I’m something of an archivist and always have been. I enjoy documenting and tracking both collections and the things I do. For several years I’ve kept a logbook of every book I’ve read throughout the year. Around April 2011, I began tracking my board game plays on Board Game Geek. Since that time, here are my “nickels and dimes,” games I’ve played 5+ and 10+ times:
|Game||Number of Plays|
|Wits & Wagers||11|
|At the Gates of Loyang||10|
|Thurn & Taxis||7|
|Race for the Galaxy||6|
Some general trends here: all of my dimes, with the exception of Ra and At the Gates of Loyang, are shorter games that take less than an hour. All of the games on this list—with one exception—are games I own, meaning I usually end up playing the games that I bring to the table. (I suppose this is probably similar for any hobbyist.) My Loyang numbers are a bit skewed, as many of these games were played solo. That I got in ten games of Ra since October (when I got the game for my birthday) is…well, a little crazy. What can I say? I love auction games!
There are some notable numbers that are skewed on this list. Believe it or not, even though I played 33 games of Dominion this year (41 if you count the plays of just Dominion: Prosperity), that number is far lower than the actual number, I would imagine. While I started recording my plays in April, I have owned Dominion since last October. Oh, and usually I play Dominion with all the expansions mixed in. When I play this way, I record the game in the BGG database as “Dominion.” When I play with cards from one expansion only, I record it as that expansion. It’s strange to have had eight plays of just Prosperity, but my wife enjoys playing with only that expansion sometimes; that’s what I attribute that number to.
The Incan Gold number is also far too low, I think. I got this game last January, and the bulk of its plays were in the first few months, when most of my friends wanted to play nothing but that. My wife and I tired of that game and put it away for several months after that. It’s slowly been making its way into more normal (albeit moderate) rotation since then. It helps that our niece and nephew love it.
The Agricola number is also far too low. I acquired this game last January after a B&N super couponing effort (paying a mere $5.80 out of pocket for the $70 game). During what Midwesterners called “Snowmageddon” or “the Snowpocalypse,” when my wife and I were confined to our quarters for a full day, I remember playing at least nine games of this while we waited for the roads to clear. It takes so long to set up; it seemed a shame to put it away after only a game or two.
Stone Age, Midgard, and Ra are probably the games acquired most recently to make it on this list; Midgard and Ra came in October, and Stone Age in November.
Conspicuously absent from this list is Ticket to Ride, of which I have played a lot this year. I must have played upwards of twenty games of this, but all of them were played before I started recording plays. The reason I played this so much? @Futurewolfie and I entered the map design contest, and we played a lot, both our map and the Europe map, to try to hone our game. After the contest, I guess we were so tired of the game that we set it aside. I lent my copy to one of my wife’s coworkers—it might be time to get it back. I’m feeling the itch to play again…
The Cosmic Encounter number is also low. I played (read: endured) many games of this pre-April. I’ve been more systematic in spreading out my plays since, and I’m not shy about suggesting alternatives. As a result, I’ve been able to keep my sanity and even enjoy my occasional plays (especially with the expansions mixed in: Cosmic Encounter is a game that gets much better with the expansions, in my opinion).
For 2012, I’m trying to keep better records for the whole year, so I’m excited to see which games float to the top of the pack. I predict that Dominion, 7 Wonders, For Sale, and Money will remain on the dimes list as they are good contenders to play with just about anyone, gamer or not. I’m hoping to push El Grande into the dimes this year, but with its longer playtime, I’ll try to be content with whatever I can get. I’m not sure about Wits & Wagers, as the group that enjoyed that game the most is mostly disbanded. I would imagine Ra will at least make the nickel list for 2012, though with @Futurewolfie’s aversion to it, I wouldn’t be surprised if it gets less play in the new year. I’m also not optimistic for Eminent Domain’s and Race for the Galaxy’s chances to make it on either list for next year. Race was traded away, and Eminent Domain might share its fate. While I like both games (though Eminent Domain has lost some of its luster through repeated play), it’s just so hard to find others who are enthusiastic about playing either. And really, while what game is played does matter somewhat, what really matters is finding others to share the hobby with.
What games did you play a lot of in 2011? Which do you think will hit the table the most in 2012?