Tuesday, April 03, 2007

April Fool's Day

Those of you active on the Geek may have seen a surprise over the weekend - Puerto Rico was knocked out of its #1 Position, which it has held since BoardGameGeek first started tracking games. A position which it's held through several revisions in how first place is rated.

It was knocked out of its space by this game.

Now, Aldie (the owner/operator/chief game enthusiast of BoardGameGeek) has an excellent sense of humor, and always does something for April Fool's Day. But he didn't do this.

Another user - Rootbeer went through the database to find a bad-looking out-of-print game with no ratings and no recorded plays. He then sent GeekMail to over 300 people, suggesting the prank.

Aldie's shill-busting abilities are legendary - this sort of thing doesn't usually get through, as the algorithm set up for determining game ranking is notoriously difficult to "game" (as it were). Every three "10" ratings a game is given are balanced by a "5.5" (or something like that). It ensures that no game will ever have a perfect ten. Because of this, I don't think anyone expected this to work.

Either way, it did. In less than a day, Monkey Auto Races went from total obscurity to being the #1 game on the Geek. Not only that, but the forums (which had previously been empty) were filled with reviews, rules questions, variants and strategy discussion.

All in all, it was a brilliant prank - made all the more amusing because it required over 300 people working together to pull it off. And no-one spilled the beans.


I look forward to next year's community prank.

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