We’re rapidly sprinting towards the end of 2022 and after several years building up the Assorted Meeples group and brand, I decided for this year’s reflection I’d combine it with another end of the year activity that has become a common tradition: doing something fun that I can claim is work while actually dodging everything important I need to get done.
So I’m calling it a win-win because what’s the Christmas season without that end of year intentional distraction?
So let’s take a look at my 16 “favorite” video games of all time – at least according to the hours played statistic on Steam.
16) Splendor – 97.2 hours
Great game, one of multiple digital board games that I bought on Steam, and one that is one of my favorites. It has among the absolute best A.I. of any online board game I’ve run into, does a great job translating the board game to digital format and is great solo against AI or against friends.
This is one that I’ll play every so often and rack up those hours one 20 minute game at a time. There was a reason it made our Unqualified Experts episode on the best digital board game adaptations out there and it doesn’t surprise me at all this makes the top 20 even though it’s very much an “Every so often, here and there,” type game for me.
15) The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim – 119 hours
So confession time: the Steam hours played versus the sheer number of hours I’ve played in this game are two different things. Mostly because for every hour I’ve played on Steam I’ve played at least double if not triple that on Xbox. So in total hours Skyrim would be way up on this list, but on Steam it still checks in at #15 with 119 hours.
Considering how many years I spent playing this game in the early 2010s on the Xbox, it’s actually pretty impressive I later bought this game for Steam and still put in hours. I mean it’s been a few years…and starting up another game does sound pretty great…whelp looks like I know how I’ll be losing my time next when I actually get free time.
And let’s face it: Skyrim is one of the better fantasy RPG games that has come out the past decade and was hands down the giant of its time when originally released.
A solid entry on the top list.
14) State of Decay – 126.3 hours
Zombie games are great, and there’s why there was a huge hype around this one and the sequel after it. State of Decay was a fantastic mix of open world RPG, action, and tons of zombie killing combined with base building with survivors. It was a mix that was very hard to find with any other zombie game at the time and was clearly a step forward in the genre.
And sometimes I don’t want complicated, I just want to kill some zombies and build a base that can cut down incoming hordes. A great game I still fire up every so often to do just that.
13) Dead Age – 130.2 hours
This one actually surprised me a lot. A very different type of zombie game, I liked Dead Age a LOT and it did some really interesting things at the time, especially with super distinctive and active backgrounds that made your FEEL the end of the world vibes with danger around every corner. So I’m not upset it’s on the list – but the main story was way under 100 hours so I was surprised I must have played it more than three times to level up that many hours.
Still, a great game that was such a good experience that I didn’t hesitate to buy the sequel when it came out a few years later, which just barely missed this list and would have more hours if I haven’t been working the equivalent of two full-time jobs and building a business the last few years.
But this original game was great and deserves to be here, and the sequel will overtake it soon enough.
12) Europa Universalis IV – 188.2 hours
Europa Universalis IV is an incredible game, and it’s an interesting one on this list. I love the game and understand why anyone who is deep dive into the details strategy and empire management games could fall in love with this game. There’s also a reason the game has such a truly devout following.
It’s also a game that in all likelihood I will never play again.
Because although a great game, it’s a steep, steep learning curve. If you walk away for a while it takes a good 20+ hours to get a solid handle on being functional at the game again, and 40+ hours to start getting really good. And I just don’t have a life where I can take 40 hours to get functionally decent at a game again, no matter how good it is.
Loved the experience and all those hours, and I’ll remember it fondly, but this one has found the end of its playing days in my library.
11) Graveyard Keeper – 189 hours
One of my all-time favorite games. Super dark humor, likely the darkest twist on a farm-sim game, taking a very fresh take on things. The DLCs added great quality of life bumps in addition to more storylines, and even though I’ve been through the whole game twice, sometimes when I’m just feeling the crafting/dark humor side of the sim games this is the one I come back to.
Fantastic game I can’t recommend enough, and one I know will never go more than a year or two without me firing it up again.
And remember: “Our Church Great!”
Related Article: How to Get Blue Points in Graveyard Keeper
10) My Time at Portia – 214.3 hours
My Time at Portia doesn’t surprise me one bit that it appears on this list. One of my all-time favorite games, I adore what it brings to the table with an open 3D world to explore, interesting characters, some serious RPG moments, and a farm-sim feel focusing more on crafting and development.
This is a fantastic game that offers hundreds of hours of potential gam time and really makes you want to socialize with others, explore the world, and the music is just wonderful.
This has been one of my favorite video games since the first time I played it and it will almost certainly continue to get 100’s of more hours of play time from me in the future.
Related Article: How to Make Money in Portia
9) Fallout New Vegas – 327 hours
Fallout New Vegas is one of the most talked about games in history. Just search for it in YouTube to see how many opinions and independent documentaries there are around how this game was developed, it’s one heck of a story.
Arguably the best of the Fallout games ever made, and clearly the best one in my mind, it doesn’t surprise me at all that Fallout New Vegas is in the Top Ten. The World is alive, there are strange side quests and random locations everywhere, and so many different factions each with stories, and so many different ways to take on each mission.
Follow that up with multiple endings that wildly change the game, and your karma and actions changing the aftermath stories of so many side characters, and you have a winner here.
The things that makes this listing amazing are:
- I’ve played far more hours of New Vegas on Xbox than Steam
- The infamous glitches from lack of support mean I’ve had 4-5 campaigns stall out early game because the game froze on auto-save and the file became unplayable
- Player mods to make the game supported have a mixed success rate
That means there are hundreds of hours of mid and late game I would have played if those frozen campaigns hadn’t glitched the game out.
Yet it’s so good I keep coming back to play what I can, putting in more hours, and like so many other fans hoping in vain for that sequel or remake from the original studio that, when set up to fail by Bethesda, instead made the best Fallout game ever in an impossibly short schedule and rigged setup.
8) Super Auto Pets – 538.9 hours
Should I be a bit ashamed this is so high up? Nah. Super Auto Pets is an auto battler that is sort of the definition of a simple mobile type game. This game is cute, it’s fun, most of it is free and it’s the perfect game for 10 minutes here or 20 minutes there.
Sometimes you just want the equivalent of a video game palate cleanser, and Super Auto Pets hits the mark. While I liked it better earlier when there were a lot of creative teams before the “Mathematically perfect team” meta took over and frankly sucked a lot of the fun out, but once in a while it isn’t a bad pick up and it’s a fun way to waste a little bit of time.
And every great great once in a while you still get a shot at a funny weird team making it all the way through.
Related Article: Super Auto Pets Beginning Strategy Guide
7) Battle Brothers – 561.2 hours
I hate how many hours I have in this game. On the top of my list of games I love to hate, Battle Brothers and their ridiculous “Adjusted RNG” is top of the list. Don’t even get me started on the Ironman mode where the game straight up doesn’t play by its own rules, as has been well documented (pretty much always to the player’s detriment).
The trouble is so much of this game works so very very well. In many ways it’s a great tactical RPG, the town setup and many enemies requiring different strategies breathe freshness into the world.
I enjoy building up a military company, picking and choosing the battles, running like hell when necessary, and the various storylines and setups of the game. I just hate the “adjusted RNG” with a passion that can’t be put into words.
It doesn’t surprise me the game makes the list, but man, I have mixed feelings at best about it. But then again, what other game offers the same experience?
And there’s the rub.
6) Total War: Medieval II – 583 hours
So confession time: I can very safely say I have played more Total War: Medieval II than any other game in my entire life. Probably by thousands of hours. Because before I ever bought it on Steam I bought it three other times…on double CD for CD-Rom because that’s how games used to come out.
I bought it in 2005, wore it out, bought it in 2007, wore those out, and bought the CDs again in 2010 before eventually finding out about Steam.
So even on Steam after thousands of hours and long past the point where any campaign is challenging – I still put in 583 hours. I just love these large army tactical games and it breaks my hear they’re so insistent on not remaking this because it was so damn good and a remake fixing the obvious problems could be incredible.
That said, here we are at 583 hours and I have pretty much no shame about that whatsoever 🙂
Also not many games I’ve been playing for 17 years so wow.
5) Darkest Dungeon – 602.6 hours
Oh man what an amazing game! Lovecraftian and Dark Fantasy, a combination roguelite with tactical RPG, I’m not going to say anything about Darkest Dungeon that hasn’t already been said many times before. 600+ hours sounds right.
I love this game and have only made it all the way through the base game once, and I’ve been playing with the DLCs a bit and am impressed with what they have to offer…when I’m not cursing out the screen for the untimely appearance of you-know-who causing a TPK.
Wonderful game, one of the best buys I’ve ever made, and it will get plenty of future playthroughs from me, as well.
4) Sid Meier’s Civilization 6 – 996.3 hours
I’ve long been a Civilization fan ever since fellow Meeple Phil introduced me to the game over two decades ago, and Civilization 6 is a stunningly good game (once all the DLCs and expansions are figured in) and while I loved Civ 5 and therefore had some doubts early on, 6 was next level.
I love 4X games and Civilization 6 is just the best of all of them. While the game has a few basic warts that doesn’t change the fact that if you want the best 4X game out there, there’s nothing quite like Civilization 6. There’s a reason this game has launched so many YouTuber and Twitch Streamer careers the past few years, and the many, many game modes mean you can customize a game to have a truly great and varied experience.
I’m sure many more hours will keep going into this game until the next version comes along…and it will have a high bar to meet to match the quality that Civ 6 brings to the table.
3) Stardew Valley – 1,207.2 hours
I honestly thought this would be number one on this list and in fairness, it eventually will be just because I love this game so much, not to mention the future videos I plan to make and throw down challenges I’m preparing for Phil.
There’s a reason we have more video game articles on Stardew Valley than any video game on this site. The King of all farm-life sims and one that revitalized the genre many years after Story of Seasons: Friends of Mineral Town, this game was incredible even before the famous 1.5 update and the incredible work that has been put into the Stardew Extended Mod.
This is a game I’ll still be playing 10+ years from now, and at just shows how great it is…and why I’m surprised it’s not #1 on this list on pure hours played.
Just a Handful of the Related Stardew Valley Articles
- Rare Seed Guide Stardew Valley
- How to Stop Lagging in Stardew Valley
- Complete Beach Farm Guide Stardew Valley
- Fruit Trees Stardew Valley
- Why Did My Animals Disappear Stardew Valley?
If you want to read more about Stardew Valley, just toss it in our search box on the site and you’ll see plenty!
2) D&D Lords of Waterdeep – 1,276.9 hours
Ah, this makes a little bit of sense. Beating out Stardew by a hair, my favorite board game in digital form is perfect when I want a quick board game in an hour in between freelancing jobs or projects, but don’t have hours to set up a board or friends there to do it.
I have played the hell out of Lords of Waterdeep and this will be one of my main go-to’s when I just need a little bit of time to get my board game fix in and let the brain rest from a major project before getting back to it.
So while I don’t think of this as a favorite video game, and among pure rankings it wouldn’t be nearly this high on the list, the total of hours are beginning to make sense.
1) Sid Meier’s Civilization 5 – 1,822.2 hours
So wow…wasn’t expecting that one. Don’t get me wrong, Civ 5 was a great game…but I actually very much prefer Civ 6 and wasn’t expecting the hours to run away with this one. In fairness, I can say with certainty that Total War Medieval 2 has seen many more hours than this and the time will come when Stardew passes it, but those younger years of severe insomnia and a lot of free time apparently consistently led to one thing: more world conquest.
And that’s not anything against Civilization 5, which was clearly a great game and without question better than Civ 4, which I also enjoyed immensely.
In fact, it was hard to imagine how to improve on the game at the time, and considering I had a much smaller number of games (and had this for years before Darkest Dungeon, Stardew Valley, Dead Age, and other games on and off this list), not to mention I had much more free time and serious insomnia for years in my early 30’s so yeah.
I was surprised at just how many hours I had in Civ5 but hey, what can I say? It was a great game and it’s at least one I’m not embarrassed to have on this list!
So What Does This Tell Me?
While hours played are really interesting, they’re only one measurement of how much a game was worth. While Lords of Waterdeep is my favorite board game, the digital version is probably the worst “video game” on this list yet it has the 2nd most hours.
It’s not better than Skyrim, Portia, or Stardew Valley, but it is a great mindless game to toss up for 40 minutes while between projects or when I don’t want to commit to more time playing.
This is a neat way to see the wide variety of games I enjoy, but it also shows how much genre plays into how much hours go into one game versus another. The Banner Saga was one of my all-time favorite games – and neither it (nor 2 nor 3) come close to my top 25 in hours played but that doesn’t make them any less great.
Not many RPGs get more than 1-2 playthroughs even though they’re amazing.
This also shows me the variety in taste is about what I expects, but it also gives me a great idea for another article when trying to think about how to rate my favorite games: my surprise and the number of amazing games I assumed I had to have 100’s of hours in because of how much I remember or love them…but saw them fall in the 30-50 hour range.
Verdant Skies and Dead Age 2 were two games that fall in this list.
So fun article to see which games I’ve come back to again and again, and even inspired a future article on games that pack an enormous amount of game per hour.
Other Video Game Articles of Interest
- Breath of the Wild Wii U Vs Switch
- My Time at Portia Resource Guide
- Coral Island Beginner’s Guide
- Rare Seed Guide Stardew Valley
- Stardew Valley Beach Farm Guide
Proud to embrace the locally created moniker of “Corrupt Overlord” from one of the all time great Lords of Waterdeep runs, Shane is one member of the Assorted Meeples crew and will be hard at work creating awesome content for the website. He is a long-time player of board games, one time semi-professional poker player, and tends to run to the quirky or RPG side of things when it comes to playing video games. He loves tabletop roleplaying systems like Dungeons & Dragons, Pathfinder, Werewolf, Fate, and others, and not only has been a player but has run games as DM for years. You can find his other work in publications like Level Skip or Hobby Lark.