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Subject: Things I don't quite get about BGG rss

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Jim "git yer stinkin' themes offa my mechanic" Puccio
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1. Solitaire Games vs. Puzzles

What exactly makes something like Solitaire be considered a "game," whereas something like Subtrax is excluded from the DB by virtue of being a "puzzle"?

Moreover, aren't puzzles pretty much just single-person games, and vice-versa? And cooperative games, when you get down to it, are just a type of "groupitaire," anyway. What really is the difference between beating Arkham Horror, and solving a polyhedral dissection? And frankly, I respect the latter achievement far more as a strategic accomplishment. I can't say that any of this makes a lot of sense to me.

1½. Billiard Games vs. Dexterity Games

Billiards and its numerous variations are out. Crokinole and PitchCar are in. Why?

2. Books

I understand that it is the policy of BGG to only include books that contain game rules. But, then, by what quirk of fate is something like Hobby Games: The 100 Best in the database at all? Plus, although there's a Book category, there are books, such as those by R.C. Bell, and who knows how many others, that are not so categorized, and there's no way within BGG to figure it out, either. I wish I could search for books and find them all, but alas, it is not to be.

It seems to me that a site about board games would be well served to also include books on or related to games, without this exclusion criterion applied at all, though perhaps books should be in a separate database table from the games themselves. Why not have historical titles like Charles Cotton's The Compleat Gamester or W. Gurney Benham's Playing Cards: The History and Secrets of the Pack? Why not have R.C. Bell's Discovering Mah-jong, or any of the myriad books on the playing of Go, Chess, Bridge, Scrabble, Monopoly and so on? Moreover, why not have issues of the Othello Quarterly, Abstract Games Magazine, etc. listed as well?

3. Session Reports

I can tell from the thumbing of these things that people actually do read and care about them, but for the life of me I don't understand why. Can someone explain to me just what it is exactly that they get out of reading them? It totally escapes me... like reading someone else's tax return.

4. Logging Plays

To me, this is like the session reports. I can't be bothered keeping track of my plays, and probably never will. By the same token I don't really care how many times you played any given game in any particular period of time, what your wins and losses were, etc., and at this point don't understand why anybody else does, either. Again, I'd like to understand what it is that other people get out of this activity. Please enlighten me.
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The Abstractionist wrote:


1½. Billiard Games vs. Dexterity Games

Billiards and its numerous variations are out. Crokinole and PitchCar are in. Why?

3. Session Reports

4. Logging Plays



1.5. Umm, because you can't carry a pool table to your buddies house?

3. Sometimes I really like commemorating a really good game, and conversely I like reading about others particularly entertaining games. Are they all winners? no. but many are very entertaining.

4. Because it interests me to keep track. I'm a stats guy.
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David Gibbs
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1. I have no idea. Probably arbitrary historical reasons. Why is tobacco legal and marijuana illegal?

1.5. Because the line had to be drawn somewhere. And, see historical reasons.

2. Historical reasons. I would guess that the rules have evolved, and some things are grand-fathered in.

3. Like reviews, reading a session report can give an idea of how a game will play, which is useful in deciding to buy/not-buy a game. In addition it can help clarify HOW a game is played and provide an "aha, we understood that rule wrong" piece of information as well.

4. I don't generally care about others, I log plays for my own information, record, and curiosity. For others -- it can be a useful statistic. What games are "most played" is a useful piece of information. Why bother rating? Similar question.
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The Abstractionist wrote:


3. Session Reports

I can tell from the thumbing of these things that people actually do read and care about them, but for the life of me I don't understand why. Can someone explain to me just what it is exactly that they get out of reading them? It totally escapes me... like reading someone else's tax return.



One reason - they can sometimes be entertaining and make me smile, like this one:
http://www.boardgamegeek.com/thread/296528

The Abstractionist wrote:

4. Logging Plays

To me, this is like the session reports. I can't be bothered keeping track of my plays, and probably never will. By the same token I don't really care how many times you played any given game in any particular period of time, what your wins and losses were, etc., and at this point don't understand why anybody else does, either. Again, I'd like to understand what it is that other people get out of this activity. Please enlighten me.


Among other reasons:

- I enjoy seeing patterns emerge, like what my most-played designers are, my favorite designers (logged plays combined with ratings, etc, using friendless stats).

- I enjoy keeping track of how many unplayed games I have, and having a goal of decreasing that number.

- I enjoy tracking my journey through the world of boardgames through my played games, it allows me to remember some fun memories of the first time I played a given game, etc.

- For solo plays (Pandemic, Arkham Horror, etc) I like to keep track of my record and my difficulty level, to see if I get better at it.

- It allows me to participate in things like Grimwold's "Best New (to me) Game of the Month" geeklist; without logging plays, I'd never remember all the new games I tried a given month. (Not to mention his "Best New Game of the Year" list.)

- I like the BGG widget that shows the box covers of your recently played games, since so many of them have great box art. This wouldn't work without logging plays.

Those are just the first few off the top of my head, there are many more!
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Ian Klinck
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The Abstractionist wrote:
1. Solitaire Games vs. Puzzles


My take is: if it's got a "solution", i.e. if you figure out the sequence of moves/actions/whatever, and you do them the same every time, then you always "win", then it's a puzzle. If not, then it's a game.
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The Abstractionist wrote:

4. Logging Plays

To me, this is like the session reports. I can't be bothered keeping track of my plays, and probably never will. By the same token I don't really care how many times you played any given game in any particular period of time, what your wins and losses were, etc., and at this point don't understand why anybody else does, either. Again, I'd like to understand what it is that other people get out of this activity. Please enlighten me.



If you read most of the content on this site, you will realize that a whole lot of users, myself included, are what outsiders might consider borderline OCD. I'm just grateful that it's not considered weird in this community to log plays, wins, and about 50 other details about your games.

Then again, we now live in a world where people Tweet every 5 minutes. So is logging plays really that strange?
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iklinck wrote:
The Abstractionist wrote:
1. Solitaire Games vs. Puzzles


My take is: if it's got a "solution", i.e. if you figure out the sequence of moves/actions/whatever, and you do them the same every time, then you always "win", then it's a puzzle. If not, then it's a game.


Hmm interesting. Would you consider a Rubik's Cube a game then?
How about Sudoku?
They are "puzzles", but don't seem to have the "same" sequence every time.

Or are you saying that once you figure out how to solve them without fail (games will have chance, therefore there might not be a win in every play). Is that more what you saying?
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Jim "git yer stinkin' themes offa my mechanic" Puccio
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iklinck wrote:
The Abstractionist wrote:
1. Solitaire Games vs. Puzzles

My take is: if it's got a "solution", i.e. if you figure out the sequence of moves/actions/whatever, and you do them the same every time, then you always "win", then it's a puzzle. If not, then it's a game.

This doesn't explain Solitaire vs. Subtrax, which are remarkably similar whatever-you-want-to-call-'ems.

Also, in theory, this would rule out every combinatorial strategy game (the kind we abstracts players tend to like the best), especially those that actually have been "solved."

I'm not sure I'm buying this. Heck, even Tic-Tac-Toe and Nim rate as "games," and there are plenty of puzzles that are difficult enough that you are pretty unlikely to attack them the same way twice, unless you actually notated your solution and merely executed it again. The Tantrix "discovery" puzzles are pretty good examples of this sort of thing, as are many of the products offered by Kadon Enterprises.
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almo1705 wrote:
If you read most of the content on this site, you will realize that a whole lot of users, myself included, are what outsiders might consider borderline OCD.


Some not so borderline.

Quote:
Then again, we now live in a world where people Tweet every 5 minutes. So is logging plays really that strange?


You can tweet your plays as you log them. I'm not sure if that helps your point or undermines it.
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jeffwolfe wrote:

Quote:
Then again, we now live in a world where people Tweet every 5 minutes. So is logging plays really that strange?


You can tweet your plays as you log them. I'm not sure if that helps your point or undermines it.


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almo1705 wrote:
The Abstractionist wrote:

4. Logging Plays

To me, this is like the session reports. I can't be bothered keeping track of my plays, and probably never will. By the same token I don't really care how many times you played any given game in any particular period of time, what your wins and losses were, etc., and at this point don't understand why anybody else does, either. Again, I'd like to understand what it is that other people get out of this activity. Please enlighten me.



If you read most of the content on this site, you will realize that a whole lot of users, myself included, are what outsiders might consider borderline OCD.


Let's see...
Wargames shelved grouped by publisher....check
Within each publisher wargames are placed chronologically...check
Bookshelf alphabetised by author's surname...check
DVDs alphabetised...check
Shredded cheese bag cut with scissors, folded twice and encircled by a double elastic band...check

Who are YOU calling borderline!
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The Abstractionist wrote:
=What exactly makes something like Solitaire be considered a "game," whereas something like Subtrax is excluded from the DB by virtue of being a "puzzle"?

This has come up before: admins have said the only reason that Solitaire remains in the database is due to volume of user content.
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Clayton Brostowin
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Personally, for #3 I know that before I buy a game I read the session reports which give me a general idea of how a game goes. I also read a few reviews but the session reports I feel are just as helpful in understand if I will want the game. Also a lot of session reports are fun to read.
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Jim "git yer stinkin' themes offa my mechanic" Puccio
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OldestManOnMySpace wrote:
The Abstractionist wrote:
=What exactly makes something like Solitaire be considered a "game," whereas something like Subtrax is excluded from the DB by virtue of being a "puzzle"?

This has come up before: admins have said the only reason that Solitaire remains in the database is due to volume of user content.

OK, but then, why are "single player games" in the DB? They're just yet another kind of puzzle, really. I mean really.
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The Abstractionist wrote:
3. Session Reports

I can tell from the thumbing of these things that people actually do read and care about them, but for the life of me I don't understand why. Can someone explain to me just what it is exactly that they get out of reading them? It totally escapes me... like reading someone else's tax return.


Prior to BGG, on forums such as Spielfrieks and rec.game.board, I enjoyed reading paragraph-length session reports with several games listed. Good writers could succinctly highlight what was unique about the session, cover gleaned insights, and provide an updated opinion. The very best writers could carry themes across games throughout the report.

Now on BGG, having to open up each report in a new window by itself is a showstopper, plus it breaks the continuity of the whole report. Also, brevity has become a lost art. Geeklists (although I don't endorse the use of Geeklists for such things, but that battle is lost), and even the general forum, are better places to find the older style reports. I still read the rare session report for games like Through the Ages and select wargames.
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The Abstractionist wrote:

OK, but then, why are "single player games" in the DB? They're just yet another kind of puzzle, really. I mean really.


I think that this statement is NOT correct! A puzzle has one solution, meaning that once you found the solution you can always solve it, and hence "win" the puzzle. But soloplayer games, as being games, have a certain uncertainty (luck) element, which makes it a game and not a puzzle.

I can give you some examples: try to find the "solution" for Fields of Fire, Ambush!, Pocket Civ, Zombie in my Pocket,... allowing you to win each time?
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The Abstractionist wrote:

3. Session Reports

I can tell from the thumbing of these things that people actually do read and care about them, but for the life of me I don't understand why. Can someone explain to me just what it is exactly that they get out of reading them? It totally escapes me... like reading someone else's tax return.


Why I read session reports:

1/ some session reports make nice strong stories, and read as prose... they are fun to read

2/ reading some (good) session reports after reading some reviews of a game you consider putting on your wishlist broadens the complete view I can have about how the game works and whether I will probably like it or not
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Howitzer_120mm wrote:
iklinck wrote:
The Abstractionist wrote:
1. Solitaire Games vs. Puzzles


My take is: if it's got a "solution", i.e. if you figure out the sequence of moves/actions/whatever, and you do them the same every time, then you always "win", then it's a puzzle. If not, then it's a game.


Hmm interesting. Would you consider a Rubik's Cube a game then?
How about Sudoku?
They are "puzzles", but don't seem to have the "same" sequence every time.


They don't have the same sequence, but certainly formulaic solutions that are the same each time.
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Howitzer_120mm wrote:
iklinck wrote:
The Abstractionist wrote:
1. Solitaire Games vs. Puzzles


My take is: if it's got a "solution", i.e. if you figure out the sequence of moves/actions/whatever, and you do them the same every time, then you always "win", then it's a puzzle. If not, then it's a game.


Hmm interesting. Would you consider a Rubik's Cube a game then?
How about Sudoku?
They are "puzzles", but don't seem to have the "same" sequence every time.

Or are you saying that once you figure out how to solve them without fail (games will have chance, therefore there might not be a win in every play). Is that more what you saying?


Yeah, that's a better explanation. I guess I really meant to say that you had an algorithm for solving it, rather than a set of moves, but I had things like "Hi-Q" and "Rush Hour" in mind when I posted.
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Here's another one for you. Electonic games are out. Simon is in! It's an electronic game! It's nothing but an electronic game! It should not be in the DB.
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When you've read this, you'll know why session reports exist.
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The Abstractionist wrote:
4. Logging Plays


We log them to show what types of games are getting play and when the last time we played a game was. Relying on your memory fails because time passes quickly. Maybe it is pointless to some (and I certainly thought that at first myself) but I like knowing how much I've paid for my hobby vs. how often I actually enjoy it. I'm going to start tracking how long it takes to play each game so it is easier to figure out which game to start playing.

I really love data anyway so that helps.
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3. Session Reports

Occasionally I read these to get a feel for the game, a taste of it, if you will. Sometimes they are illuminating and help me better understand a game or its strategies. Other times they're mindless scripts of play-by-play that don't interest me one bit.

Besides, if some people find them helpful then why not?



4. Logging Plays

I don't log these for you, I log them for myself. If other people want to see this information or care about it, fine - have at it. Otherwise, I'm interested in the occasional glance at my statistics or the record-keeping that reminds me how many times I played game X.
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Jim "git yer stinkin' themes offa my mechanic" Puccio
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teufen wrote:
The Abstractionist wrote:

OK, but then, why are "single player games" in the DB? They're just yet another kind of puzzle, really. I mean really.

I think that this statement is NOT correct! A puzzle has one solution, meaning that once you found the solution you can always solve it, and hence "win" the puzzle. But soloplayer games, as being games, have a certain uncertainty (luck) element, which makes it a game and not a puzzle.

So, the bias is against games of no chance? "Solved" games? This is interesting, especially from the perspective of someone who plays abstracts.

Nim has an algorithm guaranteeing a solution.
Tic-Tac-Toe has an algorithm quaranteeing a draw.
L-Game, played "perfectly," never terminates.
Mastermind has an algorithm guaranteeing a solution within a certain number of moves.

Point-pairing strategies exist for BRIDG-IT and Focus (for more on the latter, see this thread.)

I could go on... The point is that lots of solved games and even more theoretically solvable games are, nevertheless, still considered games.

On the other hand, for the original "15" puzzle, wherein the pieces were placed into the tray to start, rather than slotted together as you see nowadays, only half of the initial positions were solvable. So, dropping them into place by chance meant that you had a 50-50 chance of being able to solve the puzzle.

No, I still disagree. To me, puzzles, solo games, and cooperative games are all of a piece. Puzzles are just solo combinatorial games. Leaving them out seems to be best explained by a bias against abstracts.
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Jim "git yer stinkin' themes offa my mechanic" Puccio
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iklinck wrote:
The Abstractionist wrote:
1. Solitaire Games vs. Puzzles

My take is: if it's got a "solution", i.e. if you figure out the sequence of moves/actions/whatever, and you do them the same every time, then you always "win", then it's a puzzle. If not, then it's a game.

Or maybe the issue is one of "replayability." Perhaps you think that once you've solved a polycube puzzle, for example, you'll do it the same way every time? (This is highly unlikely, by the way, unless you notate your solution. Even if it is one of the most difficult ones that admit but one solution, good luck trying to follow the same sequence without some kind of notation.)

OK, then... What about "games" like 221B Baker St., for which each "case," once solved, has no replayability, or Trivial Pursuit and all similar question-card-based games, that can be memorized, and hence also have no replay value?

Actually, a good puzzle offers far more replayability than games of this type.

No... none of this holds any water. Nope.
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