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Subject: Collectors vs Gamers rss

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bruno faidutti
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I just posted this article on my website, but its right place is probably here :

These last years, the boardgamegeek has become the reference website fop gamers from all over the world. A gigantic game database, dynamic forums, fun user lists, open and constructive discussions, serene and polite tone, friendly moderators, all this made for a fantastic place for information and discussions of games, gamers and gaming. The website was very convenient and user-friendly, all the stuff about one game being grouped under one entry – be it technical data, reviews, strategy discussions, list entries… It was both the game agora and the game encyclopedia.

All this is unfortunately changing, and the Boardgamegeek is becoming much more complex to use. The database structure is being altered to suit the needs of game collectors and resellers, which unfortunately are not the the needs of gamers. The entries for many games have been split, with a different entry for every edition. As a result, the Boardgamegeek is becoming a confuse place where it’s now difficult to find information about a game, since this information can be under any edition’s entry, and where it’s even more difficult to discuss a game when the gamer visitors are more or less randomly distributed in the forums of the various editions.

Can you imagine a literature website with a different entry for every edition of a given text, as if they were different books? It’s exactly what’s happening now on the geek, and if it goes a bit further, it will soon become impossible to find any general information about a game. And what about the fun articles comparing an edition with another, where will they end? We already have one entry for every version of Cosmic Encounter, one for every version of Werewolves, soon we’ll have one for every Heroscape miniature – may be it’s already so. What was a clever and gamer-friendly database is becoming a complete mess.

For me, as a game author, the geek was almost a working tool, and it’s a tool which is becoming every day more difficult to use. I would probably not have written this article if I were not personally impacted by what’s happening. I’ve found out a few days ago that there were now two different entries for Diamant and for its American edition, Incan Gold, which is the exact same game with different graphics and a minor variant added. I used to forward gamers asking me about this game to the Diamant geek entry, now I don’t know where to point them. Furthermore, the fact that it’s more difficult for gamers to get together one the same forum to discuss the game as itself probably hampers its popularity. I still have to find a single positive effect of this split..

I’ve tried vainly to convince the geek administrators to cancel all these nonsensical splits. They probably think it’s a minor issue, but it’s a major one, since it affects the global philosophy of the database which is at the heart of their website. As a game author, I consider every one of my games to be a single work, a single item, and I find slightly ofending to have it split in different edition, as if the essential part was not the game itself but the way it is published. Do you judge a novel on his cover or on the thickness of his paper ?

On my website, I will keep the link to the Diamant geek entry, and ignore the Incan Gold one. On the Geek, I will try to answer the questions asked on the Diamant forum rather than on the Incan Gold one. I urge all gamers to do the same, and to keep all their discussions and comments about any game in the entry for the original edition, in order to stay together, and also to show that all other entries have no use except to bring confusion. And, most of all, I ask you all to try to convince the Boardgamegeek admins to reconsider this really bad move.
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Maybe some hybrid entry is what's called for. Link all the different editions together so that their forums mesh, but still have them distinguishable as separate entries. So you'd have something like this:

Incan Gold: General: "Hey what is this?"
Diamant: Rules: "What is that rule?"
Incan Gold: Rules: "More rules questions"

Like that, that way all the collectors could get the benefit of separate entries, and the players could get the benefit of maximum information.
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Definitely sympathetic to this view. But it isn't always true that a new edition of a title is the same game. Describing a game as edition X of game Y should (as with books) be reserved for reprints. However, marketing advantages are got from borrowing the title of the prior edition, are they not? The rest, as they say, is history.
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Mike Jones
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Great article!

I too find all the 'splitting' confusing and some would say I am a collector. But, they added the ability to add different copies of the same game and to edit the name. SO, that really solved the edition issue for the collector. I think it's more for the 'trader' that they split things up.

I do a monthly geeklist for games that aren't ranked in the top 200 and how many different people are playing them. I did notice that Diamant was on it a lot. Now not so much. But with the play stats spilt, it dilutes the statistics some. So, while I think of them basically as the same game too, they don't show up that way in when playing them.

I'm glad to hear the designer himself believes them to be the same game.
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I'll be the dissenting opinion here. I always found it confusing to find information about a specific game when it was merged with an older "different" edition, but only when the difference is substantial enough to warrant that split. I think you are only going to be able to find a "handful"of games that we may consider "gray" areas game.Or games that would work split or not split. Incan gold MAY be one of those games, but overall the splits that I've seen lately have been for the better. As a "gamer".

A good example for the split includes "Wabash Cannonball" and "Chicago Express". I do think BGG has done a pretty good job taking the input from users for these splits on a case by case basis before actually doing it. As it usually takes many complaint threads before they even consider it.
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bruno faidutti
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MWChapel wrote:
A good example for the split includes "Wabash Cannonball" and "Chicago Express".


This sounds like a senseless split to me - the two games are absolutely identical !
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faidutti wrote:
MWChapel wrote:
A good example for the split includes "Wabash Cannonball" and "Chicago Express".


This sounds like a senseless split to me - the two games are absolutely identical !


Yes but would you consider a review for Wabash Cannonball to be IDENTICAL as a review for Chicago Express?

I've read many reviews that even you have made for particular games, and artwork, theme and components were an integral part of a review. If they were a merged as such, how would a gamer distinguish the difference WITHOUT stating it as such?

And would consider a games ratings for WC the same as Chicago Express? When a lot of people tend to rate games also based on artwork, theme, and components?
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I share your view Bruno. In the early days we only split games if there were several differences in gameplay/rules. So Entdecker and New Entdecker would have separate entries but Diamant and Incan Gold would not. Component differences did not justify a split, like Viking Fury and Fire & Axe (which are still joined).

Like you, I would much rather have all the information and discussion about a game located in one page, but there will always be difficult calls. I haven't played it, but I understand that Talisman 4th edition is essentially the same as Talisman 2nd edition but with some card and character power tweaks. Those tweaks probably balance out the game more. So is that enough to justify its own entry so that people looking for information on the game do not have to wade through posts about how unbalanced the Prophetess is (2nd edition)? Some people may think it's no big deal for users to just have to indicate which edition they are talking about when they post, but others definitely feel that is burdensome and the games should have their own entries.

I'm not sure that splitting editions really benefits sellers all that much. Sure, it makes it easy to indicate which edition you are selling, but you miss all the traffic from the other pages. If the splits really are being done just to facilitate game sellers than I think a better way to handle it is to leave the games joined and a) put a title field in the Marketplace listing summary so that people can easily see which edition is being sold and b) allow sellers to list more than one copy of the same game. I don't know the technical limitation behind the second item, but I think that would take care of any seller issues.
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bruno faidutti
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MWChapel wrote:
faidutti wrote:
MWChapel wrote:
A good example for the split includes "Wabash Cannonball" and "Chicago Express".


This sounds like a senseless split to me - the two games are absolutely identical !


Yes but would you consider a review for Wabash Cannonball to be IDENTICAL as a review for Chicago Express?

I've read many reviews that even you have made for particular games, and artwork, theme and components were an integral part of a review. If they were a merged as such, how would a gamer distinguish the difference WITHOUT stating it as such?

And would consider a games ratings for WC the same as Chicago Express? When a lot of people tend to rate games also based on artwork, theme, and components?


You're right, but for me the right answer is just to state in your review what edition you are talking about.
The problem is that there are not only reviews on the geek, there are lots of other discussions, list entries, strategic considerations, etc. Also, some reviews really focus on the mechanics, and can work with any edition when others don't.

I think the only solution is to keep everything together, as it was before, since it's very easy for anyone who wants to state that he is considering some graphic or component issue of a given edition to just say it.

I think Diamant / Incan Gold is a very good example. The games are identical, the components are very different. Every review or opinion on the game that focuses only on mechanism is valid for both. Others who consider the components are valid only for one, but it's very easy to say it in your review title (that edition…) if it's necessary. It's as easy to state it in your game short comments, as we have done for years.

Now, if I want to know what people think of the game, I have to check both entries.
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faidutti wrote:


I think the only solution is to keep everything together, as it was before, since it's very easy for anyone who wants to state that he is considering some graphic or component issue of a given edition to just say it.


Well, easy for a collector that is. As a person who may have just played Chicago Express, and made a review of it, how am I supposed to know at the time which edition I just played. I know I just played Chicago Express?

Of if I ask a rule question, and get an answer that says "it clearly stated on Page 3 second paragraph, etc.". When I look at my rule book it's not there, and get confused to the answer.

But now your solution is think like a collector when working with the data. But I'm a gamer not a collector?

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MWChapel wrote:
Well, easy for a collector that is. As a person who may have just played Chicago Express, and made a review of it, how am I supposed to know at the time which edition I just played. I know I just played Chicago Express?

Does it matter? At some point you are bound to mention the title of the game you played in your review. We collectors can sort out what edition that is.

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Of if I ask a rule question, and get an answer that says "it clearly stated on Page 3 second paragraph, etc.". When I look at my rule book it's not there, and get confused to the answer.

Which can happen between different printings of the same exact game. Doubtless you would not argue that each reprint of a game needs its own entry.

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It's easy to argue in any direction, for us.

But for the general BGG user, Wabash Cannonball and Chicago Express are just two different games. They are. I can't go to a store and say give me the latest version of Wabash Cannonball, and I can't go into a store and say give me the latest version of Diamant. That just wouldn't work. For a the majority of BGG "visitors" they are just different games IMHO.
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bruno faidutti
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MWChapel wrote:

But for the general BGG user, Wabash Cannonball and Chicago Express are just two different games. They are. I can't go to a store and say give me the latest version of Wabash Cannonball, and I can't go into a store and say give me the latest version of Diamant. That just wouldn't work. For a the majority of BGG "visitors" they are just different games IMHO.


I don't think so. I think that the majority of the BGG readers consider them the same game. Anyway, if they don't, they are wrong, and it would be great if the BGG could at least correct them in showing them that they are the same game, rather than let them ignore it!

For me, they are clearly different editions of the same game. The points is that, 9 times in 10, when I'm using the boardgamegeek, it's to find informations about a game, and this is becoming much more difficult now. 1 time in 10, it's to find information about a specific edition, but it was easier to find it among all the game data than it is to make a synthesis of all the editions data when looking for info about a game.
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faidutti wrote:

I don't think so. I think that the majority of the BGG readers consider them the same game. Anyway, if they don't, they are wrong, and it would be great if the BGG could at least correct them in showing them that they are the same game, rather than let them ignore it!


I guess we will just have to disagree.
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MWChapel wrote:
It's easy to argue in any direction, for us.

But for the general BGG user, Wabash Cannonball and Chicago Express are just two different games. They are. I can't go to a store and say give me the latest version of Wabash Cannonball, and I can't go into a store and say give me the latest version of Diamant. That just wouldn't work. For a the majority of BGG "visitors" they are just different games IMHO.


I think you aren't giving enough credit to the general BGG user.

Primary Name
Fire and Axe: A Viking Saga

Alternate Names
Fire & Axe: A Viking Saga
Invasions
Viking Fury
Wikinger: Die Vergessenen Eroberer

"The game was originally printed as Viking Fury by Ragnar Brothers"




"The other surprise, or at least something of shock to anyone playing a Ragnar Brothers game for the first time, is that the map comes on a tablecloth, and a not very attractive one at that. Its two colours, cream and grey, recall teapots rather than turmoil, but even leaving aside such aesthetic quibbles, there is the practical problem of constantly having to re-focus to distinguish between land and sea areas. The other components comprise of rather flimsy counters, and cards bereft of artwork."



"The game is a stunning mixture of plastic models and cardboard tokens and does a good job of depicting the European map of the Viking era. The box is large and holds the components well, covered with evocative artwork (also found on the cards and rulebook). Each player has a large round cardboard circle that represents their ship – and it’s quite handy for storing the goods (cardboard tokens) and men (plastic figures). The city pieces are small plastic cities with a cardboard token wedged into the bottom of them to give them random values. All in all, the quality is very high.

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astroglide wrote:

Primary Name
Fire and Axe: A Viking Saga

Alternate Names
Fire & Axe: A Viking Saga
Invasions
Viking Fury
Wikinger: Die Vergessenen Eroberer

"The game was originally printed as Viking Fury by Ragnar Brothers"



Yes, there are still exceptions, and this is certainly the good way to present the game. I would like it to be the same for Diamant / Incan Gold, and I see no reason for it to be different.

I recently noticed another one, Exxtra and Excape still have the same entry. It's unfair ! This game is of the same family as Incan Gold / Diamant, a direct competitor, and got the better treatment in the database!
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I actively monitor/post in the discussion sections of a few games, including one that has recently undergone a dramatic revision.

There was a tremendous amount of confusion among new people interested in the game about the information given for the different versions.
This caused some people to buy the game (new version) expecting to get something exactly like the old version that was reviewed (or, purchased the old version somewhere where it was still in stock, expecting to have the new version). There was confusion, unhappiness, and people not being able to enjoy the game/expansions that they purchased.
I was extremely happy when the new version was given a separate entry, because it reduces the confusion.
Of course, the new entry wasn't created until several months after the new version was released, so there is information about both new and old versions in the original entry, and there are still people who are confused and complain that there are few basic reviews in the listing for the new version, but it is much simpler for them to be able to know that the entry is solely for the new version, while some material on the old version's entry may also interest them.
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faidutti wrote:
MWChapel wrote:

But for the general BGG user, Wabash Cannonball and Chicago Express are just two different games. They are. I can't go to a store and say give me the latest version of Wabash Cannonball, and I can't go into a store and say give me the latest version of Diamant. That just wouldn't work. For a the majority of BGG "visitors" they are just different games IMHO.


I don't think so. I think that the majority of the BGG readers consider them the same game. Anyway, if they don't, they are wrong, and it would be great if the BGG could at least correct them in showing them that they are the same game, rather than let them ignore it!


If they consider two different games, with different names, sold in different boxes, to be "the same game", they are wrong.
Magic and Pokemon use the same mechanics and design. Should they share an entry?
The GW and FFG versions of Fury of Dracula have key differences in components, rules, and game play. Should consumers be forced to deal with a confusing integrated entry that could cause them to make a regretable purchasing decision (either buying a game they don't enjoy, or not buying a game that they would enjoy)?

Separating the entries for different versions of a game makes it simpler for the casual gamer to use BGG as a reference. The casual gamer is less likely to understand that there is another version of the game being described in the listing, and more likely to grow confused. Experienced BGG users are better able to understand that there may be multiple listings depending on the number of versions of a game produced, and can be expected to be able to find the information they need, even if spread over multiple entries.
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joedogboy wrote:
I actively monitor/post in the discussion sections of a few games, including one that has recently undergone a dramatic revision.

There was a tremendous amount of confusion among new people interested in the game about the information given for the different versions.
This caused some people to buy the game (new version) expecting to get something exactly like the old version that was reviewed (or, purchased the old version somewhere where it was still in stock, expecting to have the new version). There was confusion, unhappiness, and people not being able to enjoy the game/expansions that they purchased.
I was extremely happy when the new version was given a separate entry, because it reduces the confusion.
Of course, the new entry wasn't created until several months after the new version was released, so there is information about both new and old versions in the original entry, and there are still people who are confused and complain that there are few basic reviews in the listing for the new version, but it is much simpler for them to be able to know that the entry is solely for the new version, while some material on the old version's entry may also interest them.


The best solution was probably to have an infobox stating that there are different editions, like the one for Fire and Axe / Viking Fury. For me, this is the perfect model of how to present a game with different editions - it has all the pros of two entries without any of its problems.

BTW, if the game you're talking about is Cosmic Encounter, let me say that I would greatly prefer to have all entries merged as one. If this were the case, I'd have a look at the page regularly. As it is, I don't have the time to check everywhere. Furthermore, ff you want an entry for every version of CE, you probably need two or three dozen different entries, for just one game !
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MWChapel wrote:
Of if I ask a rule question, and get an answer that says "it clearly stated on Page 3 second paragraph, etc.". When I look at my rule book it's not there, and get confused to the answer.


I've been adding games to my collection and using the Version settings to specify what specific version I own. It would be nice if postings in a game forum actually looked this up and displayed it if it existed, along with your avatar. Just a thought.
 
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joedogboy wrote:
Magic and Pokemon use the same mechanics and design. Should they share an entry?


Having worked on the french translations of both, I can assure you that they are completely different games !!! It's like saying that Ra and Modern Art are the same game because they have auctions. That's not what I'm saying.

What I'm saying is that Incan Gold and Diamant are the same game, like Wabash Cannonball and Chicago Express are the same game, and that having different entries for them is therefore extremely confusing. Fire and Axe and Viking Fury, Exxtra and Excape, are also the same games and share the same entries, which is much more convenient.

As for Fury of Dracula, or Warrior Knights, or Cosmic Encounter, the situation is different since there are indeed real differences. I personally would prefer to have only one entry for these, but I admit it's more problematic.
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Thanks for posting this, Bruno. I agree with your thoughts. BGG needs a mission statement that is gamer-focused and not collector-focused.
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I mostly agree with Chapel on this one, it's like recording a cover of a famous song, you wouldn't find the CD under the original artist but under the artist who covered it. It exists, it's different (maybe just the components, maybe more) it deserves a different entry (or if it's just an updated version e.g. RISK, diplomacy,...maybe a list of al the versions).

Putting all the different versions and variants under the original, is giving credit to the original but is violating the correctness of a database.
I find it better to link the different entrys if there is a connection

So keep it clear and divided

the humble opinion of a gamer/collector

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It would be possible to have it both ways. A page for each "version" of a game where you can comment, review, ask questions, etc. And a master page for all versions (linked to and from them all) where everything is merged (images, posts, links, etc). The trick would be to make it obvious what is going on so users don't miss information they do want, and aren't overwhelmed by information they don't want.
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Sometimes, it's really important for me to have a specific version of a game. In this exemple, I will compare Power Grid to Megawatts, they are the same game, with the same rules, but for a French person from Quebec who want to have the Quebec Map with is native city (it's just like a stupid nostalgia) I really need the Megawatts version. So, I'm happy that Power Grid and Megawatts have both entries, and in fact I have the 2 games in my collection, because the maps are differents, but my appreciate/comment for these 2 games are the same.

If we take another exemple from some well know American Parkers- Brothers-Hasbro-Milton-Bradley game I can certified that somes games have be totally renew from the first edition to the newest one:
- Life
- Careers
- Pay day
- Monopoly

Concerning Careers, I prefer the green version from 1965 witch are more adult in the rules, because the newer version are most family and have been simplify throught the years to fit with the younger players.
Concerning Payday, I prefer the white version and I don't like the "twister of life" new version.
Concerning Monopoly, I'm not sure that the new Monopoly credit card should be list in the same entry of the original version of the game. I also like the possibility to really indicate with version I have and read comments about this particular version.

Maybe a first general entry with a sub-classification for all the existing version will be a great idea.
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