Board Gaming and the H-Index

Board Gaming and the H-Index

You've heard people talk about the board gaming H-Index like it's magic. Just what is it and what is it good for?

In a previous article we talked about our Top 6 Types of Gamers. Perhaps you’re a Social Gamer, or a Puzzler, or an Omni-Gamer.

I think that there is one more kind of gamer though; one who can also fit into any of the 6 that we outlined before. The “Quantified Gamer” is one who meticulously records and keeps track of their gaming scores. Some use paper and pencil, writing them down in journals, while some, like me me, use an app called Board Game Stats. This article isn’t meant to be a sales pitch for the app, but if you record your scores to BoardGameGeek then go get it. Seriously, it’s fantastic.

Board game journal
Photo by roooof

Regardless of your method, recording your scores reminds you of games you played along with who you played with, where you played, and who won. Those memories are gold, especially if you add a snippet or two about the situation, the surroundings, or something memorable. Choosing to store your scores digitally gives you additional options like quickly seeing how many 4 players games you’ve played,what your highest score was in Kahuna, or how many times you’ve played Moustache Smash with your kids (5 times).

So What’s the H-Index?

The H-Index is another way of looking at the data you’re collecting.

Your h-index is the smallest number of games that you have played at least that number of times.

For example if you record your scores and have the following list:

10 Monopoly
6 The Game of Life
5 Candy Land
4 Chutes & Ladders

Your gaming H-Index would be 4 because you’ve played at least 4 games 4 times each. You might also need an intervention, but that’s another article completely. Admittedly, the metric is meaningless by itself, but it still offers a fascinating insight into the quantity and quality of the games you’ve played.

BGStatsApp charting

Are you the type of gamer who plays lots of games but doesn’t play them more than a few times each? That could be an indicator that you’re always looking out for the new hotness. You’d have a correspondingly low H-Index because while you cast a wide net you don’t draw back many keepers.

The other side of the spectrum is the gamer who plays a narrow segment of games but plays those games extensively. That gamer would also record a fairly low H-Index. They play games lots of times, but few titles.

Be careful though because the H-Index metric can be a wicked taskmaster. To achieve a high H-Index you need to have both breadth and depth. In 2016 I’m on a quest to game every day. To date I’ve racked up 566 recorded plays, yet my H-Index is only an 8. That means that of the 566 plays I’ve only played 8 games at least 8 times. In part, that’s the life of a board game reviewer. I play lots of games only one time each; in fact I’ve played 78 games once this year. Because of that fact, my H-Index is currently an 8, meaning that I’ve played at least 8 games 8 times apiece.

Do you care about your H-Index? Do you think it’s meaningless or do you love having a quantified life? Let us know in the comments!

About the author

Andy Matthews

Founder of Meeple Mountain, editor in chief of, and software engineer. Father of 4, husband to 1, lover of games, books, and movies, and all around nice guy. I run Nashville Game Night, and Nashville Tabletop Day.

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