My Top 50 game list stats for 2019

Dig board game stats? This post is for you! Well, it’s for me really. I just wanted to take a look at some stats around my annual Top 50 games list, going back through the six years of numbers. I found it fascinating. Buy your millage may vary…

Ins and outs

This year saw seven new entries into the Top 50, plus one re-entry – and only five were 2018 releases. That’s a little below average, but I didn’t think 2018 was a very good year for new releases (in genres I like). As I get longer in the tooth, it’s also less likely new games will impress. And the same goes for older ones I missed first time around.

Forty-one games have dropped out of my Top 50 (and not returned) since I started; about nine per year. But of those only 13 have left my collection – a testament to the fact a lot of games I still really like sit just off the list. Re-entry Basari is a good example: it made it back this year after a couple of great plays. Sometimes a game just needs plays to get back on the radar. So many great games, so little time!

Evergreens and reviews

A total of 20 of the Top 50 have been on the list every year since I started back in 2014: Brass and Copycat having fallen from that list this year. Four (Race, Ticket to Ride, Ra and Terra Mystica) have been in the top 10 the entire time, with four more being top 20 constants. At the other end of the scale, Archaeology, Macao, Decathlon and Maori have been in the top 50 for six years without ever making the top 20.

I’ve written reviews for 32 of the Top 50 – the highest percentage yet. Only one game sits unreviewed in the Top 10, with two more in the Top 20. I’ll do my best to rectify that in the coming months, which tend to be a little slower for releases. I’ve also promised myself to bring even less games home from Essen this year. I did pretty well last time, but was still reviewing games deep into this year I’d picked up in October 2018.

Years and designers

Two games from the 1980s and four from the 90s joined 18 from the the 2000s on the list – leaving just over half (26) coming from the twenty-teens. I recently posted about 2009 not being a veteran year for game releases – but 2008 is the earliest year not represented with a game on my list. 2012 (a great year for euro games) joined 2018 at the top with five releases; with 2016, 2007 and 2004 having four each.

In terms of designers Uwe Rosenberg, Vlada Chvatil, Dirk Henn, Gunter Burkhardt and Mac Gerdts all have two games in my Top 50. Just pipping them is Reiner Knizia with three, but out in front is Stefan Feld with four. I think most of the classic designers make it to the list: add to them Vaccarino, Cathala, Kiesling, Kramer, Dorra, Moon, Sackson, Wrede. It’s a pretty good list!

Getting them played

Adios Calavera was my most played game in the Top 50 over the last 18 months (since January 2018), with 24 plays. Six other games from my Top 20 have seen 10 or more plays in that time – with the most played from 21-50 being Gnomopolis, Kingdomino (both eight plays), Patchwork and Maori (both on seven). My all-time plays list is dominated by Race for the Galaxy and Ticket to Ride with over 400 plays between them. Ra and Ingenious (both also in the Top 20) are also beyond 50 plays each.

Everything in the Top 10 has been played at least twice since Jan ’18, but two of the Top 20 (Twilight Struggle and Through the Ages) haven’t been played at all. In terms of all-time plays, only three of my Top 20 (and none in the Top 10) have been played less than 10 times: Caverna, Twilight Struggle (both six plays) and Yokohama (five). Five other Top 50 games haven’t hit the table in the last 18 months – but I’m working on it!

My challenge for 2019

I started this in January but haven’t spoken about it on the blog – probably because I knew it was wholly unrealistic: I’m trying to play all the games in my collection this year. And I’ve been doing pretty well. I’m about halfway and it’s about half way through the year – but with more than 70 to go, and Essen looming large, I’m sure I won’t make it. But it has been a great exercise in getting some older games played again – and has led to a more than a few hitting the trade pile.

Whatever doesn’t get played in 2019 will be the shortlist for 2020. And who knows? Maybe some of them will follow in Basari’s footsteps and be back up into my Top 50 again this time next year.

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