Mark Johnson's occasional & opinionated podcast about family strategy boardgames

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

BGTG 102 - Games Played in 2009 (with "Davebo" Gullett)

For more than a decade now I've kept track of the games I played over the course of a year. For nearly as long I've reviewed those lists after each year passed. First I posted on Usenet or my own website, later boardgame mailing lists, my blog, and lately this podcast. Like a lot of you, I find it interesting to look back over the stats from the previous year, noting increases or decreases in the number or variety of games played. I'm also looking to see whether I'm making the time & effort to get my favorites to the table--if you're not careful they can get crowded out by the steady advance of (sometimes forgettable) new titles.

This year I again have a guest on the podcast to help me recap the year with his own stats. "Davebo" Gullett has been on the podcast before, and we have some similarities--both of us play in some similar groups or get-togethers, we have roughly similar tastes in games, and we're both dads of multiple kids old enough to play boardgames with us. But while Dave has been successful getting his kids (especially his oldest) to play plenty of boardgames, I do that much less often.

On the other hand, I play a lot of online boardgames, both realtime on Brettspielwelt, and even more via play-by-web sites such as Mabiweb and Brass Online. We have some discussion about why I choose to include those online plays in my yearly stats, while Dave does not. It goes to the nature of those online plays, whether they're against friends or strangers, and what's the point of tracking plays at all.



Anonymous Davebo said...

Once again, it was kinda nice you delayed posting this, because I'd forgotten some of what we said. Nice podcast, if I do say so myself.

Something else regarding my distaste for posting "non face-to-face" games: it artificially raises some games' stats. A game that's available on BSW will show as being played more than those that aren't. If I get a list of games sorted by plays, I would perceive that that game must be better than some game not available online because of the play count. Certainly this is a niggly concern, but such uses of data is *why* we're posting to BGG in the first place.

5:23 PM  
Blogger SoFrankly said...


You might already know this, but there is a field for acquisition date on BGG under Private Info. I thought you had mentioned wanting to post that info in the podcast.

BTW, it is a great podcast (I'm not done with it yet).

9:03 AM  
Anonymous davebo said...

Cool, thanks Frank.

10:08 AM  
Anonymous Jeff Myers said...

I was especially interested in what you guys felt represented a play of a particular game, so much so that I wrote an entire post about it on my blog.

Play2relax: Quantifying Fun.

Great episode!

11:58 AM  
Blogger jaywowzer said...

Once again, thanks for another enjoyable podcast. I wanted to second your consideration of doing a show about boardgame blogs; great idea! I too am an regular user of Bloglines and follow several blogs this way: Tao of Gaming, BoardGame News, Musings of the Hearth, and the WAGS Chronicles to name a few. (The last one is a the home blog of a Toronto group that adopted me when I was a regular visitor up north). I'd love to hear your thoughts on boardgameblogs and hear which ones you track. My hat is off to anyone that has the stamina to keep their blog active with post-worth content; my brief foray into blogging died a quick death as I can't even find time to play games, much less write about them.
Thanks again

I'm with Davebo on the logging of online plays thing.

5:23 PM  
Blogger Chris B said...

My take on posting online plays is essentially exactly the same as Mark's.

Personally, I look at BGG Plays as 'experience'. If I've played 2 games of Power Grid face2face and 20 online, I still have 22 games worth of Power Grid Knowledge contained inside of me. So I should theoretically have seen 20 more games worth of strategies than someone who only played the 2 face2face games.

That is why I record these games.

I feel like Artificial AI Games can only help me to learn rules as far as experience goes, as I can not always count on the AI playing strategically sound as a human would, there are exceptions, but you have to draw the line somewhere and I draw it there.

8:11 AM  
Blogger jtakagi said...

Another great episode - I really enjoy the meta conversation about what constitutes a play and what doesn't, as well as the analysis of what the stats ultimately mean.

One problem I have with Davebo's dismissal of online games as plays is specifically with his Ticket to Ride online example. Why should the time the game takes dictate whether it counts as a play? I would suggest that if online games take less time, it is because both the players are very familiar with the game and because the computer based format takes care of a lot of the time-consuming elements such as dealing, shuffling, scoring and other adjustments, thus the main thing taking place is simply the players' decision. I've never played Dominion on BSW, but I would imagine that it is the lack of shuffling that makes the game go so fast.

I definitely agree that a physical presence is part of what makes boardgames fun, and computer play should in no way replace the real life experience. I just thought that the example you used was perhaps inadequate.

9:06 PM  
Anonymous Davebo said...

Irrefutable truth:

11:20 AM  
Anonymous Mads Sorensen said...

Nice podcast there ;)

8:53 AM  

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