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Subject: Rank Sorting for Families of Games rss

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Josh P.
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So now that the uproar about whether Dominion: Intrigue should be rated or not has died down a bit, I wanted to take a look at the idea of game rankings and see just how useful they are.

The main issue with using the rankings as any kind of recommendation system seems to be caused by sequels, new editions, reimplementations, etc. that clog the ratings. People got bent out of shape because there were two Dominions in the top 10, because it made the top 10 seem watered down. No one would have cared if Dominion: Intrigue had floated around number #110. But the top 10 is somehow sacred.

But what if we expand our vision to the top 100?

When you look closely at the ratings, you'll notice there is a lot of overlap in the top 100 games alone. For instance, Ticket to Ride, Ticket to Ride: Märklin, Ticket to Ride: Europe, and Ticket to Ride: Nordic Countries are all in the top 100. The new Space Hulk (third edition) gets a separate entry from Space Hulk, and both are in the top 100. Shogun and Wallenstein (first edition) are there too. Age of Steam, Steam, and Railways of the World are all very closely packed together in the top 30 (and I imagine Railways of the World will be up there too once it is out).

Yes, these games are different to some degree. And every entry on BGG allows its own ratings. But what should or shouldn't be included in a rundown of the top ranked games? As it stands, the top 100 games seems watered down.

Taking Dominion: Intrigue out of the top 10 made sense to some, but not to all. What I would really like to see is some uniform application of rules rather than an arbitrary decision made to preserve the sacredness of the top whatever list.

One solution might be to try making the rankings done by family using some new algorithm. The rating of each game/expansion/map/etc in a family would be used to create an average rank for the entire family. Some families would be a family of one, since they have no expansions, sequels, or new editions, while other families would be vast.

Using this system, I could go to this page: http://boardgamegeek.com/browse/boardgamefamily and see a list sorted by rank rather than being an alpha sort. Then I could see how the entire Age of Steam family compares to the 18XX family and the Ticket to Ride family. I could see how Dominion and all its expansions fair against Race for the Galaxy and all of its expansions. I could see one ranking for how well people like the Project GIPF series.

Would a look at the top 100 families be a better recommendation system than a list of the top 100 titles?

Of course, this would undoubtedly raise new problems and new arguments. Are Puerto Rico and San Juan part of the same family as Race for the Galaxy? Would a base game and its expansions have equal weight in the algorithm?

Maybe Aldie and Co. don't make this the default view for ranked games, but I think it would definitely be a useful edition... er, addition.

Thoughts? Other suggestions? Or is everything just fine the way it is?

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