158-1.6-1)
Star Munchkin (6.46-1.70-334-1.31-1)
Pictionary (5.86-1.72-861-1.11-2)
Yahtzee (5.06-1.63-1049-1.10-1)
Aquarius (5.87-1.63-235-1.30-1)
Chrononauts (6.23-1.63-678-1.61-1)
Facts in Five (5.85-1.73-234-1.8-1)
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8. Board Game: Die Macher [Average Rating:7.68 Overall Rank:96]
Randy Cox
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By the time I did that last list, I decided that some "gamer archetypes" (you know, if you use the word "archetype" in a geek list, all those academians will flock to your list)...anyway...some of groups of gamers might not care about how many/few votes a game has or what the standard deviation is, or how long it takes to play. So I added the ability to ignore portions of the data (signified by an "X" in the numbers).

Here is what I call the HEAVYWEIGHT PERFECTIONIST gamer (10-X-X-5-X). As long as it's rated a 10 and got a weight of 5, it's a fine game in their book. Top score: 85%.

Advanced Squad Leader (ASL) (7.83-2.08-552-4.91-4)
Macher, die (8.20-1.58-576-4.33-4)
Antiquity (7.94-1.25-109-4.38-2)
Revolution: The Dutch Revolt 1568-1648 (7.95-1.50-103-4.37-4)
Europe Engulfed (8.17-1.89-295-4.23-4)
World in Flames (7.16-2.12-229-4.69-4)
Roads and Boats (8.02-1.55-251-4.25-4)
Go (7.99-2.04-1268-4.25-2)
Paths of Glory (8.13-1.95-458-4.18-4)
Republic of Rome, The (7.67-1.78-538-4.4-4)
Advanced Squad Leader (ASL) Starter Kit #2 (8.57-1.10-42-3.9-3)
Empires in Arms (7.42-1.89-249-4.47-4)
1856 (7.58-1.56-184-4.36-4)
Age of Steam (8.03-1.54-1131-4.07-2)
Caylus (8.61-1.25-396-3.75-2)
Rise and Decline of the Third Reich (6.53-1.78-304-4.82-4)
Magic Realm (6.85-2.08-435-4.65-4)
Indonesia (8.08-1.79-35-4-3)
Rommel in the Desert (8.11-1.34-186-3.93-3)
Twilight Imperium 3rd Edition (7.99-1.73-805-3.98-4)
EastFront (8.07-1.57-231-3.94-4)
Advanced Third Reich (6.46-1.84-223-4.71-2)
Euphrat & Tigris (8.37-1.41-3083-3.68-2)
Star Fleet Battles (6.62-1.87-374-4.55-3)
7 Ages (7.54-1.97-275-4.07-4)
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9. Board Game: Advanced Squad Leader: Starter Kit #2 [Average Rating:7.88 Overall Rank:441]
Randy Cox
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Clemson
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That last list was all well and good, but what if a HEAVYWEIGHT UBERPERFECTIONIST really does care about the standard deviation? They don't want to play a game that half the people loathe and half love. Their game list would differ a little (10-0-X-5-0). This list, by the way, marks the first appearance of PUERTO RICO in any of these Top 25 lists. Top score here is 68% (because it’s really, really tough to reach that 0.00 standard deviation).

Advanced Squad Leader (ASL) Starter Kit #2 (8.57-1.10-42-3.9-3)
Antiquity (7.94-1.25-109-4.38-2)
Caylus (8.61-1.25-396-3.75-2)
Revolution: The Dutch Revolt 1568-1648 (7.95-1.50-103-4.37-4)
Macher, die (8.20-1.58-576-4.33-4)
Rommel in the Desert (8.11-1.34-186-3.93-3)
Struggle of Empires (7.91-1.30-547-3.85-3)
Roads and Boats (8.02-1.55-251-4.25-4)
Bonaparte at Marengo (8.27-1.11-135-3.24-2)
Power Grid (8.20-1.23-1959-3.45-2)
Euphrat & Tigris (8.37-1.41-3083-3.68-2)
1856 (7.58-1.56-184-4.36-4)
Age of Steam (8.03-1.54-1131-4.07-2)
Puerto Rico (8.63-1.34-4811-3.34-2)
Goa (7.97-1.25-1380-3.5-2)
Byzantium (7.54-1.28-56-3.75-2)
Civil War, the (7.52-1.36-169-3.9-4)
Das Zepter von Zavandor (7.70-1.32-236-3.68-1)
Breakout: Normandy (7.87-1.41-207-3.76-4)
EastFront (8.07-1.57-231-3.94-4)
Princes of Florence, The (8.18-1.31-2261-3.34-2)
Advanced Squad Leader (ASL) (7.83-2.08-552-4.91-4)
Princes of the Renaissance (7.70-1.40-528-3.74-3)
Liberté (7.37-1.30-433-3.68-2)
Reef Encounter (7.77-1.34-310-3.55-2)
 
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10. Board Game: Battlestations [Average Rating:7.19 Overall Rank:917]
Randy Cox
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Similar to the category two listings back, the MIDDLEWEIGHT PERFECTIONISTH (10-X-X-3-X) prefers these (and Puerto Rico appears again). Top score: 85%.

Battlestations (8.00-1.43-94-3.09-2)
Crusader Rex (7.84-1.35-92-3.05-3)
Railroad Tycoon (7.57-1.28-59-3-1)
Lock 'N Load: Band of Heroes (8.57-1.25-32-2.72-1)
Arkham Horror (7.54-1.55-619-3.00-3)
Amun-Re (7.66-1.21-1449-3.05-2)
Netrunner (7.53-1.51-405-2.96-1)
PÜNCT (7.96-1.34-57-2.84-1)
Tikal (7.47-1.19-1922-3.03-2)
Bonaparte at Marengo (8.27-1.11-135-3.24-2)
Descent: Journeys in the Dark (7.84-1.49-126-2.86-2)
Puerto Rico (8.63-1.34-4811-3.34-2)
Händler, Die (7.27-1.21-285-3-2)
YINSH (7.97-1.42-645-2.80-1)
Conquest of the Empire (7.75-1.50-120-3.13-2)
Kremlin (7.21-1.43-542-3-2)
ZERTZ (7.67-1.35-672-2.87-1)
Löwenherz (7.47-1.27-725-3.07-2)
Vinci (7.4-1.32-1007-2.94-3)
El Grande (8.13-1.36-2325-3.25-2)
Magic: The Gathering CCG (7.28-2.01-1926-3.03-1)
Ende des Triumvirats, Das (7.52-1.33-41-3.1-1)
GIPF (7.48-1.38-413-2.90-1)
Blood Bowl - Third Edition (7.48-1.61-657-3.09-2)
Keythedral (7.48-1.05-556-2.90-2)
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11. Board Game: Keythedral [Average Rating:7.12 Overall Rank:429]
Randy Cox
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South Carolina
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And if we eliminate all that bickering, the MIDDLEWEIGHT UBERPERFECTIONIST (10-0-X-3-0) likes these. Top score is only 72%.

Bonaparte at Marengo (8.27-1.11-135-3.24-2)
Keythedral (7.48-1.05-556-2.90-2)
Tycoon (7.14-1.03-206-2.91-2)
Amun-Re (7.66-1.21-1449-3.05-2)
Louis XIV (7.59-1.11-713-3.13-2)
Tikal (7.47-1.19-1922-3.03-2)
Lock 'N Load: Band of Heroes (8.57-1.25-32-2.72-1)
Railroad Tycoon (7.57-1.28-59-3-1)
Händler, Die (7.27-1.21-285-3-2)
Hazienda (7.37-0.95-62-2.73-1)
Crusader Rex (7.84-1.35-92-3.05-3)
Löwenherz (7.47-1.27-725-3.07-2)
PÜNCT (7.96-1.34-57-2.84-1)
Battlestations (8.00-1.43-94-3.09-2)
Puerto Rico (8.63-1.34-4811-3.34-2)
Bridges of Shangri-La, The (7.06-1.23-352-3.04-1)
Vinci (7.4-1.32-1007-2.94-3)
Skat (7.79-1.31-67-3.18-1)
Ende des Triumvirats, Das (7.52-1.33-41-3.1-1)
Maharaja: Palace Building in India (7.73-1.26-832-3.22-2)
ZERTZ (7.67-1.35-672-2.87-1)
El Grande (8.13-1.36-2325-3.25-2)
Oltremare - Merchants of Venice (7.28-1.07-422-2.7-1)
Shogun (7.10-1.33-930-3.02-4)
Primordial Soup (7.37-1.15-727-2.72-2)
 
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12. Board Game: PitchCar [Average Rating:7.23 Overall Rank:253]
Randy Cox
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The LIGHTWEIGHT PERFECTIONIST (10-X-X-1-X) sees these and salivates. Top score: 82%.

Carabande (7.35-1.47-831-1.05-1)
Time's Up (7.62-1.56-332-1.19-2)
Loopin' Louie (7.09-1.37-332-1-1)
For Sale (7.46-1.24-858-1.20-1)
Jungle Speed (7.13-1.41-185-1.06-1)
Can't Stop (7.14-1.45-864-1.08-1)
Bausack (7.08-1.29-274-1.09-1)
Harry's Grand Slam Baseball Game (6.88-1.18-47-1-1)
Apples to Apples (6.95-1.61-1596-1.03-1)
Gulo Gulo (6.87-1.17-249-1-1)
Coloretto (7.22-1.07-1251-1.19-1)
Liar's Dice (7.17-1.48-960-1.22-1)
6 Nimmt! (7.04-1.18-1559-1.15-1)
Diamant (6.86-1.27-375-1.10-1)
Geschenkt (7.00-1.28-470-1.17-1)
Attribut (6.74-1.46-188-1.06-1)
Light Speed (6.94-1.30-294-1.19-1)
Travel Blokus (7.68-1.10-113-1.57-1)
Mystery Rummy: Al Capone and the Chicago Underworld (7.07-1.11-207-1.27-1)
10 Days in the USA (6.73-1.03-204-1.10-1)
Midnight Party (6.49-1.32-233-1-1)
Cranium Hoopla (6.65-1.12-93-1.09-1)
Ghosts! (6.46-1.48-200-1-1)
Catch Phrase (6.82-1.65-238-1.2-1)
Kung Fu Fighting (6.74-1.18-114-1.16-1)
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13. Board Game: Coloretto [Average Rating:6.99 Overall Rank:368]
Randy Cox
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But the more discerning LIGHTWEIGHT UBERPERFECTIONIST (10-0-X-1-0) seems to prefer this list. Top score: 70%. Somehow, this list just looks right to me. For what it is.

Coloretto (7.22-1.07-1251-1.19-1)
10 Days in the USA (6.73-1.03-204-1.10-1)
Cluzzle (7.01-1.00-84-1.33-1)
Gulo Gulo (6.87-1.17-249-1-1)
Harry's Grand Slam Baseball Game (6.88-1.18-47-1-1)
For Sale (7.46-1.24-858-1.20-1)
Travel Blokus (7.68-1.10-113-1.57-1)
Mystery Rummy: Al Capone and the Chicago Underworld (7.07-1.11-207-1.27-1)
6 Nimmt! (7.04-1.18-1559-1.15-1)
Cranium Hoopla (6.65-1.12-93-1.09-1)
King's Breakfast (6.36-1.01-381-1.18-1)
Bausack (7.08-1.29-274-1.09-1)
Loopin' Louie (7.09-1.37-332-1-1)
Rumis (7.36-1.07-223-1.68-1)
Kung Fu Fighting (6.74-1.18-114-1.16-1)
Rat Hot (6.77-0.97-49-1.58-1)
Diamant (6.86-1.27-375-1.10-1)
Geschenkt (7.00-1.28-470-1.17-1)
Circus Flohcati (6.69-1.19-436-1.16-1)
Royal Turf (7.19-1.14-848-1.52-1)
Pick Picknic (6.67-1.16-381-1.22-1)
Ticket to Ride Europe (7.91-1.11-1201-1.97-1)
Carabande (7.35-1.47-831-1.05-1)
Jungle Speed (7.13-1.41-185-1.06-1)
Balloon Cup (6.99-1.21-1047-1.35-1)
 
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14. Board Game: Carcassonne [Average Rating:7.44 Overall Rank:107] [Average Rating:7.44 Unranked]
Randy Cox
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Then I figured I'd see what the IN CROWD plays. I decided to ignore the rating and weight altogether and look for games that are extremely popular, very quick, and have only minor squabbling about the ratings (X-1.00-5554-X-0.5). Here's the list. They're all popular for a reason, it seems. Top score: 84%.

Carcassonne (7.63-1.31-5161-1.78-1)
Settlers of Catan, The (7.90-1.43-5554-2.34-2)
Ticket to Ride (7.77-1.26-3164-1.79-1)
Lost Cities (7.45-1.27-2925-1.55-1)
Puerto Rico (8.63-1.34-4811-3.34-2)
Citadels (7.44-1.31-2929-2.00-1)
San Juan (7.67-1.14-2135-2.24-1)
Bohnanza (7.34-1.35-2989-1.64-1)
Samurai (7.73-1.17-1783-2.53-1)
Carcassonne - Hunters and Gatherers (7.47-1.22-1936-1.84-1)
Coloretto (7.22-1.07-1251-1.19-1)
Alhambra (7.25-1.22-1903-2.10-1)
6 Nimmt! (7.04-1.18-1559-1.15-1)
Ticket to Ride Europe (7.91-1.11-1201-1.97-1)
Through the Desert (7.70-1.25-1718-2.26-1)
Attika (7.44-1.23-1554-2.41-1)
Carcassonne - The Castle (7.48-1.17-1246-2.04-1)
Hansa (7.28-1.08-828-2.43-1)
Modern Art (7.85-1.30-1789-2.41-1)
Jambo (7.41-1.05-595-2.03-1)
King's Breakfast (6.36-1.01-381-1.18-1)
Blokus (7.60-1.18-1088-1.82-1)
Cartagena (6.87-1.21-1219-1.56-1)
Caesar and Cleopatra (6.73-1.19-1125-2-1)
Lord of the Rings - The Confrontation (7.73-1.31-1697-2.25-1)
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15. Board Game: Union Pacific [Average Rating:7.27 Overall Rank:290]
Randy Cox
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Clemson
South Carolina
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At this point, I tried to figure out what some of my favorite games might be. I took a simple approach by computing the average scores for four games I enjoy (Mu, Acquire, Aladdin's Dragons, and Princes of Florence). That comes out to 7.6-1.33-1525-2.79-2. It shows the following.

Union Pacific (7.61-1.33-1062-2.68-2) - It's OK
Amun-Re (7.66-1.21-1449-3.05-2) - haven't played
Taj Mahal (7.79-1.30-1267-3.24-2) - gave away before playing
Domaine (7.45-1.22-768-2.75-2) - haven't seen, but own Lowenherz and haven't played
Aladdin's Dragons (7.13-1.31-929-2.57-2) - Hey, that's one of 'em
Traders of Genoa, The (7.62-1.32-1097-3.32-2) - Own and haven't played
Settlers of Catan Card Game (7.09-1.43-1883-2.63-2) - didn't like at all
Tikal (7.47-1.19-1922-3.03-2) - didn't like very much, tolerable without bidding
San Marco (7.39-1.21-980-2.62-2) - fair
La Città (7.57-1.27-1092-3.27-2) - haven't played
Acquire (7.63-1.39-2492-2.59-2) - there's another one
Mü und Mehr (7.43-1.29-417-2.65-2) - and another
Löwenherz (7.47-1.27-725-3.07-2) - I mentioned this one 9 games back
Shadows over Camelot (7.60-1.48-1350-2.36-2) - played 0.95 times and it was as fun as sneezing for 2 hours straight
Lost Valley (7.33-1.28-250-2.81-2) - don't know anything about this
Medina (7.20-1.32-622-3.13-2) - haven't played or watched
Primordial Soup (7.37-1.15-727-2.72-2) - good game
Maharaja: Palace Building in India (7.73-1.26-832-3.22-2) - own, but don’t think I’ve even opened it
Starfarers of Catan (7.05-1.47-941-2.62-2) - no desire to play expansions
Axis and Allies: Pacific (6.95-1.40-459-2.89-2) - played A&A once or twice. that's enough.
Mexica (7.17-1.18-595-2.71-2) - haven't played
Goa (7.97-1.25-1380-3.5-2) - haven't played
Kremlin (7.21-1.43-542-3-2) - fair for old-school game
Risk: Godstorm (6.71-1.38-238-2.8-2) - know nothing about
El Grande (8.13-1.36-2325-3.25-2) - don't like much

So, if these games are most like the composite Mu/Acquire/Aladdin/Florence game, I've got a lot of investigating to do and I might not like them very much. : )
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16. Board Game: Puerto Rico [Average Rating:8.15 Overall Rank:5]
Randy Cox
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South Carolina
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But doing that last exercise got me to thinking about Bill James Similarity Scores to compare baseball players' statistics. So I figured I'd check into Game Similarity Scores using this calculation tool.

First up, Puerto Rico (8.61-1.34-4811-3.34-2; rank: 1), of course.

10 games most similar to Puerto Rico. Note about parenthetical numbers—for some reason or other, at this time, I switched from listing the length as the fifth attribute and changed it to the ranking. So, the –3 at the end of E&T indicates it’s rank, not length.

Euphrat & Tigris (8.35-1.41-3083-3.68-3) Score: 87%
Princes of Florence, The (8.15-1.31-2261-3.34-5)
El Grande (8.10-1.36-2325-3.25-6)
Settlers of Catan, The (7.88-1.43-5554-2.34-21)
Power Grid (8.16-1.23-1959-3.45-4)
Taj Mahal (7.74-1.30-1267-3.24-37)
Traders of Genoa, The (7.57-1.32-1097-3.32-73)
Goa (7.92-1.25-1380-3.5-18)
Acquire (7.61-1.39-2492-2.59-64)
La Città (7.53-1.27-1092-3.27-87)

And very unlike PR...

Bingo (2.67-1.45-209-1-2827)
Twister (4.65-1.86-291-1.26-2768)
Magic Realm (6.78-2.08-435-4.65-563)
Battle of the Sexes (4.14-1.69-115-1-2808)
World in Flames (7.00-2.12-229-4.69-348)
Cootie (3.80-1.72-127-1-2817)
Candyland (3.29-1.87-383-1-2822)
 
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17. Board Game: Trivial Pursuit [Average Rating:5.22 Overall Rank:10982]
Randy Cox
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South Carolina
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How about Trivial Pursuit (5.31-1.82-1039-1.52-2; rank: 2615)? I’m distressed by this similarity at the top of the list. I like Trivial Pursuit and Pictionary, too. But how can a Monopoly reissue be 93% the same game as this classic?

Monopoly - Star Wars Limited Collectors Edition (5.21-1.91-393-1.70-2660) Score: 93%
Pictionary (5.85-1.72-861-1.11-2012)
Castle Risk (5.23-1.73-325-2.41-2652)
221B Baker Street and Expansions (5.59-1.58-419-2-2379)
Get Out (5.62-1.53-107-1.72-2343)
Upwords (5.89-1.55-405-1.73-1957)
Outdoor Survival (4.32-1.74-231-1.9-2799)
Killer Bunnies and the Quest for the Magic Carrot (5.93-2.15-378-1.54-1884)
Hotels (5.42-1.79-237-1.5-2547)
Pit (6.50-1.59-885-1.20-926)

And very unlike TP

Macher, die (8.08-1.58-576-4.33-7)
Civil War, the (7.26-1.36-169-3.9-193)
Breakout: Normandy (7.61-1.41-207-3.76-63)
Roads and Boats (7.78-1.55-251-4.25-34)
Advanced Squad Leader (ASL) (7.72-2.08-552-4.91-41)
Revolution: The Dutch Revolt 1568-1648 (7.46-1.50-103-4.37-107)
Advanced Squad Leader (ASL) Starter Kit #2 (7.41-1.10-42-3.9-126)
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18. Board Game: Scrabble [Average Rating:6.36 Overall Rank:1131]
Randy Cox
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Or Scrabble (6.54-1.72-2197-2.12-2; rank: 872)?

Risk (5.62-1.72-2960-2.11-2339) Score: 91%.
RoboRally (7.50-1.60-2029-2.51-98)
HeroQuest (6.74-1.62-984-2-622)
Formula Dé (7.14-1.52-1605-1.87-256)
Illuminati (6.42-1.56-623-2.25-1054)
Mystery of the Abbey (6.77-1.48-1075-1.98-578)
Settlers of Catan Card Game, The (7.07-1.43-1883-2.63-308)
When Darkness Comes (6.15-1.72-192-2.4-1506)
Talisman 3rd Edition (6.67-1.87-347-2.14-709)
Runebound (6.85-1.60-813-2.6-489)

Unlike Scrabble:

Europe Engulfed (7.95-1.89-295-4.23-15)
Civil War, the (7.26-1.36-169-3.9-193)
Magic Realm (6.78-2.08-435-4.65-563)
Revolution: The Dutch Revolt 1568-1648 (7.46-1.50-103-4.37-107)
Advanced Squad Leader (ASL) Starter Kit #2 (7.41-1.10-42-3.9-126)
World in Flames (7.00-2.12-229-4.69-348)
Advanced Squad Leader (ASL) (7.72-2.08-552-4.91-41)
 
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19. Board Game: Time's Up! [Average Rating:7.40 Overall Rank:245]
Randy Cox
United States
Clemson
South Carolina
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Time's Up (7.47-1.56-332-1.19-2; rank: 105)

Pit (6.50-1.59-885-1.20-926) Score: 93%
Warhammer Quest (7.30-1.56-280-2.6-177)
Inkognito (6.66-1.43-256-1.5-725)
Filthy Rich (6.41-1.52-254-1.9-1075)
Fury of Dracula, The (7.36-1.49-338-2.5-146)
Upwords (5.89-1.55-405-1.73-1957)
Doom: The Boardgame (7.26-1.58-670-2.58-194)
Return of the Heroes (6.98-1.48-354-2.29-367)
Mutant Chronicles: Siege of the Citadel (6.97-1.62-203-2.41-379)
Monsters Menace America (6.30-1.47-265-1.73-1249)

Not to the liking of Time's Up fans

Paths of Glory (7.98-1.95-458-4.18-11)
Rise and Decline of the Third Reich (6.47-1.78-304-4.82-980)
Diplomacy (7.24-1.94-1788-3.59-204)
Advanced Squad Leader (ASL) (7.72-2.08-552-4.91-41)
Magic Realm (6.78-2.08-435-4.65-563)
World in Flames (7.00-2.12-229-4.69-348)
Supremacy (5.22-2.19-438-3.14-2657)
 
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20. Board Game: Bonaparte at Marengo [Average Rating:7.41 Overall Rank:682]
Randy Cox
United States
Clemson
South Carolina
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Bonaparte at Marengo (7.82-1.11-135-3.24-2; rank: 27)...

Louis XIV (7.51-1.11-713-3.13-92) Score: 94.6% (wow!)
Maharaja: Palace Building in India (7.66-1.26-832-3.22-49)
Händler, Die (7.13-1.21-285-3-260)
Siena (7.21-1.47-54-3.27-224)
We the People (7.32-1.32-333-3.35-168)
Battlestations (7.46-1.43-94-3.09-106)
Keythedral (7.39-1.05-556-2.90-132)
Tycoon (6.97-1.03-206-2.91-377)
La Città (7.53-1.27-1092-3.27-87)
Löwenherz (7.40-1.27-725-3.07-130)

That was an odd list, I’d say.

Bonepartless...

Magic Realm (6.78-2.08-435-4.65-563)
Bingo (2.67-1.45-209-1-2827)
Cootie (3.80-1.72-127-1-2817)
Fluxx (5.56-2.11-1465-1.36-2414)
Game of Life, The (3.75-1.78-865-1.12-2819)
Monopoly (4.54-1.92-2388-1.66-2782)
Candyland (3.29-1.87-383-1-2822)
 
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21. Board Game: Caylus [Average Rating:7.90 Overall Rank:20]
Randy Cox
United States
Clemson
South Carolina
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New starlet Caylus (8.41-1.25-396-3.75-2; rank: 2)...

Byzantium (6.93-1.28-56-3.75-418) Score: 94.4%
Liberté (7.27-1.30-433-3.68-185)
In the Shadow of the Emperor (7.25-1.22-464-3.56-199)
Reef Encounter (7.60-1.34-310-3.55-65)
Goa (7.92-1.25-1380-3.5-18)
Antiquity (7.48-1.25-109-4.38-104)
We the People (7.32-1.32-333-3.35-168)
Maharaja: Palace Building in India (7.66-1.26-832-3.22-49)
Java (7.07-1.33-766-3.63-310)
Bonaparte at Marengo (7.82-1.11-135-3.24-27)

Not for Caylus fans...

Battle of the Sexes (4.14-1.69-115-1-2808)
Talisman (6.53-2.00-1089-2.11-881)
Cootie (3.80-1.72-127-1-2817)
Game of Life, The (3.75-1.78-865-1.12-2819)
Fluxx (5.56-2.11-1465-1.36-2414)
Monopoly (4.54-1.92-2388-1.66-2782)
Candyland (3.29-1.87-383-1-2822)
 
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22. Board Game: Aladdin's Dragons [Average Rating:6.95 Overall Rank:564]
Randy Cox
United States
Clemson
South Carolina
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Aladdin's Dragons (7.09-1.31-929-2.57-2; rank: 298)...

Union Pacific (7.56-1.33-1062-2.68-79) Score: 96%
San Marco (7.34-1.21-980-2.62-157)
Starfarers of Catan (7.01-1.47-941-2.62-346)
Mü und Mehr (7.32-1.29-417-2.65-167)
Settlers of the Stone Age, The (6.98-1.24-562-2.45-370)
Neuen Entdecker, die (6.91-1.22-489-2.61-430)
Domaine (7.38-1.22-768-2.75-137)
Mexica (7.10-1.18-595-2.71-284)
Star Wars - The Queen's Gambit (7.37-1.31-453-2.26-139)
New England (6.94-1.13-716-2.65-406)

Doesn't fly...

Europe Engulfed (7.95-1.89-295-4.23-15)
Candyland (3.29-1.87-383-1-2822)
Supremacy (5.22-2.19-438-3.14-2657)
Rise and Decline of the Third Reich (6.47-1.78-304-4.82-980)
Magic Realm (6.78-2.08-435-4.65-563)
World in Flames (7.00-2.12-229-4.69-348)
Advanced Squad Leader (ASL) (7.72-2.08-552-4.91-41)
 
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23. Board Game: Advanced Squad Leader [Average Rating:7.88 Overall Rank:124]
Randy Cox
United States
Clemson
South Carolina
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Advanced Squad Leader (ASL) (7.72-2.08-552-4.91-4; rank: 41)...

Magic Realm (6.78-2.08-435-4.65-563) Score: 95%
World in Flames (7.00-2.12-229-4.69-348)
Paths of Glory (7.98-1.95-458-4.18-11)
7 Ages (7.37-1.97-275-4.07-140)
Empires in Arms (7.25-1.89-249-4.47-200)
Republic of Rome, The (7.57-1.78-538-4.4-76)
Europe Engulfed (7.95-1.89-295-4.23-15)
Rise and Decline of the Third Reich (6.47-1.78-304-4.82-980)
Twilight Imperium 3rd Edition (7.91-1.73-805-3.98-19)
1830 - Railroads and Robber Barons (7.55-1.67-578-3.96-84)

Basic Grunts...

10 Days in the USA (6.61-1.03-204-1.10-777)
Battle of the Sexes (4.14-1.69-115-1-2808)
King's Breakfast (6.32-1.01-381-1.18-1213)
Cootie (3.80-1.72-127-1-2817)
Operation (3.93-1.45-266-1-2815)
Carcassonne (7.62-1.31-5161-1.78-61)
Bingo (2.67-1.45-209-1-2827)
 
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24. Board Game: Supremacy [Average Rating:5.55 Overall Rank:9833]
Randy Cox
United States
Clemson
South Carolina
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Supremacy (5.22-2.19-438-3.14-4; rank: 2657) is the most divisive game (highest standard deviation) in the data set. What other games match this "classic"?

Warhammer Fantasy Battle (6.59-1.80-375-3.46-803) Score: 82%
War! Age of Imperialism (5.80-1.97-300-2.69-2093)
Kingmaker (6.24-1.63-700-3.40-1332)
Pax Britannica (6.18-1.65-159-3.66-1454)
War and Peace (6.31-1.51-201-3.4-1226)
Blackbeard (6.22-1.69-444-3.28-1379)
Arab-Israeli Wars, The (6.00-1.37-137-3.5-1766)
Axis & Allies (7.22-1.60-632-3.09-219)
Sid Meier's Civilization - The Boardgame (6.01-1.95-627-3.87-1757)
Talisman (6.53-2.00-1089-2.11-881)

Least like Supremacy...

6 Nimmt! (7.02-1.18-1559-1.15-344)
Bohnanza (7.33-1.35-2989-1.64-163)
Bingo (2.67-1.45-209-1-2827)
Coloretto (7.19-1.07-1251-1.19-232)
Lost Cities (7.43-1.27-2925-1.55-116)
Ticket to Ride (7.76-1.26-3164-1.79-36)
Carcassonne (7.62-1.31-5161-1.78-61)
 
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25. Board Game: Beyond Balderdash [Average Rating:6.79 Overall Rank:858]
Randy Cox
United States
Clemson
South Carolina
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I'm a fan of Beyond Balderdash (6.73-1.48-318-1.4-631) style games, but the similarity score leaders leave me underwhelmed...

X-Bugs (6.70-1.51-173-1.4-674) Score: 98.7% (!!!)
Spank the Monkey (6.50-1.50-173-1.35-928)
En Garde (6.69-1.42-298-1.36-687)
Clue - The Great Museum Caper (6.61-1.46-220-1.6-771)
Brawl (6.38-1.50-396-1.29-1123)
Attribut (6.61-1.46-188-1.06-778)
Wizard (6.92-1.46-426-1.73-428)
Big Idea, the (6.37-1.52-253-1.27-1151)
Rook (6.22-1.49-277-1.61-1372)
Barbarossa (6.59-1.36-315-1.36-797)

But I'm not a fan of many of those above. The bottom end of the scale...

Diplomacy (7.24-1.94-1788-3.59-204)
Europe Engulfed (7.95-1.89-295-4.23-15)
Paths of Glory (7.98-1.95-458-4.18-11)
Magic Realm (6.78-2.08-435-4.65-563)
Supremacy (5.22-2.19-438-3.14-2657)
World in Flames (7.00-2.12-229-4.69-348)
Advanced Squad Leader (ASL) (7.72-2.08-552-4.91-41)

Now, that's the definitive anti-party-game list.
 
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