Thursday, May 06, 2010

Five & Dime 2009: Decay Rates

This is my third time to do the Decay Rates analysis... it yields some intriguing information. I'm not sure my work here is statistically sound but it's interesting. (That's your cue to smile & grin knowingly.)

Anyway, what I did was to take the top 350 (352 due to a tie for the last spot) games (percentage of plays-wise) from the last eleven years - the cut-off number ended up being an average of 2.04% or better over time. For comparison, last year (2008) the average was 2.08% and two years ago (2007) the average was 2.00%. I think that this number has remained consistent over the past three years means something - not sure what, though.

For this particular exercise in determining decay rates of games, I then set aside games with 4 or less years on the list... leaving me with 250 games. (Again, for comparison, there were 239 games in 2008 and 230 games in 2007.) To do the decay calculation, I:
  1. Took the largest percentage played number from each game.
  2. Compared it to the current (2009) percentage played number for each game.
  3. Divided that amount by the number of years since it had first appeared on the Five & Dime Lists.

Three games showed no rate of decay whatsoever - they have appeared on the list for 5+ years and their highest percentage played is in 2009:

  • Arkham Horror
  • Descent: Journeys in the Dark
  • Glory to Rome

There were two games in 2008 (Tichu & Chicken Cha Cha Cha) and three games in 2007 (Downfall of Pompeii, Hive & Uno). Here's the chart with the rest of the top 20 games... that is, the games that showed the least decay over 5+ years time. (There's actually 21 games on this chart, as the final 2 games were very close in percentage.)

Game years on list percentage decay 2008? 2007?
Arkham Horror 5 0.00% no no
Descent: Journeys in the Dark 5 0.00% no no
Glory To Rome 5 0.00% no no
Hive 8 -0.01% 11th 1st
Empire Builder series 10 -0.09% no no
Connect 4 11 -0.13% 4th 4th
Rummikub 10 -0.14% 14th 13th
Jungle Speed/Arriba 10 -0.17% no no
Uno 8 -0.24% 5th 1st
Set 10 -0.29% 8th 12th
Magic: The Gathering 12 -0.33% 27th 20th
Midnight Party 9 -0.34% 7th 9th
Cloud 9 10 -0.34% 9th 4th
Saboteur 5 -0.38% no no
Gang of Four 9 -0.38% 15th 7th
Nexus Ops 5 -0.38% no no
Quoridor 11 -0.38% 40th 18th
Downfall of Pompeii 8 -0.39% 26th 1st
Quarto 8 -0.47% 20th 37th
Wizard 12 -0.48% 10th 7th
Time's Up/Celebrities 12 -0.50% 3rd 20th

And here's a chart with the 20 games who've shown the highest rates of decay. (Note - to show a high rate of decay, you have to start from a high position.)

Game years on list percentage decay 2008? 2007?
Ticket to Ride 6 -8.72% 1st no
San Juan 6 -8.27% 4th no
St Petersburg 6 -8.26% 2nd no
Puerto Rico 8 -8.16% 3rd 1st
Attika 7 -6.29% 5th 2nd
Bohnanza 12 -5.54% 7th 5th
Carcassonne 10 -5.46% 6th 6th
Euphrat & Tigris 12 -5.38% 9th 3rd
Lost Cities 11 -5.35% 11th 9th
Shadows Over Camelot 5 -5.14% no no
Mamma Mia!/Sole Mio 11 -4.83% 10th 7th
Balloon Cup 7 -4.68% 13th 4th
Goa 6 -4.65% 8th no
Settlers of Catan 12 -4.55% 17th 11th
Through the Desert 12 -4.54% 14th 14th
Transamerica/europa 8 -4.53% 19th 13th
Ticket to Ride: Europe 5 -4.43% no no
Caylus 5 -4.18% no no
Battle Cry (AH) 10 -4.05% 17th 10th
Wyatt Earpt 9 -4.04% 18th 12th

I'm not sure I'm really qualified to comment beyond the statistics... you need to know that the average decay rate of these games was 16.65% over their lifespan (1.85% per year) and that the average lifespan was just over 9.1 years. Make of that what you will. (BTW, last year, the average decay rater was 16.51% over their lifespan/1.98% per year. Intriguing to me that the numbers remain so solid.)

Another interesting factoid - this list of highest decay rates is remarkably stable. There are only three new games on the list (Shadows Over Camelot, Ticket to Ride: Europe & Caylus)... which means only 3 games left the list (Coloretto, King's Breakfast & Hey! That's My Fish). All three of the new games just became eligible for the list (this is their fifth year on the Five & Dimes.)

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