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Subject: New Board Game Ratings System (outside BGG) rss

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Colin Nordstrom
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I've been involved in a discussion about boardgame ratings, and an idea popped into my brain. Could there be an alternative rating system that better reflects a game's true value? I thought about 5 criteria that most gamers would agree define what makes a solid boardgame:

1. Component quality
2. Art/Graphic design
3. Rulebook layout/clarity
4. Gameplay
5. Replayability

Assigning a score of 0-5 to each criteria, a max score of 25 could be achieved. A percentage would then be tabulated to arrive at a metascore.

Maybe 2 separate composite percentages could be tabulated, one for gamers and one for chosen reviewers. Almost like a Rotten Tomatoes/IMDB/Metacritic for boardgames.

Thoughts?
 
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James Ludlow
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You're saying that all 5 of those categories are of equal value.
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Colin Nordstrom
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Yes
 
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Colin Nordstrom
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James,

Do a test. Take one of your favorite games and assign it a percentage metascore. Show me a breakdown of each criteria, so that I can see how you arrived at that score. Again, this is a percentage based system from 0-100 (based off a fraction of 25).
 
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evidence wrote:
Yes


I wouldn't.
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Colin Nordstrom
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Here's mine for Blood Rage (my favorite game of all time):

Component Quality: 4/5
Art/Graphic Design: 3.5/5
Rulebook: 5/5
Gameplay: 5/5
Replayability: 5/5

22.5/25

90%
 
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Colin Nordstrom
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MWChapel wrote:
evidence wrote:
Yes


I wouldn't.


Suggestion? I didn't want this to be a rehash of a BGG rating. I think BGG's system is excellent. I would consider my Gameplay criteria to be a slight incorporation of the BGG rating.
 
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Colin Nordstrom
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Chapel,

Take your favorite boardgame of all time, and put it through my criteria; then put it through an off-shoot system that you feel would work better.
 
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that Matt
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Huh. Goes to show how differently people value criteria. It would not occur to me to consider the rulebook as a noteworthy component of a game rating. I'd certainly never assign it equal weight to gameplay.
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evidence wrote:
MWChapel wrote:
evidence wrote:
Yes


I wouldn't.


Suggestion? I didn't want this to be a rehash of a BGG rating. I think BGG's system is excellent. I would consider my Gameplay criteria to be a slight incorporation of the BGG rating.


I'm just saying I don't consider all those areas you mentioned of equal value. I've played downright genius games that had crappy art and design. I've also played a lot of the most beautiful plastic fantastic coming out of KS with art and illustrations straight out of fantasy art books that was so boringly bad I would never play it again. Games are different things to different people. I weight gameplay and replay-ability over all of those areas.

I mean, come on, 50K people bought into Gloomhaven and never even played the game, from a completely unknown and untested designer. Why? Cause it was big and sexy, and full of stuff. Those people value Art/Graphic design over other areas. Luckily for them, it plays half way decently. But they didn't know that when they bought it.

SO ratings from me are worthless to those people, and those ratings from them are completely worthless to me.
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Colin Nordstrom
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How about this:

Gameplay 35% weight
Replayability 18%
Components 18%
Art/Graphic design 18%
Rulebook 11%
 
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Bryan Thunkd
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So if you found a game that had a horrible rule book, but great gameplay you’d rate it the same as a game with a great rule book and horrible gameplay (all other things being equal)? Those categories aren’t equivalent.

Once you figure out how to play the game, which admittedly might require someone else who knows how to play the game, play through videos, etc.) the great gameplay is going to trump the bad rule book. Having fun every time you play is just much more important than the structure of a rule book, which you’ll mostly just use when learning the game.

I’ve seen other people try to implement systems like this and invariably they end up running into a game where the sum of their rating system doesn’t jive with their feel of what the game should be rated. And then they tinker with the system trying to add in some sort of adjustment variable.

The thing is, you haven’t discovered the secret formula for how you like games. Maybe it works for your rating for Blood Rage, but it’s only a matter of time until you find a game that you love that has a horrible rule book. Or bad components. Or you find a game with awesome components, a great rule book, great art and incredible replayability but you absolutely can’t stand the game (which should be an easy 80% rating in your method).

And even if you were right and that system perfectly predicted how much you like every game... that’s not “reflecting the game’s true value”. It’d be reflecting your opinion if the game’s value. Other people might not give a whit about rulebooks. Or maybe they factor in categories that you don’t even touch on, like thematic verisimilitude.

There is no “true” value. There’s only how well you think the game does in the categories you think are important. Other people are going to disagree with your valuations of how well the game does in those categories and whether those are even the categories we should be looking at.
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Colin Nordstrom
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This would change my Blood Rage rating to: 91%
 
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Bryan Thunkd
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evidence wrote:
How about this:

Gameplay 35% weight
Replayability 18%
Components 18%
Art/Graphic design 18%
Rulebook 11%
You can tinker with it all you want, but no matter what percentages you settle on, you’ll find games that don’t work with the percentages you’ve chosen.

That’s because the reasons we like things is an amalgamation of hundreds of different factors, not just five. I mean you’re overlooking fairly basic things like how much conflict a game has, whether the theme appeals to you, how well the mechanisms of the game fit the theme, etc. Heck, you don’t even consider “fun”! The gameplay of a game can be smooth, elegant and well done, but if you don’t enjoy the game isn’t that something that should be reflected in your rating?

How you feel about a game is going to be based on so many different factors that you couldn’t easily delineate what they all are. You’re probably not conciously aware of a lot of them to be honest. And trying to make a handful of factors line up with your actual preferences is going to fail a fair bit of the time because of that.
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T. Dauphin
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I like the idea of rating the individual features of a game, and I'm thankful to reviewers who take the time to do that.
I would not be inclined to turn them into an overall rating, however. This is partly because of the differences in the values assigned to each, as discussed above.
For me a rule book is critically important, but I mostly play wargames, which means a rule book is frequently in my hands. If I can't find what I'm looking for, it's not much use.
I would rename that item, Rule book Utility.

I also would prefer a 1-10 scale. I think some people score something by taking points off for some perceived impairment. The effect of this can be exaggerated by a smaller scale.

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Colin Nordstrom
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Or a weight breakdown of:

Gameplay 50%
Components: 14%
Art/Graphic design: 14%
Replayability: 14%
Rulebook: 8%

This would gave my rating of Blood Rage a 93%
 
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Bryan Thunkd
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evidence wrote:
This would change my Blood Rage rating to: 91%
I’m sure it works some of the time. I’m not saying that your system never lines up with your preferences.

But you’ll find games you shouldn’t like because the rule book isn’t great and the art is hokey, but your friends and you just have a blast every time you play. Or where the gameplay is incredible but you can’t get past the zombie theme (or dressmaking theme, etc.)

And that’s when you’ll realize that rulebooks and art don’t really play the part in your preferences that you think they do. Oh you may appreciate them, and like when a game does them well, but they’re almost certainly not as important as you’re thinking they are. The fact that games like Blood Rage score well in your current system is just a coincidence, not a causal influence.
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Colin Nordstrom
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tanik wrote:

I like the idea of rating the individual features of a game, and I'm thankful to reviewers who take the time to do that.
I would not be inclined to turn them into an overall rating, however. This is partly because of the differences in the values assigned to each, as discussed above.
For me a rule book is critically important, but I mostly play wargames, which means a rule book is frequently in my hands. If I can't find what I'm looking for, it's not much use.
I would rename that item, Rule book Utility.

I also would prefer a 1-10 scale. I think some people score something by taking points off for some perceived impairment. The effect of this can be exaggerated by a smaller scale.



tanik,

excellent point. why does it have to be a cumulative rating? it doesn't. maybe the criteria could exist, each with it's own 1-10 scale. let gamers see individual scores. then maybe there could be an individual/cumulative Blood Rage rulebook score that stands by itself.
 
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Colin Nordstrom
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Thunkd wrote:
evidence wrote:
This would change my Blood Rage rating to: 91%
I’m sure it works some of the time. I’m not saying that your system never lines up with your preferences.

But you’ll find games you shouldn’t like because the rule book isn’t great and the art is hokey, but your friends and you just have a blast every time you play.

And that’s when you’ll realize that rulebooks and art don’t really play the part in your preferences that you think they do. Oh you may appreciate them, and like when a game does them well, but they’re almost certainly not as important as you’re thinking they are. The fact that games like Blood Rage score well in your current system is just a coincidence, not a causal influence.


Bryan,

what about tanik's suggestion? that way nothing needs to be weighted. A gameplay rating would be completely separate from a component rating or a rulebook rating.

For example, under Blood Rage, you would see how people cumulatively rated Blood Rage's rulebook on a 0-10 scale, likewise for the other 4 criteria.
 
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Bryan Thunkd
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evidence wrote:
what about tanik's suggestion? that way nothing needs to be weighted.
Sure... if you don’t sum them then you won’t run into the problem where that sum doesn’t match up to how you feel about the game, but...

...if those categories aren’t really the factors that determine how much you’ll like the game, then why look at them in the first place? I mean sure you can rate all the rulebooks. And people will look at that rating and tell themselves that’s an important metric and base purchasing decisions off of it... but if you concede that you can’t assign a percentage towards how much a rulebook factors into your rating of the game then you’re conceding that you can’t say how important it is to know whether a game has a good rulebook or not.

Wouldn’t it make more sense to show the important statistics? Because the only important one is really what you’d rate the game.

I’d give Blood Rage a very good score for art, rulebook, and components. And I can see how the gameplay and replayability could be considered very good... but I didn’t like that game very much at all. Your categories just don’t capture my opinion of the game in the slightest.
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Frankly there have been dozens of suggestions on "better" methods to calculate rank. Any such method will make some people happy and some people unhappy. There isn't any method on which everyone would agree.

To me, any rating system which doesn't have Qubic as the highest ranked game is suspect. devil
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Christopher Lester
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evidence wrote:
How about this:

Gameplay 35% weight
Replayability 18%
Components 18%
Art/Graphic design 18%
Rulebook 11%


I don't think you can give Rulebook any value, because we have the Internet. That's one big rulebook source that's going to be up-to-date all the time, with errata, rules explanation videos, and game play-thrus.
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Michael Debije
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cklester wrote:
evidence wrote:
How about this:

Gameplay 35% weight
Replayability 18%
Components 18%
Art/Graphic design 18%
Rulebook 11%


I don't think you can give Rulebook any value, because we have the Internet. That's one big rulebook source that's going to be up-to-date all the time, with errata, rules explanation videos, and game play-thrus.


If it does not have value, why are there rants every weeks about games with poor rulebooks, with plenty of 'Their rulebook was so bad I will never buy a game from them again' proclaimations. I don't think everyone will agree with you.

As for me, I coildn't care less about components, for example.
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I actually wouldn't mind the ability to rate games based on several metrics like replayability, rule book, etc, but I'd never use such a system to base my overall rating on, which is:

Do I enjoy playing this game - 100%
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I think your proposal could be improved a bit with a few small changes.

Keep it to a single overall rating (as discussed by others, nobody agrees on what each category is or how they should be weighted).
Expand it from a 1-5 scale to a 1-10 scale. This gives a wider degree of granularity for distinguishing between games.
Allow people to assign whatever meaning they like to the scale (so they can weight whatever factors they consider important).
The only 'rule' is that 10 is better than 9, which is better than 8, and so on, all the way down to 1 which is the worst rating.
In the event that people want to even ignore that one simple rule, and just rate everything 1 for example, you could have some sort of algorithm that disregards obviously bogus ratings.

I think a system like that would be pretty neat.
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