Game retrospective 2021 #1: My ‘most played’ & other stats

Welcome to my annual gaming retrospective. It’s a pretty personal thing, so may not be of much interest. But there are lots more reviews and top 10s on the way, so please forgive me this indulgence.

Despite 2021 being largely locked down, I had a few gaming highlights. While hard to plan and massively stressful, I went to Essen Spiel in October. And it was well worth the trip. We also organised and pulled off a LoBsterCon in November, which was possibly more stressful than Essen. But I’m glad we did it.

Despite this, I got to play less new euro games than I’d like. Largely as it was so hard to get my local groups together. But I saw enough family games and heard enough reports to think 2021 was a good, if unremarkable, year for new releases. And the fact no 2021 release has so far made it into the Board Game Geek Top 200 supports that. Nothing stood out that changed the landscape. But I’ve played plenty of games that are definite keepers.

My game play and collection stats

My game collection went back up above 150 this year, from 140-ish. But I expect it to go back down to around just under 150 once I’ve sold a few. It’s just a timing thing. I’m still in the middle of Essen reviews and haven’t put up a ‘for sale’ list for a while.

I’ve also had a move around, so have a little more space for games. Most of the new ones are small box games too (excuses excuses!). On the plus side, I no longer have a shelf of shame. I’ve played everything in my collection.

I recorded 454 plays for the year, a few up on 2020 (439). Once again, thanks to covid, more of these were online than I’d have liked. But I continue to only record online plays if they are live, while chatting to the people on a headset etc. Of those plays, 198 were of different games – exactly the same as 2019 and up on last year. Being back at Essen and LoBsterCon certainly helped this. 111 of these games I played only once in the calendar year. While I played 26 games at least five times each.

My most played games in 2021

I only managed 20 prototype plays in 2021. I’m really struggling to get enthused with designing online. While it has proven almost impossible to meet up with people in real life. Hopefully I can get some enthusiasm back in 2022. Outside of that, my most played published games were:

  • 1st – Ticket to Ride (18 plays)
  • 2nd – Can’t Stop (17 plays)
  • 3rd – Kingdomino (12 plays)
  • =4th – Oracle of Delphi & Race for the Galaxy (9)
  • 6th – Castles of Burgundy (8)
  • =7th – Journey to the Center of the Earth, Arnak & Remember our Trip (7)

Half of these made the list thanks to online plays. But I own physical copies of them all and they’re old favourites. The others were games I’ve reviewed this year. That usually means at least five plays. But these got played more because I enjoyed them so much. Of the nine games here, seven are in my all-time top 40 (including five in the top 20). Only two games are missing from last year’s list. Codenames Duet has fallen off the radar after Sarah and me played it to death. While we’ve only played Targi twice this year, but still love it.

Part 2 will be along later in January and include my gaming event highlights. Plus my favourite individual plays, month by month, in 2021. For some historical context, check out my matching posts from: 20122013201420152016201720182019 and 2020.

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