Five & Dime: Decay Rates

I’ve been doing the Decay Rates analysis for 4 years now… it yields some intriguing information. I’m not sure my work here is statistically sound (in fact, I’m pretty sure it’s bogus number crunching) but it’s interesting. (That’s your cue to smile & grin knowingly.)

Anyway, what I did was to take the top 350 games (percentage of plays-wise) from the last thirteen years – the cut-off number ended up being an average of 1.95% or better over time. For comparison…

  • 2009:  2.04%
  • 2008: 2.08%
  • 2007: 2.00%

I’m inclined to believe that this number remaining pretty consistent over the past four  years means something – not sure what, though. (Speculation is, as always, welcome.)

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 263 games. (Again, for comparison, there were 250 games in 2009, 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 (2010) 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.

Two games showed no rate of decay whatsoever – they have appeared on the list for 5+ years and their highest percentage played is in 2010:

  • Arkham Horror
  • Hive

There were three games in 2009 (Arkham Horror, Descent: Journeys in the Dark & Glory To Rome), two games in 2008 (Tichu & Chicken Cha Cha Cha) and three games in 2007 (Downfall of Pompeii, Hive & Uno). This is the first year that a game has returned to this position – actually, BOTH games managed to do that!

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 % Decay 2009 2008
Arkham Horror 6 0.00% 1st no
Hive 9 0.00% 4th 11th
Connect 4 12 -0.02% 6th 4th
Uno 9 -0.03% 9th 5th
Glory To Rome 6 -0.10% 1st no
Jungle Speed/Arriba 11 -0.12% 8th no
Downfall of Pompeii 9 -0.17% 18th no
Chicken Cha Cha Cha/Zicke Zacke Huhnerkacke 12 -0.24% no 1st
Empire Builder series 11 -0.24% 5th no
Rummikub 11 -0.26% 7th 14th
Set 11 -0.26% 10th 8th
Saboteur 6 -0.28% 14th no
Gang of Four 10 -0.34% 14th 15th
Midnight Party 10 -0.34% 12th 7th
Cloud 9 11 -0.35% 12th 9th
Wizard 13 -0.36% 20th 10th
Magic: The Gathering 13 -0.38% 11th no
Descent: Journeys in the Dark 6 -0.40% 1st no
Pit 12 -0.40% no 18th
War of the Ring 7 -0.41% no no
Quarto 9 -0.41% 19th 20th
Quoridor 12 -0.42% 14th no

As you can see, the list is remarkably stable… the only completely new game (hasn’t ever appeared in the top 20 before) was War of the Ring.

In case you’re not completely overwhelmed by the statistics, 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 % Decay 2009 2008
Ticket To Ride 7 -7.83% 1st 1st
San Juan 7 -7.20% 2nd 4th
Saint Petersburg 7 -6.91% 3rd 2nd
Puerto Rico 9 -6.87% 4th 3rd
Thurn and Taxis 5 -5.53% no no
Attika 8 -5.53% 5th 5th
Euphrat & Tigris 13 5.09% 8th 9th
Bohnanza 13 5.05% 6th 7th
Lost Cities 12 4.74% 10th 11th
Carcassonne 11 4.68% 7th 6th
Shadows Over Camelot 6 4.53% 11th no
Mamma Mia!/Sole Mio 12 4.48% 12th 10th
Settlers of Catan 13 4.27% 15th 17th
Through the Desert/Durch… 13 4.15% 16th 14th
Goa 7 4.12% 14th 8th
Yspahan 5 3.97% no no
Balloon Cup 8 3.95% 13th 13th
Transamerica/europa 9 3.91% 17th 19th
Ticket to Ride – Märklin 5 3.90% no no
Ticket to Ride: Europe 6 3.70% 18th no

I’m not sure I’m really qualified to comment beyond the numbers… but this list of highest decay rates is holds almost as still as the list of the lowest decay rates. There are only two new games on the list (Thurn & Taxis and Ticket to Ride: Marklin)… and both of them just became eligible for the list (this is their fifth year on the Five & Dimes.)

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About Mark "Fluff Daddy" Jackson

follower of Jesus, husband, father, pastor, boardgamer, writer, Legomaniac, Disneyphile, voted most likely to have the same Christmas wish list at age 44 as he did at age 14
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