There's a number of games that are good enough to get pulled out every
year. Of course, to say that "San Juan" gets pulled out every year
may be a bit premature. It came out in 2004, got played again in 2005 and I'm confident it will get play in 2006, but there were a lot of games in that category. So, I thought I'd see which ones had been pulled out every year since I started keeping decent records. I started keeping some records of what I played in 1997-1999, but didn't really produce reliable logs until 2000. So, in order to be included here, I'm going to set the bar as: "Played at least 7 of the last 9 years, or all 6 of the past 6 years".
8 years out of the past 9
- Call my Bluff. Liar's Dice has been played every year since 1998, when I first encountered it and acquired it. It is also the 4th higest scoring game by my month metric. (MonthMetric: 24)
- Euphrat & Tigris. Again, every year since its acquisition in 1998. Oddly though, because many gamers in the groups I play with are less fond of it, I have never played it more than twice in a year. Unbelievable.
- RoboRally. This has been played 8 out of 9 years since 1997. This would have made 9/9, but somehow 2004 slid past without a play. (MonthMetric: 15)
7 years out of the past 8
- En Garde. Another one that somehow got skipped in 2004, but got played every year since 1998 otherwise. All the remaining games on this list have been 7 out of the past 7 years.
- Basari. I had high hopes for the followup, Edel Stein & Reich. I played that in 2003 and haven't felt the need to again. Basari, every year though.
- Ricochet Robot. I'm stunned how with one group of people I can feel like a complete moron, and in another, I'm the one solving the puzzle at blazing speeds.
- Ra. I only wish I got to play this more, but barring unforseen circumstances, this will certainly be played every year for many years to come. (MonthMetric: 16)
- Lost Cities. This game gets fewer plays every year, but it still makes it to the table every year. It may eventually miss a year, but it may go a while longer. (MonthMetric: 16)
- Samurai. In contrast, this has varied, peaking in 2002, but remains a likely contender for staying on the every year list.
- Apples to Apples. After a bit of burnout where this almost didn't get played in 2002 or 2003, this has settled down as a premier party game as long as its not beaten to death.
- Take It Easy. This one tends to get forgotten, but undeservedly so. I'll probably have to make an effort to continue to remember to pull this one out, but it's invariably a success when it is brought out.
6 out of the past 6 years
2000 was the year my gaming really picked up and as a result, there are a lot of games I started playing then. Several were released that year, but many were old classics I only just discovered in 2000:
Can't Stop, Battle Line, Medici, 6 nimmt!, Flinke Pinke, Igel Argern, Speed, Vinci, Traumfabrik, Lord of the Rings, Carcassonne, Zapp Zerapp.
I expect most of those will make it to 7/7 (6 nimmt! already has) and enumerating them makes it even more likely.
It's interesting to me that while many of my all time favorites make these lists, some games I like a great deal, but wouldn't call favorites, do as well. Basari, Samurai, En Garde, Take It Easy and Zapp Zerapp, while all very good, aren't quite what I'd consider my favorites. Some favorites, like Settlers, ran into a bit of a burnout (for me and prospective opponents) problem and didn't get played at all in 2002 and has been played infrequently since then. Others haven't been around for 6 years and therefore can't make the list yet. It seems almost certain Puerto Rico will get played this year and next, but I expect many already on the list will as well. As a result, this sort of "year metric", analogous to my earlier "month metric" seems an interesting exercise to do once, but in the long run, it's very hard for a game to break into the top of the list. The month metric does a much better job.