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Subject: Biases / Game Rankings rss

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Mark C
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Ratings have been talked about a lot, and IMO there's no ideal system. However, I do occasionally go back and rerank games, and this has been a good learning experience. Here's what I've discovered. Please add your comments.

I. Recently published games get a big ratings bounce. Nothing inflates a games rating like novelty. With so many releases, this IMO is important to know. Unfortunately there is no easy way of discounting this as the number of new ratings won't tell you if a game can stand the test of multiple plays. Beware the buzz unless you like being one of the first to play the new game.

II. Games with poor replay value are over-rated for similar reasons. Of course, if it's been out long enough, the rating may actually suffer considerably for it.

III. There are many great games out there that get hit with poor ratings because they have a sweet spot in terms of number/type of players. Without providing comments, those games will remain hidden gems. There was some push for Aldie to provide a "best with x number of players" field, and I can see why. IMO, if he does this, there should also be an "any" field, meaning it scales well with the numbers listed on the box.

IV. There are some vastly over-rated games out there because the following is fanatic about the game or it appeals to niche players. Don't trust ratings for games that aren't your "type" of game as most of the people rating it will be predisposed to playing it. The converse I think is also true.


Here's my new guide/advice for rating games:

I. Rate with a bias to how much the game is actually played. Never rate a game over 7 on the first play, and bump it up only after each successful additional play (perhaps only ½ if it's a really short game). If it's so good it deserves an 8,9, or 10, that means it will definitely get played many more times. If that doesn't happen, well, that means either it wasn't all it was cracked up to be, or no one you want to play it with likes it. If it's good, you'll get that next play in soon.

II. Rate with a bias to how much the game is actually played. It bears repeating. If a game eventually burned out, why kill it's rating? If you spent 20+ hours playing it, probably best to let it stay where it's at unless you really think it's now "dated" and better designs have legitimately pushed it down.

III. Certain games will be tricky to rate. If it has a sweet spot with number/type of players, or you love it but know it has very limited broad appeal, those are the games that most deserve attention in the comments box.

IV. If it's worth rating, also rank the weight. I prefer heavier games, and many prefer lighter games. It's very useful info to provide.

V. Comments, comments, comments. Even short comments give a lot of insight on your impression of the game, and that's useful to others deciding what to try next. Some games are very good if you know what to watch for, or has a flaw that can be overcome.
 
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Paul DeStefano
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Search the forums for ratings threads. This topic is constantly brought up and revived.
 
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Philip Thomas
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The bias towards recently published games is one reason we use Bayesian averages. The more ratings you have the better (assuming the game is being rated above average to start with). New games won't have as many ratings so they get hurt by the Bayesian system. Whether the two biases completely cancel out is anyone's guess.
 
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Andy Parsons
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Quote:
IV. There are some vastly over-rated games out there because the following is fanatic about the game or it appeals to niche players. Don't trust ratings for games that aren't your "type" of game as most of the people rating it will be predisposed to playing it. The converse I think is also true


I am not seeing the problem with a game that a minority of people love rating higher than a game that the majority of people think is just OK. But then the only ratings I pay very much attention to are those of a hand-picked minority group of geekbuddies. All the same, I'd be curious to know the names of some of those "vastly over-rated" games.
 
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