Wednesday, March 30, 2022

My two cents on Knizia and rankings

 There was a recent thread on Board Game Geek that game designer Reiner Knizia no longer has a game in the top 100 games in the BGG ranked listing.

As a Knizia fan, I had a moment of sadness, followed by apathy. There’s a touch of ‘passing of an era’ but there’s also quite a bit of ‘shrug’ I’m pretty sure Doctor Knizia is still laughing all the way to the bank.

First of all (and I’m sure this is already obsolete information), there are at least 125,600 games in the BGG database. A hundred games isn’t even one percent of those games, as many people pointed out.  Heck, he’s still in the top 1%.

Second of all, the rankings on Board Game Geek not only represent a sliver of the general gaming population, I’m pretty sure it represents only a fraction of their active users. It represents a niche. And I say that knowing I see one member of that niche in the mirror every day.

All of that said, I still think the ranking are very useful. Sure, there are biases but it’s still a LOT more useful than having no kind of rating system at all. I think you just have to use the system as the start of the conversation, not the final word.

Part of the discussion in the thread discussed other ways of organizing and ranking games to ‘correct’ the system. I’m pretty sure that most of these systems have their own biases and some are probably designed to get desired results :D

So. Start of the conversation. Not the final word.

Knizia and his games aren’t going anywhere. Tons of them are still In print, getting bought and getting played. His influence is still getting felt.

I also notice that, as of me writing this, Tigris and Euphrates is back on the top one hundred. Probably entirely due to the thread above. I’m sure there will be further adjustments.

Post Script:
(Stuff that didn’t fit into the main idea of what I was writing)

There’s a concept on TVTropes  called ‘Seinfeld’ is unfunny. The idea is that so many works have copied Seinfeld that folks don’t realize how innovative it was. I saw comments about how Knizia created generic German family games which made me laugh since he helped define the modern German family game. (Along with Teuber and Kramer and Moon, among others)

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