I have some of those "1001 ... you must see before you die" books and felt like this concept could be applied to board games as well. Since I don't claim to be the ultimate authority on games, I decided to crowdsource and turned to boardgamegeek.com, the biggest board game database online.
How to poster
- This initial attempt took the top games from boardgamegeek ranked list (only those with 30+ ratings).
- Rankings were then adjusted for complexity bias.
- After that the player count recommendations were sorted from best to worst.
- Then I filled out the table, trying to put top games in their best column. Had to introduce some bias toward larger player counts, because 7 is an uncommon player count; 6×167=1002 games looks much better on a poster though.
- Finally the columns were sorted and coloured by weight.
The resulting visualization makes it pretty clear that it's really hard to design a good game that is both complex and playable with many people at the same time.
If I were to make an actual book on this subject, I would try to limit games to one representative of the family (only one Ticket to Ride edition, for example); also add some maybe less highly rated but historically relevant games (Chess, Monopoly, Go) and try to account for age bias in general.