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Subject: New #1 on bgg ranks? rss

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If you look at the numbers, this game seems almost certain to hit #1 on bgg ranks. It's rising much faster than pandemic legacy, or through the ages 2nd edition for example. It also has a much higher average rating for the number of votes it has than any other game in history, by a very large margin, I think. Usually for such fast risers there are multiple threads doing some number crunching analyzing the rise (i think Remi Gibson used to do this especially thoroughly). So, I'm wondering:

1. Why is there such a dearth of threads analyzing the rise for this game, given that slower risers usually have lots of threads by this point in their rise?

2. Maybe many people still believe this game won't hit #1? Is there data to support that it might not?

3. I'm curious about what makes this game such an outlier. Usually an outlier requires something unique and unusual, but this game appears to be a very good combination / evolution of existing popular mechanics and genres, combined with a huge amount of content, rather than some revolutionary element. Is there a revolutionary element I'm missing?
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Simon Skov
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The game looks to be good and deserving of high ratings, but I can think of a couple of compounding factors.
Firstly, the game is very hard to get a hold of, there were not even enough copies to fulfill retail preorders. That means the majority of those who have it either kickstarted or preordered. Since people who preorder or kickstart are presumable those who are the most interested in the game, they are probably more likely to enjoy it and rate it highly. I would expect the average rating to drop once the reprint arrives, but the extra ratings would probably also send the game's BGG rank soaring.

Perhaps people are also more likely to rate it highly because they "got a good deal", by which I mean that it looks like the game was underpriced, since the reprint will be seeing a slight price bump.
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There are a number of threads on the subject.

There probably aren't enough copies currently printed for it to get to #1.
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James Champagne
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The mechanics might not be unique in and of themselves, but they are certainly unique for the game's genre. A cooperative, campaign-style dungeon crawler driven by a crunchy, brain burning hand management system hasn't really been done before.
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Eric Bridge
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I think # 1 MIGHT be possible after the 2nd print run/kickstarter, but I'm thinking it will land in the top 20 before that time.
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rbelikov wrote:
1. Why is there such a dearth of threads analyzing the rise for this game, given that slower risers usually have lots of threads by this point in their rise?
Is this sarcasm?
If I remember correctly there have been at lesast 5 or 6 threads on the topic of Gloomhaven's rating, which is about 4 or 5 more than I find interesting or necessary.

(In general it is a bit of a pet peeve of mine that people keep opening new threads on the same subject, even if there is a very recent one with good discussion already. It makes the forums much harder to navigate and clutters them. But of course there is no way to police this and people can do what they want.)
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Gswp wrote:
rbelikov wrote:
1. Why is there such a dearth of threads analyzing the rise for this game, given that slower risers usually have lots of threads by this point in their rise?
Is this sarcasm?
If I remember correctly there have been at lesast 5 or 6 threads on the topic of Gloomhaven's rating, which is about 4 or 5 more than I find interesting or necessary.

(In general it is a bit of a pet peeve of mine that people keep opening new threads on the same subject, even if there is a very recent one with good discussion already. It makes the forums much harder to navigate and clutters them. But of course there is no way to police this and people can do what they want.)

Maybe you should create a new thread about this problem.
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Gswp wrote:
If I remember correctly there have been at lesast 5 or 6 threads on the topic of Gloomhaven's rating


Sure, but I have seen zero with some kind of detailed numerical analysis, such as this one for example: https://www.boardgamegeek.com/thread/853134/tracking-ranking

By now, I was expecting several threads like that with number crunching. Do statistics geeks not like fantasy games?
 
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ebridge wrote:
I think # 1 MIGHT be possible after the 2nd print run/kickstarter, but I'm thinking it will land in the top 20 before that time.

It should easily hit higher than that. Even Top 10 shouldn't be a problem, and Top 5 is a possibility.
 
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For comparison, here is some data for other recent top games when they had about the same number of votes as Gloomhaven has now (old data from https://www.boardgamegeek.com/article/20995970#20995970, I added the Gloomhaven line)


Avg. Geek
Title Votes Rating Rating Rank Date
------------------ ----- ------ ------ ------ -----------
Eclipse 1875 8.48 N/A 8 1 Feb 2012
Android: Netrunner 1834 8.54 7.847 14 18 Dec 2012
Terra Mystica 2010 8.28 7.744 21 15 May 2013
Caverna 2021 8.49 7.807 17 12 Mar 2014
Pandemic Legacy 1826 9.00 7.944 10 19 Nov 2015
Gloomhaven 1923 9.27 7.742 34 11 Mar 2017


Looking at this again, it is quite puzzling that the Gloomhaven avg. rating (9.27) is substantially higher than Pandemic's was at ~2K votes (9.00), but both the geek rating and rank are substantially lower. So now I'm thinking that either (a) Gloomhaven is triggering some major BGG anti-shilling routines, or (b) the BGG rating algorithm is substantially different now than in 2015.

Can anybody shed some light on this? If (a) or (b) are true, that pretty much answers all my questions and would imply that Gloomhaven is not such an outlier after all, and may or may not reach #1. But now I am very curious about what about Gloomhaven might be causing (a), or what the possible changes were in (b), if either of them is true, or in general what is the explanation for the discrepancy of numbers in the above table.
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Eric Bridge
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rbelikov wrote:
For comparison, here is some data for other recent top games when they had about the same number of votes as Gloomhaven has now (old data from https://www.boardgamegeek.com/article/20995970#20995970, I added the Gloomhaven line)


Avg. Geek
Title Votes Rating Rating Rank Date
------------------ ----- ------ ------ ------ -----------
Eclipse 1875 8.48 N/A 8 1 Feb 2012
Android: Netrunner 1834 8.54 7.847 14 18 Dec 2012
Terra Mystica 2010 8.28 7.744 21 15 May 2013
Caverna 2021 8.49 7.807 17 12 Mar 2014
Pandemic Legacy 1826 9.00 7.944 10 19 Nov 2015
Gloomhaven 1923 9.27 7.742 34 11 Mar 2017


Looking at this again, it is quite puzzling that the Gloomhaven avg. rating (9.27) is substantially higher than Pandemic's was at ~2K votes (9.00), but both the geek rating and rank are substantially lower. So now I'm thinking that either (a) Gloomhaven is triggering some major BGG anti-shilling routines, or (b) the BGG rating algorithm is substantially different now than in 2015.

Can anybody shed some light on this? If (a) or (b) are true, that pretty much answers all my questions and would imply that Gloomhaven is not such an outlier after all, and may or may not reach #1. But now I am very curious about what about Gloomhaven might be causing (a), or what the possible changes were in (b), if either of them is true, or in general what is the explanation for the discrepancy of numbers in the above table.

Thanks for this. I've never understood the "Geek rating". What is that, and why does it exist at all?
 
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I know a lot of people think that just because someone backs a game on kickstarter they will automatically rate it high. While it is true that only those who a game appeals to will back it, it doesn't mean that they will feel it is worth a high rating when it arrives. I have backed many games, and this is one of the few that I think really deserves a great rating. Often I have been disappointed with games I have backed as they did not live up to the hype or even my expectations. Backers often have high expectations that are prone to being missed if the resulting product fails in any regard.

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ebridge wrote:
Thanks for this. I've never understood the "Geek rating". What is that, and why does it exist at all?
"Geek rating" is a way to filter out games that have very few votes that are all 10s. Without "geek rating", such games (of which there are probably hundreds) would all be tied for #1 rank, adding a lot of noise to the whole rank system.

Geek rating is computed mainly by adding some number of "dummy" votes (I think 500 votes of 5 or 6) to any new game. This is a well-established statistical trick having to do with so-called "Bayesean statistics" that in effect answers the question of "what is the most likely actual rating of a game, given only a finite number of real votes"? Clearly a game that only has 5 votes, all "10", is unlikely to actually be a "10".

The rub is that in addition to the dummy votes, there is a secret correction BGG does which attempts to remove fake or shill votes, and possibly other things as well. BGG has never made the algorithm behind these corrections public to deter people from trying to break it. But clearly for the case of Gloomhaven, it is having a very strong effect as I described in the previous post, which makes it challenging to make sense of the numbers or compare apples to apples...
 
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tal342 wrote:
I know a lot of people think that just because someone backs a game on kickstarter they will automatically rate it high. While it is true that only those who a game appeals to will back it, it doesn't mean that they will feel it is worth a high rating when it arrives. I have backed many games, and this is one of the few that I think really deserves a great rating. Often I have been disappointed with games I have backed as they did not live up to the hype or even my expectations. Backers often have high expectations that are prone to being missed if the resulting product fails in any regard.



Especially for very expensive minis games (I am looking at you KDM) and games that are just the new monopoly (I am looking at you Pandemic) ratings will be high no matter what, even if gameplay is really not so great.
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My guess is that they use some weighting on the number of votes. As the votes can only increase every year, it would explain why gloomhaven has lower geek rating than games a few years back
 
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fedon wrote:
My guess is that they use some weighting on the number of votes. As the votes can only increase every year, it would explain why gloomhaven has lower geek rating than games a few years back


The algorithm is known to first order (see above). That was why the table above has games listed at the moment in time when they all had approximately the same # of votes (2000). This should cancel out the effect you mention, so there is something else going on. Does anybody know what?
 
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rbelikov wrote:
fedon wrote:
My guess is that they use some weighting on the number of votes. As the votes can only increase every year, it would explain why gloomhaven has lower geek rating than games a few years back


The algorithm is known to first order (see above). That was why the table above has games listed at the moment in time when they all had approximately the same # of votes (2000). This should cancel out the effect you mention, so there is something else going on. Does anybody know what?

If I had to guess, I'd say Pandemic Legacy had a higher percentage of discarded low-value votes. A lot of people hated on Pandemic Legacy for a variety of factors, such as because it was a legacy game or because it was cooperative or because they like some other game that had a higher ranking at the time (like Twilight Struggle or Terra Mystica). I read posts and rating comments from many people with one of those viewpoints. I don't think Gloomhaven has had nearly the same amount of backlash as Pandemic Legacy experienced.
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DarthEd wrote:
rbelikov wrote:
fedon wrote:
My guess is that they use some weighting on the number of votes. As the votes can only increase every year, it would explain why gloomhaven has lower geek rating than games a few years back


The algorithm is known to first order (see above). That was why the table above has games listed at the moment in time when they all had approximately the same # of votes (2000). This should cancel out the effect you mention, so there is something else going on. Does anybody know what?

If I had to guess, I'd say Pandemic Legacy had a higher percentage of discarded low-value votes. A lot of people hated on Pandemic Legacy for a variety of factors, such as because it was a legacy game or because it was cooperative or because they like some other game that had a higher ranking at the time (like Twilight Struggle or Terra Mystica). I read posts and rating comments from many people with one of those viewpoints. I don't think Gloomhaven has had nearly the same amount of backlash as Pandemic Legacy experienced.

Yeah, actually. It was pretty intense. That's where I'd put my money...
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ionas wrote:
tal342 wrote:
I know a lot of people think that just because someone backs a game on kickstarter they will automatically rate it high. While it is true that only those who a game appeals to will back it, it doesn't mean that they will feel it is worth a high rating when it arrives. I have backed many games, and this is one of the few that I think really deserves a great rating. Often I have been disappointed with games I have backed as they did not live up to the hype or even my expectations. Backers often have high expectations that are prone to being missed if the resulting product fails in any regard.



Especially for very expensive minis games (I am looking at you KDM) and games that are just the new monopoly (I am looking at you Pandemic) ratings will be high no matter what, even if gameplay is really not so great.


Except that there has been many other more expensive games than Gloomhaven, which have not had the same feedback from users. Look at the Others or Zombicide or even Kingdom Death: Monster. These are well rated for sure, but nowhere near as universally lauded as Gloomhaven. There is hype because of self validation, and then there is hype based on real value, and while any game will have some of the first, Gloomhaven included, the best games will generate buzz because of the real value it gives players.
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rbelikov wrote:
fedon wrote:
My guess is that they use some weighting on the number of votes. As the votes can only increase every year, it would explain why gloomhaven has lower geek rating than games a few years back


The algorithm is known to first order (see above). That was why the table above has games listed at the moment in time when they all had approximately the same # of votes (2000). This should cancel out the effect you mention, so there is something else going on. Does anybody know what?


BGG reports that their system looks at every game on the list, and gets an average number of votes. Any game with votes less than that average gets 'dummy' votes added in. Because there are more votes/game now than in the past, Gloomhaven is fighting this effect more than the ones that were listed earlier. Hmm... Looks like every game might get dummy votes? I coulda swore I had seen games with a higher Geek rating than their Average rating, but looking now I don't see any. I do know that 'Dummy' votes added into the Actual votes to make the Geek rating is dependent on how many votes, total, are in the system, though.

Notice how all of the ones with about the same rating are lower ranked than the ones who had the same rating before them; this is why. (Pandemic Legacy is the outlier, having a higher average rating than the others, which is why its rank is higher.)

Also is it weird that I own all of those games except Terra Mystica and Pandemic Legacy...? And consider them some of the best games in my collection?

(Like, Caverna is THE no-frills Worker Placement game in my collection. Eclipse is THE 4X Space game. Netrunner is THE competitive 2-player card game. Gloomhaven is THE GAME TO END ALL GAMES.)
 
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Wouldn't Kingdom Death: Monster be the Game to End All Games? I mean, it just had an historic kickstarter not to be repeated anytime soon. For such an expensive game, it's going to move an incredible number of units.

Lets see if Gloomhaven has the same legs when more people actually get to play it. I haven't had a chance to play it yet because of the ridiculous prices and low availability. I was actually able to get a copy of KD:M and it is one of the best games I've ever played, so if Gloomhaven is even half as good, I'd be happy.

I know I probably won't like GH as much because the combat engine is not Ameritrashy enough, which I love,but I can probably overlook it, if the game is able to tell a story and it feels like a campaign( which it seems from reviews, that it does well). So, I'm excited to get a copy, just don't understand people paying $300+ for a game getting a reprint in 3-4 months. Are people really that impatient? (and a superior version at that!)

Well, let the next kickstarter commence, and I won't be late to the party this time.
 
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Blustar wrote:
Wouldn't Kingdom Death: Monster be the Game to End All Games? I mean, it just had an historic kickstarter not to be repeated anytime soon. For such an expensive game, it's going to move an incredible number of units.

Well, if you compare the first Gloomhaven Kickstarter to the first KD:M Kickstarter, they're not that far off. Gloomhaven had 4904 backers, and KD:M had 5410 backers (and if you subtract the non-game backers, then they're practically equivalent). The difference between the two projects was the price point.

Now KD:M 1.5 had heaps and heaps of backers, but that's not a fair comparison yet. Why don't we see what Gloomhaven's Kickstarter does? I'm not saying it will even come close. I'm just saying it's not a fair comparison.

Plus, does the number of units sold really say anything about the quality of the gameplay? I'm sure Monopoly has sold hundreds of millions of copies...and most of us will agree that game is subpar at best.

Honestly, I never had any interest in KD:M. After reading various comments on the game, there was something that turned me off pretty quick...honestly can't remember what it was right now.
 
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I just noticed Gloomhaven's high average rating today. Fortunately, Michael Alexander (BGG user: beefsack) has been mining the ratings for the last few months, so I will be able to reconstruct a proper history of Gloomhaven's rise. It will be added to my thread here:

Tracking the ranking (Pandemic Legacy, Through the Ages 2, Gloomhaven)
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CrushU wrote:
Hmm... Looks like every game might get dummy votes? I coulda swore I had seen games with a higher Geek rating than their Average rating, but looking now I don't see any. I do know that 'Dummy' votes added into the Actual votes to make the Geek rating is dependent on how many votes, total, are in the system, though.

As far as I know every game gets the same number of dummy votes. They're all at 5/6 though I think. So if a game gets a few hundred 2s and 3s then it will have a higher geek rating than average rating.

Blustar wrote:
Wouldn't Kingdom Death: Monster be the Game to End All Games? I mean, it just had an historic kickstarter not to be repeated anytime soon. For such an expensive game, it's going to move an incredible number of units.

I was going to suggest that once KDM gets wider release after this second KS it'll do nearly as well. Then stopped as the big difference is that it's a minis game. There are people with Gloomhaven that will only get a few plays in, but they'll play and rate. There are people with KDM that will never get past assembling the minis. The assembly factor alone makes GLoomhaven so much more accessible.

The rating is likely to stabilise for Gloomhaven soon, as no new copies are being received. But then it will spike up again once the second KS hits. However by that point we'll also have an idea how the late game plays out. Which is the other problem at the moment - the game will clearly change a lot as the campaign progresses and it's possible some of the hype will fall off if the late campaign turns out to be less fun, too easy or whatever.
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Blustar wrote:
Wouldn't Kingdom Death: Monster be the Game to End All Games? I mean, it just had an historic kickstarter not to be repeated anytime soon. For such an expensive game, it's going to move an incredible number of units.


No, because KD:M isn't a game so much as a 'How did the RNG decide to bend you over this time?' experience.

Which actually makes me think... Were we playing it wrong? I swear it said to shuffle the Settlement Event deck every time you go into Settlement Phase, and it definitely resulted in seeing the same detrimental effects over and over again...

Still, the randomness inherent in KD:M is much worse. It also punishes certain strategies because dealing multiple hits is worse than dealing one strong hit. All because of that little rule where if you pull the Trap card you lose all your other hits. Imagine if in Gloomhaven pulling the Null card meant that your AoE was nullified entirely, instead of just the damage for just that one target.

Honestly I don't want to compare the two games too much, but I feel that the reprint for Gloomhaven will be similar to the KD:M reprint, except that with a stronger set of rules, mechanics, story, and gameplay behind it, should perform even better.

(Another indicator is how many stories I've seen of getting significant others or people who aren't really into gaming to play Gloomhaven and they love it...)
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