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What (Modern) Boardgame Have You Played the Most?

W Updated
Evolution board game review
There Will Be Games

Sometimes, there is a difference between what game you have played the most and what is your favorite. Leaving out the classics board games such Monopoly, Poker, and Clue, that have decades long head starts on modern board games, I tried to narrow down what game I have played the most. Some games, like Coup, have the advantage of short play time and virtually no set-up. Others, like King of Tokyo or Magic, have been around long enough to fall into the modern classic category. Even taking those into account, the game I have played this most is Evolution: The Beginning.

Full Disclosure: I've played Evolution: The Beginning over a hundred times. It is my Autistic son’s absolute favorite game. Any game night starts with him smiling and saying “Evolution?” The fact that I can still play it and get any enjoyment out of it is a testament in and of itself.

Evolution: The Beginning is the streamlined, family friendly version of Evolution (which is currently on its 3rd Edition, so it has had a little streamlining of its own). It is a stand-alone version that supports 2 to 5 players and is NOT compatible with any other title in the Evolution line. I’m sure there is a joke about dead-end evolutions in there somewhere, but Darwin knows I’m not going to make it. The Beginning consists of a large deck of cards, a watering hole to which you add food tokens that represent the food. Each player is given a spiffy bag in which they collect food during each round which is tallied up at the end of the game to determine the winner (with allowances for how many cards you have in play but, generally, it’s all about the food). The cards are multipurpose, when they are played face up, they represent the traits of a species and if they are played face down, they represent the current population of said species or an entirely new species. As the game progresses, you are dealt more cards which you can use to add/swap traits, add population or create new species.

Each species is limited to a total of 3 traits. Many traits are defensive, protecting you from Carnivore species of other players. For Instance, a carnivore can’t devour a species with Flight if the predator doesn’t have same trait. Other traits, such a Long Neck and Fat Tissue enhance the way each species feeds from the watering hole or from the excess food. The key card in the deck that stops each species simply living in their own ecosystem is the Carnivore Card. When you add this Trait to a species, they can only eat meat a.k.a. other player’s species (or, while not optimum, some of your own species). This system has one glaring problem: you have to add a trait card to “become” a carnivore. You don’t have to add one to be an herbivore. So, if you add three defensive traits such as Speed, Nocturnal, and Burrowing to a species, congratulations! You just built the perfect beast that is immune to any predator, something Mother Nature hasn’t managed in a few million years. You may think it would take a perfect storm to get a perfect defensive combination but with only 10 different trait cards, it’s more of a lucky breeze. Oddly enough, this somehow doesn’t break the game. Instead, you find yourself living up to the namesake of the game, evolving when you need to, adapting to how much food is available in the watering hole, and going carnivore if the luck of the cards and lack of food dictates it. Maybe it shouldn’t work, but somehow it does.

Despite being called “Family Friendly” or “Casual,” Carnivores add a distinct “Take That” element (Actually, more of a “I’m going to eat that” element). People generally don’t accept a shrug and a muttered “Survival of the fittest” as a legitimate reason why you ate their prized long necked nocturnal bird. Eat a species into extinction and you have probably earned an enemy for the next few millennia of adaptation or at least a cold shoulder the size of the Ice Age.If The Beginning is meant as a gateway into the Evolution universe, it certainly goes about it in a strange way. Cards such as “Long Neck” and “Nocturnal” can be found in both The Beginning and the “real” version of Evolution. However, they play differently in both editions. It certainly makes for a bumpy ride if you decide to switch from one version to another.

As I stated at the beginning of this article, I’ve probably played this title more than 100 times. We’ve moved on from it but only because we decided to take the Plunge into Evolution proper. It still holds a place on our shelf, coming out when my son wants to “Gateway” friends and family with his favorite game. Not many titles can hold up like this, but Northstar Games have evolved something that, while not perfect, is certainly special.

There Will Be Games Evolution board game review


Evolution board game review

Evolution board game review
Wade Monnig  (He/Him)
Staff Board Game Reviewer

In west Saint Louis born and raised
Playing video games is where I spent most of my days
Strafing, Dashing, Adventuring and Looting
Writing reviews between all the Shooting
When a couple of guys reminded me what was so good
About playing games with cardboard and Wood,
Collecting Victory Points and those Miniatures with Flair
It’s not as easy as you think to rhyme with Bel Air.

Wade is the former editor in chief for Silicon Magazine and former senior editor for He currently enjoys his games in the non-video variety, where the odds of a 14 year old questioning the legitimacy of your bloodline is drastically reduced.

“I’ll stop playing as Black when they invent a darker color.”

Articles by Wade

Evolution board game review
Wade Monnig
Staff Board Game Reviewer

Articles by Wade

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mc's Avatar
mc replied the topic: #283121 16 Oct 2018 03:10
Having kids or maybe a group that likes different games to you will put you in this situation (not always a bad thing, I think, if you're able to enjoy just having fun with people).

Evolution: Climate is a favourite in our house but the crown would probably go to Carcassonne, I've had it as long as I've had my eldest kid and it's just been a regular fixture. Honourable mentions i should think to Zooloretto and Survive.

My youngest is probably the most voracious gamer and his favourites are Ivanhoe (he's a shark) and Roborally. If he keeps up his pattern they'll overtake those others (of they haven't already).

None of those are my favourites, and I may have played others more, i don't know, but they sure provide good memories of the kids growing up beating down dad at every opportunity.
Erik Twice's Avatar
Erik Twice replied the topic: #283123 16 Oct 2018 04:54
According to my Boardgamegeek logs I've played about 2736 games of Netrunner. Given I've played it every week for atleast 5 years I'm fairly certain it's my most played boardgame.

I played Magic when I was a teen so it's probably my second most played game.

The next in line is Terraforming Mars. I've put 153 games into it. And that's just this year because I got it around this time last year. I'm a bit burned out of it, though, there's a very clear skill ceiling in this game that bothers me.
Shellhead's Avatar
Shellhead replied the topic: #283128 16 Oct 2018 08:07
If CCGs count as boardgames, then my most-played game is easily Jyhad aka Vampire: the Eternal Struggle. I have no idea how many games I have played, but I played my first game in 1994 and my most recent game a few weeks ago. We had a weekly playgroup for many years, and while I didn't show up every week, I often got in 2 to 3 games every other week.

Second place would go to Arkham Horror 2nd edition. There are 49 characters, I think, and I have played each of them several times. Except for the promo character, who I keep forgetting even exists. My group played the base set alone at least 40 times, and then even more after the expansions started coming out.

Third place might be Camp Grizzly. It's very easy to get on the table, even with non-gamers.
Black Barney's Avatar
Black Barney replied the topic: #283129 16 Oct 2018 08:32
It’s got to be Magic for me. I’ve only recently stopped playing it.
hotseatgames's Avatar
hotseatgames replied the topic: #283130 16 Oct 2018 08:38
While the true answer is probably Descent: Journeys in the Dark, lately it's probably a toss-up between Cthulhu Wars and Spartacus. Both of these games really resonate with my group.

Descent was my first designer board game, and it saw a lot of table time, not just because we loved it, but it was the only game I had.
the_jake_1973's Avatar
the_jake_1973 replied the topic: #283135 16 Oct 2018 09:01
Blood Bowl probably has the most plays, but not with my group. Merchants & Marauders has had the most plays with the group and shows no sign of slowing. Runebound is probably is second place.
ChristopherMD's Avatar
ChristopherMD replied the topic: #283136 16 Oct 2018 09:12
Not counting CCG's it's probably RoboRally. Second place could be Tigris & Euphrates or Fairy Tale.
WadeMonnig's Avatar
WadeMonnig replied the topic: #283137 16 Oct 2018 09:59
I love the wide range of answers to this question! I knew my answer was something a bit odd, it's great to see such a selection!
SuperflyPete's Avatar
SuperflyPete replied the topic: #283139 16 Oct 2018 10:29
Heroacape. Ive played in excess of 500 matches.
After that, Attacktix. At least 400.
After that it’s a toss up between Pandemic and Red November, with at least 200 each.
After that it’s Cyclades, El Grande, and a vast swath of short filler dice games.
Legomancer's Avatar
Legomancer replied the topic: #283144 16 Oct 2018 12:05
Definitely Magic for me, though I can't say how much before I eventually quit.

I've been logging my games since 2005 and the big winner there is For Sale, which we used to use for rain dancing all the time. I have 60 logged plays of that. It's closely followed by Liar's Dice and then true solid board game Terraforming Mars.
edulis's Avatar
edulis replied the topic: #283145 16 Oct 2018 12:20
My fairly regularly logged plays since 2008 tells me that my top five are
Arkham Horror.

If I kick Pente off for not being modern it is replaced by Trains and Pandemic.
charlest's Avatar
charlest replied the topic: #283146 16 Oct 2018 12:38
One Night Ultimate Werewolf at 128 plays. Good times.

I've played over 600 games of Race for the Galaxy if you count online play against a live opponent.
Gary Sax's Avatar
Gary Sax replied the topic: #283149 16 Oct 2018 13:06
Arkham Horror (54)
drewcula's Avatar
drewcula replied the topic: #283154 16 Oct 2018 15:02
DreadBall: The Futuristic Sports Game = 164
Wiz-War (eighth edition) = 68
Qwirkle = 49
Heroscape Master Set: Rise of the Valkyrie = 46
Dungeon Saga: Dwarf King's Quest = 35

So says BGG, where I've been keeping track of games played since 2012.
I'm certain Heroscpae would surpass 200 if I had kept track. I played 'Scape until my fingers bled from 2005 - 2012.

Star Wars Epic Duels was played a hell of a lot too before 2012.
Sevej's Avatar
Sevej replied the topic: #283159 16 Oct 2018 18:59
Pandemic and Carcassonne, live plays only. Pandemic in 90s range and Carcs over 110.
san il defanso's Avatar
san il defanso replied the topic: #283176 16 Oct 2018 23:07
I don't track my plays, but I have some guesses. I am sure that my number one in terms of raw numbers is Dominion, even if I haven't played it in years. If we include games via app, I suspect Ticket to Ride is up there as well. I think in terms of actual hours of play, Cosmic Encounter is probably number one. At this point, Dungeons & Dragons is probably up there too, but I don't think that actually counts.
Frohike's Avatar
Frohike replied the topic: #283180 17 Oct 2018 04:31
Looks like my top 4 are: Monopoly Deal, Escape: The Curse of the Temple, Zombicide: Black Plague, and Dungeon Degenerates!
Space Ghost's Avatar
Space Ghost replied the topic: #283191 17 Oct 2018 11:02
Mine probably has to be MtG, which I am sure is in the thousands over 20 years.

Board game is almost undoubtedly Twilight Struggle -- probably 100+ plays of the 1st edition, then easily 100+ when I did playtesting on the new cards for the second edition. After that, probably another couple hundred plays. I need to play more online now that it is so easy to do so.
Black Barney's Avatar
Black Barney replied the topic: #283195 17 Oct 2018 12:31
SG, i had no idea you did playtesting for 2nd edition. Considering that TS is such a beloved game here, have you given any thought about posting an article or blog about your experience doing that? i would find that super interesting having done playtesting before.
Space Ghost's Avatar
Space Ghost replied the topic: #283208 17 Oct 2018 14:17
Black Barney's Avatar
Black Barney replied the topic: #283211 17 Oct 2018 14:51
Your last two posts have been excellent, SG. Awesome stuff. Three characters between the two of them.
Space Ghost's Avatar
Space Ghost replied the topic: #283212 17 Oct 2018 15:44
What the hell -- I don't know what happened*. I was just going to say that I will see if I can dig up my notes on the TS's been so long, I don't know if I will be able to find them.

As for the other thread, it was just a joke. I'm much too lazy to go edit that post to put it back in...

*I had two windows open and the cat walked across the keyboard -- she's the likely culprit.
Black Barney's Avatar
Black Barney replied the topic: #283214 17 Oct 2018 15:54
i actually like your other post just with the "." cuz with the avatar it makes you look like you're doing a full blown facepalm at Chris' suggestion of putting the white sheet over some of your games.