Variant: Most Played Games – By the Numbers

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Replay value is an important consideration. It’s something I consider separately in my reviews. A game you play only once or twice is not worth whatever you spent for it. But if you can get in dozens of plays, it’s awesome. So I decided to look over what my most played games were. What had replay value on my table?

5. Resistance/Avalon (82)

4. Pandemic (48)

3. Coup (60)

2. Sentinels (119)

1. Werewolf/One Night/Vampire (275)

Two cooperative games and three bluffing games. Well, I guess I have a type. Of course, most-played lists will be biased toward games that have been out for a while (allowing me to accumulate more plays), and games that are more accessible (allowing them to hit the table with more than just hobby gamers).

But I think there’s a common thread here among all of the titles. In each case, the replay value isn’t necessarily a function of the game itself. It’s that the way the game is played focuses on players doing new and novel things. And that’s what keeps me coming back.

Every game of Coup is just about getting coins and killing the other players. But the bluffing aspect means that you never really get a perfect understanding of what is going on. After all, if you do develop a “perfect system,” then the other players will just use that to know when you are bluffing or telling the truth. So you have to deviate even from perfection.

But it is enlightening to see the types of games that I play most often. It tells me that I return most to titles that allow players to be unpredictable. Check out your top five. What common threads to they share?

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