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Alternative Top 100 Based on Popularity Over Time

Martin G from BGG (username: qwertymartin) make a top 100 list based on the most popular games for a long time.

Here’s the criteria:

Here are the two simple criteria I came up with to generate a list of games that have been popular over an extended period.

  1. Published at least 5 years ago – anything 2015+ has not yet had time to demonstrate longevity.

  2. Appears in the top 100 games ranked by number of unique players in at least 5 different years

Alternative Top 100 Based on Popularity Over Time

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This particular approach really generated a good list. I won’t say I’m a fan of everything on the list, but I can’t argue that they don’t belong (for one reason or another).

EDIT: Additionally, I had the same thought as Martin himself:

I honestly think this list of games is a better representation of modern gaming than the top 100 by ranking, and would make a great starting point for a Hall of Fame.

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The criteria used really did come up with a great list. I was simultaneously pleased with just how many of those games I’ve played, and shamed by some of the stalwarts I still haven’t. There was only one game in the list I had never heard of (Ingenious). Really does feel like an excellent short list for a modern hall of fame.

I can’t think of any obvious missing entries, anyone else?

Codenames. But I’m sure it will appear next year. That one has a proper potential to be a mass-market game. I think it is to some extent.

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I’d say Codenames has crossed over. I see it (and several of its iterations) in bookstores and department stores in Canada at least. Would be a shock to me if it wasn’t high on the list next year.

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Mostly for my own benefit, I have gone through the list and categorized the games into which ones I own, which ones I’ve played and a few other aspects.

The List
GAME PLAYED OWNED RATING ON WISHLIST COMMENT
Catan Yes Yes Indifferent N/A
For Sale No Yes N/A N/A Shelf of Shame
Lost Cities No No N/A Yes Wishlist Reason: Reiner Knizia
Carcassonne Yes Yes Enjoy N/A
Puerto Rico No No N/A No Wishlist Exclusion: Friend has a copy
No Thanks! No No N/A No Wishlist Exclusion: Plan to proxy with a rainbow deck
Power Grid Yes Yes Enjoy N/A
Ticket to Ride Yes Yes Indifferent N/A Own: 10th Anniversary Edition which is very nice. Rating: The game is too basic compared to others in the series
Ticket to Ride: Europe Yes Yes Enjoy N/A
Bohnanza No No N/A Yes Wishlist Reason: Uwe Rosenberg, highly recommended by a number of people
Citadels No No N/A No
Race for the Galaxy No No N/A No Wishlist Exclusion: Friend has a copy
Alhambra Yes Yes Enjoy N/A Own: Big Box
Agricola Yes Yes Enjoy N/A
Dominion Yes Yes Enjoy N/A
Pandemic Yes Yes Indifferent N/A Rating: puzzle is lackluster after a while. Recently picked up Fall of Rome and I’m hoping that replaces this
Stone Age Yes Yes Indifferent N/A Rating: less interesting than other games in my collection. It was an early purchase so it stays around for sentimental reasons
6 nimmt! No No N/A No I guess this or something like it should be on my wishlist. When I get a rainbow deck, I’ll probably proxy this one
Tsuro Yes No Indifferent No Rating: Played a friend’s copy; just not enough interesting decisions. I’m interested in checking out other titles in this series to see if they are more interesting
Twilight Struggle No No N/A No Wishlist Exclusion: Modern conflict simulations rub me the wrong way
Small World Sort Of Sort Of Enjoy Yes Own: Smallworld Underground
Coloretto No No N/A No
Betrayal at House on the Hill Yes Yes Dislike N/A Too many misfires. Good conceit, bad execution
Shadows over Camelot No No N/A No
Dixit Sort Of Sort Of Enjoy Yes Own: Dixit Journey
7 Wonders Yes Yes Dislike N/A Boring and too hard to explain. I’d rather play Sushi Go
RoboRally Yes Yes Enjoy N/A
Ra Yes Yes Enjoy N/A
Hive No Yes N/A N/A Shelf of Shame
Hey, That’s My Fish! No No N/A No
San Juan Yes Yes Enjoy N/A
Arkham Horror No No N/A No
Caylus No No N/A Yes Wishlist: Caylus 1303
Diamant No No N/A Yes
Forbidden Island Yes No Indifferent N/A Own Forbidden Desert. Too Pandemic-like
King of Tokyo Yes Yes Indifferent N/A
Castles of Burgundy Yes Yes Enjoy N/A
El Grande No No N/A Yes
Tigris & Euphrates No No N/A Yes
BANG! No No N/A No
Ingenious No No N/A No
Memoir ‘44 No Yes N/A N/A Shelf of Shame
Saboteur No No N/A No
Saint Petersburg No No N/A Yes
Galaxy Trucker No No N/A Yes
Battlestar Galactica: The Board Game No No N/A No
Cosmic Encounter No No N/A Yes
Takenoko Yes Yes Indifferent N/A
Lords of Waterdeep Yes Yes Indifferent N/A
Perudo No No N/A No
Acquire No No N/A Yes
Can’t Stop No No N/A No
Tichu No No N/A No
Battle Line No Yes N/A N/A Shelf of Shame
Blokus Yes No Indifferent No
Thurn and Taxis No No N/A Yes
Kingsburg No No N/A Yes
Jaipur Yes Yes Enjoy N/A
Hanabi Yes Yes Indifferent N/A Used to really enjoy. It’s so reliant on unspoken rules that it’s either a solved puzzle or a frustrating teaching experience
Love Letter Yes Yes Dislike N/A Had a really bad misfire early in my entry to hobby gaming with this one. Too light and short
Tzolk’in: The Mayan Calendar No No N/A Yes Near the top of my wishlist
Guillotine Yes Yes Indifferent No Prefer: Belle of the Ball
Samurai No No N/A Yes Wishlist Reason: Reiner Knizia
Through the Desert No No N/A Yes Wishlist Reason: Reiner Knizia
Tikal No No N/A No
Princes of Florence No No N/A No
Through the Ages: A Story of Civilization No No N/A No
Zooloretto No No N/A No
Le Havre No Yes N/A N/A Shelf of Shame
Resistance No Sort Of N/A N/A Shelf of Shame: Resistance Avalon
Elder Sign No No N/A Yes
Kingdom Builder No No N/A No Wishlist Exclusion: Friend has a copy
Coup Yes Yes Enjoy N/A
Robinson Crusoe: Adventures on the Cursed Island No No N/A No
Terra Mystica No No N/A Sort Of Wishlist: Gaia Project
Concordia Yes Yes Enjoy N/A
Sushi Go! Yes Yes Enjoy N/A
Camel Up Yes Yes Enjoy N/A
Five Tribes No No N/A No Wishlist Exclusion: This would give me so much analysis paralysis
Istanbul Yes Yes Enjoy N/A
Splendor Yes Yes Enjoy N/A I made a personalized retheme of this using pictures of my family (mostly my daughters) to remember 2019 as a Christmas gift for my partner
Star Realms Sort Of Yes Enjoy N/A Own: Hero Realms, played a friend’s copy of Star Realms
Survive: Escape from Atlantis No No N/A Yes
Modern Art No No N/A Yes Wishlist Reason: Reiner Knizia
Apples of Apples Yes Yes Dislike N/A Used to really enjoy, before getting into modern boardgaming
TransAmerica Sort Of No N/A No Own: TransEuropa, Shelf of Shame
Goa No No N/A No
Jambo No No N/A No
Descent: Journeys in the Dark No No N/A No
Pickomino No No N/A No
Last Night on Earth: The Zombie Game No No N/A No
Notre Dame Yes Yes Enjoy N/A
Roll Through the Ages: The Bronze Age No No N/A No
Dominion: Intrigue Yes Yes Enjoy N/A
Flash Point: Fire Rescue Yes Yes Enjoy N/A
Colt Express Yes Yes Enjoy N/A
Dead of Winter: A Crossroads Game No No N/A No
Orleans Yes Yes Enjoy N/A Originally found it very “solveable.” I’ve read a bit more about it and picked up expansions which I’m sure will fix that; haven’t gotten any of the expansion content played yet
Patchwork No No N/A No
Roll for the Galaxy Yes No Indifferent No Wishlist Exclusion: It was fine. I’d play again. I don’t need it (because I’ve never managed to find a used copy at a reasonable price)

Summary:

TOTAL COUNT
PLAYED 39
OWNED 41
RATING: ENJOY 25
RATING: INDIFFERENT 13
RATING: DISLIKE 4
WISHLIST 20
OWNED & NOT PLAYED 5
PLAYED & NOT OWNED 4
NOT OWNED & NOT WISHLIST 36
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Woah woah woah how did you get a table in there?

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Markdown Table syntax, of course. And, more importantly, I started in LibreOffice Calc, copy-paste, and it automatically converted it to Markdown table syntax.

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Oh, yeah. That’s a really good list. I didn’t calculate how many I’ve played, but definitely have played (and own/owned) more on that list than the actual Top 100.

@pillbox rather than Tsuro; get Reiner Knizia’s Indigo on the 2nd hand market. Also, have a look at Coloretto. Cheap filler from Michael Schacht

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I’ve only played 23 of these, but heard of all of them.

Of course, this list is only the most frequently played games, not the most enjoyed, so its more the 100 “goodest” rather than the “greatest”.

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That’s an interesting way to put it and I can’t agree more.

What a surprisingly effective method for producing a great list of bona fide “classics”.

Side note: I just noticed that 7 Wonders currently has an average rating of 7.77 and a BGG ranking of 7 squared so I thought I’d capture that moment for posterity.

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I rate this post 7 out of 7.

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Thought I’d compare between the two lists:

BGG Top 100 Alt top 100
Played 20 47
Own 6 12
Liked 16 38
Indifferent 1 6
Hate 3 3
Want to play 49 28
Not interested 31 24

Generally I included stuff I hadn’t heard of in “Not interested” and “Want to play” covers a wide range from “I really want to try this” to “I’m not that interested, but I wouldn’t say no”.

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I have played 30 of these in physical format, and 5 in digital format. Then, of course, there’s a few more that I own, but have not yet played (Battle Line, Five Tribes, Saboteur and Citadels). Interesting list.

I wouldn’t say that these were the greatest games of all time either but my goodness it’s a really really solid list. If for some reason all copies of all board games apart from those 100 vanished overnight I would still be perfectly happy with just those ones. And that’s in spite of many of what I’d consider to be my “favourites of all-time” not being present, and a few games which don’t go with my tastes being included.

If this were a topic about music, then the titles on this list would be “jazz standards”. Jazz standards are pieces or songs that are widely recorded by many artists and tend to feature in a lot of musicians’ repertoires so that if you were to walk into a jam session and say “hey folks, how about we do Ain’t Misbehavin’ in F?” there’ll be enough who know it to be able to play it that you’ll get the music started almost straight away and those that don’t know it will be familiar enough with it that they’ll be able to pick it up fairly early on.

Similarly if you sat down at a table with a bunch of board gamers who you’d never met before and suggested playing one of the titles on this list, chances are there’d be enough familiarity with it that you’d be able to get a game going without too much effort.

There’s no fixed list of jazz standards, and similarly no fixed list of “standard” board games, but this seems to me like a pretty good approximation.

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Cool! Never heard of the phrase before but it’s great way to think about these

Hey, really glad you all enjoyed it!

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