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Subject: BGG needs to divide "Weight" into "Rules Complexity" and "Gameplay Depth" rss

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Kevin Goodman
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The Weight ratings really need to be separated into two:
(1) Rules complexity
(2) Gameplay depth

This is important to people looking for games because I'd argue the single biggest barrier to gaming newbies is the time investment needed to learn the rules of a game.

For example, Starcraft has an average weight rating of 3.8 and includes a 50 page manual. Only the most highly motivated individuals are going to be willing to take that on. Chess on the other hand also has an average weight rating of 3.8, yet the rules are very simple and it can be quickly and easily learned. The complexity and depth arises from all the combinations and permutations of moves and consequences of those moves. Two newbs can enjoy a game of chess after spending very little time learning the rules and thereafter can spend years growing their appreciation of the subtleties of the deep gameplay options those simple rules can provide.

Also, its interesting to consider the meaning of the 4 quadrants that would comprise Weight:
(1) Low rules complexity, low gameplay depth (KIDS! FILLER!)
(2) low rules complexity, high gameplay depth (EXCELLENT!)
(3) high rules complexity, low gameplay depth (CAUTION! CHROME!)
(4) high rules complexity, high gameplay depth (GOOD!)

Metrics that help a gamer distinguish a Starcraft heavy from the Chess heavy would REALLY help gamers:
(1) ease themselves into gaming
(2) ease others into gaming
(3) find games such as those that can be used as Filler (in most cases has a very low Rule Complexity)

I would argue that a goal of every game designer should be to achieve the desired gameplay elements using the simplest and fewest rules possible. If Rules Complexity were called out explicitly here at BGG, designers and rulebook writers may see a poor score in that area as incentive to write better/simpler rules.

EDIT:

Here's some data suggesting that the "wisdom of crowds" can handle a loosely defined metric. In this case, the idea of a game's interactivity was being explored but I think some of the discussion holds for metrics such as rules-complexity and gameplay-depth

Interactivity versus Direct/Indirect Conflict poll comparison

ZyronEnder wrote:
I would argue that "interactivity" is a function of many things: directness of conflict, several kinds of mechanics such as auctions, cooperation, etc, etc. By leaving "interactivity" vague, I believe people will automatically account for all these factors and group averaging will produce a result that corresponds with what most people would agree with.

Here's a similar analogy: I remember about 10 or 15 years ago, our company put everyone through sexual harrassment awareness training. Of course, the obvious question came up: "What behaviour constitutes sexual harrassment? Give us a definition." The answer came back as this: "Its harrassment if, when the behaviour is described to 100 people out on the street, the majority agrees it was harrassment." The solution acknowledged that the definition had no absolutes while at the same time allowing many complex contributing factors to be considered.

I think Interactivity is the same.
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Nigel Buckle
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Interesting - and I agree,

Although 'depth' and 'complexity' are rather subjective.

As for the quadrants - who'd want to play a game in (3) high rules complexity, low gameplay depth?

My preference is quadrant (2)
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Nicholas Kinsman
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I agree that this is a good idea, though I'm not sold on it being a necessary one, per se. However I'd love to see it put to practice.


bucklen_uk wrote:
Interesting - and I agree,

Although 'depth' and 'complexity' are rather subjective.

As for the quadrants - who'd want to play a game in (3) high rules complexity, low gameplay depth?

My preference is quadrant (2)


FFG seems to do quite well, so I'm sure there are lots of people. ;P
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David Gregg
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ZyronEnder wrote:
Also, its interesting to consider the meaning of the 4 quadrants that would comprise Weight:
(1) Low rules complexity, low gameplay depth
(2) low rules complexity, high gameplay depth
(3) high rules complexity, low gameplay depth
(4) high rules complexity, high gameplay depth

Then instead of a bar graph it can generate an X|Y axis with marks sized based on votes!
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Green Dan
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I would totally be behind this idea.
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Jack Smith
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It's a good idea but I doubt it would work in practice. I disagree with most game complexity ratings as it is. Adding another layer would become a mess I think.

Add to that the fact that many publishers, such as FFG, seriously over complicate their own games by their terrible rule books and you will never get a reliable score system going.
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Martin G
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Do these roughly correspond to "How long does it take to explain the rules to someone before they can play their first game?" and "How many games do you need to play before you are 'good'?"? I totally agree that these things should be differentiated, though it's unclear to me that we'd end up with anything particularly meaningful as a result.
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David C
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qwertymartin wrote:
it's unclear to me that we'd end up with anything particularly meaningful as a result.


Did that stop us from putting a game weight field down, in the first place?
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Martin G
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bippi wrote:
Did that stop us from putting a game weight field down, in the first place?


Apparently not
 
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bucklen_uk wrote:
Interesting - and I agree,

Although 'depth' and 'complexity' are rather subjective.

As for the quadrants - who'd want to play a game in (3) high rules complexity, low gameplay depth?

My preference is quadrant (2)


Depth = Good
Complexity = Bad

laugh

No one Eurogamer would *want* to play a high complexity / low depth game, but such a rating would be useful for a purchase decision. Actually, many RPGs and Ameritrash games fit into that quadrant.
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David C
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ZyronEnder wrote:

This would REALLY help gamers:
(1) ease others into gaming
(2) find games that can be used as Filler (in most cases has a very low Rule Complexity)

Also, its interesting to consider the meaning of the 4 quadrants that would comprise Weight:
(1) Low rules complexity, low gameplay depth
(2) low rules complexity, high gameplay depth
(3) high rules complexity, low gameplay depth
(4) high rules complexity, high gameplay depth


I've been harping on this pretty bad for the last couple of months... in that even the weight that's allegedly meaningless, has meaning.

I've found quite a few exceptions where weighted games, 2.4 and above get to be teachable to receptive folks... but by-in-large games weighted 2.4 and above still tend to be gamer's games.

Even more than that, games weighted 2.1 or less, tend to almost always be reasonably teachable and approachable---though there are exceptions there as well.
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In line with this, I think we could remove some of the subjectivity, and get some useful data.

For example, to discern Complexity add these 2 questions;

How many minutes does it take to learn to play from the rulebook?
How many plays needed until you rarely need to use the rulebook during play?

This way people will know what they are getting in to.

For game play depth, I am sure we could do something similar.
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David C
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For the record, if people would actually update the fields more than once or twice... I like to use the minimum ages field to see if it's something I could teach and introduce to people who suggest, "hey, lets play a game".

8 years old: anyone
10 years old: committed learners
12 years old: gamers.
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Dan
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I find this area a little more subjective due to the levels of clarity in rule books.

Often, it is typically easier to understand the rules of the game through one person's interpretation rather than reading from the source itself. In fact, a couple of friends of mine prefer that I read the rules first and explain how to play after.

Perhaps it's like "watching a movie preferably over reading the book".

--

In the end, I would consider 'weight' the required amount of time and effort invested into a game holistically (ie, from beginning to end). However, adding additional subcategories as 'rule complexity' and 'gameplay depth' would be an interesting outlook.
 
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Darrell Hanning
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There have been threads before, some advocating this very same approach. For what little it's worth, I agree.

And I like the repetition.
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Kevin Goodman
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merriam wrote:
I find this area a little more subjective due to the levels of clarity in rule books.


Ok, but every rating here at BGG is subjective at some level.

merriam wrote:
Often, it is typically easier to understand the rules of the game through one person's interpretation rather than reading from the source itself. In fact, a couple of friends of mine prefer that I read the rules first and explain how to play after.


I totally agree that some people acquire information better by reading and others by listening. Still, I think in the end these would average out because all games would have the same issue.
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Kevin Goodman
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Note only that but I would argue that a goal of every game designer should be to achieve the desired gameplay using the simplest and fewest rules possible.

If Rules Complexity were called out explicitly, designers and rulebook writers may see a poor score in that area as incentive to write better/simpler rules.
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Shawn Fox
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While we are on the subject (sort of), it would also be nice to have an "interactivity" rating on games.
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qwertymartin wrote:
it's unclear to me that we'd end up with anything particularly meaningful as a result.


YEAH IF YOU ONLY PLAY EUROGAMES THAT WOULD HAPPEN.

Now pass me volume ten of the Arkham Horror FAQ. goo
 
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Party games; A good party game has low complexity and little depth. You're not gonna have AP in a game of Apples to Apples.

Eurogames: A good Eurogame has low complexity but high depth.

Fillers: As descendents from Eurogames, most fillers have low complexity and low depth.

"Take That" Games: As descendents from Ameritrash games and pointy sticks, most "take that" games are low complexity and low depth.

Wargames: High complexity, high depth. I don't think we're going to mistake Settlers for Up Front any time soon.

Roleplaying Games: High complexity, low depth. The base game core set of Dungeons and Dragons consists of three *three-hundred* page rulebooks. Setup takes an hour of rules to create a character. Despite this, most combat boils down to several modifiers and a high-variance die roll.

Too Many Ameritrash Games: High complexity. Depth can vary.

Do we have exceptions and borderline cases? Of course, we do. And the above relationships are not ironclad.

Quote:
I would argue that a goal of every game designer should be to achieve the desired gameplay elements using the simplest and fewest rules possible.


I would argue this only applies to the mechanics-oriented Eurogames. Many Ameritrash games, particularly roleplaying games and wargames, are simulation-based games, which often require complex rules to properly simulate theme. If my Magic Missle functions like a Lightning Bolt, or requires me to parse a ten-level decision tree so I can kill a goblin, this is bad game design!

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Kevin Goodman
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So what's the best way to influence Aldie et al who could actually make this happen?
 
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ZyronEnder wrote:
So what's the best way to influence Aldie et al who could actually make this happen?


"Android = Go? Make it not so!"

Occupy BGG!

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Simon Lundström
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s3rvant wrote:
Then instead of a bar graph it can generate an X|Y axis with marks sized based on votes!


Totally agree with that.

Also, I totally disagree that high rule complexity and low gameplay depth would be bad. DungeonQuest/Dragon's Keep is a good example of that: lots of rules, and basically everything is chance, yet it's a fantastic game.

Also, this should be moved to "Suggestions".
 
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Warren Adams
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Perhaps you can start your own site and then you can do it your way.
 
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Ryan McLelland
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Absolutely love this idea. Sure there is still a bunch of subjectivity to the ratings, but by splitting it up you do get a better picture. The ability to graph the result is cool too. Would love to see the admins implement this.
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