2016 Review: Round 1 - Playin’ Games

Setup

As I did in January of 2014 and 2015, I will review the previous year’s gaming. Note: Also as before, I wouldn’t consider this a review of the games, but a review of my experiences with them.

I started tracking my collection and plays on BGG in January 2014, so I can report on the games that I played, the ones that didn’t get any attention, and I can compare 2016 to 2015 and 2014. As in previous years, I will validate my nerddom by applying a few “rules” in the analysis.

Previously I included my complete list of plays from BGG at the end of this annual review article, but the list has grown significantly and is best viewed on BGG. (Too long a list? That’s a good thing, right?) A few notes about my records:

  • Since I again participated in a couple playtests for game producers and I am always playtesting my own designs, there are a lot of plays that don’t get recorded. In cases that I can, I will update a game’s plays once the game has a record in the BGG database. However, this number of plays was down in 2016.
  • Although I have several board games on Android and also play on some online sites, I generally don’t record those plays with a couple exceptions: pass and play games where the players are actually seated together and asynchronous games where I am playing with people that I normally play face-to-face games, but do not have the opportunity to get together or neither of us has the analog game. (I do live in a relatively remote area as do some of my gaming buddies and my daughter, who likes to play, is 1500 miles away).
    • So, games against random online players or AI are not counted.
    • However, I do record 1 play for games that I have not played otherwise to indicate that I have played that game. So the game will show up as one I have played, but that play won’t count toward the total game plays. (Crazy, I know).
  • I have counted solitaire games of actual board games, but those are uncommon (except for 1 player games, e.g. Friday).
  • Similar to electronic plays, I have not counted expansions separately (except in one case so I knew how many I played with and without, but I have excluded these numbers from the tallies).
    • However, some “expansions” are more like whole new games, so I have recorded those separately from the base game. E.G., Ticket to Ride Europe and Ticket to Ride show up as separate entries.
    • Generally, I do record 1 play of expansions, so I know that I have played them. So the game will show up as one I have played, but that play won’t count toward the total game plays. (See note about being crazy in the rules for Android and online playing).

Summary

A quick summary of the data:

Year

2014

2015

2016

Total

Stat

Total

%

Total

%

Total

%

Total

%

Unique Games Played

79

 

119

 

168

 

366

 

Number of Plays

735

 

582

 

531

 

 

 

Number of Plays *

555

 

582

 

531

 

1668

 

Avg. Plays per Game *

7.03

 

4.89

 

3.16

 

4.56

 

Games Played > 6 Times

27

34%

27

22%

15

9%

69

19%

Total Plays of Games > 6 Times*

385

69%

362

62%

200

38%

947

57%

Games Played < 7 Times*

52

66%

95

79%

153

91%

300

82%

Total Plays of Games < 7 Times*

170

31%

223

38%

331

62%

724

43%

* Excluding Star Realms which was exclusively played on Android in 2014.

       

What does it all mean?

  • 168 different games played compared to 119 in 2015 and 79 in 2014 and 123 of those were games that I had not played before compared to 90 in 2015). I certainly have met the goal of expanding the universe of games that I have played in 2016.
  • 531 Plays compared to 582 in 2015 and 555 in 2014 is a drop that I don’t think can be explained by having played bigger/longer games. I think there has been a real decrease in the amount of time that I have been able to set aside for gaming. A massive project at work that required significant overtime throughout the year and working two major home projects can explain the drop and as much as I don’t like to admit it, it could have been worse.
  • I do record that approximate amount of time for each BGG game session, but I still have not transferred that information for calculation. I continue to live in denial about the time spent playing games. However, since I don’t watch television (I only work in television), my total time spent being entertained is still small in comparison to the national average. Also, I contest that playing games is a far “better” use of time than watching TV.
  • As shown in the previous numbers, I diversified my game plays even more in 2016 and with the contributing lower total plays my H-Index for 2016 alone was only 9. It was 5-6 plays short of hitting 11, which would have matched 2015, but significantly down from 14 in 2014. However, this puts my H-Index for all recorded plays (since Jan. 2014) to 21, 3-4 plays short on 5 different games short of hitting and H-Index of 22 as I had set as a goal for the year.
  • I think it is interesting to compare “frequently played games” to “rarely played games. As you might expect my percentages here are now starting to skew to the “rarely played games.” As with 2015, I will draw the line at 7 plays within a calendar year – 7 plays is a pretty good indicator that the game has been pulled out and put away a few times or remained setup on the dining table for a few weeks. (Note: Since game plays continue across years, this is a little wonky, but it will have to do).
    • For 2016 the trend toward a relatively small number of commonly played games and a large number of rarely played games continues:
      • Frequently Played Games: 9% of the games represent 38% of the plays.
      • Rarely Played Games: 91% of the games represent 62% of the plays.
    • …which is a very different picture than 2015:
      • Frequently Played Games: 22% of the games represent 62% of the plays.
      • Rarely Played Games: 79% of the games represent 38% of the plays.
    • …which puts the 2014-2016 average at:
      • Frequently Played Games: 19% of the games represent 57% of the plays.
      • Rarely Played Games: 82% of the games represent 43% of the plays.

Thanks to a new gaming group in late 2015 and some additional convention library plays, my exposure to games that I don’t own continues to rise and accelerate. This has been great for the exposure to more games as well as a pre-buy filter. Even so, my collection grew in 2016 faster than I could play everything – late year arrivals in particular.

In 2014 when almost all of my game plays were from my own catalog, the raw play stats clearly showed that there were some real losers. Now that I have regular access to other games and am actively trying to play many different games, the numbers are less indicative of losers; only 1 play is often an indicator that I played someone else’s game rather than I didn’t get around to playing one of my games again. However, looking at plays for only games I own, I can see which are hitting the table and which are imprisoned in a Kallax cell. If plays were victory points there are some clear winners and losers in my catalog of games. We’ll take a look at the winners and losers in Round 2. 

Subject: