New! The Clever Move Board Game Recommender

Average rating per year among the top 2000 most popular games on Board Game Geek, excluding expansions.

Hi all,

Let’s start with the headline: Today, unveils its brand new Board Game Recommender. Go check it out. It’s fun.

How we got here

Now, let’s backtrack: It’s been a while since you’ve seen an update here. During that time, I’ve done some odd things with my life. First, I became a professional fencing coach. Then I became a data scientist.

The latter brings us to today.

As part of the Data Science Immersive program at Galvanize in New York City, I had to complete a capstone project. I chose to make a board game recommendation engine using data from Board Game Geek.

I won’t bore you with all the details of how I accomplished this task, but I will tell you how it works.

How it works

The model uses a process called collaborative filtering. Basically, it uses linear algebra to cluster users by similar profiles. Love Catan and Carcassonne? That puts you in one group. Love Twilight Imperium and Diplomacy? That puts you in another.

But membership in these groups is fluid. You can be a 60% member of one group and a 40% group of another. Most users belong to many groups. The model multiplies how much you belong to a group and how highly that group rated a game helps predict how you would rate it.

If that sounds like how Netflix recommends movies, you’re not wrong.

On the basic recommendation page, we show you five games out of the 100 with the highest predicted rating. You can shuffle through and see what selection you come up with. You can also click the Top 100 list to see a simple list.

How do I get better recommendations?

If you have rated even just one game on Board Game Geek, the engine will make a top 100 list for you that is different from the default. But the more games you have rated, the better your top 100 list will be.

So, if you want better recommendations, go rate more games on BGG. If you don’t have a BGG account, make one, rate some games and use the form on the site to let us know you did so. When we next update the engine to take your ratings into account, we’ll let you know.

Seriously. Go rate more games on BGG. Up until now, rating games hasn’t done anything for you. Now it can.

What now?

The recommender is currently in a beta phase. I’m releasing it today for a limited time to collect data on how it performs.

I will also use your interaction with the program and your comments to bolster my work when I present my capstone project next week.


That’s all for now. Enjoy the board game recommender. If you want to let me know your thought on it, email me at

It’s good to work on Clever Move again.


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