ones upon a game

I am almost exclusively a solo gamer and look at the gaming scene seen through those eyes. I also literally like alliteration. TWITTER: @onesuponagame

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New Aggregator Feature: User Game Stats

Kevin L. Kitchens
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People log their plays in many ways and one thing I've learned is that not everyone uses the BGG logged plays feature. Of course one of the methods used is the various "on your table" initiatives which the Aggregator was built to, well, aggregate.

One requested feature was the ability to view all of ones games and sort either alphabetically or by the last time a game was played. Well, this request is now reality. At the top of the Aggregator page for a user, you'll now see a "Game Stats" link:



Click that and you'll see a list of all the different games logged for the particular initiative along with the count of unique plays logged and the list to which it was last logged. Clicking on any column header will sort by that column (or reverse the sort if clicked again).





As always, if you have other suggestions for the Aggregator, don't hesitate to pass them along. I cannot guarantee they'll all get implemented, but I will certainly consider them.

Wargames on Your Table: http://wgoyt.onesuponagame.com/
What Couples Have Been Playing: http://couples.onesuponagame.com/
Solitaire Games on Your Table: http://sgoyt.onesuponagame.com/
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Tue Dec 19, 2017 3:02 pm
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Well Color Me Flattered...

Kevin L. Kitchens
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"Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery."
(More Information)


Nearly two years ago I had an idea to combine the data from several related yet separate BGG Geeklists and create an index to that data so that gamers could find every entry for a particular game or user or list in one easy to use location. Thus the "Aggregator" was born (dum dum dah!). Since then the Aggregator has grown into a family of three with one for Solo Games (http://sgoyt.onesuponagame.com), Couples gaming (http://couples.onesuponagame.com), and War Games (http://wgoyt.onesuponagame.com). In addition new features have been added and of course even more are still to come.

Recently though, I was honored to learn that a small group of developers has found my idea so valuable that they have begun to work on an alternate version of the same. Admittedly this initiative was borne from panic that I was pulling support for the solo aggregator (which sadly, was my own fault due to a rash statement. TIP: never make decisions when you're not in a good frame of mind!)

Regardless to all that, in software, there is never any harm in having redundant or secondary systems in the event of outages or other problems. I wish this little group much success in their communal effort. I'm not sure what they will end up calling their version, but I'm very excited to see what innovations they might bring to the table. I might even flatter them with some imitation of my own if the features warrant!

Anyway, fear not. The Aggregator is not going anywhere. At least not until I die or am raptured.
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Wed Dec 13, 2017 8:53 pm
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The Index is a door to finding treasure in the dark...

Kevin L. Kitchens
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Over the past nearly three years, lots of articles, reviews, tips, images, etc. have appears on this blog... I was starting myself to get lost trying to find something!

So to remedy that I've created a new geeklist: Ones Upon A Game: Reviews, Mods, Images and Videos Index to refer to find the potentially helpful diamond in the rough.

I welcome you to subscribe to the list as a whole or just to games that are of interest to you... if such a thing is of interest to you.
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Thu Nov 9, 2017 3:24 pm
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The Rating is the Hardest Part - A GeekList Aggregator Update

Kevin L. Kitchens
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It's been some time since I added a new feature to the GeekList Aggregator engine which currently supports the following monthly "On Your Table" initiatives on BGG:

Wargames on Your Table: http://wgoyt.onesuponagame.com/
What Couples Have Been Playing: http://couples.onesuponagame.com/
Solitaire Games on Your Table: http://sgoyt.onesuponagame.com/

I already have the ability for users to add a summary of their thoughts on a game to an entry using <summary></summary> tags inside the item description. Now along those lines users can add a rating to the game using, you guessed it, <rating></rating>. Here's how it works.

When the GLA ingests the data from the geeklist, it will check each listing for a <rating> tag pair in the description. If it finds one, it will check to make sure it's the LATEST one for that user on that source.

The latest rating is the only one that is saved. This is based solely on the latest geeklist and geeklist entry for that user for that game for that source (source being WGOYT, Couples, etc...).

The rating should be how the user rates the game IN THE CONTEXT of the source. So while I may rate a certain wargame high as a wargame, I may rate it differently as a couples game or as a solo experience.

You're only rating the item once each description if you choose to. If you're not taking part as a solo player or couples player, you don't need to go to those other lists and rate the game. Just in the normal course of posting your list entries, if you want to add or update a rating, you can do so.

Remember, the latest one will be saved. If you rate a game this month, that rating will remain indefinitely, you don't have to rate it each time to keep it current. However, if two months later, you love it more or hate it more, you could alter your rating and that one would replace the old one, keeping the rating average dynamic.

Ratings are not mixed between groups. On the solo aggregator, you'll see the average of those who rated it for solo purposes. Likewise on the wargames and couples aggregator sites, you'll see only the ones who rated games there.


How to Enter Ratings



A rating should be in the format of:

<rating>x.x</rating>


where the rating is a value between "0.5" and "5.0". If you enter a number outside these bounds, it will not be accepted. Likewise, if you enter more decimals, it will simply chop off (not round) the values: so "4.99" becomes "4.9"

If you edit an existing rating, it will be picked up provided the list is still processing. Lists reprocess every two hours during the active month, then every two weeks for three months. After which changes are no longer picked up. So editing throughout the month should be fine, but to change a rating for a game too far down the road, you'd need a new entry.

Remember too, the goal is to rate the item in the context of the list you're a part of.


Ratings Displayed

On each game details page, you'll see the total number of ratings and the average in the context of the GLA site you're on. A link there will take you to a list of all the users who contributed a rating and from that you can drill down and see all the ratings for a given user.







Hope you all find this a useful addition. I know showing ratings in some form was a request over a year ago when this mess first started. But pulling in and synching from BGG was quite a bit of overhead. Likewise, keeping the 1-10 scale just seemed a little too wide for this purpose.

Love to hear your feedback as always.
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Tue May 23, 2017 8:01 pm
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Top 20 Played Solitaire Games of 2016

Kevin L. Kitchens
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As I did last April, when I recapped the top 20 solitaire games of all three previous years of the SGOYT (Top 20 Played Solitaire Games of 2015... 2014... 2013...), it's time to revisit the data for 2016.

This combines all the months of 2016 (aka Purple through Square for you Common Core victims students). Therefore below are the top 20 games for 2016*. Games appear on this list solely based on tabulated data. No recommendation or endorsement of these games is implied unless otherwise noted.


Top Solitaire Games for 2016 (LINK)
rank uniques game
1. 132 Hostage Negotiator
2. 122 Friday
3. 100 Shadowrun: Crossfire
4. 98 Viticulture Essential Edition
5. 82 Mage Knight Board Game
82 Rallyman
7. 79 Onirim (second edition)
8. 77 Imperial Settlers
77 Scythe
10. 73 The Lord of the Rings: The Card Game
11. 72 Leaving Earth
12. 63 At the Gates of Loyang
13. 61 Warhammer Quest: The Adventure Card Game
14. 57 Bowling Solitaire
15. 56 Elder Sign
56 Gears of War: The Board Game
56 Legendary Encounters: An Alien Deck Building Game
56 Pandemic: The Cure
19. 55 Snowdonia
20. 54 Star Realms
54 Tiny Epic Galaxies


2016 saw a marked increase in participation in the SGOYT initiative. 703 different users 565 in 2015) took part throughout the year, logging entries for 1,548 (2015: 1,321) different games. This was a 24% increase in users and a 17% increase in games.

Unique entries for the year were 8,476, up 36% from 2015's 6,230. This equates to 12.05 unique entries per user in 2016 vs. 11.02 the previous year. Actual entries were also up from 7,417 to 10,456, up 41%. Unique entries therefore averaged 706 per month with actuals averaging 871.

Congratulations to Van Ryder Games for taking the top spot for the year with Hostage Negotiator. This SPO (single player only) game was number one five months of the year and a frequent top 10 occupant the other months.

For all the wonderful new games released in 2016, only one of those made the top 20 for the whole year. Scythe from Stonemaier Games took the solo community by storm upon its initial release. The thematic and strategic hybrid game included an Automa opponent that truly competed against you and could be scaled to include multiple AI as desired. It tied for eighth place overall for the year.

Old favorite Friday by Friedemann Friese, the number one game from 2015 and 2014, fell back to second place this year. It has finished in first or second place all four years of the SGOYT.

And speaking of old, from 1969, the Sid Sackson design Bowling Solitaire surged onto the scene partly due to a reprint from Eagle-Gryphon Games but also due to a widely popular first-time bowling league in the 1 Player guild. Many plays generated during that league were enough to strike this classic into 14th place.

If you're enjoying these top game lists, let me know with a thumb if you would (I'm easily pleased) or add your comments below. To keep abreast of gaming from a solitaire perspective, be sure to subscribe to this blog and follow me on (Twitter @onesuponagame) or Facebook

If you've not participated in the past years, 2017 is a fresh start! Take part in this month's SGOYT: Solitaire Games On Your Table – January 2017

View all the previous Top Played Games summaries.

*based on their activity on the SGOYT Aggregator. These are based on unique entries for the month where a unique entry is one entry for a game counted per user each month. So while one gamer may have played and listed multiple times, the count is based on only one entry for that user.
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December 2016 - Top Played Solitaire Games

Kevin L. Kitchens
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Below are the top 10 games for December 2016*. Games appear on this list solely based on tabulated data. No recommendation or endorsement of these games is implied.

Top Solitaire Games for December 2016 (LINK)
rank uniques game
1. 20 Arkham Horror: The Card Game
2. 19 One Deck Dungeon
3. 12 Friday
4. 9 At the Gates of Loyang
9 Black Orchestra
9 Limes
9 Nautilion
9 Scythe
9 Shadowrun: Crossfire
10. 8 A Feast for Odin
8 Imperial Settlers
8 Onirim (second edition)
8 Snowdonia
8 Space Hulk: Death Angel – The Card Game
8 VENOM Assault


In spite of (or because of?) the Christmas holiday season, December 2016 was another record setting month for the SGOYT, setting new highs in three of four tracked categories and just barely missing the last one.

First and foremost, the number of unique plays logged (each game counted once per user in the month) shattered the previous high of 826 set in August 2016. December saw 862 uniques, an increase of 4% from the previous pinnacle and 6% up from November. Actual entries also rose from 1068 in November to a new high of 1132.

Number of unique games that registered at least one solo play increased to 421, up 11 from August 2016.

The only category where December fell (barely) short was in the number of different users taking part in the SGOYT. November 2016 still holds the top spot with 243 users while December was just two shy of tying that high mark. The top 10 months for users participating though are all during 2016 which demonstrates either an increase in solo gaming, an increase in SGOYT awareness, or both.

The always popular deck builder Friday made it back to the top three with 12 unique plays logged. That was its best showing since August 2016 when it logged 17 for second place. December marks its eighth consecutive appearance in the top 10.

There were six-way ties for fourth and tenth place respectively, meaning the top "10" is actually made up of 15 titles this month.

Highlighting the sextet at fourth place (with 9 uniques each) are:

At the Gates of Loyang - The just reprinted Uwe Rosenberg Chinese farming/grocery game returns to the top 10 after a one month hiatus.

Black Orchestra - This newly released game about plotting to kill Hitler (did I just violate Godwin's law???) found itself among the top 10 for the first time. Based on early reviews, it might be here many more to come.

Limes - This quick to play tile placement game dropped one play from November, but stayed in the top 10 for its second month in a row.

Scythe - Stonemaier Games alternate history game gained the 6-7 player expansion in Scythe: Invaders from Afar and has steadily increased its play count over the last three months. It's been in the top 10 the past six.

Bringing up the tail end of this list were another set of six games featuring:

Space Hulk: Death Angel – The Card Game - The ever present (and now out of print) Warhammer based card game (the one with the evil six-sided die) made the top 10 again for the fourth straight month.

VENOM Assault - A newcomer deckbuilder from relative publishing newcomer Spyglass Games, VENOM has been compared to the Legendary series, only adding the variability of dice to combat resolution.

Will 2017 continue to see a rise in the number of soloist taking part in the monthly SGOYT? Will we see more and more games with a minimum player count of 1? Will we see more SPO (single player only) games come to the market?

Only time will tell.

If you're enjoying these top 10 lists, let me know with a thumb if you would (I'm easily pleased) or add your comments below. To keep abreast of gaming from a solitaire perspective, be sure to subscribe to this blog and follow me on (Twitter @onesuponagame) or Facebook

If you're interested in taking part in this month's SGOYT: Solitaire Games On Your Table – January 2017

View all the previous Top Played Games monthly summaries.

*based on their activity on the SGOYT Aggregator. These are based on unique entries for the month where a unique entry is one entry for a game counted per user each month. So while one gamer may have played and listed multiple times, the count is based on only one entry for that user.
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Aggregator Feature: Category and Mechanics Explorers

Kevin L. Kitchens
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I'm pleased to announce a new feature available immediately on all the Aggregator sites: The Category and Mechanic Explorers. Using the BGG meta data for each game, you can now drill down through various combinations of categories or mechanics to find titles that might be of interest to you.

Links are available from the front page of each Aggregator site as well as on the game meta data page by their respective section heading.

In the example above, you see all games that are marked with the "Worker Placement" and "Co-operative Play" mechanics. Select a value from the list to refine the search. Click the [X] next to a selected value to remove it from the search. Click any game on the results list to view the full details about that title.

Hope you find this useful.

The Aggregator sites are:

Solitaire Games on Your Table: http://sgoyt.onesuponagame.com/
Wargames on Your Table: http://wgoyt.onesuponagame.com/
What Couples Have Been Playing: http://couples.onesuponagame.com/
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Wed Nov 9, 2016 7:21 pm
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October 2016 - Top Played Solitaire Games

Kevin L. Kitchens
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Below are the top 10 games for October 2016 based on their activity on the SGOYT Aggregator. These are based on unique entries for the month where a unique entry is one entry for a game counted per user each month. So while one gamer may have played and listed multiple times, the count is based on only one entry for that user.

Top Solitaire Games for October 2016 (LINK)
rank uniques game
1. 13 Terraforming Mars
2. 12 Viticulture Essential Edition
3. 10 Shadowrun: Crossfire
4. 9 Onirim (second edition)
5. 8 At the Gates of Loyang
5. 8 Baseball Highlights: 2045
5. 8 Elder Sign
5. 8 The Lord of the Rings: The Card Game
9. 7 A Feast for Odin
9. 7 Flash Point: Fire Rescue
9. 7 Friday
9. 7 Mage Knight Board Game
9. 7 Rallyman
9. 7 Scythe
9. 7 Space Hulk: Death Angel – The Card Game


October saw an upswing from the previous month in terms of games played and logged on the SGOYT. The 730 unique plays was up 12 from September and was the third highest month on record while the 914 actual entries was an increase of 39 and the second largest count behind August 2016's 1019. Users participating dropped four from the previous month to 214.

In October of last year though, the game count was 557 uniques out of 645 actuals and 190 users taking part. The steady growth of solo gaming and the contributions to it by the 1-Player Guild and SGOYT cannot be underestimated.

The top game for this month was the current BGG hotness leader Terraforming Mars from Stronghold Games and designer Jacob Fryxelius. The science themed hand management strategy masterpiece logged 13 unique plays of 18 actual entries, just edging out Viticulture Essential Edition in second place with 12. Availability of "Mars" has been limited due to a strong showing at the Spiel convention this year and rapid sell out of copies. The second printing is slated to be available this January.

The aforementioned (lawyer talk) wine making worker placement automa driven Viticulture from Stonemaier Games continues to press on each month in the top 10 and shows no signs of dying on the vine anytime soon.

Popular Uwe Rosenberg solo-friendly Chinese-veggie-farmer (you know it had to include farming) At the Gates of Loyang made it back into the top 10 for the first time since March 2016. A guild initiated challenge for the month certainly contributed to the increase but Loyang is always a regular inclusion on the SGOYT having not missed a month since January 2014. This long sought after game will be available again soon as a reprint is schedule to hit shelves this month (pre-orders are already underway).

Loyang finished in four way tie for fifth place with 8 unique plays logged. Others sharing the fifth place spot included two regularly appearing card games: Baseball Highlights: 2045 and The Lord of the Rings: The Card Game.

The bottom of the list was again a traffic jam of games with seven titles tied for the the ninth place. Highlighted among these were Flash Point: Fire Rescue, Friday, Rallyman, and Space Hulk: Death Angel – The Card Game. Scythe fell from second place last month, but also chopped its way through the month to hang on to a spot in the top 10. The seven games all had seven unique plays each.

If you're enjoying these top 10 lists, let me know with a thumb if you would (I'm easily pleased) or add your comments below. To keep abreast of gaming from a solitaire perspective, be sure to subscribe to this blog and follow me on (Twitter @onesuponagame) or Facebook

If you're interested in taking part in this month's SGOYT: Solitaire Games On Your Table - November 2016

View all the previous Top Played Games monthly summaries.
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Mon Nov 7, 2016 3:56 pm
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September 2016 - Top Played Solitaire Games

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Below are the top 10 games for September 2016 based on their activity on the SGOYT Aggregator. These are based on unique entries for the month where a unique entry is one entry for a game counted per user each month. So while one gamer may have played and listed multiple times, the count is based on only one entry for that user.

Top Solitaire Games for September 2016 (LINK)
rank uniques game
1. 22 Hostage Negotiator
2. 14 Scythe
3. 11 Mage Knight Board Game
4. 10 Shadowrun: Crossfire
5. 8 Forbidden Desert
5. 8 Glass Road
5. 8 Onirim (second edition)
8. 7 Deep Space D-6
8. 7 Friday
10. 6 Fields of Arle
10. 6 Four Against Darkness
10. 6 The Lord of the Rings: The Card Game
10. 6 Mansions of Madness: Second Edition
10. 6 Space Hulk: Death Angel – The Card Game
10. 6 Star Realms
10. 6 Viticulture Essential Edition
10. 6 Zombicide: Black Plague


Van Ryder Games negotiated its way back to the top of the SGOYT with an impressive 22 unique plays (30 total) of Hostage Negotiator logged in September. It's the first time the game has been on top of the list since April 2016 when it ended a run of five consecutive months at the top.

Coming in a strong, yet distant second (14 uniques/20 total) was the Jamey Stegmaier masterpiece Scythe. Perhaps the newness of the game has worn off a little, but I expect this one to continue to be a top 10 favorite -- especially with a new expansion due out. It had previously topped the chart the last two months.

A monthly challenge (Forbidden Desert Challenge) was enough to quench the thirst of Forbidden Desert fans and drive it to a three-way tie for fifth place (8 uniques/12 total). This was the best month ever for the Matt Leacock design and sister game to Forbidden Island. Though it has been played at least once in 21 different months, it never had more than two unique plays in any month before now.

Also from 2013 and also tied for fifth was the always popular Glass Road (one of the seemingly ubiquitous Uwe Rosenberg entries of the month). It was the first time on the Top 10 since April 2015 when it had six unique plays (tied with May 2015 as its best before now).

The old and the new tied for eighth place with seven uniques as Deep Space D-6 made the list for its third straight month since its published release.

It's normally never a question of IF Friday will make the top 10, but at what position each month. It has appeared on all but one SGOYT list since it started in May 2013 (it was only absent in January 2014). In the past year it has only been out of the Top 10 one time (April 2016). It is currently the top all-time game on the SGOYT with 351 unique plays logged and an incredible 177 different gamers logging at least one play. Wow.

Eight different games tied for the tenth spot on the list this month with six unique plays logged resulting in a top 10 of 17 different titles. Highlighting these that just made the cut were:

Fields of Arle - its first top 10 appearance in spite of it having never missed a month of at least one play since January 2015.
The Lord of the Rings: The Card Game - a regular top 10 finisher.
Space Hulk: Death Angel – The Card Game - back in the top 10 for the first time since October of last year, probably spurred by the news of the FFG/GW break-up.
Star Realms - the two-player deck builder has some really excellent solo challenges and is no stranger to the SGOTY and top 10.
Viticulture Essential Edition - no whining about this essentially making the top 10 each month.

If you're enjoying these top 10 lists, let me know with a thumb if you would (I'm easily pleased) or add your comments below. To keep abreast of gaming from a solitaire perspective, be sure to subscribe to this blog and follow me on (Twitter @onesuponagame) or Facebook.

View all the previous Top Played Games monthly summaries.
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August 2016 - Top Played Solitaire Games

Kevin L. Kitchens
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Below are the top 10 games for August 2016 based on their activity on the SGOYT Aggregator. These are based on unique entries for the month where a unique entry is one entry for a game counted per user each month. So while one gamer may have played and listed multiple times, the count is based on only one entry for that user.

Top Solitaire Games for August 2016 (LINK)
(rank. uniques - game)
1. 23 - Scythe
2. 17 - Friday
3. 14 - Reiner Knizia's Decathlon
4. 13 - Hostage Negotiator
4. 13 - Viticulture Essential Edition
6. 9 - Imperial Settlers
7. 8 - Arkham Horror
7. 8 - Deep Space D-6
7. 8 - Elder Sign
7. 8 - Mansions of Madness: Second Edition
7. 8 - Sylvion

August was a busy month for solitaire gaming. The SGOTY list shattered existing records for most actual entries (1018), most unique entries (825), most different games played (409) and most users participating (239). Previously the record for most unique entries was 747 set in May of this year. It was the first month that over 1000 actual entries were made beating last month's 872. As the list crossed the 900 mark this month a sprint was on in the last couple of days to make it to 1000 with both lurkers jumping in to take part as well as many quick plays of games to make the "magic" number happen.

As further proof that solo gaming is on the rise, the 239 participants were 26 more than the previous best of 213 in January. 29 more games found a spot on soloists tables as well than July of this year, the previous champion.

Taking the top spot for the second month in a row was Scythe from Stonemaier Games. It's 23 unique plays this month was just three shy of the record and eclipsed its July total of 16. The game still continues to thrill both solo and co-dependent gamers alike. The recent official release of additional Automa decks by Stonemaier allows for 2 or more AI to play along with the human opponent(s).

The Friedemann Friese deckbuilder Friday remained in the Top 10 for its fourth straight month at second place with 17 unique plays logged. In honor of the 2016 Summer Olympics, the dice chucking Reiner Knizia's Decathlon had its most logged uniques since August of last year when it had seven. This was due primarily to a SGOYT monthly challenge for participants.

After its first and only absence from the top chart last month, Van Ryder Games Hostage Negotiator came roaring back with 13 uniques to tie with another regular Viticulture Essential Edition for fourth place.

Just released last month, Deep Space D-6 stayed strong in a five-way tie for seventh place with 8 unique plays for its second top 10 appearance in a row.

If you're enjoying these top 10 lists, let me know with a thumb if you would (I'm easily pleased) or add your comments below. To keep abreast of gaming from a solitaire perspective, be sure to subscribe to this blog and follow me on (Twitter @onesuponagame) or Facebook

View all the previous Top Played Games monthly summaries.

Other Aggregator News

A couple of recent changes in the Aggregator software of note.

1. Added META data for games to allow finding other logged games for a given designer, mechanic, family, genre, etc. More details on that new feature can be found here: Mega Meta Update for the Aggregator.

2. Added a graph to the game and user pages to show activity over time. These charts show each game/user's actual and unique plays logged each month since the first logged activity. So you can tell at a glance the highs and lows and cycles of activity.

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Tue Sep 6, 2016 6:10 pm
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