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The Year in Plays (2018)

M. C. DeMarco
United States
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This inaugural blog post was inspired by a similar one by P.D. Magnus, Much played games of 2018, who also made use of the GameChat League Games Played Formatter, and in particular the option to rank by play count. I amalgamated my results a bit (manually) because I logged some plays under their expansions, variants, or reimplementations, affecting the ranking. I also noticed the tool fetches incomplete plays (e.g., Dectana), but I haven't removed those. The tool's all-time values are low if I played the game before I started logging plays consistently (e.g., The Blizzard of '78 Game, mislabeled '77 because the tool doesn't pick up your chosen variants).

Pre-amalgamation, the tool reported 342 total plays from 99 different games (91 after amalgamation to the base game). The theme of this new blog is graphs, so here's a basic barplot of the full dataset I tossed off in R:

Here are the data for games I played 5 times or more:

Magnate x40 (43 all-time)
Unpublished Prototype x33 (42 all-time)
Aucteraden x24 NEW!
Sprawlopolis x21 NEW!
Dominion x12 (19 all-time) + Dominion (Second Edition) x3 NEW! + Dominion: Intrigue x3 (4 all-time) + Dominion: Alchemy NEW! = x19
Splendor x6 (38 all-time) + Splendor: Cities of Splendor x9 (10 all-time) = x15
Century: Spice Road x9 NEW! + Century: Golem Edition NEW! = x10
Color Wheel x8 NEW!
Lords of Scotland x8 NEW!
Nefarious x8 (10 all-time)
TransAmerica x7 (11 all-time)
Century: Eastern Wonders x6 NEW!
Trick of the Rails x6 (9 all-time)
Window x6 NEW!
Istanbul x4 (11 all-time) + Istanbul: Mocha & Baksheesh NEW! = x5

The winner is Magnate, an old 2-player game for the Decktet which was new to me in December 2017 and which I have been playing regularly ever since. It seems to have completely displaced my previous 2-player favorite, Schotten Totten (24 plays in 2017).

The apparent runner-up, "Unpublished Prototype", includes a few one-off games from the Boston Festival of Independent Games, but is mainly made up of my playtests of a Kingdomino-style game for the Decktet. I wouldn't say it was a bad idea, but it really needs colored Decktet domino cards to work well and I haven't gotten around to printing up a set yet.

The bronze goes to a Decktet solitaire game, Aucteraden, which I also implemented online this year. Many of my other plays are of Decktet solitaire games (Window, Jacynth, Quincunx, plus a zillion plays of Myrmex which I don't bother to log) or other solitaires (Sprawlopolis, Color Wheel).

Otherwise, the top of the list includes mostly nouveau classics (Dominion, Istanbul) and the relative hotness (Century, the Splendor expansions), plus a few games that either are new and exciting to me (Lords of Scotland, Trick of the Rails, KIKA), or got played mainly for supporting high player counts (TransAmerica, Nefarious).

Because the graph was looking heavily weighted towards solitaires, I chopped them out as well as I could (some games can be either, so there's still, for example, one Sprawlopolis cooperative play in the data). I removed one incomplete game as well, bringing the count down to 241 plays of 83 games:

It really shows off my Magnate obsession vs. the long tail of the cult-of-the-new. (I didn't have any single plays of a solitaire game to remove.)

About the data: The tool I used was intended to output BGG forum formatting, but I've been doing a lot of scraping of game data (elsewhere) recently so that seemed like a minor cleanup. The problem with expansion play logging is a bit more difficult to deal with because users handle this differently. On an individual player basis you can just decide how to count expansion plays, but in, say, a project to determine cult-of-the-new statistics for the whole BGG database, you would need special logic just to lump them together the way I did for my stats.

The tool also optionally outputs images; squares are the prettiest, though not the default:

And finally, the rest of the data, the games with fewer than 5 plays:

Haggis x4 (5 all-time)
Kingdom Builder: Big Box x3 (5 all-time) + Kingdom Builder: Capitol NEW! = x4
Rummikub x4 (5 all-time)
Arboretum x3 NEW!
GreenGreenerGreenest x3 NEW!
Horrible Hex x3 NEW!
Insider x3 NEW!
Isle of Skye: From Chieftain to King x3 (9 all-time)
Jacynth x3 NEW!
Oh Quay x3 NEW!
Paperback x3 (5 all-time)
Pigment x3 NEW!
Quincunx x3 NEW!
Sushi Go! x2 (4 all-time) + Sushi Go Party! (5 all-time) = x3
27 x2 NEW!
5-Minute Dungeon x2 NEW!
Circle the Wagons x2 NEW!
Hansa Teutonica x2 (9 all-time)
Jump Drive x2 (3 all-time)
Kingdomino x2 NEW!
Mission to Planet Hexx! x2 NEW!
San Juan x2 (7 all-time)
Temporum x2 (3 all-time)
The Great Dalmuti x2 (16 all-time)
Azul (2 all-time)
Bananagrams (2 all-time)
Big Deal NEW!
Blizzard of '77 Travel Game NEW!
Bohnanza (3 all-time)
Carcassonne (2 all-time)
Citadels: The Dark City NEW!
Clans of Caledonia (6 all-time)
Coloretto (2 all-time)
Cytosis: A Cell Biology Board Game NEW!
Dectana NEW!
Donner Dinner Party NEW!
Elder Sign NEW!
Equinox NEW!
Exploding Kittens (2 all-time)
Firefly Fluxx NEW!
Five Tribes NEW!
Fjords (2 all-time)
Glen More (2 all-time)
Gnomi (8 all-time)
Guillotine (3 all-time)
Hero Realms NEW!
Ingenious (3 all-time)
Le Havre: The Inland Port NEW!
Lunch Money NEW!
Machi Koro: Deluxe Edition NEW!
New World Magischola House Rivalry NEW!
Pictomania NEW!
Potion Explosion: The Fifth Ingredient NEW!
Pylon NEW!
Qwirkle (2 all-time)
Rumble in the House (2 all-time)
SET (2 all-time)
Sagrada NEW!
Salem NEW!
Scrabble (2 all-time)
Sleuth (12 all-time)
Spectral Rails NEW!
Star Trek: Catan NEW!
Tak NEW!
Tarot NEW!
Terraforming Mars: Prelude NEW!
Tesserae (2 all-time)
The Castles of Burgundy NEW!
The Red Dragon Inn NEW!
Tichu (4 all-time)
Ubongo NEW!
Ultimate Tic-Tac-Toe NEW!
Yspahan NEW!
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