A Nickel’s Worth of Game Play

Over the last few weeks I have come to the conclusion that playing a game 5 or more times has disproportionate significance in my distorted little world. First some background, though, before I can explain why.

Since I track my game plays on BoardGameGeek, it is easy and interesting for me to see which games meet those common gamer geek thresholds of nickels, dimes, and quarters (5, 10, and 25 plays). Of course, to do this, I also track my game collection. You can see what my game plays in 2014 were in my 2014 Review: Playin’ Games article.

All this tracking provides the, maybe regrettable, ability to see what games I have acquired and not played; what some call “The List” or “The Stack.” I might just be looking for excuses, but I think that “The List” for me is not horribly embarrassing – 11 games (excluding expansions – see, I am already looking for ways to make this look better), compared to my collection, 121 games (again excluding expansions) – right at 10%. Further justifying, I have had only 3 of those games in my collection since before Christmas 2014 (a notable benchmark since I received more games than I could play that day).

Honestly, though, getting to this low number (according to some) didn’t come without trying. Since Christmas 2014 (so right at 6 months), I have played about 30 games from my collection for the first time. Again justifying; about half of those were Kickstarters recently received (representing acquisition disorder of yesteryear) or first graced my shelf in the Christmas boon. Seeing all those new games and a stack of ones that still hadn’t been played set me on a quest to play the new ones. This quest took special effort beyond my control since my wife would prefer to play the old favorites most of the time.

Now that you know a little about “The List,” I need to explain a little about our playing habits – like my wife, my primary game group, wanting to play the old favorites. Our other plays, usually of the games that have a sweetness at higher player counts, usually come out in our monthly game night with old friends. They enjoy a good old traditional card game as much as the new hotness, so we usually get one, maybe two new games in a month with them.

Meanwhile my wife and I usually setup a game on the dining room table and leave it setup for a week or so, playing it whenever we have the desire and the time – 4-5 times a week. I reset the game when we are done so it is ready for the next available moment.

In these last few months I didn’t completely succumb to the call of the quest to play everything, so we have kept this practice. We both like it because one play is rarely enough to understand the game and never enough to remember how to play it months later. Given this driver combined with my geeky urge to earn those nickels and dimes, I wanted to play each new game 5 times before putting it away. Well, here’s what has happened. Typically, after 3-4 plays, we (especially the part of we that isn’t me) are usually ready for something else, usually something comfortable. So that 5th play is that much more important since it requires breaking the game out weeks or months later. The threshold to the 5th play is a wide one. The game has to be one that demands being played, not just one that we are agreeable to play.

So what are the newly cracked games that have already crossed that chasm – the shiniest of nickels? (This time including expansions and also some games that I have played before, but did not have my own copy).


Sushi Go!



One Night Ultimate Werewolf




Euphoria: Build a Better Dystopia


Obviously some of these made it due to their fillerness. What are the games that are still waiting on the other side (at 3-4 plays)?

Castle Panic: The Dark Titan

Castles of Mad King Ludwig

Dominion: Adventures

Eight-Minute Empire: Legends

Tiny Epic Defenders

Tiny Epic Kingdoms

Trains: Rising Sun

Among the Stars

Caverna: The Cave Farmers

Mr. Jack

Which games for whatever reason will need to find a new chance at multiple plays? (Some of these have only been in my collection for a few weeks, so should have no trouble reaching at least the nickel mark by the end of the year).

Betrayal at House on the Hill

Lanterns: The Harvest Festival

Mystery Rummy: Jekyll & Hyde

No Thanks!

VivaJava: The Coffee Game: The Dice Game

Lost Legacy: Flying Garden

Martian Dice


Sheriff of Nottingham

Tragedy Looper

Note: In preparing this article I have realized a deficiency in my tracking. I have not used the Date Acquired field in the BGG database – didn’t actually notice it before – and wanted to use the Date Added field for tracking when I acquired all these wonderful, creative distractions. Unfortunately, in this case anyway, I also use my BGG collection to track games I want to play or own, so the Date Added is usually meaningless for this study. Do I dare go back and true it up? I’m just nerdy enough to do it.

Do you track your game collection and plays? Do you use BGG to do that? What information or enjoyment do you get out of doing it? Is there a significant threshold in your play statistics? How much is a nickel’s worth in your world?