This week’s Explorable Favorites (Aug 3)

Posted by Account Deletion {Family Gamer} | 3-Aug-15 | 16 comments

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This Week’s Explorable Games

This round of Explorable Favorites is from BoardGaming.com member Takras. The games selected from their Favorites shelf were:

These games will be explorable until next Monday, August 10th

Comments (16)

Gamer Avatar
9
I play black
Guardian Angel
Platinum Supporter
Marquis / Marchioness

@stratagon – great ideas!

The least appealing of those to me is #2 – because I can’t do it myself (unless I do something really cheap looking like writing “This Games Has Been Explored” in the Publisher Overview section – and I’m not going to do that). As for the floodgates, I’m not worried – an educated guess is that there are at most 50 active users left with a combination of favorites that we could explore (defining “active” as logging in at least weekly). So many of us have Arkham Horror, Sentinels of the Multiverse, Dominion (654!), etc. on our favorites shelves that it’s searching for 2 un-explored titles out of 3 or 4 on a favorites shelf – pretty hard to come by. If we open it up to “non-active” users I’m sure there’s more to be had, but then we lose the excitement of getting to know you’re explorable and sharing your thoughts on a game (as well as the excitement of getting a bunch of “likes”), and of course the “meta-game” wouldn’t happen.

I’ll probably think on this a little, but I will likely incorporate a few of your ideas. I should be able to make (and update) a page listing all games and users that have been featured so that everyone can reference it, then keep a link in the weekly articles. And the idea of one featured favorite and one “staff pick” is a pretty good fall-back should finding people with 2 explorable favorites become too onerous.

Shelf rearranging is a great idea – the thing is, we get 5 to 10 favorites on our shelves, but most of us have far more “favorites” than that. If you haven’t played one in a year (even if it’s in your all-time top 5), you can bump it for a month or so while you obsess over a newer game. Just move it back in when you tire of the newer game. I kept my shelf the same for 2 years, then realized I’m playing many games not on my favorites shelf 10x as often as some “favorites”. They were my favorites because I enjoy playing them and deeply admire aspects of the design, but they’re not that relevant to my gaming experience anymore if I haven’t pulled them out in a few years.

However, the review problem I mentioned above still hovers over us. Fallen is probably the most popular 2015 game on our site – bunches of plays, an insane amount of hearts, and it’s currently our top-rated game (by 31 users even though it’s only been out 8 months)… but it only has 2 reviews, so it’s not eligible for exploration. I mentioned Imperial Settlers before. While not as “new”, Yedo is an outstanding game with 49 owners and 32 user ratings but only 2 reviews. Arcadia Quest. BattleCON. Hyperborea. Ancient Terrible Things. Among the Stars. Legends of Andor (57 ratings! 2 reviews). All very popular games that many of us own and love, but none are explorable because they lack the reviews. And none of them are newer than Fallen – I’m excluding stuff like Forbidden Stars, which many of us will own and love but has only been out for a month.

Maybe posting reviews is more of a burden now as users know they’ll only get significant “likes” if they hit a certain word count, and don’t want to post a 200-word quick thought on a game just to get blasted. I’ve formed the opinion that 400 words is about the requirement to have people listen to you and rate you honestly – and to me 400 words is pretty easy. But it may not be to everybody. No proof on any of this, just an idea.

I, for one, will be making an effort to try to post more user reviews. I’m as culpable as anybody here – of the 9 games listed above I own 6 of them and have played 5 of them bunches, but I’ve only put a user review up for ATT. If I can find an extra 2 hours every couple weeks for a user review – and a few others can do the same – we’ll have explorable games for years to come.

Gamer Avatar
10
Miniature Painter
Expert Advisor
Inventor
Advanced Reviewer

Here are a few ideas. I’m not sure how complicated any are to implement, but I am just brainstorming with the intent of helping.

1 – Create a page where all the previously explored favorites can be listed. Hyperlink that page in the weekly article right below:

Learn how to Explore a game on BoardGaming.com! >
Learn more about Explorable Favorites >

2 – Add a symbol, or phrase to the listing of each game that has been previously explored.

Both of these will make it easier for users to learn/remember what has already had time in the spotlight. Otherwise, by inviting us to make suggestions you are opening the floodgates to “Game Update Overload 2.0”.

3 – Once users know what games still need to be explored, they could rearrange their shelves a bit to include two neglected ones to increase their chances of being picked. (It’s what I did!)

4 – It was fun be the featured user and I don’t want anybody to miss out on that, but I am personally not opposed to repeat user selection. Maybe they just rotate their favorites more often.

5 – Break some rules! Why not switch it to ONE game from two different users each week? Or maybe ONE game from a user and ONE game selected by staff. This should definitely make it easier/faster to keep things flowing.

Gamer Avatar
9
I play black
Guardian Angel
Platinum Supporter
Marquis / Marchioness

@burgerchief – I took some time to think about this one. There’s one big problem – we’ve had 240 explorable games to-date, but we don’t have a published list of those games anywhere (anybody can build the list themselves by clicking on the “Explorable Favorites” news tag above and going into each article, but the only users I know have done so are @Andy and myself). If possible we don’t want to repeat any of those, but a user that’s only been around for a year may not be aware of the first 100 games that were explored. I could post the complete list here, but it would be one big comment.

Other than that, I really like the idea. If a user sees someone with 2 qualifying games on their shelf that they’d like to explore (and “qualifying” means: 1) at least 3 reviews and 1 tip; or 2) if no tips, at least 4 reviews) they can nominate them here and save me some searching time. Even pointing to yourself is OK with me.

If anybody dislikes this idea for a reason I’m not thinking of just speak up!

Gamer Avatar
7
I'm a Real Person
Smash Up Fan
I play yellow
Comic Book Fan

@AD you do a lot for this website and we all really appreciate your hard work. Is there some way to have people nominate themselves or others for explorable favorites? Also, if no usable nomination Is available you could just select 2 games that had no specific user attached to them, or games from someone who had been spotlighted before. I agree with inmarg, I don’t always explore the gamers but I do take a look at the games.

Gamer Avatar
10
Gamer - Level 8
Explorer - Level 5
Critic - Level 3
Junior

@ Account Deletion

No need to feel bad. Personally I don’t mind it either, as I feel the idea is to explore new games and not new gamers. Or as it is for me, explore my owned, yet unplayed games… 😉

Gamer Avatar
8
Gamer - Level 8
Guardian Angel
Platinum Supporter

I love exploring new games, but these don’t seem to be the ones for me. Congrats on being featured and hope to find some more games I will love.

Gamer Avatar
9
I play black
Guardian Angel
Platinum Supporter
Marquis / Marchioness

@inmarg – whoops! That is not supposed to happen… you are correct, @Takras was our explorable shelf over a year ago, on 5/27/2014, with Escape and Civilization. An explanation…

Each week it gets harder to find active users with two explorable-but-previously-unexplored favorites. It used to take me around 20 minutes each week to identify a user and two games. This week it took over an hour.

I always (well, clearly not always!) cross-reference any selected user with two qualifying games to make sure they haven’t been explored before. After having the first 30 or 40 selections this week bounce back because they either didn’t have 2 favorites with enough explorable content that hadn’t been explored before or because the user him/herself had already been explored, I was apparently just too excited to find @Takras’ qualifying selections and forgot to do the user search.

I don’t have any personal objection to a user being selected twice, but my general attitude toward it is “everybody should be featured once (if their favorites allow) before anybody gets featured twice”. And I also avoid users who haven’t signed in for weeks (or months… or years), because being featured won’t mean anything to them.

One thing everybody could do to help out is post reviews when you feel you’ve got something to say about a game rather than waiting for it to be explorable. At least 3 of the users randomly selected this week had Imperial Settlers on their favorites shelf – easily one of the most popular games since its release 10 months ago, currently sitting on 16 favorites shelves with 61 owners and 24 user ratings, but only 1 review. I won’t use a game unless it has 3 user reviews, and while all of those selected users had 1 other game on their shelf that fit the criteria, none of them had 2, so I had to move on. If we all wait to post our reviews for Imperial Settlers, it will never be explorable. And I hold myself accountable here – I’ve played Imperial Settlers bunches, and could easily post a review for it (although Portal is still waiting on a site review, so that will have to come first). I’ve done a lousy job of posting user reviews since I started helping @Jim out, and I still buy a bunch of games so that’s unfortunate.

Anyway, sorry for the double-selection (unless you’re @Takras… then, you’re welcome!). I’ll keep spending whatever time it takes to find acceptable users to feature each week, but any help from you all would be appreciated!

Gamer Avatar
8
Canada
El Dorado
Professional Advisor
Senior

I play the digital version of Heuroshima and it’s enough for me…no need to get the physical copy

Gamer Avatar
10
Grand Master Grader
Movie Lover
Book Lover
I play blue

Congrats to you, Takras! Tzolk’in and Neuroshima Hex both get rave reviews, but I haven’t yet played either. Tzolk’in looks a bit intimidating to me, so I may have to hone my skills a bit before tackling it. Keep submitting the great reviews.

Gamer Avatar
9
Miniature Painter
Rosetta Stone
Advanced Reviewer
BoardGaming.com Beta 1.0 Tester

This is a pair of nifty looking games. I am really intrigued by Neuroshima Hex and will need to look closer at that.

Congrats to Takras for having entries from your sacred shelf spotlighted this week! If Hai were here, she would ask that you please play the metagame and let us know why these offerings rate such an exalted place in your gaming heart.

Well, she would ask you to play the metagame and not say something as dumb as I just did anyway…

Gamer Avatar
9
Z-Man Games fan
Plaid Hat Games fan
Ireland
Stone of the Sun

Tzolk’in was one where I always looked at the cover and it did nothing for me but after reading some reviews, I am now intrigued!

Gamer Avatar
10
Gamer - Level 8
Explorer - Level 5
Critic - Level 3
Junior

Neuroshima Hex is a game I’ve really enjoyed with one major issue. Granted I’ve only played it 3 player but every game so far has been decided by the player finishing third deciding who would win by the last attack.

I’ve heard rumour that this has been fixed in the latest edition and I hope someone can confirm this because it is a really cool game.

Gamer Avatar
10
Gamer - Level 8
Explorer - Level 5
Critic - Level 3
Junior

In other words it is possible to be picked a second time? I do remember Takras being picked a few months back ( Escape and Civ I think). As I know him it’s easier to keep track of these things 😉

Gamer Avatar
9
USA
I play blue
El Dorado
Guardian Angel

Tzolk’in is a good game. However, didn’t think it was good enough to add to my collection. I think one of the reviewers hit on my thoughts regarding the game – never felt like I was making any decisions. The game seems to play you. I’d play it again if the opportunity arises though.

Neuroshima Hex seems like a good game. It has an interesting theme and different mechanics. There just seems like there is always something else I am more interested in.

Gamer Avatar
7
Canada
Z-Man Games fan
I play red
Indie Board & Cards fan

I usually like worker placement games, but there’s something about Tzolk’in that’s kept me from giving it a try.

Gamer Avatar
5
I Love Playin' Games
Explorer - Level 3

Yeah, I was coming on here to research Tzolk’in anyway, since I got it during the Amazon GenCon sale! It’s been on my wish list for a while, and I am so excited to get it, paint it, and play it!!

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