BGG HoF Voting Thoughts
[You can vote here].
I’m generally pleased with the nominees. I understand technical arguments against some nominees but nothing on the list is a howler. As we learned from Kent Brockman “Democracy just doesn’t work” but those times when it appears to, it’s because of an informed electorate, so kudos to the nominations.
Personally, I’m voting against all “new” games: a game should be ~25 years old at least to warrant mention in a Hall of Fame. I feel pretty strongly about this, especially when there are obvious games 50+ years old not on the list.
My “Obvious Yes” Votes — Backgammon, Cribbage, Scrabble. Old games, historically important, played by millions of people with real skill involved. Easy.
Here are the questions that I asked myself.
Do I vote for Monopoly for being hugely influential, even if I don’t like it and think it’s objectively a bad game? Yes.
Rationale — The BGG Hall of Fame would look silly to the outside world if the most famous boardgame in existence (to the general public) isn’t listed. For that reason, I focus more on historical significance than gameplay. The gaming Hall of Fame should say “Yes, these were hugely popular and great games for their time.” By similar logic, I voted yes for Clue, Risk, Stratego & Trivial Pursuit. (The last I’m tempted to vote no on, due to age and I really do think it’s one of the worst trivia games, but it was huge). Also, I still play Monopoly, since my kids like it. I’m hardly alone.
Similarly, I don’t quibble about “Board” games, and I don’t think BGG should explain why Poker & Bridge aren’t there. It helps that they really are historical important, classical games, with extensive libraries. Besides, I consider Race, Up Front, etc as Board Games.
After my “Too Young”, “Obvious Yes”, “Historical Yes” votes were done, I had a few games left over.
Do I include Axis and Allies in the “Historical Yes” category? When I was a kid, it was the only “real” board game in the toy store. But … it came out when I was a kid. I think it’s a function of my age, and its current re-popularity is as unsurprising as the fact that many of the movie remakes are focusing on the 80s right now. Plus, A&A is an order of magnitude less famous than any of the above games. So gameplay weighs more heavily, and it’s lacking. I waivered and changed my vote a few times, but NO. Arguably I should vote no on Trivial Pursuit for the same reasons, but I don’t think it’s stopped being a staple gift game. I waiver on it. I can be argued into a NO. Convince me.
Advanced Squad Leader — I personally lump it in with basic Squad Leader for voting. Historically, Yes. SL sold hundreds of thousands of copies and spawned a monster that’s still alive. That’s no Monopoly, but we’re talking a small niche. I can’t comment on gameplay, but I’m giving this a Historical Yes.
Cosmic — Yes, for the simple reason that this is the greatest game made in the last 50 years that isn’t already in the HOF and arguably the greatest “Board Game.”
Civilization — What’s the old quote about the Velveu Underground? “Only 5000 people bought their first album, but everyone one of them started a band after hearing it.” I don’t know if Civ inspired 5000 game designs, but it inspired Sid Meier. Civilization isn’t perfect; but it punches well above it’s influence in popular culture. Yes, I’m looking at computer games. I’m looking at the holy grail, the mythical “Civ in 2 hours.” Is that enough of a reason to vote yes? I think so. (And I like the game, although it’s too long to play much these days).
Heroquest — Hurm. Borderline too young, but I think this (like A&A) is only in because it’s the right age. I’m voting no.
Perhaps I should abstain on the borderline votes, but I didn’t.
Right now only Risk and Civ are making the cut, which is obviously way too few. I think BGG should have fairly liberal rules, perhaps it should be a sliding scale … games 50+ years need 50% of the vote, new games need 66%. (Or you could just have a few years with a slightly looser standard, or a special vote to grandfather in older games). Ah well.
- ASL — Yes
- A&A — No, but if it gets nominated in 10 years I’d consider it.
- Backgammon — Obvious Yes
- Bohnanza — Too Young
- Bridge — Obvious Yes (counting it as a board game)
- Civi — Yes
- Clue — Historical Yes
- Cosmic — Yes
- Cribbage — Obvious Yes
- El Grande — Too Young
- Heroquest — No
- Lost Cities — Too Young
- Monopoly — Historical Yes
- Poker — Obvious Yes (counting it as a board game)
- Ra — Too Young
- Risk — Historical Yes
- Scrabble — Obvious Yes
- Stratego — Historical Yes
- Tigris — Too Young
- Trivial Pursuit — Historical Maybe/Yes