Recommend
8 
 Thumb up
 Hide
8 Posts

BoardGameGeek» Forums » Gaming Related » General Gaming

Subject: The What Should We Play? Tool rss

Your Tags: Add tags
Popular Tags: [View All]
Stephen Venters
United States
Evergreen
Colorado
flag msg tools
If you want to sing out...
badge
Music is the sound of human emotion
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Over the years, I've attended many gaming Meet-Ups and boardgame nights and other gatherings where the group hums and haws about what to play.

If it's a meetup away from any of our homes, then we all have to decide prior to leaving what games in our vast collections we should bring. Sometimes we'd end up with 2 (or more) copies of the same game. Sometimes, we'd end up with nothing we want to play. Or, if the gathering is at one of our houses, we all stare at the host's library and spend 30 minutes deciding which of the 100s of games we all want to play.

On my most recent game day at a friend's house, he sent out a link to his BGG collection to kick start the process a bit. I also sent out a link to my collection, meager compared to his, but we needed a 6 player game, so the more options the better. Plus, we were looking for heavier games and a lot of 6+ player games are lightweight party games. It was neither easy nor convenient to scan both lists and try to pick something.

This rekindled interest in a small project I have been wanting to work on for the last couple years: to have a tool to aggregate multiple BGG user collections and to provide "game night" recommendations. Using the BGG API, I have finally done this. I call it The What Should We Play? Tool. It is part of my Boardgame Helpers suite.


It takes 3 parameters:
1. A comma separated list of BGG Usernames whose collections you want to aggregate
2. The number of players needing to play (this may be different than the number of BGG Users)
3. The weights of the games you'd like to play

It outputs a couple of things:

BGG User Stats
This is a simple table of the users and the number of games/expansions they own. It also gives the number of total unique games (not including expansions) amongst all users. This is the same number of games that appear in the Aggregated List below.


Recommended Games for n-Players
This is a list of the top recommended games based on the Composite Rating and the desired game weights. The Composite Rating is a calculated rating I've derived based on average user rating (owned or not owned), the geek rating, best number of players verse actual number of players (the 2nd parameter), among other things. It is my attempt at using the information available on BGG to best choose some game options for your group.

If a game can't support the needed number of players, it does not appear on the Recommendations list. However, if an owned expansion increases the max players, it will take that game and expansion into consideration as a unit. For example, we needed 6 players, but base Agricola (Revised Edition) only supports up to 4 players. However, because Agricola: Expansion for 5 and 6 Players increases it to 6 players, Agricola with the expansion would be listed as a Recommendation (assuming both are tagged as owned).


Aggregated BGG User Collections
This is an aggregated list of all unique games and related expansions that are owned by at least one of the BGG Users. The assumption is that someone has to actually own a copy for it to be played.

It gives you insight to what games are in the collective collection in case the recommendations aren't good enough to choose from. It also provides a couple of statistics on each one such as number of owners, game weight, average user rating and the Geek Rating.


Please take a look and let me know what you think! I hope other gamers find it useful, too!
The What Should We Play? Tool
5 
 Thumb up
27.00
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Pete
United States
Northbrook
Illinois
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Nicely done.

Pete (still finds it odd that people can't just walk to the nearest shelf and grab a game)
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Stephen Venters
United States
Evergreen
Colorado
flag msg tools
If you want to sing out...
badge
Music is the sound of human emotion
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
plezercruz wrote:
(still finds it odd that people can't just walk to the nearest shelf and grab a game)

When I lived in NYC, we'd rarely game at each other's apartments because there just wasn't the space. Instead, we'd meet somewhere with large tables and, ideally, food, too. Several Manhattan Whole Foods stores (with hot bars) were common meeting locations.

Long story short, we didn't have the luxury of seeing each others' game collections like that. Instead, we'd just pick 2-3 games to carry with us and hope
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Ken Brzuziwski
United States
Parker
Colorado
flag msg tools
More Monskers
badge
I am blue
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
I need to stop buying expansions, And start rating my games.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Stephen Venters
United States
Evergreen
Colorado
flag msg tools
If you want to sing out...
badge
Music is the sound of human emotion
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
monskers wrote:
I need to stop buying expansions, And start rating my games.

Yea, the personal game ratings are a major component of the recommendations (not surprisingly)
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Maurice Oksman
United States
Hartsdale
New York
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Nice—I need to check this out... I understand that some people just like to ‘wing it’ and that’s fine, but I honestly find it kind of a time waster. ‘Winging-it’ is all great and fine when you’re the type of group that doesn’t tolerate games that go over an hour (hence easy to teach and if you hate the game, it’ll be over soon).

Now I’m not saying that my gaming groups over the years haven’t gotten along—in fact, I don’t really have interest in playing games with non-friends or friendly people, but yet still, people have different tastes, not to mention the abundance of games we all seam to be purchasing. I try to consider myself a board game player rather than collector, so I ultimately intend to play all my games I buy—now, obviously, that doesn’t always work out right away or i’ve Known people to buy too many then life circumstances change and they end up selling a whole bunch of brand new games.

So the point being, I’m totally behind you on this tool. I’ve seen other tools, but i’ve Yet to find a tool I like. The closest was a group I had that used to vote on x # of games from his collection and x # from each other people’s collection—all of us keeping player count in mind. We then all sent it to the host who had his own list and just tally crossovers and roughly calculate what was the highest voted. Fillers didn’t really count, we just brought those, but overall it worked out for a bit. It had it’s kinks, such as people voting on completely different games, or dealing with tie breakers, games going on too long, etc.. but for the most part it worked.

The key point was the number of games voted from each collection was inversely related to the amount of people. For example, on a 6 person night we weren’t making a list of 5 games from 6 BGG collections, but only choosing 2-3. The same concept went for a night of 3 people, therefore, allowing 5 games from each BGG list to be more reasonable. We also weren’t exact, so we’d usually say choose 2-3 or 3-5 from each list, as it was no big deal if someone had a smaller collection or you just couldn’t find that many games from certain people’s lists.

Now overall this worked—we even kept in mind backups and were flexible if a person suddenly had an emergency and couldn’t make it.

The one difference from then to now is that I feel I’d add the request of people watching a game tutorial if they didn’t know the chosen game or never played it. Not just for the teacher’s/other player’s sake, but also fit their own as it’s just more fun, especially in a long or complex game, roughly knowing the core concepts ahead of time so that they could enjoy the game’s actual strategy rather than just be distracted on just getting down the basics of the game.

Anyways—that I guess ‘learning ahead’ was less feasible at the time as there were far less tutorial videos or rulebooks posted as fast—especially if it was a newer game.

Sadly, it’s been years since that group and I haven’t had a consistent enough or like minded enough group to do that in a bit, but i’m Hopefully getting there again, because I prefer that way of choosing games fairly and not wasting time.

Well, I look foward to checking out your system.

Cheers!
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Geoffrey Burrell
United States
Cedar Rapids
Iowa
flag msg tools
Your tool seems very logical and helpful. I hope you never have another bad gaming experience. I'll have to try out your system the next time my group plays a board game. My group is currently playing the D&D 5th Edition adventure Tomb of Annihilation.
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Stephen Venters
United States
Evergreen
Colorado
flag msg tools
If you want to sing out...
badge
Music is the sound of human emotion
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Oops! There's been a bug causing it crash for the last 3 days. It's fixed now. Sorry :/
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls