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The Year in Plays (2018)

M. C. DeMarco
United States
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Microbadge: Fjords fanMicrobadge: Kingdom Builder fanMicrobadge: Decktet challenge!Microbadge: 504 fanMicrobadge: Clans of Caledonia fan
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:

From gallery of fiddly_bits

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Unpublished Prototype x33 (42 all-time)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The apparent runner-up, "Unpublished Prototype", includes a few one-off games from the Boston Festival of Independent Games, but is mainly made up of my playtests of a Kingdomino-style game for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:

From gallery of fiddly_bits

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:

Board Game: Magnate
Board Game: Unpublished Prototype
Board Game: Aucteraden
Board Game: Sprawlopolis
Board Game: Dominion
Board Game: Century: Spice Road
Board Game: Splendor: Cities of Splendor
Board Game: Color Wheel
Board Game: KIKA
Board Game: Lords of Scotland
Board Game: Nefarious
Board Game: TransAmerica
Board Game: Century: Eastern Wonders
Board Game: Splendor
Board Game: Trick of the Rails
Board Game: Window
Board Game: Haggis
Board Game: Istanbul
Board Game: Rummikub
Board Game: Arboretum
Board Game: Dominion (Second Edition)
Board Game: Dominion: Intrigue
Board Game: GreenGreenerGreenest
Board Game: Horrible Hex
Board Game: Insider
Board Game: Isle of Skye: From Chieftain to King
Board Game: Jacynth
Board Game: Kingdom Builder: Big Box
Board Game: Oh Quay
Board Game: Paperback
Board Game: Pigment
Board Game: Quincunx
Board Game: UNO
Board Game: 27
Board Game: 5-Minute Dungeon
Board Game: Circle the Wagons
Board Game: Hansa Teutonica
Board Game: Jump Drive
Board Game: Kingdomino
Board Game: San Juan
Board Game: Sushi Go!
Board Game: Temporum
Board Game: The Great Dalmuti
Board Game: Azul
Board Game: Bananagrams
Board Game: Cover Your Assets
Board Game: Blizzard of '77 Travel Game
Board Game: Bohnanza
Board Game: Carcassonne
Board Game: Century: Golem Edition
Board Game: Citadels: The Dark City
Board Game: Clans of Caledonia
Board Game: Coloretto
Board Game: Cytosis: A Cell Biology Board Game
Board Game: Dectana
Board Game: Dominion: Alchemy
Board Game: Donner Dinner Party
Board Game: Elder Sign
Board Game: Equinox
Board Game: Exploding Kittens
Board Game: Firefly Fluxx
Board Game: Five Tribes
Board Game: Fjords
Board Game: Glen More
Board Game: Gnomi
Board Game: Guillotine
Board Game: Hero Realms
Board Game: Ingenious
Board Game: Istanbul: Mocha & Baksheesh
Board Game: Kingdom Builder: Capitol
Board Game: Le Havre: The Inland Port
Board Game: Lunch Money
Board Game: Machi Koro: Deluxe Edition
Board Game: New World Magischola House Rivalry
Board Game: Pictomania
Board Game: Potion Explosion: The Fifth Ingredient
Board Game: Pylon
Board Game: Qwirkle
Board Game: Ra
Board Game: Rumble in the House
Board Game: SET
Board Game: Sagrada
Board Game: Salem
Board Game: Scrabble
Board Game: Sleuth
Board Game: Spectral Rails
Board Game: Star Trek: Catan
Board Game: Sushi Go Party!
Board Game: Tak
Board Game: Tarot
Board Game: Terraforming Mars: Prelude
Board Game: Tesserae
Board Game: The Castles of Burgundy
Board Game: The Red Dragon Inn
Board Game: Tichu
Board Game: Ubongo
Board Game: Ultimate Tic-Tac-Toe
Board Game: Yspahan

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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