I Just Rated My 1,500th game, Which Seems to Call for a Geeklist!
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Just as the title says, after about 15 years of rating games on BGG, I rated my 1,500th game last night!

Here are a bunch of random stats, anecdotes, and observations looking back on this bevy of games I've played!
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1. Board Game: Age of Steam [Average Rating:7.69 Overall Rank:114]
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A Great List of Games - The 1%ers

The obvious thing to look back on are which games managed to float to the top of this massive pile of games. Truth be told, I could probably only play these top 1% of games of all-time and be perfectly happy with that.

1) Age of Steam (10 rating, 60 plays)
2) Terraforming Mars (10 rating, 20 plays)
3) Nations (10 rating, 12 plays)
4) Greed (10 rating, 23 plays)
5) Bruges (10 rating, 21 plays)
6) Powerboats (10 rating, 26 plays)
7) Crokinole (10 rating, 129 plays)
8) Agricola (9 rating, 25 plays)
9) Antiquity (9 rating, 13 plays)
10) Ginkgopolis (9 rating, 13 plays)
11) Small World (9 rating, 17 plays)
12) Factory Funner (9 rating, 6 plays; 32 if you combine with Factory Fun)
13) Galaxy Trucker (9 rating, 12 plays)
14) Prospectus (9 rating, 19 plays)
15) Jambo (9 rating, 29 plays)

One characteristic of games that I really enjoy is engine building, where you build up a series of abilities that eventually turn into a point scoring machine. Terraforming Mars, Nations, Greed, Bruges, Agricola, Antiquity, Ginkgopolis, and Jambo all feature this sort of thing.

Age of Steam is largely helped by having a game group that has a lot of enthusiasm for the game. I love the cutthroat nature of the game, how punishing it is (a characteristic I also like in a game), and the billion available expansion maps mean you're always playing a different "flavor" of the game with a slightly different puzzle to solve.
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2. Board Game: Crokinole [Average Rating:7.79 Overall Rank:75]
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A Regret - I Play a Lot of Mediocre Stuff

Out of 1,500 games played, my average rating is a 5.74, breaking down to:

10 .5%
9 .7%
8 6.1%
7 21.9%
6 32.6%
5 21.7%
4 9.1%
3 5.2%
2 1.9%
1 .2%

That's over 70% games that I would classify as "Ok - Will play if in the right mood", or worse, and only 30% that I would say I'm "Usually willing to play".

There are over twice as many games I'd classify as "Not so good" than "very good"!.

So why even bother playing new games? I logically know there's a bigger chance it'll be an average to below average game than a hit. That thrill of discovering and trying something new is still fun, though! The cult of the new is always so seductive; that fear of missing out on a game that could be one of my favorites is strong, even though chances are a new game will land on the "meh" pile.
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3. Board Game: T.I.M.E Stories [Average Rating:7.90 Overall Rank:44]
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A Trip Down Memory Lane - An Epic Fail

I've played and enjoyed every T.I.M.E Stories to date, and the most memorable have been absolute fails. One year, at an annual gaming getaway, I failed to notice a detail on one of my items which caused us to backtrack every location in the game in search of a piece of information we were missing, deservingly taking a bunch of shit for my oversight after at least an hour of screwing around trying to figure out what we had missed.

Fast forward to exactly a year later at the same gaming weekend with the exact same group of four guys, and the same thing is happening. We had tried absolutely everything, running into nothing but dead ends, only to find someone hadn't read a line of text that should have brought a new location into play; the final location we needed to win. Again, we wasted a ton of time, and it turned out we were only minutes away from winning the entire time.

Somehow, I still really love this game.
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4. Board Game: Greed [Average Rating:6.76 Overall Rank:1375]
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A Difference in Opinion - My Biggest Disparities vs. BGGers

Sometimes, you really disagree with other BGGers. Here are my biggest disparities, both positive and negative.

Games I love that BGG doesn't love as much (not that these are the Geek Ratings, and not raw average, so the Geek rating will trend a bit lower naturally:

1) Greed - A 10 for me vs. a BGG 6.3 (+3.7)
2) Powerboats - A 10 for me vs. a BGG 6.3 (+3.7)
3) Prospectus - A 9 for me vs. a BGG 5.6 (+3.4) (Disclaimer: I may have designed this game)
4) Factory Funner - A 9 for me vs. a BGG 6.0 (+3.0)
5) Bruges - A 10 for me vs. a BGG 7.3 (+2.7)

"Games" where I think BGG is full of crap:

1) Werewolf - A 1 for me vs. a BGG 6.4 (-5.4)
2) Magic: The Gathering - A 2 for me vs. a BGG 7.3 (-5.3)
3) Roads & Boats - A 2 for me vs. a BGG 7.2 (-5.2)
4) Diplomacy - A 2 for me vs. a BGG 6.9 (-4.9)
5) Last Night on Earth: The Zombie Game - A 2 for me vs. a BGG 6.9 (-4.9)
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5. Board Game: Danger Guy [Average Rating:4.28 Unranked]
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A Fact - The Worst Game of All Time

I hesitate to even enter this into this Geeklist, as it means Danger Guy will get a mention. However, the world would be better off had this game not existed.

The rules were awful. The game was awful. The components were awful. And the double groin punch is that you had to work to play it, as the game was created old-school Cheapass Games style, where you had to cut out a ton of pieces before you could even play. If a friend of mine hadn't already gone through that process, this game would receive a negative infinity rating from me.

We put the game back away after playing a couple turns, all the while trying to figure out what the heck was going on from the rules. It pretty much ruined the year 2005 for me.
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6. Board Game: Formula Dé [Average Rating:6.99 Overall Rank:577]
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A Something - The Game Whose Rating Most Varies Depending on Setting

For a very long time, Formula De was in my all-time top 10. Then I played in a Formula De league where we played entire seasons, complete with custom league rules which introduced sponsorship deals and all sorts of other things that made the game crazy fun.

However, now that I don't really have time for the league, just playing one race is very unsatisfying. The league in effect pretty much soiled the game for me since it's so much more fun that running a single race. I still love it, as racing games are one of my jams, but man, I'd really love to have the time to commit to the league again!
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7. Board Game: Carcassonne [Average Rating:7.43 Overall Rank:139] [Average Rating:7.43 Unranked]
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A Trip Down Memory Lane - An Epic(ally) Bad Game

At the Gathering of Friends, a group of us used to pick one game that no one in their right mind would ever play with all the expansions. One such game was Carcassonne. There were probably a million less expansions back then, but there were still roughly a million already available at the time. One guy knew the rules for all the things, and the rest of us just asked what the heck tile we were looking at when we drew on our turns.

I of course never recommend doing this unless you have a lot of time to burn, and just want to hang out with friends over a dumb game experience. It's better than torture, which is a plus.
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8. Board Game: Choices [Average Rating:0.00 Unranked]
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A Phenomenon - The Paradox of Choice

As the choice of games hitting the market has gotten more and more massive, I find myself caring less and less about trying them all. The late 2000's seems to be where the tipping point hit, where it was no longer feasible to keep up with all the cool-looking stuff coming out, and the desire to play all the things finally had to be given up.

Here's a chart of games I've rated by year, starting in 1995.

1995 - (18) (1.8% of games on BGG for this year)
1996 - (16) (1.8% of games on BGG for this year)
1997 - (20) (2.2% of games on BGG for this year)
1998 - (24) (2.2% of games on BGG for this year)
1999 - (39) (3.5% of games on BGG for this year)
2000 - (40) (3.1% of games on BGG for this year)
2001 - (45) (3.2% of games on BGG for this year)
2002 - (57) (3.5% of games on BGG for this year)
2003 - (74) (4.4% of games on BGG for this year)
2004 - (90) (4.5% of games on BGG for this year)
2005 - (87) (3.6% of games on BGG for this year)
2006 - (89) (3.7% of games on BGG for this year)
2007 - (83) (3.3% of games on BGG for this year)
2008 - (97) (3.9% of games on BGG for this year)
2009 - (96) (3.4% of games on BGG for this year)
2010 - (78) (2.8% of games on BGG for this year)
2011 - (73) (2.4% of games on BGG for this year)
2012 - (67) (2.3% of games on BGG for this year)
2013 - (56) (1.9% of games on BGG for this year)
2014 - (51) (1.5% of games on BGG for this year)
2015 - (54) (1.5% of games on BGG for this year)
2016 - (52) (1.5% of games on BGG for this year)

I've also seen this trend in my game acquisitions; I used to acquire many more games per year, but now I just tend to ignore a lot of games being released, focusing on the ones that most look up my alley and/or are generating a lot of positive feedback. My collection has actually been retreating in numbers over the past several years, as I purge more of the mediocre than I acquire!
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9. Board Game: Terraforming Mars [Average Rating:8.38 Overall Rank:5]
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An Opinion - The Best Games by Year

Speaking of games by year, here is what I deem my favorites by year.

1995 - El Grande
1996 - Buy Low Sell High
1997 - Tigris & Euphrates
1998 - TurfMaster
1999 - Ra
2000 - Battle Line
2001 - Evo
2002 - Age of Steam
2003 - Alhambra
2004 - Antiquity
2005 - Caylus
2006 - Imperial
2007 - Agricola
2008 - Powerboats
2009 - Small World
2010 - Dominant Species
2011 - Kingdom Builder
2012 - Ginkgopolis
2013 - Nations
2014 - Greed
2015 - Isle of Skye: From Chieftain to King
2016 - Terraforming Mars
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10. Board Game: PitchCar [Average Rating:7.25 Overall Rank:314]
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A Trip Down Memory Lane - Epically Epic

I have a giant set of PitchCar that I acquired for the purposes of taking to conventions for tournament use, and the final round tracks are some of the most fun gaming experiences I've had. We get pretty crazy since I have so much track:





Needless to say, racing on these tracks with a bunch of folks who are awesome at PitchCar is a blast!
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11. Board Game: Siesta [Average Rating:6.28 Overall Rank:4610]
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A Brief Intermission

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12. Board Game Designer: Reiner Knizia
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A Tip of the Hat - Designers

Which designers are responsible for the most games I've rated?

1) Reiner Knizia - 92
2) Wolfgang Kramer - 44
3) Alan R. Moon - 28
4) Michael Schacht - 24
5) Friedemann Friese - 23
6) Martin Wallace - 21
7) Michael Kiesling - 20
8) Klaus Teuber - 20
9) Leo Colovini - 18
10) Rüdiger Dorn - 18

Interestingly, most of these designers were within the first 50 designers ever added to the BGG database! Lots of names that pretty much everyone recognized back in the day, whereas I'm not sure people that are new to the hobby would recognize half of these names.

How about the designers I enjoy the most? Here's a list of designers with the highest average rating from me (minimum of 10 ratings).

1) Vlaada Chvátil - 7.0, 11 ratings. Notable games: Galaxy Trucker, Codenames, Through the Ages: A Story of Civilization
2) Stefan Feld - 6.8, 16 ratings. Notable games: Bruges, Amerigo, In the Year of the Dragon
3) Corné van Moorsel - 6.8, 15 ratings. Notable games: Powerboats, Factory Funner, Habitats
4) Richard Borg - 6.6, 15 ratings. Notable games: Memoir '44, Liar's Dice, Wyatt Earp
5) Martin Wallace - 6.5, 21 ratings. Notable games: Age of Steam, Age of Industry, Automobile
6) Uwe Rosenberg - 6.5, 16 ratings. Notable games: Agricola, A Feast for Odin, Bohnanza
7) Rüdiger Dorn - 6.4, 18 ratings. Notable games: Jambo, Diamonds Club, Louis XIV
8) Klaus Teuber - 6.1, 20 ratings. Notable games: Starfarers of Catan, Löwenherz, Entdecker: Exploring New Horizons
9) Wolfgang Kramer - 6.1, 44 ratings. Notable games: El Grande, Maharaja: The Game of Palace Building in India, Tikal
10) Friedemann Friese - 6.1, 23 ratings. Notable games: Stich-Meister, Power Grid, Fische Fluppen Frikadellen
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13. Board Game Publisher: Pearl Games
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Another Tip of the Hat - Publishers

These are the publishers that routinely put out games that I consider to be consistently suited to my taste in gaming. The top few have an incredibly high hit rate for me!

1) Pearl Games - 8.0, 5 ratings. Notable games: Ginkgopolis, Bruxelles 1893, Troyes, and pretty much everything else they've made.
2) Space Cowboys - 7.4, 5 ratings. Notable games: T.I.M.E Stories, Splendor, Via Nebula
3) Treefrog Games - 7.1, 9 ratings. Notable games: Automobile, Age of Industry, London
4) Asmadi Games - 7.0, 6 ratings. Notable games: Innovation, Red7, FlowerFall
5) Cwali - 6.8, 15 ratings. Notable games: Powerboats, Factory Funner, Habitats

Not surprisingly, none of these publishers are high volume publishers who generally emphasize quality over quantity. A few are also designer-owned publishers who only publish their own designs, so of course, if the designer tends to design stuff that I like, I'm going to be a follower of their publisher label.
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14. Board Game: Lectio [Average Rating:6.88 Overall Rank:2260]
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A Trip Down Memory Lane - Epically Awkward

We used to close every single game night with a game of Lectio. For whatever reason, we had one guy in our group that was set off by this game like none other. If things weren't going well, he'd stop talking, throw chips at you if he owed you, etc. It was always hilarious in an awkward sort of way, and the memories still flood in to this day when we play a game of Lexio.

This really ramped up when we decided to play for real money (something silly like nickels or dimes) at a convention, mixed with some folks we didn't really know well. Things were going tragically bad for him, and I'll never forget the awkwardness of that table as he kept having to rifle through his wallet for more money to smack down on the table in frustration. Someone mercifully suggested that perhaps this should be the last hand, even though we hadn't been playing for long.
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15. Board Game: Crokinole [Average Rating:7.79 Overall Rank:75]
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An Endurance Test - Games That Stand the Test of Time

While many games get played once, never to be seen again, these are games that have stood the test of time, getting played in the most years since I started tracking data in 2002.

1) Crokinole - Played in 12 years (11 continuous)
2) Lectio - Played in 11 years (11 continuous)
3) Alhambra - Played in 11 years (9 continuous)
4) Age of Steam - Played in 11 years (7 continuous)
5) Coloretto - Played in 11 years (4 continuous)
6) Puerto Rico - Played in 10 years (9 continuous)
7) Tally Ho! - Played in 10 years (5 continuous)
8) Pickomino - Played in 9 years (9 continuous)
9) Tichu - Played in 9 years (7 continuous)
10) Battling Tops - Played in 9 years (7 continuous)
11) Evo - Played in 9 years (6 continuous)
12) Powerboats - Played in 9 years (6 continuous)
13) Power Grid - Played in 9 years (6 continuous)
14) Battle Line - Played in 9 years (5 continuous)
15) Manila - Played in 9 years (5 continuous)

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16. Board Game: Once... [Average Rating:3.83 Unranked]
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A Faint Memory - Most Games Really Don't Get Played Much

Out of all the games I've rated, the vast majority are of the one and done variety. I know some folks think it's "controversial" to rate after one play, but honestly, if I didn't like it the first time, chances are I'm headed elsewhere given the options available.

Here's how the games shake out by number of plays:

1 - (749)
2- (236)
3 - (114)
4 - (77)
5 - (44)
6 - (31)
7 - (35)
8 - (19)
9 - (20)
10 - (9)
11 - (11)
12 - (12)
13 - (11)
14-15 - (12)
16-20 - (23)
21-25 - (8)
26-30 - (11)
31-50 - (12)
50-100 - (4)
100+ - (3)
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17. Board Game: Dominare [Average Rating:6.86 Overall Rank:1895]
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A Shame - Games I Own, Liked, and Have Only Played Once

Speaking of most games getting played once, not all of them are games I didn't like! For whatever reason, some times you play a game, rated it highly, and then it never makes it back to the table again. The cult of the new strikes again! I should get these games back to the table some day:

Das Motorsportspiel - Rated an 8, played in 2003.
Dominare - Rated an 8, played in 2011.
Terra Mystica - Rated an 8, played in 2013.
Imperial Settlers - Rated an 8, played in 2014.
In the Shadow of the Emperor - Rated a 7, played in 2005.
Logistico - Rated a 7, played in 2009.
Masons - Rated a 7, played in 2007.
Kreta - Rated a 7, played in 2007.
Tobago - Rated a 7, played in 2010.
Suburbia - Rated a 7, played in 2013.
Concordia - Rated a 7, played in 2014.
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18. Board Game: Fische Fluppen Frikadellen [Average Rating:6.61 Overall Rank:2032]
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A Trip Down Memory Lane - Epically Unique & Fun

Every year at BGG.CON, I break out a 15 player game of Fische Fluppen Frikadellen, which is one of my favorite game experience of the year.

In a 15-player game, you actually set up 3 separate tables, each with a copy of the game on it. FFF is a race, where players will buy and sell goods, attempting to acquire a set of goods that they can cash in for a victory point. The catch: you need to score a point at each of the three tables in order to win.

This means, at some point, you have to pick up all of your belongings and move to a different table, likely imbalancing the number of players at each table. This leads to a lot of bickering amongst players about who is going to leave the table to even the tables back out, as a table with few players has a huge advantage over a table with many players. Less players equals more frequent turns, which is huge in racing to the win.

Furthermore, there is a supply/demand market at each table, and you're not allowed to peek at a table before you sit down at it. So, you may have carried a bunch of hamburgers from your previous table, only to find that burgers are total garbage at the new table. Or, maybe you luck out and can live like a king from a burger sale at the new table.

Super fun stuff!
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19. Board Game: The Classification Game [Average Rating:0.00 Unranked]
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A Classification - What Kind of Gamer Am I?

Here's a Florence Nightingale Gamer Characterisation chart of the subdomains of games I've played and rated, generated by Friendless Extended Stats. It's pretty obvious by this chart that I'm a fairly specific kind of gamer that leans heavily toward strategy and family games. I also enjoy the occasional well-done party game, and childrens games have been quickly on the rise as my son has just gotten old enough to play a few games (he's two and a half)!

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20. Board Game: DNA [Average Rating:0.00 Unranked]
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A Look at my DNA - A Cool Friendless Extended Stat Graph

There's nothing really practical about this, but I enjoy looking at it. It's a big chart with a cell for every game in the top 3,000 in the rankings, colored in with my rating of each game. I just love how it looks like some sort of gamer DNA chart!

Also, pretty neat just to have a visual representation of how many of the top games I've rated.



It's also interesting to see how strongly I tend to agree with BGG as a whole in the top 200-300 or so, after which the games become very average for me.
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21. Board Game: TurfMaster [Average Rating:7.22 Overall Rank:1364]
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A Blast - My Best Day of Gaming!

The Friendless Stats Site has a feature that spits out the best game days I've ever had based on metrics and presumably wizardry. It was interesting to see a look at, as these do indeed seem like great game sessions! Here's the one it deemed as tops!

May 11th, 2013

1 play of TurfMaster, 1 play of Age of Steam, 1 play of Crokinole, 1 play of Zopp, 1 play of PitchCar, 1 play of Prospectus, 1 play of Eat Poop You Cat

This must have been at Geekway to the West, an excellent game convention, and featured a ton of great games. Turfmaster with 8 players is a really great time; race games have always been a favorite of mine, and this one is a really good example.

Age of Steam, Crokinole, and Prospectus are all favorites. I must have been doing some final playtesting of Prospectus in 2013, and it was a real joy to see people playing a thing that I made.

PitchCar would have been a tournament, where the finals are always on a great, epic track, with really fun people that I enjoy playing with.

Finally, EPYC is pretty much my all-time favorite party game/activity when played with fun, creative people. I wish I knew more folks that like it as much as I do!
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22. Board Game: Yokohama [Average Rating:7.97 Overall Rank:104]
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The 1,500th Game

While it would have been super cool for game number 1,500 to be one I absolutely loved, we already know there was less than a 10% chance of that happening. This one ended up fitting squarely in the 1/3 of that I thought were pretty average, and I'd play if someone else was wanting to play. A little bit of a let down given the hype and how excited I was for it, but it looks like a lot of folks are liking it much more than I did, which is great!

On to 2,000!
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