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Tuesday, May 10, 2005


5.50 Skeptic.

Summer is here, and has been for a couple weeks already. Summer arrived about three weeks early this year. Good gaming will be lean until the weather turns cold enough to force people back indoors. Today the sun rose in Barrow, Alaska, and won't set again for almost 3 months.

A couple weeks ago I just happened to notice that my average rating of games on BGG was 5.50 . I am always suspicious of raters who have an average rating of 5.50 as that is precisely the median on a scale of 1-10. I've noted such an average in the past and I usually assume that the rater is trying to achieve an average rating of 5.50.

I went through and reevaluated some of my ratings. Bumped a couple games up a point and knocked a couple games down a point. I had been meaning to do that for quite some time, anyway. So today, I log on to rate McMulti, a game that I find to be less fun than average, although it is interesting. I rated it a 4, the same rating I gave to Monopoly (Monopoly played by the rules as written, with auctions and no free parking money). (I will back that rating up, if asked. I find the two games to be similar in a broad economic sense, as well as the fact that Monopoly is all about knowing what properties are statistically more likely to be landed on. And I will probably end up playing Monopoly more in the next twenty years than McMulti.) Went back to my profile page and noted that my new average was 5.51. Screw it, I say. I'm just going to let it ride, 5.50 skeptics like myself be damned. I'm probably the only 5.50 skeptic anyway.

I noticed this about my ratings a few months ago, and asked in a journal if anyone else was part of the 5.50 club. I swear that I am absolutely not trying to do it. And I change my ratings at least once a month.

I think that most people simply don't rate all the games they played as children, like Sorry and "Dots and Boxes" so ratings tend to be high.

Also, some rate the game objectively, some subjectively, and some according to the actual meaning of the numbers (how much you want to play "right now").

I have been trying to keep my rating around 5.50, because I think a bell curve is the most natural way to rate things, and because I got into the practice from the INTERNET TOP 100 GAMES LIST.

I am not exactly on 5.50, mainly because expansions and so on are normally rated similarly to the base game.

Incidentally, Yehuda and Koldfoot have very high ratings correlations with me. I expect that it is because of the 5.5 average.

Yehuda- Now that you mention it, I do remember that forum entry.

Iain- Your attempt to achieve a 5.50 makes much more sense than my effort to avoid it.

Nothing wrong with a bell curve, or a 5.5 rating. Over time I would expect most people's averages to be higher, mainly due to the fact that with the internet at our disposal we can screen games much more effectively before we play them.

Of course there are more bad games produced than good games.
And thanks for the link.
we can screen games much more effectively before we play them.

Eh. While technically true, and while the system is meant to reflect games that you have desire to play, rather than games you have played, I still don't rate anything unless I've actually played it at least once. That is because the people who read my ratings really want to know what I think about the game, not necessarily if I want to play the game.

There are plenty of games that I could rate "have no desire to play" that I haven't played.

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