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Ameritrash Badge-holders Ratings: 2014

MT Updated
There Will Be Games

People seem to like these lists. So here I am again with your yearly dose of statistical hype-mixture. I've actually made a table this year rather than my previous paragraph-based efforts, but there are still comments beneath noteworth games. Enjoy.

A quick rundown of the rules for anyone new to the list. This is an average of the ratings given to games by people who've bough the "Ameritrash fan" microbadge on BGG. A game needs at least 30 ratings to be eligable. Games that have been in the top 25 for at least five years running are highlighted with a gold award, while those who made five years in other positions get a silver award instead.

The purpose of these awards is to partly highlight games that continue to be seen as classics over an extended period, to differentiate the brilliant from the briefly popular, but also so I can bring to your attention great games that have now fallen from the top fifty. This fate has befallen four silver-status games: Hammer of the Scots, Nexus Ops, Fury of Dracula and Lord of the Rings: the Confrontation. Play them, so that they might not be forgotten.

Here are those that survive:

RankTitleAv ScoreVs 2013
50 Spartacus 7.82 NE
49 Merchants & Marauders 7.82 -17
48 Advanced Civilization [SILVER] 7.83 -8
47 Paths of Glory [SILVER] 7.84 -13
46 Commands & Colors: Ancients [SILVER] 7.84 -10
  Interestingly, the highest rated expansions for this are Barbarians, with 8.35 and Roman Civil War at 8.34, so the upcoming re-release of them both in one box looks a must-buy for fans of the series.
45 Wings of War: Miniatures 7.85 -3
44 Commands & Colors: Napoleonics 7.86 NE
43 Monsterpocalypse 7.86 RE
  Bit of a surprise here - this is the first *ever* re-entry we've had on the list from a game that's feature before and fallen off. And it's not the last, either.
42 Queen's Gambit [SILVER] 7.86 -9
41 The Legend of Drizzt 7.86 -6
40 Up Front 7.88 -10
39 Pax Porfiriana 7.88 NE
38 Eclipse 7.88 -28
  The once all-conquering Eclipse turns out to be this year's biggest faller. As I'm sure you can guess, Twilight Imperium continues to hold a place higher up the list. The Rise of the Ancients expansion has a respectable 8.16 average.
37 Labyrinth: The War on Terror, 2001-? 7.89 -20
36 StarCraft [SILVER] 7.89 RE
  Here's our other re-entry, earning itself silver status by doing so. Brood War is a rare example of an expansion that rates lower than the base game, with 7.98.
35 Descent (2nd Edition) [SILVER] 7.89 -12
  Descent earns silver by virtue of its previous incarnations. Interestingly, none of the new editions' expansions make the list due to lack of ratings, suggesting there's plenty of play time in the base set.
34 Arkham Horror [GOLD] 7.89 -7
  Of the staggering number of expansions you get get, the fan favourites are Innsmouth Horror with 8.4 and Lurker at the Threshold with 8.27.
33 Risk Legacy 7.91 -19
32 Sekigahara 7.94 NE
31 Cosmic Encounter [GOLD] 7.95 -3
  Best loved of the ever-growing range of expansions are Cosmic Incursion with 8.48 and Cosmic Conflict at 8.33.
30 Dungeon Twister 2: Prison 7.96 NE
29 Summoner Wars: Master Set 7.97 -16
  Takes a big tumble down the rankings after a boost last year thanks, I suspect, to the excellent Playdek iOS app. Highest rated expansion decks are Jungle Elves with 8.02 and Fallen Kingdom with 7.98.
28 1989: Dawn of Freedom 7.98 NE
27 Through the Ages [GOLD] 7.99 -3
26 Crokinole 7.99 -4
25 Railways of the World [GOLD] 7.99 RE
  Remains the highest-rated game that's indisputable of undiluted European design heritage.
24 Runewars 7.99 -8
23 Claustrophobia 8 -2
  De Profundis expansion gets a great 8.45 - but watch out, you still can't play base game scenarios with the expansion shuffled in.
22 Chaos in the Old World [GOLD] 8.01 7
  A deserved classic gold award this year for this excellent hybrid game. Horned Rat expansion clocks an 8.36 average.
21 Mage Knight Board Game 8.01 -12
  The Lost Legion expansion has an excellent 8.43 rating.
20 Dune [GOLD] 8.02 5
  Our first ever number one takes a slightly surprising five point jump back up the charts. No mean feat on a list that tends toward new entries and fallers.
19 Successors (3rd Edition) 8.02 1
18 Clash of Cultures 8.05 NE
17 Mage Wars 8.07 NE
16 Julius Caesar 8.07 NE
15 Here I Stand [GOLD] 8.1 -4
14 Hannibal: Rome vs. Carthage [GOLD] 8.11 1
13 Eldritch Horror 8.15 NE
  The new boy on the Lovecraft blocks kicks its older sibling into semi-oblivion. But will it have the staying power?
12 Twilight Imperium (Third Edition) [GOLD] 8.18 -4
  The expansions continue to be the highest-rated things around. Shattered Empire with a whopping 8.91 average and Shards of the Throne with a very respectable 8.64.
11 Earth Reborn 8.19 -4
10 Battlestar Galactica [GOLD] 8.2 -4
  Highest rated expansion is Exodus at 8.14
09 Conflict of Heroes: Storms of Steel 8.21 -5
08 Blood Bowl: Living Rulebook [GOLD] 8.21 4
07 Maria 8.22 NE
  An impressively high entry from what's still a relatively obscure game.
06 Combat Commander: Pacific [GOLD] 8.23 20
  Due to increased ratings counts, Pacific overtakes Europe as the kingpin of this series, and with it steals the highest climber award by kind of cheating. But all are highly rated: Europe gets 8.05 and Med 8.78.
05 Space Hulk (3rd Edition) [GOLD] 8.34 0
04 Duel of Ages II 8.41 NE
  Highest new entry this year - and for a game that seems to have generated little heat outside of a couple of hot reviews on these very pages.
03 Twilight Struggle [GOLD] 8.51 0
02 Android: Netrunner 8.6 0
  Given the lightweight nature and uneven distribution of expansion packs, their ratings are kind of pointless. But for what it's worth the highest rated one is What Lies Ahead at 8.45
01 War of the Ring (2nd Edition) [GOLD] 8.72 0

So there you have it. The top half of the list continues to retain a pleasing solidity, suggesting we're getting to and holding the cream of the crop in terms of game quality.

Indeed, the most noteworthy trend for me this year is the rise and retention of classic titles in the face of newer upstarter. For the first time ever, we've got a re-entry. And there's quite a few older games that have climbed up a place or two, a phenomenon that was once rare amongst a fixed patter of top games slowly being pushed down the list by new entries.

And part of that trend is the surprising absence of some apparently popular and acclaimed titles. Last year X-Wing and the new edition of A Game of Thrones were riding high, but are now nowhere to be seen. Other high-flyers like Eclipse and Merchants and Marauders have taken colossal ranking falls. But look at the new crop from 2013: while Duel of Age and Clash of Cultuies did well, Robinson Crusoe, Pathfinder and Dice Duel all had sufficient numbers of people rating them to be eligable for the list, but none made it! Pathfinder came closest at #56.

There you go. See you next year. And if you'd like to see more in-depth analysis like this, might I remind you about my Patreon page where you can donate a little pocket change in exchange for my time spent crunching numbers in this very fashion.

There Will Be Games
Matt Thrower (He/Him)
Head Writer

Matt has been writing about tabletop games professional since 2012, blogging since 2006 and playing them since he could talk.


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