2015 Review: Round 2 – Victory Points

Background

As mentioned in 2015 Review: Round 1, based on the number of times that I played any given game in 2015 (and compared to 2014 when possible) indicates that some of them were winners in 2015 and others were losers. Let’s take a look at a few games in each category:

Winners

A common way of measuring the actively played games is to use a metric called “nickels and dimes” (games played 5 and 10 times in one year respectively). To that we can add “quarters” also since I had a couple games that broke the 25 plays mark and a couple more that were close. This seems to be a good metric for my level of gaming; distinguishing between those games that get attention and those that don’t. In my previous post called A Nickel’s Worth of Game Play I discuss what is indicate about a game when I get 5 or more plays.

Though, as mentioned in the 2014 Review, the nickels, dimes, and quarters view has some flaws as a means of determining entertainment value and what games are favorites since it only considers times played and ignores value factors like: rating, number of players, hours played, span of time of plays, etc. There are several value and happiness metrics proposed on BoardGameGeek: The Friendless Happiness Metric (FHM), Huber Happiness Metric (HHM – by Joe Huber), Randy Cox not-Unhappiness Metric (R!UHM – by Randy Cox), Utilization (as proposed by Friendless) as a few. I think it is cool that my BGG4Android App calculates these, but I haven’t adopted any of them as a standard for myself. (Sidebar: If you don’t have the BGG4Android app, get it! This is an awesome app for avid gamers. I should write an article about it… another day.)

Here are some notable games and game classifications on the list that can be considered winners:

  • Meaty Games: Moving from a loser category to a winner, this is one of the biggest changes from 2014. As in 2014, some of the meatier Co-Ops remained on the winners list: Pathfinder Adventure Card Game: Rise of the Runelords (12 plays in 12 months, down from 13 plays in 8 months) held fairly steady despite losing one of the regular players to a move. Thankfully, though, I managed to get some of the competitive games mentioned last year played as well: Viticulture, rejuvenated by the Tuscany expansion (7 plays, 5 with Tuscany) and Euphoria (6 plays). Some new games also joined the list: Alchemists (7 plays), Castles of Mad King Ludwig (6 plays), and Caverna (only 3 plays, but this is the heavy-weight in my collection).
  • Codenames (49 plays): Like for many folks in the hobby, this game jumped onto my table late in the year and already has taken over my play count. I expect it to keep entertaining us for at least this many more plays and to jump up again when (not if) an expansion is released.
  • Middle-Weight Games: It wasn’t all parties and fillers in 2015. The middle-weight games got plenty of attention. Pandemic (and expansions) (21 plays) in particular got attention in anticipation of Pandemic Legacy (which is dominating the gaming table right now).  Mysterium (11 plays) has managed to make it to the table in the short time it has been haunting my game shelf. Mice and Mystics (8 plays) held strong for a while. The “Tiny” franchise did well, though not “epic” with 20 plays shared among the current three releases.
  • Card Games: This is no surprise since my gaming history has primarily been with card games. Timeline (26), Hanabi (23), No Thanks! (14), Red7 (11), Sushi Go! (11) and Fidelitas (10) all managed to hit dime status and Dead Drop (7), Diamonds (7), and Dominion/Adventures (6) all reached nickels. It doesn’t hurt that these are also mostly filler length games.
  • Cooperative Games:  Co-ops held up well in 2015, though fewer titles represented a similar number of plays. On the heavy side, Eldritch Horror scared up 3 more plays.
  • Light, Competitive Games: It is still no surprise given my gaming groups that the Ticket to Ride franchise has seen a lot of playing time. For two players especially, we added the Switzerland map in 2015 which resulted in most of the 10 plays. Machi Koro/Harbor (13 plays) built up a number of plays. Though not an awesome game, it is dead simple to teach, fast-paced, and can be played when tired without burning up brain cells.
  • Party Games: I am not generally a fan of the typical party games, but there are some solid ones on this list that fit the bill for almost any party. Codenames (49 plays) easily lead the way with Telestrations (19 plays), Spyfall (15 plays) – finally got the published version – and Concept (13 plays) all making dimes.

Big Winners

Before moving onto the losers in 2015, it is worth pointing out a few of the “Big Winners”; games that got a lot of attention in both 2014 and 2015. Excluding electronic plays, here is the list of the nickels or better (averaged over 2 years). Despite the prominence of Codenames and Spyfall, games that arrived late in 2015 have a negative bias.

Game

Played

Hanabi

49

Codenames

49

BANG! The Dice Game

42

Mice and Mystics

38

Spyfall

37

Splendor

37

The Resistance

35

Coloretto

33

Lost Legacy: The Starship

30

Timeline

26

Pathfinder Adventure Card Game: Rise of the Runelords

25

Ticket to Ride

23

Pandemic

22

Concept

21

Cribbage

21

Friday

20

Telestrations: 12 Player Party Pack

19

Castle Panic

18

Escape: The Curse of the Temple

17

Ticket to Ride: Europe

16

Sushi Go!

15

Red7

15

No Thanks!

14

Hive

14

Takenoko

14

Dead Drop

14

Machi Koro

13

Robinson Crusoe: Adventures on the Cursed Island

12

Diamonds

11

Werewolf

11

Saboteur 2 (expansion-only editions)

11

Fidelitas

10

Mysterium

10

Bohnanza

10

Colt Express

10

Tiny Epic Defenders

10

 

Losers

A couple opening notes to clarify:

  • By “Losers” here I mean games that missed playing, not ones that I wish I hadn’t played.
  • Many, maybe even most of the games that only had 1 or 2 plays are probably not losers. They are just too new to me so haven’t had a chance yet

Much of what I play is determined by the gaming partners I play with. Given that my current game groups are mostly comprised of new gamers, this means that I play a lot of light and/or quick games and not many heavy and/or long games. So I still have some meaty games topping the losers:

  • Meaty Games: While I made progress with these games in general, Battlestar Gallactica (0 plays) and Merchants and Marauders (1 play) were neglected.
  • White Wizard Games: Star Realms (2 plays) was a huge winner for me in 2014, but did not get any attention in 2015. This is due in part to my wife getting it on her tablet, so she no longer wants to shuffle cards with me. I also funded and received Epic Card Game in 2015, read the rules, took it once to play with an old MtG friend, and opted not to. It just didn’t sound as interesting as when I funded the Kickstarter. So it isn’t even on my “to be played” list and might never come out of the box.
  • Social Deduction Games: We still played quite a few social deduction games with the friends that couldn’t get enough of these in 2014, but apparently we are getting enough now. I expect them to continue to get a fair number of plays every year, particularly if something new comes out, but not to the levels of 2014. Conversely, I don’t expect the “John’s the spy…” comments to disappear from emails among the group any year soon. These games have provided a wonderful, lasting experience for a group of friends.
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