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Subject: Rethinking Ratings rss

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Andrew Faehnle
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I don't know how much coding or server cycles this might take, but lately, I've been thinking about making the ratings system a bit more useful. We have one rating for a game that doesn't really tell us much, because people use it for many different reasons. What I think might be very useful is a rating "matrix" in which a game has several ratings that are narrowly defined. Some examples I could think of off the top of my head were:

Chaos: Luck vs. Strategy
Weight: Light vs. Heavy
Scope: Tactical (play for the turn) vs. Strategic (play for the game)
Interaction: Isolated vs. Interactive

Then, on each game page, there is a link that says:
Show me something more:
HEAVY
LIGHT
STRATEGIC
LUCKY

etc.

Clicking would bring you to the game with the next most extreme value in the selected scale, while trying to keep the other scales values approximately the same. Let people who have logged a play of the game, or who own the game rate it. The benefit of this idea is obvious: it allows people to play games that are similar to ones they like, but vary in a specific way.
 
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Jay Little
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I've often thought of something similar, much like how some games (wargames in particular) have colored graphs indicating complexity, solitaire suitability, etc. I find these graphs incredibly useful when selecting a game I can physically pick up and look at, and could only imagine such info would be just as helpful here.

I think it would need very, very clear labels, and should include an even number of values along the scale, to prevent people from taking a neutral stance as a default action. A scale of 1-6 would be handy - a large enough distribution to create a visually distinct chart for each game.

I know labels and interpretations are subjective, but the categories I look for are:

Luck (represented by dice, tile draws, cards, whatnot)
Strategy (how much control you have over your own fate -- not always the opposite of luck, in my mind)
Difficulty (how hard it is to learn, teach to another or get a grasp of)

Once I'd include in terms of BGG and user-specific bias would be:
Value (overall feeling, is the game worth the price, do you get what you pay for, etc... Not all games I rate a 10 would get a high value, and not all games rated low would have a low value).

I'd imagine something complete could look something like this, but with a nice, tidy html table structure:

Luck 12
Strategy 1234
Difficulty 12
Value 123
 
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Peter Kruijt
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I was afraid this was going to be a 'This or that game is hyped and it gets too high a score' post, but it was one of the first regarding revising/extending the rating system that I found useful. Although I think that the current rating system should stay (it works fine for me) I also think that the proposed extension is a bit more objective.

When looking at the back of e.g. the Stephenson's Rocket box, there are 4 dice indicators (tactic 6, strategy 4, luck 1, bluff 1 ) that tell me something about the game. If I like luck based bluffing games, I know I should stay away from it, even if it gets good ratings. On the other hand, if I like strategic railway games and it gets a low rating, I know I should at least take a look at it (if it also would get high ratings, it would be an immediate buy ).

So I think it would be a useful addition, but it should not replace the current rating system.
 
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Matthew Wills
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This topic reminded me of the article:

http://www.thegamesjournal.com/articles/RatingGames.shtml
 
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Andrew Faehnle
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Also, keep the values of the scores hidden, so that a would-be rater isn't influenced by what s/he sees.
 
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Jay Little
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mjwills wrote:
This topic reminded me of the article:


Very interesting article -- thanks for posting it! While I don't agree with all the breakdowns, or the use of a 5-point scale (driven into me from all my marketing and statistics classes), the article makes a lot of good points.

I think that's an extreme way of applying an updated rating scheme that has more depth across more fields, but something that conveys more information would be quite useful.
 
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Karl Deckard
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I can appreciate your desire to add more specifics to the ratings system, but personally, I like them just the way they are now. Rating something 1 to 10 is such a simple concept, that everyone understands, and I think that this is one of the reasons why people do it. Games magazine rates games on a scale that shares some of what has been suggested here and I find it next to useless without a numerical rating. After seeing a their 20-step rating of "Simple to Complex" or "Chance to Skill", I always think, "Yeah, but do you think it is a good game? Is it fun?!?"

When I am researching a game that interests me I do you look at its basic rating for a general idea of how much people like the game and then I do a GeekBuddly Analysis. I have chosen quite a few GeekBuddies, whom I trust, and when I read through their comments, most of the questions about luck or difficulty level or whatever are answered for me. This gives me a pretty good understanding of the game.

Of course people have pet peeves about the current rating system, even me. My pet peeve is that some people rate games they haven't even played and then refer to the exact wording of the rating guidelines, and not what it implies, as a justfication. For me it's useful to get opinions about a game's worth from people who have actually played the game. However, I now know this problem and can adjust for it using a good GeekBuddy list, as I've described above.

Anyway, I wouldn't want to make the process of a rating a game more labor-intensive, just to get information that can be gained from a little more research (this is just my personal opinion, so I hope no one takes it the wrong way). I do think the original suggestion that allows people to find similar games is a good idea, but I wouldn't want it to replace the simple 1-10 system that is currently used.
 
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Tom "Snicker Daddy" Pancoast
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The All Music Guide (http://allmusic.com) used to use a system like that, and it worked very well. It does not seem to have it anymore. I would not advocate removing the simple numeric rating either, but it would be an awesome additional tool for finding a game.
 
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Aaron Potter
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djflippy wrote:
...Rating something 1 to 10 is such a simple concept, that everyone understands, and I think that this is one of the reasons why people do it.....When I am researching a game that interests me I do you look at its basic rating for a general idea of how much people like the game and then I do a GeekBuddly Analysis.


But this "simple" analysis only works if the database of raters as a whole already share your general taste in games. If not, a potential gem will be lost, or you are in for a lot more than the light-weight additional research you refer to later in your posting.
Take the (common) case of someone searching for a game for their kids. Because the average rater hereabouts doesn't judge a game on the basis of its merits relative to its audience, but on how much *they* would like to play it, most childrens' games are buried near the lower-middle end of the ratings spectrum. Or what if I'm a pure abstract gamer -- a mathematician, say, or someone searching for attractive aids for a class on AI design. If the type of complete rating suggested by EyeofNight (and me, for years now, and lots of other people) were in place, searching for such games would be a snap. At present, it's a laborious slog through various GeekLists which are trying to fill in the gap created by reliance on a gestalt ratings' system.
"Simple" is not always "better." A doctor who didn't diagnose patients, but instead simply rated their health on a scale of one to ten and sent them off to the pharmacy, wouldn't have a lot of repeat business.
 
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Jeff Widderich
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A six means the exact opposite to a German. In the German school system (used to anyways)a six was the worst possible mark you could get and a one is the best. Try to stick to 10's it devides better into percentages as well.

Shillking
 
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Karl Deckard
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potterama wrote:
But this "simple" analysis only works if the database of raters as a whole already share your general taste in games. If not, a potential gem will be lost, or you are in for a lot more than the light-weight additional research you refer to later in your posting.

Correct. That's why you select a group of GeekBuddies that best represents your own interests.

Quote:
Take the (common) case of someone searching for a game for their kids. Because the average rater hereabouts doesn't judge a game on the basis of its merits relative to its audience, but on how much *they* would like to play it, most childrens' games are buried near the lower-middle end of the ratings spectrum.

I totally agree. Hence, the inclusion of my personal pet peeve about ratings. How much a person "wants to play" a game is of little use to me, compared to a rating from people who have played a game. I can easily judge level of interest Geeks have in a game from the forums, geeklists, want lists, and hot games. That's why I think rating an unplayed game based on how much you "want to play" it taints the ratings.

Quote:
"Simple" is not always "better." A doctor who didn't diagnose patients, but instead simply rated their health on a scale of one to ten and sent them off to the pharmacy, wouldn't have a lot of repeat business.

Haha! You must have better luck than I do with doctors, because oftentimes, that's exactly what they do or worse! Anyway, I never said simple was better. I was just saying that the proposed system should not replace the current rating system. The two are not mutually exclusive, in my opinion, and could quite easily coexist.
 
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Gilad Yarnitzky
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This is not rating
The systems that are suggested by the people here are not rating system but description systems, For example: How much luck factor is there in the game. one might say 2 out of 5 other 3 out of five. It does not realy give a rating of the game, but describe the game as one with a dose pf luck involved. It does not say how the people who are rating the games enjoyed the game.
Using this system you can look at two games with similar attributes and do not get a feeling which game was prefered by the players, which was more enjoyable. In the current system when you see a 10 it means that the rating player really enjoyed the game and will recommand it for other players.
 
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John So-And-So
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I agree - this isn't an idea to revamp the rating system, this is a suggestion to add an entirely new classification matrix system.

Ratings are simple right now, and it doesn't matter whether we all use the same system or not. Everyone understands the base 10 system, and if someone gives a game a 7, regardless of his or her reasons for that rating, you know that guy believes that game is better than average. We can use Geekbuddies to whittle this field down to people that we know we share similar interests with, and that makes the current rating system both simple AND informative.

And yes, I am ignoring the existence of shill ratings, that's a whole kettle of fish that I try not to bring up.
 
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Valerie Putman
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Many games include a difficulty rating and other information on the box...it might be nice to include that information on BGG.
 
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Richard Irving
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Quote:
Many games include a difficulty rating and other information on the box...it might be nice to include that information on BGG.


There are many problems with this:
- Many companies don't provide this information.
- Company do not rate on anything near the same rating systems. Company A is German game company. Complex games for this company are on the order E&T, Puerto Rico, Power Grid, etc. Company B is a wargame company. "Simple" games for this company are things like Age of Renaissance, The Napoleonic Wars, We the People, etc. (There isn't any doubt here that the most complex German games are about as simple (or even simpler) than the "simple" wargames.) (Wargame companies often don't have a clue how to rate game complexity--all of those game were rated 2 or 3 by their manufacturers on a 10 point scale. But if you play ASL, anything else is going to look simple.)
- Familiarity with similar systems & games makes easier or harder to learn. Once you learn one wargame or one 18XX game, learning the next is relatively easy. ASL out of the box is incredibly complex. Someone with no wargame experience would find it almost impossible to play. But most (all?) ASL players started with simpler wargames and built up. When you started with Afrika Korps, moved onto Panzerblitz, then to Squad Leader, ASL isn't such a big step.
- Games can have simple rules, but complex strategies, and people (including game manufacturers) confuse the issue. Where would you rate something like Chess or Go?
 
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