Shelf Statistics, #1

Board gamers are a funny folk. They love statistics. Many track all the games they own and play, sometimes to the level of detail that they write down if Gina played with the green pieces this time. I’m not quite as obsessed, but I do love statistics, too. And infographics. So, without further ado, here are some from my collection.

Overall, there 40 board games in my shelves (not counting expansions or small card games which are not hobby games, like decks of regular playing cards, Top Trumps style cards, etc.). That’s both a low and a high number – low compared to board gaming Twitter, where many people own hundreds and sometimes thousands of games, high compared to the general population where everything beyond Monopoly, Chess, and maybe Risk or Pachisi is a surprise. Even the generally board game loving German population usually has only a handful of titles (often a bit older and beaten up) on their shelves.

The average person on the street will not be able to name even a single board game designer. On the other hand, many committed gamers follow their favorite designers closely, and whichever new thing they release is a “must-buy” for them. Once more, I fall in the middle – I know which of my games is by which designer, but I don’t have particularly large collections of games by individual designers. Most designers which appear on boxes in my collection appear there exactly once. Here are the ones that made it to two or more:

You see I’m a Richard Sivél stan – three games published, I own all of them!

Now where do those designers come from? – Most of them are either from the US or Germany (together, the two countries comprise more than 60% of the games in the collection). I should definitely diversify my collection a bit!

Games by designers of other nationalities: Brazilian, Canadian, Danish, Hungarian, Swedish.

As for publishers, there are a few more that placed several boxes in my shelves – unsurprising, as there are many more designers than publishers. Here are my top publishers by number of games in my shelves:

I’m a bit proud that the top position is shared by an Ameritrash, a war game, and a euro publisher. Talk about diverse gaming!

Let’s look at when the games in my collection were published: Most of them are from the 2010s (with a hefty chunk of 2000s games added). The median year of publishing is 2012. I used to have a lot more games from the 1990s and early 2000s from when I was a kid and pre-teen, but most of them have fallen prey to donation etc. when moving. Not a great loss – I kept those I really liked. So, here are the numbers:

Ah, the 2010s. Good games. Disposable income. Not so long ago that I would be over the games already.

Finally, let’s look at themes. I divided very broadly in fantasy (including sci-fi, horror, etc.), historical (set in a specific past time based on real history), past (set in an unspecified past time, say, the pre-contemporary wine growing of Viticulture (Jamey Stegmaier, Stonemaier Games), or based on fiction set in the past, like Around the World in 80 Days (Michael Rieneck, Kosmos)), contemporary, and abstract games:

I even own abstracts.

Historical games make up the biggest individual chunk, but not even half of the collection (40%). You can probably guess that I like theme – the only two games I rated as abstracts because the “theme” is so universal that I couldn’t count it as such are chess and Wizard (Ken Fisher, Amigo).

Lastly, a closer look at the historical games by era:

Sure, the Cold War rules supreme, but I’m also into antiquity and (increasingly more) into the early modern period. Surprisingly, I don’t have a lot of 19th century games!

Did I tell you I’m into the Cold War? I even wrote my M.A. thesis about the Cold War in board games. Most of the Cold War games were acquired back then. But how and when I acquire(d) the games in the collection is a story for the next Shelf Statistics post.

What does your collection look like – by the numbers or by gut-feeling? Like mine or very different? Let me know in the comments!


5 thoughts on “Shelf Statistics, #1

  1. Pete S/ SP

    Great article- I’ve a spreadsheet of the games I own that I can send you if you are interested but it is not really in a fancy format.

    Your MA sounds fasdcinating. I’ll read your blog post more closely later (sadly I don’t read German) as I’m doing a PhD in game studies.



    Liked by 1 person


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