10 Countries, 10 Games
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Now that Aldie has given us a new toy to play with (the "more info" link next to the average rating on each game's main page), I just had to do a Geek list using that data. So, here's my list of "top 10 gaming countries" based solely on which ones have rated lots of games (no offense to those less well-represented countries).

I took the top 10 games (not including expansions) from the Geek and looked to see how different countries felt about each of those games. Geek members from 49 different countries, from Andorra to Venezuela, voted for those top 10 titles. Then, I checked to see which nations had compiled votes for all 10 of these games (15 countries) and, of those, which countries had at least 11 votes for more than half of the games. That last culling brought the list to exactly 10. 10 games, 10 countries. Seemed fitting.

So, I've created a list of gaming countries, roughly ranked in easy-to-please sequence. In other words, I've computed the average rating for the top 10 games for each country and presented them below in that order. For each country, I hope to include an interesting tidbit or two about their gaming preferences.

Also, with each game entry, I list the country that gave that game its LOWEST rating (with at least 11 votes)
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1. Board Game: Puerto Rico [Average Rating:8.06 Overall Rank:15]
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France - 135 total votes - average of 8.476

The French tend to vote higher than other nations. So it's no surprise that of the 10 countries here, they have the highest average for Puerto Rico (9.24, compared to its Geek average of 8.93). Just for completeness sake, one other country with at least 11 votes for Puerto Rico exceeded this average--New Zealand, but they're not in our survey as they had no votes for Die Macher and exceeded 10 votes only for PR & Settlers. The French preference order for our top 10 games is:

1. Puerto Rico (Geek = 1st)
2. Euphrat & Tigris (2nd)
3. Princes of Florence (4th)
4. Paths of Glory (6th) - 10 or less votes
5. Age of Steam (8th) - 10 or less votes
6. Hammer of the Scots (9th) - 10 or less votes
7. Settlers of Catan (3rd)
8. Die Macher (7th) - 10 or less votes
9. El Grande(5th)
10. Carcassonne (10th)

So, the French seem to dislike El Grande moreso than others do. Border wars?

Puerto Rico detractors: Australia (26 votes, 8.65 average)
 
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2. Board Game: Die Macher [Average Rating:7.65 Overall Rank:185]
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Canada - 681 total votes - average of 8.459

Like 80% of this list, Canadians prefer Puerto Rico, ay. But their unique attribute is that they gave die Macher the best rating of all countries who rated it at least 11 times (8.64, vs Geek average of 8.17). Their order for the top 10:

1. Puerto Rico (Geek = 1st)
2. Paths of Glory (6th)
3. Die Macher (7th)
4. Euphrat & Tigris (2nd)
5. Hammer of the Scots (9th)
6. El Grande (5th)
7. Princes of Florence (4th)
8. Settlers of Catan (3rd)
9. Age of Steam (8th)
10. Carcassonne (10th)

That's two countries in a row who pegged Carcassonne at the bottom of this elite group. But Canada did it with the most flair--their 7.97 is the highest rating Carcassonne got from any nation.

Die Macher detractors: Germany (12 votes, 8.21)
 
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3. Board Game: The Princes of Florence [Average Rating:7.57 Overall Rank:116]
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Belgium - 125 total votes - average of 8.347

Belgium bucked the trend of crowning Puerto Rico as their favorite game. Instead, Hammer of the Scots got that spot, albeit with only 3 votes. Their top game with more than 11 tallies was Princes of Florence (9.13 vs. Geek average of 8.20). Didn't know Belgium was such a Renaissance kind of place. Their ranking for our top 10:

1. Hammer of the Scots (Geek = 9th) - 10 or less votes
2. Princes of Florence (4th)
3. Puerto Rico (1st)
4. Euphrat & Tigris (2nd)
5. El Grande (5th)
6. Paths of Glory (6th) - 10 or less votes
7. Settlers of Catan (3rd)
8. Carcassonne (10th)
9. Age of Steam (8th) - 10 or less votes
10. Die Macher (7th) - 10 or less votes

Princes detractors: Australia (16 votes, 7.84 average)
 
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4. Board Game: Carcassonne [Average Rating:7.43 Overall Rank:139] [Average Rating:7.43 Unranked]
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United States - 5203 total votes - average of 8.285

With the US dominating the Geek voting, you'd think that the US top 10 would mirror the international list. Not so. So what's the US's claim to gaming fame? Not much really, so I've allowed them to represent lowly Carcassonne (7.93 vs Geek average of 7.88). Carcassonne gets higher ratings from both Australia and Canada, but those countries have much more impressive claims in this list. So the US gets to represent the 10th ranked game. The US order for our top 10:

1. Puerto Rico (Geek = 1st)
2. Euphrat & Tigris (2nd)
3. Settlers of Catan (3rd)
4. Paths of Glory (6th)
5. Die Macher (7th)
6. Princes of Florence (4th)
7. El Grande (5th)
8. Hammer of the Scots (9th)
9. Carcassonne (10th)
10. Age of Steam (8th)

US-Belgian gaming relations seem tense.

Carcassonne detractors: Portugal (11 votes, 7.09 average)
 
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5. Board Game: Tigris & Euphrates [Average Rating:7.71 Overall Rank:70]
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Australia - 185 votes - average of 8.283 (exactly the average for all countries)

Australia is, of course, upside down and halfway around the world from Geek headquarters. Maybe that explains their love of Carcassonne (mentioned in the US entry) and Euphrat & Tigris (8.83 vs. Geek average of 8.53). Not that there's anything wrong with these two games, but this is the only country on this list to make E&T *THE* game to beat all games. Their top 10 ordering:

1. Euphrat & Tigris (Geek = 2nd)
2. Puerto Rico (1st)
3. Paths of Glory (6th) - 10 or less votes
4. Settlers of Catan (3rd)
5. El Grande (5th)
6. Age of Steam (8th) - 10 or less votes
7. Carcassonne (10th)
8. Princes of Florence (4th)
9. Die Macher (7th) - 10 or less votes
10. Hammer of the Scots (9th) - 10 or less votes

What is it that Canada, Australia, & the UK have against Princes?

E&T detractors: Italy (31 votes, 7.98 average)
 
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6. Board Game: Hammer of the Scots [Average Rating:7.56 Overall Rank:300]
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United Kingdom - 528 total votes - average of 8.282

Those Scot-lovin' Brits. Even though it didn't technically exceed 10 votes, they gave Hammer of the Scots the best numbers from our United Nations (8.60 vs. Geek average of 8.19). I guess Scotland is their backyard, so to speak. Like other empirial countries, they dislike Florence. Their take on our top 10:

1. Puerto Rico (Geek = 1st)
2. Hammer of the Scots (9th) - only 10 votes
3. Paths of Glory (6th)
4. Euphrat & Tigris (2nd)
5. El Grande (5th)
6. Die Macher (7th)
7. Age of Steam (8th)
8. Settlers of Catan (3rd)
9. Princes of Florence (4th)
10. Carcassonne (10th)

Seems they like wargames over there--and dislike two of our top 4. It's OK that they dislike Carcassonne.

Hammer of the Scots detractors: United States (114 votes, 8.12 average)
 
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7. Board Game: Catan [Average Rating:7.23 Overall Rank:279] [Average Rating:7.23 Unranked]
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Italy - 250 total votes - average of 8.251

Italy is the fourth best represented country, in terms of total votes for these top 10 games. And they do love their Settlers (8.46 vs Geek average of 8.20). European neighbor Portugal actually wins the "I love Settlers" button, as they did have 11 voters grant an average score of 8.64, but they aren't the elite group that make up our League of Nations. Italy's resequencing of the top 10:

1. Puertor Rico (Geek = 1st)
2. Settlers of Catan (3rd)
3. Age of Steam (8th)
4. Paths of Glory (6th)
5. Hammer of the Scots (9th)
6. El Grande (5th)
7. Princes of Florence (4th)
8. Euphrat & Tigris (2nd)
9. Carcassonne (10th)
10. Die Macher (7th) - 10 or less votes

What?!? Italy dissin' on Princes of Florence? And they also gave E&T its lowest ranking of our Big 10 countries.

Not settling for Settlers: Germany (30 votes, 7.23 average). That just ain't right.
 
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8. Board Game: El Grande [Average Rating:7.79 Overall Rank:54]
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Finland - 186 total votes - average of 8.248

Yup, the Fins represent in the gaming world. Not only that, but of all represented countries, they gave the El Grande its best score (8.72 vs Geek average of 8.15). I guess huddling up around the gameboard is a good thing to do in Finland, so it's not all that surprising that only six other countries on the globe have more top 10 voters than this one. Finland's shuffling of the top 10:

1. Paths of Glory (Geek = 6th) - Only 1 vote, though
2. Age of Steam (8th) - 10 or less votes
3. Puerto Rico (1st)
4. El Grande (5th)
5. Hammer of the Scots (9th) - 10 or less votes
6. Princes of Florence (4th)
7. Euphrat & Tigris (2nd)
8. Die Macher (7th) - 10 or less votes
9. Carcassonne (10th)
10. Settlers of Catan (3rd)

Wow! These folk pegged Settlers as the worst of these 10 games. No bandwaggoning in that country, I tell you.

El Grande detractors: Sweden (18 votes, 6.61 average)
 
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9. Board Game: Age of Steam [Average Rating:7.69 Overall Rank:114]
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Germany - 228 total votes - average of 8.134

So we call these things "German games" and now it's time to see what they think of the collective. Well, they don't really stand up holding banners for any of these games. I guess we'll give them Age of Steam (ironically, not German). Italy (8.42) is the country giving Age its best numbers, but Germany does rank it 4th among the top 10 (8.25 vs Geek average of 8.04). Oddly, they registered 11+ votes for only 8 of these 10 games, which you wouldn't expect in the home of our games. Their top 10 sequence:

1. Puerto Rico (Geek = 1st)
2. Paths of Glory (6th) - 10 or less votes
3. Euphrat & Tigris (2nd)
4. Age of Steam (8th)
5. Die Macher (7th)
6. Hammer of the Scots (9th) - only 1 vote
7. Princes of Florence (4th)
8. El Grande (5th)
9. Carcassonne (10th)
10. Settlers of Catan (3rd)

That's two countries in a row placing Settlers 10th among the top 10. And that's THE game that created the whole German invasion. The world is ending, I tell you.

Age of Steam detractors: United States (223 votes, 7.86 average)
 
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10. Board Game: Paths of Glory [Average Rating:8.00 Overall Rank:100]
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The Netherlands - 238 total votes - average of 8.084

Our most finicky country, least easy-to-please, is the Netherlands. And the only game in our top 10 not yet represented is Paths of Glory. Now, this country gives it a good rating (8.50 vs Geek average of 8.33), but there were only 3 votes from the Netherlands, so it doesn't really count. Here's their restructuring of the top 10 list:

1. Puerto Rico (Geek = 1st)
2. Hammer of the Scots (9th) - 10 or less votes
3. Paths of Glory (6th) - 10 or less votes
4. Die Macher (7th) - 10 or less votes
5. Euphrat & Tigris (2nd)
6. El Grande (5th)
7. Princes of Florence (4th)
8. Age of Steam (8th) - 10 or less votes
9. Carcassonne (10th)
10. Settlers of Catan (3rd)

Paths of Glory detractors: Italy (12 votes, 8.21 average)
 
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11. Board Game: Wealth of Nations [Average Rating:5.63 Overall Rank:12579]
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Honorable Mention

Four more countries had at least one vote for each of the top 10 games and a smattering of games with more than 10 votes. A fifth country (Austria) garnered votes for all 10, but only 2 for each title, rendering the sample a bit to sparse. So, here are some tidbits about the 4 honorary members of the top 10 gaming nations...

Korea is hurting for gaming, because their average vote is a whopping 8.603, among 87 votes. The top game there (9 votes) is Age of Steam (9.51!) They also put Settlers at the bottom of the top 10.

Brazil, with 61 top 10 votes, averages a stingy 8.131 (barely less picky than Netherlands). One person in the country has played Age of Steam and loved it (10). But of the more realistic tallies, they fall in line with the rest of the world, with Puerto Rico being at the top of the heap (9.09).

Sweeden (168 total votes) is even more snooty than Netherlands, averaging only 8.016 for the aggregate rating of all "top 10" games. Of games with significant votes (more than 1), Euphrat & Tigris is their choice (8.71). Sweeden trumps the UK and Australia in the Princes Bashing game, placing that title 10th among these elites.

And our hardest-to-please also-ran nation is Denmark (87 votes, 7.950 average). So, if the 10 best games on the planet are worth less than a collective 8 out of 10 rating, what do they like? Well, good ol' Puerto Rico (9.36). It's what they don't like that's interesting. They are the only country in this list to put El Grande dead last in the top 10.

To finish off this list, I'll mention that four nations had a total of one vote each for these 10 fine games. That means that only one person in those countries have bothered to rate a game in our top 10--and they didn't bother to rate a second game. Either there's little gaming there, or they just don't care for grading them. These four countries that barely made our list: China, Croatia, Argentina, and Iceland. And all four games they rated (Puerto Rico twice, Settlers, and El Grande) received a rating of 9.
 
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