Dale Yu: If you’ve been following along the past two weeks, we’ve run a number of columns on this blog where writers have listed and described their favorite games of the year. Kris Hall deserves the credit for the idea behind the entire project, and the rest of the Opinionated Gamers have contributed their ideas to it as well. I think that reading the “Best Of” lists of my fellow Opinionated Gamers has been very interesting, and it has helped me understand why they like the games that they like. The lists have also brought a few games to my attention that I had somehow missed in the previous year…
Like most things on the Opinionated Gamers, I tried very hard not to set any specific guidelines on the lists (no set criteria about how to choose games nor even a true guideline on how many games to spotlight) – so this isn’t the most scientific or standardized process – but it’s still interesting to look at what games the writers chose to highlight.
We’ve had 15 lists published to the blog, and there were another 12 OG members who contributed lists privately without writing up a more detailed piece on them – for a total of 27 “best of” lists. The most often named game, by a landslide, was 7 Wonders by Repos.
7 Wonders was named on 21 of the 27 lists, more than double the number of times of the second most mentioned game, Fresco by Queen. Below is a summary of all of the games that were mentioned in this year’s survey.
|Title(s)||# of mentions|
Sun Sea & Sand
Defenders of the Realm
Hanabi & Ikebana
Mord im Arosa
Rivals for Catan
Wits & Wagers Family
Heroscape: Battle for the Underdark
Keltis: Das Orakel
Labyrinth: The War on Terror
Memoir ’44: Breakthroughs
Merchants & Marauders
Ascension: Chronicle of the Godslayer
Battle Cry: 150th Civil War Anniv.
Campaign Manager 2008
De Vulgari Eloquentia
Don Q. und die Vermussung von La Mancha
First Train to Nuremberg
Hansa Teutonica: East Exp.
Jager und Sammler
Letters from Whitechapel
Mr. Jack Pocket
Rise of Empires
Sid Meier’s Civilization
Sneaks and Snitches
Space Hulk: Death Angel – the Card Game
Tannhauser Revised Rulebook
The Major Four of Heizei
War of the Ring Collector’s Edition
World Without End
One interesting way of looking at the results is to see who selected games very popular with others – and who made unique choices. The easiest method of scoring this is to average the number of Opinionated Games who selected each item on someone’s list. If a list consisted of solely unique games, the average would be 1.0. If someone selected the 10 most popular games, the average would be 8.5. No one quite managed either extreme.
However, because 7 Wonders was _so_ popular, anyone who selected that game naturally had a much higher average. So the scores were adjusted by removing the single most and least popular games each person selected.
So who are the populists, and who has the most oddball pick?
The person with the most consensus picks was – by a large margin – James Miller. He did have one unusual choice in Flash Point, but otherwise stuck to more popular selections. Ignoring 7 Wonders and Flash Point, the games James selected were chosen by 6.7 people each, on average. The second most populist picks were turned in by Ted Cheatham, with an average of 5.9. The third – somewhat surprisingly, for such an iconoclast – were Larry Levy’s selections, chosen by an average of 5.7 Opinionated Gamers.
On the other end of the spectrum, there are four folks who – once the most and least popular selections were pulled – had their choices match with fewer than three people on average. Jonathan Franklin’s was one of the few who didn’t have 7 Wonders, and thus had a less popular pick pulled, but even so still finished fourth lowest at 2.9. Kris Hall’s raw average was over 5, but pulling out 7 Wonders lowered his average to 2.8. Joe Huber is the only one with a raw average under three, but without any really popular games to drop dropped the least, to an average of 2.6. The oddest picks – other than 7 Wonders – belonged to Ted Alspach, who saw the games he chose on an average of only 2.4 lists.
Dale Yu: The full spreadsheet of the “Best of” Lists can be found here…
OG 2010 Favorites Full Spreadsheet
You can take a peek at everyone’s list and figure out whose taste in games match your own…
Mark Jackson: The following chart compares the number of mentions on the Opinionated Gamers “Best of 2010” lists with the total percentage of game played 5+ times from the Five & Dime 2010 Report.
- I only chose to list the games that had received 3+ mentions on the OG lists.
- The percentages for Dominion: Prosperity and Wits & Wagers Family both include plays of all the games in the franchise.
|Game||Five/Dime %||# of Lists|
|Wits & Wagers Family||8.00%||3|
|Defenders of the Realm||3.06%||3|
|Hanabi & Ikebana||0.94%||3|
|Mord im Arosa||0.47%||3|
|Sun Sea & Sand||0.24%||5|
|Rivals for Catan||0.24%||3|
As much as I would be proud to wear the label “iconoclast”, I’m not sure it usually applies to my gaming tastes. Usually, I’m in pretty strong agreement with the Euros listed in the Geek 100. The only reason I might deserve the title this year is the fact that I consider 2010 to be such a poor gaming year, contrary to most others. But even then, if you look at my list, you’ll see I like the same games everyone else does, just not as much as they do.
It was interesting to see some lesser promoted games from last year do so well in our lists. Both Famiglia and Luna wound up in the big group tied for fourth. I think that speaks well for their quality. Merkator is in that group too, which is higher than its mixed reviews would lead you to believe. It was also nice to see Cwali’s Sun Sea & Sand finish tied for tenth.
It’s not that I’m paranoid but for some unknown reason Key Market – which was apparently mentioned on 4 lists according to the spreadsheet – is not deemed worthy of listing in the summary above! I know it didn’t exactly get a wide release but it wasn’t that invisible, was it?
(I presume it was a simple oversight on the summary column on the spreadsheet?)
I’m rather surprised to see that I’m the _only_ one to pick Antics, Sid Meier’s Civ, and First Train to Nuremberg. All excellent 2010 games I thought and not exactly obscure. Ah well, I guess people were too busy fawning over fluff like 7 Wonders, Fresco, Asara, and Forbidden Island. For anyone who didn’t list it because they hadn’t tried it yet, I really do think Antics is one you need to find a chance to play as it’s the best Fragor game yet by a good margin in my mind and well worth checking out.
“I really do think Antics is one you need to find a chance to play as it’s the best Fragor game yet by a good margin in my mind.”
Correction, that would be Snowtails. :-) Building the anthill was interesting but a common criticism I’ve read (& occured in the game I played) concerns the infrequency of stealing as players build up their actions enough so no one can take items when they get delivered.
I’ve definitely stolen a handful of prey and leaves, but I agree that it’s not a common occurrence. However, I think the mere threat of stealing is a big driver in the game, such that it really shapes your actions, so that you have to behave with the knowledge that you could be stolen from if you don’t actively work to avoid it happening. I’ve only played 5 times, but I enjoy it more and more. I like how quick it is and how it really forces you to make numerous tough decisions in rapid succession and then see how it plays out. Anyway, I can see how Snow Tails would be some people’s favorite, but personally not being a fan of race games generally, that wasn’t a close contest for me.