Tuesday, 11 December 2012

boardgame information overload

There is so much boardgame-related information on the internet that it is impossible to keep up. I use Google Reader to subscribe to RSS feeds of blogs and websites I follow. I visit www.boardgamegeek.com (BGG) regularly. These are the my only two regular channels for reading up the latest on boardgames. Yet I still need to apply my own filtering when I read news articles and blog posts. Here are my filtering rules. They reflect my personal preference and I would not recommend anyone to apply them wholesale.


Google Reader

  1. Kickstarter - I usually skip all articles related to Kickstarter projects, because many such projects are amateur projects. I do miss out good games because of this. Thankfully sometimes I do get to play some good Kickstarted games because of the gamers I play with.
  2. Designer diaries - Skip by default. Sometimes I read designer diaries for games that I have already played and thus am interested in the stories behind them.
  3. Session reports - I usually don't read these, but sometimes I read session reports of games that I do not know or do not even intend to play, because they make good stories, e.g. those on World War II related games by Seth Owen and Paul Owen (hmm... are they related?).
  4. Very detailed game-specific discussions - I skip those for games I'm unfamiliar with because I am unable to follow. E.g. strategy discussions and amazingly good or bad or interesting hands in Bridge.
  5. Podcasts - Skip, because I don't like the show dictating the pace. Listening is passive. Reading is active and lets me skip paragraphs.
  6. Videos - Skip. Same reason as podcasts. However occasionally I do watch a video describing a game that I am specifically interested in, just to see how it works.
  7. Detailed regurgitation of the rules - Skip. If a game interests me enough, I'll read the rules.
  8. Long articles - I either read the first few paragraphs to get an idea of whether the rest of the article will interest me, or I peek at the closing paragraph(s) to decide whether I want to learn more.
  9. Articles on games I've already played - More such articles catch my interest than articles about games I have not played, because I'm interested to hear what others think about these games, especially those who have opposite opinions. Session reports can also be more interesting because I understand the intricacies in the game.
  10. Well-known designers - I'm always interested to learn what the established designers are doing - Martin Wallace, Uwe Rosenberg, Reiner Knizia, Vlaada Chvatil, Wolfgang Kramer, etc.
  11. Articles which are not boardgame-related but are gaming-related, and nerd culture - I skip articles on console games because I have no game console. I read some articles on iOS games because I have an iPhone. I skip articles on comics, because I rarely read English comics (currently I only follow The Walking Dead). I read some articles on movies.
  12. Very personal stories on BGG - A mix. I am not one to share a marriage proposal, the birth of a child or the death of a close friend on a BGG geeklist. I don't disparage those who do, just that I personally don't feel comfortable doing so, and I usually don't read such geeklists by others. I do often read funny anecdotes related to boardgaming.

After I have decided to not skip an article, I also apply a method when reading it. I often like to jump to the conclusion section to look at the closing paragraph, or any pros and cons summary, or the rating, or the Enthusiastic / Suggest / Neutral / Not For Me / Avoid classification. If a game gets a lousy review, or if it is not a type that I am interested in, then I will probably skip the article afterall. I structure my blog posts the way they are because of my reading method. My three sections more-or-less correspond to the game rules overview, the session report and the conclusion. I want to allow my readers to pick what they want to read. I have even thought about writing the conclusions first, and then write the other two sections. I couldn't adapt to that flow of writing, so it didn't work out.

I like photos of boardgames, and descriptions of what is going on in them. Not so interested in photos of people playing boardgames, unless I know them, or the photo tells a story. No overly artsy photos please. They are good as desktop wallpapers. I prefer a photo of a boardgame to tell me how the game works and what the game is like in action.

How do you read my blog posts? Do you like their structure? Does it feel cold, like a shopping list? Any suggestions or feedback?


Aik Yong said...

In general I also skip to the conclusion of the article more often than not to see if it is a game that I would like. As a result i also write my own blog in such a way to have more pictures than words.

I also like reading session reports of recent games that I have played to see whether I have missed out on some strategies or have we succumbed to groupthink in our play through.

Lastly I do podcast as I have a long commute and I also do iOS game news as they are how I game the rest of the week out of the boardgame nite.

Hiew Chok Sien 邱卓成 said...

Indeed podcasts are suitable for traveling to and from work. Just that I never quite mustered the interest to download them. I usually just listen to music.

Eric Franklin said...

I read via Google Reader - and I read the whole post most of the time. I'm reading so many blogs that occasionally, I'll get two sentences in and realize it's about a game/designer/event I don't care about, and I'll skip.

Some blogs only do partial feed via Reader, and I'll rarely click through.

Hiew Chok Sien 邱卓成 said...

One thing that annoys me is RSS feeds that only show the first paragraph or so. I can understand people wanting to bring traffic to their websites, but I prefer to be able to read everything within Google Reader. So I do full feeds for my blog.