Boardgaming in 2018!


Just read this article and I wanted to call BS on your criticism here. He never claims to adjust it to match the population. He just said there was an obvious bias, and then rotated the distribution to compensate for it. I don’t think he made any wild claims, as you say (or maybe I just didn’t see them).

However, I think the bias is there not because BGG’ers necessarily like heavy games more. I would argue that heavy board games have fewer plays and fewer ratings than lighter games, and that the people that play them (and rate them) are more biased than the multitude of gamers that play lighter games. Its why many limited-screening ‘artsy’ movies often have inflated scores on IMDB and many indie games have higher scores on Steam.


But BGG specifically corrects for this (or tries to) with its Bayesian system. He even mentions that in the article.


We played Dungeons of Masmorra Friday. I had kick-started it two years ago played it once, and it got put on the shelf. There are three modes: normal, epic, and alliance. The normal mode is a race to 16pts, epic has you kill a boss at the end, and alliance is a co-op. The previous time we played the Epic version and didn’t care for it. It dragged at the end, and because whoever killed the boss would win, we would let other players clear out the trash.

This time we did the race to 16 and liked it better. It has an interesting mechanic where the monsters are dice. You spawn a room with a monster, you roll the monster dice (which has stats and an icon). It’s a fun twist and cuts down on production costs for minis.


Yeah, but as he pointed out, it’s entirely possible that people in general just prefer heavy games. Without sampling the non-BGG population for an objective comparison, it’s impossible to know how that correction should be applied. When Nate Silver publishes corrections to pollster bias, he’s comparing their polls based on how they compare to election results–which is what they’re supposed to predict–not to how much they favor one side or the other. The average poll in the last Congressional election, for instance, would have had about a 9% Democratic advantage. Correcting for that advantage would have produced nonsense.


Social deduction “games” are only as good as the least assholish person in the group.




(also, any social deduction game that isn’t Dark Moon is a waste of time)


They state that the reason complexity and ratings correlate is due to sampling bias, and specifically that: “Complex board games disproportionately appeal to the BGG user base”. They then set out to correct for that correlation, and finally declare it to be a much more reasonable and approachable list than the original one with “inherent bias towards complexity”.

I don’t really know how else to interpret this than that the author thought that the BGG user base had a bias towards complexity (vs the rest of the population) and tried to eliminate that bias.

But OK, let’s say that this analysis was not done with that purpose, but just for the heck of it. What are these results then supposed to mean, how are we supposed to interpret them? I honestly don’t know.

Ratings are statements of preference, and as such each individual rating is correct almost by definition. If an aggregate of ratings is incorrect, it has to be a problem with the sample. But this is not supposed to be an argument about populations or samples, so… ¯\_(ツ)_/¯


I played Darkmon yesterday and I felt like a huge asshole, the new guy was playing the doctor who hadn’t played before hummed and ha’ed over some straight forward choices about helping the team. I KNEW he was infected as he did this about 3 times and not everyone was paying attention. So as soon as I got the choice for thetask card that lets you quarantine another player , I played it off as a easy pass event for us…and then quarantined the doctor and told the other players why I did and what I was basing it off of, the new guy playing the doctor looked pissed!

The doctor tried to call a vote on me to quarantine me and that voted failed, he looked sullen till his next turn and revealed. The other infected player was exhausted for a large portion of the game and stayed exhausted because we were fixing the base up and never got around to healing him, he didn’t advocate for it because it was a great reason to submit worse dice having only 2 dice. We won the game and the new gu playing the doctor was very annoyed and said he hated the game.

I felt like a real ass for so quickly crushing his ability to enjoy and interact with the game.


I love Mascarade (which I’m guessing you’re referring to). Probably my favorite game that involves lying assuming we’re playing 4-7 players and everyone is emotionally invested in the game. 10 players sounds like an insane chaotic mess.

However, I wouldn’t call it a social deduction game. It’s not at all like ONUW or The Resistance which is based almost entirely on social cues. I feel like it’s pretty much a straight point acquisition game that happens to involve lying. There’s enough to deduce from game mechanics that I feel like I’m never making judgments based on social cues alone. That said, all that falls apart if one player isn’t playing to win and is just being “silly and random”. Then the game just feels like nonsense.

I really like social deduction games. I don’t play them very often though, and would burn out on them if my game night was anything like @Infested_terran’s. I only play them a few times a year and usually with a fully gregarious group.

Except Battlestar Galactica. I hate that game. It’s like what happens if you take the Resistance and make it 3 hours long. There’s literally nothing good about that.


There is more game to it than the others, there is also more strategy and play options. A player also has agency and the ability to make positive play actions even after being caught or intentionally revealing.

I know, guy who is behind the forum game and responsible for running many of them thinks it is a good game. News at 9.


You’re right. I’m being hyperbolic. My one game I spent most of the time in brig, and it has drastically colored my impression.


Yeah, which is a sucky way to be stuck.

That’s pretty rare I’ve found, though admittedly that is also because, with experience, players learn that tactics and leadership are the most important (generally) decks for humans. So unless the luck turns hard against humans then it shouldn’t be likely to see someone stuck in the brig for more than a turn or two.

It’s definitely got some slop in the design, not everything works, and the vanilla revealed Cylon experience could be rather rote. But it does tension and betrayal better than any other game out there, in my experience.

But every now and again you get a human player who gets hosed and stuck in the brig indefinitely. No fun for them.


Can you elaborate? I don’t know if you meant this just as a snarky remark or if it’s worth analysis, but it seems like it should sort of be the opposite, or the inverse, or something. Like, social deduction games are only as good as the biggest asshole in the group will allow them to be.

If your group has a huge jerk, he can make the game a chore no matter how “least assholish” the rest of the group is.


I love that game. It’s like what happens if you take the Resistance and make it 3 hours long, with lots of BSG flavour. Literally everything is good about that.


You should join a forum game again; you’ve not played since GAME 1 or so?


If there’s a jerk in the room, he’s going to ruin a social deduction game more than he’s going to ruin a game based on rules instead of player dynamics. The cap for how good the game can be is set by the level of whoever’s being a jerk.

In other words, only play social deduction games with your friends, and only with those who can play them graciously. Otherwise you run into situations like @Infested_terran described. In @David2’s situation, he seems to think he was the jerk, but it reads to me like the problem was the guy who was sullen because he didn’t understand the game and wasn’t playing well.



Okay, I think we’re on the same page as far as our feelings about those games, your wording just confused me.


Yeah, re-reading what I first wrote confuses me, too. Pithy is hard! Just ignore my first post and only read my reply to you.



This is my rule for all board games!


Got to try Root tonight. Despite knowing Patrick Leder, I wasn’t tapped to playtest this one, so this was my first encounter with the game. It was a bit of a wobbly one to learn with the “learn to play” document leaving out some important details and not explaining the reasoning behind any of the scripted choices, and of course the massively asymmetric choices, but we did enjoy ourselves and enthusiasm was present for a second go-round. I won as the Vagabond, probably because I was allowed to go largely unchecked, but both the Cats and the Eyrie came very close to Domination victories. I also didn’t end up aiding people much as they didn’t craft for me and there were easier ways to gain points. Basically I scurried around and explored and quested and crafted my own tools, with one guerilla strike on a nearly undefended Cat recruitment center (one guard = one crossbow snipe, and then a free hand at sabotaging the buildings) earning me a single retaliatory clawing. And then I was the only one in a position to deny the Eyrie control of a third Mouse clearing, so I charged in, sniped a bird warrior, crafted Brutal Tactics (the defender VP mattering not at all to one who’s shifted to Domination), and slaughtered the entire clearing worth of birds with my two swords, gaining like six points in a single wave of carnage. Suddenly people took notice. Then the Cats went for a Bird Domination, which I was not in a position to stop (the nearby clearing being packed with half their army, and the original Eyrie roost that the felines had conquered being too far away)…but I definitely was in a position to craft a fourth Sword, butcher an entire clearing worth of Cats and their buildings, and then do an errand for the local foxes for a win. If I’d needed to I could also have gotten to the Cat Keep and used three swords worth of Battle to farm some more points, but I thought it was a more amusing end to just deliver someone’s groceries.