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Game Night at WikiProject Board and Table Games

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By Mabeenot

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A Trivial Pursuit playing piece with all six wedges filled in
File:Cluedo arms.png
Weapons used by the murder suspect in the game Cluedo (Clue in North America)
"Meeples" are the playing pieces from the German-style game Carcassonne
Many games can be played with dominoes, but watching them fall can be just as entertaining

This week, we challenged WikiProject Board and Table Games to answer our interview questions. The project was founded in August 2006 to improve articles about board games, card games, dice games, tile-based games, miniature wargames, and other games typically played on a table or other flat surface. The project has several child projects and siblings, ranging from WikiProject Poker and WikiProject Contract Bridge to WikiProject Dungeons & Dragons and WikiProject Warhammer 40,000. WikiProject Board and Table Games maintains a special relationship with the autonomous WikiProject Chess and excludes most Chess-related articles from the scope of WikiProject Board and Table Games. The project contributes to the Sports and Games Portal. We interviewed Tetron76.

What motivated you to join WikiProject Board and table games? What is your favorite board or table game? Do you prefer a specific type/genre of game?

I have expertise in several board and card games which made it a project of interest to me, but I suppose that the specific reason that I joined was when trying to improve a bad article and had a talk page discussion with a BTG member for improving it.
My favorite game at the moment is an obscure abstract strategy game called Entropy (or Hyle) invented by Eric Solomon, its depth of play is surprising considering you pull counters from a bag. It is colorful too and about making pretty patterns.
I have fairly eclectic tastes in any game of skill, my main genre is probably strategy games as other games lose their challenge too quickly. I am keen on German style board games such as Settlers of Catan and I used to be a very keen card player.

Has the project had any difficulties getting enthusiasts of a specific game to contribute to other board and table games? What are some of the challenges facing the project's recruitment and sustainability?

I think that board games is a very broad field which means that it is always going to be challenging to deal with games that are not household favorites. This means that there are certainly issues of some enthusiasts, becoming exclusively immersed in their own game, which can leave some consistency issues. While other projects seem to have struggled for membership such as game theory and strategy games, I think that everyone plays games at some point in their lives and their are many editors who contribute to pages that are watched by BTG. I don't foresee that the project will ever have sustainability issues but there are probably recruitment issues when it comes to getting participation to bring all of the articles up to the highest standards rather than merely proving notability.

The project has several former featured articles and good articles. Were there any commonalities in the demotion of these articles? Has there been an effort to improve the articles and restore their FA or GA status.?

I think that some of the articles were demoted from changing standards from when they originally made the rank. There are others that had slipped that probably are very close to GA such as Go (game). I think that there has only been gradual effort to improve these articles with references and rewrites of the odd sentence, I suspect that a concerted effort could probably manage to improve most of the traditional board game pages to GA or above.

WikiProject Board and table games is related to several projects covering token, miniature, and card games. Do you contribute to any of these projects? Have there been any inter-project collaborations?

I have only really contributed to these articles with one or two references often as a result of an AfD. I don't know of any formal inter-project collaborations but there is the occasional communication.

WikiProject Chess's project page notes that WikiProject Board and table games intentionally excludes Chess-related articles to prevent overlap. Why was this decision made? Would you recommend similar boundaries between other projects?

I don't know why the decision was made as it was before I joined. It makes sense, where there is a dedicated project to give them the scope to improve the articles and create articles on chess to a consistent style. However, there are clearly cases where a certain level of overlap is needed at least in monitoring pages. History of board games is one obvious area where consistency is needed, Chess hybrids and all-round games players all overlap. So I think that a level of overlap is needed but mainly just with tag watching. I would recommend that if a similar boundary is wanted it is still useful to add the pages to watchlists. The reason is that a project can become inactive and some critical pages are then no longer monitored. It is sometimes useful to have occasional feedback so that the general perspective is not lost. I do think that it is helpful to allow any new project the scope to grow and expand but I wouldn't recommend formalising any such arrangement.

What are the project's most pressing needs and concerns? How can a new member help today?

There are 3 main areas that need to be addressed. 1) Card games - there is huge duplication of card games and very few references, the problem is that you cannot easily navigate the card games without prior knowledge and there were many pages without any project tags. 2) There are several older articles that are very badly referenced or lack real world perspective especially that overlap other projects such as RPG. 3) There are no guidelines in how to deal with people - I have started a discussion about drawing up some game guidelines. It is complicated due to many games experts having achievements in several other fields. The only common contentious area that the games pages are suffering is with the history of board games that there are a surprising number of differing standards between aging a game.

Anything else you'd like to add?

I think that there are some unique problems to do with some information being word of mouth. The dice games require very specialised sources and can be unreferenced and there are very few sources that discuss dice games but I have no doubt about their notability at an earlier point in history. The problem is that I don't think that the project currently has access to editors with specialised sources.

Next week we'll revive fading WikiProjects. Until then, glean helpful tips from our previous interviews in the archives.

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