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War of the Ring (Second Edition)» Forums » General

Subject: #73 out of 100 on Popularity List rss

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Barry Miller
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Hi, I'm new to the WotR forums... I don't currently own the game, but due to my fondness for the LotR story/movies, and also due in part to Fraser Mackenzie's wonderful video review, I decided to splurge on the upcoming 2ed Anniversary Edition. Thusly while I wait for its delivery, I perk-up whenever/wherever I see War of the Ring mentioned.

And I did so when I saw this blog post: Pop-ratings 2015. Thematic games

You'll note that War of the Ring comes in at #73 out of 100, on the popular games played. Of course this list is "what it is". I.e., while it uses a scientific method to analyze data, the data itself is incomplete (based on number of plays). The other problem of course is there's no way to tell how large the data set should be. So needless to say, this list is only as valid as the user wants it to be.

Though having said all that, it can't be argued that for the data it does use, War of the Ring sits at the 73rd percentile. That made me go, "Hmmm...". Thusly I started a conversation in the comments section, there, to ask for opinions about why the game sits at a low popularity level, despite its high rankings on the BGG lists. ... For anyone who's interested.

 
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Jim Hansen
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I think the short answer is that it is a long, heavy, 2 player game with a very specific theme. There are way more people out there that would sit down for a game of Dead of Winter or Munchkin but not even glance at WotR. You can't just walk into a game store, crack open War of the Ring, and play a game with your significant other.

So, it's one of those games, similar to Twilight Struggle or a lot of Wargames, that appeals to a smaller subset of gamers. But it well loved by that subset, as evidenced by the high average rating and BGG ranking.
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Kristofer Bengtsson
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First of all, I agree wtih Jim's answer above.

Also, as the list you are referring to is using flawed data, it is just as accurate as BGG's own thematic ratings:

http://boardgamegeek.com/thematic/browse/boardgame?sort=rank...

where War of the Ring Second Edition is currently #3 (and the First Edition is #16).


The main thing is that people can vote on their games and some people put in how often they play something while others don't.

The one thing I can say for sure is that if you like Tolkien's story, you will enjoy the game. How mich will depend on (as Fraser states in the revoew) how much you and you opponent brongs to the game.

If played "simply" as a competetive game it will be fun but if you have the mindset that you are going to experience your own version of the Lord of the Rings you will get an experience you will want to play over and over again.
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Andrew Poulter
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Makes me think I should have logged my 450+ online games. I briefly logged game plays but decided not to, as not sure if on-line play should count or not. On the table games are much rarer for me perhaps 2 a year average, just due to the time required by both players.

It's still by far my favourite game.
 
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David Williams
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Well I'm not sure the list is quite as important as its creator seems to think:

Quote:
It's obvious, that data about game' popularity (how many players really play this game) is more useful, than its rank and/or ratings, since player can vote high for some games, but regularly plays in other games. Users play in interesting games, not with good rating ones!


Really? Whether something is popular or not is more important than whether it's rated highly? Well, obviously it is!

I think his reasoning is flawed here, or at least the wording is poor and over-selling his particular methodology.

Cheapo baked beans are popular because people have limited funds, not because people prefer them. That doesn't mean Cheapo beans are better than Heinz. And let's not even try thinking about how 'good' Pop music is.

It's also like comparing beans to steaks by counting how many baked beans get eaten vs how many steaks, then concluding that a bean is far superior to a steak.

Then there's also the self-selecting nature of the types of games for which people might log plays. Maybe WotR players don't log plays as much as Catan players do?

Plus of course, WotR is a 2 player game which takes maybe 2-4 hours. So 2 players can get in 1 game in about 3 hours, giving 2 plays. Compare this to some other game which plays 5 players and takes an hour; that game can log 15 plays in the same amount of time. The game was only played 3 times by 5 people instead of once by 2 people.

And finally, WotR seems to not get printed in large quantities, and is frequently unavailable. So it misses out on plays for that reason also (plus it is fairly expensive).

Anyway, WotR is a niche game for its theme, weight and length. Since BGG ratings also measure popularity to some extent (because the more ratings a game gets the closer its BGG rating gets to its averge rating) it's actually impressive that it does as well as it does.

All that said, it's by far my favourite game. So I'm biased. I believe it will be around a long time and remain a classic long after some other popular games are forgotten. But I can definitely acknowledge that it has many features which make it extremely unappealing to a lot of people.

I'm not saying his list isn't interesting, it's stats and stats usually are interesting. But I think it's flawed reasoning to think that list is in any way more useful than the BGG ratings when considering a purchase. Lists can be handy for hilighting certain games, but they cannot tell you anything about how much you personally will enjoy the game. For that you need to look more closely at detailed reviews, playthroughs etc.
 
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David Williams
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One more reason it might not do well there is that it's newer. If you arrange the BGG thematic rankings into number of ratings you can see the games that float to the top more closely match his list, and they are all considerably older than WotR:

https://boardgamegeek.com/thematic/browse/boardgame?sort=num...

Therefore there are many more copies out there to be played, therefore they get played more often.

So there's an element of that in there also.
 
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