Redefining a Rating Scale

A number of times recently on the podcast, I’ve voiced my dissatisfaction with the rating scale that I’m currently using.  Mostly for convenience and consistency with my previous ratings and familiarity of the others in my game group, I’ve always just gone with the BoardGameGeek 1-10 scale to rate games.  But especially after realizing that I tend to use the same numbers a lot (mostly 7 for “pretty good” games and 8 for games I really like), I wanted to look for or create something new.

The first thing I wanted to do was to use a greater range of numbers so I could spread out my ratings a little bit.  Therefore, I started with the 5/6 split and made it truly the center of my thoughts.  A 5 would be “average” with a slightly negative feeling about it (sort of boring, take or leave it), while a 6 would be a pretty decent game that I felt generally good about but wasn’t blown away by.

The other thing I wanted to do was to introduce a few different “dimensions” that might help me find where a game would fit.  So for each rating, I gave a simple description, some more in-depth descriptors, a typical quote you might say, a quote about your interest to play, and then a little description of how much the game “haunts” your thoughts between gaming sessions.  I like having these different aspects for the ratings, but also worry a little about the consistency from one to another, and hope that most games will fall consistently into the same tier across many of the dimensions.

So anyway, here it is.  I plan on starting to use it immediately, both here and eventually re-rating my collection at BGG (which may take some time).  And of course, I’m also going to continue to refine and improve it based on actual use and, hopefully, feedback from all of you out there.

GCRatingScale

Since I couldn’t figure out how to format it properly for my blog, the above is just a picture, but you can also find it on Google Drive at https://docs.google.com/spreadsheet/ccc?key=0AumOtUHIT6w4dDJJeEw1MmdOb2VpUFlXZ2UzMEduakE&usp=sharing if you’re interested in copying it.

9 Comments


  1. Interesting spectrum. I think that works nicely.

    For my part, I have a standing ranking of all my games, and when I rate them on bgg, I just do it on a percentile system – so the top ten percent get a ’10,’ the next ten percent get a ‘9,’ etc. It’s not ideal, but it gives me a flat distribution.

    The weakness of the system is that if I successfully get rid of games in the bottom third or so, then a bunch of games previously rated ‘4’ would drop down to a ‘1.’ On the other hand, I don’t continually update the ratings, either; I rate them when I’ve played them enough to feel solid about the way I rank it at the time, and then I pretty much leave it alone after that.


  2. I love this scale. I too found all my BGG ratings to cluster in the 6-9 range. I may adopt this as well and re-rate my collection. Thanks for posting!

  3. Chris Ingersoll

    Interesting. I like it!

  4. Chris Norwood

    So, let me get this straight…

    You rank all of the games you own.  Like, you have a list, and when you play a game, you slide it in between two games, meaning that it is better than the lower game and not quite as good as the higher one? And if you play it again and feel better or worse about it, you competitively evaluate it against the other games on your list and find it’s new home? 

    That’s pretty interesting, even though I don’t know that it backwards translates into a rating (at BGG or anywhere else, for that matter) well at all.  Why not just keep a master list of all the games you’ve played (not just own) for rating purposes?  That way, the top 10% of games you’ve ever played for all time would be your 10’s, and the 1’s would be limited to the worst 10% ever, rather than changing continually based on purchases and trades/sales?


  5. Chris, yes, that’s the idea. After I’ve played a new game a few times, I’ll figure out where it fits in the overall ranking and slide it in. Sometimes I’ll realize that my opinion of a game has changed over time (up or down) and adjust it accordingly, but it’s a casual process; I don’t go back and re-evaluate everything all the time.

    I see your point about including games I’ve ever played; that would probably make for a better overall rating system. But the primary purpose of the list, actually, is to help come up with candidates for game nights or family game sessions or whatever – or conversely, candidates to trade away or sell at a flea market. That’s why it’s confined to games that I actually own. Not a perfect system, of course, but it works for me.


  6. Chris, yes, that’s the idea. After I’ve played a new game a few times, I’ll figure out where it fits in the overall ranking and slide it in. Sometimes I’ll realize that my opinion of a game has changed over time (up or down) and adjust it accordingly, but it’s a casual process; I don’t go back and re-evaluate everything all the time.

    I see your point about including games I’ve ever played; that would probably make for a better overall rating system. But the primary purpose of the list, actually, is to help come up with candidates for game nights or family game sessions or whatever – or conversely, candidates to trade away or sell at a flea market. That’s why it’s confined to games that I actually own. Not a perfect system, of course, but it works for me.

  7. Chris Norwood

    I could see that being pretty cool for helping prioritize games you want to play.  And I’m not really advocating changing your list, but maybe instead keeping two lists.  One would be the one you maintain and tweak based on what you own, and the other could be more permanent where you didn’t remove games and could even add things you didn’t own yet.

    Or maybe that’s just too much work.


  8. I like this a lot. Would you mind if I borrowed it for future reviews on Pretty Sneaky, Sis?

  9. Chris Norwood

    No, not at all!  That’s why I’ve made it public.

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