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Subject: Legacy games and the BGG rating system rss

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Brandon
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Up front: this is not about whether or not legacy is a nice format or for hemming and hawing about destruction of components and such. That ground has been covered many times over.

I haven't seen this mentioned before (sorry if it has been), but how do people who follow the BGG recommended rating system handle legacy games? Many people have rated Pandemic Legacy a 10, but surely most of them, if following the recommendation, would eventually lower the rating since they no longer will want to play it all the time once the campaign has been completed. For sure, you can continue to play the game, but I can't imagine most people would be as excited to do so once the campaign has been completed.

FWIW, I don't follow the recommendations and I treat my ratings in the (to me) more intuitive way of simply rating their quality as games, with 1 being bad, 5 being average, and 10 being great. I'm sure many of the people who rated PL a 10 did so using a similar system, with the opinion that the game/experience is great. However, most of the time that any discussion of BGG rankings comes up, someone chimes in with the mostly correct assertion that, at least according to the recommended rating system, the rankings reflect how much people want to play the game and are thus sort of a hype-meter. If that's to be taken as true, and we can assume that the majority of the users use the recommended system, then we should expect PL's rank to drop quickly.

So, if the legacy format is here to stay, should the BGG recommended rating system be changed? Or should the "ideal" users be adjusting their ratings more regularly to reflect waning interest, which I suspect would punish legacy format games quite heavily?

To avoid annoying arguments: I have not yet played PL, I have no vendetta against the game, and I am actually planning to start a campaign of it soon. I use PL as an example because it's most prominent. This isn't about PL itself, but more about the ratings/rankings system.
 
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Bill L
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I would be very confident in saying that the vast majority of people who rate games on this site do NOT use the BGG guidelines down to their tiniest detail.

I think I have P:L rated a 9, and I have no issue with not being able to play again - at least not the same way I played it the first time. It was probably the greatest gaming experience of my life, and so it earned a very high rating.
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L S
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In my opinion, there are two things that factor into this.

First, the BGG recommended rating system really only makes sense to me if I consider my desire to play a game again under neglect of (external) limiting factors. For instance, I have rated Terra Mystica a 9 and Dominant Species an 8. Obviously, those ratings ignore lots of circumstantial factors. For example, if we're five or six players, I'd prefer Dominant Species over Terra Mystica, despite its higher rating.

In this sense, I think that the BGG ratings suggest a degree of comparability that actually isn't there, simply because certain things that factor into gameplay don't necessarily make a game better or worse: A 3-player-game isn't inherently better or worse than a 5-player-game. A 45-minute-game isn't automatically preferable to a 120-minute-game. Please note that I'm not saying that these factors can never factor into an evaluative rating (for instance, one of the things that makes Power Grid an exceptional game is how well it scales with different player counts; and the most common criticism of Munchkin is that it overstays its welcome for what it does)... I'm only saying that they don't necessarily have to.

Second, and in light of the above, I personally think of high replayability as a boon to a game, and I also enjoy it if a game provides a compelling narrative - two of many complex factors that factor into my evaluation of a game. By design, Legacy games offer poor replayability, but if done right, they can make up for that by an interesting narrative. I don't see how that's so fundamentally different from other tradeoffs that it would put any more strain on the rating system than something as simple as diverging game lengths: I mean, why would I ever want to turn down a game of TicTacToe? Even though I'm not at all interested in playing it, explaining why it's stupid takes longer and is almost as tedious as the game itself. Does that make TicTacToe a true 10?
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The ratings seem to be of more use to somebody who doesn't own a game so as long as it is made clear the games have a limited life I see no problem with people rating it high and not changing. It would still have that impact for a new player but say PL season 2 is released and its better than season one then you would hope that the ratings would reflect this.
You are free to rate as you like but for the ratings to have any use for other people using a method close to the accepted standard is preferable. Ratings for a game I own are meaningless to me personally because I don't need a message on the fridge door to tell me I like cheese.
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Jeff Johnson
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I think the official recommendations are stupid and should be trashed (no offense). It should simply be a normal 10 point rating scale, same as for movies, music, video games, and a million other things.
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HenningK
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TheGodsMustBeCrazy wrote:
I think the official recommendations are stupid and should be trashed (no offense). It should simply be a normal 10 point rating scale, same as for movies, music, video games, and a million other things.


This. There is absolutely no way that everyone will follow the same principles when it comes to the rating system, so these recommendations only lead to fruitless discussions that go in circles.
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Jim Parkin
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Billtacular wrote:
I would be very confident in saying that the vast majority of people who rate games on this site do NOT use the BGG guidelines down to their tiniest detail.

I certainly do not. I think the base BGG rating scale is rather silly in its descriptions of each tick on the spectrum. I'm also fully aware that the vast majority of user profiles I've viewed have a note bene regarding their dissension form the BGG rating scale descriptions, so I just take them all with a meeple-shaped grain of salt.

Trantor42 wrote:
TheGodsMustBeCrazy wrote:
I think the official recommendations are stupid and should be trashed (no offense). It should simply be a normal 10 point rating scale, same as for movies, music, video games, and a million other things.

This. There is absolutely no way that everyone will follow the same principles when it comes to the rating system, so these recommendations only lead to fruitless discussions that go in circles.

Yep.
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Alexandre P.
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Trantor42 wrote:
TheGodsMustBeCrazy wrote:
I think the official recommendations are stupid and should be trashed (no offense). It should simply be a normal 10 point rating scale, same as for movies, music, video games, and a million other things.


This. There is absolutely no way that everyone will follow the same principles when it comes to the rating system, so these recommendations only lead to fruitless discussions that go in circles.


I use these guidelines and they work fine for me.

But it makes me give mostly 6-8 ratings.
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Daniel C
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And how many legacy games are out there that would sway the system, 4, 5? No need to worry, there's 10,000 games out there and only less than 10 legacy games in existence. You'll be fine.
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Osiris Saline
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TheGodsMustBeCrazy wrote:
I think the official recommendations are stupid and should be trashed (no offense). It should simply be a normal 10 point rating scale, same as for movies, music, video games, and a million other things.


It raises an interesting question though, if you have a site dedicated to ratings, then you need a system which works on the same agreed criticism, otherwise ratings mean less than zero.

It's why the view of 'arbitrary numbers are useless as a means of rating something' exists among so many notable non-BG critics. A 7 to someone may be a good rating, a 7 to someone else could be mediocre, and a great rating to another person etc.

Rating something to a system, like on BGG, at least deals with making arbitrary numbers mean something.
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Steve Norton
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The site isn't dedicated to ratings. It's a handful of users that are.
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Simple: we don't follow the guidelines, we just vote whatever the hell we want.
 
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jakobcreutzfeldt wrote:
So, if the legacy format is here to stay, should the BGG recommended rating system be changed? Or should the "ideal" users be adjusting their ratings more regularly to reflect waning interest, which I suspect would punish legacy format games quite heavily?

Regardless of what one thinks of the BGG rating system, it doesn't make sense to change it because a tiny fraction of the games on BGG utilize it.

The BGG rating system is a coarse indicator, at best, of the quality of a game - or the desire of people to play it.
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Derry Salewski
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TheGodsMustBeCrazy wrote:
I think the official recommendations are stupid and should be trashed (no offense). It should simply be a normal 10 point rating scale, same as for movies, music, video games, and a million other things.


I mean, they are just recommendations.

And they forstall "how could you give that a 4?!? it's clearly a very well designed game appreciated by hundreds!" (I mean, maybe a little. probably not.)

Some people just need a little focus. Since the point of a game is to play it, suggesting you rate it based on how much you'd like to play it is pretty simple.

And really the hobby is a little different from other things. It's more like music, or musical instruments, or sporting equipment, or clothing. Less like film (which there is NO need to rewatch most of the time) or medicine or exotic dining, or a theme park ride.

Some things are designed to be done repeatedly. Other's aren't.
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Chuck Harrison
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Since I finished the campaign, I can not continue playing the game with the full experience. But it doesn't mean I don't want to. The BGG suggested rating is based on whether you want to play, not whether you can play.
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dave bcs
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In my opinion the problem with the rating system is the lack of effect size. It gives a small number of raters the same weight as a large number. Thus the top 20 or so are occupied by narrower niche games, as the fans give them a 10 and others who aren't interested at all haven't played them or rated them.
 
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J J
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The problem with the BGG rating system is that some people keep insisting that it must have some real meaning. That it is important. That it must be done right.
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Pete
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If I could play it again with the same level of play, I would...instantly. I very much want to even though I can't.

Pete (thinks it's a 10 even by the BGG criteria)
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CARL SKUTSCH
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drdranetz wrote:
In my opinion the problem with the rating system is the lack of effect size. It gives a small number of raters the same weight as a large number. Thus the top 20 or so are occupied by narrower niche games, as the fans give them a 10 and others who aren't interested at all haven't played them or rated them.

Wait, what?

10 of the top 20 games have 15,000 or more votes. Hardly niche. The games with the most votes total (Catan and Carcassone) only have around 60,000 votes.

Of course, BGG voters make up a niche among game players, but that's something that has nothing to do with BGG's rating system. (To solve that problem the'd have to get casual Monopoly players to start joining BGG and rating their games. Unlikely to occur.)
 
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Jeff Johnson
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drdranetz wrote:
In my opinion the problem with the rating system is the lack of effect size. It gives a small number of raters the same weight as a large number. Thus the top 20 or so are occupied by narrower niche games, as the fans give them a 10 and others who aren't interested at all haven't played them or rated them.


Not totally true, since there is an unknown number of dummy 5.5 ratings. So a smaller number of raters will skew towards 5.5.
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Brandon
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Thanks for weighing in, everyone. This began as one of those weird, abstract thoughts that unexplainably hits your brain in the foggy moments immediately after waking up, so I figured I'd put it into coherent language and see what others thought.

I know that the ratings/rankings aren't important and I know that no matter what, there will never be any consistency across all users in how they're used. I just thought that the legacy format posed an interesting challenge to the BGG recommended system (maybe I didn't phrase my original post well).

JasonJ0 wrote:
The problem with the BGG rating system is that some people keep insisting that it must have some real meaning. That it is important. That it must be done right.


It's hard to tell, but I hope this isn't passively aimed at me. In my defense, as I said, I treat the system as a simple rating of quality and I rate games on a quick gut instinct of how I felt about them after playing. But I do agree that there are some people who are always quick to jump into any discussion of ratings/rankings to correct everyone on the true meaning of them.
 
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J J
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jakobcreutzfeldt wrote:
I know that the ratings/rankings aren't important and I know that no matter what, there will never be any consistency across all users in how they're used. I just thought that the legacy format posed an interesting challenge to the BGG recommended system (maybe I didn't phrase my original post well).

JasonJ0 wrote:
The problem with the BGG rating system is that some people keep insisting that it must have some real meaning. That it is important. That it must be done right.


It's hard to tell, but I hope this isn't passively aimed at me.


Not if you think what you typed above, no. But there are at least two people in the thread so far that it was most certainly a response to.
 
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I disagree with people who say the ratings are unimportant because I have gone through them myself. For people with a small collection or fairly new to the hobby what better place to start looking for games than the top 100 rated games. The final decision isn't based solely on a games ratings but it provides a very good framework to start the process because what you are looking at is a list of the highest rated games by experienced gamers, how can that not be useful. It does become less useful if people start making up their own rating systems but I believe the majority are keeping close to the guidelines so its not too big an issue.
legacy games do challenge the rating system because it would be unusual for people to play them enough to get bored with them.
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Michael Hyland

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I'm not sure how the rating system works but I think the number of plays factors in too.

Something like Legacy isn't going to have that because the games can't be traded and replayed by others so the player base will always be lower.

Plus you need a dedicated group willing to go through the thing together over many sessions. That further limits it.

I think the BGG rankings try to reward longevity over time which I think it should and by nature Legacy games don't have that. Once Pandemic Legacy goes out of print for good it's going to fade down the rankings. I don't think we should adjust the system to stop that. I think everyone acknowledges the place Legacy games have in the history of gaming.

In any system certain types of games are going to get more of a benefit due to how the rankings are made. I think short quick games like Coup for example probably benefit more than others just from sheer volume of play being short and quick not necessarily because they are better.
 
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David Buckley
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Using "How much do I want to play [game]" as a metric for rating games has issues that apply not just to legacy games. The answer depends on so many extrinsic factors: How many times have you played it already? What sort of mood are you in? How long is the playing session? What's the player count? Who are the other players? A game can be very bad in one scenario and very good in a different one.

ISTM that "How enthusiastically would you recommend [game] to yourself" is a more useful metric and one which allows many people to give Pandemic Legacy a legitimate 10.

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