Sunday, 18 November 2007

In Agricola, you're a farmer in a wooden shack with your spouse and little else

Wow that sound like the plot line for a Porno Flick, certainly not an interesting game.

It looks as if the ladies over at BGG got they panties all balled up over this game getting some obviously bogus (i.e. done as a joke) ratings over the weekend. I have to ask What the fuck is wrong with people when something as asinine as this can cause this much controversy.

I have never played the game, I probably never will. Why? well because the theme looks not only bolted on but about as enticing as a root canal. Not to mention it looks as if it is yet another euro that will offer players either:

A) 10 useless option and one good one per turn that they will have to sort through in a competition to compete with the other players as to who can figure out the optimal path the fastest.

B) 10 relatively equal options that will drive all the players blindly to an endgame where scores will all be about the same and someone will win based either on some inherited advantage.

So anyway, I am sure all th eurosnoots will love every bit of this game and more power too them. But unless someone tells me I can send my brucellosis infected cattle to my neighbors farm, light his fields a flame or "work" his wife while he is "working" the fields, the snoots can keep this one to themselves.

Edit:

I really do not believe in rating games I have not played, or even giving a needlessly low rating to a game (for example I do not like Caylus and I think i gave it a 5) but some of the actions by this games publishers were IMHO too harsh. So it gets a 1 until I play the thing (may be a while) out of protest.


-M

137 comments:

Shryke said...

And everyday, I go to BGG and think "These people couldn't get anymore pathetic."

And then, they prove me wrong.

Well, at least Nerd Rage is funny. I've never seen this many middle aged men get this worked up over nothing.

Gary Sax said...

I was about to send this in on the mailbag, not about the retarded controversy, but rather the theme of the game they were arguing about. This has to be the most asinine theme for a game ever. Who is interested in this stuff?

Ryan said...

BGG is one of my favourite websites because it provides a wealth of information about a niche hobby that really isn't available anywhere else, but I'm continuously surprised at how out-of-touch that community is. It's truly a gathering place for social retards. Frankly, I get more than a bit embarrassed to be even indirectly associating myself with some of those people and it keeps me from contributing more to discussions, not knowing which innocuous comment might be blown out of proportion.

Anonymous said...

What a fucking piece of fucking shit.
"I've never seen this many middle aged men get this worked up over nothing."
I'll tell you you fucking nerd, it fucking beats many middled aged men using the fuck word and spewing hate in every other fucking blog entry!

Malloc said...

I was going to delete the above comment from our anonymous coward but the hammer home the point so well, I feel it is best if we leave them.

-M

BlackNinjaofDoom said...

Where is your sense of humor?

PS: everyone is anonymous on the internet

PPS: you must be quite angry with your parents for calling you Malloc, aren't you?

Malloc said...

I have a great sense of humor... i was chuckling to myself the whole time i read that post.

If you are assuming that my anonymity is preserved by my use of a login that is not my given name, then you are stupid as your argument is lame.

Are you taking credit for that masterpiece Mr ninja?

-M

BNoD said...

Of course my friend. You see my first post was obviously bogus.
Yet you called me a coward.

You would have got the joke would I have signed shryke or Red ninja of doom?
(no offense intended, shryke)
Would you like me to sign in too, so I get a fancy name?
I would love Zorro or Avenger, but I am afraid these are already taken ;)

Guess what ... I even knew your real name was not Malloc, it sounded too eurosnotty.

Ken B. said...

spewing hate in every blog entry

Hmmm...last few posts:

* Making fun of ourselves
* An editorial in defense of older games
* A pretty sweet interview
* Making fun of 80s retro
* A movie/Euro parody
* A review of Starcraft
* Looking for a good Harry Potter-themed game
* A celebration of Hannibal


Yeah, the hate is just FLOWING with every post. We're so consumed with rage we can barely conjure ourselves out of bed in the morning.

bnod said...

/joke off
Well Ken, things are definitely improving here and that is a good thing.

In all fairness, I must admit my comment on spewing hate was over the top.
But not completely out of place in this thread.
As to my use of the word, well...

Humor is a fickle notion.
Look at the three first comments about spewing hate: "pathetic people", "social retards".

Call my little intervention an experiment to see if people here are so much better than people there.

Happy gaming.

Oh and next time I'll write something here, I won't forget to sign.
Malloc, be gentle with all gamers, because the BNoD knows who you are!

Shryke said...

I don't know wtf just happened here, but I can tell you that BGG is still providing minutes of entertainment. Watching losers taking their game hobby fa too seriously is actually pretty amusing.

I keep picturing these guys having Vietnam-War-style post-traumatic stress flashbacks to getting pantsed in gym class while they spew their shit all over that site.

Ryan said...

A clarification for the ninja: I wasn't spewing hate. I was deriding a bunch of guys who got their panties in a knot because a game (that most of them have never played) fell out of the top 100 for about a day.

If this had been an isolated incident at the site I would have thought nothing of it, but there is consistently some great, boardgaming controversy (a CONTROVERSY involving BOARDGAMES!!) in which a lot of guys will whine and pout about something that's immaterial (boxes that take extra seconds to open; Mayfair's discount policy) or take offense to something that's inoffensive (Weeks' podcast). The social community at BGG would be a lot more enjoyable if some of the knee-jerk reactionaries had some social skills, or were at least able to recognize that a harmless little joke is harmless.

Mr Skeletor said...

There is actually a very important question here that everyone is missing:
How the hell is a game that fuck all people have played getting into the top 100 so easily? To me that proves what a joke the entire rank is. If the rankings on BGG meant abything, then no 'new' games would instantly be getting on there, it should be taking ages. Everyone is ranting about people (like me) abusing ones, but anyone who is ranking a game a 10 before at least owning it for 6 months are abusing the rankings as well.

notbillysparkles said...

About the latest tempest in a teapot taking place over at BGG, here's my 2 cents worth.

Let's face it: there's something slightly off kilter about a bunch of grown men getting their testes in a knot over the subjective rating of a game they , presumably, haven't played yet.

Having your municiple school taxes more than double only to find out that they are planning cut more school bus routes is something pisses me off... ratings on BGG--not so much.

As far as the hole social retard thing is concerned I'm sorry to say that there are definate grounds for the argument. Case in point, a few buds and I had some time to kill at gencon this summer so we thought we'd give s
San Juan a whirl. Come time to start tallying up the points some guy just comes right over to the table, points out what we are doing wrong, and laughs at us for using the score sheet while pointing out that this is the first time he's ever seen it being used. He then proceeds to introduce himself as something or other and asks us if we had ever heard of BGG.com. He quickly adds that he is somewhat of a celebrity of the site.

We respond by telling him that we've never heard of the place and start setting up for another game--ignoring him completely. I'll never forget the look of dejection on his face as he walked away. I'll bet dollars to donuts that he was asking himself what was up our asses.

True story and , sadly, one amongst many.

Billy Z.

Juniper said...

The social community at BGG would be a lot more enjoyable if some of the knee-jerk reactionaries had some social skills, or were at least able to recognize that a harmless little joke is harmless.

Type 2 diabetes is a dangerous result of the stereotypical gamer's morbid obesity. One of the symptoms of diabetes is aggression and severe mood swings.

Juniper said...

How the hell is a game that fuck all people have played getting into the top 100 so easily?

Here's how:

- make a game that looks to be essentially a Caylus clone
- make sure that it has a *lot* of wooden pieces
- put it in a brown box
- make it nearly impossible to purchase in any language (only 1000 copies of the German edition of Agricola were distributed, and they sold out immediately)
- get your 130+ playtesters to give it a 9 or 10 rating on the geek

Juniper said...

Oh, I forgot a step:

- threaten to apply Stasi-style 'persuasion' tactics to anyone that threatens to call bullshit on the whole scam

Hi Hanno!

Jolo said...

make a game that looks to be essentially a Caylus clone


Which guarantees I would never play it. I still don't understand why everyone likes Caylus.

feel free to enlightne me.

Juniper said...

I still don't understand why everyone likes Caylus.

They like it because the early ratings on BGG essentially told them to. As well, it was something of an exotic and elusive item at the start, because the English-language edition was initially in very short supply.

Like I said, get your confederates to inflate their ratings and then tell the BGG compulsives "you can't have it." Instant hit.

Malloc said...

I love Caylus, traded my copy for Age of Renaissance. I knew that game would come in handy when scored an early copy of it.


-M

Jolo said...

Like I said, get your confederates to inflate their ratings and then tell the BGG compulsives "you can't have it." Instant hit

So I should have gotten friends to get me nine copies of Agricola at Essen?

Wasn't there another game that did that as well? Aha! Here it is Art of War. 15 entries, one below 8.

Frank Branham said...

Played Agricola last night. I'll put together a full article probably for next Thursday.

A: It really does fit the theme, and was CLEARLY designed to be a game about medieval farming technology. My big complaint is that it isn't trying to simulate life as a medieval farmer---but it is a very safe middle ages. No disease, wars, pestilence, and no stealing.

The game itself is screamingly funny in how the technologies progress. I worked out Beer and Sheep before I figured out how to make babies. (Beer was actually the first thing I acquired, which is actually possibly fairly historically accurate, as I planted grain solely for beer.)

The game is also much harder than a lot of Euros. Halfway through the game we finally starting to come to grips with how to actually feed our families, and started trying to grow our houses and deal with the game.

B: The game definitely has no fixed strategy. Each player receives 14 cards that are the technologies they alone can use. You'll use maybe half of them. The game comes with three different decks of technologies.

Without them, you can just barely survive, and you have to tailor your game to your hand to win. As far as actions, you have about 15 choices of actions at the start of the first turn, and 25 actions toward the end of the game. Choosing the best *IS* a little bit like Caylus, because you need to prioritize before someone steals a necessary action.

It is at least rather good, and I'll need to play it more, but I suspect it may be a great game. Mostly Euro-y, although far better themed than most, as the actions, resources, and technologies all make sense within the context of the theme.

Michael Barnes said...

You know, I don't go to BGG very often these days...maybe once a week, just to see what the latest subject of Nerd Rage (thanks Shryke) happens to be. Every time I go, I think "man, I'm glad I'm considered unfit to be a member there".

Last time I went I saw a STARCRAFT review by someone who clearly stated that they had played the game one time and didn't like it. A full review, not a comment. And there were a couple of responders that posted comments like "Thanks for the review- I was thinking about getting this game but you changed my mind". That should tell you something about how weak-willed the majority of folks over there are.

So now AGRICOLA...it seems like every year there's some game that's supposed to be better than sex, cheesecake, and sunshine or any combination thereof. In '05, it was CAYLUS. In '06 it was the actually good THROUGH THE AGES. This year it's AGRICOLA, and part of the hype is this mystique it has...but reading through the rules, descriptions, and Frank's comments it's pretty clear that all the excitement is like somebody saying "Hey! They made a porno film that has people fucking in it!". Put bluntly, there is absolutely nothing from what I've seen or heard to warrant this level of excitement over what looks like a game designed specifically along the exact parameters we mock, make fun of, and lambast here on a daily basis.

Now, I haven't played it so I'll reserve my Final Judgement on it...but I do think we all should go over there and rate it a "1" like all those other BGG jackasses who think they're some kind of volunteer fire brigade with their "Hype buster" ratings for FFG titles. Anything to piss those people off.

The funny thing is, guys, is that when you stop hanging out at BGG you realize how it really doesn't have anything to do with the hobby. It isn't nearly as central or critical as you think it is. Not even the database.

But jeez, all this fuss over a game only a handful of folks have even played...but I guess it's the important folks, right? Tastemakers, perhaps?

Ryan said...

Last time I went I saw a STARCRAFT review by someone who clearly stated that they had played the game one time and didn't like it. A full review, not a comment. And there were a couple of responders that posted comments like "Thanks for the review- I was thinking about getting this game but you changed my mind". That should tell you something about how weak-willed the majority of folks over there are.

That review was courtesy of the current Geek of the Week. It was a terrible review that obviously reflected a poor grasp of the game and, based on his preamble, he was destined to dislike the game from the get-go.

And that's fine. There's nothing inherently wrong with expressing his opinion, even if it is a shitty one based on almost no experience. But if this kind of review is going to be given a pass by the BGG anal-retentive patrol, then they should give the same level of respect to equally ignorant reviews, even if the target is the latest Spiel darling.

Now, these prank Agricola scores weren't valid opinions, but they also don't have the permanence, prominence, or apparent influence of a shitty review based solely on quitting halfway through a first game, obviously before even grasping how the game is played (and I tried the Starcraft this weekend; it ain't that complicated).

Some of the more indignant whiners are coming up with extreme hypothetical situations in which Agricola's game sales are going to be hurt by the prank -- it might even delay its English release!! Why aren't they also jumping up the GoW's ass when he actually convinced somebody to not buy Starcraft because he didn't get the game in the first couple of rounds?

StephenAvery said...

I worked out Beer and Sheep before I figured out how to make babies.

Ummm Frank? ...why are you trying to make babies after you've gathered a bunch of beer and sheep...

Steve"Doesn'tReallyWanttoKnow"Avery

Ken B. said...

Eh, for people who, in the face of ten or more positive reviews will pounce on a negative review and say, "Whew! I'm not buying this game now!", all I can say is:


Screw off. Go find another hobby. You make this one worse just by taking part in it. You're embarassing to claim as being someone who "shares" the hobby with me.


But yeah, this crap gets a free pass on BGG every stinking day.


But hoooooo boy...you ever see someone post a review of some Holy Euro after one playthrough? They spend ten pages telling him what an uninformed ass he is and how beyond stupid he is for not "getting" how great it is. Ask Geosphere about how that sort of thing works.


But drop the negative dime on a game with little plastic dudes in it? Harumphs and self-congratulations abound, old bean. Thank you for showing us "the true meaning."

MrSkeletor said...

You guys talk like the site has bias or something.

Juniper said...

...looks like a game designed specifically along the exact parameters we mock, make fun of, and lambast here on a daily basis.

I agree. This game looks like it was specifically designed to appeal to the BGG herd-mind, rather than the broader gaming world. It has everything that folks on BGG love, up to and including amateurish illustrations and a muddy color scheme. This may explain the ire with which the prank was received; if the game does not succeed in rushing to the BGG top-ten, it will not succeed in any respect, anywhere.

Games used to be designed so that folks would buy them and enjoy playing them. Maybe this game is revolutionary, in that it appears to have been designed specifically to win a popularity contest on the internet. This may explain the ire with which the prank was received. Some of us thought that screwing with the game's ranking for one day would constitute such a minor offense that folks would see the humor in it. We didn't realize that we were attacking what I now assume is the game's whole raison d'etre -- to displace Puerto Rico from its position at the top of the hit parade as quickly as possible.

Now that it's been shown that the prank will have no effect on sales or on the timing of the release of an English edition of the game, the prevailing argument against the prank is that feelings were hurt because we'll never know how rapid the game's ascendancy to the top spot would have been. There is wistful talk about "what might have been."

Anyway, all of this is pace Frank Branham. I have no reason to doubt anything that he's said about the game, but I can't see what this game might offer that Keythedral doesn't (apart from a more complicated tech tree). And I suspect that Keythedral is more interactive, quicker to set up, and faster-playing.

Surya said...

I'm starting to wonder what this blog is about: love for AT games or showing off how lame Eurogame themes and mechanics are (in your oppinion)?

100%Blade said...

I quite like this site. The articles are generally well written (in some cases VERY well written) and it gives me a perspective on some games that I don’t really get elsewhere. But what I don’t understand is why there is so much anger and hatred directed at the games – or gamers - that you don’t like. For every good post there’s at least one decrying the merits of “Eurogames” or worse, the people who play those games. For a while I found it quite amusing – particularly to see how seriously some people take what, when it boils down to it, is just a hobby about pushing things (be they chits, wooden cubes or plastic miniatures) around a board. Now I just find it tedious, dull and in many cases very personal and I just don’t see why it is necessary. Take this whole thread for example. There is only one post on it that is worth reading and that doesn’t just spout vitriol and animosity towards something or some people most of you on here care nothing about. Why bother? I’m sure most of you are intelligent enough to realise that it doesn’t show any of you in a favourable light. You remind me of a sizable number of fans who support the same football team as me (yes I’m English and I mean real football) who would rather see our local neighbours Sheffield Wednesday lose than our own team, Sheffield Utd, win. These people are just SAD.

So my message is cut out the animosity. By all means, continue to review the games you don’t like and provide some objective criticism but stop the snide remarks that attempt to generalise games and gamers into categories that you want to instantly dislike and insult without even bothering to look below the surface. The current bout of hostility against the Geek suggests to me that you actually take it as seriously as the people you are slagging off for taking it seriously. If you really don’t like it that much then just ignore it.

ozjesting said...

If my local cafe would serve
"Animosi Tea" I would drink it ;)

Oh...that was just a thought...not my "message". I have a machine for those.

Juniper said...

So my message is cut out the animosity. By all means, continue to review the games you don’t like and provide some objective criticism but stop the snide remarks that attempt to generalise games and gamers into categories that you want to instantly dislike and insult without even bothering to look below the surface.

Y'know, there was a time when I posted messages like yours here. Then I realized that Fortress Ameritrash is right, and that I was wrong. There is a minority on BGG that is very vocal and influential (the vast majority don't post, or even have registered accounts). That minority really is full of assholes. That's been proven by the recent calls for Randy Cox to apologize for the Agricola prank -- even though the prank has been demonstrated to be harmless, and even though Randy scarcely did anything to instigate the prank. Folks are adamant that one of the insurgents be forced to genuflect before the high priests of the BGG orthodoxy. Randy is an honorable and responsible individual -- he worked hard to get the joke ratings cleared up after the prank was done. Some individuals are still calling him out.

Boardgamegeek really isn't representative of boardgame players in the wider world. If it were (and this point has been made here before) Settlers of Catan would be at or very near the top of the game ratings. As it stands, Agricola seems destined to push Settlers out of the top 25. One individual has even argued that Settlers (along with the rest of the games in Mayfair's catalog) is not a premium game (someone correct me if premium was not the exact word that was used). Are BGGers really advocating the growth of the hobby when they denigrate (or try to bury) the one game that has been the hobby's most potent recruitment tool?

The thing about BGG that truly shocked me this weekend was not the Agicola thing, but Simon Hunt's videos from BGG CON III. Do you have to be grossly overweight to attend that thing? Fat jokes have been made here before, but I thought that they were being directed at a strawman, a stereotype that was not really representative of the BGG 'lifestyle.' Look at those videos, though, and you'll see that the fat jokes are deadly (and it really is deadly) accurate. There's something deeply wrong with the BGG lifestyle. It's unhealthy in many different ways.

I'm not saying that folks will get fat by reading BGG, but the site really is cliquey, and that clique is physically and psychologically unhealthy. BGG needs a conscience, or at least a loyal opposition. Until somebody starts up HealthyGamer.com, Fortress Ameritrash will at least partially fill that role.

100%Blade said...

Juniper,

I agree with a lot of what you said, particularly this “There is a minority on BGG that is very vocal and influential (the vast majority don't post, or even have registered accounts). That minority really is full of assholes.” but as someone who wants to read about and understand people’s views on games I find the majority of comments to come from the so-called Ameritrash camp to be about the people who play games or to instantly dislike a game because because someone wants to put a label on it. In other words, many of the people on here are guilty of the same “crimes” they accuse others of.

Oh, by the way, I’m glad you pointed out to me that the reason all those people in that video were fat was because they read BGG – I had just assumed it was because they were all American :)

Ryan Walberg said...

I won't argue with the fact that BGG is full of bias, but is injecting more bias the best way to combat it?

Shryke said...

I thought we were all just here mocking the stupidity of this entire incident.

1 harmless prank + a site full of overweight uptight losers = shitstorm

That's a recipe for hilarity in my mind. The massive overreaction is just so beautiful in it's complete and utter meaninglessness.

StephenAvery said...

Can't we just go back to mocking Ken... I mean whatever happened to a few personal attacks...

Steve"Chaos"Avery

Ken B. said...

If Stephen Avery were a drug...he'd be FECALPHTHALEIN.

Michael Barnes said...

I'm starting to wonder what this blog is about: love for AT games or showing off how lame Eurogame themes and mechanics are (in your oppinion)?

It's both, but you've got a key point wring. It's in part about showing off how lame Eurogame themes and mechanics are because it is the incontrovertible, undeniable truth, not "in our opinion".

As far as the hate goes- yes, I absolutely hold animosity, in a general sense, toward the BGG community. Not every individual as there are lots of great folks involved in it, but as a whole I think it's a complete and total embarassment to the hobby at this point. Sorry, I just don't buy into the belief that it's this friendly, wonderful Shangri-La that's not at all like those nasty video game forums. Like I said early, it feels like there's a volunteer fire brigade there that has trumped up their self-importance to the site as well as the larger hobby and having a pack of passive-aggressive, know-it-all, elitist watchdogs who descend on anything outside of the assumed code of conduct there demonstrates how ludicrous the whole thing is in the end.

Do we take it too seriously? I personally do think that BGG has had a severe detrimental effect on certain aspects of the hobby and I do think that there's very serious consequences in a larger sense. the primary source for reviews and opinions is almost completely either in the hands of complete amateurs (such as the STARCRAFT review guy)or completely industry-entrenched shills like Tom Vasel.

BGG has also fostered the atmosphere of rabid, out-of-control consumerism that has caused everything from HANNIBAL turning up on Tanga to the proliferation of 30 minute filler games designed specifically to be replaced by more 30 minute filler games. Games are designed without replayability and depth in order to sell BGGers on the next one. I'm all for new games and I'm all for supporting the industry but I do think an important part of the hobby- and what _really_ distinguishes it from mass market, disposable fad games- is games of _real_ depth and replayability.

BGG has also created a BGG-style gamer- they're the guys who 75% of a way through a game will announce to the table what their BGG rating is going to be. They're the ones who parrot back things they've read on BGG and they're the ones who have totally bought into the Hivemind aspect of thousands of users forming consensus opinions. AGRICOLA is a classic case.

Furthermore, the passive-aggressive, elitist nerd stereotype, the sort of character that invests so much into the hobby because it fulfills some sort of emotional (rather than entertainment)need is rampant over there, and as a result we get really embarrassing characters that make everybody who picks up a board game look terrible. I've directed people to BGG in the past and they tell me how they were embarassed just to look at the site.

BGG has also, like Juniper intimated, created not only a BGG-style gamer but also BGG-style games. AGRICOLA is definitely one. Don't think for a minute that publishers and designers don't look at the success of a game like PUERTO RICO or CAYLUS and set to trying to recapture some of that success. This is also why we have misguided US companies scrambling to make "Euro-style" games due to the perceived dominance of that style engendered by BGG. Sure there's demonstrable bias- but Ryan is right, reverse bias isn't the answer and I think that when you get down to brass tacks you'll find the folks here are the most open minded gamers out there- I'd bet dollars to dimes that most of us here own the absolute best Eurogames out there and likely play and enjoy them regularly. I know I'll play anything, I'll give anything a chance. Even AGRICOLA. But not CONTAINER, that game can go to hell.

AGRICOLA represents the BGG community looking yet again for a game that will give them a sense of fulfillment and I almost think that Mr. Rosenberg specifically designed the game for that type of gamer...the thing is, there's all this excitement over it and ultimately most of the folks who buy it- even if they love it- will play it a handful of times and then move on to whatever the next hot Eurogame happens to be.

I have animosity toward BGG because the site has become _about_ BGG, not about board gaming at all.

Juniper said...

I just finished my first game of sorts of BoardGameGeek tonight, and I must write this session report/review while its fresh for few games have had such an impact. I don’t want to write a negative review/session report but tonight is a first.

I have been trying to love all games lately, and I really do give them all a fair share. I wasn’t thrilled about the BoardGameGeek idea but I thought I’d give it a try anyway. I like euros, wargames, CDGs, and most types of games.

I had used the internet in college a lot, and thought it was a weird choice to adapt to a discussion of board games. Why adapt backwards, and take something, fast, tension filled and sweet use it to discuss boardgames with socially maladjusted dorks? Other designs have surprised me so it was time for a play.

First of all it’s big, and we had a lot of coffee to begin with. Second, it has tons of lists, stats, etc. I was already feeling cluttered and overwhelmed before we began.
Its pretty extensive I’ll give it that, but…
Its fiddly, like you wouldn’t believe, would it improve with repeat plays? Of course but what game wouldn’t. You don't have to develop independent opinions about things because a computer does it for you, not very exciting. Plus it doesn’t do anything that makes me want to come back for more.

So we moved on to explain the game and trying to learn the rules. There are so many things to keep in mind, and I usually like complex social communities. That complexity works for me mostly in dating, but not here.

So these are all things I can overlook, but the kicker is that the decisions were not interesting. It still seemed like a complain and attack game, except if the universe and planet don’t align and you are left with nobody intelligent to recognize this you are screwed. One player had access to numerous dimly remembered childhood traumas - I had none, and no good pantsing anecdotes. For such a pretty game the homepage layout is awful, and really uninteresting. The paranoid recriminations seemed pretty bland and predictable as well. It’s pretty obvious what people need to do and where they need to go. Add to all this random events that can cause some BGG users to experience mood swings that cross the galaxy. This can help with bad setup positions, but it can throw so more random chicanery into an already cluttered universe.

After 3 days none of us cared to really continue. Mty friend recieved the game for free from a shop, and said he was taking it back tomorrow.

The game reminded me of a dense, old SPI wargame. It was fiddly, long, slow, and uninteresting. It seems they took an idea that already had an excellent vehicle -- social interaction -- and pasted it into a board game site. I could have played 3 enjoyable games of computer Starcraft in the time it took us to wade through 12 pages of flamewar. I know this sounds harsh, and I generally believe in giving game multiple chances, but some are just too awful. I can think of about 20 games that give you a much better experience for the time than BoardGameGeek. With so many games out there, there’s no need to waste your time on a game like this. Stay home: Play Risk- and save yourself some agony.

[all misspellings, solecisms, and errors of punctuation and grammar are the responsibility of the current Geek of the Week]

100%Blade said...

Nice post, Michael well argued (as usual). The things I would disagree with you on:
1) BGG IS taken too seriously – both by the minority who seem to spend their life on there AND by the “anti-BGG’rs” who get just as riled as some of those fanboys do. I don’t see it as some sort of evil force and I firmly believe that it serves far more good than harm – it has certainly improved my gaming knowledge extensively but then I can (I think) filter out the drivel.
2) Most Eurogames are still designed by Germans for the German market. Your average German attending Essen hasn’t even heard of BGG. I have no idea of the intent of Uwe Rosenberg when he designed Agricola but I do seriously doubt that he did it with the intention of trying to get to no. 1 on BGG

NeonPeon said...

Eh BGG is still a great site if you just don't get involved in the drama...Though I gotta say I was surprised when my "Why Boardgamegeeks Don't Like Sports" geeklist got some panties in a bunch.

Juniper said...

Most Eurogames are still designed by Germans for the German market. Your average German attending Essen hasn’t even heard of BGG. I have no idea of the intent of Uwe Rosenberg when he designed Agricola but I do seriously doubt that he did it with the intention of trying to get to no. 1 on BGG

Kosmos and Amigo design games that will sell in German department stores. The "cottage industry" games like Hamburgum and Agricola are designed for folks who attend the Spiel or have heard of BGG. Uwe Rosenberg reads BGG and has contacted at least one user about a negative review of one of his games (not Agricola).

Ken B. said...

Not to mention Hanno jumping down anyone's throats who has anything negative to say; I even noticed this a few weeks ago with the "Demand Better Themes!" Geeklist. Someone put Agricola with it's boring farming theme, Hanno went off on a rant about how he could've themed it about "internet nerds living in their mother's basements".


Not only was that asinine, it's like the last bastion of insults.


His reaction to the ratings joke was to compare it to someone calling your mother and saying you'd died at the convention while ingesting your own shit.


Good guy, that one.

Ryan Walberg said...

Any designer that contacts a BGGer regarding their rating of his/her game should immediately be banned. I got a big long GeekMail from "joe huber" regarding my rating for Ice Cream. I could have debated the (lack of) merits with him but in the end I just didn't reply at all, which is precisely the message I wanted to send him.

If Uwe Rosenberg thinks he has the right to tell anyone what they can and can't write about his game, I suggest he hops back into the time machine and leaves 1939.

Frank Branham said...

Agricola is a fairly new and good Eurogame. Starcraft is a new and good AT game. They got excited about Agricola, At-ers got excited about Starcraft (alas, I've not played it yet. need to fix that.)

Agricola has things over Keythedral. The theme feels better. You are trading sets for definable things. You also have a LOT more options going. And it is easily the best Euro of the past couple of years. (Over Caylus.) But probably not as good as Galaxy Trucker.

100%Blade said...

Maybe. My thoughts are that if Rosenburg was going to design a game with BGG in mind he would have approached someone to publish it in English in the first place. The publisher may or may not have had other intentions at the time they commissioned the game but the fact is that the vast majority of their sales were still to the German market (I do have a copy that I haven’t managed to get to the table yet as all my group seem to want to do at the moment is play Age of Steam every week). I think Hanno got upset because he thought that his English language deal may be threatened. As you say, a rather incredible overreaction and one that again shows people take BGG too seriously. Being number 1 in the BGG charts may give the designer and a few fanboys a bit of a kick but it doesn’t mean Z-Man are going to be able to sell 30,000 copies of Agricola does it?

Ken B. said...

I think worrying over the *exact* position on the BGG charts is what's crazy.

Look, man...if you're in the top 500, you've made the big time.

Some English publisher's not going to go, "Uh-oh! I know all these people are talking about this game, but ho-ho-ho, what's this? There are a few '1' ratings on BGG! Well, the DEAL IS OFF!"

Juniper said...

Agricola has things over Keythedral. The theme feels better. You are trading sets for definable things. You also have a LOT more options going. And it is easily the best Euro of the past couple of years. (Over Caylus.) But probably not as good as Galaxy Trucker.

Thanks, Frank. I don't intend to preorder it, but I'll look out for an opportunity to try somebody else's copy once it's available.

vandemonium said...

Michael Barnes said...

Now, I haven't played it so I'll reserve my Final Judgement on it...but I do think we all should go over there and rate it a "1" like all those other BGG jackasses who think they're some kind of volunteer fire brigade with their "Hype buster" ratings for FFG titles. Anything to piss those people off.


Yo - as one of the people involved in the prank early on, I was the #2 #1 vote... I would ask every please do not rate the game unless you've played it. Barnesy - I agree with you - part of me wanted to leave the vote just to piss in their sandbox - but it just is not worth it. Not that it matters much to anyone but I would consider it a personal favor to *not* vote for it, or if you have please remove the vote unless you've played it and truly hated it that much.

One of the bizzaro things about this is that *I* play more Euros than AT games. I like both but am probably lean towards Euros by a tick. Just about EVERYONE missed that little tidbit. They just assumed it was AT vs. Euro. Well it wasn't that had 0 to do with it until THEY brought it up.

Oh well.

I think I am starting my own new category. I am Eurotrash! Yes, I tend to play more Euros but I play them with ATtitude!

Your pal in controversy,
Van

skrebs said...

Because the people who post here regularly pride themselves on their moral fortitude, righteousness, and truthiness, can you please identify the BGG Elitist Tastemakers? Because the former Holy Trinity rarely post there and I can't figure out who I am supposed to blindly follow? It's been stated here many many times that BGG is changing more towards an AT bent ("look at the geeklists" "look at the rankings") so am I to follow the new AT BGG Overlords or the what?

Confused,
Steve

Ryan said...

Heh. This is a serious thread:

What games does [Agricola] replace in your collection?

I'm looking forward the the future thread, What game replaced Agricola?

(It should be noted that most of the respondents in that thread don't feel it replaces anything.)

Andy said...

As pointed out above, I feel like of all the game producers that you could suggest make games directly targeted toward the BGG crowd, the biggest one I can think of would be FFG.

The majority of Eurogames that everyone here rails against, the disposable ones with boring themes, really *are* made for the German family market. As much as Ameritrash might be my favorite type of game, the games that have the most mass market appeal, i.e. not just to fantasy/sci-fi nerds (Ameritrash) or optimization-loving analysts (Caylus, maybe Agricola), are Eurogames, like Settlers or Ticket to Ride. All the non-gamers that I've ever played with really have to be heavily persuaded to even *think* about playing something with as nerdy a theme as Descent, but are easily talked into playing a game about trains or farming. Not *everyone* is a fantasy/sci-fi nerd.

I don't feel like BGG is that harmful. Sure, maybe there's tons of despicable people on there, but I feel like the "rabid consumerism" you speak of is more due to the German family game market, not BGG.

Frankly, the heavy theme in Agricola is what's tempting me to give it a chance. We always talk about theme here: does every heavily-themed game have to be about something nerdy?

druenkree said...

I for one enjoyed the prank ,I Think it show how useless the ratings sytem is on BGG....and so what if it screwed up data so some stat junkie could get off on abstract number stream.

Andy said...

I guess to sum up, what I was trying to say is: I don't think BGG is all that important and influental in terms of games produced as you think, but if it is, I think that helps FFG and Ameritrash more than it helps the cottage industry obscure Eurogames.

Michael Barnes said...

I'm working backwards here...

As pointed out above, I feel like of all the game producers that you could suggest make games directly targeted toward the BGG crowd, the biggest one I can think of would be FFG.

Andy, that's probably the best counterpoint anyone could have come up with in terms of that particular argument but you didn't elaborate on it. It's easy to see that "Euroizing" or updating games like FURY OF DRACULA and WARRIOR KNIGHTS could be said to represent playing to the crowd, let alone releasing games like THROUGH THE DESERT or INGENIOUS...hell, Robert Martin's assessment of FURY was that they had ruined it by appealing to Euro design aesthetics with greater balance...

But even if that's the case, it still points to the fact that it's a negative thing that designers and publishers are responding- and creating- based directly on BGG feedback. That would be like if video game publishers started changing things and altering designs based on the feedback left on the forums at IGN.Com.

Maybe that's what the problem really is...that BGG is really kind of a monopoly (heh). If you're in the hobby to any degree, you're at least aware of it and you likely check it out even if you're not a participant.

I feel like the "rabid consumerism" you speak of is more due to the German family game market, not BGG.

But the best-selling family games in Germany tend to be the same ones here in the US- MONOPOLY, for example. Only the SDJ titles really have breakout sales, the rest is hobby. "Family Games" is such a misnomer as far as I'm concerned.

can you please identify the BGG Elitist Tastemakers?

I don't know that I'd say that there's individuals like during the days of the Vasel/Thornquist/Schloesser reign of mediocrity, but there definitely is a sense of consensus...early adopters, like those who bought AGRICOLA at Essen, are really the tastemakers now...they have an "elite" status granted by owning the current hot (and relatively unavailble) game so these early opinions will set the pace for everyone else there. Watch, and see if in a year you can tell me I'm wrong.

Any designer that contacts a BGGer regarding their rating of his/her game should immediately be banned.

Heh. If I can find it, I'll repost this LONG, RAMBLING tirade I recived from a designer regarding a negative comment I posted...basically, it boiled down to how wrong I was and right he was. It was pretty funny stuff, almost kinda creepy.

Nice post, Michael well argued (as usual). The things I would disagree with you on:
1) BGG IS taken too seriously – both by the minority who seem to spend their life on there AND by the “anti-BGG’rs” who get just as riled as some of those fanboys do.


Nice to have you on board, Michael, and it's nice to have folks that want to disagree and debate rather than pick nits and split hairs.

I think there's a huge difference in the way some of us here view BGG and the way those completely involved with the site as a part of their day-to-day lives see it. I never felt any sense of responsibility or "social contracting" while I was there and I also took pretty much everything with a laugh. But things like this AGRICOLA deal, or the Mayfair Decision, or Magic Girl's greasy tits bring out the true nature of the beast- that people are just too wrapped up in the hobby, and BGG facilitates that. I mean, I know hardcore football fans that aren't as touchy about their interests.

It's weird...it's like the most defensive people in the world got together and started a website. Considering that hobby gaming draws its population largely from fat kids who got picked on in middle school for any number of coolness infractions, I guess it's not a surprise. Throw in folks who use games to vicariously experience success and victory in ways that they can not in the real world, middle-aged men who would have been into model trains or R/C boating prior to the internet, and then another contingent of anal-rententive control freaks and you've already got a pretty toxic sludge.

2) Most Eurogames are still designed by Germans for the German market.

I completely disagree with this, but not because I think you're wrong but because I think that there's a wrong perception that these games are somehow more popular there than they are here.

A publisher would be foolish to design a game solely for the German market when there is, as evidenced by BGG, a much larger international market. This is why German text has pretty much fallen by the wayside and most Eurogames are language independent. They're not stupid, they're businesspeople and they understand that the difference between selling 2000 copies of game in German markets versus selling 10000 in an international market is huge.

Mass market, Hasbro-style games are the most popular games in Germany. Just like they are here.

I have no idea of the intent of Uwe Rosenberg when he designed Agricola but I do seriously doubt that he did it with the intention of trying to get to no. 1 on BGG

Oh no, I don't think that's the case at all...but I do feel confident, based on rules and descriptions that I've heard, that he saw what was successful in other games (CAYLUS and PUERTO RICO, of course) and applied them to his own design. And likely, he saw that theme is a bigger issue now than it has been previously and that probably influenced his design.

There's nothing wrong with all that though. Ideas have to come from some where, and there's nothing wrong with being influenced by other works.

But really, AGRICOLA reads like a recipe for Euro success...even with the "novelty" of all the cards, a supposedly "rich" theme, and random events it still sounds pretty by-the-numbers to me.

Juniper- you've become a real AT hero. Somebody put a medal on this guy!

Michael Barnes said...

Hey, I just went to check out what it was that Hanno (the head honcho over at Lookout Games) said and it was this:

Do you also think it's a fun prank if all the folks who you played this prank on call your mom tomorrow and condole her while telling her you passed away eating your own shit at BGG.con?

I got banned for much less than that...I never made any reference to coprophagia, let alone make a comment that was so directly pointed at a particular person. where's the uproar of the self-righteous BGG community?

Oh wait...31 thumbs up...I guess it's sanctioned...

adrianbolt said...

mr skeletor said...
"Everyone is ranting about people (like me) abusing ones, but anyone who is ranking a game a 10 before at least owning it for 6 months are abusing the rankings as well."
Isn't six months kind of arbitrary? Wouldn't number of plays be better? Oh wait, wrong website for that kind of discussion... I'll rate a game when I think I've played it enough to be fair. I'm only using a five point scale and suspect I'll never rank anything a 2 because I'd hope to avoid playing anything so crap in the first place! Is there any damn point? Not really other than to save me from remembering I like game x more than game y.
Hey, if six months was the only criteria I could rate hell of a lot of games I haven't yet played!!

juniper said...
"That's been proven by the recent calls for Randy Cox to apologize for the Agricola prank"
Now that I'd like to see! I'm sure Randy could craft a damn good apology along the lines of 'I'm sorry you guys are such idiots for getting stressed over this...'
Dammit juniper, I wanted to give you something for your review of BGG but I can't find the thumb button or how to tip you some Fat Farthings. Maybe once I've stopped laughing and wipe the tears away!

michael barnes said...
"I just don't buy into the belief that [BGG]'s this friendly, wonderful Shangri-La that's not at all like those nasty video game forums."
But it's not at all like them! It's been pointed out before, there's avery important difference - BGGers can spell!

ken b. said...
"Not to mention Hanno jumping down anyone's throats who has anything negative to say"
AND ryan walberg said...
"Any designer that contacts a BGGer regarding their rating of his/her game should immediately be banned. I got a big long GeekMail from "joe huber" regarding my rating"
Maybe I will be ranking some games a 2 after all...

michael barnes said...
"But things like this AGRICOLA deal, or the Mayfair Decision, or Magic Girl's greasy tits"
Come on Michael, Christopher posts a (wonderfully naive with hindsight) thread about that Magic Girl photo and fifteen pages of hilarity ensue, what more could you ask for? I couldn't resist joining in! I'm kinda disappointed the Hentacle picture I suggested didn't get many votes though!

100%Blade said...

Michael Barnes said "... I think that there's a wrong perception that these games are somehow more popular there than they are here.

A publisher would be foolish to design a game solely for the German market when there is, as evidenced by BGG, a much larger international market. This is why German text has pretty much fallen by the wayside and most Eurogames are language independent."

See I think you're wrong here. The germans have been doing language independant for as long as I can remember (I first started buying german games in 1990). It's the way they design them. Ironically, Agricola is one of the most unfriendly German title to English speakers that I've ever seen.

Popularity in the UK is nothing compared to what it is in Germany. It will be a long, long time, if ever before we can get as many people to turn up to an an English "Essen". I don't know what it's like in the US but you surprise me if the same percentage of Americans play these types of games as they do in Germany. For all this talk about BGG.con, how many are actually there? A few hundred? The German publishers wouldn't give a shit about the numbers like that.

I'm not saying the Publishers don't recognise the opportunity to sell outside Germany but I think their decision to publish will largely be based on what they can sell in germany

mtlawson said...

I'd bet dollars to dimes that most of us here own the absolute best Eurogames out there and likely play and enjoy them regularly.

Guilty. I'll play a good game, period. The thing is, I'm not inclined to listen to the majority on things, and prefer to make up my own mind. Sure, I'll listen to people, but the herd mentality is not a great thing, whether its boardgames or houses or left-handed nosepickers.

As people always say (but somehow never seem to internalize), read the comments and then make a decision. Ignore the ratings. Hell, if I did that, I'd think Bulge '91 and Anno 1503 are terrible games, but they're actually rather good.

--Mike L.

JoelCFC25 said...

Such a great thread. It's the perfect summary of this weekend's AGRICOLA episode and how it exhibited all the deliciously hilarious traits of BGG and its populace.

I'm mostly a lurker on BGG and F:AT, but I just can't resist reviewing some of the things I read in this whole brouhaha:

People expressing what appeared to be genuine mournfulness that the game will not rise to its eventual high rank as fast as it might have without the prank...i.e., the game was denied some meaningful record that would have lived in the annals of boardgame history.

Sales and the timetable of an English version of a game will suffer because the game tumbled 100 places in the ranking for at most a couple of days.

An analysis that AGRICOLA needs more 10 votes to counter the counter-shills, because a single 10 cannot sufficiently rebuff a single 1 to get the game back to the 8.xx rating that it apparently rightfully deserves!

Someone likened it to AGRICOLA's pants being pulled down in gym!

Frank admissions that people will actually choose not to buy the game unless it achieves rank X or better (X being 100, 50, whatever).

Real hand-wringing about the designer's and publisher's feelings being hurt (!!!!!), it might drive them into needing therapy, etc.

Keyboards being absolutely set on fire by people pounding out impassioned attacks on and defenses of the rating system, Eurogames, AT, and each other. My Passive/Aggressive and Snooty meters both pegged and shattered reading some of the threads.

In summary, it was really unnerving reading all of it. I don't intend to concern myself with the personal lives of some of the more fervent participants in this farce, but when you consider the amount of mental energy that was expended on behalf of an arbitrary numerical rating of an inanimate object on a website devoted to an extremely niche hobby....what on earth do these folks do when confronted with real life troubles? Like say, a serious health issue, financial crisis, a troubled child or spouse? Do they go on suicide watch?

BGG has also created a BGG-style gamer- they're the guys who 75% of a way through a game will announce to the table what their BGG rating is going to be.

Have to quote this because I've witnessed it in real life. Others also mentioned the ritualistic hoarding of every game that comes down the pike, no matter how much of a rehash it might be. I'm convinced that for people at this stage, games can't any longer be about a fun way to socialize with others. It transforms into the BGG metagame: how elite are you in the dick-wagging competition for "discerning gamers."

Hopefully with under 15 genuine nerd games in my possession I'm not in any danger...but I'm going to have to give my wife a tutorial on this crap in case I'm absorbed into the hive mind at some point and need to be severely beaten back into reality.

Michael Barnes said...

It's OK Joel...we'll do what we need to when the time comes. Welcome to our survivor community.

what on earth do these folks do when confronted with real life troubles? Like say, a serious health issue, financial crisis, a troubled child or spouse? Do they go on suicide watch?

No, they post geeklists. Witness the guy who posted an elegaic list about all the games he would have played with his adopted son had his real parents not fought and won to take him back. A very real world situation that really has no business getting tied up in a hobby. That someone would even think of posting a geeklist in response to a death or other personal loss really blows my mind.

The thing about Hanno's shit-eating post that I find most interesting is that if the CEO of Hasbro or even someone like Christian Petersen had posted something like that there'd be a massive uproar, calls for boycotts, and plenty of clucking tongues...but because he's the publisher of AGRICOLA, he somehow gets a free "be a dick" pass.

adrianbolt said...

joelcfc25: I've no intention of reading any of the threads, so thanks for the summary and the secondhand amusement/bafflement.

I haven't commented on the game itself yet, so... my Agricola experience. Look at pictures, ho hum, lots of euro components, no surprise there. Read a few reviews, follow with a couple of session reports. I like the tech tree/tons of cards. Decide it's sufficiently different to Through the Ages and the theme looks less superficial than usual. Preorder. Did the earth move? Hell no, it's just a game.

vandemonium said...


Michael Barnes said...

tongues...but because he's the publisher of AGRICOLA, he somehow gets a free "be a dick" pass.


FWIW - I did note the fact that you got banned for far worse in the Ken's F'n agrigola thread which was moved to the complaint forum today.

I grant you it won't mean shit to anyone but I at least put it out there.

That was by far the most nasty comment I've seen on BGG. Not the most pathetic but by far the most nasty. Well, except for anything Frank posts including "hello" which I always interpret as "FUCK YOU MOTHERFUCKER" but maybe its just me...

>shrug<

f'n stupid episode all around.

Van

Juniper said...

The thing about Hanno's shit-eating post that I find most interesting is that if the CEO of Hasbro or even someone like Christian Petersen had posted something like that there'd be a massive uproar, calls for boycotts, and plenty of clucking tongues...but because he's the publisher of AGRICOLA, he somehow gets a free "be a dick" pass.

And dozens of users thumbs-up his comment. And others express concern about his tender feelings being hurt. And apologies are demanded on his behalf.

Don't fuck with the Agricola. The hive has already decided that you should be harshing on Valley Games and Mayfair, instead.

Ken B. said...

I got shunted off to "Complaints!"


Ha!


They forgot to take my thread brethren "The inevitable 1" and "Concerns about the Geek community" along for the ride. Guess I was on the "wrong" side of the fence on this issue.


Golly, if only I had someone to help me know which the "right" side was!

;))


How...pathetic this whole thing has been. With "Magic Girl", you could just chalk it up to misplaced Puritanism and/or being "the hippie sensitive guy trying to get in the ladies' pants".

Here, it's just...uh...I don't even know what the hell this was. Some sort of masochistic projection of the bullied self onto an inanimate object.


I hope I'm never in a game store where there's a copy of Agricola and someone eyeballing it. I think I'll tell them the game is "bad" and will "Eat Your Children".

Andy said...

"But the best-selling family games in Germany tend to be the same ones here in the US- MONOPOLY, for example. Only the SDJ titles really have breakout sales, the rest is hobby. "Family Games" is such a misnomer as far as I'm concerned."

I think that's partly true, but the SDJ titles are really a BIG success there. I studied in Germany for a year back in 2001, and everyone I knew was giving SDJs as Christmas presents, and EVERY family had Settlers (heck, I knew one family whose father, I swear, used his undefeated record in El Grande as a lynchpin for his control over the family; when my newbie girlfriend beat him, he looked castrated).

But other games are popular in Germany too. I never met a single person in Germany that shared similar traits to "gamers" in America, yet I saw Puerto Rico, Taj Mahal, and Tigris & Euphrates (not really "family games") all over the place, in DEPARTMENT STORES, no less. All the grad students I met played these type of board games, but they never seemed like gamers to me; it's just an accepted pastime in Germany. (Though actually, the favorite board game, by far, of the group of grad students I spent the most time with? The forbidden, imported "Axis & Allies".)

So honestly, from anecdotal evidence, I really do think that many more people play games in Germany than in the US, and that even if not all of them are families, games like Puerto Rico are (or were; no idea what's happened in the last 6 years) made for an adult German market first and foremost, the BGG world faaaaaaaaaaaaar behind in influence.

And with regards to:
"It's easy to see that "Euroizing" or updating games like FURY OF DRACULA and WARRIOR KNIGHTS could be said to represent playing to the crowd..."

I'd actually controversially consider that kind of BGG influence to be mostly a good thing; I think it's probably the complaints about balance and the nitpicks that ended up making TI3: Shattered Empire as great as it was.

My point, though, was not that; my point was that I think that the majority of fans of FFG games are also BGG users as well, or at least a greater percentage than the percentage of fans of Settlers, Ticket to Ride, or even Puerto Rico. I think BGG is much more Ameritrash-friendly nowadays than you give it credit for.

vandemonium said...

vandemonium said...

FWIW - I did note the fact that you got banned for far worse in the Ken's F'n agrigola thread which was moved to the complaint forum today.



Errrr, I meant "far less." Michael I hope you were not offended by my statement. Please don't take it wrong. I just want us all to get along.

>e-hug<

xoxo
Van

Juniper said...

Oh great, Van. You've hurt his feelings. Did you stop and think about how this will affect preorders for Milch und Gherken?

Michael Barnes said...

So I dug around a little more and I found this "10" rating from none other than Scott "Aldie" Alden, proprietor of Boardgamegeek.com.

Really cool game. My first impression is it's great! I hope it sticks.

According to BGG standards, isn't a 10 supposed to represent a rating that will "never change"? How can a "first impression" be a 10 according to the standards he supposedly condones on his own site? Is Aldie throwing in his 10 to support a game in which he has financial considerations- through Z-Man's support of BGG.Con and various advertising intitiatives including Tanga? Do the ratings really mean anything anymore?

AGRICOLA...come to find out, this stupid farming game has revealed more about the failure of BGG as a community than any other game has before it...

vandemonium said...

*sob*

I'm sooo sorry! It was an honest mistake!

Michael, please post soon, so we know you are not suicidal!!

*sob*

KingPut said...

Here’s my Euroquest Caylus-Clone update: Cuba was demoed at Euroquest, Phonician and Antler Island were played but all the buzz was over Agricola (there were 2 German copies of the game at Euroquest). I’d didn’t play any of these games last weekend. I figured I’d be dragged into playing them soon enough. But I’d rather play one of these games with 3 people who know the rules. There’s nothing worse than playing a 4 hour Caylus Clone with 4 people who don’t know the rules. In a couple of months I should be able to pick up how to play these games in about 30 seconds. You collect cubes then you buy stuff with cubes than you get victory points no big deal.

Here’s my Caylus update: Caylus, the darling of 2005 - 2006 was desperate for a GM at Euroquest and WBC. In fact it may have been dropped from both tournaments. I bailed Caylus out and I’m the GM for both Euroquest and WBC. I think many of you predicted that the downfall of Caylus and I’m seeing it happen. My prediction is that we’ll be down to about 30 Caylus players at WBC this year. The good news is that we received approval from GCOM for TrashFest 2008. This will be held May 1 – 4th. I hope it’s worth the sacrifice to GM Caylus for being able to put on TrashFest. Malloc or Ubarose will fill you in later about TrashFest.

Michael Barnes said...

Michael, please post soon, so we know you are not suicidal!!

Don't you know I cut myself every time I feel like the board gaming community is jeopardized by insensitivity, Van? Won't somebody think of AGRICOLA?

Malloc said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Ken B. said...

Whew! I read in the obituaries Mike Barnes died at a gaming convention while dining on his own poo.

Juniper said...

So I dug around a little more and I found this "10" rating from none other than Scott "Aldie" Alden, proprietor of Boardgamegeek.com.


Oh, Michael, we thought you knew.

BGG is kind of like professional wrestling, and Aldie is kind of like Vince McMahon. We get a new World Champion when Vince -- er, I mean Aldie -- says we get a new World Champion.

PUERTO RICO is Bret "Hitman" Hart, and AGRICOLA is Shawn Michaels. What we're seeing now is going to be recorded in the annals as the Montreal Screwjob.

I guess that SETTLERS is Hulk Hogan and TIGRIS & EUPHRATES is Randy "Macho Man" Savage.

Michael, please don't cut short your life like The Lovely Miss Elizabeth did.

Frank Branham said...

Where is the comment by Hanno?

I like the game, but I think that the fact that it exists is more remarkable.

But Hanno is being a prick about the translations. Happily amplified by the random-noise bullhorn that is BGG.

Malloc said...

it is here:
http://www.boardgamegeek.com/
article/1864503#1864503

-M

Juniper said...

It's been flagged, so you may have to click "[Show]" to see it:

Mothers and poop-eating.

vandemonium said...


Malloc said...

ok its got a 1 from me and that rating is staying sue to that quote.

Do you also think it's a fun prank if all the folks who you played this prank on call your mom tomorrow and condole her while telling her you passed away eating your own shit at BGG.con?

Game designer and publisher should stay above the fray and well its my way of protesting.


I know i said don;t rate it in my blog post..... I changed my mind, call me a flip flopper if you want.

-M


PM sent - but for public -

Please guys - as one of the instigators -this whole fucking thing has gotten so blown out of proportion it is ridiculous. If you want to protest - leave a comment but please do not rate it falsely.

Some of the reactionaries do deserver a good bitch slap but Z-man games isn't one of them, nor is Melissa who has been mostly on an even keel about the deal - although I disagree with her that this is going to "harm" anyone, but whatever.

>roger rabbit voice<
Puuhleeez folks!

Don't do it for the gipper!
Or me. Or something...

Don't give the whiners the satisfaction of being "proven right".

Cheers,
Van

Juniper said...

What Van said. We win by taking the moral high road.

[aside: shit, I'm getting no work done today]

vandemonium said...

Update

Hanno has posted something that is not quite but, close enough for Rock n' Roll (for me) an apology and an offer to think about a Tankrigola expansion where you can zombify things.

http://www.boardgamegeek.com/article/1870523#1870523

I grant you it is not exactly an apology but giving his English the befit of the doubt, let's just bury this whole bitch of an issue.

I think many here know and agree that there is a certain double standard on BGG but what is, is.

Mr Skeletor said...

That was by far the most nasty comment I've seen on BGG. Not the most pathetic but by far the most nasty. Well, except for anything Frank posts including "hello" which I always interpret as "FUCK YOU MOTHERFUCKER" but maybe its just me...

Heh, I just got suspended for my "My Dumb cunt meter just went Nuclear" comment, which even the person it was directed at took as a joke.
Guess I should have told him to eat shit and make his mother cry instead.

Mr Skeletor said...

I changed my angola rating from a 1to a 10 last night.
I just read "the inevitable 1" to find Drew and randy suddenly happy with me - dispite the fact my 10 is just as idiotic as the 1.
Nope, no bias about ratings at all...

Anonymous said...

Hi, i'm from germany and i read sometimes your blog as "anti-thesis" to BGG. Here in germany the so called "eurogame" isn't identified as such, it is part of the culture and also a kind of art. Personally i love AT more because i grow up with this stuff and i spent time in my youth to import a copy of Battle of the 5 Armies or Star Warriors. I never played PR or many other Euro's, but it's true, boardgames runs through the veins of germany and kids playing e.g. Citadels and Carcassone are not seldom, wikipedia stated that germany produces hundreds of designer games per anno.
I see the problem that BGG has a kind of monopol (please correct me if i'm wrong), i think the german "fandom" is spread to more fine magazines and websites each with it's own trading/reviews/forums/blogs and more. Before buying i can inform me from very different sources. Agricola is a good game, but here in germany i can't feel any "hype", my gaming-group stated that the game is overhyped on BGG and now we will move on with other games like ToI. I love a lot of eurogames too but sometimes i feel the pasted theme too much and i find myself searching the math behind these optimizing-games, so i tend to a round Arkham Horror to breath some "adventure" that i often feel with AT. Agricola is a good and solid game, time will tell.

Sorry for my anonymous but i won't fiddle around with a new account.

Raff

Frank Branham said...

Oh. That's not that bad. The second post is actually fairly funny and reasonable.

Personally, I'm still amazed that the game exists. I'm even more amazed that it is coming out in English.

Michael Barnes said...

Wow Raff- that might be the most signficant piece of insight here...that in Germany, there's not all this BGG-generated hype in part due to a greater dissemination of ideas and opinions across magazines and other outlets.

Juniper- I'd prefer to take on the role of Rowdy Roddy Piper, beating BGG for fifteen minutes and getting them to put on the god damned glasses. Either him or George "The Animal Steele. Ken can be Koko B. Ware and Malloc is a shoe-in for Brutus "The Barber" Beefcake.

That's hilarious that it's OK for Mr. Skeletor to post a false 10 but it's the end of the world if he does a 1...

Hanno apologized? Whatever, he said what he meant and he meant what he said. He ought to just man up and stand by what he said. [crackpot conspiracy theory] OR DID TOM VASEL GET UPSET AND THREATEN TO LEAVE IF ALDIE DIDN'T CHASTISE HIM??? [/crackpot conspiracy theory]

Shryke said...

I decided to rate the game a 1 for the following reasons:

"This isn't a game. I've never seen it, nor do I believe it exists. It's actually a huge prank, who's sole purpose is to expose just how pathetic some of the people on this site are. The hissy-fit/Nerd Rage that has come from this game is staggering in it's intensity and hilarious is it's complete irrelevance. I never knew how many fat middle aged losers who got pantsed in gym class this site had.

Well played gentleman, I didn't think my opinion of this community could get any lower."


I'm not taking it down.

Also, holy shit that designer is an asshole. Between this and that guy from Boulder Games, this site really shows just how unprofessional most people in this hobby are. Fucking pathetic.

Shryke said...

Also, I think your right in that having only the 1 "#1" boardgame site is what causes these problems. Every website eventually gets it's entrenched opinions. But most subjects have more then 1 site, so there's room for multiple viewpoints. I mean, no one just goes to 1 site for their videogame reviews, they check out a few of them, and of course avoid the shill sites like IGN. Which is why it's good that this site exists, if only to provide another view point from the BGG norm.

Or course, BGG is better then any sites I've seen at quashing dissenters "Stalin-style".

Mr Skeletor said...


That's hilarious that it's OK for Mr. Skeletor to post a false 10 but it's the end of the world if he does a 1...


To be fair Mellissa PMed me and asked me to get rid of it.

I need someone to take up the zinger slack while I'm gone. You up for the task Ken?

Ken B. said...

You know how I get when I get on tilt? Barely coherent and like a tornado. It's best for all if I don't stagger around BGG for a few days.

I think I'm over it and I'll wander into a thread only to get riled up again. Screw it, I got to take some time off.

I will try to honor the fine Skelly tradition of giving people hell. Only with less "cunt" in the mix.

Dan Corban said...

I am among the snootiest of the Eurosnoot and the thought of playing Agrigola bores even me to death.

vandemonium said...


Mr Skeletor said...

That was by far the most nasty comment I've seen on BGG. Not the most pathetic but by far the most nasty. Well, except for anything Frank posts including "hello" which I always interpret as "FUCK YOU MOTHERFUCKER" but maybe its just me...

Heh, I just got suspended for my "My Dumb cunt meter just went Nuclear" comment, which even the person it was directed at took as a joke.
Guess I should have told him to eat shit and make his mother cry instead.

19 November 2007 14:13

Dude, your shitting us. Really? Another 30 day thing or what. WTF?

Believe me I'll rile up the troops - this is BS.

vandemonium said...


Shryke said...

I decided to rate the game a 1 for the following reasons:

"This isn't a game. I've never seen it, nor do I believe it exists. It's actually a huge prank, who's sole purpose is to expose just how pathetic some of the people on this site are. The hissy-fit/Nerd Rage that has come from this game is staggering in it's intensity and hilarious is it's complete irrelevance. I never knew how many fat middle aged losers who got pantsed in gym class this site had.

Well played gentleman, I didn't think my opinion of this community could get any lower."

I'm not taking it down.

Also, holy shit that designer is an asshole. Between this and that guy from Boulder Games, this site really shows just how unprofessional most people in this hobby are. Fucking pathetic.

19 November 2007 14:43


Shryke - I appreciate you point of view and basically agree with it 100%

I guess I'm asking for a favor please take the rating down. Leave the comment.

Let's pick our battles.

I have started a thread to figure out why Skels has been suspended in the Complaint area. Let's take *OUR* opinions there.

It probably won't change a damn thing but be heard where it matters -not where it doesn't.

Cheers,
Van

Mr Skeletor said...


Dude, your shitting us. Really? Another 30 day thing or what. WTF?


Nah, only a week.

Subject: User Moderation
Dumb cunt alert? Time for a time out. See you in a week.


Might actually give me time to write an article here.... maybe.

Juniper said...

I changed my angola rating from a 1to a 10 last night.
I just read "the inevitable 1" to find Drew and randy suddenly happy with me - dispite the fact my 10 is just as idiotic as the 1.
Nope, no bias about ratings at all...


I figured they were just checking to see how many of the 1 ratings were left, and noticed that yours was gone. They probably didn't check the 10 ratings because it's harder to distinguish 'legitimate' 10s from the rest.

Van, I feel for you, dude. I know you want this whole thing to die down, and I know you want the folks here to take the dignified route by avoiding vandal ratings. I do too. But the message from Hanno that you took to be an approximation of an apology seems to me just as obnoxious and combative as the thing for which he's apologizing.

He essentially argues that his earlier comment was justified, and he renews his complaint about Randy Cox. Randy worked hard to get rid of the joke ratings, and was basically Hanno's best friend while he was doing this, whether Hanno recognizes it or not. Hanno's failure to recognize Randy's effort bothers me. I flagged Hanno's post as a personal attack for that reason. Maybe I'm being petty, I don't know.

If Hanno were a native English speaker, I'd have a hard time reading his "so sorry that I mentioned your mum" as anything but snide, but I'll cut him some slack. And if I were as hyper-sensitive as everyone on BGG seems to be, I'd argue that there's oblique anti-Americanism in his non-sequitur comment about the NRA. It's open to interpretation, though, and I don't really care, so I'll let it go.

What the fuck does "My last name is not Hasselfeld" mean? I know that he's saying that he's not rich enough to burn money, but who is Hasselfeld?

Another thing: the guy's in business to sell and promote games, but he implies that the effort he devoted to negotiating the license with Z-Man and making copies of Agricola available for BGG CON was motivated entirely by selfless altruism. He mentions that he could have spent the time with his wife and 11-month old son instead. He's pulling on your heartstrings, but nobody's forcing him to run a sideline games business. He set his own priorities.

Anyway, the comment is in a thread that was buried, so nobody's gonna read it.

Juniper said...

http://www.boardgamegeek.com/thread/242980

vandemonium said...

Juniper - thanks for your response. You are right of course, I guess I am giving him a HUGE grain of salt and in re-reading it I do see exactly what you are saying.

Skels - glad it is only a week. But it is still BS and I'll do what I can to at least ferret out an explanation.

Cheers,
van

Malloc said...

That was not an apology, he was trying to justify his response, and there is no justification for that.

Sorry van, but my rating stays, but don;t worry i will take credit for an mess it causes.

-M

MWChapel said...

BTW... Agricola does Rock.

Mr Skeletor said...

Could someone name me one low production snooty Euro Chapel has actually not "enjoyed".
Anyone?

MWChapel said...

Could someone name me one low production snooty Euro Chapel has actually not "enjoyed".
Anyone


From this years crop? Aiight,I didn't enjoy any of these:

Race for the Galaxy
Darjeeling
King of Siam
League of Six
Container

I could go on from this years essen batch and beyond, but the list would go long.

Agricola though, still rocks.. :)

Anonymous said...

Where is Mr Skeletor's blog-entry gone?

100%Blade said...

[shrug] At one point this thread was actually veering towards an interesting debate but then it started getting negative again. Oh well. I guess you’re all much happier channelling your energy towards the things you don’t like rather than the things you do.
Seriously, the hatred some of you spew on here makes you just as unlikeable as some of the idiots on BGG. Either you can’t see that or you don’t care but the net result is that you’re just one clique fighting against another clique and I don’t like either.
I find the format of this site means it’s much harder than it is on BGG to sort the crap out from the things I’m actually interested in so while I may still occasionally lurk around it won’t be as often as I would have liked. Have fun.

40% Blade said...

What, you think you're better than everyone else?

simon said...

Facts:

1) Agricola is not a German word.

2) You can buy a soda in Germany called Afri-Cola.

3) It's still "Milch und Gurken".

Juniper said...

At one point this thread was actually veering towards an interesting debate but then it started getting negative again.

OK, back to the interesting debate:

When I was in Germany on business last year, I saw more than just Monopoly and Uno in the department stores of Berlin's central shopping district (though I saw plenty of Monopoly and Uno).

I saw pretty much all of Hans-im-Glueck's line, including their longer and more intricate games, like IN THE SHADOW OF THE EMPEROR. I think saw GOA and AMUN-RE there, too, but I may not be remembering correctly. I saw all of the then-current ZOCH and KOSMOS titles. I saw PUERTO RICO and the Knizia games with the computer built into the board. All of the recent SdJ winners were stacked up in big piles. These games weren't shelved separately from the Hasbro titles like CONNECT 4, and LOOPING LOUIE et al, as far as I can remember.

I did buy LOOPING LOUIE to bring home. It's fucking hilarious, despite what Michael says.

There were plenty of small cardgames, too. I remember seeing SABOTEUR and COLORETTO and 6 NIMMT and BOHNANZA. Again I don't think that these were displayed separately from, like, MILLE BORNES.

The games that I did not see at the department stores were the small press publications. The first of the 'rondel' games (I don't know their names) was not at KaDeWe, or Wertheim, for example, but I saw it in the window of a specialty gameshop. I don't think that I saw CAYLUS or YS or anywhere. I saw the german edition of KREMLIN in a game store window, too. I wonder whether Valley Games will reprint that, someday.

Frank Branham said...

Juniper:

What folks don't realize is that the SdJ is aimed at the german mass market. Ravensburger, Kosmos, and Zoch are TOY companies as well as game companies.

Zoch makes children's toys, Kosmos makes science kits, and Ravensburger/Alea is freaking huge, and makes all sorts of things.

Hans im Gluck and Abacus are the odd birds there (although Joe Nikisch of Abacus does consulting for Goldsieber--a division of the huge Simba toys.)

These are the RoseArts, Pressman, and Briarpatch of the European world-- the second-tier folks making games over there besides Hasbro & Mattel....except that their games are quite a bit better.

The SdJ at least has encouraged some pretty nice mass market games in Germany.

A lot of the smaller companies. (Lookout, Ystari) ship directly to hobby stores that mostly work like our hobby stores---except that distribution is not as key. There are still distributors like Heidelberg (which has their own game line as well.)

What I've not worked out is why folks still get all worked up over the SdJ. It really doesn't apply to even the Euro crowd.

Michael Barnes said...

Heh, that's gonna be awesome when AGRICOLA doesn't win SDJ, because it won't.

SDJ is an arbitrary barometer of quality for a hobby that relies, at this point, almost exclusively on amateur, armchair opinion. No, it ultimately means nothing to hobby gamers but it's something that seems to validate certain games' standards of quality over others.

So that works for hobby and mainstream, really. The mainstream folks feel like they're buying something that professionals have selected as the best in the field and the hobby folks feel like there's some higher authority in the selection than an online comment or review.

It's like the Oscars or the Grammys, but it means even less.

Juniper said...

A lot of the smaller companies. (Lookout, Ystari) ship directly to hobby stores that mostly work like our hobby stores---except that distribution is not as key. There are still distributors like Heidelberg (which has their own game line as well.)

What I've not worked out is why folks still get all worked up over the SdJ. It really doesn't apply to even the Euro crowd.


This is the sort of point that I'm getting at. The titles that we've been calling Euros actually fall into two distinct styles. There are what used to be called the German Games, which are the ones that could at least conceivably win the SdJ, and then there are what I've been calling the "cottage industry" games; small press publications that are usually financed by a single entrepreneur or enthusiast.

The old-fashioned German Games are the kinds that you can buy at KaDeWe: NIAGARA, MANILA, HECKMECK AM BRATWUERMECK, CARCASSONNE. I'm going to fly in the face of the prevailing opinion here on F:At by admitting that I adore these games. They're not the only kind of game that I ever want to play, but I have some friends that love UBONGO, and I would never consider asking them to play EASTFRONT with me.

The "cottage industry" games are the ones that tend to be celebrated by the vocal regulars on BGG. Those are the ones that I find myself loathing: AGE OF STEAM, CAYLUS, et al. I've never tried HAMBURGUM, or ANTIKE, or INDONESIA, and I have no desire to do so. My problem with these games is that they are way outside of any kind of sweet spot. The true German Games tend to be quick, easy, and colorful. They're not strategically or thematically deep, but it doesn't matter because they play in less than an hour anyway. Depth and setting have been traded off in favor of ease and accessibility, and it's a good trade-off for certain social situations or moods.

The "heavy Euro" games tend to come from the "cottage industry" publishers, and they tend to trade off everything. Color, setting, fun, humor, narrative, accessibility, and ease are all sacrificed in favor of tactical complexity and the dubious virtue of being without dice or luck-of-the-draw. I think the reasoning behind these games is this: if a mostly themeless abstract German Game can be fun for 45 minutes, why not make one with 16 pages of rules that takes 3 hours (I'm looking straight at you, Caylus)? The reason, of course, is that there are plenty of 3 hour games that have evocative, historically interesting settings, strategic depth rather than mere tactical complexity, suspense, and narrative value. Columbia Games makes a bunch of them. Fantasy Flight Games, does, too. The "heavy Euros" trade away too much, and get too little in return.

PUERTO RICO is a weird example, because it has many of the characteristics of the "cottage industry" games (long, brown, devoid of suspense or surprise, and too much like a third year Theory of Computation course), but it's published by a very large publisher and distributed to the big department stores. I guess that GOA is one of these, too, but I've only played it once, so it's hard to say. Some BGG users express regret that the big German publishers don't produce more "gamers' games." I think those publishers are making exactly the right decision, in that regard.

People got angry when VILLA PALLETTI (another wonderful game, no matter what anybody says here or on BGG) won the SdJ over PUERTO RICO, but PUERTO RICO is a completely different kind of game than the one that SdJ honors (and yes, I know that PUERTO RICO was nominated, and that CAYLUS won a 'special' award). People get worked up over the SdJ because they haven't learned to distinguish between two distinct styles of game. And they haven't figured out that they only like one of those styles and the SdJ jury only likes the other. If we invented terminology by which these two styles of game could be distinguished, we may be doing the gaming world a favor, or we may just be giving people more fuel for flamewars.

Juniper said...

You guys aren't going to make fun of me now, are you?

Michael Barnes said...

Juniper, I'm going to award you the second merit badge you've won in this thread alone. That's a great post, and I think you're really getting at something new that's not been brought forward in such explicit terms.

I'm going to fly in the face of the prevailing opinion here on F:At by admitting that I adore these games.

I completely see where you're coming from. The best Eurogames do tend to be the more mainstream ones like MANILA, RA, CARCASSONNE et al. and the really crappy ones tend to either fall above or below those lines of complexity, depth, and accessibility. Thinking it over, it really is the "boutique", small press German games (and their copycats) that are the most egregious offenders of the things I hold dear in gaming and those are the ones that get the most attention via the supposedly "hardcore" audience of BGG.

THEBES is a good example of the kind of game Juniper is suggesting. It's about an hour long, has ample (but not "oozing" as some suggest)theme, and enough depth and interest to sustain casual and more "serious" gamers alike. And it's immediately accessible and overall, pretty fun. Contrast that to a game like CAYLUS that is specifically geared toward the BGG-style game audience. I can't imagine suggesting that overdesigned, completely mechanical exercise to a non-gamer looking for something to enjoy with friends or family but I'd totally recommend THEBES.

Back to AGRICOLA, everything about it indicates that it is a BGG-style game other than the random events, which there again have a certain "novelty" to gamers who generally eschew them or any taint of chaos. I can't imagine it having much interest outside of BGG spheres.

So yeah, I definitely think there are sharp defining lines between types of Eurogames- the classical "German style" family games and the post-PUERTO RICO BGG-style games.

Mr Zir said...

Damn this is a long list. It is a very interesting and informative read though. Before this list, I had only heard of Agricola on some "most-looking-forward-to" list that I was searching for interesting new games. I quickly dismissed it and heard nothing further until this post. It reinforces why I don't spend much time over at BGG. MrSkeletor's and Michael Barnes' postings of the latest blatant double standard over there are really just more drops in the bucket. When I first found BGG, I remember one of the major debates at the time was over whether or not house rules should be used. It wasn’t anything like the debates going on now, but even then I was surprised at what vehement control freaks people could be over someone else's entertainment.

Mr Skeletor said...

That was one hell of an awesome post Jupes.
And I pretty much agree.

Dennis Ugolini said...

That Juniper post was fantastic.

INDONESIA is pretty good, though.

mtlawson said...

Good post, Juniper.

To add to that, the folks at Ravensberger have brought out some games that have done fairly well too (Ave Caesar and Tikal, for starters). They've made games that fit on either side of the fence, cottage (Tikal) or German (Ave Caesar).

Interesting to note that there's the same sort of divide over here, but the divide is a bit more stark with the mass market American fare on one side, and all of the German/Cottage/AT/Euro/wargame stuff on the other.

--Mike L.

Juniper said...

A couple of corrections: I still haven't played it, but Hamburgum appears to be quicker than I thought. Since it's one of the 'rondel' games, I had assumed that it would take about three hours to complete, but apparently that's not so.

Also, I went back to check, and found that CAYLUS has about 12 pages of rules, not 16 as I had remembered. And one of those pages is just an illustration of the board, so let's call it 11. This is comparable to NAPOLEON'S TRIUMPH, which gives us, with just 9 pages of illustrated rules, a convincing historical simulation, rather than merely an abstract exercise in cube-pushing.

Frank Branham said...

Juniper: Good article. Indonesia is actually a pretty well-themed economic game with a nod or two to 18xx games. It is also quite vicious. And not entirely in a Euro way, but in a "I'm doing this just to sink your company" way.

The cottage industry as you describe is actually picking up. Lookout, in particular is doing games like Triumvirate, which is basically a wacky 3 person wargame.

The cool thing is that Essen is being invaded by Eastern Europe. A bunch of designers who've been playing alien Russian wargames and minis games all their lives. (Seriously. Russia has some impressive plastic toy soldier manufacturers that make wargames, and some interesting multiplayer battle games.)

Peer Sylvester said...

Hey Juniper,
"get your 130+ playtesters to rate it a 10"

- Wow! Ive got to get more playtesters ;-)

Side note 1: I dont know if anyone really have 130 playtesters... Perhaps Knizia, perhaps the very very big companys...

Side note 2: Yes, I know I shouldnt really use arguments when posting here, but I cant help it...

Juniper said...

Hey Juniper,
"get your 130+ playtesters to rate it a 10"

- Wow! Ive got to get more playtesters ;-)

Side note 1: I dont know if anyone really have 130 playtesters... Perhaps Knizia, perhaps the very very big companys...

Side note 2: Yes, I know I shouldnt really use arguments when posting here, but I cant help it...


You didn't use an argument. You're just airing an untested assumption that Agricola did not have over 130 playtesters.

Go to this file and read the credits on page 14:

http://files.boardgamegeek.com/geekfile_view.php?fileid=27346

Juniper said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Juniper said...

Oh, BTW: anybody that cares can compare the list of playtesters in the above-linked document to the names of the BGG users that rated AGRICOLA a 9 or a 10. It's not as though all 130-whatever playtesters jumped on board and gave AGRICOLA a 10 rating. Still, the number of high ratings from AGRICOLA 'insiders' seems to be comparable (I didn't bother to take an accurate count) to the number of joke ratings that were added with the specific expectation that they would be deleted in a day or two.

It doesn't matter, though. BGG rankings and ratings are silly. If folks want to campaign for a game that their buddy designed by boosting its average rating, that's fine with me. I just hope that those same folks don't then bitch about temporary and well-meaning prank ratings by appealing to the argument that BGG rankings are somehow scientific, and therefore holy and inviolate.

Anyway, this is the last thing that I have to say about AGRICOLA. I don't think I've seen CAYLUS on a "What I Played At BGG.CON" geeklist yet; If folks are still playing AGRICOLA in a couple of years, then I'll think about taking a look at that time.

I'm involved in a math trade that will end in a week or so, and I'll probably get my copy of STARCRAFT: THE BOARDGAME at around the same time. Then I'll try to take a long vacation from BGG so that I can instead spend my leisure time actually playing games.

vandemonium said...

Juniper - I am taking a BGG siesta for the time being myself. The sad thing is that if those of us who have a similiar interests let the vitriolic lunatics chase us off they win. BGG needs people like you, Frank, Ken and the rest of the folks who post here (yes even Barnes).

So take a siesta, it does the soul good but come back and not too long. BGG is much poorer if there are not voices like yours there. That and I'd miss my wing man!

"Talk to me goose, talk to me."

Anyhow, hope you guys get some gaming in this weekend.

For Russ - I got Hannibal from Tanga (outrage #2 at BGG last week) and I am hoping to get my dad to try it out with me tonight.

Cheers guys,
Van

Ken B. said...

I'm taking a definite leave from BGG for awhile. I open that front page and I immediately am hit with a wave of disinterest.

Frankly the reason is that during all this Agricola whiny bullshit it finally dawned on me that on BGG it's not "one big happy family". Hell, I'm convinced that some of the people on there, we're decidedly NOT sharing the same hobby. Oh, sure, our games have similarities...they have a board and come in a box...but other than that, it's like Mars and Venus in there.

Usually I get over this stuff pretty quickly, like in a day or so, but this one's tough to digest. It made me realize that not a damn thing has changed since I've been on that site, in fact, it's WORSE. Things look nice on the surface thanks to token sanitation done here and there, but under the surface it just isn't a super-wonderful place to be.

"Bugger off, go mess with your own people." I can't remember Hanno's exact quote but it was something very similar to that. Followed by a gem from someone who went to the hand-holding extravanganza of BGG.con who said they were "glad to have spent the weekend with people that were passionate about games" rather than, you know, the unwashed masses that constitute the rest of us.

Bye, Agricola! Have fun storming the castle! God, this hobby DESERVES to remain tiny niche small-time.

vandemonium said...

I think all of us here are letting a couple loons really get to us (myself included - I still haven't posted again - I am now holding out until Skels can post)

One thing to remember, in the worse thread which IMO was the "inevitable 1" - was that the people who were really freaking out about the damn thing, I had NEVER heard of or seen before. I think Michael even mentioned in this thread that he had never heard of Hanno before this shit. Me neither.

I firmly believe that there is a core of good people (a lot of them hang out in Chit Chat) - but I also think there is a core of what I am going to call the lunatic fringe who are vocal. To be fair, I say let's not generalize all of "THEM" the way the lunatic fringe call us "ATers" Hell, Juniper and I are really as much or more Euro gamers.

I think anyone who has posted anything substantial to this site falls into the "Trash" of Ameritrash. I am more and more convinced that the "trash" is the key more so than "Ameri-", "Euro", "War," "Abstract", "Party", et al.

I think this really gelled for me after reading the "17 1's of Tom Vasal" geek list - which really, really, seriously pissed me off BTW (a comment deleted in Skel's olive branch thread is a rant I wrote up then decided it just wasn't f'n worth it). Anyhow, the comment that really jumped out to me and made me say "ah ha!" was this:
from
http://www.boardgamegeek.com/geeklist/26399/item/534888#item534888
TV gives the card game Dutch Blitz a 1 and says:
"I hate this game. It rewards loud, obnoxious, quick-moving fingered people. I hate this game."

"Loud, obnoxious...people"

Woah. That's us folks. That is trash.

Hello my name is Van, and I am Eurotrash.

I really think that if Ken, Skels, Juniper and Michael and I sat down and played Power Grid it would be no time at all before some one was "going nuclear on your ass!" I believe it would be a FUN session even if it isn't the type of game you are more drawn to.

I really believe that it is more of a personality/style difference that differentiates some of the personalities as much as what games we like. I mean yes, there are differences in themes and blah blah blah, that has been gone on and on about ad nauseam. But really a game is about making decisions, trying to out manuever an opponent and having fun in a social context. I think that all of "us" fall into the trash talking, Kevin Smith type of (for lack of a better term) "archetype" that Michael has mentioned before. Some of "them" are much more button downed and serious. And again for clarity's sake the "them" I refer to are probably a small minority of posters on BGG.

I think betwixt the two are an aweful lot of folks who probably just stay the hell out of the way.

Anyhow, I guess this is a long assed way of saying, the same thing I suggested to Juniper and that I am doing myself. Take a break. But don't be gone too long. Bgg needs variety.

Since Michael can't post it is up to the rest of us to put the metaphoric boot to the ass of BGG once in awhile. Even if for some of us it is a generally a light tap - I don't think I am anyone particularly consequential by any means - but Frank and Ken, a lot of people do watch what you guys say, so it really does matter that you are around. At least in my estimation.

It is a damn shame that Michael can't post on BGG any more (and just so you don't think I'm going all ass kissy on y'all - I do think Michael, you occasional go a bit too far...) But let's not cede the battle gentlemen. Let's us not forget what matters in life.

"To crush your enemies, see them driven before you, and to hear the lamentation of the women. "

And finally:

"Nothing is over until we decide it is! Was it over when the Germans bombed Pearl Harbor? Hell no!"

Rest us gentlemen. The game is afoot.
Cheers,
Van

vandemonium said...

I think all of us here are letting a couple loons really get to us (myself included - I still haven't posted again - I am now holding out until Skels can post)

One thing to remember, in the worse thread which IMO was the "inevitable 1" - was that the people who were really freaking out about the damn thing, I had NEVER heard of or seen before. I think Michael even mentioned in this thread that he had never heard of Hanno before this shit. Me neither.

I firmly believe that there is a core of good people (a lot of them hang out in Chit Chat) - but I also think there is a core of what I am going to call the lunatic fringe who are vocal. To be fair, I say let's not generalize all of "THEM" the way the lunatic fringe call us "ATers" Hell, Juniper and I are really as much or more Euro gamers.

I think anyone who has posted anything substantial to this site falls into the "Trash" of Ameritrash. I am more and more convinced that the "trash" is the key more so than "Ameri-", "Euro", "War," "Abstract", "Party", et al.

I think this really gelled for me after reading the "17 1's of Tom Vasal" geek list - which really, really, seriously pissed me off BTW (a comment deleted in Skel's olive branch thread is a rant I wrote up then decided it just wasn't f'n worth it). Anyhow, the comment that really jumped out to me and made me say "ah ha!" was this:
from
http://www.boardgamegeek.com/geeklist/26399/item/534888#item534888
TV gives the card game Dutch Blitz a 1 and says:
"I hate this game. It rewards loud, obnoxious, quick-moving fingered people. I hate this game."

"Loud, obnoxious...people"

Woah. That's us folks. That is trash.

Hello my name is Van, and I am Eurotrash.

I really think that if Ken, Skels, Juniper and Michael and I sat down and played Power Grid it would be no time at all before some one was "going nuclear on your ass!" I believe it would be a FUN session even if it isn't the type of game you are more drawn to.

I really believe that it is more of a personality/style difference that differentiates some of the personalities as much as what games we like. I mean yes, there are differences in themes and blah blah blah, that has been gone on and on about ad nauseam. But really a game is about making decisions, trying to out manuever an opponent and having fun in a social context. I think that all of "us" fall into the trash talking, Kevin Smith type of (for lack of a better term) "archetype" that Michael has mentioned before. Some of "them" are much more button downed and serious. And again for clarity's sake the "them" I refer to are probably a small minority of posters on BGG.

I think betwixt the two are an aweful lot of folks who probably just stay the hell out of the way.

Anyhow, I guess this is a long assed way of saying, the same thing I suggested to Juniper and that I am doing myself. Take a break. But don't be gone too long. Bgg needs variety.

Since Michael can't post it is up to the rest of us to put the metaphoric boot to the ass of BGG once in awhile. Even if for some of us it is a generally a light tap - I don't think I am anyone particularly consequential by any means - but Frank and Ken, a lot of people do watch what you guys say, so it really does matter that you are around. At least in my estimation.

It is a damn shame that Michael can't post on BGG any more (and just so you don't think I'm going all ass kissy on y'all - I do think Michael, you occasional go a bit too far...) But let's not cede the battle gentlemen. Let's us not forget what matters in life.

"To crush your enemies, see them driven before you, and to hear the lamentation of the women. "

And finally:

"Nothing is over until we decide it is! Was it over when the Germans bombed Pearl Harbor? Hell no!"

Rest us gentlemen. The game is afoot.
Cheers,
Van

Ken B. said...

I agree about Power Grid. Hell, we played The Gothic Game and underneath it all, that's not a "great" game at all. But Michael and Robert had all these crazy rules, like having to roll the dice from a special cup...

And the trash talking was legendary...especially after Michael became the vampire and just started devouring the other players. It was hilarious and memorable.

Playing that game with the wrong crowd...disaster.

Juniper said...

Well said, Van. Maybe we need to set up a "Eurotrash Palazzo" blog and set up an East Coast-West Coast hiphop feud with F:At. You can be Suge Knight and Ken can be Puff Daddy.

I picked up Starcraft: the Board Game on Friday. I'm very excited about it. Maybe when MrSkeletor is reinstated, I'll post a review on BGG. Until then, how do I fix a broken Scourge unit? I mean, I know these things are basically kamikaze air-to-air bombers, but one of mine self-destructed before I even had the shrinkwrap off. The transparent post on which the figure was mounted had snapped. Maybe this was intentional, on the part of the manufacturer, and meant to impart extra Starcraft authenticity to the game?

Ken B. said...

Puff-Daddy?


Does this mean I need to start putting "Uh huh, yeah" repeatedly in all my articles and reviews?



"Lionheart is a decent game that needs more meat on its bones. Uh huh, yeah."

vandemonium said...


Juniper said...
Well said, Van. Maybe we need to set up a "Eurotrash Palazzo" blog and set up an East Coast-West Coast hiphop feud with F:At. You can be Suge Knight and Ken can be Puff Daddy.


:dangles Ken out the Window:

So now, what was your favorite game again, homie?

Actually, I am a little concerned about being Suge - he *did* go to prision, no? I think of all the places I would *not* like to play board games it would be in prison. Although I supposed one may see some interesting err, "house rules" and "variants" there...

The burning question implied though is who is Biggy and Tupac?

Ken B. said...

Barnes is definitely Tupac. Despite being "dead", he's still quite prolific.

Wargamer66 said...

I'm starting to wonder what this blog is about: love for AT games or showing off how lame Eurogame themes and mechanics are (in your oppinion)?

Speaking of this, has anyone noticed that you earn victory points in Cuba by paying taxes?

Mikoyan said...

Why is it when I hear the term medieval farming, I think of the Runettes?

"To plow it in the winter...sew it with as many oxen...sew it with many......"

"Oh it written in the village roles....."

Mikoyan said...

Anyways, I read most of the thread on the geek and holy shit, some people need to get a life (Just call me the Pot as I'm posting this at 2 in the morning). But geeze...someone might have to wait weeks. I wonder if he's the same dweeb that took two hours to open a box?

Joe Huber said...

Ryan Walberg wrote (some long time ago, but I just stumbled upon it today):

Any designer that contacts a BGGer regarding their rating of his/her game should immediately be banned. I got a big long GeekMail from "joe huber" regarding my rating for Ice Cream. I could have debated the (lack of) merits with him but in the end I just didn't reply at all, which is precisely the message I wanted to send him.

The following is the message I sent to Ryan, in it's entirity:

"Ryan,

You wrote:

Terrible, probably the worst game that ever played me. The decisions in this game -- as rare as they are -- are completely based on speculation. I wonder if it was playtested? After we played the first round we re-read all the BGG reviews, trying to figure out what we were doing wrong. We were "playing" correctly, it's just not a passable game, let alone a good one.

First, and foremost - I'm not writing in an attempt to change your mind, your rating, or your comment. You're free to them, and it's not my intent to attempt to change them. (Which is not to say that I don't hope they change - but I certainly don't find that a game that I have this strong a negative reaction to hits the table again for any such change to occur.)

However, I did want to answer a question, and ask a question.

First, the answer - Ice Cream was playtested, dozens and dozens of times. And what Face2Face found, in their playtests, was that kids enjoyed the game, and as such it worked well as a family game. Larry has told me that they would not have published it save for that. OTOH, Out of the Box found that the game didn't have enough control for their preferences - a similar, if milder, version of your own reaction.

Now, the question - I'm curious what you mean about decisions being completely based upon speculation. I have a guess, but rather than - sorry - speculating, I wanted to check.

Thanks,

Joe"

I was hoping to get useful feedback; instead I got silence, so I dropped the issue. (Had I known it would bother Ryan so much, I wouldn't have asked the question in the first place, but so be it.)

viagra online said...

They like it because the early ratings on BGG essentially told them to. As well, it was something of an exotic and elusive item at the start, because the English-language edition was initially in very short supply.

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