Like many gamers, I enjoy keeping stats of my games. I track my total games played, the games I own, and overall rating of each game played. At the end of each year I look forward to one other statistic – Board Game Staying Power.
What Is Board Game Staying Power
Staying power is a measurement that tracks how frequently a specific game gets played year after year. Staying power is weighted by game length (playing a 3 hour game once per year has more staying power than playing a 15 minute game three times). Staying power also punishes games that have a large gap in between plays (for example, if a game wasn’t played two years in a row).
In other words, the more time spent consistently playing a game over the span of several years, the more staying power the game has.
You can find out more about how to create the staying power equation here, from the original author. I have my equation set up so that a one hour game played once every year has a staying power of 1.
Why Staying Power Is Useful
Like many gamers, I might have too many games. I find staying power to be very useful to me when determining what games I should keep, and which to get rid of.
For example, I love the relaxed tile selection in Tsuro of the Seas. But it’s staying power is .1024 – twelve plays over the last 5 years, but no plays in the last two years. Unfortunately, it may be time to part ways with that game.
Below I’ve listed the top seven games that I’ve played in the last five years, according to Board Game Staying Power.
Staying Power – My Top 7
#7 Codenames (2.2716) – 19 plays in the last year, 77 total. I think this game gets played so much because it is so accessible, and so easy to teach. It also works with many different numbers of players, so it is often brought out for 6, 7, or 8 players.
#6 Betrayal At House On The Hill (2.3379) – 4 plays in the last year, 19 total. I wrote a little about why I love this game so much, and I play it every chance I get. It’s also a favorite of a lot of my friends and family, so it gets played often enough.
#5 Chess (2.4266) – 20 plays in the last year, 29 total. I think this entry needs an asterisk. First, I get my play time lengths from the Board Game Geek entry. Chess is listed at an hour, which is probably more time than I spend each play. Secondly, I play vs the computer most often (though I do log into lichess once in a while to get my butt kicked).
#4 Sherlock Holmes Consulting Detective (2.7722) – 8 plays in the last year, 11 total. My partner and I play with another couple close to once a month, and we adore this game. We’ve moved on to the Carlton House & Queen’s Park expansion, but for our last Consulting Detective game we went to a local British Pub and enjoyed the game next to a fire while eating fish and chips!
#3 Dominion (4.1191) – 4 plays in the last year, 47 total. This game blew my mind when I first played it in 2014. I have played it a lot on the computer, as well as in person. The plays have slowed a bit in the last two years, but it’s something I consistently get to play despite not actually owning the game.
#2 Magic The Gathering (4.9100) – 8 plays in the last year, 59 total. This is my favorite game, and I’ll have to write about why sometime. But the reason I play it so much is because I have a lot of friends who exclusively play this game – and if at all possible, I say “yes” when asked to play.
#1 Catan (5.0282) – 2 plays in the last year, 31 total. This game continues to sit at the top of my Staying Power list because one of my friends holds an annual Catan Tournament for his birthday. I haven’t been able to go the last two years, but Catan certainly still benefits from those tournaments a few years ago. I still love this game and don’t feel burned out on it (thought it’s not my favorite). It’s a great game to introduce to new players, and my partner and I have a great history playing this game together.