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Subject: Guidelines for editing game entries rss

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Ola Hansson
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Now when the game descriptions are wiki pages it's much easier to change things. Are there any guidelines how these descriptions should be formatted? I know about the Game Description Guidelines, but there's not much information there about how to format the text. For example I have noticed that one of the admins (skelebone) uses "expanded by:" and "expands:" followed by the expansion(s) or the base game. Are there any more recommendation how to format the text? Is it ok to use headers? Should we use h3, h4 or h5?
 
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Matthew Gray
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olaha wrote:
I know about the Game Description Guidelines, but there's not much information there about how to format the text.


It's a good topic of discussion. I tend to prefer a "light" formatting style, under the view that if heavier (sections, headings, tables, etc) formatting is justified, it should probably be made as a new page, linked to from the description.

Quote:
For example I have noticed that one of the admins (skelebone) uses "expanded by:" and "expands:" followed by the expansion(s) or the base game.


Personally, I prefer the "prose style" to the "list style", that is "This game is an expansion to that game." rather than "Expands" or "Expanded by", but I don't know if my opinion is shared.

Quote:

Are there any more recommendation how to format the text? Is it ok to use headers? Should we use h3, h4 or h5?


At the moment, there's no strong recommendation, but in general it's my personal view that if headers seem necessary, a sub page, such as the Carcassonne series or Pounce editions page may be more appropriate.

Other people's thoughts?
 
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I agree. If a game has or is one of only one or two expansion, or is a remake, I like the info as a sentence with an imbedded link. If there are more than a couple, then I like a list on another page, with the link to the list embedded in a sentance like, "This is the first game in the Carcassonne series," or "This game is part of the Carcassonne series."

I'm not sure I like the expands:, re-implented: format that skelebone has been implementing.
 
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Scott A. Reed
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My primary focus with the use of Expands/Expanded by: and Re-implements / Re-implemented by: in the bulleted lists is to give an at-a-glance display of the relationship of the target game to other games in the database. Though the prose style has merit, I believe the bulleted lists provide concise information and links to other relevant titles.

First, the Expands tag is to eliminate the use of "Cross-links" in the links section for each game. I think that though the series Wiki pages have merit for some series games, but there are a larger number of games that have a single expansion that don't merit a series page. The Expands / Expanded by: links provide a means to shuttle from the base game to the expansions, or from the expansions to the base game.

The Re-implemented set of tags is not meant to be throw-back to the scrapped "relationship" system, but rather is to show the sharing of mechanisms among games (e.g. Metropolis --> Big City, Chinatown) or to show where a designer has re-tooled a game in one instance to create another (e.g. Airlines --> Union Pacific --> The New Alan R. Moon train game)
 
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Matthew Gray
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(some of the comments I make below skelebone and I had already discussed over GeekMail, but I'll include them here so others can comment)

skelebone wrote:
My primary focus with the use of Expands/Expanded by: and Re-implements / Re-implemented by: in the bulleted lists is to give an at-a-glance display of the relationship of the target game to other games in the database.


At some level, I agree, but when a game has only a single expansion or the like, spotting the link is easy. And, to me "Expands:" in particular is an awkward language construction, and especially given the number of non-native english speakers we have, I'd be inclined to be clearer: "This game is an expansion to XXXX".

Quote:

Though the prose style has merit, I believe the bulleted lists provide concise information and links to other relevant titles.


I agree, and I guess I'd use a threshold of three or more expansions to be the point where the conciseness of a bulleted list helps. In terms of screen space, when we're talking about one expansion, the prosie style is actually more concise.

Quote:
I think that though the series Wiki pages have merit for some series games, but there are a larger number of games that have a single expansion that don't merit a series page.


Oh, yeah, I didn't mean to imply that any pair of related games should have a "series" page, just that if the content is so voluminous as to justify headings/subheading, that probably warrants a series page. I think the boldface/non-heading style you used is just about right for games with a handful of expansions, but aren't really a "series".

Quote:
The Re-implemented set of tags is not meant to be throw-back to the scrapped "relationship" system, but rather is to show the sharing of mechanisms among games (e.g. Metropolis --> Big City, Chinatown) or to show where a designer has re-tooled a game in one instance to create another (e.g. Airlines --> Union Pacific --> The New Alan R. Moon train game)


My feeling remains that "re-implemented" is way too unclear what it means. That is, the sharing of mechanisms versus retooling are sufficiently different, they should be described as such:

"Chinatown and Big City are often compared to Metropolis, as they share several mechanisms."

"Union Pacific was a redesign of Airlines and TNARMTG is a redesign of Union Pacific."

Terms like "redesign", "retool", "retheme", "redevelop" etc, are in much more common use than the catch-all "reimplement".

What would people think of this as a guideline:

Where a game has one, two or three "related" games (expansions, etc.) that are not otherwise cited in the description, they should be described in a sentence of the form: "XXX and YYY are expansions to this game, which was based heavily on ZZZ."

Where a game has four or more related games, a bulleted list is encouraged for clarity.

Where a game has eight or more related games, a subpage, such as the Carcassonne series page should be created and linked to.
 
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mkgray wrote:
Where a game has four or more related games, a bulleted list is encouraged for clarity.
Where a game has eight or more related games, a subpage, such as the Carcassonne series page should be created and linked to.


When you hit four or more, why not just go straight for a subpage. There are already multiple examples of game groups that have as little as three games that have a subpage, like the mask trilogy or the Knizia tile-laying trilogy.

I still think the general rule of, "if you need a bolded heading sub-topic, then make it a whole subpage," is a good rule.

skelebone wrote:
Quote:
The Re-implemented set of tags is not meant to be throw-back to the scrapped "relationship" system, but rather is to show the sharing of mechanisms among games (e.g. Metropolis --> Big City, Chinatown) or to show where a designer has re-tooled a game in one instance to create another (e.g. Airlines --> Union Pacific --> The New Alan R. Moon train game)

My feeling remains that "re-implemented" is way too unclear what it means. That is, the sharing of mechanisms versus retooling are sufficiently different, they should be described as such:

"Chinatown and Big City are often compared to Metropolis, as they share several mechanisms."

"Union Pacific was a redesign of Airlines and TNARMTG is a redesign of Union Pacific."

Terms like "redesign", "retool", "retheme", "redevelop" etc, are in much more common use than the catch-all "reimplement".


I agree. I think it implies connections when they aren't there. As in your example about Big City->Metropolis, I went and looked these up when I saw them, because I had never heard that Big City was based on another game. Turns out it wasn't.

In fact, I think that the builds on/similar to stuff borders on opinion and shouldn't be included per current guidelines, and the shared mechanic stuff is redundant with the Category and Mechanics fields already in the database, which also is not within current guidelines. The exception being if there is actual anecdotal info straight from a designer that for example, he was influenced by game X when making game Y.

 
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Okay, I'm now going to give an example, that illustrates why there should be subpages for almost all series of games reguardless of size. This is based on my experience as a software designer.

Geosmores has just made updates to the 10 days in X games, such as 10 Days in the USA.

He has done it in the "current" style of a bulleted list. Here are the reasons why this way is not as good as a single link to a game series page.

1) More work. You have to add the entire list to each game page instead of a single link to the game series page where the list is created just once.

2) Redundant information is very hard to upkeep. There is now four places that contain this list of information. So, If Moon decices to make a 10 Days in Antarctica next month, then someone will have to go to all 4 pages and update their "other games in the series" section as well as add the list to the new game page.

3) Expandability. If, in the future someone want to show pretty pictures of all the boxes in the 10 days in X series, and give a description of the differences between each set, etc. They won't put in on the game page, so they'll make a subpage, but now we have even MORE redundant information.

4) Organization. Besides the reduncancy and expandablity issues already stated, whenever you have info better grouped and organized, you can do more with it. If there is no game series subpage, then it won't have a link on the Game Series page which is linked to from the main Index. So, your information is overall a little less accessable and therefor a little less useful.

I really think the only time this stuff should be right in a game page is when it's something like:

"Battle Line is a reworking of Schotten Totten."

Or, when a game really only has one or two expasions, and they're just expansion and they have on their page, "X is an expansion of Base Game Y." PitchCar is a good example of this. Although I like it better as the version before the "reimplemented/expanded" format was added.
 
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Ryan Johnson
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My vote goes for the list style.

I think that at a glance the list style provides more information. This, to me, allows me to skim more easily and spot the corresponding information much quicker. Sentence formats, i guess, are more clear, but I tend to gloss over them before I commit to actually read the entries.

Expanded by doesn't bother me at all... I think the terminology is secondary to the recognizable pattern.

Re-Implemented could be more clear... as I agree that non-native english speakers might fumble over that.

A list called Common Mechanics or Games with Similar Mechanics might be better.

BoB3K wrote:

I really think the only time this stuff should be right in a game page is when it's something like:

"Battle Line is a reworking of Schotten Totten."


I would actually prefer something like:
Battle Line is a re-themed version of Schotten Totten or
Schotten Totten has been re-themed as Battle Line


Just my 2 cents.
 
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Matthew Gray
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Ryno8 wrote:

I would actually prefer something like:
Battle Line is a re-themed version of Schotten Totten or
Schotten Totten has been re-themed as Battle Line


The problem with that is that it's not accurate

First of all, when games are simply a re-theme, we try to combine them into the same game entry. Second, while Battle Line has a different theme than Schotten Totten, it also adds new rules, different cards and whatnot. To me, "reworked" is a close as you can come to a one word description of the relationship.

I think "games with similar mechanics" don't belong in the game descriptions. Where it's an explicit acknowledgment like Cluzzle/Barbarosa or WTOMH/Code 777, it's one thing, but mechanics are already browsable and people clearly have very different senses of "similar" in other regards. Leaving those out seems in-line with maintaining NPOV.

I agree when there's more than one expansion, but not a ton (eg Carcassonne), and not a lot of other information other than that they are expansions, the list format is better. I'm really inclined to suggest we use "Expansions" rather than "Expanded by", because the passive tense is always a little awkward, especially in a sentence fragment.

My main issue with "re-implemented" is that it's not very specific, but the fact that it's awkward passive tense English is also a good reason to avoid it, especially for games, like Carabande, where the older text was more descriptive. I've edited that one back to include the note that "Pitchar Mini" is smaller.
 
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Ola Hansson
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mkgray wrote:
[I'm really inclined to suggest we use "Expansions" rather than "Expanded by", because the passive tense is always a little awkward, especially in a sentence fragment.


Expansion is probably better for people like me who speak another language than English. Most people visiting BGG probably knows what an expansion is. Expanded by might be a bit more confusing. Maybe I'm underestimating people, but expansion seems much clearer to me.
 
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Ola Hansson
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Should it really be allowed to use big headers in game descriptions? I think it looks pretty bad. Here's one example of a huge header (online play): In the Shadow of the Emperor.
 
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Matthew Gray
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olaha wrote:
Should it really be allowed to use big headers in game descriptions? I think it looks pretty bad. Here's one example of a huge header (online play): In the Shadow of the Emperor.


Ooh, yeah. Making lists for single items is really uncalled for. Heck, a bulleted list of 2 or 3 items is sort of stretching it. The presence of links in sections already serves the purpose of drawing attention to the external content.

I edited it to a more compact and equally expressive format.
 
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Ryan Johnson
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I don't know if I'm just missing the actual topic of discussion or not, but for me:

The 'list' format used by Scott does one important thing for me...

It puts the various topics of information in a simple to see format. I don't have to read down through a paragraph to figure out all the bells and whistles. Don't get me wrong, I like a nice elegant paragraph selling the idea of the game to me, but I like to see the lists of accomplishments, awards, and linked games... even if they are comprised of single items.

It also occurs to me that Lists are easier to re-edit when an expansion or a re-theme occurs.
Most of the popular games that 'need' nice manageable descriptions are likely to grown into something more, or even different by their publishers.

Again... hope Im not missing the point here....

-Ryan
 
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skelebone wrote:
My primary focus with the use of Expands/Expanded by: and Re-implements / Re-implemented by: in the bulleted lists is to give an at-a-glance display of the relationship of the target game to other games in the database. Though the prose style has merit, I believe the bulleted lists provide concise information and links to other relevant titles.

See also:

http://www.boardgamegeek.com/article/935238
http://www.boardgamegeek.com/article/972134
 
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