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Top 2018

Igor Larchenko
Moscow region
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To find the most popular games in 2018 I used number of unique BGG players (not number of plays), who logged these games plays at least once during the whole 2018 year. Thus, the duration of the game in any way determined by this method does not affect the game popularity: no matter how long the game is, if it is good, then any player is quite capable to play it at least once a year. And if you never had a chance to play the game, it means that the game is not so much the player’s favorite.
I note an obvious trend: since the majority of good games traditionally come out at the end of the year, in Essen, only a small number of players have time to try out the game in the year of its release. Therefore, usually the peak of the popularity of the game falls on the next year. Sometimes the game remains popular for another year or two after that, after which it is played lesser. And only the real game classics continue to rivet the attention of players for many years after game appearance. So it is not surprising that among the 80 most popular games of 2018 (10 games in each of 8 types of games), only 6 games are published in 2018. Most of all games (12 and 14) are from 2017 and 2016. The real flourishing of the best games of the current year of publication awaits in the upcoming, 2019th, year, when everyone who wants can play all of them.
I separated games by type of games not by chance: for example, in children’s, collectible and war games traditionally played the least of all players, and without such artificial separation we would never see them in the tops.
Under game rank you can see how number of players changed (increased/decreased) in comparison with 2017 year. To the right from the game box: designer, artist and publishing year. These ranks shows real quality of games: players want to play such game most of all (not those games with high artificial ratings).
I start the review with abstract games - simply because Azul, with its 19744 players, won first place overall. Last year, the best abstract game was Patchwork, with half the number of players (9591). Both games, with fairly simple rules, are really interesting and allow you to improve your skills with the experience of the games played. Of the games of 2018, Reef was the best, and of those not in the top ten, Spirits of the Forest with its many different game options, and minimalist (17 cards in total) Palm Island.

The next are strategic games: they are played most often. The winner of last year, Terraforming Mars, this year in the overall standings, only the second, after Azul, but has not yet lost the number of players. It seems that the game is not yet tired of the players, and will remain so until the release of an even more interesting game of the same plot. There is the greatest competition between this kind of games: from Top 10 of the most popular strategy games, just squeezed out seemingly unsinkable Catan, Terra Mystica and Agricola (which is to some extent the leader’s merit, Terraforming Mars). The best novelty is Rising Sun, in line for the pedestal - only Root. Last year's hopeful Charterstone, Spirit Island and Clans of Caledonia, it seems, could not properly take off and overshadow the veterans.

Family games in terms of total popularity among players occupy the following place after strategic games. Many abstract and children's games (and sometimes even strategic ones) slowly come to this type of games (I separate the games by the classes as a result of BGG users voting), which they get used to at family game parties. Here, Kingdomino, which, due to its simplicity and dynamism, has, I suppose, gradually oust the outdated Carcassonne from the gaming tables, has torn everyone. For those to whom it seems rustic, and slightly complicated version Queendomino is released. Almost all games from the Top 10 are very strong games, and it will not be easy to force them out. I don’t think that the simple novelty of The Mind has great prospects for future success, but Welcome to... and Ganz schon clever have chances for players love. I note that here, out of the top ten, they have just ousted two honored veterans too: Ticket to Ride and Ticket to Ride: Europe.

Among games for parties, the positions of perennial leaders are still strong. Of the new products, Decrypto performed best.

It is also unrealistic for beginners to break through the top ten thematic games - there are very popular favorite boards tested over the years. Of the new products of 2018, Chronicles of Crime has the greatest chances for future success.

KeyForge: Call of the Archons stirred up the rather conservative swamp of collectible games, and also brought up its predecessor Magic: The Gathering. New shocks in this kind of games are not expected yet.

There are so many different war games that, as a result, the love of the players playing in them is spread over them by a very thin layer, and they are almost not visible on the background of the monster games from other types of games. For example, the result in terms of the number of players (549), which allowed Quartermaster General to enter the top ten most popular war games, among the strategic games would have brought it only to the 326th (!) position. As a result, for many years the most popular war player remains fairly simple (compared to most other war games) Memoir '44.

I have already written about the trouble with the popularity of children's games: if it is interesting to play such a game, players begins to consider them as for example family games (Icecool, Rhino Hero, Spot It! etc).

The most popular designers and artists (with changing of BGG users who played their games, from 1000 the most popular games, in comparison with 2017):

1. Uwe Rosenberg -1325
2. Bruno Cathala -306
3. Antoine Bauza -3201
4. Reiner Knizia +2244
5. Vlaada Chvátil -5109

1. Klemens Franz -775
2. Chris Quilliams +17286
3. Dennis Lohausen +5105
4. Franz Vohwinkel +253
5. Harald Lieske -4109

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