Sunday, March 7, 2004

Month Metric

A year or so ago, in my old log, I described the "month metric". Here it is, described again, with the highest scoring games listed at the end.

People try to measure how good a boardgame is in many ways, such as ratings and counting number of times played. Total number of plays is probably one of the most common. As a measure of how "good" a game is, it's not bad, but it doesn't take into account length of the game or replayability over time. That is, a 15 minute game that's played 6 times is probably not "better" than a 3 hour game that's played 3 times. On the other hand, using total time playing has problems on the low end: A 15 minute game played 10 times is probably "better" than a two hour game played twice. Further, a game played every other week for a year is probably "better" than one played every day for a month and then never again.

Various other metrics have been suggested, including Joe Huber's "happiness" metric which works well, but requires a lot of bookkeeping. So, I've been trying to identify a metric of game "quality" that meets the following criteria:

  • Doesn't bias unduly for or against long or short games

  • Doesn't require ratings

  • Doesn't require overly detailed records

  • Doesn't overly credit "fad" games that get played a lot for a little while and then never again

  • Does bias towards "classics", though not overwhelmingly

  • Measures "replayability" in some form

  • Is easily understood and doesn't require deep understanding of statistics

  • Is easily calculated

  • Can be readily used on a per year basis or on a "all-time" basis

So, after careful consideration and analysis, I've come up with a metric that I like.

The metric is the "month metric", in which a game receives 1 point for every unique month in which it is played. For example, I played Medici in both February and March of this year, so for the year it scores a "2", but it also was played in 5 different months over 2000-2001, so it's total score is a "7".

For my own games, only a couple dozen games have an all-time score above 10 and there's a nice distribution below that. For the year, naturally a "12" is the highest possible score.

Top scoring games for 2003, by the month metric

  • Electronic Catchphrase (9)

  • Can't Stop (5)

  • 6 nimmt! (5)

  • Light Speed (5)

  • Puerto Rico (4)

  • Mause Rallye (4)

  • Amun Re (4)

  • Hick Hack in Gacklewack (4)

  • Blokus (4)

Top scoring games of all time, by the month metric

  • Electronic Catchphrase (26)

  • Call my Bluff (21)

  • 6 nimmt! (21)

  • Battle Line (19)

  • Can't Stop (19)

  • Crokinole (16)

  • RoboRally (14)

  • Speed (14)

  • Lost Cities (13)

  • Zirkus Flohcati (13)

  • TransAmerica (13)

  • For Sale (12)

  • Carcassone (12)

  • Ra (12)

  • Apples to Apples (12)

  • Settlers of Catan (11)

  • Hick Hack in Gacklewack (11)

  • Ricochet Robot (10)

  • Schnappchen Jagd (10)

  • Puerto Rico (10)

  • Knockabout (10)

  • SpinBall (10)

  • Traumfabrik (10)

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