Playing too many different games

box coverAs a member of a games club, I get to play many different games. Far too many, as I realised when David, the club’s organiser, suggested to use the h-index to measure how many games we tend to play regularly.

The h-index was proposed by a physicist in 2005 as a measure of research impact. A person has index h if they have written h papers, each cited by h or more other papers. Applied to game playing, this means you have to play each of h different games at least h times. As David puts it, “an h-index measures whether you tend to replay games many times or prefer to move on to the new ones. [It] identifies those games that have staying-power for you.”

I’ve joined BoardGameGeek in January 2007 and use it to record my game plays. BGG can display a list of played games ranked by frequency. As I write this, I have played 225 different games, 120 of which only once. The most frequently played games are:

For Sale 21
PitchCar Mini 18
Ave Caesar 16
Cartagena 16
No Thanks! 13
Trans Europa 13
Brass 11
Puerto Rico 10
Category 5 8
Pandemic 8
Ticket to Ride: Europe 8
Modern Art 7

This makes an h-index of 8. I need one more game of Category 5 (aka 6 nimmt!) or Pandemic or TtR:E, or two games of Modern Art, to get an h-index of 9. Actually, I already have an index of 9 because I haven’t recorded on BGG the 10+ games of Othello played on my phone, but the fact remains that a single digit h-index out of 200+ different games played is a very low value. David has an h-index of 19 out of 181 different games played within the last 7 years. Dan, another club member, has an h-index of 16 out of 212 different games (all played since 2010!).

There are of course reasons for my low h-index: I hardly play games outside the club and I most often don’t arrange in advance for specific games, which means I play mostly what’s available on the day. I knew already that I tend to play new games, which I often find merely OK, instead of replaying good games I enjoy (e.g. NavegadorVintageSantiagoThebesEl Capitán), but capturing this in a quantitative way (9 out of 225) was still an eye-opener. In addition to my New Year’s resolutions of the previous post, I need to change my gaming behaviour, not to increase the h-index for its own sake, but to play more frequently my favourite games.

Last played

In my collection

On my wishlist