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Subject: The higher on the ladder, the worse the rating rss

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Wim van Gruisen
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So Eclipse has climbed another rung today and is now the seventh best game on the geek. With a rating of 8.47. When it reached eight place, the rating was 8.50. The best average rating for Eclipse was when the game was around place 158 in the list, or thereabouts. The average rating was 8.65 then, and the higher it climbed on the ladder, the lower it scored on average.

Just an observation, and I understand the mathematical foundations of this, sorta.
 
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Whymme wrote:
So Eclipse has climbed another rung today and is now the seventh best game on the geek. With a rating of 8.47. When it reached eight place, the rating was 8.50. The best average rating for Eclipse was when the game was around place 158 in the list, or thereabouts. The average rating was 8.65 then, and the higher it climbed on the ladder, the lower it scored on average.

Just an observation, and I understand the mathematical foundations of this, sorta.


I think the phenomenon has more psychological foundations than mathematical.
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Kristof Bodric
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The total number of ratings also counts towards the Geek Rating as well. That said, I'd agree with the psychological factor as well, as people who dislike the fact that Eclipse has climbed so high in such a short time, rather than the game itself rate it down for various reasons. One reason is that their favourite game's rank is being threatened and others are that they played the game when a)tired/in a bad mood, b) with excessively AP-prone people (the worst case scenario) or c) with exceedingly campy people, when the game turns into a pure euro - researching sciences for VPs rather than for the purpose of blasting your enemies into oblivion and building loads of monoliths with your finely-tuned production engine. I personally have no problem with the last option as I like euros, but it's definitely more fun to go around zapping anything that moves.
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vidra wrote:
That said, I'd agree with the psychological factor as well, as people who dislike the fact that Eclipse has climbed so high in such a short time, rather than the game itself rate it down for various reasons.
I really think this suspicion (which crops up with basically every single game which does well) is strongly overblown. If you look at the rating graph for Eclipse, it's basically a near-perfect bell-curve. There's 18 1 and 2 ratings, of which at most half are outside of what should be expected based on the bell-curve. Those would be the people rating more strongly than they would've if Eclipse hadn't been the rising star it is. They'll be filtered out for the geek rating, but are indeed affecting the average rating, by a maximum of 0.04 points if you assume they wouldn't have rated the game at all otherwise, but more probably 0.02 points if you assume they'd otherwise have rated it on its own merits.

The real reason the average rating (of almost any game - this is quite a well-documented phenomenon) is dropping over time is simply that early on, the only people playing the game will be those who are self-selected to be predisposed to liking it. Only people who *know* they'll like a 4x space-themed game will give it a try when it's still an unknown. Then, as Eclipse rises through the ranks and generates buzz, more and more people become aware of it, and will give it a try. A surprisingly large amount of those people still really like the game, and rate it just as high as everyone else, but for ever more people it's just not their cup of tea, and so the average rating starts going down.

I actually suspect the current scarcity of the game is keeping the average rating higher than it'd have been otherwise, as only people predisposed to really liking the game will go through the trouble (or cost) of hunting down one of the few remaining copies. When the second printing arrives and the bigger public gets a chance to play this game, I'd expect the average rating to fall down quite swiftly.
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Just want to say that I completely agree with a_traveler and would have written the exact same thing if he did not do so before me. It's completely natural for the average rating to drop the move people are exposed to a product. This may also reflect in the rank dropping sooner or later but it is hard to tell how the rank will develop over the months and years.

One think I just wanted to say to all the guys fixated on ranks and averages is: It is not that important how the game is ranked. It is about how much you like to play it with your friends.
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Eclipse has nearly 2000 votes now. Does anyone know (or know how to obtain) the average user rating of Agricola, Twilight Struggle, Through the ages or another highly ranked game when they had a similar number of votes? This could allow us to estimate the 'true' rank of Eclipse.
 
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a_traveler wrote:
The real reason the average rating (of almost any game - this is quite a well-documented phenomenon) is dropping over time is simply that early on, the only people playing the game will be those who are self-selected to be predisposed to liking it. Only people who *know* they'll like a 4x space-themed game will give it a try when it's still an unknown. Then, as Eclipse rises through the ranks and generates buzz, more and more people become aware of it, and will give it a try.


As blasphemous as it might be, I feel this is one reason Twilight Struggle is rated so highly. Only the people that want to play that kind of game are playing and rating it.

How many people get thrown into 4-6 player games that aren't all that interested in the game itself because the other 3-5 people really want to play it and think it is better with +1.
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Vanish wrote:
a_traveler wrote:
The real reason the average rating (of almost any game - this is quite a well-documented phenomenon) is dropping over time is simply that early on, the only people playing the game will be those who are self-selected to be predisposed to liking it. Only people who *know* they'll like a 4x space-themed game will give it a try when it's still an unknown. Then, as Eclipse rises through the ranks and generates buzz, more and more people become aware of it, and will give it a try.


As blasphemous as it might be, I feel this is one reason Twilight Struggle is rated so highly. Only the people that want to play that kind of game are playing and rating it.

How many people get thrown into 4-6 player games that aren't all that interested in the game itself because the other 3-5 people really want to play it and think it is better with +1.


I think TS is so high as it appeals to such a wide range of play styles. But its a good point you make. I see Eclipse as a Euro so I'll be reserving judgement at least until the reprint. I like Euros but If I want a 4 x game Id look elsewhere for it I think. I would rather have the players themselves restrict what can be done than Euro mechanics.

This early in a games life I ignore rankings anyway. I simply do not believe enough people have played it over enough time to make a proper judgement on it.
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Evan Stegman
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Whymme wrote:
So Eclipse has climbed another rung today and is now the seventh best game on the geek. With a rating of 8.47. When it reached eight place, the rating was 8.50. The best average rating for Eclipse was when the game was around place 158 in the list, or thereabouts. The average rating was 8.65 then, and the higher it climbed on the ladder, the lower it scored on average.

Just an observation, and I understand the mathematical foundations of this, sorta.


From the BGG FAQ:

"What is the Difference Between BGG Rating and User Rating?"

"If you look at a list of games within BGG you may see a BGG Rating number between 1 and 10. If you then click on that game and go to the game's main page you will see a User Rating and an Average Rating. Most of the time, the BGG Rating number will be different from the User and Average Ratings. Why is this?
The User Rating of a game is the Average Rating rounded down to 1 decimal point. The Average Rating for a game is the average of all ratings from registered BGG users that the game has received, calculated by adding up all individual ratings and dividing by the number of ratings."

"The BGG Rating is based on the Average Rating, but the number is altered. BoardGameGeek's ranking charts are ordered using the BGG Rating. To prevent games with relatively few votes climbing to the top of the BGG Ranks, artificial "dummy" votes are added to the User Ratings. These votes are currently thought to be 100 votes equal to the mid range of the voting scale: 5.5, but the actual algorithm is kept secret to avoid manipulation. The effect of adding these dummy votes is to pull BGG Ratings toward the mid range. Games with a large number of votes see their BGG Rating alter very little from their Average Rating, but games with relatively few user ratings will see their BGG Rating move considerably toward 5.5. This is known as "Bayesian averaging" and a quick search of both BGG and/or the Web will reveal much discussion on the topic."

"In effect, usually the games with many votes will Rank higher than those games with the same Average Rating but fewer votes."


If you were noting the change in the number of votes and not just the average it wouldn't be that surprising. It is not unusual at all for the BGG rating to go up while the undiluted average goes down when a game is fairly new and a lot of new ratings are being added.
 
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Vanish wrote:

As blasphemous as it might be, I feel this is one reason Twilight Struggle is rated so highly. Only the people that want to play that kind of game are playing and rating it.

How many people get thrown into 4-6 player games that aren't all that interested in the game itself because the other 3-5 people really want to play it and think it is better with +1.



I'm not entirely convinced of this.
With that logic, we should be seeing a lot more 2-player war games as the top games. As it stands, I don't think these types of games outnumber any other genre of game.


 
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lobato wrote:

I'm not entirely convinced of this.
With that logic, we should be seeing a lot more 2-player war games as the top games. As it stands, I don't think these types of games outnumber any other genre of game.


I don't see how my point implies yours.

Twilight Struggle IS a good 2P war game, im not denying that. My point is that 2P games don't get played (and ranked) by as many people, and therefore when people find a great one, it is going to be artificially high compared to a game that reaches a wider audience, which 3P+ games certainly do. Just look at the number of ratings for war games compared to the top 50 board games. We're talking a 10 fold difference on average.

In the last year, someone has almost always brought Twilight Struggle to our gaming nights (spanning 5 hosts and 120 gamers, averaging 16 people per event, twice a week) and TS has been played twice. Eclipse, on the other hand, has been played 12 times in just this past month. Why? A couple people want to start up a game, and then next thing you know its at six players. The other 10 people see it being played and say "hey I want to learn that next time." Process Repeat

To summarize my point, and this is just completely in my personal experience and a hypothesis ... 3+ player games invite people who just showed up to a board game night to play any game, regardless of theme, ranking, mechanisms, etc, whereas 2 player war games almost require you to seek out someone to play with. Who wants to play a 2 player game when there are 16 people around? There's a few out there ... and that's who rates that kind of game, people predisposed to rating it high in the first place.
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lobato wrote:

I'm not entirely convinced of this.
With that logic, we should be seeing a lot more 2-player war games as the top games. As it stands, I don't think these types of games outnumber any other genre of game.




To be very honest games are ranked by people who played them. Look at how many people played TS and ranked it so high, so it cannot be that bad.
 
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I've tried to find some data for other highly ranked games and managed to get some for Agricola. From what I've read Agricola had an average rating of just under 9 after 50 ratings, 8.4 after 1000 ratings, 8.3 after 2700 ratings and 8.25 after over 20,000 ratings. Based solely on this Eclipse is doing rather better than Agricola was when a similar number of people had rated it (i.e. Eclipse averages 8.48 after close to 2000 ratings). After 1000 votes Through the Ages had an average rating of 8.5.

I'm sure there are probably other factors to consider but based on this, Eclipse could quite possibly rank higher than Agricola in the future. The average rating of Agricola did not drop that much between 2700 ratings and over 20,000 (i.e. 8.30 to 8.25).
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Kristof Bodric
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a_traveler wrote:
If you look at the rating graph for Eclipse, it's basically a near-perfect bell-curve. There's 18 1 and 2 ratings, of which at most half are outside of what should be expected based on the bell-curve.


Which is more or less what I said & illustrated here:
http://www.boardgamegeek.com/article/8175312#8175312

I agree though that the hate ratings are not the only, nor even the most significant factor, but the higher the average, the more very low marks hurt. Also, with games that have a high average, the missing, truncated part of the bell curve is also significant (the part that would be there if the curve were symmetrical, i.e. if 10 was not the highest rating).
 
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lobato wrote:
Vanish wrote:

As blasphemous as it might be, I feel this is one reason Twilight Struggle is rated so highly. Only the people that want to play that kind of game are playing and rating it.

How many people get thrown into 4-6 player games that aren't all that interested in the game itself because the other 3-5 people really want to play it and think it is better with +1.



I'm not entirely convinced of this.
With that logic, we should be seeing a lot more 2-player war games as the top games. As it stands, I don't think these types of games outnumber any other genre of game.



There are a huge number of 2-player games. One person might think War at sea is the best & rate it a 10, another might prefer Battle of the Bulge and rate that a 10. The net effect is to split the vote. No one game gets enough hign votes to be significant.


As to how one explains TS being 1st, perhaps the vote on that actually was rigged???
 
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Heishiro1976 wrote:

To be very honest games are ranked by people who played them.…


Not always true, unfortunately. However I only rate games I have played. This means that some games that imv would have a low rating never get one from me at all. This includes (almost) all 2-player games, (almost) all co-ops, and most that have a theme I hate (such as Zombies). It is also likely to rule out games that are likely to take longer to play than I typically have available - nowadays that limit is probably no more than 3 hours even if in my younger days I used to play Civilization and 1829.

Thus I won't be buying Eclipse (timescale) and I don't think anyone else at my two main games sessions is likely to buy it (timescale and price). It is possible that I may join a game at a con - might happen at Sorcon next month - but it won't be high up my preference list.
((did I also mention that combat dice alwys seem to hate me))

It may capture my imagination, but at present if I gave a rating it would be a 5. No game ever gets a 10 from me as I like to play a variety of games rather than one having dominance. If a game gets a 4 or less from me I made a mistake in playing it in the first place unless it was necessary for social purposes shake
 
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andyholt wrote:
...nowadays that limit is probably no more than 3 hours...

Thus I won't be buying Eclipse (timescale)

Have you missed the fact that Eclipse takes less than 3 hours ?
Once your familiar with the rules.
 
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XAos wrote:

Have you missed the fact that Eclipse takes less than 3 hours ?
Once your familiar with the rules.


Reports and observation suggest otherwise - especially in a group with some players who analyse their options carefully*.

As shown here you have spent a lot of time analysing various strategies to find "the best" (it's just that you have done most of this "offline".) I tend to "wing it" in games (avoiding detailed analysis in play) - this is probably why I don't win as often as I could. But others like to plan.

* Not AP (the analysis doesn't go round in circles), just a lot of thought.
 
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a_traveler has a really good point on it. Plus, at some point the shiny hotness factor starts wearing off and people start looking at a new game more objectively. You start noticing the flaws you were previously willing to overlook because you were excited about the new game and the question of how well it holds up to repeated plays begins to arise.

Personally, I think Eclipse is a fine game, but I also think it takes far too long to play. I haven't seen it complete in 3 hours yet. Not saying it cannot, but it doesn't seem that this happens naturally or should be expected.

Therefore, I would grade it down for excessive length to maybe a 7.5 or so. A good game, one I'm willing to play, but with reservations.

I haven't played Twilight Struggle yet.
 
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I love seeing some people say the estimate is actually an overestimate once you learn the game and others saying its an underestimate.

I've never personally experienced a game taking longer than 40 minutes per player even with 3 noobs in a 6 player game. The fastest games I have played were around 25 minutes per player, being 3 player games where everyone knows the rules and that includes setup.
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XAos wrote:
andyholt wrote:
...nowadays that limit is probably no more than 3 hours...

Thus I won't be buying Eclipse (timescale)

Have you missed the fact that Eclipse takes less than 3 hours ?
Once you're familiar with the rules.


The problem is also that the first game will probably take at least the 3 hrs mentioned plus about 45 minutes of rules explanation. That means we will not complete it before throwing-out time at the pub.
That, in turn, makes it most unlikely to hit the table a second time (when we might be more familiar with the rules)
There are so many good games and so little time.

A four-player game at Finchley last Thursday started rules explanation and setup at around 1915 and just finished by 2300 … I'm not sure how many of the players were new.
(I got through 4 or 5 games of Shadowfist while that was happening)
 
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It is already clear that Eclipse will never reach the top position. Current average 8.45 is not much higher than 8.32 of Twilight Struggle. By gaining new votes it will fall lower then this.
 
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tms_ wrote:
It is already clear that Eclipse will never reach the top position. Current average 8.45 is not much higher than 8.32 of Twilight Struggle. By gaining new votes it will fall lower then this.


Failure of logic?

I agree it probably won't hit #1, but your reasoning makes no sense. Those votes could be 10s just as likely as 5s.
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andyholt wrote:

The problem is also that the first game will probably take at least the 3 hrs mentioned plus about 45 minutes of rules explanation.


I agree the first couple of games will over-run 3hrs.
I did write "once your familiar with the rules."...!
My first couple of games failed to finish in 3hrs.
After 2 games they were less than 3 hrs to complete.

So the question to ask is:-
"Is Eclipse worth investing 2 game sessions learning to play fast?"
Since it's in the top 10 games, I'd guess the answer is yes

andyholt wrote:

* Not AP (the analysis doesn't go round in circles), just a lot of thought.

You have a different definition of the term "AP" to me.
Mine is, "if the analysis takes too much time, that's AP"
If the analysis goes around in circles, that's not AP it's "stalling".

Some quide lines on quicker anlysis. Don't analyse your own less-effective options, since your never going to make them. And if your opponent makes a sub-par move, it should be easy to exploit. You don't need a detailed pre-analysis of exactly how it's easy to exploit.
I advise practicing by playing a game like "Go". You won't ever have the time for a full analysis of your move in that game.devil

As Napoleon said "ask me for anything except time". Reality does not allow unlimited time to analyse strategy.
Game example is if you take too long over moves, you can't finish the game.
Real world example, German blitzkrieg against France during WW-II. The Germans broke through the French defenses. Because the French command was sending reinforcements after considering the position overnight. So the reinforcements arrived late & de-trained in locations already overrun by the enemy.gulp
I'm sure the French high command believed it was just making a "full analysis" of the situation. Indeed I've seen documentaries based on the diaries of the French C-in-C which say essentially that.
 
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Also, in a 5-6-player game, there's plenty of time to consider your move during your opponents' turns. It's good playing etiquette.
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