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Both RPGs (the games we play) and RPG Items (books, PDFs, products of any kind) have a rank on the site. When you Browse (top menu) games in the database, you will see that it may have one or more ratings. If it has enough ratings, it may also have a rank within our system. The ranking of any game or item is based on an average of the ratings given by the users of the site (a minimum of 5 ratings are required before an item can be ranked). It is important to rate games that you are knowledgeable of, since the more ratings a game gets, the more reliable the ranking. By rating games accurately and honestly, you make the site much better for everyone, so take your time to accurately rate games you have played or have an opinion about. Ratings are, of course, not the only measure of a game - which is why the system also supports reviews and session reports.
You'll notice in the rankings list both a Geek Rating and an Average Rating. The Average Rating is simply the total of all ratings for the game divided by the number of voters. Simple averaging. The Geek Rating takes into account two things - the database here uses a Bayesian Averaging Algorithm (similar to how IMDB does it) where a number of dummy average votes are introduced into each to smooth out edge cases on rankings. I won't go into it here, but it's a common weighting scheme and you can research it elsewhere. The second thing the Geek Rating takes into account is that we have a Shill Busting algorithm in place. Details are not given out but it only affects a tiny number of voters. These voters tend to come in with an agenda - they make an account, they rate a bunch of games a 1 (lowest rating) and leave (often never to be seen again). Or they come in and hammer a 10 rating to a game and similarly disappear. If you are rating your games as 99.9% of all normal users would, you will NOT be caught by this Shill Busting Algorithm.
Here is a typical browse list in our system showing the various rankings and ratings.
There are two ways to rate an RPG or RPGItem, the first is from the game entry, and we'll talk about that later. The other is on the ranking list shown above. You can click in any of the boxes listed under Your Rating and will be given a quick-entry to enter your rating.
The RPG Item Page
The item entry page is the place where most of the info can be found on a given book, product or box set. It is probably the place where you will spend a lot of time. Here you can find the artist, publisher, categories and genre of the item. From the item entry page you can add it to your collection, rate it, log a play and record other important information. Here is one of the more popular RPG Items in our system which serves as a good example of the kinds of information you will find here:
Adding a Game to Your Collection
At the bottom of every RPG and Item page is the User Information Module:
The three selections here allow you to add a copy of this RPG or Item to your tracked collection, record information about the RPG or Item (does not add it to your collection - in the event that you played something but don't own it) and you can also track each time you play the game.
When you record information or add a copy to your collection, you are presented with a dialog box to enter a wealth of information:
The Private Info: field is a text box to keep information you want for yourself but don't want to be available publicly (that is, only you can view it). From this dialog box you can rate the game, add notes about the game, etc. Some items have multiple printings, different cover artwork, etc. These are known as versions and this Add To Collection dialog lets you specify which of the versions you actually own (just click on the versions field to select which version this is). If you own more than one version of an item (say, the Hardcover, Softcover and the PDF versions) you would need to add new items and select the appropriate versions.
Record a Play allows you to record another play you did for this item. On the first window you select the date, if you want, clicking on More, you can add players to the game (and can even link to their RPGG usernames), select the location, duration and even post the game play to twitter. When you select Record a Play you are given a dialog box to edit actual play information:
You can record plays at the RPG level or the Item level. This can be a little confusing but the guideline is that you should normally log the play at the higher RPG level (after all, RPGs are the thing you play... they are the game). If you are playing a specific module or campaign, you may log it at the item level (i.e. on the entry page that contains the book for the module or campaign) and optionally also record it at the RPG level.
Guidelines for Rating RPGs and RPG Items
There is a fundamental difference between an RPG and and RPG Item in our database. An RPG Item is a physical, tangible item - be it a book, dice, map set or accessory. The RPG is the game that you play. The difference is saying you play "Dungeons & Dragons 3rd Edition" vs. owning the "Monster Manual II for D&D 3rd Edition".
* RPG Items (books, maps, products, etc) can be rated if you've read the book or used the product.
In other words, if you've read the Dungeons & Dragons Player's Handbook and Monster Manual for the AD&D 1st Edition, you can rate those books. You don't need to have played the game to rate individual books. But you should only rate the AD&D 1st Edition RPG if you've actually played the system. In this we realize that more items (tangible products) will be rated than RPGs but that's fine - there are many more products in the database than parent RPGs they belong to!
When rating RPG Items (books, maps, etc) we suggest the following guidelines:10 - Outstanding. Rules and concepts well presented and a near perfect fit to your play style. Excellent writing. Excellent Editing. Highly consistent throughout. You would highly recommend this book/product.
9 - Excellent. Same as 10 but lacking in one or more of the elements (writing style, editing, consistency).
8 - Very Good. Rules and concepts are a good fit to your play style with some reservations. Solid writing. Solid Editing. Highly consistent throughout.
7 - Good. Same as 8 but lacking in one of the elements (writing style, editing, consistency).
6 - Above Average. Rules and concepts are a reasonable fit to your play style but there are significant sections which you would change or not use in actual play. Solid writing. Solid Editing. Highly consistent throughout.
5 - Average. Same as 6 but lacking in one of the elements (writing style, editing, consistency).
4 - Below Average. Rules and concepts are not a great fit to your play style and there are significant sections which you would change or not use in actual play. You would cherry pick a few ideas from such a book and discard the rest. Solid writing. Solid Editing. Highly consistent throughout.
3 - Well Below Average. Same as 4 but lacking in one of the elements (writing style, editing, consistency).
2 - Poor. Rules and concepts are not likely to mesh at all with your play style and there are precious few things you can cull from this book to use in your actual play. Solid writing. Solid Editing. Highly consistent throughout.
1 - Horrible. Same as 2 but lacking in one of the elements (writing style, editing, consistency).
Now for actual RPGs (which are the games we play). This scale is much closer to the BGG rating scale because we're at least talking apples to apples here!
10 - Outstanding. Likely your Bread-and-Butter RPG of choice. A game you tend to return to again and again.
Be sure to rate RPGs as well as RPG Items... the games are at least as important as the individual books! Our system only works if enough people make an effort to enter ratings.
Guidelines for Rating Periodicals
Periodicals include magazines, newsletters, zines and APAs. When rating periodicals we suggest the following guidelines:10 - Outstanding. Enjoyed virtually every issue that was produced. Would pay well to seek out missing issues.
9 - Excellent. Highly enjoyable read for most of the print run. Would seek out missing issues as spare funds allowed.
8 - Very Good. Enjoyed most of the print run and extracted plenty of RPG goodness from the reads. Don't feel the need to own every issue.
7 - Good. Enjoyed most of the print run but a bit more hit-and-miss. No need to own every issue.
6 - Above Average. More than half of the issues were of some use. No need to own every issue.
5 - Average. About half of the issues read were of some use. May own a few of the better issues.
4 - Below Average. A bit less than half of the issues read were of some use. May own a few issues - or may pass them along to others who might extract value from them.
3 - Well Below Average. Far less than half were of any real use. Would not see the need to hold onto these issues other than the occasional article.
2 - Poor. Most likely to end up in the recycle bin after a quick reading.
1 - Horrible. Didn't feel that any value was given for the periodical.
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