The Mogul Scale (for rating the difficulty of board games)
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[The following is posted with permission of Mark Teskey, one of the two hosts of the Gaming Moguls podcast at https://gamingmoguls.com/. The text that follows comes from The Mogul Scale, which is part of their website.]

The Mogul Scale is a next-generation way of quantifying the difficulty of a game. A simple 1-5 rating in the same fashion as BoardGameGeek doesn’t tell the full measure of the difficulty of a game since it doesn’t identify if a game is difficult due to the rules or the strategy.

The Mogul Scale is a two-dimensional rating scale where the rules difficulty and the strategic difficulty are measured separately.

The first number quantifies the rules complexity using a 1-5 scale. A 1-rating has very few rules and can be taught verbally in seconds (think: tic-tac-toe rules). A 5-rating has a very thick rules manual, many addendums, FAQs, rules charts, player aids, and a long rules explanation. (think: High Frontier)

The second letter quantifies the strategic complexity using an A through an E. An A-rating has very low strategy and may be either instant to grasp or be entirely luck-based. An E-rating has layers and layers of complexity and may take years to master. (think: Go or many 18xx titles)

[My general comments: The ratings that follow are, of course, simply the personal opinions of Mark Teskey and his partner, Jake Klopfenstein. People can obviously disagree on a particular rating. If you do, please post a comment.

The most important thing, in my opinion, is the scale itself— the way it combines, in a simple, understandable way, the ease of learning or teaching a game (rules complexity) with the depth of play. To me, this is a brilliant way to rate the difficulty of games.

BGG weights: These are as of the day I posted them. I will not attempt to update them.

What is your “sweet spot”?
- Do you prefer low rules complexity, or do you accept higher rules complexity for greater strategy opportunities?
- Do you like games where rules complexity and depth of play are about the same, or do you prefer games with lower rules complexity and higher strategy?

Lowest rules complexity/highest strategy ratio: According to the Mogul Scale list, the games with the lowest rules complexity/highest depth of strategy ratio are:
- Metro - 1C
- SHŌBU - 1C
- The Expanse Board Game - 2D
- Tichu - 2D
- Town Center (fourth edition) - 2D
- Food Chain Magnate - 3E
- Pax Pamir (Second Edition) - 3E

Again, these are the opinions of the list’s creators, and if you have a different opinion, please post a comment.
]
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1. Board Game: 18Lilliput [Average Rating:7.32 Overall Rank:2023]
Board Game: 18Lilliput
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3D
60-90 min. 1 to 4 players.

Designer: Leonhard "Lonny" Orgler
Artist: Petr Štich
Publisher: Fox in the Box, Lonny Games

BGG weight: 3.35

[My comment: The “D” rating for strategy is likely because although this is not a true 18xx game, it does have an 18xx feel and several similar mechanisms.]
 
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2. Board Game: 6 nimmt! [Average Rating:6.91 Overall Rank:613]
Board Game: 6 nimmt!
Mark Morrise
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1A
45 min. 2 to 10 players.

Designer: Wolfgang Kramer
Artist: Timur Baskakov, Design Edge, Bill Herrin
Publisher: AMIGO

BGG weight: 1.22
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3. Board Game: Acquire [Average Rating:7.35 Overall Rank:246]
Board Game: Acquire
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2B
90 min. 2 to 5 players.

Designer: Sid Sackson
Artist: Scott Okumura, Peter Whitley
Publisher: 3M, The Avalon Hill Game Co

BGG weight: 2.51
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4. Board Game: Across the United States [Average Rating:7.08 Overall Rank:7632]
Board Game: Across the United States
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2C
60 min. 2 to 5 players.

Designer: Hisashi Hayashi
Artist: Ryo Nyamo
Publisher: OKAZU Brand

BGG weight: 2.0
 
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5. Board Game: Age of Steam [Average Rating:7.75 Overall Rank:118]
Board Game: Age of Steam
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3D
120 min. 1 to 6 players.

Designer: Martin Wallace
Artist: Sean Brown, Peter Dennis, Paul Niemeyer, Ian O'Toole
Publisher: Warfrog Games

BGG weight: 3.92
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6. Board Game: Agricola [Average Rating:7.97 Overall Rank:29]
Board Game: Agricola
Mark Morrise
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3D
30-150 min. 1 to 5 players.

Designer: Uwe Rosenberg
Artist: Klemens Franz
Publisher: Lookout Games

BGG weight: 3.64
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7. Board Game: Arboretum [Average Rating:7.41 Overall Rank:251]
Board Game: Arboretum
Mark Morrise
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1C
30 min. 2 to 4 players.

Designer: Dan Cassar
Artist: Philippe Guérin, Chris Quilliams, Beth Sobel, Waldo Ramirez
Publisher: Filosofia Éditions, Renegade Game Studios, Z-Man Games, Inc.

BGG weight: 2.15
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8. Board Game: At the Gates of Loyang [Average Rating:7.38 Overall Rank:275]
Board Game: At the Gates of Loyang
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3C
60-120 min. 1 to 4 players.

Designer: Uwe Rosenberg
Artist: Klemens Franz, Scott Hartman
Publisher: Hall Games, Tasty Minstrel Games

BGG weight: 3.14
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9. Board Game: Azul [Average Rating:7.86 Overall Rank:43] [Average Rating:7.86 Unranked]
Board Game: Azul
Mark Morrise
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1B
30-45 min. 2 to 4 players.

Designer: Michael Kiesling
Artist: Philippe Guérin, Chris Quilliams
Publisher: Next Move Games, Plan B Games

BGG weight: 1.78
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10. Board Game: Biblios [Average Rating:7.20 Overall Rank:347]
Board Game: Biblios
Mark Morrise
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1B
30 min. 2 to 4 players.

Designer: Steve Finn
Artist: Steve Finn, David Palumbo
Publisher: Dr. Finn's Games

BGG weight: 1.68
 
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11. Board Game: Bosk [Average Rating:7.18 Overall Rank:2426]
Board Game: Bosk
Mark Morrise
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1B
20-40 min. 2 to 4 players.

Designer: Daryl Andrews, Erica Bouyouris
Artist: Kwanchai Moriya, Matt Paquette
Publisher: Floodgate Games

BGG weight: 2.18
 
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12. Board Game: Brass: Birmingham [Average Rating:8.63 Overall Rank:4]
Board Game: Brass: Birmingham
Mark Morrise
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3D
60-120 min. 2 to 4 players.

Designer: Gavan Brown, Matt Tolman, Martin Wallace
Artist: Lina Cossette, David Forest, Damien Mammoliti
Publisher: Roxley

BGG weight: 3.92

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13. Board Game: Bus [Average Rating:7.41 Overall Rank:1015]
Board Game: Bus
Mark Morrise
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2C
120 min. 3 to 5 players.

Designer: Jeroen Doumen, Joris Wiersinga
Artist: Herman Haverkort, Tamara Jannink, Daan van Paridon, Thijs van Paridon, Joris Wiersinga
Publisher: Splotter Spellen

BGG weight: 3.10
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14. Board Game: Ca$h 'n Gun$ [Average Rating:6.60 Overall Rank:1075]
Board Game: Ca$h 'n Gun$
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1A
30 min. 4 to 6 players.

Designer: Ludovic Maublanc
Artist: Gérard Mathieu
Publisher: Repos Production

BGG weight: 1.27
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15. Board Game: Caper [Average Rating:7.37 Overall Rank:2851]
Board Game: Caper
Mark Morrise
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2B
30-45 min. 2 to 4 players.

Designer: Unai Rubio
Artist: Josh Emrich
Publisher: Keymaster Games

BGG weight: 2.29
 
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16. Board Game: Caverna: The Cave Farmers [Average Rating:8.04 Overall Rank:27]
Board Game: Caverna: The Cave Farmers
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3D
30-210 min. 2 to 7 players.

Designer: Uwe Rosenberg
Artist: Klemens Franz
Publisher: Lookout Games

BGG weight: 3.78
 
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17. Board Game: Chicago Express [Average Rating:7.24 Overall Rank:423]
Board Game: Chicago Express
Mark Morrise
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2C
60 min. 2 to 6 players.

Designer: John Bohrer
Artist: Michael Menzel
Publisher: Queen Games, Winsome Games

BGG weight: 2.79
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18. Board Game: Clans of Caledonia [Average Rating:8.03 Overall Rank:44]
Board Game: Clans of Caledonia
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3D
30-120 min. 1 to 4 players.

Designer: Juma Al-JouJou
Artist: Klemens Franz
Publisher: Karma Games

BGG weight: 3.43
 
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19. Board Game: Concordia [Average Rating:8.11 Overall Rank:17]
Board Game: Concordia
Mark Morrise
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2C
100 min. 2 to 5 players.

Designer: Mac Gerdts
Artist: Marina Fahrenbach, Mac Gerdts, Dominik Mayer
Publisher: Rio Grande Games, PD-Verlag

BGG weight: 3.05
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20. Board Game: Condottiere [Average Rating:6.81 Overall Rank:830]
Board Game: Condottiere
Mark Morrise
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2B
45 min. 2 to 6 players.

Designer: Dominique Ehrhard, Duccio Vitale
Artist: Dominique Ehrhard, John Goodenough, Serge Hochain, Tomasz Jedruszek
Publisher: Eurogames

BGG weight: 1.96
 
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21. Board Game: Container [Average Rating:7.15 Overall Rank:658]
Board Game: Container
Mark Morrise
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3D
60-90 min. 3 to 5 players.

Designer: Franz-Benno Delonge, Thomas Ewert
Artist: Mike Doyle (I)
Publisher: Valley Games, Inc.

BGG weight: 3.25
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22. Board Game: Crokinole [Average Rating:7.85 Overall Rank:70]
Board Game: Crokinole
Mark Morrise
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1A
30 min. 2 to 4 players.

BGG weight: 1.26
 
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23. Board Game: Crusaders: Thy Will Be Done [Average Rating:7.63 Overall Rank:634]
Board Game: Crusaders: Thy Will Be Done
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2B
40-60 min. 2 to 4 players.

Designer: Seth Jaffee
Artist: Adam P. McIver
Publisher: Korea Boardgames co., Ltd., Tasty Minstrel Games

BGG weight: 2.44
 
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24. Board Game: Deep Sea Adventure [Average Rating:7.05 Overall Rank:574]
Board Game: Deep Sea Adventure
Mark Morrise
United States
Salt Lake City
Utah
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1B
30 min. 2 to 6 players.

Designer: Jun Sasaki, Goro Sasaki
Publisher: Oink Games

BGG weight: 1.18

[My comment: This push-your-luck game has a lot of luck due to dice rolling. The strategy lies in knowing how deep to go and when to turn back. I’m not good at this game and have drowned several times.]
 
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25. Board Game: Dungeon Petz [Average Rating:7.49 Overall Rank:185]
Board Game: Dungeon Petz
Mark Morrise
United States
Salt Lake City
Utah
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4D
90 min. 2 to 4 players.

Designer: Vlaada Chvátil
Artist: David Cochard
Publisher: Czech Games Edition

BGG weight: 3.59
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