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Subject: Can a game *truly* be "underrated" or "overrated"? rss

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Ken B.
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I see these terms get bandied about. A lot. Generally in regards to a game's ranking/rating relative to other games on BGG.

The problem with this is that these rankings are composites. Which begs the question--are they really "underrated" or "overrated"?

Sure, compared to *your* ranking, that could be the case. But what you are really saying is, "I rate this game higher than the composite." Well...great, but that does not make the game itself have the absolute trait of "underrated".


Games are rated what they are. How can they be either over or underrated?


It's like Rottentomatoes.com, a site that gives a percentage of "fresh" or "rotten" ratings for movies. I may like a film more than a composite score would indicate (and yes, I've seen this many times!) but I can't say that the film is "underrated". I simply like it more than others do.


When you have a lot of opinions gelling together to give you an average or composite score...well, a game is simply rated what it is. Nothing more, nothing less.



Thoughts?
 
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Anye Freer
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These are simply words whose understood "colloquial" meaning has evolved to differ from the dictionary definition.

Saying something is overrated or underrated merely indicates that you disagree with the majority opinion on the subject. People understand that's what you mean when you say it, which is the purpose of communication.

So I see no issue here.
 
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Can a game be underrated on BGG? Technically, no it can't. If a game is new then it takes time to get ample ratings to move up in the rankings.

Can a game be underrated to you and only you? Why of course it can. It just means you think a game should be generally ranked higher than it is. Does this mean it'll change the reality of the situation? Usually not....I do like finding hidden gems and games that were overlooked for quite sometime. When I found Santiago is was already highly rated on BGG but I heard (not sure if it's true) but if was a hidden gem for quite sometime.

Can a game be overrated? You ever here of the jump on the bandwagon syndrome? Well Thurn and Taxis was rated #137. After it won the Spieles de Jahre award it skyrockected in 2 weeks to crack the top 100. Then about a month after that made it to #72 or whatever. Does it deserve to be where it's at? I think it does but I would totally understand anyone who thought it was overrated. People see a game which is highly rated so when they see twenty 9's they'll rate it a 9. Now say there was only one 9 rating do you think that person would rate it a 9? I sure hope they hope if they truly thought it to be a 9 but you never know with some people.
 
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Ken B.
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dietevil wrote:
These are simply words whose understood "colloquial" meaning has evolved to differ from the dictionary definition.

Saying something is overrated or underrated merely indicates that you disagree with the majority opinion on the subject. People understand that's what you mean when you say it, which is the purpose of communication.

So I see no issue here.




That's true, to a degree...but people brandish those words about like clubs. As though it is said through a filter of disdain, and though they possess the "absolute" truth about a game.

You can hear the snorts of derision when someone says a game such as Ra or Puerto Rico is "overrated". (Caylus will eventually have to adopt this as part of its official game title, probably starting with third edition). And many posts drip with venom proclaiming some game to be "underrated", as though BGG and the rating system itself are both abject failures.


I think if everyone saw things exactly as you described, there *would* be no problem.
 
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Ken B.
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mrbass wrote:
Can a game be overrated? You ever here of the jump on the bandwagon syndrome? Well Thurn and Taxis was rated #137. After it won the Spieles de Jahre award it skyrockected in 2 weeks to crack the top 100. Then about a month after that made it to #72 or whatever. Does it deserve to be where it's at? I think it does but I would totally understand anyone who thought it was overrated.



Well, that's just it. In this case, you could say a game doesn't have staying power, might not be rated as highly in the future, e.t.c....but that doesn't change the fact that, RIGHT NOW, Thurn and Taxis is rated exactly what it is. People are really into it and rate it highly. Now, their opinion might change over time. Maybe it won't hold up to repeat plays (see Shadows Over Camelot for a game that suffered from this).

But...RIGHT NOW...it isn't "overrated". See what I mean?
 
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Anye Freer
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franklincobb wrote:



That's true, to a degree...but people brandish those words about like clubs. As though it is said through a filter of disdain, and though they possess the "absolute" truth about a game.

You can hear the snorts of derision when someone says a game such as Ra or Puerto Rico is "overrated". (Caylus will eventually have to adopt this as part of its official game title, probably starting with third edition). And many posts drip with venom proclaiming some game to be "underrated", as though BGG and the rating system itself are both abject failures.


I think if everyone saw things exactly as you described, there *would* be no problem.


Why is that any different than just saying "I don't think the game is any good" about a game that most people like? I don't know that there is any more derision in that statement than saying it's overrated, but saying "overrated" is quicker Someone who is going to be derisive is going to find other words to be so.

I think there are a lot of games that are overrated, and a lot that are underrated too, but that's natural I think.
 
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pronoblem baalberith
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First it must be asked: Are your thoughts your own?
 
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Ken B.
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pronoblem wrote:
First it must be asked: Are your thoughts your own?



I take it you are referring to the bandwagon effect as well.

If a lot of people like a game, then sure, someone else is more likely to try it. But I don't think they are more likely to embrace it and slap a high rating on it. I've played plenty of games that were highly rated that weren't my cup of tea, and sure, I've tried some lesser known or lesser rated games that I thoroughly enjoyed.


Now, if I were the sole arbiter of ratings and said, "X game is now rated a 9 and Y game is now rated a 6", then you could totally come at those ratings and tell me why I have under- or overrated them. Maybe I've had a rules misunderstanding. Maybe I didn't play it correctly. Maybe I played it in suboptimal conditions.


But what are the odds that a large sample of players have made *exactly* those same mistakes, or under those same circumstances? Not good. That's why I think that overall, the ratings will end up exactly where they belong in the long run.


Is that naivete? I don't think so. Since people don't act as one collective mind, when they make their judgements and pool them together, the outliers will naturally have their impact diminished and we will see the "true" rating.
 
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mrbass
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franklincobb wrote:


But...RIGHT NOW...it isn't "overrated". See what I mean?


Scientifically you are correct....everything has Zen balance and harmony in the universe and all current ratings are correct.
 
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Ken B.
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mrbass wrote:
franklincobb wrote:


But...RIGHT NOW...it isn't "overrated". See what I mean?


Scientifically you are correct....everything has Zen balance and harmony in the universe and all current ratings are correct.



Well, meaning insomuch that it is a "scientific" measure of something that isn't a scientific measure at all--our feelings about a game. I can think a game is technically sound but still give it a 5. That's how I feel about it. I can see a game with messy rules and other problems but really enjoy playing it, and give it a 9.


When you total up those "feelings" and give the average, though...well, the average is what it is--a measurement of the 'overall' feelings about a game.


This all sounds very goofy I know...I felt very strongly about starting the thread (since I see literal flame wars break out over these two terms, or something like them, all the time)...but I do sound more like a Zen master than actually getting my point across. And the point isn't immutable...maybe a game CAN be, if there's some collective failure of minds to perceive a game correctly. I don't know, that seems awfully unlikely.
 
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David Namaksy
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Yes a game can be overrated or underrated? Why because some people rate or pad a rating on a game based on a reactionary response to its current rating as opposed to a subjective response on the quality of the game.

There are ratings on BGG especially of popular games that are along the lines of I give the game a 1 because everyone else likes it. Or I am going to give it a 10 because this game is better than everyone else is saying. Those are extreme examples, but I think people sometimes give a rating slightly higher or lower based on its current rating which adds to the effect of overrated and underrated games.
 
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Jeremy Carlson
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Nice little discussion here.

Funny that Thurn and Taxis came up. At first, I thought this game was great. I rated it an 8. After a bunch of plays online though, I went and changed my rating to a 7. Why? Because it felt like I was playing solitaire, though a neat version of it. The more I played it the more my feeling of it being a great game lessened, and now my rating is below the norm, where it was above before.

I think right now, the game is overrated because people are still loving it and it is new. I think this game will settle to where it is truly rated at, about a year after it came out. I'm guessing around 6.5, though I could be wrong.

PR on the otherhand, is NOT overated. Its been out for quite a while, and people still think it is a fantastic game. I have owned it since it came out, and my rating has not dropped one bit.

Caylus is not overated either. I am guessing a lot of people out there gave this game a 10 when it came out. I know I did, but mine has changed. I find I do not always want to play this game, but I still give it an 8. Which is still great, and not too far off what everyone else thinks. I think this one will settle at an even 8 eventually.

I would like to know the percentage of people who change their ratings after a bunch of plays. I do, but do most of the BGG'ers just rate their games once and consider that their final vote?
 
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hughthehand wrote:


I would like to know the percentage of people who change their ratings after a bunch of plays. I do, but do most of the BGG'ers just rate their games once and consider that their final vote?


I do, but i try to rated on the low side at first, thinking if a game holds up, it'll raise not fall. Unless the game has just clicked with me. My first playing of bonabo beach I hated the game, but after playing it 20 odd times, I really started to like it. Same went for Die Dolmengotter.

What I try not doing is lowering ratings after playing so much I'm sick of playing. I figure, quit playing it for now, and I'll be in the mood next year. Caylus is there for me. A great game, but I've put it away till next year.

As for hyped ratings, I do believe they end up after a year or so where they belong. Thurn and Taxis isn't way up the list. I think it's at or around where it belongs.
 
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dietevil wrote:
Saying something is overrated or underrated merely indicates that you disagree with the majority opinion on the subject. People understand that's what you mean when you say it, which is the purpose of communication.


In BGG terms, one could also claim 'overrated' or 'underrated' means that 'The rating of those who have rated said item is higher or lower than it would be if the item were rated by the entire community (or a representative cross-section)'.

Which is to say, niche titles may get a higher rating than they would get it they were not niche titles, because those who are predisposed to like it soought it out and those who probably wouldn't care much for it are completely unaware of its existance.

This is especially true of 'expansions'. Expansions often rate well above their 'base set'. Why is this? Is the expansion truly 'better' than the base set? Generally, no. But the people who didn't like the base set didn't even bother to play (or rate) the expansion, while the people who did, did. Thus the expansion is 'overrated', by having a voting audience that skews higher than a theoretical 'full community vote' ever would.


Sure, a lot of the time when someone says "X is overrated" they mean "My opinion of X is that it is not as good as the vote indicates." But there are cases, on BGG, where it means "I feel the voted rating for X is higher than it would be if a more representative sampling of the BGG community had played it and voted on it."
 
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Alexander B.
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dietevil wrote:

Why is that any different than just saying "I don't think the game is any good" about a game that most people like? ...


I love this topic and have debated it a few times.

For me, the difference is that in some cases a person will actually be meaning that they believe that OBJECTIVELY a game is overrated. In other words, they forget that these things are subjective: they feel that the others were actually "wrong" in their rating, because there is only one "correct" rating--their own of course...

This does indeed have a different meaning than "I personally feel this game is overrated compared to my own personal preferences".

The meaning really is different here. I can never argue with the latter, but I can and often DO argue with the former. I can't tell you want you like, but I can certainly say that I don't believe that there is an objective "good" or "bad" in any game, without a heck of a lot of qualification e.g. "this game has a lot of luck" can be objectively true, but "this game has too much luck" cannot be.
 
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A game is "overrated" if it has been rated too many times, and it takes forever to page your way through all of the ratings.

A game is "underrated" if it has not been rated enough times, and there is barely enough information there to take the edge off of your BGG addiction.
 
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I think a game can be "truly" under or overrated if (and probably only if) the first impression of the game is broadly different from how people experience it after repeated plays.

A game may seem incredible the first time you play it, so you give it a good rating. Then when you play it again and again you find that although it seemed full of depth each game plays out the same way. The end result is that the average ratings of people who played it five times is lower than the average of people who played it once.

Similarly, a game may seem to many people to be simplistic with just one viable strategy...but if you take the time to play it more, you start to find deeper levels and may even conclude that your original "one and only" strategy isn't even a good one.

If we assume (as seems to be the case) that most ratings are from a modest number of plays (say 1-3), games like this will tend to have a fairly large number of people whose rating of the game is different than what it would be if they played it more.

Another *possible* way a game could be overrated (underrated would be less likely) is if the population that has rated it is selected somehow. If, for example, a designer or even a company (e.g. Cheapass) has a fan base that really likes their stuff, they are likely to get a lot of positive ratings, especially early on. That would be an accurate rating for those who rated it, but not for the broader population.
 
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Geosmores wrote:
Yes a game can be overrated or underrated? Why because some people rate or pad a rating on a game based on a reactionary response to its current rating as opposed to a subjective response on the quality of the game.


I never thought of that one. So someone's 6 turns into a 7 if they see most people rating the game a 5? Or a 4 turns into a 3 if the person sees the current average at 7?
 
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I don't usually use under/overrated just to mean "I diagree with the rating, I'd put it higher/lower."

I usually use it only when I think that the people who rated the game didn't give it a fair shake.

For example, imagine a game that seems terrible at first, but if you stick it out and play a couple of times, it becomes a fantastic gaming experience. If it had a really crappy rating, I'd call it underrated, because probably most people who rated it did so before they really understood the game.

Another example, imagine a game that was great fun back in the early '80s, but by today's standards, isn't very good any more. It might get a high rating from all the fond memories, but if those people replayed it, they might realize that it's really not so good. I'd call that an overrated game, again because the people rating it were rating it based not on how good a game it is, but mostly on their happy memories of playing it.

So there you go. That's when I'll use under/overrated, so for me, yes, there can be such a thing as an underrated or overrated game. But of course everybody has different meanings for these words, so you always have to consider that when you see them.
 
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Ken B.
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wmshub wrote:
I usually use it only when I think that the people who rated the game didn't give it a fair shake.

For example, imagine a game that seems terrible at first, but if you stick it out and play a couple of times, it becomes a fantastic gaming experience. If it had a really crappy rating, I'd call it underrated, because probably most people who rated it did so before they really understood the game.

Another example, imagine a game that was great fun back in the early '80s, but by today's standards, isn't very good any more. It might get a high rating from all the fond memories, but if those people replayed it, they might realize that it's really not so good. I'd call that an overrated game, again because the people rating it were rating it based not on how good a game it is, but mostly on their happy memories of playing it.

So there you go. That's when I'll use under/overrated, so for me, yes, there can be such a thing as an underrated or overrated game. But of course everybody has different meanings for these words, so you always have to consider that when you see them.




Wow, you see, you are inferring a LOT from what you are saying there. What's to say that your rationale is correct? You are assuming that it is merely fuzzy memories causing higher ratings...but what if it isn't? Or better yet, so what if it is? That rating is STILL how they feel about the game. You may feel as though you can assert your idea of what it "should" be, but that doesn't make their opinion less valid. In fact, all you've succeeded at doing is cheapening your own opinion.


As far as underrating a game because you feel someone doesn't "understand" it enough to give it a high enough rating...again, you assume a LOT with that statement. If I try a game once, feel like it's poo, and rate it as such, who are you to say that my rating isn't "correct" and that I "should" give it another try before my rating rises to what you feel is the 'correct' one?


Lastly, again realize that sure, some of what you are saying might apply to a particular gamer, or even a small subset of gamers. But to think that over the entire sample that this is true? Are you really comfortable with that idea, and willing to modify your own opinions solely for that idea's sake? Seems a little shaky to me.


Again, I will say that over the sample, the rating is what it is. Outliers will become marginalized. If everyone is an "outlier" by your opinion, that doesn't mean the game is 'underrated', it goes back to "you like this game better than others do in general". But to call this 'underrated' seems flawed to me.


I mean no offense, so please consider what I am saying and don't take any malice from it. I'm genuinely interested in your response.
 
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franklincobb wrote:
Wow, you see, you are inferring a LOT from what you are saying there. What's to say that your rationale is correct? You are assuming that it is merely fuzzy memories causing higher ratings...but what if it isn't? Or better yet, so what if it is? That rating is STILL how they feel about the game. You may feel as though you can assert your idea of what it "should" be, but that doesn't make their opinion less valid. In fact, all you've succeeded at doing is cheapening your own opinion.


As far as underrating a game because you feel someone doesn't "understand" it enough to give it a high enough rating...again, you assume a LOT with that statement. If I try a game once, feel like it's poo, and rate it as such, who are you to say that my rating isn't "correct" and that I "should" give it another try before my rating rises to what you feel is the 'correct' one?
Oh, sure, of course I am! So if you see me say, "Uno is underrated", you can in your head substutite "In Bill's opinion, if only those clowns on BGG would give uno a chance and really get to know the game, they'd see that it's a much better than they think."

So yeah, while I'm not using "underrated" to mean "I like this game more than the rest of BGG," it is still a very subjective thing.
 
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pronoblem wrote:
First it must be asked: Are your thoughts your own?


If your thoughts are your own, you have commited thoughtcrime. Stop and listen; you'll hear a knock on the door soon enough. Remember,

Big Brother is Watching You


Sorry, Ken. I am marking 1984 essays. You are raising an interesting question in a serious way. You are once again getting us to stop and think about what we mean by such phrases as "over-rated" and "under-rated." I think Orwell would agree with the need to "say what you mean." When we banty around these cliches about games, we say less than squat, while contributing nothing in the way of serious understanding. goo
 
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MrSkeletor wrote:
Yes.


MrSkeletor proves my--Orwell's--point.

Does he really want to kill all Euros? Or . . .

does he really want to kill all Euros? Or . . .

does he really want to kill all Euros? goo

 
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It depends on how you look at game ratings--are they simply snapshots to be observed on a continual basis to watch for fluctuation, or are they truly "composites" from a variety of players across a span of time? If I were to say a game was overated or underated it would simply be because the same people have not played it enough to formulate an "average" across multiple playings. This is regardless of how many unique votes there are. This is because a game that is tight and interesting the first 10 times you play but which falls prey to being "solvable" or repetitious, will garner high ratings as it first comes out and then settle over time to a true rating as more people begin to fall into the 11+ games played.

If there were a way to weight a game's score from every individual rater based on the number, as well as frequency, of playings, you'd get what I personally consider to be a more accurate rating to pure playability of the game. You'll also find, if you ask people, that some people update their rankings on a continual basis, and some rank once and never again.

So, yes, if you use the game ratings as a rough indicator of a game's quality and playability it can definitely be overrated or underrated--games that have been around for a few years will exhibit fewer inconsistancy problems compared with newer releases. However, if you think game ratings are a purely momentary and abstract indicators of an ephemeral quality, then no, you cannot have underrated or overrated games.

There are quite a few games which I played once, then initially rated, and as I played them more the ratings lowered over time. There are also a few I have rated which have risen as I've played them more. But in both cases, they settle at a final rating--for me they started our overrated and underrated respectively. I own enough games that I have never "played out" a game--meaning a game I used to like but played it so much I don't really want to play it again--so I haven't run into that particular rating problem.

Then, of course, there can be issues where the majority of players frequenting this site, rate a game on childhood memory--as in the case with Checkers, the vast majority played it incorrectly and therefore are rating the game based on a different game entirely. Such a situation would definitely qualify as underrated--basically because the real game isn't even being rated.



 
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MrSkeletor wrote:
Yes.



This one.
 
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