Five & Dime 2011: Decay Rates

This is the fifth year I’ve done the Decay Rates analysis… I think it 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 fourteen years – the cut-off number ended up being an average of 2.20% or better over time. For comparison…

  • 2010: 1.95%
  • 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 242 games. (Again, for comparison, there were:

  • 263 games in 2010
  • 250 games in 2009
  • 239 games in 2008
  • 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:

  • Glory to Rome
  • Hive
  • Saboteur

You might want to know the previous years’ results, of course:

  • 2010: Arkham Horror & Hive
  • 2009: Arkham Horror, Descent: Journeys in the Dark & Glory To Rome
  • 2008: Tichu & Chicken Cha Cha Cha
  • 2007: Downfall of Pompeii, Hive & Uno

Hive is is the first game to manage a three-peat… and Glory to Rome jumped back in as well. (Saboteur is a result of publishing the MUCH-needed expansion…)

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 2010 2009
Glory To Rome 7 0.00% 5th 1st
Hive 10 0.00% 1st 4th
Saboteur 7 0.00% 12th 14th
Connect 4 13 -0.10% 3rd 6th
Jungle Speed/Arriba 12 -0.14% 6th 8th
Uno 10 -0.16% 4th 9th
Arkham Horror 7 -0.16% 1st 1st
Downfall of Pompeii 10 -0.25% 7th 18th
Magic: The Gathering
14 -0.29% 17th 11th
14 -0.31% 16th 20th
Hamsterrolle 11 -0.38% no no
Set 12 -0.38% 10th 10th
Harry’s Grand Slam Baseball
9 -0.42% no no
Neuroshima Hex 5 -0.44% no no
Quoridor 13 -0.46% 20th 14th
Boggle/Big Boggle 12 -0.47% no no
Rage 11 -0.47% no no
Yinsh 9 -0.47% no no

For the first time, the list showed a LOT of flux… ten (10!) games dropped off the top twenty and a number of new games appeared.

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
Agricola 5 -9.17% no no
Pandemic 5 -8.49% no no
Ticket To Ride 8 -6.92% 1st 1st
Puerto Rico 10 -6.67% 4th 4th
San Juan 8 -6.37% 2nd 2nd
Saint Petersburg 8 -6.24% 3rd 3rd
Race for the Galaxy 5 -5.98% no no
Thurn and Taxis 6 -5.14% 5th no
Attika 9 -5.01% 6th 5th
Bohnanza 14 -4.96% 8th 6th
Lost Cities 13 -4.72% 9th 10th
Euphrat & Tigris 14 -4.68% 7th 8th
Notre Dame 5 -4.52% no no
Carcassonne 12 -4.31% 10th 7th
Settlers of Catan 14 -4.28% 13th 15th
Shadows Over Camelot 6 4.53% 11th no
Mamma Mia!/Sole Mio 13 -4.24% 12th 12th
Through the Desert/Durch… 14 -3.90% 14th 16th
Shadows Over Camelot 7 -3.81% no no
Goa 8 -3.71% 15th 14th
Transamerica/europa 10 -3.70% 18th 17th

I’m not sure I’m really qualified to comment beyond the numbers… but this list of highest decay rates holds almost as still as the list of the lowest decay rates. There is only one new game on the list that didn’t jump on because it just became eligible… and that’s Shadows Over Camelot.

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 57 as he did at age 7
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