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BoardGameGeek» Forums » Everything Else » OLD BGGBlogs (do not use)

Subject: St. Petersburg, ratings, and the like rss

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Mike Schmid
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Ahhh... my first journal entry. I've been here on BGG for a while, reading and reading and not writing much. But here I am. Introduced (myself) through settlers of catan, and have been trying to introduce others ever since.

My biggest problem is getting a start on rating the games I have played. I've pretty much enjoyed every game for a different reason, and will pretty much anytime play any game in my collection.

Last wednesday I went to the Madison Board Gamers club in the Memorial Union here at UW-Madison, and played a couple of games of St. Petersburg. One of my classes is Russian (language), and so the theme appealed greatly to me. However, it seemed like it was such a one-dimensional game: Get gold, get as many different aristocrats as possible, win. Not one of the most intriguing games I've ever played, but I realize I still want to play it a few more times before passing judgement.

So I'm back where I started: haven't rated anything yet. Oh well, in due time...
 
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Mike Schmid
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If you want to be a badger
PS Go Badgers!!!
 
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Chaddyboy
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Yeah, Go Badgers!!
 
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Robert Bratberg
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Santa Rosa
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Sailboats still at Hoofers?
 
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jbrier
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i think the general consensus among the more analytical gameplayers here at BGG (gah! what a snob ) is that at pete after a couple playings reveals itself to be very dry and mechanical, so yes, i would agree with your assessment regarding the drawbacks of this game. what surprises me is how it keep escalating in the rankings, although that is to be expected from almost any new game on BSW.
 
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Chaddyboy
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Yup, there are still sailboats at Hoofers! It's just really expensive.
 
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Jorge Montero
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I'll take Manhattan in a garbage bag. With Latin written on it that says "It's hard to give a shit these days"
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High game ratings
The issue of hight ratings for games with low replay value is simple: Most gaming groups will not play a game enough to be able to see most games' long term issues. Few modern games will seem to be low quality after the first couple of games. In many cases, it takes a good 10 plays for the game's defects to sink in. Since most people do not wait that long before rating a game, it takes a long time for most game ratings to become 'realistic'. Only when most raters have played the hell out of a game does the rating go down.
 
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Louise Holden
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Replay value
Which begs the question rather of what is low replay value. For someone playing games online, for instance, it's relatively easy to clock up a hundred games and to rate a game low if it doesn't stand up to any further play. But for those of us who play only face to face and somewhat intermittently at that, the same game can provide pleasure for years. We're no less discerning; the game just isn't being used up as fast. Are our ratings any less valid or useful to other gamers? That depends of course on how the person using the rating system plays games!
 
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James Stuart
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Although, it's more complicated than just that online players of games use up the game quicker.

St. P's is a great case in point: I played one game face to face and didn't like it at all: it was long, and fiddly with all that paper money changing hands, and just not interesting enough against the other 60-75 minutes games I had in my collection.

On BSW, I discovered its value as a two player game, and happily played about 40 games before exhausting its interest (after that level of play, the game more or less can be played on autopilot), but, and this is the important thing, the average game of 2-player St. P's took about 10-15 minutes. If it took much longer, I'd just find other games to play, as even at the peak of my interest, I still didn't feel it was worth playing face-to-face at all.

I think the general slide of games down as people lose interest (and therefore, should correspondingly mark their bgg ratings down), is a good thing, as it helps distinguish between games with lasting appeal and games that are worth playing for a bit and then drop off.
 
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Matt Albritton
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Give it a few more tries...
I think St. Pete is a good medium weight game. I've played over 200 games and have not lost any interest. I love to play people who think the game is automatic. Easy win for me

Most beginners overvalue nobles. Beat them with buildings. Subsequently, in most games I win against this type of player, I will have 1-2 less nobles than my opponent. Sometimes, people overvalue buildings or upgrades. Beat them with nobles while ending the game a round or two early.

The downside is that in a game where the players are of equal skill level, it sometimes comes down to the card draw and the loss/win is out of your hands. Oh well, Puerto Rico is the same way, and I'm not tired of that game yet, either. Just accept the fact that you have to set yourself up for the best "chance" of winning sometimes.

The point is!... There are a lot of "little" things going on in St. Pete. Pay attention and give it a few games to reveal itself.
 
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Matthew Maisey
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Low rankings
Surely (if it's a problem at all), then it works the other way around, and maybe more so. There are often games ranked lowly after someone's first play declaring they will never play this again. Of course if the conditions weren't right then that game, or rather the player could be missing out.

I am guilty of both ways; I rank highly after 1 or 2 plays, and also decide whether I want to play a game again or not after 1 or 2...but that's how it is.

I do adjust my ratings if I feel a change.I guess it all evens out in the long run and people aren't daft (well most )

If it's the game of the moment and people are enjoying it tthen it deserves the initial rating. cool
 
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Richard Lea
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Free PC version of St. Pete
Available at:
http://www.westpark-gamers.de (scroll down to the bottom of the homepage).

If you have a mathematics degree and you want to learn how to play the game really well,
still on the homepage, click on 'articles' and then on the bottom article 'Dichtung und Wahrheit in Sankt Petersburg'.

Then, if you don't speak German, simply click 'Translate into English using Google' and voilà!laugh


 
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Stven Carlberg
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Paint Cedarsburg
A lot of players (who are possibly not as vociferous as some others) are still enjoying Saint Petersburg greatly after multiple plays. I played my 26th game of it last night -- all face-to-face, none two-player -- and would gladly play my 27th tomorrow. It's that good.

The game is a rather complex and ornate variation on the theme of a once-through-the-deck card game. Now, not everybody likes a once-through-the-deck card game, just like not everybody likes a three-piece rock band. Some people aren't really comfortable with an approach that plain. Others complain about luck of the draw when, after all, this kind of game couldn't even exist without luck of the draw! You might as well complain that you hear every note the bass plays.

But this kind of game is one of the many kinds of games I like, and Saint Petersburg truly is a nice, crunchy, subtle, outstanding expression of the form. I've had some big wins, some dire losses, a lot of close games in between, and fun in each and every one.

My rating went up after my first few games and remains high, not out of neglect, but because my opinion of the game remains so high.

But if you don't care for it yourself... that's okay. Nobody says you have to!
 
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James Stuart
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I would say that the difference between a game like St. P's, and a game like Puerto Rico is in the difference between what your 40th game gets you and what your 200th game gets you.

I'm certain that if I played 160 more games, I'd improve even further on the skill which got me to a 79% win rate on BSW. Yet, as I play the game more, the range of options for St. P's narrows: most of my losses come from my first ten games, when I was still experimenting with strategies.

The difference between my skill at St. P's now and my skill in 40 games is that I'll probably have a more nuanced view of whether to build an 6VP building on turn 4 or the 5VP building. It's in finding those little efficiences and relentlessly gaining small advantages through understanding exactly how much to value each card, and hoping that the luck of the card draw doesn't overwhelm you.

I think that in 40 more PR games, it's not just that I'll understand how much each building is worth, but rather, as I've steadily observed, my skill in predicting the flow of the game, finding likely advantages in the next turn, or two turns down, and being able to anticipate and counter other people's moves will increase. I know right now that I have a hard time playing away from the factory strategy, and don't play as well when I'm forced into shipping, and that I need to become better at getting other people to craft for me in those situations. I imagine that not only will my play be generally sharper, but it'll be different, trickier, harder to exploit.

St. P's is a game which is all about figuring out exactly how much to value each of the cards on any given turn, and not a huge amount more. It's a fun game, but what seems like a wide open game at the start just narrows and narrows as you play it more.

 
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Mike Schmid
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Golden Rodents
I guess we'll just have to see in three weeks who the superior school is... lol

I have a few friends that go to Minnesota, so I can't bash them too much. Hell, my dad got his masters from there! We'll see who's got the better football team (and hockey and basketball and cross country and etc. for that matter)!

I'm finding as it gets further away from my playings of St. Petersburg, I find my interest coming back more. I'm wondering myself if it's as one dimensional as I thought at first. Plus, I didn't win either of the two games I played! I'm going to be sure to play it a few more times before rating it, and hope it does becomes better in my mind, because I don't want it to turn out to be my first german style board game that I've played that I haven't really liked...

Anybody have any advice on how I should convince myself to rate my games? I have the problem that my group of friends don't play many games with me, and aren't as into the gaming scene as I am, so I don't feel I get good feedback from them...
 
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