If you’ve ever played Cigar Wars, you know that it is a fun and addictive cigar ranking system that pits one cigar against another in a quest to determine the highest ranking stick. If you have not played it before, check it out now, as it has been re-built from the ground up, for a more personalized and comprehensive experience. The original Cigar Wars debuted in 2015, and the idea was simple. Choose between cigar (a) or cigar (b). representing a hypothetical the real-world scenario, where a smoker is offered one of two cigars to smoke that moment. Even if that person is not familiar with one or both choices, they will make a decision on other factors. Multiply this hypothetical scenario and its potential permutations by thousands, or tens of thousands of times, and you end up with an honest, fun, and accurate cigar ranking system.
Cigar Dojo describes the system as “Tinder meets IMDB” and is now more powerful in the year 2019. One of the differences, voters are now encouraged to create a personalized profile. In the past, all votes were cast simply for fun, or in an attempt to help structure the overall leaderboard. Now 2.0, each user’s votes count towards the public leaderboard, as well as their own personalized stats. The more a user votes on cigar battles, the more accurate the system becomes, learning from the user’s voting habits to assemble personalized preferences. With live results, Cigar Wars will determine your wrapper shade of preference (choosing between Claro, Natural, and Maduro), company, factory, strength, price range, and more.
Cigar Wars also now lets users “favorite” individual cigars and uses this info along with voting habits and similarity to other uses to recommend new cigars. Another new feature, Cigar Wars will now display trending cigars, which are those that are rising (or falling) the quickest at that particular moment.
The updated Cigar Wars leaderboard allows users to drill-down and refine the results on a deeper level. Top-ranked cigars can be viewed by day, week, month, year, all-time, or even live results—which is the default view. These timeframes can be used to view the highest ranked cigars by country (such as the top-ranked Cuban cigar of the day), wrapper shade, price range, and company size (see cigars only from boutique manufacturers, etc.).
This leaderboard is based on a popular ranking algorithm known as Elo (most famously used to rank chess players), which assigns a number of points to every cigar in the system’s database. With every Cigar Wars battle, a number of points are removed from the losing cigar and and transferred to the victor. The most important attribute of this system is that it is self-correcting, taking more points from an upset battle (such as the #100 cigar beating the #10 cigar) than it would from a more evenly matched contest. In other words, the system can quickly recover from unfair voting, allowing cigars to quickly return to their rightful positions in the leaderboard. And with the newly added timeframes (cigar of the month, year, all time), they have removed extra layers of volatility, where it becomes increasingly difficult to alter the list’s rankings longterm.
As part of the new features set, each individual cigar in the database can be expanded to show additional information. Users can see a quick description, as well as a cigar breakdown (blend information, cigar release year, price range, etc.), strength/body/flavor graphs, core flavor tags (chocolate, cinnamon, leather, etc.), and even a list of similar cigars, based on a cross-reference of the aforementioned attributes.
Every cigar has an associated cigar company and cigar factory. Users can now look though a list of each, where they can find more info about a company or a factory’s history and their highlights. Once additional cigars begin to fill out a company/factory’s portfolio, Cigar Wars will show users the top-ranked cigars made by the company/factory. Not only this, but CW will also average all cigars under any given company/factory, showing the average price, body, country of origin, and more. Every company page includes a list of associated factories, meaning users can discover helpful information to guide future choices. For example, a fan of Caldwell Cigar Co. could see that the company’s cigars are produced at Tabacalera William Ventura in the Dominican Republic, Diadema Cigars de Honduras in Honduras, and La Gran Fabrica Drew Estate in Nicaragua. Then, when viewing any of these factory’s individual pages, users are presented with each factory’s top-ranked cigars—including all brands made at each factory.
More to Come
Cigar Wars 2.0 has been in beta for the past few months, debugging the system and helping to establish a base for the overall leaderboard and recommendations. They are rolling out the updated Cigar Wars to everyone, having 200 cigars, over 40 companies, and a handful of factories in the database. Each of these are hand-entered on a daily basis, currently offering 20,000 possible battle combinations for voters. Cigar Wars 2.0 is a large improvement of the previous version, but the company says there is still work to be done. Future updates to Cigar Wars will see additional profile enhancements and increased recommendation accuracy, making for a dynamic tool for the active enthusiast, without losing site of the light-hearted spirit at the core of Cigar Wars.
Check out this cool video of the new features: