Monday, November 28, 2005

Top games and ratings

I never posted anything about the top 100 games from "The One Hundred" blog, because, frankly, it didn't excite me. Not in concept - we have lots of other 100 lists out there, who really needs another? BGG and the Internet top 100 aren't enough for you? And not in execution - the very fact that so many of the games were Eurogames from the last five years is enough to indicate that the list is not really serious.

And definitions: what do people mean by "best" games anyway? Most played? Best designed (according to the scorer)? Most popular? Most enduring? Most widely acceptable? Most "fun"?

Problems in compiling these lists are well known. The unsuitability of comparing games aimed at different types of players (Chutes and Ladders vs Monopoly vs Chess vs Puerto Rico). The preponderance of expansions rated highly because they are only rated by people who enjoyed the original game to bother with the expansion. The preponderance of the latest games simply because older games have become routine. The preponderance of games rated according to the tastes of visitors to the site, rather than to any sort of objective ratings. And so on. The same type of silliness applies to movie ratings on IMDB vs the AFI's top 100 movies.

Excluding expansions, we find that the top 50 of the "Top 100" matches closely with the Internet Top 100, but not very closely with the BGG top 50. Between the three of them, there are more than 50 games that are on only one list out of the three, games such as Go, ASL, Cosmic Encounter, Poker, and Titan. Oh, these games make it further down the list in some cases.

Humans have a strange desire to rank unsimilar elements by rank. Really, any suitable ranking system has to be multi-tiered. For instance, a game should be rated according to some list of parameters such as the following:

Rank each 1-10:

For number of players:
7+ players

For age of players:
Up to 6

Rule Complexity Scale:
Very simple (Chutes and Ladders)
Simple (Chess)
Moderate (Modern Art)
Complex (Puerto Rico)
Very Complex (ASL)

Play Complexity Scale:
Very simple (Chutes and Ladders)
Simple (Ra)
Moderate (Settlers of Catan)
Complex (Age of Steam)
Very Complex (Civilization)

Tactical Complexity Scale:
Very Simple (Chutes and Ladders)
Simple (Hearts)
Moderate (Settlers of Catan)
Complex (Modern Art)
Very Complex (Go)

Time length of full "set of games":
5 minutes or less (one hand of bridge)
10-20 minutes
30-45 minutes (one rubber of bridge)
1-1.5 hours (one game of bridge)
2-3 hours
3-6 hours (a full set of duplicate bridge)
7 hours or more

Game seriousness:
None - lighthearted with no decisions
Mild - lighthearted but possible to win with luck and some skill or attention
Moderate - Family game, such as Monopoly
Heavy - Strategic game such as Puerto Rico
Very Heavy - War game

Pen and paper or none

Game luck elements:

Competitiveness [maybe]:
Some cooperation, possible single victory
Competitive, little interaction
Moderate interaction
Highly interactive, but no direct ability to damage
Direct damage to opponent, but no elimination
Possible early elimination through direct damage

Thin thematic
Story Arc

This could go on and on, I suppose. But with each parameter, so long as they all get rated for every game - and it really doesn't take that much longer to mark 30 parameters for a game than it takes to mark 1 - we get so much more value.

When we want to know the top rated games according to games that actually might compare, we can search accordingly.

Finally, the rating has to be used by people from all sorts of places and backgrounds - masses of people, grognards, euros, children, different countries and cultures. Weights of ratings should be calculated based on other games people have rated, as well as the age of the rating, with ratings having to be renewed regularly in order to carry more weight. So if a person likes a whole slew of games that are of no interest to me, my ratings search will put little weight onto their rating.

Then all we have to deal with is shilling.



I present to you the top 40 games from

1. Hi Ho Cherry-O (5.00)
2. Monopoly (4.25)
3. Chess (4.16)
4. Scrabble (4.15)
5. Scattergories (4.13)
6. Risk (4.10)
7. Taboo (4.08)
8. Stratego (4.03)
9. Balderdash (4.00)
10. Rail Baron (4.00)
11. Risk 2210 A.D. (4.00)
12. Chebache (4.00)
13. Cranium (4.00)
14. Clue (3.94)
15. Axis & Allies (3.93)
16. Trivial Pursuit (3.92)
17. Yahtzee (3.88)
18. Acquire (3.86)
19. Battleship (3.85)
20. Settlers of Catan (3.83)
21. Life (3.79)
22. Othello (3.77)
23. Checkers (3.74)
24. Candy Land (3.70)
25. Parchesi (3.69)
26. Pictionary (3.68)
27. Diplomacy (3.56)
28. Chinese Checkers (3.55)
29. Chutes and Ladders (3.49)
30. Sorry (3.45)
31. Go (3.33)
32. Lord of the Rings (3.31)
33. Backgammon (3.23)
34. Samurai Swords (3.20)
35. Operation (3.09)
36. Popomatic Trouble (3.00)
37. Da Vinci Game (3.00)
38. Triomioes (3.00)
39. Mouse Trap (2.53)
40. Hear Me Out! (2.00)

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