In 2014 we held a few sessions on Saturdays for the first time, which creates a few problems with comparing like with like, so for avoidance of doubt any figures quoted in this article refer to play on Wednesday evenings unless otherwise stated. Attendances were up again this year, particularly early on, falling off a little over the year as we lost a few regulars who moved away to other parts of the country. The average attendance was 13.5 per session (up from 10) over the whole year which had fallen to 12.6 in the second half (still up from 11.1 in the previous year).
We played a total of 310 games this year (up from 253 in 2013) spread over 118 titles (compared with 77). The increase in play is expected as we had more players meaning more tables in use. 59 games were played for the first time this year (in addition to 4 games which were played in new versions, these games were recorded against the version of the game played previously) while 45 games that were played in 2014, failed to be played this year. The total player time for the year was 1697 player hours up 46% on last year.
The most played games (in terms of player time) were as follows:
1. Power Grid (23 plays, 212.08 player hours)
We started the year with some play on the new Australia and India boards which appeared at Essen 2013, but had not made it into general circulation here before the end of the year. Around April we acquired a couple of new members who were very keen to play the game and may games started to be played introducing the various different maps. About half way through the year I realised that we might be able to play all the different maps and this became a sort of project which was achieved including play of the 2 new maps of the deluxe edition introduced at the end of the year. There was also one play on a Saturday.
2. Nations (7 plays, 85.33 player hours)
This was first played in March and played a lot until its last play in August. I’m not sure why it hasn’t been played since. The game seems to be compared a lot with Through the Ages, which is probably the thing that most turns me away from trying it as I thought that that game was rather too long for the enjoyment that it gave. In addition to the 7 Wednesday games, it was also played at our April Saturday session.
3. Tzolk’in: The Mayan Calendar (9 plays, 75.83 player hours)
Play of this one is down this year with the appearance of a few shiny new worker placement games to compete with it. Nevertheless it still sees enough play to place third in the list for 2014.
4. Caverna: The Cave Farmers (7 plays, 63.25 player hours)
Another worker placement game battling it out for table time, this seeming to be a variation on Agricola, but then again most of Uwe Rosenberg’s games seem like that to me these days. I wonder if this will see a sharp fall off in 2015 as I think Jaime & Isabel were among its major proponents so there will maybe less demand now that they have moved away.
5. Viticulture (6 plays, 48.50 player hours)
This saw a lot of play in the first half of the year with a last play in July. I think that the only person with a copy is Chris who seems to be very keen on trying a lot of new things, so maybe that has something to do with the fact that it has not been played since then.
The most played game in terms of times played was also Power Grid, making it 2 years in a row where the top game by time is also the top game by plays. The next most played was San Juan for the second year in a row with 15 plays, up 2 on last year but it falls to number 11 in the rankings for player time compared with number 5 last year.
What happened to last year’s top 5?
Two of last year’s top 5 are in this year’s, these being Tzolk’in, which fell from number 1 to 3, the other one being Power Grid, which moved back up to the top spot and has been in the top 3, every year since 2004 when the game was released. Of the rest of last year’s top 5 Battlestar Galactica has fallen from 3 to 19, although some of the play of this game seems to have moved to Saturdays where there is not so much need to hurry (when Saturday play is taken into account BSG would be placed at 6). Lords of Waterdeep was at number 4 but in 2014 drops to number 17 with 3 plays in 2014. The number 5 was San Juan discussed in the previous paragraph.
How much difference does Saturday play make?
It is probably not too surprising that the addition of Saturdays to the stats does not making a lot of difference, there being a lot more Wednesday play compared with Saturdays. The top 4 games listed above are unchanged when considering additional Saturday play, although Viticulture falls to number 9 below Concordia, Battlesatar Galactica, Suburbia & Terra Mystica. A very long game comes into the top 10, this being Advanced Civilization, which is essentially unplayable in a Wednesday evening, but if played on Saturday only needs 1 game to record a lot of player hours.
Games that have stood the test of time
Industrial Waste was played again this year remaining the only game to have recorded play every year since 2003.
Below is a table of the top 10 (12) games listed by the number of years that they have been played at the club from April 2003.
A total of 42 different people have played at the club’s Wednesday sessions in 2014, up from last year’s 37. As in 2013, the player who played the most games was Mike with 93, three ahead of Mark W on 90.