How do You Rate Your Games?

Moderator Level 1

Several months ago I had a little bit of an interaction with Board Game Snobs on how it works to rank games. (On a seperate note, I really enjoy listening to the Boardgame Snobs)

Anyway they, on a podcast episode, they were talking about how way too many people rate their games way to high they argued that, on BGG, way too many people are ranking their games a 8,9, or 10. Where, they ask, are the 3s, 4s, or the 5s? Do people even know how to rank games low any more? Perhaps the people are too invested their games and that blinds them to the flaws in their beloved games.

Anyways, some of what they said really resonated with me. It is hard to admit that a game that you feel like you have researched well and spent good money on is a dud. I know that, on BGG specifically, there are way too many people ranking games before ever having played them. Perhaps even before the game is even out.

But, at the same time, much of what they said didn't resonate with me. And, it didn't resonate with me for several reasons.

  • I feel like I do a good job, generally, researching my games. Have I ever picked a bad one? of course I have. But, generally speaking, I believe that, if you are doing your research, you should mostly be buying games you really like. Of course this doesn't necessarily apply to those that are receiving review copies or are indiscriminately buying games.
  • I recognize that any rating system is arbitrary at best. But, when I consider the the unmitigated bilge I grew up playing, it is hard to think that the so many of these games  are "merely" average or mediocre.

For myself I find the games I buy and research I think I score higher than many people do. I follow, pretty closely, how BGG quantifies rankings.

  1. Awful - defies game description.
  2. Very Bad - won't ever play again.
  3. Bad - Likely won't play again.
  4. Not so Good - but could play again.
  5. Mediocre - take it or leave it.
  6. OK - will play if in the mood.
  7. Good - usually willing to play.
  8. Very good - enjoy playing and would suggest it.
  9. Excellent - very much enjoy playing
  10. Outstanding - will always enjoy playing.

So, by that metric I don't think that we need to feel bad about having collections that are mostly 7s and higher. So, I am curious, how do y'all rank your games? Do you think that most people are too easy on games? Do you think that most people are too hard on their games?

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Moderator Level 113 months ago

Yeah, I think that content creators tend to play more games in general than the average gamer, and by extension they probably play more bad ones, so they'll likely have more lower rated games. In addition to that, being exposed to more games makes you look at all games in a different light. If you've never played a worker placement game, #Lords of Waterdeep is the best one you've ever played when you try that. If you've played 30 different worker placement games, each one is held up to higher scrutiny.

And yeah, like you I try pretty hard not to play any games I think I won't like, and obviously avoid buying those completely. The majority of the games I own are rated at least 7/10, with the ones I've rated lower only being kept for specific reasons (i.e. my wife really likes it or it's good for certain groups).

Moderator Level 113 months ago

I do agree with your idea about exposure changing how you rank games.

Moderator Level 113 months ago

Yet another interesting post!

I agree with your thoughts regarding researching games and selecting/buying/trading for those that match your tastes. I'm not saying I haven't purchased a bad game either, but generally speaking there's a reason I choose to add it to my collection, and usually it's because it looks interesting/fun to me.

I only recently started rating my games and I follow the BGG qualifiers with one important caveat: I try to rate games after I've played them more than once. Of course there are some exceptions to this rule. Notably an Exit game I played which by it's nature I can't exactly replay, #Arkham Horror: The Card Game which I had a terrible time with, and some expansions I've only played with only once (though I tend to just give the expansion the same rating as the base game).

I try to be as honest as possible with my ratings, neither too easy or too hard. According to BGG, I have rated 137 games/expansions with an average rating of 6.35. Eventually, I would like to come to a point where I only keep games that I rated an 8 or better. Again, which some exceptions thrown in for games that are easy to teach or fun to play with family.

As of now, I'm doing pretty well when it comes to culling low rated games. I have 36 games rated below a 6, out of which only 6 I still own for one reason or another.

Moderator Level 113 months ago

That is hilarous. My BGG profile says that I have rated 138 games with an average rating of 6.56. We are pretty close together on those numbers.

I have, according to BGG 44 games rated a 5 or a below.

Moderator Level 113 months ago

Wow that is pretty close! Do you ever go back and reassess your ratings?

Moderator Level 113 months ago

I often reasses and change them.

If I have played the game less then 10 or so times I will reaxamine my ratings after every play. After that, I will reasses it every several plays. Also, if there has been big lapse of time between plays than I will reasses after playing again. For instance, I don't think I have played #Ticket To Ride in any of it's iteration in the last 4 or 5 years. So, if I play it again, I will need to reasses my rating.

Moderator Level 113 months ago

I feel like if I've played a game any number of "several times" beyond 10 plays, it probably doesn't need to be said that it's a winner haha. But that's interesting and a good idea to reassess after every play until you get to 10 plays. So much can change based on how good or bad the experience was.

Moderator Level 113 months ago

Too be fair. Often when I change a games rating it is moving it up slightly.

Moderator Level 113 months ago

That makes sense. I think that's probably the only way I'd actually change ratings anyway.

Moderator Level 113 months ago

I like that metric. It seems more nuanced than the BGG one, I might have to take it and modify it for myself. Of course, I won't take it for myself if you don't want me to.

Moderator Level 113 months ago

The above is my personal metric I currently use.  It changes every now and them but this is what I generally go by.

13 months ago

Man, I wish I was fortunate enough to have ratings that dominated in the 7s and higher.  I have a fairly solid bell curve:

27.6% are rated 6

16.9% are rated 7

14.2% are rated 5

11.9% are rated 8

11.6% are rated 4

6.0% are rated 3

3.5% are rated 9

3.4% are rated 2

3.3% are rated 10

1.5% are rated 1

I play about 2 average to middling game for every 1 great game.  It doesn't bother me too much, though.

Moderator Level 113 months ago

That doees look like a solid bell curve.

Partner13 months ago

You have two buckets for 3, one might be for 2?

13 months ago

Fixed it. Thank you!

Supporter13 months ago

I also forgot to mention that for me personally (again I don't rate games often online but I do in my head) I rate them on two things.

1. Do I love it and do I want to play it often.

2. Does it do what it says it's going to do.

With #Root it's a no brainer for me because it's both 10's (so root is clearly a 10 for me) however with a game like #King of Tokyo I may not want to play it as often but I do think it delivers on what it claims to deliver, that would give me a score of 7 and 10 (17/2 = 8.5) so I'd probably put this in at 8.

Supporter13 months ago

I've been thinking about commenting and just haven't had the time.  Although I'm sure my comment won't be too surprising.

First, I don't know how well Board Game Snobs are known.  However, I will say that I have moved into a space where most "professional" reviews have become largely useless for me.  This, I think, is due to the fact that my gaming life and the gaming life of professionals is vastly different.  Whenever I see a review they talk about how many plays they've gotten in.  Well in a good 12 month period I might get 20 total game nights in.  While they play with more frequency.  I think this lends to them finding "problems" that aren't problems for me.  My research on new games is based solely on rules videos and playthroughs now.  Although I do enjoy some content creators just for the fun of it even if it has no bearing on my opinion of a game or my desire to pick it up.

Also, because I don't get to play games as often I generally only play/keep games that I would rank at a 7 or higher.  If it's a 6 in my collection it might as well be a 1 because 6 and below means I'm not going to play it.  I think this would mean that I would rate more games higher than people who play more games.  

Overall I think I'd rank right with yours.  However, because I have a small very focused and curated collection I would rank almost all of my games at 9 or above.  So I guess (if I actually gave games scores on BGG) it would impact the overall rankings... because some people with more time and bigger collections might rank the same game lower.

13 months ago

I would echo something similar to what said.  I enjoy playing most games and I almost never have an experience where I feel like I'm not having fun.  Especially if you're rating the games you bought since the more you buy, the more you figure out what you like.  There have been a few occasions where I played games that were really not good but this was early on before I knew not to just pick up anything. 

I will generally rate things pretty highly at first and if a game was going to get rated lower it would only happen after I've played them a lot.  (on the rare occasion that a game ever hits the table enough to be considered "played a lot".) For example, I loved #Betrayal at House on the Hill when we first got it.  I thought it was really cool how the game was different every time and all the different scenarios you could have.  However, the more we played it, and I guess also the more experienced gamer I became, the more I disliked it because before the Haunt happens its just a series of random things that happen TO you based on whatever room you draw.  And then a lot of the scenario rules ended up being a little confusing.  So I fell out of love with that one.  But very few of my games get played enough to wear out their welcome. 

Supporter13 months ago

I'm generally an especially positive person. I have a hard time rating anything less than a 7. Much like everyone else had already mentioned, I spend time carefully researching and examining every game I pick up. So usually I already know I'll love a game before I even get it. 

13 months ago

I rate games exactly like I rate movies, videogames or books. I go by instict. After many years, I simply have learnt to trust my heart when it goes to rating. Years ago I tried to average my judgement with whatever objective qualities I could find, like, for example, I do not like 2001 A Space Oddyssey, but I could see how well produced and shot and cut the movie was, so I would average my taste, say, a 3, with an 8 for technical achievements.

Nowadays I simply rate according to my taste. And yes, I use low ratings suc as 2, 3 and 4, also for boardgames. For example, I rate Carcassonne a 2. Not because it is an awful game. But because I do not like it. And this goes both ways. I rate Dumb and Dumber a 9 simply because I love the movie, even though it may not be the best movie from many point of views.

Premium User13 months ago

Nice run of interesting posts you have going here!

When I'm doing my shelf reviews you'll note that I enjoy pretty much all the games on my shelf.  Why?  Because anything I didn't enjoy I traded or sold ages ago. If you look at my ratings here and on BGG you will find some 4's and 5's in my previously owned items though for sure and even some I sitll own because the game is a 5 but playing it with my kids makes it an 8 in my heart.

So my take to add to the pile or reinforce what has already been said:

1) After you've been collecting a while you know what you like and you avoid buying games you won't like.

2) Playing board games is generally an enjoyable experience.  I would be hard pressed to sit down with my friends with any game and have a "1" experience.  That does mean I'm not rating the game solely on what is in the box but I rate based on enjoyment, not technical excellence.  

3) There's no need to feel bad with how you rate games.  Everyone rates them on personal criteria.  I go through my ratings and update them once a year give or take.  Other people don't do that and that's fine.  The only rating I look down on is people giving a game a 1 or a 10 for social reasons rather than gaming reasons.  ("This game has miniatures and I hate games with miniatures.  I've never played it but it gets a 1.")  But those are the minority.

4) The vast majority of games are at the least mediocre.  The art of making games has improved a lot and generally people produce at least playable stuff if not inspired. 

Long story short, as long as you are rating games honestly then don't feel bad at all for the ratings you give your games.  Let the reviewers dive in to the games that are quality 1, 2, or 3 but for the rest of us who want to enjoy our games we'll stick with the 7's and above. :)

Moderator Level 113 months ago

I do think that, by and large, people are ranking games on honest objective experiences rather than the social reasons that you mentioned. That is an encouraging fact to me.

Premium User13 months ago

Yeah I agree.  It's a minor thing and the only time I get annoyed at how people rate games


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