First things first. This award represents the compiled rankings of everyone who used the Ranking Engine in 2022. All of you submitted over 32,500 board game ranking lists during the year. Considering how long it can take to rank a big list of games, this is substantial. What this means is that this is your award. Your rankings are what determine which game gets this award. So, thanks to everyone who ranked some games this year. You are all on the awards stage with us. Here we go!

You may have noticed that we never announced a 2021 Board Game Ranking Engine Game of the Year (Wow, that is a mouthful). Ranking Engine Game of the Year? BGRE Game of the Year? Whatever. The point is, we didn’t announce a GotY for 2021 at the beginning of 2022 and that was on purpose.

This award is supposed to honor the game that was the highest ranked among all the games published in a year. But announcing this immediately after a year ends doesn’t work out well for games that release late in the year. They have much less time to gain enough rankings to contend with those released earlier in the year. So if we announced the 2021 game of the year at the beginning of 2022, we might be able to tell you what game was hot coming out of a year but we really need more data to crown a game of the year.

So, to give games an equal time to gain rankings and to avoid the “hotness” bump we often see close to a game’s release, we waited a full year to announce the 2021 game of the year. (And I feel vindicated in this decision by Paul Grogan) This give all games published in a year the same amount of time to gather rankings. So instead of looking at 12 months of rankings for some games and 1 months rankings for others, we are looking at 12 months of rankings for all games. This will provide you with a much more settled list of games as the top games of a year.

As a way to prove the point, had we awarded the 2021 GotY based on 2021 rankings, our winner this year would have been at the #4 spot because it released late in the year.

Ok, with all of that out of the way, we are proud to announce the Ranking Engine Game of the Year for the 2021 publishing year. I don’t think it will be much of a surprise:

Ark Nova

1. Ark Nova

Not only was Ark Nova the #1 game for games published in 2021, it was also the #1 game in the 2022 rankings and has been threatening to take the #1 spot in the All-time list. It doesn’t seem like it has enough steam to overtake Brass: Birmingham but it could catch a second wind. Congratulations to the designer Mattias Wigge and to all the publishers and artists. This game seems to have some legs. Let’s see how far it can go.

Ark Nova was the clear winner but there were other contenders and we will look at some of them. Two second editions appear in the top 5 for 2021 so I’ll include games until we get 5 newly published games for 2021. Nothing against Second Editions, I just want to give new games their due.

Great Western Trail (2nd Edition)
Sleeping Gods
Pax Renaissance (2nd Edition)
Ankh: Gods of Egypt
Tyrants of the Underdark