Articles Analysis What's Wrong with BoardGameGeek's Game Rankings?
 

What's Wrong with BoardGameGeek's Game Rankings? What's Wrong with BoardGameGeek's Game Rankings? Hot

Humor me for a moment.

Take a look at the following IMDB page, where it details the top 100 films.

The Top 250 Films according to IMDB users

Done? Okay, now here's a link to one of many video game user database sites, where they track similar ratings.

The Top 100 Games according to RF Generation users


Notice anything? For the most part, even if you're not a fan of cinema or video games, you've heard of many or most of these titles. Everyone knows who Mario is, or Sonic, or has certainly seen the controversial news stories about Grand Theft Auto. Even if someone has never seen the Godfather, they've certainly heard of it. Sure, there are a few oddities sprinkled in here and there on both lists, but many of them are a part of the public conciousness. My aunt, who has never seen Fight Club, knows about the phrase "You Do Not Talk About Fight Club."

 

Now let's take a look at another such list, Boardgamegeek's top 50 games.

The Top 50 Boardgames according to Boardgamegeek users

Notice anything strange?

Mario, Sonic, Godfather, Shawshank Redemption...Puerto Rico? Power Grid?

First, a disclaimer--the questions I'm about to ask about games and gaming are equally pertinent to Ameritrash games as they are Euros. I labor under no delusions that someone wandering on to BGG is going to have the first clue what War of the Ring is, or even want to find out.

The question really is this--why is it that BGG, one of the focal points of our hobby, is so "out of whack" with what could be considered 'mainstream awareness?' Ask someone about famous video games, they'll definitely respond Mario, Zelda, and so on. Famous films? Raiders of the Lost Ark, Schindler's List, Casablanca, you betcha. And you'll get those responses even if someone doesn't profess to be a big fan of either video games or movies. My mother has never once played a video game but she is well aware of who Mario is. Heck, my two-year old twins instantly recognize him--shouting "MAHWIO!" whenever he's on TV or featured in an advertisement.

So then, what happens when you ask that same person to rattle off boardgames that they know? Without fail you'll hear the same answers--Monopoly, Sorry, Risk, Candyland. If you're lucky, you might get a Cranium or Apples to Apples, games that they played with "a friend of theirs who collects games." (That friend usually owns about 5.) If I pull up BGG and look for these items, what do I find? Sorry? Ranked 4305. Risk? The stellar high ranking of 3523. And Monopoly, probably the most famous boardgame of all...well, I'm going to have to keep looking awhile...oh yes, there it is at rank 4320, sandwiched in between Pachisi and Hungry Hungry Hippos (games that are also a thousand times more likely to be rattled off than something like Goa.)

Understand too that I'm pointing no fingers here (the graphic and title above is intentionally provocative to attract eyeballs.) When I was a kid, I *hated* Monopoly. But here's how a game as popular and famous as Monopoly warps the brain--I just assumed that since I didn't like Monopoly, I didn't like boardgames! I figured I was the weird one, maybe I just didn't "get" it...after all, Monopoly lines the walls of the local Targets and Wal-Marts, so it MUST be good, right? And truth be told, you do see a lot of gamers who get initiated in the hobby and quickly pick up the groupthink of hating all the classics. I just saw a Geeklist the other day where a guy proclaimed that he had once loved all of the games listed...until he got to BGG, where the users told him to know better...and he did. Gack.

Why is the disconnect so large between hobbyist boardgaming and the general public, though? If you show someone who doesn't know much about boardgames the top 50 games on BGG, you'll be greeted with puzzled bewilderment--at best. I can't count how many times I've brought a game to our lunch group at work only to hear, "Where on earth do you GET all these games? How do you even HEAR of them?" As though I've been out touring the world and have discovered these games in some ancient shop--"no, sir, I don't want the Mogwai, but I will take a copy of Drakon, thankyouverymuch."

 

BRIGHT LIGHT, DAMMIT!!
"And whatever you do, don't let him play Power Grid after midnight."

Is it just exposure to the hobby in general? Sure, you see advertisements for video games and movies on television all the time. But boardgames are just as ingrained...as any boardgamer will tell you, there are people on television playing boardgames all the time! The character John Locke on Lost was shown to be a boardgamer in one of his flashbacks, and he's played Backgammon during his stay on the island a couple of times at least. On Seinfeld, Jerry had boardgames lining his shelf. And I'm willing to bet that if you ask someone if they have any games, they'll take you to their closet where they'll have Monopoly, Sorry, and maybe Trivial Pursuit or something like that. You can't just write it off as a lack of exposure--people know boardgames. They're everywhere!

Is it just the lack of exposure to the "right" kind of games? In which case, you're lead to follow that question with "why are the *wrong* kind of games lining store shelves?" If Settlers were on Wal-Mart shelves, could Monopoly fans be persuaded to give it a go? I'm not convinced entirely, because we've seen limited penetration of some "hobbyist" titles at the mass retail level, and usually it makes barely a ripple. Carcassonne was featured on Toys 'R' Us shelves for awhile; I remember seeing the same copies sitting there every time I went in. I already had it, so I had no use for it--but there was a "better" game sitting right there, and I'm willing to bet sales of Monopoly didn't suffer an ounce from the competition.

Maybe, then, it's the people in charge of the brands and games that have the attention of the public consciousness. Yet you look at guys like Rob Daviau and Craig Van Ness at Hasbro, and it's obvious from the interviews that they've done that both of them have strong gaming backgrounds. These two guys were the brains behind (or certainly played a big part in the development of) Heroscape, Star Wars: The Queen's Gambit, Buffy The Vampire Slayer, Risk: 2210, Betrayal at House on the Hill, Star Wars: Epic Duels, and many others. And if there were fistfuls of dollars in those types of games, Hasbro would have the muscle to encourage their further development and get them onto Wal-Mart shelves. Obviously this doesn't happen, so that means Hasbro isn't getting the mega-bucks from these types of games...and so they greenlight Spongebob Life instead. That's just how it seems to go.

So what needs to happen, then? Let's say we did get every person who's ever claimed to enjoy a boardgame to sign up for BGG, and rate the games they know from 1-10. I think if that happened, you would see a HUGE leap in the ratings for the "classics"--the Strategos, the Checkers, the Connect Fours, yes, even the Monopolies. If they did appear in sufficient numbers, they would be immune from the groupthink that causes them to go, "You know, I don't like Cranium after all. In fact, I think I suddenly hate party games. Changed from a 10 to a 4."

I'm left to think that despite the fact that boardgames as a medium are a part of the public awareness...despite the fact that in the age of the internet, you don't have to look far to find "better" games...despite the fact that most people have probably played a boardgame of some kind in their lives....we just won't see people lining up to try boardgames, at least, not the kind that we enjoy and talk about. Really, for things to "synch" up, one of two things would have to happen. Hobbyists would have to 'open their mind' to the classics once again, if for no other reason than to attract gamers into the hobby--and yes, this means saying "Yes" when the guy at the office asks if you want to meet with their game group to play Vanilla Risk. The other thing would be that somehow the knowledge of the hobby would expand beyond Monopoly, to the point where the hobby achieves the same level of general familiarity that films and video games enjoy. But I know one thing--so long as there's ignorance on one side and stubborn elitism on the other, nothing will ever change.

 


This Fortress Flashback was originally published March 23, 2008

 

Powered by JReviews
Comments (99)
  • avatarSpace Ghost

    This topic is discussed a lot on BGG in different venues. I would like to preface what I am going to say with the fact that BGG is on the receiving end of these comments just because it is the definitive database for boardgames. Now, some of this is going to be somewhat of a rant.

    First, a lot of the problem is in how the ranking data is handled. As you point out in your second to last paragraph, if everyone who knew about boardgames log on and rank games, then some of the classics would maybe move up. Although they might move up because of whatever rankings they would receive. There should be at least some different sets of rankings for different target audiences. Perhaps some of the "hardcore" are best served by the current rankings; however, there definitely needs to be a list of "broader community" rankings that would intermingle known games with unknown games -- this would definitely increase awareness of the hobby.

    The current system completely discounts the penetration of some games (such as Monopoly, Risk, Clue) into the greater market. For fuck's sake, Magic is only ranked around 180 or so; personally, it is hard for me to think of a game that receives more play by the masses.

    Here are some problems I have with the ranking system.

    1. Inherently, it is arbitrary. The number of the "dummy votes" that are added to each game are chosen in such a manner that the end results can be completely changed by changing the number of dummy votes.

    2. The ratings are treated in such a manner that violate about any respectable underlying assumption of data analysis. Not trying to make this too technical of a discussion (however, I think it warrants it given we are talking about ratings), but there is a simple way to correct this and to incorporate popularity into the list as well. Then, based on a particular users preferences, the appropriate level of popularity can be
    incorporated. This solves the problem of "What the fuck is this game?" discussed here. This also fixes the problem discussed about some of the classics being so far down the list as to turn away the average user.

    3. I have posted some alternate ranking algorithms that appropriately deals with the data given the nature of the data. Furthermore, the list can be tuned to a user's preference. A problem is that everyone is so fucking wedded to needing one list without any flexibility (not meant to self-promote, but some procedures are correct and some are not). Instead, insufficient and incorrect procedures are used and promoted beyond the point of reason.

    These problems permeate throughout the entire behind the scences statistical culture. For instance, the analysis behind the personalized recommendation system is only divulged in such a manner that a few details are given, but nothing can be recreated in any manner to determine whether the algorithm can really be depended on. Furthermore, this limits competing technologies that can improve upon the current system.

  • avatardaveroswell

    A problem with your analogy. You ask us to go to BGG for solid proof in the form of the top 50 list.

    Problem? BGG's always freakin down!

    (Calm down Triple M/Oc...you know it's true. I know Aldie is vamping up the site so's it can blend yer Margaritas for ya, but how does that help me when it is down, scheduled OR unscheduled maintenence counted?)

  • avatarvialiy

    Revised ratings algorithms would not change anything. BGG is a niche community, it does not represent all of gaming, and given that, their rankings look perfectly normal. It's a mistake to see BGG as a mainstream site like IMDB.

  • avatarmoss_icon

    There is also a million popular movies, and a hundred thousand popular computer games. There are 5 popular board games. And for the most part I don't think those 5 games are even that popular with your average person on the street. Once a year at Christmas family type things when the TV finally goes off.

    People who avidly play Monopoly are probably little more common than people who avidly play Settlers.

  • avatarSpace Ghost  - re:
    vialiy wrote:
    Revised ratings algorithms would not change anything. BGG is a niche community, it does not represent all of gaming, and given that, their rankings look perfectly normal. It's a mistake to see BGG as a mainstream site like IMDB.

    Here, check out this geeklist:

    http://www.boardgamegeek.com/geeklist/27969

    In particular, look at the P20 list. You will see a Top 100 that now contains such noteworthy games as : Risk, Scrabble, Chess, MtG, Axis and Allies, etc.

    While the very top of the list still are "niche" games (and this will be impossible to change given the BGG demographic as you indicated), it is possible to create lists that are appropriate for whatever the target audience is. This algorithm treats "popularity" as a parameter that can be adjusted based on individual preferences, which seems totally reasonable since the original ranking is completely aribitrary. Not only does this algorithm change things, it does so in a reasonable manner that is also consistent with the appropriate way to analyze this kind of data (a big bonus in my book).

    I agree that BGG isn't a mainstream site like IMDB, and perhaps it doesn't want to be; however, there is no denying that it is the closest boardgaming repository that comes close, so comparisons are of no surprise and one could argue they are even warranted.

  • avatarSpace Ghost

    Side Note:

    Are these little thumbs new?

    I thought it was a hoax, so I clicked on one and it worked...I have to admit I am a little disappointed, although the thumbs down is an improvement. I propose that the thumbs up should be deleted and only have a thumbs down for posts...now that would be the AT Fuck You attitude.

  • avatardaveroswell  - re:
    Space Ghost wrote:
    Side Note:

    Are these little thumbs new?

    I thought it was a hoax, so I clicked on one and it worked...I have to admit I am a little disappointed, although the thumbs down is an improvement. I propose that the thumbs up should be deleted and only have a thumbs down for posts...now that would be the AT Fuck You attitude.


    Just gave you a thumbs down for the hell of it. And out of principle.

    Interesting that you can't "take it back" though...

  • avatarMichael Barnes

    I have several comments I would like to make about this issue. To start with, the problem with

    http://php.thnt.com/blog11/wp-content/uploads/2007/11/technical-difficulties.jpg

  • avatarMr. Bistro  - re:
    vialiy wrote:
    Revised ratings algorithms would not change anything. BGG is a niche community, it does not represent all of gaming, and given that, their rankings look perfectly normal. It's a mistake to see BGG as a mainstream site like IMDB.


    Yeah, that second G in BGG dileneates the difference between that site and others like IMDB. Sure, film geeks go to IMDB, but so does my senior citizen dad. Popular culture is saturated by movies, videogames, books, etc. In the past I have read others suggest that many people only have boardgames because they see them on the shelves at Target or whatever and think, "Hey I don't have Monopoly - I'm supposed to have Monopoly." The downfall of boardgames as popular entertainment can probably be linked to the advent of television - something that killed many other activities such as visiting art galleries or attending plays.

  • avatarChapel

    When will people start believing me when I say BGG is not a site for boardgames as a whole. The ratings there are useless for the common family gamer who plays monopoly with the kids every now and again, or the person who plays cranium or trivial pursuit at a party. Those people don't have boardgaming as a primary entertainment medium. Those people do have Movies, TV, Books, and even Video Games as a primary medium. Therefore you will see the most commercially recognizable game on every list. If Video games were a niche' Mario, Zelda would be a huge question mark for people, but instead, MILLIONS of people have played those games.

    I bet if you asked the typical person to name 100 movies, 100 TV shows, 100 Music Performers, 100 Video Games, and 100 Board Games, guess which one would have the "least" amount of complete lists of 100?

  • avatarmikelawson

    Ken, one thing is to consider the IMDb Top 250, but another to consider the Rotten Tomatoes' Top 100. Since Rotten Tomatoes ranks critics, the ratings are a bit more skewed toward the art house and small indie flick.

    http://www.rottentomatoes.com/top/bestofrt_year.php

    Of course, the listing emphasizes reviews that are postive or negative, so the listing is simply an exercise in showing the games that have 100% positive reviews. However, the more obscure titles show up more than in IMDb.

    Another thing to consider, Ken, is the power of television. Remember when MB and Parker Brothers would come out with a new game and it would get promoted on television? Stay Alive, anyone? Carrier Strike? It's not just enough for Carc to show up on Toys R Us' shelves, you have to actually promote the game itself. I've been watching the writing business for a while, and one thing that is a constant denominator is that once your book heads to the printers, your work is only half done; you have to promote your book in any way you can. If you can get people to start reading it and talking about it, then you'll be able to get that word of mouth you need to get your book sold.

    A lot of the small games in our hobby rely upon either the publisher's pre-order system, the major gaming website (BGG, F:AT, CSW, Gleemax, ENWorld, etc.), and the gaming convention to build word of mouth for games. While the audience is targeted well and games will get sold, the promotion and advertising for these games is limited to a degree that almost guarantees a low level of penetration in any market beyond the those groups. If you don't know about those areas, you have almost no chance of finding out about these games. You are, ironically enough, almost completely reliant upon walking by the FLGS and seeing these games and being curious about them.

    As much as I hate the business speak about it, there is a great value to working the "branding" aspect of boardgames. Right now -in the U.S. at least- there is nobody who engages in "brand management" like the major corporations do. Sure, there's Jay, the folks at GMT, Zev and a few others, but they're owners and publishers first and foremost. There's nobody out there whose primary job is trying to figure out how to promote, protect, and expand the Rio Grande, GMT, Colombia, Z-Man and other games lines. DoW and FFG seem to have ideas on that, but all of these operations in general are small enough that they lack the sufficient budget to make any sort of penetration in the mass market conciousness.

    You know what's needed? An industry association dedicated to promoting these smaller, independent boardgames. If the coal industry can put up billboards all over Cincinnati promoting coal as a cheap, clean source of energy (taking a swipe at the Oil and Gas industry), then something like a small boardgaming/tabletop RPG association can go out and promote games and gaming in various venues without relying upon the game group, the quality of the FLGS, or the random hit on a gaming website to sell their product.

    (Whew! And I thought I never had it in me; must be all those hours I spend telling MBAs why it's not a good idea to open up things like rlogin on servers even though it makes their lives easier.)

    --Mike L.

  • avatarmoofrank

    I don't believe that BGG ranking system is causing this disparity (although I do believe it is heavily flawed).

    The problem is that there are 3 gaming industries:

    1. Mass Market
    2. American Hobby
    3. Worldwide Internet hive mind

    BGG is definitely tied into the third one. And there is some overlap between segments (Hasbro has major stakes in 1 and 2, but farms #2 out to Wizards.)

    All everyone else EVER sees is rehashes of the same games from the 30's and 40's splashed onto toy store shelves. Along with the occasional game that has managed to hand around from the 60's-80's. While *I* am fond of those old Ideal games, most people have vague memories of some game they played a bit when they were young.

    Monopoly, Risk, Sorry and crew are the games most people actually know because of marketing. But the games themselves are relatively dated. When a person raised on PC and video games tries to play them, they seem...kinda boring.

  • avatarWalterman

    I think a more profound question would be: "What's right with BoardGameGeek's rankings?"

    Rating board games doesn't make sense. There aren't 100 top board games for everyone. There is also a fundamental difference between board games and film: board games aren't art.

    Video games are a multi-million dollar industry. People also know about top brands of toothpaste. Comparing a niche hobby to a huge industry makes no sense.

    Anime is a niche market. There are 0 anime films in the imdb top 50 (the highest one is 57 and was distributed by Disney in the US). Looking at the top listings on The Anime Review http://www.theanimereview.com/, that film, Spirited Away, is just one of 27 A+ selections.

    So in summary: rankings don't make sense for board games, and even if you did rank them, niche markets have different ratings than the mainstream.

  • avatarMalloc

    The thing I find funny (and have been Guilty of myself in the past) is how much the general community on BGG cards about what rank their game is.

    Really does it matter that PR is .14 of a point (or whatever the real number is) higher than the #2 game?

    In general I would rather see a system that gave games a star rating that hid the exact number. Say all of the games int he top 5 were 5 star games Something like that.

    Maybe go nuts have have 10 tiers of games presented.

    The overall game ranking there is a waste of time. In fact after being burned as a newbie a few time by highly ranked games that didn't appeal to me it became clear that if i picked up every game with a 7+ rating on BGG I would quickly own a lot of games i didn't enjoy playing.

    I won't even begin to talk about the stupid rank descriptions there....

    -M

  • avatarStephen Avery
    Quote:
    But I know one thing--so long as there's ignorance on one side and stubborn elitism on the other, nothing will ever change.

    Which is why I've decided to unify both sides byt being a stubborn ignorant elitist.

    Steve"leetist"Avery

  • avatarCitadel

    Go, Settlers of Catan and Crokinole are exceptions to what you are saying. Also, stuff like Civilisation, Space Hulk and Roborally are known by the average geek.

    I can see what you mean about BGG being like a pretentious top 100 film list that is nothing but art house films. It is also getting worse and worse with this cult of the new. Year on year more games than ever are getting high scores and high ranks. I predict that by 2015 90% of games in the top 100 will be from that year.

    One big reason why boardgaming may be a niche is that you have to learn rules. I was amazed to sit down to play Carcassonne with my parents and aunts and uncle to hear people saying "Let's just start we can learn as we go along." This is after about 1 minute of a 2 minutes rules explanation. One of my friends had a brilliant suggestion of putting rules explanation/demonstration DVDs in games. At first it sounded like a waste of money to me but now I think it is a great idea. It would only cost $1 per game or they could put them online. Boardgames lack the plug and play fun of movies, computer games or books.

    Just looked at the iMDB and RF Generation lists. I think the RF Generation list is extremely flawed the number 1 game is based on a mere 58 votes. The RF list is massively skewed towards Nintendo esp. older Nintendo. There is only one PC game on the whole list. I think a site like Gamespot would yield a better list. The iMDB list is much more representative but it is still skewed in a way that suggests to me most people voting are 20-40 year old male americans. All lists of the 100 best will have a skew based on who is voting. On a website it will be the people who visit and contribute to the site.

    Has Fortress AT considered making its own top 100? It might be doable through BGG. If you make a group of your friends on BGG you can then get a list ranking the average rating of those voting. You can filter by number of votes as well. Not sure if you can do any Bayesian averaging.

  • El Poopo

    Longtime lurker here, popping my cherry.

    One of the strange things about mass market board games is that, I think, people don't buy them to play them. I mean, every single household I've ever been in has a copy of Monopoly, but I can't remember the last time I've seen anybody actually playing Monopoly. Instead, people must frequently buy games as cultural artifacts or something, or out of some vague sense that every household should have a copy of certain games, just in case (just in case what?). A board game is like the appendix of the household; pointless but ubiquitous.

    So this is very different from movies/ video games which people actually buy to use.

    If it is true that people buy board games as cultural artifacts, then it makes sense that people would only care to buy games which are part of our shared cultural history. None of the games on BGG are that, so folks in the general population don't care.

    But the people who use BGG buy games to actually play them, so they have a completely different perspective. Hence the mismatch 'tween BGG and the world at large.

    A theory anyway.

  • avatarRliyen

    that every household should have a copy of certain games, just in case (just in case what?)

    -- In case the BIG ONE drops, of course. Then, you'll have entertainment!!!

  • avatarJuniper  - re:
    Citadel wrote:

    I can see what you mean about BGG being like a pretentious top 100 film list that is nothing but art house films.

    It's more like a top 100 albums list that is nothing but Weird Al Yankovic, They Might Be Giants, and Jonathan Coulton.

  • avatarvialiy

    Tweaking rankings is my pet peeve... Why not stick to the simplest "algorithm", make people rank games on a scale, compile, and see the result? It's absurd to make people vote and then introduce some coefficient or other to make the "true" games climb higher. Rankings like that are never objective, it's impossible. You have a snapshot of a certain community, people who are drawn to certain games. You can try absolutely anything you want with the algorithms, you will not change that fact.

  • El Poopo  - re:
    Citadel wrote:

    One big reason why boardgaming may be a niche is that you have to learn rules. I was amazed to sit down to play Carcassonne with my parents and aunts and uncle to hear people saying "Let's just start we can learn as we go along." This is after about 1 minute of a 2 minutes rules explanation. \

    Totally. If I were starting a game company that had any intention of being profitable, one of the first commandments of my company charter would be (carved in a stone tablet): thou shalt not publish any game with rules longer than a page.

    None too exciting to enthusiastic gamers, but probably commercially expedient.

  • avatarjeb  - re:
    Malloc wrote:
    The thing I find funny (and have been Guilty of myself in the past) is how much the general community on BGG cards about what rank their game is.

    Really does it matter that PR is .14 of a point (or whatever the real number is) higher than the #2 game?

    ...

    The overall game ranking there is a waste of time. In fact after being burned as a newbie a few time by highly ranked games that didn't appeal to me it became clear that if i picked up every game with a 7+ rating on BGG I would quickly own a lot of games i didn't enjoy playing.

    I came to a very similar conclusion after about six months of using the 'geek. I too had games like Goa on my Wantlist, because they must be awesome, right? Well, in the wake of robartin's now-infamous Geeklist, I realized there were games I really liked, like 9 and 10 liked, that weren't in the top 100. And it hit me--basically any game in the Top 300 is an awesome game. There are a great many that aren't too my tastes (like Goa), but just because Goa is way up there doesn't mean it's better than Mutant Chronicles.

    I also have a comment related to Ken's article--one of my biggest ratings differences (ie, my ranking - BGG ranking) is Checkers. Even using the recommended guidance I can not fathom how poorly that game is rated. Who doesn't want to play checkers? Jeez! If your granny came over and set up the board, would you actually SPURN her? Give me a break--it takes ten minutes and the whole damn world knows how to play. I have similar rankings for Yahtzee, Whist, etc. They're not my favorite games in the world, but they don't get a 3 for crying out loud. That I reserve for games like Monopoly and Risk--which are not fun. I've played them both dozens and dozens of times, and I've won and lost in dramatic fashion--but that doesn't mean they're fun. It just means they were there.

  • avatarCitadel  - re:
    vialiy wrote:
    Tweaking rankings is my pet peeve... Why not stick to the simplest "algorithm", make people rank games on a scale, compile, and see the result? It's absurd to make people vote and then introduce some coefficient or other to make the "true" games climb higher. Rankings like that are never objective, it's impossible. You have a snapshot of a certain community, people who are drawn to certain games. You can try absolutely anything you want with the algorithms, you will not change that fact.

    All sites with rankings like these have to filter to some extent. Most use Bayesian averaging or some sort of ratings cut off. Otherwise shills and fanboys will reign supreme. I notice on iMDB that what I think is my second favourite film of all time only has 6000 votes and doesn't make the list despite that it's rating would put it about the 100 mark. It's probably a good thing though as I am sure it would sink like a stone if people who wouldn't otherwise have thought of watching it started to due to its ranking. It's Andrei Rublev - in case you are wondering.

  • avatarmoofrank

    Goa is #21?

    Goa is an 8 or 9 rating game if you only ever play it once. Even among the die hard Euro crowd I was hanging around a couple of weeks back, people were shocked and stunned to see a game of Goa in progress. "Wow, that's a blast from the past..."

    And Bridge is #140?

    Look at this comment on Bridge:

    "Bah. High requirement for memorizing bidding and playing strategies. Competing players' skill level will almost always determine the outcome. Trick-taking based, and thus requires copious card counting. Entirely abstract. What is there to like? "

    In other words, it is too complex for him, and requires too much skill to win.

    Ditto for:

    "Interesting, and deep. Is marred by some very esoteric scoring, and the existance of the dummy."

    Who perhaps hasn't worked out that most of the actual play in Bridge is because of that exposed dummy hand.

  • avatarOrthodork  - re: re:
    jeb wrote:

    I also have a comment related to Ken's article--one of my biggest ratings differences (ie, my ranking - BGG ranking) is Checkers. Even using the recommended guidance I can not fathom how poorly that game is rated.

    I think this ranking comes from the fact that Checkers is 'solved', which is a death knell for a game on BGG. Never mind that a 'solved' game is only solved if neither player makes a mistake (which would require memorization on a scale that I think is out of reach for most human beings, if not all of them), and furthermore, requires 'perfect play', which can be really counterintuitive.

    But that won't stop someone from huffing "it's solved, not worth my time, rating 1 (broken". Checkers is a fine game for teaching strategy, easy to grasp, and doesn't have victory points for sucking up to kings; it's a lost cause as far as BGG is concerned.

  • avatarKingPut

    The ranking or rating system on board game geek is probably no better or no worse than any other rating system on the web or anywhere else.

    Here's a rating system for beer. How many of the 50 beers have you drank in the last month?
    http://www.ratebeer.com/Ratings/Ratings-Top50.asp
    Or we can look up wine or restaurants ratings which tend to be more elitist. For this type of rating you have 2 or 3 fat blokes that can total influence whether a wine sells for $5.00 or $500.00. I interviewed for a job at Consumer Report magazine which most people would think was the most objective system in the world yet in most cases the ratings are made by a handful of people. That is the nature of rating systems. However, I would agree with Malloc that taking the ratings out to the third decimal place makes no sense.

  • avatarDiogenes

    I try to ignore subjective rankings, no matter the subject. Perhaps not completely "ignore", but certainly give it little weight in deciding what I may or may not like. Everybody has their own taste, and no amount of "expert" opinion is going to change it. Hell, if somebody were to rate the "Best Foods" I'm sure lobster would rank up there. I freakin' hate lobster. I freakin' hate "Tigris and Euphrates" too. Doesn't mean a fig to anybody else, though. It's not like they're wrong, it is just that they ain't me.

    (on Edit- Cool, so I can thumb my own posts. Brings self-loathing to a whole new level.)

  • avatarMalloc  - re:
    KingPut wrote:


    Here's a rating system for beer. How many of the 50 beers have you drank in the last month? http://www.ratebeer.com/Ratings/Ratings-Top50.asp

    I bet Natty-Boh sells a lot more beer than that snobby one on top of your fancy list :)

    -M

  • avatarcolleen

    The BGG rating system is not "broken". It serves three goals. You can rate games based on any system you want to and then look at how those games rank for you personally. Sometimes I can't remember if I hated Modern Art or if I thought it was somewhat annoying. I can look at my rating and see that it sucked, but not as bad as I remember. I can see that I liked slightly better than Alhambra. It's a nice filing system for personal opinions.

    The second purpose is that the incredibly stupid games get low ratings. Some good games get low ratings too, but the real crap is down at the dirty bottom. So anything averaging below a 4 must be TOTAL crap. And some children's games fall into that category, but come on, there are better children's games out there than Candyland.

    Thirdly, I like to arrange local gaming events on BGG in our guild. I have met alot of BGGers who have checked my ratings to see if I play games they like before they come over to my house. So the ratings are a nice way to express preference to people you actually game with.

    The rating system doesn't claim to be anything. BGGers tend to ask it to be much more. I know that some games I rate with screwy numbers because I think it's funny. I really don't care about ratings.

  • avatarBigLizard

    1) Regarding the thumbs, see Ubarose's post in the Suggestions Forum.

    2) Regarding the ratings and "vintage" games in everyone's closet, the point that Monopoly or the other big market games sell well just because of some nostalgia is at least in part a bunch a crap. Mr. Lawson has a point when he said brand marketing. Every so often a new mass market game comes out that gets a huge push, and becomes a part of the greater consciousness, and becomes established as a standard. I can think of three off the top of my head that were huge hits and that the general population has heard about including a very recent addition: Uno, Trivial Pursuit, and Apples to Apples. Apples to Apples certainly has come to prominence because of a strong advertising campaign. The other two I remember being popular more due to word of mouth. Trivial Pursuit is still going strong today because of the game has, like monopoly, diversified and cashed in on the back of other branding (my niece wanted the video Harry Potter Trivial Pursuit for Christmas). I don't see Uno much anymore perhaps because it isn't marketed much anymore and has not tried to tie into other branding (I could see some kind of Star Wars Uno as ringing up some sales). Of course the bottom line with at least the first two games is both were easy to learn and at least initially fun to play with your friends and family. I've not played AtA so can't comment on it. I remember that all those old Milton Bradley or Parker Brothers games had their instructions printed on the bottom of the box top or perhaps a small 4-inch by 6-inch eight page pamphlet. It would have been almost incomprehensible back then to think of a game that would need 15 or 20 or more full pages of instructions. I think that is a big factor why these games sell well. They are family games that little kids and grandma can play without too much trouble.

    BillN

  • avatarSpace Ghost  - re:
    vialiy wrote:
    Tweaking rankings is my pet peeve... Why not stick to the simplest "algorithm", make people rank games on a scale, compile, and see the result? It's absurd to make people vote and then introduce some coefficient or other to make the "true" games climb higher. Rankings like that are never objective, it's impossible. You have a snapshot of a certain community, people who are drawn to certain games. You can try absolutely anything you want with the algorithms, you will not change that fact.

    Arbitrarily tweaking ratings is also my pet peeve; however, a bigger pet peeve is presenting a "product" and claiming that it does a good job and is appropriate when it is not. Unfortunately, there are a lot of simple things that are incorrect. Hell, it would be simpler just to make a games rating equal to its modal rating than to take averages like is currently done.

    Personally, I could give a damn about where certain games are ranked. I do find it irresponsible science to promote a certain ranking that is not appropriately created.

    Here you are talking about two kinds of objectivity: (1) objectiveness of the algorithmic procedure, and (2) objectiveness of the sample. Clearly, like Ken said in his original post, this is a biased sample and will not be objective -- this fact cannot be changed (100% agree with you there).

    What is less clear, is that the algorithm used by BGG is not objective. Now including a "coefficient" for popularity only makes the procedure subjective if the person compiling the ranking has complete control over its value. If you provide a set of different rankings where the coefficient varies than you provide a set of lists for :

    1. Hardcore niche gamers.
    2. More casual gamers.
    3. Just about anyone on the site.

    This is the true spirit of science. Allowing a flexible procedure for identifying the solution that is not biased towards the researchers decision. Furthermore, if we want to become overly technical, the current procedure -- while arguably simple -- violates: (a) the assumptions of the ratings scale, (b) the ability to standardize across individuals, and (c) many more technical details. What is questionable is to choose simple but wrong.

  • avatarSpace Ghost  - re: re:
    Malloc wrote:
    KingPut wrote:


    Here's a rating system for beer. How many of the 50 beers have you drank in the last month? http://www.ratebeer.com/Ratings/Ratings-Top50.asp


    I bet Natty-Boh sells a lot more beer than that snobby one on top of your fancy list :)

    -M

    I am sure Sweet Natalie outsells all of this for the year in one holiday weekend.

  • avatarratpfink

    What the... didn't you know that any niche hobby is out of whack with the mainstream? The ratebeer.com thing is a shining example of this. The majority of people are perfectly happy drinking Bud, listening to whatever is on the radio, eating at McDonalds, watching blockbusters like Transformers and playing Risk. Fuck 'em. People are idiots. I don't see any need to mainstream-ify this hobby or any other.

  • avatarWalterman

    Colleen, the original article was about rankings not ratings. Here's my take on your 3 points.

    1st, I can remember which games I hate and which I love. I'm glad it's useful for you though.

    2nd, there are only 7 games out of 4363 rated lower than 4.00. Doesn't seem that useful....

    3rd, we just talk about games we (dis)like, but whatever works for you.

    The ratings are the basis for rankings. That's a strong claim.

  • avatarmoofrank

    On a whim, I decided to look at the lowest rated games. My personal favorite whipping boy, the Lord of the Rings game by RoseArt is perhaps not entirely playable without rules revision.

    Somehow, this is higher than Pick up Sticks, Battleship, Monopoly, Mouse Trap, Operation, Cootie, and Trouble.

    Operation seems like the most innocuous. Just look at this comment:

    3: "I was a little torn on this one...As a game, it is lacking, but there is something about the buzzing and nose lighting that gives me a rush why trying to pull out the guy's "butterflys". I think it's the light and buzz that makes me pull this out every now and then. "

    This seems to translate to "I like it, but I'm not supposed to because this is the 'Geek."

    Somehow any accusations about Elitist snobs suddenly are entirely justified.

  • avatarmikoyan

    The ratings at BGG are never going to be unbiased because the site is never going to be unbiased. A group of folks over there convinced themselves that games where you give the king a blow job are more fun than games where you blow up other kings. And because of that, games like Agricola will shoot up to the top while games like Axis and Allies wallow.

  • avatarRyan B.

    What a great topic for an article.

    So what's wrong with BoardGameGeek's Game Rankings? Very simple. Its a niche hobbyist website with a niche hobbyist audience.

    Indeed, it is an audience that is out of touch with the mainstream gaming populace. But is that really so surprising?

    I'll tell you all this. Monopoly, for example, is a pretty decent game... on the condition you play it by the rules. Most people don't and add in the extra house rules like money for free parking and stuff. And then the game suffers.

    When played properly, Monopoly is some very plausible entertainment. It is a gratifying game that offers some dynamic business value. Heck, they've even wrote business books about Monopoly, for pete's sake. Ever seen a business book written about the Settlers of Catan? Puerto Rico? Traders of Genoa?

    Let's face it. The niche hobbyist typically will never give due credit for a game like Monopoly. Because that wouldn't be very "counter culture" and the niche game hobbyist would certainly never allow that. "Counter Culture" has value in the gaming hobby and serves has an indoctrination... errr "education" tool.

    Its "groupthink" at its finest.

  • avatarmikoyan

    I think Settlers is one of the games that has sort of crossed over from the niche to the mainstream. Granted it's not at Target or Wal Mart or whatever, but it has a little more appeal than something like Caylus or whatever. There is definately more game in Catan than in Caylus. But Catan suffers from the same fate as many other good games in that it's not "cool" and therefore suffers.

  • avatarKingPut  - re:
    ratpfink wrote:
    What the... didn't you know that any niche hobby is out of whack with the mainstream? The ratebeer.com thing is a shining example of this. The majority of people are perfectly happy drinking Bud, listening to whatever is on the radio, eating at McDonalds, watching blockbusters like Transformers and playing Risk. Fuck 'em. People are idiots. I don't see any need to mainstream-ify this hobby or any other.

    Ratpfink very nicely said. I gave you my 2nd thumb of the day. I think most of us on F:AT agree the BGG rating system is flawed and bias but it does serve some purpose if you understand the flaws and bias. Here is an excellent use of the ratings by our own Matt T., where he analyzed how the "AT elites" or the people with AT badges rated games:

    http://www.boardgamegeek.com/geeklist/27999

    On the flip side, one of the problems many people have with the BGG rating system or any rating system is that people start to believe it like gospel. The fear would be that people start design games with elegant mechanism to get the best BGG rating rather than designing games that are just fun.

  • avatarKen B.

    So after reading all of these great comments, I think I've surmised that the problem is that BGG, despite its size and relative importance to the hobby, is not a mainstream site. Not that boardgames aren't mainstream, but BGG isn't.

    I'm left to guess that the "casual" boardgame market can't support a mainstream site. I suppose it would get boring talking about the same six games over and over.


    "Hey, you played Pictionary?"

    "Yeah."

    "Cool."

    Sorry about using RF Generation as an example--the "video game database" sites are pretty scattered and diverse, but in general they all agree with the 'top' games. Just look at any of the big sites--IGN, Gamespot, or whatever--when they do "Top 100" lists. You still see the Usual Suspects on there, big=name successful games....Mario, Zelda, GTA, and so on.

  • adam.skinner

    You're comparing apples and oranges here. The BGG rankings are based on how often people want to play a game; your "popular culture games" is based on how pervasive a game is in American culture - how much market and "mind" share a game has with non-gamers.

    There are plenty of good games that cross over well. In fact, over the Easter weekend I played a game of Blue Moon with a guest at my parent's house, and she really enjoyed it. However, Blue Moon city took her longer to grasp (both she and my dad played open-hands and my brother and I helped them).

    I would welcome it if there was a popular renaissance in board games. It'd be great, and good for our culture at large. But I'm not pushing for it. The fact of the matter is that most people don't like thinking; they don't enjoy using their brains.

    Case in point: my father would rather play a simple card game than learn a slightly more complex board game (eg Sticheln or Hearts vs Blue Moon City or Vegas Showdown).

    For the common man to enjoy the games that we enjoy, he would need to enjoy using his brain. And there are plenty of people who like to use their brains that don't play games, but would consider themselves gamers: RTS computer gamers, CCG gamers, role-players and minis gamers that learn systems. Not all of the games we play would appeal to them, but many would.

    I have a friend who isn't interested in playing "bored games". He's stuck in a Monopoly rut when it comes to perceiving board games. This is the same guy, however, that I turned on to computer gaming in years past with the BF1942 demo (iirc); before that, he was a console gamer.

    Anyway, don't think that just because Joe Blow doesn't know Power Grid that the BGG metric is a bad method. It's not. Consider yourself fortunate that our ratings system isn't polluted such ratings based on lack of exposure.

  • avatarcolleen  - re:
    Walterman wrote:
    Colleen, the original article was about rankings not ratings. Here's my take on your 3 points.

    1st, I can remember which games I hate and which I love. I'm glad it's useful for you though.

    2nd, there are only 7 games out of 4363 rated lower than 4.00. Doesn't seem that useful....

    3rd, we just talk about games we (dis)like, but whatever works for you.

    The ratings are the basis for rankings. That's a strong claim.

    In case you didn't know, ratings = rankings. Any attempt to skew those numbers is like scraping goose shit off the driveway thinking it won't come back. (I have a problem with geese ON MY LAWN).

    Remembering that game you played 3 or 4 years ago at some obscure place on a night where you plaed 12 straight hours of games and then not thinking about it till 3 or 4 years later...that's what I mean by remembering. Not that I rated most of those games anyway, but I try to rate the games that I are forgettable.

    OK you got me on the 2 out of 4363...stupid numbers.

    The 3rd point is preference. I meet alot of folks online, look at their collections, and see if they might want to play those games. Maybe you play with the same people each week and you all know that so and so will refuse to play such and such that you were hoping to play that night.

    MY STRONG CLAIM...RATINGS = RANKINGS. I'm willing to debate this to the bitter end if you are.

  • avatarWalterman

    Rankings is saying game x is #1, game y is #2, and so on. Rating is saying game x is 8.31, games y is 8.16, and so on. That's how I understood the terms. And you seemed to be saying that rating was useful to you. My bad. I didn't understand that you saw the terms as synonymous.

    I remember a few games that I played once 3 or 4 years ago on a long game day (we were snowed in at a friend's house). The games I remember most are games that I loved or hated. Played Amum-Re once that specific day. I remember how much I hate that game to the present day. If I don't hate a game that strongly then I'm willing to play it.

    As I said I'm glad it's useful for you. I think it would be counter productive for me. My personal "fun factor" is better determined by memories. A game has to really rub me the wrong way to get hated for years. Something which is attributable to other players or other situational conditions doesn't trigger a lasting memory.

    Agreed your 3rd point is personal preference. I play game for their social aspect (although winning is fun too). I play with people I know, and I play to get to know them better.

    Real life example: when I brought a game of On the Underground and someone said they hated games with connections then I didn't bring that game again. I know that person said they hate all connection games, so Power Grid, TransAmerica, and so on are off limits with that person even if they haven't rated them on the geek. I feel we've learned more about each other than a numerical rating would tell.

    I usually bring an assortment of games (wide enough so there's little overlap (I wouldn't bring Quo Vadis?, Chinatown, and Diplomacy at once). There are usually enough people so if Amen-Re gets pulled out, I can join another game.

    Again, no need to debate personal definitions, but personal ratings/rankings are used in BGG's game ranking list. I think a system like the anime review's (see my earlier post on this article) would be more useful.

    But BGG seems to be a Eurogamer site. What could be more fun for them then giving games "VPs" and seeing which one "wins"?

  • avatarShellhead  - re:
    adam.skinner wrote:
    You're comparing apples and oranges here. The BGG rankings are based on how often people want to play a game;

    That's what the BGG rankings are supposed to be based on. But I have read many comments there next to the ratings that determine those rankings, and it's not unusual for people to rate a game before ever playing it. Sometimes games pick up high ratings from non-players due to the favorable advance buzz about a game, or low ratings if those non-players are biased against a game due to theme or even format, like a CCG or wargame.

  • avatarKingPut  - re:
    Ken B. wrote:
    So after reading all of these great comments, I think I've surmised that the problem is that BGG, despite its size and relative importance to the hobby, is not a mainstream site. Not that boardgames aren't mainstream, but BGG isn't.

    I'm left to guess that the "casual" boardgame market can't support a mainstream site. I suppose it would get boring talking about the same six games over and over.

    "Hey, you played Pictionary?"
    "Yeah."
    "Cool."

    Sorry about using RF Generation as an example--the "video game database" sites are pretty scattered and diverse, but in general they all agree with the 'top' games. Just look at any of the big sites--IGN, Gamespot, or whatever--when they do "Top 100" lists. You still see the Usual Suspects on there, big=name successful games....Mario, Zelda, GTA, and so on.

    Good article Ken. I think for a boardgame site to be successful and mainstream it would have to be part of a larger mainstream site that cover other forms of entertainment like video games or computer games. I think a site that was about games (card games, video games, board games, role playing games, war games, gambling, computer games, fantasy sports)in general would be much more main stream than BGG or anything just about boardgames.

  • LordVonTush  - re:
    moofrank wrote:

    Operation seems like the most innocuous. Just look at this comment:

    3: "I was a little torn on this one...As a game, it is lacking, but there is something about the buzzing and nose lighting that gives me a rush why trying to pull out the guy's "butterflys". I think it's the light and buzz that makes me pull this out every now and then. "

    This seems to translate to "I like it, but I'm not supposed to because this is the 'Geek."

    Somehow any accusations about Elitist snobs suddenly are entirely justified.

    Damn you for making me register on yet another site just to comment!

    Since I am the author of the quote in question here I guess I now feel a need to justify my comment. Especially since I'm getting tagged as elitist...

    I bought a new copy of the game a few years back on a whim...You know for old times sake. I remembered loving messing around, picking the butterflies out of the stomach...etc when I was a kid.

    This second time around is when I actually learned there was a game involved. When I was a kid it was the buzzing and lights that got me excited...I did not recall any portion of the game involving money. I was happy to find a game was actually boxed in there as well when I got it on the second go around. I played the game that went along with it and decided the game sucked (hence my '3').

    Now swap the "game" from using fake money and swap it with drinks from the keg or something...then there might be something more there. But as the game stands...as printed...I do not like the game. I will never play it as a game on its own and about the only way that I'd bring the game back out is if drinking was involved somehow.

  • avatarMichael Barnes

    Wow LVT...it sounds like you belonged here all along.

    But come on, just say it. Admit that flashing lights and loud noises are all it takes. It's OK to do that here.

  • avatarsisteray

    If you look at RYM's top 50 from 2007 You'll see it ain't what's winning the Grammys:

    http://rateyourmusic.com/feature/2007?p=0&show=5&start=0

    I think it is easy to forget that the mainstream is a separate market entirely than markets for aficionados.

  • avatardcorban

    I think the answer is pretty obvious. For someone to rank a game on BGG, they have to jump through several nerd hoops.

    They need to be nerdy enough to:
    have a computer
    know how to google
    want to google for boardgames
    have no problem with a site with "geek" in the title
    have to register as a user on BGG
    have to have heard of the game
    have to have played the game
    have to care enough to rate the game

    It's not like people are googling for "Monopoly strategy articles". People who play mainstream games probably don't give a shit about reading about them online and definitely don't care about messageboards or rating the games.

  • avatarBlack Barney  - I am handsome so...

    It's because BGG is full of geeks and dorks and they tend to be smarter than your average consumer. So the games that smarter dorks like (Puerto Rico, Twilight Struggle) get lots of love. Whereas imdb is the mob and smarter movies RARELY get love. Also imdb has fan bias but BGG only has a LITTLE fan bias (i.e. Star Wars games don't get good reviews necessarily, whereas on imdb they do)

  • avatarclockwirk

    Guess it's still a problem 4 years later.

  • avatarChapel

    The problem is simple. Movies and Video games have a wider audience and any chump will take the time to rate which movies and video games he likes the best, but only very few see board gaming as a serious entertainment venue. That's why Movies/Books, and Video games have budgets in the multi-millions, and board games don't. I'm sure you ask the "typical" consumer, they probably have seen several movies a year, then ask them when the last time they dusted off the scrabble.

  • avatarjohnnyspys

    And BGG is a fan site...so shouldn't the fans decide what is number one. If they all want to vote Cave Evil is the best game ever and everyone else can fuck off then and monopoly should only be used to barbecue your enemies then that is their privilege. Kind of like the occasional pilling on that happens here when certain Euros are declared awesome...say when Barnes says Settlers of Catan is a ten....now fight!

  • avatarShellhead

    I would rate Settlers of Catan as a ten, on a scale of 1 to 100.

  • avatarSagrilarus

    If you're promoting a board game, your best use of five hundred advertising dollars is on exactly one web site: BGG. The result is that you have a feedback loop that excludes the greater audience.

    http://www.history.navy.mil/photos/images/f000001/f004845.jpg

    At this point the target market sails in a circle, determining its own tastes without significant external input. Remember the complaints about Consimworld? This is the same thing with less crew cuts and more belly fat.

    Video games have stolen the show. It's pretty remarkable that board games still exist at all, and I think the age of new mainstream game development is largely past. What remains is to develop for and market to the niche audience.

    S.

  • avatarRliyen

    Shelly, it would be a 10, on a scale of 1 to 100000. It's fucking terrible.

  • avatarBlack Barney

    Board games in a video game format work exceptionally well and they make for a great variety from what is out there right now (FPSs up the ying-yang, etc).

    I look forward to see which video games do a good job successfully porting and making popular some good board games. Like a well executed Twilight Struggle or War of the Ring with a nice budget, would that do really well commercially?

  • avatarSagrilarus  - re:
    Black Barney wrote:

    Like a well executed Twilight Struggle or War of the Ring with a nice budget, would that do really well commercially?

    I'd wager that they'd work real-time aspects into the play in order to keep the pacing up. Video games have their own insulated market issues to deal with in spite of their vastly higher advertising budgets. I think the nature of those games would have to change in a video format. I mean, it wouldn't HAVE to, but I'd bet they'd be compelled to in order to land closer to the video industry's centerline of taste.

    S.

  • avatarldsdbomber

    Isn't the question just "who gives a fuck?"

    And I don't just mean in the literal sense, though of course that has merit, but rather more positively, what do we want a rankings system to do, who do we want it to serve, what is the difference between someone tweaking the system to show their top 10 games at the front of the list and just picking their top 10 games (if they need to have them displayed, presumably the games still exist as is whether or not they are on a webpage)

    so actually, what do we want ratings to do? who are they aimed at? who should care, and why? It would have been much better if they'd set up some community projects to try and set up some metatags or criteria (and have several people compile data for consistency) so that it would be a lot more like music genome, and you could look for a "rules light, deep tile laying game with high direct interaction". But that wouldn't even be easy to define, much less implement.

    Is it about some games not getting "exposure", well, the whole site could use work on that front, redesign or not, it would have taken someone 5 minutes to knock up a few "new users land here" pages to describe the state of the hobby in a way that you could fairly easily follow onto whichever genre and level you wanted.

    Objectively the ratings are always going to suck, you mentioned Magic but come on, games like Chess and Go have engendered lifetime study and are nowhere near to being mastered. Risk is something like 5000 odd, fucking ridiculous if you ask me, and there are plenty of great games no one knows about and plenty of shit ones in the top 100, but the ratings are what they are, they reflect the people who vote, and on the whole dummy ratings arent a big deal for games with enough of a user base.

    It would be an interesting experiment to be able to sit for a while on a page there and have it pop up pairs or groups of games and you have to pick which you like best, or suggest a game you like better than it for a similar thing, and then instead of worrying about ratings you could just follow trails from Game A, what other games do people liking this also like, how does Game A fit into this or that category in terms of thousands of pairwise comparisons

    then again, as others have more eloquently put it, what does it matter. Noobs will be spoon fed the constant wave of recycled crap and if they stick around long enough they'll dig around for some lesser known titles and better understand their own interests. The games they own and play will still physically exist, and there are better ways to spend time than worrying what some arbitrary rating scale says about this or that.

    I realise you understand that and the point of the article was not really going down this route.

    I suppose the real damage that I can see is not that family favourites or old sentimental games get underrated, its more that its far too easy for new users to be led to believe the ratings mean anything, and dismiss anything outside the top 100 or 250, or regard something rated 1500 with suspicion, often its just that the game has few owners, or required many plays to understand, had opaque strategy or was misunderstood etc.

    Any concept of ratings, or scores or merit is totally meaningless. YOu like what you like, often it's influenced by who you play with, when you played, how many times you've played.

    So I think rather than focus on whats wrong with ratings, Id ask what other ways can we better introduce a broader and more representative spectrum of the hobby to users, new and old alike

  • avatarSpace Ghost

    Rliyen - more like a 10 on a 10000000 scale :)

    The one good thing that came out of this is I have a student finishing a dissertation on modeling incomplete ranking data....so there is that. So my student thanks you for writing this article in 2008......

  • avatarChapel
    Quote:
    Isn't the question just "who gives a fuck?"

    Well, who gives a fuck about IMDB, RF Generation, GameSpot, or one of the many other entertainment sites that have rankings by their users.

    The answer is, A lot of people. Because even though you don't find them useful, many people do.

    17 million unique users hit BGG last year, and a lot are looking for answers beyond the typical answers of scrabble, monopoly, or pictionary. And while you are informed enough to know what you like, most would like for someone to say, hey, this is a good game. And they look at quick items such as the rankings for ideas.

    I don't know about you, but I really don't have time to sit down with each of those 17 mil. users and put together reasoning what they might like based on their own personal criteria. There has to be a high level list that is generic enough to be consumed by everyone, even if it isn't perfect.

    I do that very exact thing on IMDB and Netflix when looking for a movie to watch next. And it's not like they get it right most of the time. But it's a good start.

  • avatarKen B.

    Sorry for the re-run folks, I had to dig in the archives as I needed a breather this week. Grandfather is in the hospital and work has been crazy.

    Really, though the piece was meant to *seem* sensationalist, really the heart of the question was not to criticize Boardgamegeek per se, but to try and understand what makes our hobby different.

    Other sites like IMDB and Gamespot and so on, the rankings of top games most often reflect also the top sellers. You see Mario, Gears of War, Halo, Zelda, all the top sellers--those are not only on the top of sales charts, but also on top of user and staff top picks. Sure, you get niche faves like Katamari or Vib-Ribbon that sort of get a cult following and maybe make a few favorites lists, but most often that's just a reviewer trying to get some cred or otherwise maybe shed some light on a relatively unknown title that they enjoyed.

    Movies too--popular movies tend to hog up a giant swath of spots on the top charts on almost any movie site you can name. CHUD, for all its posturing, if you press most the staff and users, they end up picking mostly the same popular movies, just those with a 'geek' or 'scifi' bent.

    Yet for boardgames, the top sellers and the top critical darlings are not only different, they're like waaaaaaaaaay out of line with each other.

    And maybe it's true--anyone can watch a movie, or fire up a videogame. But it takes a personal investment to play a boardgame. Maybe that's all there is to it. However, it doesn't explain why boardgames are so ubiquitous, and yet such a large chasm exists between popular sales and hobbyist/fan rankings. It's just so weird to me how million sellers are not on the top of our lists. And I'm not saying that these million sellers are great games, it's just the disparity is really strange to me.

  • avatarDr. Mabuse

    I gotta nothin' to add to the BGG ratings discussion but growing up I used to buy "Games" Magazine especially the year end issue for my boardgame purchases.

    They also featured a "Hall of Fame" that they would add to every few years.

    Here's the current list:

    ACQUIRE
    Avalon Hill

    APPLES TO APPLES
    Mattel

    AXIS & ALLIES
    Avalon Hill

    BLOCKHEAD!
    Pressman

    BRIDGETTE
    Xanadu Leisure Ltd.

    CIVILIZATION
    Avalon Hill

    CLUE
    Parker Brothers

    DIPLOMACY
    Avalon Hill

    DUNGEONS & DRAGONS
    Wizards of the Coast

    MAGIC:
    THE GATHERING
    Wizards of the Coast

    MILLE BORNES
    Winning Moves

    MONOPOLY
    Parker Brothers

    OTHELLO
    Mattel

    PENTE
    Winning Moves

    RISK
    Parker Brothers

    SCRABBLE
    CROSSWORD GAME
    Milton Bradley

    THE SETTLERS OF CATAN
    Mayfair Games

    SORRY!
    Parker Brothers

    STRATEGO
    Milton Bradley

    TABOO
    Milton Bradley

    TRIBOND
    Patch Products

    TRIVIAL PURSUIT
    Parker Brothers

    TWISTER
    Milton Bradley

    TWIXT
    (out of print)

    YAHTZEE
    Milton Bradley

    Apples to Apples was it's latest inductee.

  • avatarKen B.

    Thanks for that, Dr. Mabuse. See, now that is a list that a casual person would expect to see if they went somewhere looking for the "top" of the hobby. And there are a lot of great games on that list, to boot.

  • avatarJeff White

    That 'Hall of Fame' list looks about right to me. That list is a better representation of boardgames than BGGs. This list would be the boardgame answer to the IMDBs, Gamespots, etc.

    What I want to know is, do the other hobbies beat themselves up as much as boardgamers? Why the constant comparison to movies and videogames? Do the other hobbies compare themselves against the two most passive forms of entertainment going?

    Even so, do they fret about why their hobby's list of top items don't reflect what society buys?
    Are the train guys comparing their top model list against what folks are buying at Walgreens/CVS? How about the skateboarders? Do they seek some magical list of top decks they can print out and hand kids before they go shopping at the mall?

    Still, I would never suggest a game based on it's ranking at BGG or elsewhere. "Oh you like to play Axis and Allies? Cool, let's set a game up tonight and have some drinks." Done. Play and have fun. Anything beyond that really doesn't need to happen. If they _really_ want to buy new games I'd suggest a like game like depending on if they're enjoying the game for theme or mechanics (so, say, Ikusa or M44). No way would I be all, "Well you see here, Axis and Allies only has a ranking of 826, so really you're not playing a very good game. What you need is a top 10 game like Puerto Rico or Dominion..blah, blah, blah"

    Worthless.

    To match the comparison to Netflix. I like Hawk the Slayer and Beastmaster. Suggesting to me Deathstalker or the Sword and the Sorcerer is a fine idea. Suggesting highly rated releases does nothing.

  • avatarsfunk37  - re:
    Jeff White wrote:
    What I want to know is, do the other hobbies beat themselves up as much as boardgamers? Why the constant comparison to movies and videogames? Do the other hobbies compare themselves against the two most passive forms of entertainment going?

    I’ll hazard a guess and say that yes, this self-reflection/loathing happens in all sorts of hobbies. My experience with video games has shown me that there is a constant desire to validate games in comparison to film and literature. I think this is a case of people trying to justify their participation in niche hobbies. Film and literature are well respected forms of arts and accepted by the general public whereas video games are seen as a bit of an upstart. When compared to boardgames, video games are positively mainstream and so we find ourselves faced with the same problem except this time video games are the cool kids on the block.

  • avatarSuperflyTNT

    This is the first article you've ever written that I shook my head at, Ken.

    The answer is obvious:

    Everyone has played a video game. Everyone has watched a movie. Everyone has played a Wal-Mart board game. NOT everyone has ever been a D&D geek.

    The reason that the BGG listing is so different than the IMDB and video game is because nobody outside of a D&D geek or someone who has been to a board game store has even the slightest clue that Arkham Horror exists.

    In short: unless you know about them, you can't vote for them. And nobody outside our incestuous little hobby knows about them, so of course the ratings at BGG, a site that is dedicated to our little 9th Circle, are skewed to those who know about hobby board games.

  • avatarmikecl

    I agree with Pete here. There's no mystery. Our games aren't mainstream. As for the rankings just because it's in the top ten doesn't mean it's good or that you'll like it.

    I've never played Caylus or Puerto Rico because I'm just not interested. It's like the New York Times bestseller's list. It doesn't mean those books are great works of literature. It just means they're bland enough to appeal to everyone.

    Same with BGG rankings. I don't rely on them. I decide what to buy based on forum discussions and talking to people with similar gaming tastes to my own.

  • avatarKen B.

    But boardgames are mainstream. You'll find them in a large majority of homes.

    As for "casual" folks, well, you can't say that casual folks aren't rating movies or videogames...or else, why do those ratings work so well?

    In the end, this may indeed say something more about BGG than it does the overall hobby, or its relation to other hobbies in general.

  • avatarChapel  - re:
    Ken B. wrote:
    But boardgames are mainstream. You'll find them in a large majority of homes.

    Yeah? Ask any random person on the street to name 5 movies made last year, 5 books written in the last year, and 5 video games made last year...and then ask him to name 5 board games made in the last 10 years.

  • avatarKen B.

    Damn, you had to go and say "last 10 years." That does put it in perspective.

  • avatarldsdbomber

    Chapel, bless you, missing the point entirely. Of course many people do give a fuck*, but aren't they are the people voting for the ratings. They already got what they voted for. The question is what else do we want the ratings to do, who are the people who give a fuck then? I'll tell you, there's no one. People new to the hobby come by, are scared away by the design, the passive aggressive assholes and the general lack of social awareness by many, the rest will no doubt ask what games are cool, they'll no doubt be told to play ticket to boring ride, eventually they'll either stop playing or learn or be interested enough to find out that the ratings in this niche hobby mean pretty much naff all to anyone with more than a fleeting interest, and those curious new eyes will have to put up with a lot more crap than the ratings system before embracing the hobby

    * but let's be honest, anyone who puts any stock in someone else telling them what the best 100 anything is are not really worth worrying about, which I'm pretty sure is your message du jour for the most part isn't it, or are you filling the role of contrarian on F:AT now as well?

  • avatarBlack Barney

    yeah, Chapel. YOUR AN IDIOT

  • avatarldsdbomber

    yeah, let's pile on Chapel, come on BB I will hold the babyfaced little fucker down and you can kick him in the nuts!

  • avatarBlack Barney

    He's babyfaced?!

    Can I do something else to him instead?

  • Schweig!  - re:
    Black Barney wrote:
    yeah, Chapel. YOUR AN IDIOT


    Insults are much more efficient when formulated without errors.

  • avatarBlack Barney

    Schweig is new to the internets methinks

  • avatardave

    A lot of people drink beer, but check out http://beeradvocate.com/lists/popular.

  • avatarstormseeker75

    Where the hell are theses thumbs you're all talking about?

  • avatarSpace Ghost

    Stormseeker -- short lived thing here. Went away quickly.

  • avatarKen B.  - re:
    dave wrote:
    A lot of people drink beer, but check out http://beeradvocate.com/lists/popular.


    Wow, nice.

    So I can take it then that most likely what we are lacking anything other than Games magazine for a "casual" boardgaming perspective. That sites like BGG (or Dave's beer site) are a step further than that.

    It is very strange, though. I'm sure I could find a "populist" beer site where it's like "FUCKIN' KILLIAN'S IRISH RED, MAN....NO, SAM ADAMS, BRO!"

    Perhaps it just means we don't have the concentration of casual consumers who use sites like these. Maybe boardgames are so ingrained in our culture that they just exist for non-hobbyists as sort of background noise. They don't go out and rate their favorite games any more than you'd go out and rate your favorite blender. Or microwave. Or something.

  • avatarBearn

    How does the author of this article make the leap of comparing KNOWING THE GAME MONOPOLY and SAYING IT'S A TOP RANKED BG? Those rankings are meant to be for how GOOD a game is and not if you have ever heard of it before. Of course everyone on earth has heard of monopoly, Chess, Checker, Candyland and so on. If that ranking system asked you to LIST the top 50 games you know you would definetly hit those on the top no problem but it doesn't.

    Obviously it is going to look a bit weird and of course some of those games are up in that list due to rabid fanboys pushing them there for whatever reason. Then again they could be up there because in fact*gasp* they deserve to be there and they aren't Ameritrash.*double Gasp*. Eventually though games settle into the top rankings on BGG and stay there because they have proven to be solid games.

  • avatarubarose  - re:

    The people that rate things aren't the people that use the rankings. Like the dudes that rate wines don't need to check the little ranking cards on the displays in the shop to decide what to buy. Shoppers use those ranking cards to make buying decisions.

    Ranking is a selling tool. Ranking helps BGG make money. People use rankings to shop for things that they don't know much about. or when they can't perceive differences between products. When my dad wanted a toaster for Christmas, I went to Amazon, listed toasters by highest rating, and bought the highest ranked one in my price range.

    People do the same thing on BBG. Many of those 17 million BGG visitors are once and done shoppers. The land there via a google search. The don't look any further down the site than the icons running below the search box. The click on children's games, or party games or whatever. A list of games in rank order pop up. The buy the one highest on the list that has an Amazon link in their price range and looks appealing. BBG gets it's cut from Amazon.

    People who are just getting into boardgaming also use it. They buy that copy of Time's Up or 7 Wonders because it's at the top of the list. They like the game enough that they come back and start working their way down the list. They'll buy Dixit or Stone Age because it's next on the list.

    So yeah, if you are over here reading any article on this site you have moved far beyond the point where rankings have any meaning, and are now in the who gives a f*ck zone.

  • JJJJS

    I think your argument falls apart completely with respect to video games. If I showed that list to my parents and non-gaming friends, they'd recognize words like Doom and Mario and Street Fighter, but most of those games would be foreign to them. They'd be asking where is the bowling game on the Wii and where's Angry Birds and Rock Band.

  • avatarRyan B.

    This is simple. Boardgamegeek is for the hobbyist gamer. Therefore the rating system will skew towards the hobbyist preferences. While boardgames take up shelf space, the general public doesn't have the passion around them like what exists for video games, movies and music.

    Matchbox cars have been on the store shelves forever too. But you don't see people going around "rating" them.

    The better question for 2012-- Why aren't hobbyist games more mainstream, if they are supposedly "better"?

    Some theories:

    -- People want fun games that are simple to learn.
    -- Our fast paced environment demands shorter, quicker, faster.... at the expense of exploration, patience and challenge.
    -- Entrenched Marketing which promotes branding that is "safe" to make money/profit and pushes away "innovation" as unnecessary risk.
    -- The Cult of BGG (which seeks to advocate for things which are unrealistic to expect for a mass market audience.)

  • avatarJonJacob

    All that's important to me about all three of those lists is that I don't agree with any of them. The BGG one might actually be the lest offensive in some ways. At least with that one you can see a clear agenda, it makes sense. The other two are god awful. It's obvious what kind of people IMDb users are, based on their movie tastes.

    Board games are considered an in-essential part of life and will forever be doomed to the peripheries of pop culture. Movies and video games are practically considered essential at this point. It's probably to boardgames benefit as a medium to stay outside of the main culture anyway, even if there are some unapealing aspects to it as well, like incestuous and canabalistic designs running rampant.

    The fact that most people can't name a boardgame designed in the last ten years shows how long it's been since popular culture cared about the medium. It was never as popular as it is to the hobbyist but at least there was some crossover. Now we have to discarde garbage terms like "gateway game" and start to understand it's a niche market and a pretty silly one at that.

  • avatarldsdbomber

    you may be right about the one and done users of rankings, but these are not the people who are coming back to be involved in the hobby, I don't think it matters if they pick something because it's ranked 8 or something ranked 8000 (but might be a good, undervalued game). Or are you saying that casual visitors might pick a top 100 game, be disappointed and will think there's no point carrying on looking into the hobby+ I don't buy it Uba, though I get the point, but that's where it would be better for BGG, and other sites to provide appropriate portals that allow people to make better decisions, but casual 1 time browsers will probably never want to do anything more than drop in, grab something and move on, I'm not even sure we should be worrying about what they want/need, to be honest

  • avatarDair

    I agree with the many people who find the reasoning behind this to be the high barrier of entry a board game demands versus a video game or a movie. For most of our favorites, you'll have to invest and hour or two before you ever play. You'll also have to deal with the glazed eyes of those you are teaching (I get this with my gaming buddies sometimes, and they know what they are getting into). Someone above mentioned the NY Times bestseller list. That is sales, but I think books are the key. Ask a good sample of everyday people their favorite books, or to rank the best books they've ever read. If you compare this with something like the NY Times list from a few years ago of the best 25 books since 1980 and you'll get almost no overlap. Regular people don't read Wallace, Morrison, and Roth. There is too high a barrier to entry. Their favorites are more likely to be Grisham, King etc. Nothing wrong with it, it just means that the high barrier of entry to enjoy a board game or some "great" books is too much. People will stick with something that doesn't challenge them.

  • avatarShellhead

    Let me get this straight: some of you are advocating that there should be a special game rankings list for people who rarely play boardgames? Really? On those rare occasions that they will sit down to play a boardgame, they will probably play something that is right at hand and at least vaguely familiar, instead of looking at some internet list.

    Movies are different. It takes almost zero effort to watch a movie and form an opinion on it, and there is a constant demand for new and different movies, so a lot of people are going to be interested in movie reviews, ratings and rankings.

    I only have two problems with BGG's rankings:

    1. EuroGame bias, driven by a vocal core group of users and all the sheep that follow them.

    2. The ratings and rankings are supposed to be based strictly on the likelihood that user will want to play that game again. But too many people are twisting the ratings to reflect all kinds of other bullshit that have nothing to do with playing the game. Some people are rating games that they have never even played. Sometimes they are doing that just to manipulate the overall ranking of games. However, as long as most users are rating the games properly, the database is still reasonably useful, especially if you focus on the comments that some people give with their ratings.

  • avatarSagrilarus  - re:
    Shellhead wrote:
    However, as long as most users are rating the games properly, the database is still reasonably useful, especially if you focus on the comments that some people give with their ratings.

    It also can be considered "reasonably useful" for the people that actually view it. I don't think anyone not neck-deep in the hobby is going to stumble across BGG's game rank list very often, and will likely discard it immediately if they do.

    S.

  • avatarubarose  - re:
    ldsdbomber wrote:
    you may be right about the one and done users of rankings, but these are not the people who are coming back to be involved in the hobby, I don't think it matters if they pick something because it's ranked 8 or something ranked 8000 (but might be a good, undervalued game). Or are you saying that casual visitors might pick a top 100 game, be disappointed and will think there's no point carrying on looking into the hobby+ I don't buy it Uba, though I get the point, but that's where it would be better for BGG, and other sites to provide appropriate portals that allow people to make better decisions, but casual 1 time browsers will probably never want to do anything more than drop in, grab something and move on, I'm not even sure we should be worrying about what they want/need, to be honest

    It doesn't matter if they return or not. It doesn't even matter if they like the game or not. What matters is that they bought something through BGG and BGG made it's $1 off the transaction. It matters because if you have published a game that appears on the first page of rankings or in the hotness you want your ad on that page to help influence the shopper's buying decision.

    BGG, like other sites that are set up for people to rate things, creates a rating culture and uses that to monetize the site. That's not a bad thing. It's a symbiotic relationship between the members, the site, advertisers and the nonmemeber buying public. By clicking that rating button,members are providing the means to support the other areas of the site that they use.

    It doesn't matter if the rankings are meaningful or useful to the people who are actually doing the ratings. What matters is making them feel it's important in order to maintain and promote that rating culture so that the site can continue to profit from it.

    So don't be surprised if someday we turn on a rating feature with buy links and start encouraging members to rate stuff, letting the once and dones support the site for the members.

  • avatarubarose  - re:
    Shellhead wrote:
    I only have two problems with BGG's rankings:

    1. EuroGame bias, driven by a vocal core group of users and all the sheep that follow them.

    2. The ratings and rankings are supposed to be based strictly on the likelihood that user will want to play that game again. But too many people are twisting the ratings to reflect all kinds of other bullshit that have nothing to do with playing the game. Some people are rating games that they have never even played. Sometimes they are doing that just to manipulate the overall ranking of games. However, as long as most users are rating the games properly, the database is still reasonably useful, especially if you focus on the comments that some people give with their ratings.

    I'm going to pick on Shellhead for a moment. Nothing personsl, what you wrote was just a convient example.

    Why do you even care enough to have an opinion about the rankings? (That's a rhetorical question). You personally don't find them particularly useful. You aren't using them to shop. You aren't a publisher... You care because the ranking culture created on BGG has made it important enough for you to care at least enough to form an opinion. Maybe even care enough to go in and rate a few games, and that would be mission accomplished.

    Go look at BoardGameInfo.com if you want see example of a site where the the purpose of rating and ranking is miore transparent. And whose audience is a little less niche than BGG.

  • avatarSan Il Defanso  - re:
    Shellhead wrote:

    1. EuroGame bias, driven by a vocal core group of users and all the sheep that follow them.

    2. The ratings and rankings are supposed to be based strictly on the likelihood that user will want to play that game again. But too many people are twisting the ratings to reflect all kinds of other bullshit that have nothing to do with playing the game. Some people are rating games that they have never even played. Sometimes they are doing that just to manipulate the overall ranking of games. However, as long as most users are rating the games properly, the database is still reasonably useful, especially if you focus on the comments that some people give with their ratings.

    I call shenanigans on both of these. I don't think that BGG is nearly as tilted towards Euros as you seem to believe. There are plenty of AT games in the top 100, probably as much as a third of the games in it. Lots of others are AT with Euro elements, or vice versa. They like Euros, but AT is hardly ignored.

    As for the rating system, I've never used the "rate for how often you want to play" system. There's no game at all that I always want to play, no exceptions. That renders the 10-rating totally unattainable, and that's a stupid system. The entire act of rating is by its very nature arbitrary, because it's assigning a number to an emotional reaction. However, I do agree that rating without playing, protest ratings, and whining about what games are in the top ten is incredibly stupid. I just don't see a way to argue against doing it, if I say people can use whatever ratings they like.

  • avatarwaddball  - re:
    dave wrote:
    A lot of people drink beer, but check out http://beeradvocate.com/lists/popular.


    Wow, thanks! I suspected I might be missing Jesus in my life, but it turns out it was the awareness of that site. Now if there was just a liquor equivalent of an OLGS....

  • avatarSpace Ghost  - re: re:
    ubarose wrote:

    So don't be surprised if someday we turn on a rating feature with buy links and start encouraging members to rate stuff, letting the once and dones support the site for the members.

    If we do this, I enthusiastically volunteer to be in charge of:

    1) How the ratings/rankings are displayed

    2) Provide a feature that leads to game recommendations

  • MarkD

    I think a big difference might be that while people have heard of Citizen Kane, how many of them have actually bothered to watch it?

    There is only 1 movie in the top ten at IMDB that is also in the top ten of highest grossing domestic films via Box Office Mojo. That's Dark Knight.

    There's also the tendency of people wanting to appear smart on the internet, and online ratings/rankings are an easy way to do that.

  • avatarDeath and Taxis

    I'm not a fan of the way games are rated at BGG and I don't really like rating games at BGG. But I still do it. And the only reason that I do is because of the GeekBuddy Analysis function which I find really useful and assume, therefore, that others do too. So I rate the games I've played purely for the benefit of my GeekBuddies who may want a quick opinion of the game from me.

  • avatarjeb

    YES, thanks Death and Taxis, me too. Geekbuddy is the reason I rate and the item I depend on BGG most for, analytically. It's incredibly odd to me that it's so BURIED in the interface.

  • avatarRaederle  - re:
    Space Ghost wrote:
    The current system completely discounts the penetration of some games (such as Monopoly, Risk, Clue) into the greater market. For fuck's sake, Magic is only ranked around 180 or so; personally, it is hard for me to think of a game that receives more play by the masses.

    Here are some problems I have with the ranking system.

    1. Inherently, it is arbitrary. The number of the "dummy votes" that are added to each game are chosen in such a manner that the end results can be completely changed by changing the number of dummy votes.

    What are dummy votes?

    I do feel your point about Magic the Gathering is quite accurate.

    I guess BBG's rating really appeal to a certain sort of gamer. Looking at the list, here are the ones I recognize:

    * = played
    ** = own
    *** = want to own in particular

    Through the Ages
    Agricola*
    Puerto Rico
    Eclipse*
    Terra Mystica***
    Power Grid*
    Le Havre**
    Caylus*
    7 Wonders*
    Dominion**
    El Grande
    Race for the Galaxy** (my favorite all-time game)
    Tigris & Euphrases
    A Game of Thrones
    Stone Age*
    Goa* and ***
    Pandemic*
    Runewars
    Go** (this IS a classic, folks!, rank 53)
    Sid Meier's Civilization: The Board Game***
    Shogun*
    Ticket to Ride**

    So within the top 60, I've heard of a lot of them, played a lot of them, want to own a lot of them, and do own a lot of them, and my favorite all-time game is even there, as well as a classic. So I don't feel its quite as skewed as Ken says.

    That said, I do think Ken has a point. I DO decline to play Risk, and Monopoly. Not because I'm an "elitist" but because I believe in having fun. I don't find those games fun. I also don't enjoy Chess. I do enjoy some classics and common games such as:

    Go**
    Chinese Checkers*
    Mancala**
    Four Square**
    Apples to Apples**
    Scruples**
    Cranium**
    Clue**

    But sorry folks, I'm not "taking one for the team" and playing games I dislike in the hopes of befriending vanilla gamers and getting them into "hardcore games". On the contrary, most of the time I introduce people to my games in response to them saying, "I'm curious about those games you said you like that 'nobody' has heard of." I like games a lot, so it comes up, and so I invite people to play if they're interested. If not, I don't push them or say "just try it" or anything of the sort.

    Again, this is the nature of seeking fun. Its not fun to "try and convince" someone they ought to like a game.

    So that said, I think the BGG's ranking system is skewed based on the sort of people who use the website, and I think that is actually fine. :)

    ~ Raederle

Only registered users can write comments!
Text Size

Top