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Subject: I built personalized recommendations into boardgamemenu.com rss

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Brad Beattie
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I didn't find http://boardgamegeek.com/user/bradbeattie/recommendations too useful, so I built something that might help.

After rating a bunch of games in your BGG account, try visiting http://boardgamemenu.com/?players=4&include=@recommend-YOURU... (replacing the end with your username). It fetches your info and queues it up for the next round of recommendations. In a few minutes, reload the page to see your recommendations.

Hopefully you'll find this tool useful for discovering new games! Feedback's always welcome.

(Edit: Sorry for the initial hiccups. The server got slammed by a ton of requests at the same time after posting this here)
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Bryan Fischer
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Nice, thanks!
 
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Brad Beattie
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Bryan Fischer wrote:
Waiting for it to process ...


Looks like yours are up now: http://boardgamemenu.com/?include=@recommend-Bryan%20Fischer...
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Jimmy Mero
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This is extremely cool. Is there a print function? I could see myself printing one of these menus out for a swanky game night.
 
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Brad Beattie
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Jimmydm90 wrote:
This is extremely cool. Is there a print function? I could see myself printing one of these menus out for a swanky game night.


Indeed there is! Here's the picture of why I made this tool in the first place:



Step 1: Print (Ctrl-P) the following three pages (for you):

http://boardgamemenu.com/?include=Jimmydm90&players=2
http://boardgamemenu.com/?include=Jimmydm90&players=3
http://boardgamemenu.com/?include=Jimmydm90&players=4

Step 2: Buy a menu cover from whatever local vendor you can find (maybe even buy one from a restaurant? They're pretty cheap)

Step 3: Put the printouts in the menu. Bam!
 
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Alison Mandible
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http://boardgamemenu.com/?players=2&include=@recommend-grasa...

Out of 6 recommendations, there's one solid hit (Ascension), two "doesn't look awesome, but maybe?" (Planet Steam and Council Of Verona) and 3 WTFs (Arcadia Quest, Adventure Time, Buffy The Vampire Slayer The Game).

I'm curious what your methodology is!
 
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Brad Beattie
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grasa_total wrote:
http://boardgamemenu.com/?players=2&include=@recommend-grasa...

Out of 6 recommendations, there's one solid hit (Ascension), two "doesn't look awesome, but maybe?" (Planet Steam and Council Of Verona) and 3 WTFs (Arcadia Quest, Adventure Time, Buffy The Vampire Slayer The Game).

I'm curious what your methodology is!


In short, I collect user ratings, normalize them against the voting biases (surprisingly the voting deciles at BGG are 2.18, 5.691, 6.09, 6.35, 6.53, 6.73, 6.95, 7.17, 7.44, 7.77, 8.86, which shows a significant glut of 6-7.5 ratings) and then feed the data into Apache Mahout (a tool built specifically to deal with this kind of thing). I have it generate 20 results and I filter those through which ones are appropriate for the number of players and break them down into time/weight categories.

So your three WTFs may well just be an artifact of my rating sample space being too small. I only have about 200 users' data at the moment. The recommendations should get better the bigger that sample space grows. Try again in a week and see if the WTFs disappear? I'm guessing they will.
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Dan Blum
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I think you need to do something about re-implementations, expansions, and compilations. Of the six recommendations I got, four make no sense:

The Settlers of Canaan: re-implementation of Catan which I rate a 5.

Thunderstone: Doomgate Legion: it doesn't make sense to recommend an expansion instead of the base game to a person who hasn't rated the base game. (I am not sure it's very useful to recommend an expansion to a person who HAS rated the base game, since I would assume people can think of that themselves.)

Power Grid: Benelux/Central Europe: expands Power Grid which I rate a 6.

Puerto Rico: Limited Anniversary Edition: just a compilation and I already own all the items in it.



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Brad Beattie
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tool wrote:
I think you need to do something about re-implementations, expansions, and compilations. Of the six recommendations I got, four make no sense:

The Settlers of Canaan: re-implementation of Catan which I rate a 5.

Thunderstone: Doomgate Legion: it doesn't make sense to recommend an expansion instead of the base game to a person who hasn't rated the base game. (I am not sure it's very useful to recommend an expansion to a person who HAS rated the base game, since I would assume people can think of that themselves.)

Power Grid: Benelux/Central Europe: expands Power Grid which I rate a 6.

Puerto Rico: Limited Anniversary Edition: just a compilation and I already own all the items in it.


Interesting. I'll see what I can do about making some changes to exclude cases like this.

Update: Expansions excluded, compilations excluded, though reimplementations aren't always identical (e.g. Agricola/Caverna) and probably shouldn't be directly excluded. Most likely Canaan will disappear once there's enough of a ratings coverage to modify the underlying engine's output.

Thanks for the feedback!
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James C
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It's cool, but I know I wouldn't play 5/6 recommended for me at the two player count.
 
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Brad Beattie
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SuperGLS wrote:
It's cool, but I know I wouldn't play 5/6 recommended for me at the two player count.


Yeah, there's an inaccuracy to the recommendations so far that I'm working on tweaking as mentioned above: http://boardgamegeek.com/article/18692315#18692315
 
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Matt Crawford
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bradbeattie wrote:

In short, I collect user ratings, normalize them against the voting biases (surprisingly the voting deciles at BGG are 2.18, 5.691, 6.09, 6.35, 6.53, 6.73, 6.95, 7.17, 7.44, 7.77, 8.86, which shows a significant glut of 6-7.5 ratings) and then feed the data into Apache Mahout (a tool built specifically to deal with this kind of thing). I have it generate 20 results and I filter those through which ones are appropriate for the number of players and break them down into time/weight categories.

So your three WTFs may well just be an artifact of my rating sample space being too small. I only have about 200 users' data at the moment. The recommendations should get better the bigger that sample space grows. Try again in a week and see if the WTFs disappear? I'm guessing they will.


Are you actively pulling down data from BGG, or are you waiting for people to hit your page?

About the deciles -- sure, I think most people rate most games as 6s and 7s because they think, yeah, I would play that if you ask. And any similar future games, they would probably also rate a 6 or a 7. So why normalize it? You don't want to make a 6 too different than a 7 for the recommendation system, even though they might be quite far apart in terms of deciles. I dunno, I'm just talking off the top of my head.
 
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Brad Beattie
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gatchaman wrote:
Are you actively pulling down data from BGG, or are you waiting for people to hit your page?

About the deciles -- sure, I think most people rate most games as 6s and 7s because they think, yeah, I would play that if you ask. And any similar future games, they would probably also rate a 6 or a 7. So why normalize it? You don't want to make a 6 too different than a 7 for the recommendation system, even though they might be quite far apart in terms of deciles. I dunno, I'm just talking off the top of my head.


I don't scrape the API until they visit the site and provide their username in some way (e.g. I'll record and prep their recommendations even if they just visit http://boardgamemenu.com/?players=4&include=gatchaman).

As for normalization, I'm hoping that it'll lead to more accurate results, though that's a bit of a gamble at the moment. My understanding is that the backend recommendation engine (Apache Mahout) works best when there's significant overlap in the ratings that users provide. Unfortunately that's not so much the case with BGG users, most of which rate a small handful of games that sometimes don't share any overlap with other users. Arg!

So I'm just going to leave it up and running for the next few months and see if things get any better. If not, I'll revisit the strategy and see if there's a better way of doing this. (Not really worth the preemptive time investment as no one's paying me to build it)
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Interesting. 4 of the 6 games I haven't heard of and will check out (fun! I like new surprises). The other two that I have heard of are two I think I would like, but are not in my collection because I feel like they are too similar to other games that I like a lot already. Nice app.

EDIT: I wonder if I could suggest a variant that might (or not) be easy to implement since you already did all the relationship computing. ...I would love to input any one game I like, and have 3 or 4 suggestions for games that I should check out based on my input. Food for thought!
 
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I think it is improving already compared to yesterday. Yesterday, it was giving me games that are way outside of what I usually like, but tonight's recommendations are looking to be much closer to games I would consider playing/buying.
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Brad Beattie
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BrackAttack wrote:
I wonder if I could suggest a variant that might (or not) be easy to implement since you already did all the relationship computing. ...I would love to input any one game I like, and have 3 or 4 suggestions for games that I should check out based on my input. Food for thought!


Hrm. Should be doable. Lemme get back to you on that.
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Joakley815 wrote:
I think it is improving already compared to yesterday. Yesterday, it was giving me games that are way outside of what I usually like, but tonight's recommendations are looking to be much closer to games I would consider playing/buying.


Yeah, the largest factor in the quality of the recommendations is the size of the dataset I have to work with. I'm up to about 300 now. I'll share the site elsewhere and see if I can't further improve what we have here.
 
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bradbeattie wrote:
BrackAttack wrote:
I wonder if I could suggest a variant that might (or not) be easy to implement since you already did all the relationship computing. ...I would love to input any one game I like, and have 3 or 4 suggestions for games that I should check out based on my input. Food for thought!


Hrm. Should be doable. Lemme get back to you on that.


Cool!

AND (give a mouse a cookie)...

I see two strategies for this variant:

1) Input one game I like, and get suggestions for new ones to try that I already don't own.

OR

2) When I have guests, I can ask them what games they like, input that game(s), then get an output of game suggestions based on the games I already own in my collection.

just brain storming.
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Brad Beattie
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Okay, the interface for this isn't pretty just yet, but the basic idea is in place. http://boardgamemenu.com/?players=5&include=@similar-37111&e... will generate a list of games for 5 players that I don't own that are similar (liked by users that like) to game ID 37111 (in this case, Battlestar Galactica: The Board Game). As I said, not pretty, but it works.

I'll build up a better "show me more games like this" button later if it seems useful enough.
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dennis bennett
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This just recommended five tribes to me as light fare...

 
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Brad Beattie
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dennisthebadger wrote:
This just recommended five tribes to me as light fare...


According to BGG, the game only lasts 60 minutes with a weight of 2.9. Given the choice of Appetizer, Light Fare, or Main Course, where would you put the game?
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dennis bennett
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bradbeattie wrote:
dennisthebadger wrote:
This just recommended five tribes to me as light fare...


According to BGG, the game only lasts 60 minutes with a weight of 2.9. Given the choice of Appetizer, Light Fare, or Main Course, where would you put the game?


well, i wouldn't put 2.9 as "light fare", and without even having played it (because it looks far too intimidating and AP-inducing to hit the table with my group) i'd guess it's probably 60+ minutes, perhaps way above that but probably rarely much below those 60?
 
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This concept reminds a bit of http://www.criticker.com/
When I got fed up with imdb ratings, this site was a wonderful new source for movie recommendations.

It estimates my 'Probable Score' for movies based on how other users rated it, weighted based on our "Taste Compatibility Index". It does the same thing, breaking up the data into deciles, which works fairly well (most of my 600+ rating fall into 70-79/100), and allows for excellent comparison with other users, even if they use a different scale or only rate movies as 1s for bad and 10s for good.
 
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bradbeattie wrote:
dennisthebadger wrote:
This just recommended five tribes to me as light fare...


According to BGG, the game only lasts 60 minutes with a weight of 2.9. Given the choice of Appetizer, Light Fare, or Main Course, where would you put the game?


It could possibly be a main course or maybe something is needed between light fare and main course. I would say things 2.8 and up are on the heavier side. Very few games break 4 and 3.6 - 3.8 is about the heaviest a lot of people go (many don't even go that high). Basing this off the fact that there are only 32 3.9+ games in the top 1000.

I feel like another level is needed for those massive games that take 3hr+. A feast or an all you can eat or thanksgiving dinner or when they have the giant food item you have to eat in an alotted amount of time to get it free haha.
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Matt Crawford
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Yeah, one of my main courses was Civilization. I'd love to play it, one of my favorites, but it's not happening in a single evening. You've got to set aside a day for that.

So maybe eliminate anything that's listed as more than 3 hours (or something)?
 
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