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The last time the BGG list was significantly adjusted was on the day of the launch of "Ark Nova". Players watched this work climb to the top ten of the list step by step, adding another "virtue" to the top ten. As of to this day, it has stably ranked seventh. Since then, the entire list has once again fallen into silence, without the slightest fluctuation.
Until two weeks ago, an industrial gift from the "black town" of the Industrial Revolution - "Brass: Birmingham", from the beginning of the 18th year to the third place, and then to today's extreme the guest rating replaced "Pandemic Legacy: Season 1" with a slight gap of 0.003 and took the second place. Double beauty becomes virtue, which shows that German-style games have been given higher recognition in the minds of players and the market.
For this change, players around the world have once again turned their attention to the entire list of BGG. How does a small change like 0.003 work? Exaggeration is this a harbinger of the beginning of the "butterfly effect"? Is there anything in it that we critics need to take note of again? How are other platforms rated? The smaller it is, the more we have to dig deeper.
# Complex Scoring Fields #
Scoring, a subset of evaluation, focuses on how well a work performs. Different fields have their own scoring systems, such as Douban, IMDb, and IGN that we are familiar with, and board game players have BGG. They counted everyone's scores on the works and performed algorithmic calculations and refreshed the scores synchronously. The professional scores generated by them became the benchmark for most fans to evaluate their works. Let's shop around to see how the ratings work behind the scenes.
Douban, a large Internet community with fans as its starting point, can find the most professional ratings for audio and video books, which can be said to be the industry benchmark. So where do Douban ratings come from?
In short: add up the scores of Douban users (one to five stars are converted from zero to ten), and then divide by the number of users. This score comes entirely from the calculation of the program. There is no manual review process. Every few minutes, the background program will automatically rerun it again to calculate the latest score. It's very simple and rude, even if you get "one star" because you are in a bad mood at the time, it will be added to the simple calculation and become the final reference standard.
IMDb, since its inception in 1990, has been known as the most authoritative movie review website in the world. They used a 10-point scoring system, ranging from 1 point for awful to 10 points for excellent. They are authoritative in that their scorings are "weighted rank". Like the most well-known IMDb Top 250 Movies, it uses the Bayesian statistical algorithm.
To ensure the authority of IMDb Top 250 Movies, V represents the number of votes, just including "regular voters", and try to divide the voters into the range of senior movie fans. But in comparison, there are fewer fresh commentaries.
IGN, I believe that players who like board games also have an interest in video games. Compared with movies and books, game scores need to be compared with the industry based on personal experience, and the cost of scoring and time is higher.
IGN adopts a purely manual scoring system with a total score of 10 points and a minimum unit of 0.1 points to make the scoring as accurate as possible and make it easier to rank games. From a 10-point masterpiece to a 0-point worst game in history, the scoring process is very cumbersome. From the beginning, the editor played a game from start to finish, discussed the game experience with senior staff, revised the evaluation draft many times, and then to ensure the reviews are impeccable, compared to other works in the same series, genre, and platform. What is more tested is the reviewer's experience in the game industry.
The purpose of IGN and BGG evaluation is to help players understand whether a game is worth your valuable time and money. This can be said to be consistent with the scoring purpose of BGG, However, their scores are made by a few professionals, and compared with BGG, they lack mass users.
# What is the BGG scoring system #
Let's turn our attention to the most important topic we want to talk about today - BGG score.
For example, when considering whether to buy a board game, players will first check the type, mechanism, theme, severity, process time and other players' scores on BGG. Or more intuitively, from the BGG list. We can see four categories by observing the BGG ranking.
They are personal rating user rating (aka your rating), geek rating BGG rating (aka geek rating), average rating, and number of voters num voters. BGG's final ranking is not based on the average score, but on the geek score.
From BGG's description of the score, we can see that the judging standard for board games is different from that of other platforms - "will you play this board game again?". The scoring standard of 1-10 makes up for the lack of consistency in personal evaluation in terms of quantity. For example, why "Yougang city" can rank first, because it just caters to the tastes of different audiences of BGG website.
And if a game wants to get the second evaluation, it must have enough substantive changes. For example, the 25th anniversary revision of RA directly replaces the original version, making the original evaluation inaccurate. While the popularity of this board game needs to be high enough, new scores can be added continuously to make the score fluctuate. However, few games meet the above conditions at the same time, so the score is rarely changed in general.
# Magical BGG Algorithm #
Year-on-year ratings, does the number of votes matter? In the top ten list, if the number of votes is to be counted, "Colonial Mars" will be elected first with 81,010 votes, while "Ark Nova" has only 14,661 votes. Which is lighter and which is heavier? We can observe from the graph.
" Pandemic Legacy: Season 1" has 47,398 votes so far and "Brass: Birmingham" has only 30,144 votes, indicating that the number of votes is not directly related to the score. Under the difference of vote evaluation, how is BGG calculated?
In the same way, BGG also uses the same "Bayesian averaging method" as IMDb to affect the geek score. In short, it uses virtual votes to close the average. To prevent games with relatively few votes from climbing to the top of the BGG rankings, BoardGameGeek has added artificial virtual votes to user ratings.
These votes are currently considered 100 votes equal to the middle range of vote size: 5.5 points. The effect of adding these dummy votes is to pull the BGG rating towards the middle range. The geek rating of board games with a large number of votes changes little from the average rating, but board games with relatively few user ratings will see their BGG ratings move significantly toward 5.5. This is why there is a clear difference in the number of votes, and the ranking has not changed accordingly.
So, the BGG score is not just an objective quality rating, but a rating of how often players want to play the game. We can notice that over time, old board games are not as attractive as new board games, and the scores of board games on the leaderboard will gradually decrease over time and the board game market.
# How to look at BGG ranking #
As a board game encyclopedia and discussion community, BoardGameGeek is very representative and authoritative of the board game community. They gave one of the most popular board game trends. If a board game makes you choose anxiety, checking it with BGG is a good choice.
Therefore, rankings have no effect on the board game itself. If when you look up your favorite game and find that it is only ranked 2000th on BGG, don't worry, I believe that your favorite will not be reduced because of the ranking. And relatively speaking, these top-ranked, heavy-duty games are not necessarily personal favorites. But board games are, after all, a process of gathering all the love. Behind each score is a rare journey, which is full of laughter and precious memories.