BGG Ownership Levels: Updated February 2012 with Year-in-Review Stats
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Welcome to my fourth annual geeklist surveying ownership levels on BGG.

These lists present the 25 most owned games with stats and commentary, noting raw gains as well as percentage growth. Downward / upward trends are discussed. The second page of the list groups the most owned games into five tiers, so that it's easy to see at a glance which games surpass which thresholds. These tiers also show the ranking order out to the 50th spot or so, for those who are curious. Lastly, I present a quick look at the most likely contenders to keep an eye on in 2012.

Some games are as strong as ever. Some are making impressive surges to the top. And of course, some long-time BGG perennials are slowly fading.

This year, overall percentage growth is down across the board, by roughly 3-5 percentage points. The slow fade of older classics is more pronounced (see Tigris and Euphrates, Calyus, and, for the first time, Puerto Rico). Conversely, aggressive upward momentum is moderate compared to years past. Perhaps this is because the central "prophecy" foretold by this series of geeklists has now come to pass: for the first time, the "new big three" has slotted in directly behind the "original big three." The conquest of Dominion, Pandemic, and Agricola is largely complete.

I invite you to geek out over some stats and trends. Enjoy.

**If you would like to compare this list with last year's list, here is a link:

BGG Ownership Levels: Updated February 2011 with Year-in-review Stats
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26. Board Game: The BoardGameGeek Game [Average Rating:6.12 Overall Rank:2817]
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Tier 1: 20,000-40,000

1. The Settlers of Catan
2. Carcassonne
3. Puerto Rico
4. Dominion
5. Agricola
6. Pandemic
7. Citadels
8. Power Grid
9. Ticket to Ride

Settlers and Carc continue to be in a class by themselves, although Dominion could feasibly change that in the long run. Otherwise, this is a pretty well established set of games, and also a set that has upheld strong growth from year to year. Citadels and Power Grid have been ousted by the 07-08 wave, but look quite safe from further threats. Next year, look for Arkham Horror, Race for the Galaxy, and Small World to continue their ascent and possibly rub shoulders with this heady group.
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27. Board Game: The BoardGameGeek Game [Average Rating:6.12 Overall Rank:2817]
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Tier 2: 16,000-19,999

10. Bohnanza
11. Race for the Galaxy
12. Arkham Horror
13. Lost Cities
14. Small World

There's a bit of a gap between the truly ubiquitous titles and the rest, as is made clear by how few games fall into this fairly wide range. Three of these games are climbing quickly. Two are falling rapidly.
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28. Board Game: The BoardGameGeek Game [Average Rating:6.12 Overall Rank:2817]
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Tier 3: 12,000-15,999

15. Risk
16. Scrabble
17. Tigris & Euphrates
18. Chess
19. Ticket to Ride: Europe
20. 7 Wonders
21. Munchkin
22. Caylus
23. San Juan
24. Memoir '44
25. Roborally
26. Twilight Struggle

Rounding out the top 25, and with TS days away from joining, we have tier three. This is where all of the mass market games fall, and that looks likely to remain the case, though Munchkin has run amok. Stone Age, TS, possibly BSG, and conceivably Monopoly could make the jump into this group.
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29. Board Game: The BoardGameGeek Game [Average Rating:6.12 Overall Rank:2817]
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Tier 4: 10,000-11,999

27. Stone Age
28. El Grande
29. Bang!
30. Alhambra
31. The Settlers of Catan: Card Game
32. Battlestar Galactica
33. Acquire
34. Monopoly (10718 owners)
35. Lord of the Rings
36. Hive
37. Thurn and Taxis

Every year there is an approximate threshold past which games become much more densely packed. Last year it was 10,000, this year it's 12,000. Here we find El Grande, Alhambra (both in the top 25 last year) as well as Bang! and the Settlers Card game (ousted the previous year).
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30. Board Game: The BoardGameGeek Game [Average Rating:6.12 Overall Rank:2817]
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Tier 5: 8,000-9,999

38. Shadows over Camelot
39. Blokus
40. Apples to Apples
41. Ra
42. Tikal
43. The Princes of Florence
44. Guillotine
45. War of the Ring
46. Dixit
47. Forbidden Island
48. Descent: Journeys in the Dark
49. Diplomacy
50. Le Havre
51. Coloretto
52. Modern Art
53. Battle Lore
54. Through the Desert
55. Ingenious
56. Go
57. Uno

No real surprises here. It's possible that eventually Go will have a BGG footprint similar to Chess's, though neither has any relation to the games' "real" presence. Some SDJ titles are here, along with the declining legacy of Reiner Knizia. Le Havre, War of the Ring, and Descent are the surprise heavies, although each is backed by a devoted fanbase and very high ratings.

Next Up: The Contenders!

Last year, four titles threatened to crash the top 25 with inexorable upward momentum. Only one of them made it. Two of them are now banging down the doors from positions 26 and 27, and could join the ranks within a matter of weeks. The final contender has clawed its way from position 37 to position 31, and should easily dispatch another 3-5 games this coming year. Without further ado, their stats:
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31. Board Game: Twilight Struggle [Average Rating:8.34 Overall Rank:1]
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12095 owners

Ownership level of 2/15/11: 9165 Owners
Last year's position: 30
This year's position: 26
12 month increase: 2930
Average monthly increase: 244.17
Percentage increase over last year: 31.97%
Percentage growth rank (acceleration): N/A

Twilight Struggle missed the top 25 by eighteen owners this year, which means it is probably days away from eclipsing RoboRally. It pays to be #1! TS is also posting some of the best percentage growth, topped by only a handful of games. It has been in a two-horse race with Stone Age to break into the top 25 (a rather hilarious match-up, if you ask me - such different games / audiences!), and though it looks to gain entry first, it also looks to rank behind Stone Age by this time next year, which has narrowed a 500-owner gap to just 150 owners in the last 12 months.

On a personal note: I blame Munchkin.
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32. Board Game: Stone Age [Average Rating:7.65 Overall Rank:50]
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11943 owners

Ownership level of 2/15/11: 8704 Owners
Last year's position: 33
This year's position: 27
12 month increase: 3239
Average monthly increase: 269.92
Percentage increase over last year: 37.21
Percentage growth rank (acceleration): N/A

There have been a lot of predictions that Stone Age wouldn't have staying power (much like say, The Pillars of the Earth), but those are looking more off the mark with each passing year. Though still overshadowed by 2008 peers Pandemic and Dominion for broad appeal and "gateway" status, Stone Age continues to charge up the ranks and will easily surpass RoboRally, Memoir '44, and San Juan, with Twilight Struggle right on its heels.
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33. Board Game: Battlestar Galactica [Average Rating:7.83 Overall Rank:29]
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10974 owners

Ownership level of 2/15/11: 8199 Owners
Last year's position: 37
This year's position: 31
12 month increase: 2775
Average monthly increase: 231.25
Percentage increase over last year: 33.85%
Percentage growth rank (acceleration): N/A

Last year I gave BSG due credit for sharing momentum and trajectory with Stone Age and TS, but noted that it was a bit too far back to realistically make the top 25 in 12 months time. That turned out to be right on the money, but the momentum is still there, and no new challengers have emerged on the scene. Six spots would be a big jump, but it's feasible. This looks to share the spotlight with Arkham Horror as the quintessential AT style game.
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