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Saturday, May 18, 2024

Pick-A-Game: Website Review

by | published Tuesday, July 14, 2015

If you’re a gamer, there’s probably a number of ways you’ll figure out what you want to play. What is the hotness? Has another game friend recommended something to you? Perhaps you’ve taken a look around on BoardgameGeek to see what is new, and how games are rated there. But how much does a “something out of 10” rating actually mean to you, as a particular kind of gamer? More importantly – if you’re a casual or non-gamer, does that rating out of 10 even mean anything?

Jonathan Moriarity, game teacher and enthusiast extraordinaire, has developed Pick-A-Game (currently in beta stage) to help with figuring out what game/s will suit you, and also how to narrow down your gamer type/personality. Take a look at this quick intro video to the site:

If you want to quickly take a look at what might be a good game to sit down and play, there’s a “Quick Pick”. Select your number of players from 2 to 9+ (there’s no solo player option – yet!), and then your age range of players. The quick pick then guides you to pick an option on a number of scales, allowing it to do its magic and figure out the experience you’re after – do you want to compete, or cooperate? Do you want to be silly or serious? After a handful of these scales, the Pick-A-Game spits out a number of suggestions on the right hand side with a “confidence meter” next to each one letting you know if you’re likely to dig it or not.

When I looked at what I might be able to play with 9+ players, in a group with the youngest age of 12. I wanted something mostly relaxed, kinda intellectual, and something middle-ground as far as silliness/immersive experience. Once I’d finalized my feedback, the top three suggestions were 6 Nimmt, Mascarade & Panic on Wall Street. Not bad, eh? The great thing is once you’ve done your selections and have results, you can tinker with your selections a bit – change player group, experience you’re after – and the suggestion list will auto-update for you.

This quick pick alone is an amazingly helpful tool, especially if you’re wanting to build up some games for your family, or a particular gaming group. It might be hard if you’re after an immediate gratification sort of thing, because the database of games the site suggests from is quite large, and not everyone’s going to have straight up access to the amount of games suggested. If you want to dig a little deeper, you could try the personality quiz. It asks, “what games are right for you?” and that answer depends what kind of player you are!

Going through 5 parts, the quiz will ask questions about how you game and what you’re like:

  • Do you prefer games where you…
  • Suppose you’re going to play a game that’s mostly about…
  • Which of these things are you best at?
  • What if the best way to win is…

After selecting answers from those parts, the personality quiz will show you a table of the “player types” and where you sit on the scale for each of them, letting you understand better the type of gamer you are, which will help going forward. If you don’t agree with it totally, you can take the test over. If you think it’s pretty spot on, you can then click away to game recommendations!

But if you really want to see the guts of all the behind the scenes magic to get game recommendations, you can use the “advanced” game selector! This lets you tinker with a little of everything – player types, game size/ages, and the social/knowledge/reasoning/wildcard type scales to get a good feel for where the game you want might sit in all of those experience types.pag-advancedpick

On top of these wonderful ways to take a look at what games might suit you, there’s more general searches, too – by game, subject, designer, and even a suggestion for similar games to those you already enjoy. And if you want to go more in depth into what makes up games, Jonathan has gone into some great detail with his breakdown of game elements, which is quite helpful for someone new to gaming, or looking to find games based on what they already love in games they play.

It’s clear that Jonathan’s got a great understanding of not just games, but gamers. There’s been a lot of thought go into this site and the tools available. If you take a look at the ‘About’ section, you’ll see they’re still working on it, and planning to add more features. If you have the time to take a good look around and browse the site and use the tools, Jonathan and his team are definitely looking for feedback right now! You can contact them to suggest games to add to the database, report bugs, request a certain feature and more. We at the DWP certainly can’t wait to see where Pick-A-Game goes from here.



  • Nicole H.

    Nicole had played a lot of backgammon, Life and Monopoly when younger. She started playing hobby games in University after trying out D&D 3rd edition, and then joining her University game club. After a while she gravitated towards board games as a casual gamer. After moving to Toronto in 2009 she started gaming more and met her (former) partner Adam through the hobby and hasn't turned back. It's hard for her to pick a favourite game, but if you really stared her down she might pick Castles of Burgundy. When not gaming, Nicole enjoys cooking/baking, reading comics, watching tv/movies and visiting museums! And cuddling every dog she can.

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