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Subject: Does a game's BGG rank matter to you? rss

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Marc Morley
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I found myself defending this topic on another forum post and thought why not post another poll for everyone to weight in on?

Poll
Does a game's BGG ranking matter to you?
Yes
No
Who cares
      238 answers
Poll created by Stratagems
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Richard Pardoe
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And neither does its rating.

I much prefer to read the comments from other Geeks to help me research a game. Much more useful, much more useful information.
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Paul M
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If I like a game and it works well with the people in my game groups, I couldn't care less what anybody else thinks about it. Take River Dragons for instance. I like the game, and everybody I've introduced to the game likes the game. It's great filler and a nice gateway game. Rank? About 1000th. And when it moves down one spot in the rankings, I'm not going to start a thread about it.
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Matt
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Initially it does when I'm looking to buy a game and I want to narrow down my choices. What I end up doing is reading the rules, reviews and the comments left by others before I decide if it's a game I would enjoy.

A good example for me is the game Camelot Legends. It ranks a 6.3 on BGG, I've ranked it an 8. If I had gone by the BGG ranking when trying to decide if it was a game I should buy, I may have decided not to buy it and would have missed out on what I find to be a very enjoyable game.

I heard it stated elsewhere that the best way to get an idea if a game will appeal to you or not is to find others on BGG that have similar gaming interests. Take a look at their gaming collections and see what comments they have on various games. If it turns out that you're in agreement with their comments, then chances are that their comments are a good gauge to use when deciding if a game will appeal to you or not.
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Just Some Guy
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I suppose it depends on your definition of "matter".

It's existence makes a difference to me because I'm more likely to notice a game near the top of the list than I am one near the bottom. When I see that, to pick a random one, Roads and Boats is at 55 then I'm curious what the game is about and why people like it so much.

On the other hand I'm not married to them. I know that I won't like some of the higher ranked games. If a game sounds like it might not be to my taste then the fact that it's #41 doesn't mean a thing to me. Positive buzz carries a lot more weight for me to try something than ranking though they'll usually coincide.

So you could say that it matters but I'm not really sure that what I mean by "matters" is the same thing you mean by "matters".
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Matt Mac
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It does a little. If I see something interesting I tend to rip into it like a monkey on a cupcake. I've been told cooler heads prevail, though, so I figure a little research every now and then can't hurt.
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Rob White
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I think the ranking/rating is important to me. Start at #1 and look at all the Top 100 games that fit my needs for # of players, time length, difficulty, etc. If I need a 2-player game to play with my wife who doesn't like long/complicated games, then I may be left with only 20 of the Top 100. From there I will read reviews, look at pictures, etc. Put in way more time than necessary. But I've found that I really, really enjoy researching games. Maybe even more than playing them.

So yes the ranking/rating does matter to me. It helps me start a search for a new game. Having said that, if I trust you and you tell me that a #984 game is worth playing/buying then I'll certainly look into it.
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Harald Korneliussen
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If you're asking whether I care whether Go passed Yinsh as the highest ranked abstract then the answer is what the hell is wrong with these people not at all. But the rankings are some of what makes BGG useful. I would ordinarily never consider buying a 2p-game about the cold war, that Twilight Struggle is rated so high, however, makes me sit up and take notice. I will probably try it if I get the chance, just to find out what all the fuss is about.

A high rating means something. Not always that it's my sort of game, but that really goes without saying.
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Matthew Gray
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This subject comes up a lot, and it's worth discussing. I am of the opinion that BGG ratings/rank are meaningful and useful but not oracular.

A previous thread where I talk about a lot of the details:
http://www.boardgamegeek.com/thread/146451

To reiterate the dominant point:

Except for games in the (roughly) top 100, given two games, one 50 ranks higher than the other, 60% of people prefer the higher ranked game.

In the top 100, the curve is steeper, and even a 30 rank difference yields about a 75% preference.

For dramatically greater ranking gaps, the preference rate rarely gets above 90%.

60% or 75% preference is far from meaningless, but far from definitive. Unfortunately, people tend to treat them as either meaningless or definitive and they are neither.
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Ryan Newell
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Quote:
60% or 75% preference is far from meaningless, but far from definitive. Unfortunately, people tend to treat them as either meaningless or definitive and they are neither.


I think it leans more towards meaningless, myself. I think some users (particularly new users to the site) may take for granted that the rankings are determined by the BGG users who rate their games. In other words, the rankings are based on data that represents a niche (those who rate their games) inside a niche (BGG users) inside a niche (board game web sites) inside a niche (board gaming).

On top of that, the definitions for each rating are vague (and often aren't even followed by the raters), so what the numbers represent is unclear.

So the rankings are based on data of questionable validity from a biased sample. I guess it probably means something that Ticket to Ride is rated higher than HeroQuest, but what? So the average BGG rater might prefer Ticket to Ride over Hero Quest for some reason. Who is "the average BGG user" and what does his/her unexplained preference matter to me?

EDIT: Though I think the rankings are trivial, I recognize the relevance/influence the rankings have on me and this site. The higher a game's rank, the more hype/exposure it has, the more likely I am to stumble across the title, the more likely I am to research it, the more likely I am to build an interest, the more likely I am to buy it.
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Mike Jones
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The the other thread I went into length, why there is not good solution to changing the system. I indicated that it matters somewhat to some people and gives a general gauge. I answered that it mattered in the poll, because I find them interesting. But, that doesn't mean I give them great weight. They are just a tool. And to some extent they give us something to talk about.

Let them be and move on.
 
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Ben Penner
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I take a game's rank and rating into consideration only as a guideline as to whether or not I want to find out more about it. If a game has a rating of 6.5 or higher, which is about equal to the top 1000 games, I'll start reading peoples comments on it to find the pros and cons. But other than that, I could care less as to which game rates higher than another or some such.
 
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Robert Wesley
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shake Nope! NOT in the least, since the majority of BGG folk are playing mainly something or another that I wouldn't be caught DEAD being associated with in the first place. I'm particularly "picky" in that 'way', so I don't bother nor care in the utmost what THEY 'rate' one thing or another. Most are a bunch of "Trendy Whores" as it were, so their "mullage SHALL vary" as the "Game of the moment" arrives, and is then readily replaced with the NEXT 'ones'!
those "Trendy Whores"!
laugh
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Matthew Gray
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The Barefoot Killer wrote:
In other words, the rankings are based on data that represents a niche (those who rate their games) inside a niche (BGG users) inside a niche (board game web sites) inside a niche (board gaming).


I'm not disagreeing it is a niche, but do keep in mind it is a niche composed of 10s of thousands of individuals, so it's not "niche" in the strongly diminutive sense.
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Darren M
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Definitely. I use the ratings and rankings as a filtering device. I have to use something to help me narrow down prospects from 35000+ to a manageable number. I pare that down by looking at games with many high ratings as well as those that get a lot of plays and are played by a wide variety of gamers. I also read comments and get a rough feel for what the games are like... then I pull the trigger on purchases I think would be most suitable for us.

I have exceptions of course for print and play games and public domain games... rank and ratings don't matter quite as much for those because I'm not putting my money on the line to try them out... but even for those I usually will try the higher rated ones over the mediocre and lowly rated ones.

For commercial boardgames and cardgames it usually works out that I end up purchasing games in the top 600 or so on BGG. That's still a pretty wide list but so far it's been a pretty good strategy as I haven't bought many games that were total stinkers.
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Randy Cox
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It's hard to answer this. It's rating, and it's Bayesian rating matter to me, as it indicates what "the masses" think of a game. Since rank is based on the latter, I guess the rank matters, too.
 
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Steve Duff
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A lot depends on what you mean by matter. Do I care if game X is rated 20 vs 25th? Hardly.

However, I do find that when I try a game where the concept has interested me, that generally, if I like it a lot it tends to have a higher ranking, and if I didn't much care for it, it has a lower ranking.

So I guess my tastes reflect the common man.
 
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Mendon Dornbrook
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The rating matters, but so do the other statistics associated with the game. If a game is highly rated, it's got my interest. If other statistics meet my expectations, then I'm going to look into the game. If my buddies seem to think it's cool, I'll start to think about buying it. And, finally, I'll look for a positive and a negative review that are well written to come to a final decision.
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Tim Stellmach
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The Barefoot Killer wrote:
So the average BGG rater might prefer Ticket to Ride over Hero Quest for some reason. Who is "the average BGG user" and what does his/her unexplained preference matter to me?

I'm not sure anybody mentioned "the average BGG user" before you did, so who that person is doesn't matter. Framing things that way tends to only confuse the issue.

What's really significant here is, instead, the random BGG user. Given about 400 places difference in the rankings, if we stick our hand into a bag and pull out a BGG user (so to speak), they probably prefer Ticket to Ride.

What that matters to you, of course, only you can say.
 
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Diz Hooper
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I think it matters for new players who are just getting into boardgaming. They don't know what is available, and their experience with boardgames will probably only be Monopoly or Risk. I remember when I first got on this board I went straight for Puerto Rico, only to find out it was just an OK game for me.

Once players have purchased a few games and get an idea of what type of games are available, then they tend to go off of game comments and reviews. For example, when I see that a game has been rated low due to luck, I know to disregard that low rating because luck doesn't bother me that much.

So ratings matter for someone who is here for the first few months I think.
 
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Ryan Newell
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Quote:
I'm not sure anybody mentioned "the average BGG user" before you did, so who that person is doesn't matter. Framing things that way tends to only confuse the issue.

What's really significant here is, instead, the random BGG user.


Random, average, it doesn't change my point.

The rankings are an abstraction which carry little meaning to me because a) the rankings themselves provide no explanation (they're just numbers, and what those numbers represent is questionable), and b) the rankings are based on some sample of users that may or may not be representative of the opinions held by people not included in the sample (like board gamers who don't visit BGG), or me, or the people I game with. I know absolutely nothing about 99.99% of the BGG users so each individual's numerical rating for a game holds little to no weight, let alone some aggregate of all these numerical ratings.

Quote:
Given about 400 places difference in the rankings, if we stick our hand into a bag and pull out a BGG user (so to speak), they probably prefer Ticket to Ride.

What that matters to you, of course, only you can say.


Nada.
 
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Mendon Dornbrook
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Ryan Newell wrote:
a) the rankings themselves provide no explanation (they're just numbers, and what those numbers represent is questionable), and b) the rankings are based on some sample of users that may or may not be representative of the opinions held by people not included in the sample (like board gamers who don't visit BGG), or me, or the people I game with.


To briefly respond to your first statement about the rankings providing no explanation, there is some explanation. Most people rank based on the BGG ranking suggestions (which pop up if you mouse over the rank information button). For more popular games, users who deviate from this matter little.

With regard to your second statement, we know a fair bit about who is ranking the games. You can see every single user who ranked a game by looking at the game page and read their comments about the game. Secondly, by looking at their profiles, we can understand who that person is. If they've ranked 25 or so games, their rankings are probably based on the experience that they had in playing just a few times. If they have more rankings, they are probably thinking more with regard to the game's mechanisms and how much they enjoy a game in its abstraction. If a player has ranked hundreds of games, they have probably compared the game to other games with similar themes and mechanisms. Ultimately, we have an overload of information regarding who is ranking what games and how. A little bit of poking around on the site yields much information. Simply dismissing the rankings is perfectly acceptable behavior. However, the risk that users run (which is probably negligible to the users that disregard rankings) is that there is collective knowledge garnered by people like you about a game that you may or may not like. Obviously, the risk of putting too much faith in the rankings is missing out on games that you might like and being accused of being a Eurogamer.
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Bob
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Rank and ratings may draw my initial interest in a game, but I prefer to read the comments of my fellow Geeks. Playing games is one thing, but it's another matter when it comes to buying it. Geek comments have proven more useful in determining if the game will get played in my group or just sit on the shelf...
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J C Lawrence
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No, and neither do ratings. Ratings comments however are vastly important, just not the values they are associated with.
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McDog
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Ashitaka wrote:
Rank and ratings may draw my initial interest in a game, but I prefer to read the comments of my fellow Geeks. Playing games is one thing, but it's another matter when it comes to buying it. Geek comments have proven more useful in determining if the game will get played in my group or just sit on the shelf...



Yea, I'm with you. Rank matters in the sense it draws my attention. Session reports, reviews, pictures of the components and finally reading the rules if available are my tools to decide to buy a game.
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