Internet Top 100 Games List FAQ

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What is the Internet Top 100 Games List?
The list is a chart of games, primarily board games. The list is ordered by a calculated 'Score' (see below), based on ratings submitted by users of the list. Originally I generated a new edition of the list every week and then switched to biweekly. Nowadays, with the dominance of BoardGameGeek and its ratings, I get few enough new ratings submitted that I am only updating the list occasionally, when there seems enough new ratings to warrant it.

What is the point of this list?
This list is intended to help give people an idea of the best games out there as rated by their players. There are a huge number of games out there and it is impossible to play/buy all of them (although some people try ;) ). This list will hopefully let people only focus on the best ones. Two particular things the list tries to achieve are:
  1. Provide a reasonable 'buying guide' for those not that familiar with these games.
  2. Highlight 'sleepers' - not well known games that are very much liked by those who do play them.

How is the list generated?
The list is generated based on ratings sent in by you. The latest version of the list is always available on the web via

Where do you get the information in the database (other than the ratings themselves)?
Originally, most of this information comes from either BoardGameGeek or the Luding games database but additions and corrections will be made as noted by the readers and from other sources. With a list this big, there will be errors - please notify me about them and I will fix them.

The fields I track for each game are Game name, individual ratings, score, average, availability status (in or out of print), year of original production, company which originally put it out, designer, expansions, related games, other names for the game and comments. Currently, not all of this information is possible to get at but eventually it may be (except for the individuals' ratings).

What games are eligible?
Basically all board, card, collectible card, roleplaying and wargames are eligible. Computer games are not eligible. Please rate those games you think are bad as well as those you think are good, particularly among those games at the top of the list. Roleplaying games will only be listed by the overall system (ex: AD&D) and not by individual module.

How do I get my ratings included?
Send me (Aaron Fuegi at email with an appropriate subject header (ex: Top 100 ratings). Each line of your message should contain a rating for one game with a score from 1 to 10 (10 being high). Ratings, if possible, should utilize the full range and average somewhere near 5 or 6. For example:
Imaginary Game Title   4                                             
Some Other Title       10 
indicates that you thought the first game was rather poor, while the second was excellent. When you can, please try to use the most standard name, easiest to find by grabbing it out of this list. Also, please send me this information in plain text form, either space or tab-delimited. If you keep your ratings as an Excel spreadsheet, please first save this file as plain text (.txt) before sending it to me and, preferrably, just include the information in your mail rather than attaching it.

Ratings are of course kept permanently and used for all subsequent lists so there is no need to send the same rating more than once. For those sending in a new, updated list regularly, it is ok to send me the same game ratings repetitively. The only thing I ask is please use the names I have in my list. Otherwise I will have to correct the name every time. To get the full list of names, see here.

For ease of participating for those rating lots of games, I have created two simple lists of game names. One is ordered by name and the other by ranking (ranks may not be up to date). The idea is that you download the list and go through it and rank all the games you have played (and delete the others from the list, please).

Notes: 1) If you have voted before, please make a note of that - also, it is a little easier for me if you don't send me your old ratings (that haven't changed) again.
2) My policy is to ignore umlauts, accent marks, and similar characters. Do not add an "e" or do similar things to replace such characters.
3) For games with multiple (significantly different gameplay) editions of the same name please be clear which you are rating. If you are using my list of game names, just leave them be.
4) Expansions. As a general rule, expansions (defined as those games for which you also need the original to play) will be listed seperately from the main game if and only if they make a meaningful change to the game. In a cases where the expansion is minor, I won't bother listing it seperately. Example: I don't think Illuminati expansions 1 & 2 need to be listed seperately but I do think expansion 3 does. This will come down to a judgment call. You can look at the full list to see if an expansion is listed seperately.
5) Rating expansions. The concept to me of rating an expansion is to ask the question "Is the game better, worse or the same using expansion X"? Depending on this answer, your rating on the expansion should be higher, lower or the same as your rating for the basic game.
6) I reserve the right to disqualify certain ratings. Just this moment (this was in late 1999), I received 4 emails in a row all giving 10s to a single game and rating nothing else, all coming from AOL email addresses. In cases like this with a minimal number of questionable ratings, I reserve the right to unilaterally disqualify them.
7) Some people sometimes have difficulty deciding on ratings for games. Here is a reasonable rating scale which you are welcome to use if you wish.
8) Only integer ratings (between 1 and 10) and ratings of #.5 are accepted. Please do not rate a game 6.3 for example.

How are the games ranked?
Games are ranked by 'Score'. Basically, this has the effect of raising the rankings for those games with more ratings. Some method like this is vital to avoid a single '10' rating from pushing a game to the top of the list.

The 'Score' is calculated by giving ALL games on the list Five ratings of value 3.25 in addition to all the real ratings. These numbers are NOT counted in the Ave. or #Vot columns. For example, take a game with four ratings of 10 8 4 2. It has a simple average of 10+8+4+2=24/4=6. However, it's score is (10+8+4+2+(5*3.25))/9=4.47. Games with MANY ratings will be almost negligibly affected by these five low ratings.

Note that the numbers 5 and 3.25 are somewhat arbitrarily selected but I am happy with them and expect they will NOT change.

Is this how the games were always ranked?
No, editions 1-72 were ranked by 'diffused average'. I switched to this method on April 10, 2000 at the suggestion of Graham Willis and on the belief that it seemed to provide results which were generally more reflective of most participants opinions.

The formula for calculating the 'diffused average' was :

NDA = Average - ((Average - Old Diffused Average) * (C^NV))

   where NDA = New Diffused Average
         NV  = Number of Raters for that game.
         C   = A diffusing constant. (set at 0.99) (was set at 0.99875 for editions 1-4)

Where did you get the idea for this list?
The format, original 'diffused average' formula and main idea were taken from Tristrom Cooke's Internet Top 100 SF/Fantasy List for science fiction and fantasy books. There are a number of such lists and his, imho, seems to be the one with the best results - most of the others are totally outrageous for one reason or another.

In terms of games, Brian Bankler on once compiled a list of top games using a simple average ranking system, but ignoring games with less than N ratings. This worked pretty well but I don't like the idea of a huge number of games missing the list entirely. Joe Huber at one point did a related compilation of 'top 10' lists. Also, thanks Joe and Brian for your huge numbers of ratings to start this list off.

The list has convinced me. I want to buy game X. Where do I get it?
Well, if the game is listed as 'Avail'able you should be able to contact game stores in the US and/or the country of origin and order it. If it is listed as 'OOP', it may be quite difficult to find (or maybe not). Please don't ask me, Aaron, as I won't be able to tell you anything more than what is below probably. A few suggested information resources:
  1. or the BoardGameGeek Marketplace for buying and selling games
  2. The Game Cabinet list of Mail Order Game Shops of the World.
  3. Google Groups searches of or
  4. Ebay auctions
Also, a quick note on the above comment about 'Avail'able games. Games are listed with the name of the first company that put them out. Sometimes a new edition is put out much later by a different company - this might end up with a game being listed as 'Avail'able but not from the company listed. The full list's "Comments" field will sometimes indicate this. Sorry about this confusion.

Is there anything else I should know?
Yes, there are a few things which will be useful to some of you.
  1. For those who have participated before and want to know what your ratings were, send me email ( and I can give you this information. It takes a couple of minutes to do so don't ask all the time.
  2. I keep all previous editions available and they are easy to access. They are all at (Std 100 edition) and (Full edition) where "#" is the number of the edition. Thus, the first edition will remain available as
  3. The List of Contributors page now includes the ability to link to your pages. Email me what page you want me to link to with your ratings or later and I will add the link.
  4. In general, nothing changes on the list pages except for biweekly with the new edition. Thus, if you sent me a fix or web page link or virtually anything else, generally don't expect to see the change until the following Monday afternoon.

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