The Most Popular Animals in Board Games
Daniel Gerbner
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This list is kind of a sequel to my earlier geeklist The most popular sports in board games. There I listed all the sport-related board game families ordered by the number of members. Here I list the animal-related families. These data are easily available, just click on "families" under "browse". Well, I had to create the families and add the games at first but now you could check them easily. I just want to highlight them.

An important difference between sport-themed and animal-themed games is that sport is usually the main theme of those games, while animals are not. It means that
1, the geeklist makes much less sense (categorizing by a less important property),
2, there are more mistakes (usually the description makes it clear if a game is about baseball or basketball. That's not the case with animals. Sometimes it says "insect" instead of a more specific thing, sometimes the common name of an animal can refer to different things and so on.)
3, there are more games missing. Most of the sport-themed games are in the category Sports, but many animal-themed games are not in the category Animals. If that is the case and even the name of the game doesn't refer to the animal, and there is no earlier geeklist about that particular animal, only pure luck can help me to find it.

One more thing to note: if a game deals with 3 or less animals, I added it to all three families, but if it deals with 4 or more animals seemingly equally, I didn't add it to any.
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Daniel Gerbner
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The list immediately starts with an exception: there is a huge family of horse racing games and I did not add them to the family of Animals: Horses. There are 305 games in the two family (230+75), horses are the more popular animals with it.
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2. Family: Animals: Dogs
Daniel Gerbner
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No surprise here: dogs are also really popular. There are 270 games in this family.

Another thing to mention is that I tried to group animals together according to their common names. Dog refer to a subspecies, bear to a family, fish to an even larger class of animals. On the other hand I could have partitioned dogs to breeds. These families are just one possible categorization.
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3. Family: Animals: Mice
Daniel Gerbner
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And the first big surprise: the 3rd most popular animal is mouse (193 games). Okay, there is Mickey mouse. But how could mice be more popular than cats? Well, obviously it isn't really about popularity in the usual sense.
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4. Family: Animals: Bears
Daniel Gerbner
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Very popular, there are many famous cartoon bears, there are different kind of bears, no surprise there are (at least) 177 games with bears.
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Another exception: 90 fishing-themed games plus 84 games in the family Animals: Fishes equal to 174 games about fishes.
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Daniel Gerbner
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Extinct for millions of years and still popular: there are 168 games about dinos (I checked all the games in the category Prehistoric, hence there are probably less games missing from this family than from others).
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Our closest relatives and yet only the seventh place: only 151 games about monkeys.
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8. Family: Animals: Cats
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There are 149 games about cats. Maybe I should have grouped them together with lions, tigers and other big cats, that would have sent them to the third place.
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Daniel Gerbner
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The first example where one game makes a huge difference: there are 121 games about rabbits, but it would be under 100 without Killer Bunnies and the Quest for the Magic Carrot and its expansions and other related games.
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Frogs and toads are surprisingly popular: they easily make it into the top ten, with 98 games.
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Daniel Gerbner
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There are 94 games about bulls, cows and oxes.
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12. Family: Animals: Pigs
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Many pig dice games help achieve the 12th place. Altogether there are 87 games about pigs.
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It seems if an animal can be eaten, it guarantees a good place in this contest. 82 games.
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There are 70 games with ducks and only about fourth of them are Donald Duck-themed.
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I didn't expect them to be popular, but there are 65 sheep-themed games.
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Well, they are cute, but that much? There are 61 games about penguins.
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17. Family: Animals: Bees
 
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What on earth is so interesting about bees? 57 games.
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Everybody likes elephants. And yet, only 53 games.
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Daniel Gerbner
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Everybody hates spiders. And yet, 48 games.
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Daniel Gerbner
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The first tie: there are 47 games with snakes and also 47 games with butterflies. As a tie-breaker I used the number of ranked games, 6 vs. 2.
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Daniel Gerbner
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47 games, including those with caterpillar theme.
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Daniel Gerbner
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They are cute, they are slow (I mean they have this specific property which makes them suitable to be included in weird racing games), they can swim and walk, there are teenage mutant ninja turtles, and still only 46 games.
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Daniel Gerbner
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There are 41 games about wolves (that of course doesn't include werewolves; they are not animals).
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Daniel Gerbner
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There are 40 games about crocodiles or alligators. Caymans would be included this family as well, but I couldn't find any game about them.
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Daniel Gerbner
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For some unknown reason I added mosquitoes to this family. I really don't know why. Anyway, now it moves them to the top 25 with 37 games.
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