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Subject: Does the "Game weight" really represent the complexity? rss

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Gustavo Jornet
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Hello everyone.

I primary like wargames, but it isn't the general hobby in my friends group. I was thinking about introducing them to light wargames in order to get fun but not being "traumatic" (maybe is not a good idea starting with Case Blue).

There are several wonderful geeklists about "Starting wargames" and so. But in order to find out if a game could fit I looked at the Game weight stat and got surprised. For example Panzerblitz is considered a Heavy game by some people and Crusades II is not very light (althought it has few opinions in the graph)

Is this reliable?

I was thinking about make my own statistics simply accounting the rules pages (only those you should learn, theorically).

For example: Crusades I -> 6 pages.

Anyone thought about it?

Regards
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Matt Brown
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This is a well beaten dead horse issue. The short version is it is a single numerical value to represent a number of things. Wargames even further screw with what would be considered lite. Panzerblitz gets a 3.1 so I wouldn't call it heavy. As long as the rules are manageable, a game should work as an intro game.
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Richard Irving
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Weight Rating on the 'geek is almost useless, for two basic reasons:

One: No one ever really defined "weight" so it can mean:
- Rules length--However a game can have a lot of rules and none of them be terribly complicated.
- Rules consistency: i.e. that have a fixed turn order are much easier to learn than game where any action can happen at almost anytime.
- Rules familiarity: Games that have similar rules to other games you already know are easier to learn than games with completely new mechanics. Call it the "Fields of Fire" or "Up Front" effect. Unfamiliarity breeds higher weight ratings.
- Rules complexity: Some games have rules that really are hard to interpret--with lots of exceptions or lots of special cases.
- Strategic depth: Games that are truly hard to master. Chess or Go. The difference in skill between rank amateurs and world champion is immense.
- Strategic austerity: Games that are unforgiving of poor play or mistakes. Games where once you start losing, you keep losing.
- Strategic learning curve: Some games require significant time even learning basic strategies. OTOH, there are games with a lot strategic depth, still may be easy to pick up and learn on first play.
- Amount of Luck: Games which have copious luck are usually considered less weighty than those that with less luck.
- Effort to play: Games require that a lot of effort to play well. Think Diplomacy--ever try keeping a "poker face" continually for 8 or more hours?
- Length of time to play: Commitment = weight.
- Theme: Hare and Tortoise is a great counterpoint: Weighty game (by strategic definition), that has a children's tale as its theme. It gets a lower weight rating.
- Intensity of competition: How seriously do you treat the game? Is it played in a tournament? Even the neighborhood championship might be enough to make the game "serious". Beating your older brother at Ping Pong, makes Ping Pong a very weighty game for you.
- Number of components: A wargame with 1000's is less weighty than one with only 100. Even if the rules are exactly the same.
- Type of components: "(Game), the card game" is always less weighty than "(Game)"
- Etc.


Two: The other reason is that people weight rate a game based on the heaviest game they know. No common scale was developed.

You get an effect similar to when an Alaskan and Arizonan meet: The Alaskan says the 77F/25C temperature is hot. The Arizonan thinks it is a bit chilly. But it is same temperature for both.

What this means is "Who" weight rates the game matters more than any other factor. Take 2 games that EVERYONE says is as weighty as Puerto Rico.
- Game A is "The Settlers of Carcassonne", rated mostly by Eurogamers who think Puerto Rico is pretty weighty game and Die Macher is the heaviest game they know--therefore "SoC" gets a 4 average weight rating.
- Game B is "The Battles of Patton", rated mostly by wargamers who think Puerto Rico is quite light and ASL is the heaviest game they know. Therefore, "BoP" gets 2 average weight rating.
- Since Puerto Rico is so popular, it gets a mix of all types of gamers, so its average weight rating is 3.

But EVERYONE rated both of these games as weighty as Puerto Rico. Two games everyone agrees have the same weight as third, but all 3 games vastly different weight ratings!

That's a big problem.
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Gustavo Jornet
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matthean wrote:
This is a well beaten dead horse issue. The short version is it is a single numerical value to represent a number of things. Wargames even further screw with what would be considered lite. Panzerblitz gets a 3.1 so I wouldn't call it heavy. As long as the rules are manageable, a game should work as an intro game.


Hello.

Yes, that's the average for Panzerblitz, but what shocks me is not 3.1 but the people who rated as "Heavy".

Regards
 
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Gustavo Jornet
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rri1 wrote:
Weight Rating on the 'geek is almost useless, for two basic reasons:

One: No one ever really defined "weight" so it can mean:
- Rules length--However a game can have a lot of rules and none of them be terribly complicated.
- Rules consistency: i.e. that have a fixed turn order are much easier to learn than game where any action can happen at almost anytime.
- Rules familiarity: Games that have similar rules to other games you already know are easier to learn than games with completely new mechanics. Call it the "Fields of Fire" or "Up Front" effect. Unfamiliarity breeds higher weight ratings.
- Rules complexity: Some games have rules that really are hard to interpret--with lots of exceptions or lots of special cases.
- Strategic depth: Games that are truly hard to master. Chess or Go. The difference in skill between rank amateurs and world champion is immense.
- Strategic austerity: Games that are unforgiving of poor play or mistakes. Games where once you start losing, you keep losing.
- Strategic learning curve: Some games require significant time even learning basic strategies. OTOH, there are games with a lot strategic depth, still may be easy to pick up and learn on first play.
- Amount of Luck: Games which have copious luck are usually considered less weighty than those that with less luck.
- Effort to play: Games require that a lot of effort to play well. Think Diplomacy--ever try keeping a "poker face" continually for 8 or more hours?
- Length of time to play: Commitment = weight.
- Theme: Hare and Tortoise is a great counterpoint: Weighty game (by strategic definition), that has a children's tale as its theme. It gets a lower weight rating.
- Intensity of competition: How seriously do you treat the game? Is it played in a tournament? Even the neighborhood championship might be enough to make the game "serious". Beating your older brother at Ping Pong, makes Ping Pong a very weighty game for you.
- Number of components: A wargame with 1000's is less weighty than one with only 100. Even if the rules are exactly the same.
- Type of components: "(Game), the card game" is always less weighty than "(Game)"
- Etc.


Two: The other reason is that people weight rate a game based on the heaviest game they know. No common scale was developed.

You get an effect similar to when an Alaskan and Arizonan meet: The Alaskan says the 77F/25C temperature is hot. The Arizonan thinks it is a bit chilly. But it is same temperature for both.

What this means is "Who" weight rates the game matters more than any other factor. Take 2 games that EVERYONE says is as weighty as Puerto Rico.
- Game A is "The Settlers of Carcassonne", rated mostly by Eurogamers who think Puerto Rico is pretty weighty game and Die Macher is the heaviest game they know--therefore "SoC" gets a 4 average weight rating.
- Game B is "The Battles of Patton", rated mostly by wargamers who think Puerto Rico is quite light and ASL is the heaviest game they know. Therefore, "BoP" gets 2 average weight rating.
- Since Puerto Rico is so popular, it gets a mix of all types of gamers, so its average weight rating is 3.

But EVERYONE rated both of these games as weighty as Puerto Rico. Two games everyone agrees have the same weight as third, but all 3 games vastly different weight ratings!

That's a big problem.


Hello.

Thank you for the explanation, it's been quite useful. I supposed that the people who rated Panzerblitz as "Heavy" was doing that for comparison (maybe it was the most complex game they've played).

Is a pity there isn't an objective mean to rate the wargames.

I'll rely on rules pages (exclusively for me), by now.

Regards
 
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Robert Chrest
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Matt Brown
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1974vertigo2009 wrote:
Hello.

Yes, that's the average for Panzerblitz, but what shocks me is not 3.1 but the people who rated as "Heavy".

Regards


It just means it's heavy for them. It's like seeing a game with a 5.32 rating and then reading somebody giving it a 10. It could be a 10 for you as well, but the odds aren't good.
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William Boykin
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The games that people think are heavy are easy as pie compared to many other games.

Take Indonesia. Considered to be quite 'heavy' as a Eurogame, this game is nothing compared to The Republic of Rome or Advanced Squad Leader. Sure, the scoring is a bit baroque and unclear the first time you play, but this nothing when compared to the sheer quantity of subsystems found in Rome, or ASL.

The problem is that most people gravitate towards specific types of games- Eurogamers don't generally play Wargames or AT games, for instance. The result is that for someone who thinks that Caylus is the heaviest game ever has no clue that a game like Star Fleet Battles could make Caylus look like Candy Land.

The 'weight' ranking of a game on BGG is perhaps the most subjective, and useless, rating of a game here on BGG.

Darilian
 
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Darilian wrote:
The games that people think are heavy are easy as pie compared to many other games.

Take Indonesia. Considered to be quite 'heavy' as a Eurogame, this game is nothing compared to The Republic of Rome or Advanced Squad Leader. Sure, the scoring is a bit baroque and unclear the first time you play, but this nothing when compared to the sheer quantity of subsystems found in Rome, or ASL.

The problem is that most people gravitate towards specific types of games- Eurogamers don't generally play Wargames or AT games, for instance. The result is that for someone who thinks that Caylus is the heaviest game ever has no clue that a game like Star Fleet Battles could make Caylus look like Candy Land.

The 'weight' ranking of a game on BGG is perhaps the most subjective, and useless, rating of a game here on BGG.

Darilian

By your own argument, it's not useless, just category-specific.

Wargames are typically heavier than Ameritrash which is typically heavier than euros which are typically heavier than family games which are typically heavier than party games which are typically heavier than dexterity games. Abstracts tend to run more of a gamut but the heaviest abstracts are heavier than euros and the lightest are heavier than party games.
 
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Michael Hyland

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I browsed through the game weights of some games I own and found the ratings to be pretty accurate.

War games though are their own breed and get skewed in a lot of ways. They tend to get beaten up in ratings because a lot of people don't like the genre and such. So any ratings in the war game category I take with a grain of salt. I think it would be natural for people to rate them as more complex because people are less familiar with them.

Overall though the system actually works pretty well. People have their own internal scales but the law of averages balances them out against each other over all of the games. You get a pretty accurate relative rating. A rubric would be helpful, but isn't even required to achieve this. A simple rating scale with no rubric gives you the relative reference needed. Also for weights light medium heavy are just fine.

I think what people get caught up on is that someone could rate candyland as hard and that messes the whole thing up. It doesn't because that same person will rate everything as hard and that's balanced by the mass of people who will counter that rating.
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Gustavo Jornet
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All the opinions are very interesting.

I didn't think that wargames were considered so weird by the gaming community (in general). As they are my interest my scale was biased according to that.

Regards
 
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David C
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1974vertigo2009 wrote:
Hello everyone.

I primary like wargames, but it isn't the general hobby in my friends group. I was thinking about introducing them to light wargames in order to get fun but not being "traumatic" (maybe is not a good idea starting with Case Blue).

There are several wonderful geeklists about "Starting wargames" and so. But in order to find out if a game could fit I looked at the Game weight stat and got surprised. For example Panzerblitz is considered a Heavy game by some people and Crusades II is not very light (althought it has few opinions in the graph)

Is this reliable?

I was thinking about make my own statistics simply accounting the rules pages (only those you should learn, theorically).

For example: Crusades I -> 6 pages.

Anyone thought about it?

Regards


This is something I'm pretty passionate about, because I find games over like a 2.5 as being either just too much for me to explain, or just too much game space to play in to get a real sense of competition (imagine a marathon in 10 dimensions where you just have to get to the 'goal').

Another example of too much game space, I feel like Agricola takes at least 4 games before you can say with any amount of confidence that you know what you're doing, as well as your opponents. I like the first play to be a game where I can lose as a teacher.

I agree that it's useless overall, especially with abstracts, but by-in-large a complexity over 2.5 I try to steer clear of, or I make a very heavy judgement on "could I teach this?" and "will I be able to play this with casually interested gamers?"

Real game complexity should take into account the number of different card faces, words in the rulebook, examples, etc.
 
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Gustavo Jornet
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bippi wrote:
1974vertigo2009 wrote:
Hello everyone.

I primary like wargames, but it isn't the general hobby in my friends group. I was thinking about introducing them to light wargames in order to get fun but not being "traumatic" (maybe is not a good idea starting with Case Blue).

There are several wonderful geeklists about "Starting wargames" and so. But in order to find out if a game could fit I looked at the Game weight stat and got surprised. For example Panzerblitz is considered a Heavy game by some people and Crusades II is not very light (althought it has few opinions in the graph)

Is this reliable?

I was thinking about make my own statistics simply accounting the rules pages (only those you should learn, theorically).

For example: Crusades I -> 6 pages.

Anyone thought about it?

Regards


This is something I'm pretty passionate about, because I find games over like a 2.5 as being either just too much for me to explain, or just too much game space to play in to get a real sense of competition (imagine a marathon in 10 dimensions where you just have to get to the 'goal').

Another example of too much game space, I feel like Agricola takes at least 4 games before you can say with any amount of confidence that you know what you're doing, as well as your opponents. I like the first play to be a game where I can lose as a teacher.

I agree that it's useless overall, especially with abstracts, but by-in-large a complexity over 2.5 I try to steer clear of, or I make a very heavy judgement on "could I teach this?" and "will I be able to play this with casually interested gamers?"

Real game complexity should take into account the number of different card faces, words in the rulebook, examples, etc.


I agree with something you've said: I'm always thinking about how much would cost ME to learn and teach the game. Because I assume that I'll be who introduce the game in the group and who try to convince the others to play.

Regards
 
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