Classics in Boardgaming... what's best and what's actually being played by the BGG community.
Darren M
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For my latest list in trying to conjure up yet another view of what games deserve to be called the cream of the crop here on BGG... I looked at what it is that actually constitutes a "good game".

From a bottom up view... looking at an average gaming collection there are a large variety of types of games.

Games that get played often... short decent filler style games... easy to get to the table with a wide range of people yet maybe not "great" games truth be told. Then there are those great games which take ages to play and are played once or twice a year at most, yet they are great memorable experiences whenever they do hit the table. Then pretty much taking up the rest of the spectrum are a pile of games with moderate length of various complexities... some get played more often than others because they suit a wider range of individuals and lean towards being more gateway style games whereas others are more niche oriented and are only played with party gamers, miniature lovers, card players, wargamers etc.

So basically when I thought about the ratings here on BGG I also looked at what games are actually hitting the tables the most often as well. It seems logical that combining the ratings data with the number of times a game has actually been played would give us a better view of what games are most worthy of being called the "TOP GAMES" in the eyes of the BGG community.

So in short that's exactly what this GeekList does... it combines the ratings for each game with the amount of table time the games are getting as reported by the community of gamers here.

Here's the factors I have considered to try and come up with a stat that conveys more information than just looking at raw ratings or # of plays etc can tell us individually:

1- Ratings---> Raw average rating (again not the skewed Bayesian average) for each game tells us what is the average score of "goodness" derived from every individual on BGG who has seen fit to rate the game. Simple enough.

2- Number of plays---> Where the rubber meets the road so to speak. No matter how good a game is or is thought to be... if it sits on a shelf and seldom actually gets played then it's not really a great game in a practical sense but rather only in theory to a large degree. Basically I subscribe to the point of view that if we never play 'em then they ain't that great no matter how well designed they are or how smooth and wonderful the mechanisms and gears in the game fit together.

3- Time---> An overlooked and under considered factor. When a mega-epic 10 hour game hits the table and finally gets played... it's "worth" more than a 10 minute filler game in terms of evaluating it's effect in the "games played" category.

4- Players involved---> Again, an overlooked factor is how many people are involved in a game. A 7 player game that lasts 4 hours versus a 2 player game that lasts 20 minutes are two very different beasts yet if we just look at the raw games played data they look much the same in the database.

So what I basically wanted to come up with was A SIMPLE method of viewing what games were getting played the most and which were rated the best. They really are two separate but obviously interconnected factors that when combined I think give a more complete picture of what's happening in the world of gaming on BGG.

Here's the stat I came up with and how it's computed:

Take Puerto Rico for example: (all stats are a few days old as I didn't update daily and this list took a few days to make)

1 Take the raw average rating of Puerto Rico... 8.42462
2 Take the number of total plays for PR... 25572
3 Take the estimated time length of a game of PR... 90 minutes (obtained from the game info page)
4 Take the average number of players per game... 3.5 for PR (again obtained from the game info page which in this case is an average of the stated 2-5 range)

Now for the stat:

(Average rating)*(number of plays)*(time length)*(average players per game)= Quality Minutes Rating or QM Rating.

8.42462*25572*90*3.5= 67861830 Quality Minutes Rating


Repeat this for every game and I have a simple comparative view of the most played games taking into account ratings, game play time lengths and the varying numbers of players that different games have. In essence this simply tries to come up with a method that is more level and consistent to offer a more objective view of the most played games on BGG.

As an aside... another stat I'd like to see shown in the BGG database is: (games played multiplied by the average players per game multiplied by the average game length per game) which would give us a stat for the total minutes played for every game in the database. I think that's more useful than just the raw games played figure that's now available.

Pros and cons that I can see:

Pros:

This method combines various separate elements... (ratings, number of plays, time length and number of players involved) to give a better overall picture of what are truly the games that are "being played and are held in high regard" here on BGG.

Cons: This stat is of course only as useful as the stats themselves are here on BGG. Not all game plays are reported on BGG but I am assuming that there is across the board under reporting of game plays from all sectors and genres. What we have is what we have and that's better than nothing in my opinion.

Game times as reported for each game in the information sections are only estimates and some may be mildly to wildly off the mark. I say this is only a con as long as the community here does nothing about it. I think games would definitely benefit if they had a small box where you could also input how long the average time a game takes to play. This would be as simple as adding a game rating or weight rating and would provide another bit of useful info to the database. A long overdue addition that's needed in my opinion.

Players per game is another estimate. I simply used the range of players per game and divided by two to come up with an estimate of how many players per game are typically involved in a game. Some games are seldom played with certain numbers of players so this estimate is bound to be off somewhat for many games. Again this could be improved with an additional stat on BGG which allowed players to state how many they played with and/or what number they feel is optimal for each game.

Another issue of course is that some game plays are being reported by more than one individual involved in the same game. This is of course true of all games so I took the view that "things balance out" but this of course will be a factor for some games more than others.

So to sum it all up... hopefully this proves to be an interesting view of games that qualify as classics on BGG for their combination of estimated table time, number of individuals involved and the apparent quality of the games themselves.
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1. Board Game: Puerto Rico [Average Rating:8.06 Overall Rank:16]
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2. Board Game: Catan [Average Rating:7.23 Overall Rank:279] [Average Rating:7.23 Unranked]
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17. Board Game: Descent: Journeys in the Dark [Average Rating:7.33 Overall Rank:267]
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19. Board Game: 6 nimmt! [Average Rating:6.89 Overall Rank:574]
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20. Board Game: Tichu [Average Rating:7.60 Overall Rank:119]
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21. Board Game: Bohnanza [Average Rating:7.06 Overall Rank:369]
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22. Board Game: Alhambra [Average Rating:7.03 Overall Rank:393]
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23. Board Game: Railways of the World [Average Rating:7.69 Overall Rank:97] [Average Rating:7.69 Unranked]
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