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Subject: Question about rankings and recommendations... rss

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UA Darth
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Do most people here buy games say, only in the first 200 ranks, 500? Are you hesitant to buy games that get good reviews but are in the 600s?

People love some games that are ranked in the 600s+, so I'm just wondering what everyone tends to use when deciding whether to buy a game.

This all assumes you don't access to trying new games for free(I don't).
 
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Dave VanderArk
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I would never buy a game just because it was highly ranked here. I'd buy it if it has a theme I like, or is a style of game I like. Where it ranks on BGG is something I might pay attention to, but would not base my purchasing decision on that. The rankings here strongly favor new games.

There are plenty of games I like just fine that are not highly regarded here. One of my top ten games of all time, Auf Achse, is currently ranked #1199. One reason it is so low is that it was out of print for about the last 15 years. Many people have never had the chance to play it. There's a new edition out now. If people only based their decision to buy or not on the Geek rating, they could be missing out on a game that I think is outstanding.

What's more important to me than the opinions of everyone on BGG are the opinions of a select few. That's what I use the Geekbuddy function for. I've got a group of people from far and near as my Geekbuddies, and I know and respect their opinions on things. When I'm looking at a potential purchase, I might be more inclined to buy the game if my Geekbuddies approve of it, no matter what BGG as a whole thinks.
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Rick Holzgrafe
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A high ranking is an incentive to buy, yes. But...

Not all highly-ranked games fit a person's particular tastes. I'd usually rather play a lower-ranked euro than a highly-ranked wargame, for example. This means that you should definitely read some reviews and check personal comments (from people who hate the game as well as those who love it) to see what features of the game you might like or dislike.

And... remember that there are over 30,000 games listed on the Geek! Although some fine games may be too old or obscure to have garnered enough votes for a ranking, I think you could generalize and say that the 3,000-odd games that are ranked are in the top 10%. A game ranked in the 600's is therefore somewhere around the 98th percentile, and that ain't chopped liver.

So read reviews, read the personal comments, and whenever possible, try the game before you buy! We use the rankings mostly to find games that we want to research. But if we play some random game with friends and like it, we won't let a lower ranking stop us from buying a copy.
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T. Nomad
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unruled wrote:
if I limited myself to only the top 200 games, then I'd only have 200 games.


Have truer words ever been uttered here?
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Brad N
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Pathirtle wrote:
I find that comments, reviews and session reports are much more useful than ratings.


Pathirtle is right! Obviously, try before you buy is the best policy but I often can't make time to do that so I buy based on other information I can get.

I've been using BGG to learn about games for almost a year. After purchasing several games in the 400 to 800 ranking range based on the theme and game description and some reviews, I found I was disappointed too frequently. So, now I have a new approach which is working better for me. I often start by looking at the ranking first and then learn more about the game. I won't buy solely based on ranking, but it definitely has an impact on my decision. And, I will still buy games in the 500's or 600's or wherever depending on the reviews and other information. I do find that "heavier" games tend to get ranked higher and some people I game with like light filler-type games. Even the best filler game probably isn't going to crack the top 50 no matter how much fun it is.

For example, Circus Flohcati is currently ranked #491 but it is a very light and quick game that has a lot of positive feedback on BGG (at least in what I've looked at). So, I bought it and it works great as a filler game for the start or end to the night.
 
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John W
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shadow9d9 wrote:
Do most people here buy games say, only in the first 200 ranks, 500? Are you hesitant to buy games that get good reviews but are in the 600s?

People love some games that are ranked in the 600s+, so I'm just wondering what everyone tends to use when deciding whether to buy a game.

This all assumes you don't access to trying new games for free(I don't).
I've been starting to hear rumblings similar to this recently (maybe I missed them years ago) and it's seriously chilling me.

The concept that people would limit their purchases (and perhaps even their plays!) to games in the BGG Top X is simply alien to me.

The mostly-Euro group-think of BGG doesn't inform my gaming decisions whatsoever.
I find the Top 200 to be mostly a joke.

However, if you find the Top 200 to remotely coincide with your game preferences, then by all means, let someone else's opinions set your gaming purchase parameters.
 
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UA Darth
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My wife and I are fairly new to serious boardgaming... I've been using geeklists combined with rankings and reviews to try to best determine what is right for us...

Puerto Rico, Samurai, Lost Cities, Dungeon Twister, Mr. Jack, and Carolus Magnus(for the rare 3 player), and Tigrus and Euphrates have been disappointing.

Settlers of Catan(rare 3 player), A Game of Thrones(same), Jambo, Carcassonne: The Castle, and Twilight Struggle(I loved, she didn't) have been great.

Caylus was ok for 2 player.

Ticket to Ride the pc game was decent until they told me I had to pay to play online against my wife sitting on the pc next to me even though I paid for the game... I refuse to pay a yearly subscription to play a game against my wife after paying for the game itself, so it is now a toaster...

Just played our first game of Reef Encounter tonight and although I think it is a decent game that could grow on me, I think it is too much of a brain twister for her to get her head around.

Using the above methods, and avoiding games of heavy luck(lots of dice) and abstract games(not interesting to me), I have bought the following:

-Fury of Dracula
-Bohnanza
-Hive
-Elasund: The First City of Catan
-Citadels
-1960 The Making of a President Board Game
-Duel in the Dark
-Hammer of the Scots
-Hannibal: Rome vs. Carthage
-Lord of the Rings: The Confrontation
-Napoleon's Triumph
-Race For The Galaxy
-Battle Line
-Settlers of Catan Card Game

Buying soon:
-Thurn and Taxis
-Attika
-Blue Moon
-Blue Moon city
-Clans

Pre-ordered Agricola

Antiquity and roads and boats intrigues me but if Reef encounter is a brain twister for us, it is unlikely we would get far with those 2.

Bonaparte at Marengo would have been preferable to Napoleon's tirumph, but it can't be found for under $100...

It'll take us a while to get through them and figure out which types are for us and which aren't... but I pretty much stayed in the top 200-300, used geeklists, and reviews....

Wish me luck!

It is really tough for people that don't have access to games to figure out what'll work for them.

I don't know if the ranking system is accurate or just pumped up... really hard to tell.. but if it is a poor indicator, it could turn a lot of new people(us) off to gaming... Thoughts like "If the "top 200" doesn't entertain us, likely nothing will." are likely to occur to newer people.
 
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'Bernard Wingrave'
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I look at a combination of things to see whether I should consider purchasing a game:

What kinds of comments has it received?

How do the reviews strike me?

Does the game seem to be like other games I enjoy or like other games I don't enjoy very much?

What is its rating? Of my top 10 games, 6 are in the BGG top 100, and 3 more are in the next 100. The other one is barely in the top 2000. For a game to make it into the top 200, it needs to have a lot of ratings (most of them really good), so if you rely only on a game being in the top 200, you'll miss out on games that may be good but lack ratings (including most print-and-play games). Expansions aren't ranked, so keep that in mind if you're only buying things from the top X games. Some of the games that have gotten a lot of plays in my collection in the past couple of years are TransAmerica, Diamant (Incan Gold) and Terra, which are outside the BGG Top 200. If you're interested in finding games outside the BGG Top 200 that are getting a lot of plays logged, check out Guantanamo's Geeklist series on the subject. The November edition is here.

What do I think of the game images?

How much does it cost?

How long does it take to play? I purchased a really cool game early this year that hasn't hit the the table because it has a play time of over 4 hours.

How many rules questions are there in the game forum? More rules questions may mean a game that's just too complicated for me -- or that has rules that aren't very well written.
 
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Matthew Gray
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I've posted my approach in another thread long ago, but here it is again, with my thresholds updated for the increased given the growth of the geek:

I tend to look at game ranks in roughly 5 "star" categories: 1-150 (5 stars), 151-600 (4 stars), 501-1200 (3 stars), 1201-2500 (2 stars) and 2501+ (1 star). If a game has a feature (designer, publisher, mechanic, theme, etc.) I'm especially fond of, I give it another star or two. Games with features I tend to dislike, get docked a star or two. Ratings/reviews from trusted users might bump it up or down one star, but for me, I don't find many reviewers/raters who I can consistently trust. Then, if a game has 6 or more stars, I probably buy it before playing. 5 stars, I actively seek it out to try it. 4 stars, I'm happy to give it a try. 3 stars, I'm willing to give it a try. 2 stars, I have to be convinced. 1 star, I avoid it. For me, it works. Actual experience playing the game trumps most of this except for the "other people" issue mentioned below.

In other words, a game in the 600s is certainly worth considering if it has other things going for it. Below about rank 1200 is a yellow flag and below 2500 is a red flag. Despite this, I own almost 100 games worse than rank 2500, though a large number are those are (good) kids games, games I own from my childhood, games received as sweeteners in trades, games off of event prizetable "lot picks", or other cases where I didn't go out and buy the game for myself.

Further, an important thing to keep in mind is that the rank takes into account the number of people who have rated it. This is a good thing, in that without it the top 100 would change almost daily as the games with fewer ratings jumped around each time they got new ratings. But, it means there are many very good games that haven't yet gotten wider exposure ranked between 1000 and 2000.

Finally, I have to reply to the slightly snide comments about whether or not you should consider anyone else's opinion when deciding on a game to buy. To me, one of the key values of ranking is exactly that, identifying whether other people will like it. I care about this because I play games with other people. If I only played with a very small set of people, those might be the only others I care about, but I play games with a lot of different people (>160 different opponents so far this year, which has been a slow year), and BGG gives me a good rough sense of how well or poorly a game is likely to be received. There are some games I like a lot that I know my fellow players will not enjoy if I bring it out a lot. So, I'm less interested in buying something I'll only get to play when I inflict it on people.

All that said, I'd agree with a lot of the general comments:

I would never buy a game exclusively due to high rank. I would never not buy an appealing game exclusively due to low rank. But given a finite budget, ranking will certainly help me prioritize games that have similar appeal in other ways.
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Matthew Gray
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rholzgrafe wrote:

And... remember that there are over 30,000 games listed on the Geek! Although some fine games may be too old or obscure to have garnered enough votes for a ranking, I think you could generalize and say that the 3,000-odd games that are ranked are in the top 10%. A game ranked in the 600's is therefore somewhere around the 98th percentile, and that ain't chopped liver.


But, only 4100 games meet the 30-rating minimum to be ranked at all, so a 600 ranked game is 85th percentile, not 98th. But, 85th percentile isn't chopped liver either
 
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Kevin Li
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shadow9d9 wrote:
It is really tough for people that don't have access to games to figure out what'll work for them.

I sympathize with you here...the only way to truly know if a game will work for you is to play it. In the meantime, you could try finding other gamers with games you're interested in (easier said than done of course!). You could try playing games online, or read session reports to get a feel for what the game is like.

shadow9d9 wrote:
I don't know if the ranking system is accurate or just pumped up... really hard to tell.. but if it is a poor indicator, it could turn a lot of new people(us) off to gaming... Thoughts like "If the "top 200" doesn't entertain us, likely nothing will." are likely to occur to newer people.


I think the "top 200" list on BGG is about as useful as a "top 100" list of the best movies or best books as voted on by some arbitrary group of critics. The list can serve as guideposts for quality, but there can't be any guarantee that every game (or work of art) will satisfy every person or anywhere close to that. A work can be on a "top" list for any number of reasons, and appeal to the average Joe is not necessarily a requirement.

For example, Citizen Kane and Moby Dick are probably found on most top 100 movie/book lists, but I'd venture to say that their appeal is rather esoteric. I read Moby Dick ten years ago and found it interesting, but insufferably bombastic, and I didn't get why it was considered such a great book by many critics.

Not every game in the list will suit you well. I don't think there is anybody on BGG whose "top 100" list exactly matches BGG's top 100 ranked games. Eurogames, Ameritrash, wargames, abstracts, party games...there is something in the list for everybody, but not any one thing that everybody will like.

Another thing to think about -- perhaps some "top 200" BGG games can be better appreciated with more experience and time. An experienced gamer's perspective is different from that of a relative newbie. With respect to books, people sometimes say that when they read a novel (like Moby Dick) again later in life, that they appreciate it more (or differently) than they did the first time around. Maybe some games are a little bit like that too.
 
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John W
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shadow9d9 wrote:
My wife and I are fairly new to serious boardgaming...
what is "serious" boardgaming?
Maybe I'm working under a different criteria for boardgaming, but in my opinion the "seriousness" of a game has little to do with my enjoyment of it.
BGG is rife with people espousing a "our games are best" approach, showing in the term TGoO (These Games of Ours) - as if there was some inherent quality in TGoO that should bowl over everyone with their perfection.

Everyone always SAYS "the most important part of boardgaming is "to have fun" - but then this "serious game" concept keeps coming up, like a bad penny.

Quote:
It is really tough for people that don't have access to games to figure out what'll work for them.
I did a search (with my weak BGG-fu) for Boca Raton BGGers, and it seems there's 23 of them:
http://www.boardgamegeek.com/browser.php?itemtype=flag&count...

In my experience, trying out someone else's game and learning it from them is the hands-down best way to learn new games.

Quote:
I don't know if the ranking system is accurate or just pumped up... really hard to tell.. but if it is a poor indicator, it could turn a lot of new people(us) off to gaming... Thoughts like "If the "top 200" doesn't entertain us, likely nothing will." are likely to occur to newer people.
Weird.
I never thought of people looking at the Top 200 and thinking those would be the best games FOR THEM.
I would think after the first game they play in the Top 200 that doesn't match their tastes, they would figure "Maybe all of these aren't the beesknees, and I should open up my parameters to include games that are similar to >Top 200 games that I DO like, or were recommended by people that like my favorites".

In addition, if you filled out your profile with your gaming approach, and rated games with comments, and added people of similar gaming tastes to your GeekBuddies, you'd likely be better informed about who's gaming tastes match your more.

Good luck.
 
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I find that at about 6.3 is my cutoff for games. I could go as low as 6.0 if I like the theme or mechanics.

A lot of games with overall ratings from 8-6 have something going for them. Placement does not matter to me, but the overall ranting score is usually somewhat telling. At least, it has been to me so far.
 
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UA Darth
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reapersaurus wrote:
shadow9d9 wrote:
My wife and I are fairly new to serious boardgaming...
what is "serious" boardgaming?
Maybe I'm working under a different criteria for boardgaming, but in my opinion the "seriousness" of a game has little to do with my enjoyment of it.
BGG is rife with people espousing a "our games are best" approach, showing in the term TGoO (These Games of Ours) - as if there was some inherent quality in TGoO that should bowl over everyone with their perfection.

Everyone always SAYS "the most important part of boardgaming is "to have fun" - but then this "serious game" concept keeps coming up, like a bad penny.

Quote:
It is really tough for people that don't have access to games to figure out what'll work for them.
I did a search (with my weak BGG-fu) for Boca Raton BGGers, and it seems there's 23 of them:
http://www.boardgamegeek.com/browser.php?itemtype=flag&count...

In my experience, trying out someone else's game and learning it from them is the hands-down best way to learn new games.

Quote:
I don't know if the ranking system is accurate or just pumped up... really hard to tell.. but if it is a poor indicator, it could turn a lot of new people(us) off to gaming... Thoughts like "If the "top 200" doesn't entertain us, likely nothing will." are likely to occur to newer people.
Weird.
I never thought of people looking at the Top 200 and thinking those would be the best games FOR THEM.
I would think after the first game they play in the Top 200 that doesn't match their tastes, they would figure "Maybe all of these aren't the beesknees, and I should open up my parameters to include games that are similar to >Top 200 games that I DO like, or were recommended by people that like my favorites".

In addition, if you filled out your profile with your gaming approach, and rated games with comments, and added people of similar gaming tastes to your GeekBuddies, you'd likely be better informed about who's gaming tastes match your more.

Good luck.


Serious boardgaming is referring to games more serious than a cranium, boggle, or Life.

As for Boca, I started this thread, http://boardgamegeek.com/article/1908618#1908618, started the yahoo group inside, and messaged over 15 people in the area from geek.. only 2 responded.. so trying to pursue something there.

I will fill out my profile when I've had more games played under my belt(a majority of my game list above are games I just ordered and haven't played yet).
 
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