In a very early Sumo, Charles Vasey raised the question of how much mileage we actually get out of all the games we buy, particularly in the case of people like Mike and myself who have "sounds interesting; I'll take it" buttons which activate at the slightest touch. As a rough and ready measure of value he suggested that people ask themselves how many of their games they had played 5 or more times and how many 10 or more. No editor worth his salt could resist turning that sort of question over to the letter column and for the next couple of years reader's `5 and 10' lists were a regular feature. It was inevitable that sooner or later someone would suggest combining the lists and at the point the crowd made its excuses and left.

And that was the end of the matter until early this year when Carl Schnurr, with a physicist's natural passion for measuring things, decided to have a go. The resultant list appeared in Ken Tidwell's Game Cabinet, an electronic archive of boardgames material that can be accessed if you can hook up to Internet. I spotted it, thought that it fitted in with the requests we have been getting for more on older games and asked if they were prepared to let me bring it home to Sumo. So here it is, the Sumo 5 and 10 Top Twenty. (The mathematically minded will notice that this top twenty contains about thirty titles. Bloody physicists: it is the fundamental particle story all over again. They set off looking for half a dozen and ended up with a small regiment.)

Carl's Sumo Five and Ten List

(Liar's Dice is the same game as Bluff; Cluedo is known in North America as Clue; and Heimlich and Co is known in the UK as Under Cover.)

The 18xx games were counted separately. Had they been rolled them together, they would have come top. Also, due to a misunderstanding, the votes for Formula One were put in with those for Formel Eins. So that game is too high and Formula One itself should probably have its own place towards the bottom of the list.

As Carl was quick to point out the methodology is open to a long list of objections: The method favours short games over long ones. It also favours old games over new ones. And since the lists came in over a period of over two years it isn't even a snap shot at a particular time of Sumo opinion, since by the time the last lists came in the early ones would have been ready for augmenting. However, Charles's criterion was also rough and ready and what matters in both cases is whether or not the answers given produce a good set of recommendations and Carl and I both reckon that they do.

Of course, what we need now is a means of producing a proper Sumo `Hall of Fame'. Take two valium, lie down in a dark room and think about it.

Carl Schnurr and Stuart Dagger

On to Thoughts from the Armchair or back to Don't Throw Stones at Father's Glass Eye.

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