You can’t trust people. People like Coldplay and voted for the Nazis. For some unknown reason, garbage tends to do well at the box office and trash makes its way to the top of the music charts. But is the same true of board games?

Well, we took a look at data from Board Game Geek, the IMDB of board games. After cleaning the data of games with insufficient user ratings, we did an analysis of every major game to work out whether the highest rated games also translate into the most popular games for people to actually buy. It turns out that, very broadly, the highest quality games also tend to perform the best commercially. The game owned by the highest number of people is the classic Settlers of Catan, which also performs well in terms of ratings. More than 50,000 people have stated that they own Codenames, our most highly recommended game at Best Play – putting it among the most popular games that players own.

We thought it might be fun to look further into the data and see if there were any titles that proved popular with players, despite being absolutely awful. You know, the Transformers of board games. Take a look at the placement of some of the games highlighted in blue in the chart below.

That’s a lot of people owning a lot of plop. We came up with a super brainy formula to identify those games that gave the worst score:ownership ratio, hopefully helping to identify games that are inexplicably popular with you lot.

But what is the most inexplicably popular game of all time? Will it be the famously broken game of Monopoly, a game we’ve written about a dozen times already? Or will it be Risk, Uno, or Yahtzee, the various plagues of family gatherings?

The surprising answer is that it’s none of them.

The most popular terrible games

The table below features the ‘most surprising’ games – those with the highest score are, in data terms, those that are more popular among board game owners than they should be, based on their BGG user score.


Board gameRating:popularity ratio
Apples to Apples26.7
Zombie Dice24.4
Cards Against Humanity21.2
The Game of Life18.6
Mille Bornes15.1
Phase 1013.1
Dungeon Roll12.6
The Count of Carcassonne12.3
Killer Bunnies and the Quest for the Magic Carrot12.0
Trivial Pursuit11.6
Kill Doctor Lucky10.7


That’s right, Munchkin is far more popular than it should be. We at Best Play are split on this, but have had some fun with it in the past. We even made a 60 second video to show you why we like it. What do you think?

If you want to make this number even higher, you can grab it on Amazon for a few beans here