Finding your board game soul mate (for reviews)


I wanted to ask for feedback on a couple of ideas I've been brainstorming related to reviews on our game pages.

First, here's my thought process:

There are tons of different reviewers out there. Some are "professionals," some are regular folks. And just as I have content creators whose opinions resonate with me more, my ears perk up the most when I listen to the opinions of everyone in our forum, especially when it's from someone I share similar preferences with. I value opinions by people I trust and people I know well, and I often find that talking with everyone here is more dangerous for my wallet than any notable reviewer out there :D

With that said, here are some of my ideas:

First, I'd like the user reviews section of our game pages to be revamped and become more prominent. And I'd like it be one of the most compelling sections that will bring people back to search for games on Board Game Atlas.

Second, we have a feature for "following" users. I think it could be cool if the reviews/ratings left by the people we follow could be more highlighted among all other reviews. I'm not sure if this is really needed though. What I'd really like to see is the following.

Finding your match. When I look through user reviews on BGG or BGA, it's typically a mixed bag. Some call it terrible, some call it average, some call it best game ever. Which makes sense, after all--we're all different. And although you can find a common thread among those comments, it's not as accessible as I'd like it to be. So what if we were to determine everyone's "match" based on their lists (owned, wishlist, etc), the type of games the user mentions often, etc? I don't know how difficult this would be, but I'd love to see a user reviews page that displays each user's match with me, where I'd see something along the lines of "nealkfrank 92% match" "trentellingsen 68% match" and so on. This would guide my decision-making process and help me focus on the "right" reviews to look out for.

What do you think? Would you find this to be a helpful feature?

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11 months ago

I think it is very cool idea, although I would be maybe prefer to have the match based on my ratings rather than necessarily what I own, or at least a mixture of the two. As I own several games that I don't rate particularly highly (not bad, but just average) which is maybe a sign I should have a clear-out but that is a whole different topic. I would just wonder if I 'matched' based on these group of games it might be misleading.

Similarly, ratings will include games that I have played and loved but maybe don't own (because I only have so much money/space) so might give a little more accuracy.

All that said, it would be interesting to do some case studies to see if two people love a similar group of games if that is for similar reasons. I.e. we could both love #Agricola (Revised Edition) but I could like it for the engine building aspect while someone else could love the resource gathering and farm planning aspects and so another game that I like might not gel so well with them.  imagine once you get a big enough sample size that becomes less likely, but would be interesting to me none-the-less.

I wonder if something like a favourite mechanics/theme/dynamic section in each user profile might be beneficial, although again, might be too reductive.

But overall, having some pointers on whose reviews will be most useful to you would be very useful!

11 months ago

I like the idea in principle, but you could be heading down a pretty extreme rabbit hole with how you define matching. I'm pretty sure whole companies are set up to fine tune these sorts of things (I'm a former market research statistician). I imagine you could start with a simple correlation coefficient as a start to see how feasible it seems though.

I agree with Courageous Bob though, that it's probably better based on ratings. My "collection" on this site and BGG includes all the games my family owns, ranging from my 5 year old to my wife refusing to let me get rid of our old copy of Mouse Trap (don't worry. She likes better games. It's just nostalgia). Whereas my ratings tend to reflect my own views on the games.

Also, using ratings provides more granularity in the data compared to some binary switches (owned/unowned), which might be useful depending on how you end up approaching it. Though I expect most people's reviews bunch up around the higher end of the scale, as we don't tend to buy or play things we aren't expecting to like.

11 months ago

Good point about the reviews leaning towards the higher end, but that would hopefully still useful in terms of determining similarity in preference. I wonder if weighing someones review against it's average rating might prove useful. I.e. if you and someone else both really like a game that is generally thought to be a bit 'meh' or despise a game that is in the top 10 then that might infer a stronger 'match'?

Owner11 months ago

@Courageous Bob @CutGlass that's a great point on use of ratings. As well as on how a user's list won't always reflect their preferences.

Maybe everyone just needs to take some sort of a survey? lol

11 months ago

I wonder if there is some way to piggyback off of the information from the Quantic Foundry survey results...

Supporter11 months ago

I like this idea. I think it sounds really really cool. And definitely seems like something I’ll use. But I also don’t like this idea. Because this will probably lead to me finding more games to buy. Which will get me in more trouble with the wife. 

Supporter11 months ago

I like the idea of a similarity score. I don't know how much I would "use" it. But, I do really like the idea. 

Premium User11 months ago

I think the similarity score is a really cool idea! I'd use this for sure. I'd also agree that having user reviews become more of a feature would be a cool thing for the site.

Also, PMing you!

11 months ago

I do think it would be a helpful feature, though I do think it would cause some user to not read some content from others that they do not match well with. I do not believe I would do this, I would use it more like what you are referring to as a reference point, but I know some people function differently!

Owner11 months ago

That's true, and I'm honestly not sure how I feel about it. I'd personally find it most helpful for sorting through user reviews (and not the "professional" ones.) If there were say, 100 different user reviews on a game page that I'd need to go through, then I'd like to have 10 or so ones I could focus on. And hopefully, those 10 reviews would give me a balanced look at the game's strengths and weaknesses. Hmm....

11 months ago

I personally think it would be helpful, but maybe not using it on the front end. Maybe have it as a function that can be calculated on demand rather than freely advertised. I am thinking that I am reading a review of a game I am interested in then after the fact, I can go to a separate page on the site and enter my username, then I can enter another user name and it gives me a compatibility score. I use this for fantasy baseball to see if trades I am being offered are fair. I think it could allow the reviews to be read and then if the reader needs some additional context, they have the option to see compatibility to evaluate how they can view the review in context. 

For context this is trade evaluator I use:

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