Thursday, April 29, 2010

Five & Dime 2009: Wide Angle Lens (Nine Year Pix)

These graphs cover 2009 (top bar) through 2001 (bottom bar). The bar is the percentage of players reporting who played the game 5+ times in the given year. The games here first appeared on the Five & Dime lists in 2001.

Catch Phrase
Hick Hack im Gackelwack/Pick Picknic
Royal Turf/Winner's Circle
San Marco
Traumfabrik/Hollywood Blockbuster
Wyatt Earp

Five & Dime 2009: Wide Angle Lens (Ten Year Pix)

These graphs cover 2009 (top bar) through 2000 (bottom bar). The bar is the percentage of players reporting who played the game 5+ times in the given year. The games here first appeared on the Five & Dime lists in 2000.

Battle Cry (AH)
Carcassonne (includes expansions but not stand-alone "cousins")
Cartagena (includes Cartagena 2)
Lord of the Rings (includes expansions)
Princes of Florence
Taj Mahal
Web of Power (includes China)

Five & Dime 2009: Wide Angle Lens (Eleven Year Pix)

These graphs cover 2009 (top bar) through 1999 (bottom bar). The bar is the percentage of players reporting who played the game 5+ times in the given year. The games here first appeared on the first Five & Dime list in 1999.

Apples to Apples
Loopin' Louie
Lost Cities
Mamma Mia (includes Sole Mio)
Ricochet Robot(s)
Union Pacific
Zirkus Flohcati

Five & Dime 2009: Wide Angle Lens (Twelve Year Pix)

This is Year Twelve - and that means that these graphs are getting better & better at showing patterns of repeated play.

These graphs cover 2009 (top bar) through 1998 (bottom bar). The bar is the percentage of players reporting who played the game 5+ times in the given year. The games here first appeared on the first Five & Dime list in 1998, though many of them were released before that.

Bohnanza (includes expansions)
Can't Stop
Carabande (includes Pitchcar)
El Grande
Euphrat & Tigris
For Sale
Formula De (includes Formula De Mini & Formula D)
Liar's Dice (includes Perudo)
Metro (includes Iron Horse)
Mu & Mehr
Schnäppchen Jagd
Settlers of Catan (includes expansions but not stand-alone "cousins")
Settlers of Catan Card Game
Showmanager (includes Atlantic Star)
Take 6/6 Nimmt/Slide 5
Take It Easy
Through the Desert

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Five & Dime 2009: Nickels (5-9 Plays)

Pandemic 19.53% 19.88% 0.61% new
Agricola 17.16% 22.36% 3.35% new
Small World 15.98% new new new
Ticket to Ride 13.31% 13.04% 12.20% 13.79%
FITS 12.72% new new new
Stone Age 11.83% 12.42% new new
Roll Through the Ages 11.54% 0.62% new new
Ra 11.24% 8.07% 14.33% 20.69%
Le Havre 10.95% 5.59% new new
Dominion 10.36% 13.66% new new
Race for the Galaxy 10.36% 9.94% new new
No Thanks!/Geschenkt 10.06% 8.07% 11.89% 13.79%
Carcassonne 9.76% 8.07% 13.41% 15.52%
Settlers of Catan 9.76% 10.56% 10.98% 12.93%
Diamant/Incan Gold 8.88% 10.56% 10.67% 16.38%
Battlestar Galactica 8.88% 0.00% new new
Power Grid 8.88% 15.53% 12.20% 16.38%
For Sale 8.28% 3.73% 11.89% 13.79%
Space Alert 7.99% 3.73% new new
Coloretto 7.99% 3.11% 9.15% 12.07%
Sorry! Sliders 7.69% 7.45% new new
Galaxy Trucker 7.69% 9.94% 2.13% new
Endeavor 7.10% new new new
Lost Cities 6.80% 9.94% 13.11% 9.48%
Ingenious 6.80% 6.21% 8.54% 17.24%
Puerto Rico 6.80% 4.35% 9.45% 14.66%

Just out of the running (with 6.51%): Ghost Stories

Dropped off the table this year:

  • Tichu (now 5.92%)
  • Liar's Dice (now 5.62%)
  • Notre Dame (now 5.03%)
  • San Juan (now 5.03%)
  • 6 Nimmt/Take 6/Slide 5 (now 4.73%)
  • 10 Days/Europa Tour (now 4.44%)
  • Crokinole (now 4.44%)
  • Kingsburg (now 4.14%)
  • In the Year of the Dragon (now 3.85%)
  • Loopin' Louie (now 3.85%)
  • Zooloretto (now 3.55%)
  • Can't Stop (now 2.96%)
  • R-Eco (now 2.66%)
  • Transamerica/Europa (now 2.96%)

Pandemic & Agricola traded places (1st & 2nd)... and while Power Grid fell from 3rd to 16th, I'm just impressed with the staying power (unintentional title echo - sorry) of this game. Race & Dominion both stay in the middle of the pack due to the vast number of Dimes they both receive.

Last year, I had prematurely predicted Notre Dame to drop off and was wrong. This year, I tried again and the game dipped below the line.

I also thought that this would be the list for Agricola to "hang on" with if it didn't make any other list (ha!)... I guess 2nd place counts as "hanging on," right?

My predictions for next year:

  • Puerto Rico finally says "goodbye," 9 years after burning up the charts when it debuted.
  • Endeavor is also a goner.
  • Agricola will slide but not fall off the list; this will also be true for Pandemic, Roll Through the Ages & Ticket to Ride.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Five & Dime 2009: Dimes (10+ Played Games)

Game 2009 2008 2007 2006
Dominion 59.47% 45.96% new new
Race for the Galaxy 36.39% 49.69% 10.98% new
Pandemic 23.67% 30.43% 0.00% new
Agricola 16.27% 38.51% 3.35% new
Roll Through the Ages 12.43% new new new
Small World 10.06% new new new
Ticket To Ride 7.99% 10.56% 13.41% 14.66%
Sorry! Sliders 7.40% 4.35% new new
Le Havre 7.10% 3.73% new new
Tichu 7.10% 14.91% 10.98% 12.93%
Lost Cities 6.80% 8.07% 10.37% 9.48%
Finito! 6.80% 1.24% new new
Magic: the Gathering CCG 6.21% 3.73% ??? ???
FITS 5.92% new new new
Hive 5.92% 6.83% 6.40% 1.72%
Crokinole 5.92% 5.59% 7.93% 8.62%
Stone Age 5.62% 11.80% new new
Ingenious 5.62% 6.21% 11.59% 11.21%
Carcassonne 5.33% 5.59% 11.59% 6.03%
Space Alert 5.03% 1.24% new new
No Thanks/Geschenkt 4.44% 4.97% 10.67% 12.07%
Settlers of Catan 4.44% 6.83% 7.01% 12.07%
San Juan 4.44% 3.73% 8.84% 12.07%
Galaxy Trucker 4.14% 3.11% ??? ???
Bananagrams 4.14% 1.24% new new

Just out of the running (at 3.85%): Diamant/Incan Gold, Bohnanza, 10 Days/Europa Tour, Loopin' Louie, Mr Jack, Fairy Tale, Power Grid, Can't Stop.

Droppped off the table from last year:

  • Through the Ages (now 3.55%)
  • For Sale (now 2.66%)
  • Kingsburg (now 2.07%)
  • Hanging Gardens (now 0.89%)
  • Ticket to Ride: The Card Game (now 0.30%)

Last year I predicted that this will be No Thanks! last year on the Dime list... I'm a little iffy about that now, but I still think we're seeing the long-time perennial games slide more & more. It would not surprise me to see Settlers, San Juan or No Thanks! fall off the table next year.

My "two more years before Crokinole fades into obscurity" looks particularly silly in light of Mayday Games plan to release a high-quality affordable board - if that happens, Crokinole will climb back up the charts.

Over the years, I've started calling a certain class of games "one year dimes" - games that get a brief flare-up of intense play but don't hold up to long-time commitment. Last year, I went two for three, calling the departure of Hanging Gardens & Ticket to Ride: Card Game. However, I missed the call on Stone Age... again, I wonder if the easy online access to the game has any effect on this. (It's also a game that has grown in respect over the past year or so - well, at least it has for me.)

Next year, the "one year dimes" will be Space Alert & FITS (though I'm not completely confident about FITS.) Galaxy Trucker is probably gonna drop off as well.

Out of the top 4, I called three out of the four correctly - Dominon, Race for the Galaxy & Pandemic. Both Dominion & Race for the Galaxy will be back on this list, btw, and I'll be stunned if they both aren't the top 3. Pandemic was another correct call of mine. But I blew the call on Agricola - wow. Who knew that so many of you would find this much table time for an admittedly great but very long game?!

The other real surprises for me this year was Le Havre & Magic: the Gathering. Le Havre- really? On the dime list? And where in thee heck did Magic come from? Aren't CCGs supposed to be dead (he sez with his tongue firmly planted in his cheek)?

The big question for next year is whether the proposed "big box" expansion for Small World will keep it here on the Dime list.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Five & Dime 2009: Most Played Games

Game Score 2009 2008 2007 2006
Dominion 2185 69.82% 59.63% new new
Race for the Galaxy 1405 46.75% 59.63% 18.60% new
Pandemic 1130 43.20% 50.31% 0.61% new
Agricola 840 33.43% 60.87% 6.71% new
Roll Through the Ages 615 23.96% 0.62% new new
Small World 610 26.04% new new new
Ticket To Ride 495 21.30% 23.60% 25.61% 28.45%
Le Havre 425 18.05% 9.32% new new
FITS 415 18.64% new new new
Stone Age 390 17.46% 24.22% new new
Sorry! Sliders 380 15.09% 11.80% new new
Carcassonne 345 15.09% 13.66% 25.00% 21.55%
Lost Cities 345 13.61% 18.01% 23.48% 18.10%
Tichu 340 13.02% 24.84% 16.77% 23.28%
No Thanks/Geschenkt 320 14.50% 13.04% 22.56% 25.86%
Settlers of Catan 315 14.20% 17.39% 17.99% 25.00%
Space Alert 305 13.02% 4.97% new new
Ingenious 305 12.43% 12.42% 20.12% 28.45%
Hive 295 11.54% 9.32% 11.59% 6.03%
Diamant/Incan Gold 280 12.72% 16.77% 21.95% 27.59%
Power Grid 280 7.10% 21.74% 16.77% 24.14%
Crokinole 275 10.36% 15.53% 10.98% 13.79%
Finito! 275 9.47% new new new
Ra 270 13.61% 12.42% 22.87% 29.31%
Battlestar Galactica 270 11.83% 0.62% new new
Galaxy Trucker 270 11.83% 10.60% 13.04% 2.44%

28th place with a score of 250: Magic: The Gathering CCG - 8.58%

"score" is computed by giving a game 5 points for each person playing it 5-9 times and 10 points for each person playing 10+ times

the percentage numbers for each year are the percent of respondents who reported playing the game 5+ or 10+ times

Kinda hard to believe I've been doing this for 12 years now... on what basically started as a whim back in the good ol' rgb days. (That's "" from the long-forgotten land of Usenet, for you folks who can't remember a time BtG - Before the Geek.) This is the largest pool of entries yet (338) which is ten more folks than we had in 2007. Well done, obsessive-compulsive stat mongers... your brother in arms/spreadsheets salutes you!

Games that dropped out of the top 25 this year:

  • 10 Days/Europa Tour (now at #37)
  • Fairy Tale (now at #38)
  • Loopin' Louie (now at #38)
  • Mr. Jack (now at #38)
  • 6 Nimmt/Category 5 (now at #50)
  • Kingsburg (now at #63)
  • Notre Dame (now at #71)
  • Hanging Gardens (now at #98)
  • In the Year of the Dragon (now at #118)
  • Ticket to Ride: The Card Game (now at #232)

Square dance moment: Dominion & Race for the Galaxy flipped places. (Note: I counted the Dominion expansions, even the ones that are "stand-alone" games, as part of the Dominion total.) As did Pandemic & Agricola. Dose do, pardners...

While I was right about Dominion (though I didn't think it would do THIS well), Race for the Galaxy & Pandemic, I blew the call on Agricola (I thought support for the game would soften). Well, I certainly played it less this year, but that wasn't true of everyone.

Last year, I called "jump the shark" on Carcassonne - and yet, it seems to have settled in. (I actually played it more this year, which was nice. I think part of the appeal is the vast number of expansions allows players to "tune" the game to get the experience they want.)

I also wrote last year about the various Command & Colors games (though none of them appeared in the top 25 this year). While Memoir '44 got a decent bump from the excellent Campaign Book expansion, Fantasy Flight has had a hard time figuring out how to build support & continue releasing product for Battlelore. I think both of them will hold in position this year, with Memoir '44 likely to be the longer lasting of the two games. (I didn't really comment on C&C: Ancients, which is doing quite well for a game marketed more at wargamers rather than generic "gamers".

My yearly attempt to predict what WON'T return went had me batting .750 - I got Hanging Gardens, Ticket to Ride Card Game & Kingsburg (even with the expansion, which is supposed to be very, very good) right. But I missed on Stone Age... sigh. I do wonder, however, if being easily available for online play had some effect on that.

And with that, it's time for my predictions for 2010... I'm pretty sure Power Grid will finally drop off the top 25, as will Finito, Galaxy Trucker & Space Alert. I think Battlestar Galactica is "on the bubble" - but if there's a new heavily-themed well-made sci-fi game, it's a goner

I also listed a set of "big questions for 2009"... here they are again with the "answers" (such as they are):

  • Q: Will Dominion & Race for the Galaxy find any real challengers? My guess: probably not.
  • A: I was right. Pandemic was in the neighborhood, but Dominion looked pretty much untouchable.
  • Q: Will Power Grid continue to grow in popularity? My prediction: I think it's reached the zenith of popularlity (for a heavy 2+ hour game) but I don't think it will lose much ground.
  • A: I was wrong... Power Grid dropped from 21% to 7%. That's a major shift.
  • Q: Where will Small World end up? My prediction: it will be on this list... at least in the top ten and probably in the top five. (Ah, the advantages of waiting until the Gathering is finished to make my predictions.)
  • A: I was close! Small World made it to 6th place.

The big questions for 2010:

  • What's with this wave thing going on with Tichu, Hive & Crokinole? (Their playing percentages don't really degrade as much as undulate.) Will this continue?
  • Again, will Dominion & Race for the Galaxy be able to hold onto the top spots? I think the answer is "yes," esp. since they both have expansions on the way & their closest challenger (Pandemic) doesn't.
  • Who's got 2010 in the Dead Pool for Settlers? Will it finally drop off the Top 25? My guess: no - but we may finally be closing in on that in 2011 or 2012. (That makes me sad, btw.)

In fact, what do you think about any of this? Use the comments area (and keep it clean & friendly!)

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Post #1000: Evolution of a Gamer

Thanks to some wonky wonderful silliness from Google & YouTube, I proudly present my Search Story... the 1000th post here on the blog! (And a big tip o' the virtual hat to Monkey See & Linda Holmes for pointing out the app.)

Believing in logic

From the magical typing fingers of Jon Acuff, a really thoughtful blog post about Believing in logic.
Here is the gist of what was said:

“If Christian men knew what porn does to the women in their life there would be no more Christian men addicted.”

On the surface, that’s not a big deal, but what it really says can be pretty dangerous. Here is the core of that thought:

“If men knew how they hurt people with porn, they logically would choose not to look at porn.”

Or stripped down even further:

“Logic can beat sin.”

I wish that were true.
Use the link above & read the whole thing.

Posted using ShareThis

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Pamiętam. Katyń 1940

Pamiętam. Katyń 1940 Originally uploaded by georgiana1815

Pamiętam means "I remember" in Polish...

Do not let arguments of expediency persuade you. That is the slow road to oblivion. That is the tortured path to undoing step by step, bit by bit, as the river creates a canyon, the way of life that we love. (Charles Schumer)

67 years ago today, the mass graves at Katyń Forest were discovered. In this location (and others), the U.S.S.R. perpetrated the mass murder of not only the Polish Army Officer Corps but also the cream of Polish life - doctors, priests, thinkers & professors.

When virtue is lost, benevolence appears, when benevolence is lost right conduct appears, when right conduct is lost, expedience appears. Expediency is the mere shadow of right and truth; it is the beginning of disorder. (Lao Tzu)

The horror of the crash this weekend of the Polish plane carrying the leadership of Poland is simply multiplied by the fact that these people were going to Katyń to honor those who were murdered.

Katyn became a painful wound in Polish history, and has for many decades poisoned the relations between Poles and Russians. May this wound fully and finally heal. We are already on this path. We Poles acknowledge and value the actions of Russians of recent years. This path, which is bringing our nations together, we should continue to travel, not halting on the way or retreating back. (from a transcript of the speech President Kaczynski planned to give at the Katyń Memorial)

I choose to remember the massacre rather than to turn away... though it would be so much easier to forget. At the same time, I choose justice over vengeance.

Eye for eye, tooth for tooth; a fair, satisfying and rapid way to a sightless, toothless world. (Calvin Miller, The Singer)