2016 Review: Round 2 – Victory Points

Setup

As mentioned in 2016 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,” but I only had 1 game that broke the 25 plays mark in 2016 (The Game of Trains, 48 plays) and 1 more that was close (Mechs vs. Minions, 21). 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 indicated 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 still 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 and the improvements in 2016 were fantastic).

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

  • Experience Games: This group includes “Legacy” and other games that concentrate on the experience through playing – the narrative of a campaign. Although the big standouts in this category came out in 2015, I didn’t get to play them until 2016. They are led by Pandemic Legacy: Season 1, which shot up the BGG ranking. It could have many more plays but was capped at 17 since that is how many it took to complete the campaign. Next is T.I.M.E. Stories with 10 plays. Though this is a difficult game to account for plays. I counted each run through as a play since that seemed to be the obvious breakdown, but the average time for each of these is higher than most games. The only thing getting in the way of more plays here was the inability to get together with my brother and his wife who complete our group for all T.I.M.E Stories plays. Mask of the Pharaoh is waiting anxiously for us.
  • Co-op Games: In general and by association with “Experience Games”, co-ops fared well as usual. Mechs vs. Minions crashed onto the scene with 21 plays (enough to complete the campaign) and the light card games; Codenames/Pictures (19 combined), Beyond Baker Street (9 plays), …and then we held hands (7), Deception: Murder in Hong Kong (6) made this a strong category.
  • Card Games: Although the number of plays of single games did not compare to previous years, this is still a strong category. The biggest contributors were: The Game of Trains (48), Fairy Tale (10), No Thanks! (8), Beyond Baker Street (9 plays), …and then we held hands (7), Jaipur (6), Coloretto (5), Dominion (5), and Imperial Settlers (5) all made nickels. It doesn’t hurt that these are also mostly filler length games.
  • Light, Competitive Games: The Spiel de Jahres finalists/recommended did well and bolstered this category; Karuba (18), Cacao (7), Splendor (6), Imhotep (5), and Isle of Skye (4).

Big Winners

Before moving onto the losers in 2016, it is worth pointing out a few of the “Big Winners”; games that got a lot of attention 2014-2016. Excluding electronic plays, here is the list of the dimes or better (over 3 years). I don’t think there is much of a late arrival bias this year with the exception of Mystic Vale, a favorite of my wife’s, which got a handful of plays in the few days it could in 2016 and will likely get many more plays. Although Mechs vs. Minions arrived late in 2016, its 21 plays is probably representative of what it will get until I can arrange another play group to take it on or an expansion arrives.

Game

Plays

Codenames

62

Hanabi

52

BANG! The Dice Game

48

Game of Trains

48

Splendor

43

Coloretto

38

Spyfall

37

The Resistance: Avalon

35

Timeline

33

Lost Legacy: The Starship

29

Pathfinder Adventure Card Game: Rise of the Runelords – Base Set

25

Ticket to Ride

25

Concept

24

Pandemic

24

Telestrations: 12 Player Party Pack

24

Cribbage

23

Mice and Mystics

23

Friday

22

No Thanks!

22

Mechs vs. Minions

21

Castle Panic

18

Karuba

18

Escape: The Curse of the Temple

17

Pandemic Legacy: Season 1

17

Ticket to Ride: Europe

17

Takenoko

16

Mice and Mystics: Downwood Tales

15

Red7

15

Sushi Go!

15

Dead Drop

14

Hive

14

Machi Koro

14

Mysterium

14

Martian Dice

13

Backgammon

12

Dixit

12

Jaipur

12

One Night Ultimate Werewolf

12

Robinson Crusoe: Adventures on the Cursed Island

12

Colt Express

11

Diamonds

11

Dominion

11

Saboteur 2 (expansion-only editions)

11

T.I.M.E Stories

11

Viticulture

11

Battle Line

10

Bohnanza

10

Fairy Tale

10

Fidelitas

10

Lanterns: The Harvest Festival

10

Stone Age

10

Tiny Epic Defenders

10

Tiny Epic Galaxies

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.
  • Most of the games that only had 1 play are probably not losers. They are just not available to me to play regularly.

Much of what I play is determined by the gaming partners I play with. Although, most of my fellow gamers have been playing now for a couple years, they are still casual gamers, only playing when I arrange it. 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: These are still getting neglected on my shelf; Battlestar Galactica (0 plays) and Merchants and Marauders (0 play) were neglected.
  • Party Games: We still played quite a few party games, led by the Codenames pair. I expect them to continue to get a fair number of plays every year, but on the whole the category is dropping, with Codenames and social deduction games leading the plunge.
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