Up With Medals: Our Rating System Explained

To rate the games we review here at Up With Meeple, we’ve decided to adopt a ‘medal system’ – games will be awarded a Gold Medal (best), Silver Medal, Bronze Medal, or No Medal at all (worst).  One of the things we like about this system is that it’s intuitive for most people .  If you see that a game received a Silver Medal, for example, you can immediately guess that the top rank possible would be ‘Gold Medal’ and the worst a game could do would be to receive no medal, even without having the ranking scale explained to you.

In our evaluation, we plan to consider several criteria, including Gameplay / Mechanics, Production Values / Theme, Replayability, and whether a game is just plain, good old-fashioned Fun.  Here’s a helpful chart showing the general attributes of a game that would fall into each of the four categories in our medal system:

No Medal – Poor. Either broken gameplay or lacking in fun.
Bronze – Good. Solid, enjoyable games.
Silver – Great. Many modern board game classics.
Gold – Exceptional. All-time favorite games.

If you don’t like charts (or if you do like long-winded explanations), here’s a brief description of some of the key attributes of games falling into each of those categories:

No Medal

These are games we feel have something seriously wrong with them.  Maybe their rules are broken, maybe the game plays the same every time, maybe they look good on paper but don’t deliver when you actually play them.  For whatever reason, they’re games that aren’t fun to play, and that you really don’t care to play again.



Bronze Medal

Bronze medal games are games that are enjoyable and fun, and that you’d like to play again.  They might have a minor flaw or two, or there might be a similar game you like to play better, but they’re still games you make a point to play periodically, especially if they haven’t hit the table in awhile.



Silver Medal

Silver medal games are great games, games you make a point to play.  They’re a ton of fun, and usually stand out because they do at least one thing really well, like having tight mechanics, unique gameplay, or outstanding production value.



Gold Medal

Gold medal games are the best of the best, games we think everyone should play at least once, and that we don’t mind playing again and again.  They are Appointment Games, the games that game nights are organized around.  These games are so well designed, so well-produced, and so fun to play that they set the standard against which other, similar games inevitably get compared.


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