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Subject: BGG Suggestion: More metrics for games rss

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Mark Wilder
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I would like to make a humble suggestion that I think might make it easier for people to decide whether a game is right for them. The idea stems from a lot of german-published games that put some metrics for conflict, strategy, luck, etc. on their boxes, as well as my gaming groups preferences. For instance, one of the people I regularly play with doesn't like games with a lot of direct conflict, so it'd be good to be able to search for games that fit our particular tastes.

The idea would work similar to the "weight" rating now. A one to five scale would indicate how the game measures in several categories. Some possible categories:

Conflict: A one would indicate that there is very little conflict between player (Empire Builder, perhaps) where a five would be that conflict is a key element in the game (T&E or most war games).

Luck: A one is a game with little or no luck (many war games, perhaps) and a five is a game that has a lot of luck (LCR).

Strategy: A one is a game with little long-term planning, a five is a game where long-term strategy is the key to the game.

Tactics: Same as strategy, but on the short term.

Replayability: A one is a game that probably won't be fun after a few plays, and a five is a game that could be re-played for years.

Theme: A one is a pure abstract or abstract-in-disguise (Throught he Desert) and a five is a game that drips with theme.

Other things that might be useful are things like involvement (how involved the players are when it's not their turn), AP potential (how likely it is that a player will spend too much time thinking, for those that are prone to problems with those things), Component quality (might be difficult with different editions of some games), Uniqueness (how similar/different the game mechanics feel from other games)... I'm sure there are lots of other things, but obviously the greater population of The Geek should determine where the line should be drawn.

The whole point of the exercise, of course, is to help someone looking for a game that meets a certain set of criteria a bit beyond what the current database offers. If a user is looking for a game that is looking for a theme-heavy game with little conflict and only moderate luck, they'd be able to more easily find it.

So, that's my idea, which I think is good and hopefully y'all don't think is ridiculous.
 
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Jim Cote
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All good stuff.

JoeyHemlock wrote:
Theme: A one is a pure abstract or abstract-in-disguise (Throught he Desert) and a five is a game that drips with theme.


However, some of these are very subjective. For example, some would say TtD "drips with theme". Still, a chart of the votes would be interesting.
 
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Mark Wilder
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ekted wrote:
However, some of these are very subjective. For example, some would say TtD "drips with theme". Still, a chart of the votes would be interesting.


Yeah, but everything is subjective. With enough people "voting", I think it will even out. We've seen this with the weight rating, I think, where some people think a particular game is very light, but the population as a whole thinks it's medium-heavy...
 
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Ola Hansson
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Something like this perhaps: http://www.boardgamegeek.com/article/805023#805023
 
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Robert Washington
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JoeyHemlock wrote:

So, that's my idea, which I think is good and hopefully y'all don't think is ridiculous.


I'm 100% behind it - those are all solid qualifiers that would be helpful in decision making. They are very subjective, but by definiton so are most of the ratings we give now.
 
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Ola Hansson
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I like the idea, but I don't think there should be to many categories. Tactics and strategy for example would perhaps be difficult for some to tell apart.
 
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Mark Wilder
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olaha wrote:
I like the idea, but I don't think there should be to many categories. Tactics and strategy for example would perhaps be difficult for some to tell apart.


I would agree that too many categories would be both unwieldy and unnecessary. The other problem with strategy and tactics is that they can vary with number of players. Perhaps one category for them is better, and I would say that six or seven categories are probably as far as you'd want to take it.
 
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Le Warpozio
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I would at least go for luck and replayability. strategy & tactics are allready partially in the hardness factor and in the end the theme is not that important (Look at the Knizia vs. Theme discussions )
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Red Dragon
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It's a good idea, but there are problems with some of the proposed categories.

"Replayability" is essentially built into the rating a player already gave the game: "I will never tire of this game" = 10, "I will never play this game again" = 2, and in between is in between. You want new metrics to have a very low correlation to previous metrics, but this one would could be almost perfectly predicted by knowing the rating the player gave the game, therefore it wouldn't be very useful.

"Strategy" and "Tactics" although being different concepts (strategy:tactics :: general:sergeant) are similar enough in effect on game mechanics as to make only a little difference, hence should probably be grouped together.

"Luck" is essentially the opposite of "Strategy" and any game falling on the end of one scale would fall on the opposite end of the other, with a near-perfect inverse correlation. Hence, they should be grouped together as "1 = Pure luck, 5 = Pure strategy".

"Conflict" is a good category, and would be very useful. Some people prefer games where nobody messes up what the other player is doing, they just compete to see who does it best. Alhambra is a good example of a low-conflict game; you directly compete for resources, but you can't vandalize what the other players have built. Yahtzee is a perfect example of a no-conflict game.

"Theme" might be better renamed "Abstraction" or "Realism" and used to rate whether the game simulates something in real life, or is a pure study in mathematics, or somewhere in between. The game of Go would be a 0 on realism (on a scale of 1 to 5), as would Blokus, while games that try extremely hard to accurately simulate Baseball or other sports would be a 5. This wouldn't correlate with any other metric of game quality or type, and would therefore be useful for finding games people prefer, without being redundant with something else.
 
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Mark Wilder
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Red Dragon wrote:
"Replayability" is essentially built into the rating a player already gave the game:...


I disagree that the overall rating a game gets is an accurate reflection of the game's replayability. The ability of a game to offer a vaired enough gameplay to 'keep it fresh' is not the same as how much a particular individual want's to play it. I'll use as an example A Game of Thrones, which is a game I don't like very much. I give it a low rating because I, personally, don't want to play it much. However, I can recognise in the gameplay that it is, in fact, an involved game that would play different enough from game-to-game to keep it interesting. Therefore, my low rating doesn't accurately reflect what I think of a game's replayability. Perhaps a word other than replayability is in order, something alluding to "game-to-game freshness", but I can't think of a good word right now.

That said, I don't think that this is a measurement that I'd personally use a lot.

Red Dragon wrote:
"Strategy" and "Tactics" [...] should probably be grouped together.


Yeah, I could get behind that.

Red Dragon wrote:
"Luck" is essentially the opposite of "Strategy"...


While I agree that there is an element of reverse-similarity (if you will), i don't necessarily think that it's necessarily a correlation. For example, in Monopoly (ugh, I can't believe I'm using it in an example) you may adopt the srategy of "buy everything you can". WHAT you buy, of course, it almost completely luck. Everything in Monopoly is almost completely luck, but that doesn't mean there aren't long-term strategies, too.

That said (I like to play Devil's advocate with myself sometimes), the effectiveness of a strategy is determined in large part by luck, so maybe they COULD be combined. If BGG were ever to adopt the addition of these metrics (and I'm not holding my breath given everything else they have to do), they should get input from a little "steering committee" of people. Prolific reviewers, in particular, might have something to say on the subject.

Red Dragon wrote:
"Conflict" is a good category, and would be very useful.


This is the one that got me thinking about this in the first place. I think that it would be a VERY welcome addition.

Red Dragon wrote:
"Theme" might be better renamed "Abstraction" or "Realism" ...


Good suggestion. That's obviously the idea of what I meant to convey...

Now that I've thought about it for a few more days, I guess what I'd like to see is five new categories: Conflict, Luck/Strategy, Set-up/Rules, Theme/Abstraction and Component Quality. I think they, in addition to the existing weight and overall ratings, would give a good overview of what makes up the rating without being TOO much.

Notice that I didn't add replayability in there. That's not to say that I think that the overall rating already contains this data, it's just something that I think is less important in influencing my game purchases than the above measurements.
 
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Kevin Ciantar
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I don't want to sound disrespectful to whoever set up the current system, but in my opinion game weight has little use, as is. From what I understood people's opinions vary wildly on its interpretation.

On the other hand, these more specialised scales are easier to rate, being more tangible and would give a better and broader picture of the game. I would highly recommend their introduction. thumbsup
 
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