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Subject: Are people just rating this game a TAD too high? rss

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Richard Hutnik
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Over 500 reviews? Is the game even available in in English yet? Anyhow, am curious if it is just a buzz of the hour for it. Check the ratings. It is 90% 8-10 ratings. Come on, as many 10 ratings as 8 just about?

By the way, in light of this, what is the 11 1's it got? Are people protesting it or something?
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It's a really good game, AND it's hot stuff right now, AND it's not even available in English yet (but it's been translated and that translation is available). People like farming. Playing it with different number of players turns it into a different game. Playing it with different decks makes it a different game. There's something for everyone in the Agricola box, and that's why people are excited about it.
 
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Robert Wesley
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Yes, the "trend whores" just HAVE to 'do' this, or they'll LOSE their standings within the "Dork Community", to which they belong and hopefully remain secluded within such, didn't you KNOW!?!
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Rob "Bodhi" Wolff
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The people who I've been seeing rate it are people who have been excited to get a chance to play it, found a way to play a translated copy of it, played somebody's translated copy of it quite a few times, and then when they've had a moment sat down and rated the game. Some of them have posted their experiences, written reviews, and so forth. While there are very few physical copies of the game floating around, those copies seem to be floating around *a lot*, making the rounds, and being actively sought out by various game circles.

So yes, it is hot. Yes, it is actively being sought out. Yes, there are few copies existing. Does this lead to inflated ratings?

I don't actually think so, or at least not that much. I've seen so many games get popped by the hype bubble, when people actually play them, they rush home to write about how terrible their experience was. Instead, for Agricola, I keep hearing about people who *finally* got to play it and had a blast, and can't wait to get their own copy.

Whenever I wonder if the game is nothing but hype, I see another post which mimics this same pattern, and it puts another nail in that argument. It also puts my mind at ease, because I pre-ordered a copy, sight unseen, without ever playing it, based on the number of positive reviews and experiences I've been reading.

So do I hope it is a good game? You bet!

Do I worry that it is over-hyped? Of course!

Do I think that it is actually unfairly rated? Well, every time I think that it might be approaching that point, something happens to put my mind to rest (I read an account, I read a review, I talk to somebody, etc.)

I want to be cynical. I want to be curmudgeonly. I want to be snarky. I want to be grumpy.

But realistically, I just can't seem to get that side troubled of myself to overpower the evidence that Agricola seems to be standing up by itself ... so far. Reason tells us that every once in awhile a game must come down the pipe that really is quite good, and that a lot of people will enjoy and rate highly. Maybe Agricola just hit the sweet spot.

Time will tell. We'll see.

It'll be interesting to see what happens when the flood of English copies hits the market in the spring, and a bunch more English-speaking groups get to play it, and more people to get add their experiences and their ratings.

If the rating of "10" is that somebody is always willing to play a particular game, and people are walking away in the spring with that feeling of "Oh boy, I just want to play it again", then even without hype, Agricola might just prove itself to stand on its own feet.
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W. Eric Martin
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Richard, I'm going to guess that you haven't played the game yet. Many of those who have are addicted to playing it to the exclusion of all else. I played it twice last Saturday. In her latest BGN column, Valerie Putman says she played it four times in a row at her most recent game group event. Dale Yu has already played 30+ times and wrote an 18-page review of the game. The people who like the game really like it!

I think part of the appeal of Agricola is that it's both an experience game (you're a farmer trying to build up a decent farm and feed your family) and an engine game (How will you find food? By growing grain and vegetables? By baking bread? By slaughtering your animals? Making beer?). One player I taught said, "It's a computer game!" and he meant it as a compliment. Agricola feels like a small scale civ game, and due to the nature of the card decksand the different set-ups for 2-5 players, each game feels very different while at heart still the same.

I'm in Poughkeepsie visiting in-laws for a couple of days, and if I had brought my copy, I gladly would have taught you the game!

Eric
Editor, http://www.BoardgameNews.com
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Geoff Speare
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If you haven't played it you shouldn't rate it. Hopefully not a lot of that going on, but who knows?

I've played it and rated it a 9. It could well end up being a 10. Not everyone likes it, but I do. And it works well with 2-5, and it has huge replayability, and...well, it's a darned good game.

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Marshall Miller
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docreason wrote:
Are people just rating this game a TAD too high?


No.
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Robert Wesley
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Henry Rhombus wrote:
Richard, Dale Yu has already played 30+ times and wrote an 18-page review of the game.
Eric
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THESE are the same 'people'-(used in lieu of an "elegant" substitute)-who piss & bemoan regarding RULES going beyond a 'paragraph' with the remainder being pictures, for "Instructions"!?! I guess that "psychophant-babble-on" is WAY under appreciated far MORE than even 'moi' had supposed!
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e h
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be it a 1 or a 10 i can not wait to play it. it looks extremely interesting.
 
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Larry Levy
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A couple of things, Richard. Yes, there isn't an English language version yet, but check the ratings. Over 40% of the people rating it a 10 live in Germany. Combine that with the smattering of other gamers on the continent and I'd say at least half of the 10's are playing with an untranslated game. The other half have played a pasted-up version, just like I have.

As far as the 1's go, looking at the comments, it appears that most of them are reacting to what they view as hype and shilling. There was a prank earlier to try to temporarily lower the game's rating and some harsh things were said in its aftermath. I suspect some of these 1's are in response to that; the rest are just the usual silliness we find on this site.

I also don't think this is unprecedented. 1960 has climbed up the ratings just as quickly. Caylus and Age of Empires had very fast starts (and are still highly rated). It's hardly typical, but neither is it unheard of.

And no, I don't know what Grognads is talking about either!
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Jason Cheng
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Honestly, I think some people take their enthusiasm for this game a bit too far, almost to the point of being pushy. It was great at first, because it gave a small print run title a good amount of exposure it really needed to be successful, but 2-3 months later it's like give it a rest already.

On the other hand, why should other people's rating be a concern to you, especially since you have not even played it to actually form an opinion.

I say all of the above as someone who rated Agricola a 9.5, and was among the first handful of people who purchased a copy from Zev after he announced the pre-order program.
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Dave Kudzma
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13 plays here, and everyone we've introduced it to asks for it every session. We have 10 addicts, and several more that won't say no to a game of it.

Also take into account the amazing speed the game sold through in reservation. Nearly 900 in just 3 weeks.
 
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Darren M
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I haven't played Agricola yet... and likely won't for many more months (although I haven't preordered yet and don't know if I even will) but I've read many people saying something along the lines of "This game is blah blah over hyped... it's not even available in English yet and it's already got too many blah blah ratings and it's got a dull theme and it stinks like sheep and it tastes like dirt and it looks like wild boar crap etc.

I would say to those that think it's too hyped... play it and see if it's hype and if it doesn't live up to the enthusiasm shown here then rate it as such.

Also, I'm not sure why the fact that it isn't even available in English yet and that it has so many high ratings should perplex so many people as it's not a necessity that a game have English words in it for it to be highly rated. If a game printed in Swahili was played by 500 people who understood or could translate the words from Swahili into their own language and they all rated it a 10... then good for them... they all think it's a great game... no matter what their language is. English happens to be a common language but games being printed in English isn't mandatory for a game to be "good".

Arguably the most perfect game in the world... Go... has piles of 10 ratings as well. I guess Go is overhyped as well because so many people love it.
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Richard Dewsbery
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Of all the people (and proto-people, especially for Robert) who have complained about the apparent hyping of an undeserving game, how many have actually played Agricola before coming to their conclusion? FWIW, I think that PR is undeserving of its hype; Agricola rather more deserving of its. I'm looking forward to my next 4 or 5 games of Agricola; I'm dreading having to play PR another 5 times in my life.
 
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docreason wrote:
Over 500 reviews?
Do you mean ratings as opposed to reviews?

The initial print run was 5000, 1000 of those were at Essen and sold out. It is being played a lot, so the total number of ratings is probably quite reasonable. On the latest Aldie Show, Aldie mentioned that a BGG.con there were four copies in constant use throughout the con (over the x days of the con that would have been quite a number of players).
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Rik Van Horn
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I'm guessing, but I'd think there will always be a number of folks who succumb to hype and rate games they haven't even seen yet, let alone played.

There's a sheep mentality common to lots of people and rating games is no exception. No one likes to think of themselves as sheep, but let's face it, there are always more followers than leaders. And a good portion of them are blind followers.
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MatthiasC
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Rokkr wrote:
I'm guessing, but I'd think there will always be a number of folks who succumb to hype and rate games they haven't even seen yet, let alone played.

There's a sheep mentality common to lots of people and rating games is no exception. No one likes to think of themselves as sheep, but let's face it, there are always more followers than leaders. And a good portion of them are blind followers.


Perfectly true, but:

I'm guessing, but I'd think there will always be a number of folks who succumb to anti-hype and rate games they haven't even seen yet, let alone played.

Still true. Both sides (the one giving the game a high rating without having it played, as well as the one giving the game a low rating without having it played) are acting strange, to say the least. Both sides only follow, none of them leads. Geoff is dead on with:

galfridus wrote:
If you haven't played it you shouldn't rate it.



[Edit: layout]
 
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Rik Van Horn
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B_Scheuert wrote:
Rokkr wrote:
I'm guessing, but I'd think there will always be a number of folks who succumb to hype and rate games they haven't even seen yet, let alone played.

There's a sheep mentality common to lots of people and rating games is no exception. No one likes to think of themselves as sheep, but let's face it, there are always more followers than leaders. And a good portion of them are blind followers.


Perfectly true, but:

I'm guessing, but I'd think there will always be a number of folks who succumb to anti-hype and rate games they haven't even seen yet, let alone played.

Still true. Both sides (the one giving the game a high rating without having it played, as well as the one giving the game a low rating without having it played) are acting strange, to say the least. Both sides only follow, none of them leads. Geoff is dead on with:

galfridus wrote:
If you haven't played it you shouldn't rate it.



I can't disagree, but I'd tend to believe the hype sheep far outnumber the anti-hype sheep.
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Matthew Watson
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Rokkr wrote:
I can't disagree, but I'd tend to believe the hype sheep far outnumber the anti-hype sheep.


I'm interested into what exactly makes you think that the people who are rating it highly haven't played it?

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Chris Boote
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I don't rate many games a '10' (about 1 in a hundred?) but this is one that's worth it
Every game is different, different numbers of players change the whole 'shape' of the game (e.g. clay is abundant in 4p, but very scarce in 3p, while wood is over-available in 3p but very tight in 2p)
The cards are excellent, well thought out and provide for very many different combinations of ways to win or lose
And so what if the game isn't available in English! By that logic, more than 95% of the world's population aren't worth considering in any table that a monoglot might construct
Why not learn another language chaps!
German is easy (I managed to learn it well enough to play games, book a hotel and order a meal) and the majority of the new games on BGG seem to be in German, so do yourself a favour

 
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Rik Van Horn
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HisDivineShadow wrote:
Rokkr wrote:
I can't disagree, but I'd tend to believe the hype sheep far outnumber the anti-hype sheep.


I'm interested into what exactly makes you think that the people who are rating it highly haven't played it?


Ok, I said "a number of folks." Not majority, not all, but a number.
You said "the people who are rating it highly." This appears to include everyone who rated it highly.
Do you notice the difference?
Now ask a question that makes sense.
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Mike Spoto
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While I don't rate games I haven't played, this is "The Big One" out of Essen this year just like Caylus was before it. Caylus is a great game, but it hasn't stood the test of time well (IMO - please don't bother with the hate mail), as most in my group now prefer Magna Carta (the shorter card game version). However, I have done a LOT of research on this one and would give a lot to play a paste up copy. What I found was enough to make me very excited over the game itself and its potential as a long term favorite. It was enough to make me preorder it (along with the extra card pack and the promised Animeeples for preorders), so I've put my money where my mouth is. Come April when it ships, I will be playing the heck out of it, posting a review, and rating it. I'm not a fan of hype either (game money is limited these days), but I think this one is a good purchase at a minimum.
 
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Matthew Watson
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Rokkr wrote:
HisDivineShadow wrote:
Rokkr wrote:
I can't disagree, but I'd tend to believe the hype sheep far outnumber the anti-hype sheep.


I'm interested into what exactly makes you think that the people who are rating it highly haven't played it?


Ok, I said "a number of folks." Not majority, not all, but a number.
You said "the people who are rating it highly." This appears to include everyone who rated it highly.
Do you notice the difference?
Now ask a question that makes sense.


I would have thought that what I meant was obvious from the context... It seems it was not, at least to you.

Ah well.

[Edit] I'll rephrase it in a way that you can hopefully understand:

What makes you think that the number of people rating it who haven't played it is in any way significant?

There - is that any better. Apologies if you still don't understand the question! It'll be my fault for not being able to explain it in terms that you can understand! Sorry!
 
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Darren M
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This isn't specific to Agricola... but aimed at the boardgame hobby in general. What's wrong with hype?

We are a tiny niche within a niche here on BGG and sometimes we get interested and excited about potentially fun/interesting new games that come onto the radar screen... Caylus, Starcraft, Agricola, Descent, Tide Of Iron, War Of The Ring, BattleLore, Age of Empires III etc.

The entire movie, TV and sporting industries spend billion$ of dollar$ a year promoting every piece of crap, trash and repetitive dreck that passes for entertainment in their respective fields and that's considered perfectly acceptable and is called marketing and "getting the word out".

We see Star Wars promotions at McDonalds, Shrek T-shirts, and countless other promotional schemes for every overdone digitalized piece of crap to come down the pike in an effort to help separate us and our money to purchase all that crap to fund their future lines of mega million dollar dungfests.

By comparison here on BGG the tiny squeaks and whimpers we call hype are not even ripples in the water compared to the tidal wave of crap other entertainment industries spew forth.

Maybe getting enthusiastic and excited over a boardgame isn't THAT bad after all. A shiny new boardgame may not be the second coming... but neither is the 50 millionth FPS video game... or Star Twats Part 17: Wallet Invaders Strike Back. Neither is paying $100+ a seat and watching and supporting a bunch of overpayed, steroid laced dorks swat/throw/shoot at each other for 6 months while they say they never would take drugs. How many boardgame designers have taken drugs to design a better boardgame? I bet far less than play those massively hyped "professional" sports we all pay money to support and watch. Those hyped up lying bastards who are often the role models for our kids.

Our ultimate goal (not that we will likely ever succeed) should be trying to get our boardgames even more "hyped" and into the mainstream by stealing even .001% of the attention away from Hollywood freaks who make millions but can't afford underwear and can snort more money on a "good" night in Vegas than most boardgame designers make in a year (or a lifetime).

From a big picture point of view we don't even know what hype is if we think we are hyping here on BGG.
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Richard Hutnik
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KineticKill wrote:
While I don't rate games I haven't played, this is "The Big One" out of Essen this year just like Caylus was before it. Caylus is a great game, but it hasn't stood the test of time well (IMO - please don't bother with the hate mail), as most in my group now prefer Magna Carta (the shorter card game version). However, I have done a LOT of research on this one and would give a lot to play a paste up copy. What I found was enough to make me very excited over the game itself and its potential as a long term favorite. It was enough to make me preorder it (along with the extra card pack and the promised Animeeples for preorders), so I've put my money where my mouth is. Come April when it ships, I will be playing the heck out of it, posting a review, and rating it. I'm not a fan of hype either (game money is limited these days), but I think this one is a good purchase at a minimum.


I remember the Caylus hype and I bought into it also. I played it once or twice, and found it excellent. Then it got to be REALLY annoying to where I dislike it. I respect it, but dislike it. I am concerned Agricola is the same. I would love to get another game that is as good as Puerto Rico.
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