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  • Essays
  • Right to Reply - When Reviews are "Wrong"

Right to Reply - When Reviews are "Wrong"

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(Photo by Juliana Malta on Unsplash)
There Will Be Games

I love writing reviews, even though that was never the intention with the blog, when I first started. I've now written over 135 reviews, which is amazing, given it was something I only started doing once the blog had already been going for a while. There are a lot of things I learned over the years when it comes to writing about board games, but what I knew from the start was that reviews are always just an opinion. Opinions vary from person to person, so chances are that someone reading one of my reviews will disagree with me. Their opinion of a game will be different and in this article, I want to talk about how my opinion might be perceived by others. (This article was inspired by We're Not Wizards.)

Let me start by saying that every article on my blog has a comment section. It might be all the way at the bottom of the page (and I still haven't worked out how to change that yet), but it's there. I always invite people to leave a comment and let me know their thoughts. That is especially true for my "topic discussion" articles, but also for reviews. I want to hear if people had a similar experience to the one I've had or if they feel completely differently to me. Maybe I missed something in the rules or misunderstood something. Every comment is welcome, as long as it's friendly and constructive. Abusive or hateful comments are not tolerated - but that goes without saying.

So even though most comments I get are in response to one of my "topic discussion" pieces, probably because they are more food for thought and maybe inspire people more to share their ideas and experiences with me, I do sometimes get comments on my reviews.

As I say, people are welcome to disagree with my opinion of a game. Just because I really love a particular game doesn't mean everyone will - and not even every regular reader of my blog who might be more aligned with my taste in games. It's great to hear that someone had a really bad experience with a game that I really enjoy. It's even better to hear why their experience was so different to mine. It could be as simple as different tastes in games. It could also be that a game just doesn't work as well at the player count they played it at, while it was perfect for me, because I played it at a different player count. There are many reasons why opinions about board games will differ - and that's a good thing.

After all, the more different tastes and expectations there are in our hobby, the more potential for designers and publishers to cater for making a game that is perfect for them.

I always try and stay away from calling a game "good" or "bad", because these terms on their own are usually not helpful. If I ever call a game "good" or even "great", I mean that I really enjoyed playing it. Yet, most of the time I will call a game "a lot of fun" or "fast" or "thinky" or use some other adjective to describe what sort of taste a game may appeal to. That way you, as the reader, can hopefully better decide if a game is for you - or not. So even if I really like a game and write a glowing review, I try and give you as much information as possible to allow you to decide for yourself if you want to try the game - or not.

Yet, reviews will never be objective. My review will always reflect my subjective opinion. So even though it's great to hear if someone disagrees and find out why their opinion is different, my opinion is still valid. My opinion might be different from yours, but it's still my opinion and it's true in that context. So when someone comments on a review and says that my opinion is wrong, then, well, they're wrong. Telling me that your opinion is different from mine is different.

However, when people call someone's opinion "wrong", they either mean that they disagree or sometimes they mean that the opinion is based on wrong information. What I mean by that is that sometimes you can get a really bad experience with a game, because you've been playing it wrong or misunderstood something. The same can be true for coming away with a really good experience of course. So both, good and bad reviews can be based on wrong information.

In that case, I think it's fair to point that out. I would definitely want someone to tell me if my review is clearly based on getting the rules wrong. I would be terribly embarrassed, but I'd still want to know. Depending on the severity of my mistake, I could add an update underneath or if it's a really bad mistake, I would probably withdraw the review. Either way, I would want to know, because it's no good if I write a glowing or scathing review about a game, when I didn't play the game right.

Of course, rules mistakes are only one reason why a review could actually be "wrong". Missing or broken components could be another and I'm sure there are many other reasons that would have a huge influence on a review but that are actually not the game's fault as such.

I suppose, I should clarify this further, because it's up to the publisher to make sure the game people end up with is fit for purpose. If a rulebook is badly written, then I will consider this in my review and call it out. Expecting anyone, a reviewer or anyone else, to second-guess how a game is meant to play is not an option. The rulebook should explain how the game works.

I can forgive a publisher if a batch of games was badly printed or the manufacturer missed out a number of components, as long as they are happy to replace the relevant items, so that you end up with the game as it was intended. It happens, even though it's rare.

What is not so easy to forgive is when a game's components are intentionally really bad quality or otherwise not fit for purpose. Imagine wooden cubes that are too big for the space they need to occupy on the game board or player mat. You can't expect me to make the holes or spaces bigger myself. If that was done to save time and money, then that's really bad. Again, mistakes happen, but intentionally producing a game that just doesn't work is a different thing. However, this is also rare.

So, assuming I receive a game that's great quality, with a clear rulebook and that otherwise is exactly as the publisher intended, then if the game just isn't for me, I will say so. If a designer or publisher disagrees with my opinion, then that's fine and as I said above, I am happy to hear from them.

In fact, I do think that people with a direct interest in a game that I reviewed, such as the designer, publisher, illustrate or anyone else directly involved with it, has a right to reply and I'm happy to have their comment on my blog, as long as it's constructive, friendly and doesn't say that my opinion is wrong. That's especially true, if my review is based on wrong or missing information, of course - as long as the information was delivered with the game. It's no good calling me out on getting rules wrong, when the rulebook isn't clear, for example.

What do you think about this? Do you feel that people should comment on reviews? Do you think publishers, designers or anyone else involved with the game should comment? Have you ever commented on someone's review? How do you deal with reviews which seem to be the opposite to your experience of a game? Please share your thoughts in the comments below. I'd love to hear from you.

 

There Will Be Games
Oliver Kinne
Oliver Kinne (He/Him)
Associate Writer

Oliver Kinne aims to publish two new articles every week on his blog, Tabletop Games Blog, and also release both in podcast form. He reviews board games and writes about tabletop games related topics.

Oliver is also the co-host of the Tabletop Inquisition podcast, which releases a new episode every three to four weeks and tackles different issues facing board games, the people who play them and maybe their industry.

Articles by Oliver Kinne

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fightcitymayor's Avatar
fightcitymayor replied the topic: #322007 13 Apr 2021 13:20
I just wish there was a way for people to understand the difference between a real, proper "review" and a mere opinion. Somewhere during the last decade's boardgaming boom every person with access to a keyboard and an internet connection decided to fancy themself a "reviewer" and most are not. They are a person with an opinion. Which is fine, but of drastically less utility than a person well-acquainted with the hobby as a whole.

Some people applaud the internet age for "getting rid of the gatekeepers" and all you have to do is look at the amount of wannabe "boardgame reviewers" polluting the world to see maybe "getting rid of the gatekeepers" was a bad idea. (See also: Music, movies, food, books, magazines, print journalism, political commentary, and a million other arenas formerly occupied by capable, knowledgeable folks now occupied by shills, dorks, morons, and grifters.)

A good reviewer is a valuable thing.
Gregarius's Avatar
Gregarius replied the topic: #322013 13 Apr 2021 14:33
Yeah, I'm reading a book about this right now: The Death of Expertise. It's a light, entertaining read, but kinda depressing.
Jackwraith's Avatar
Jackwraith replied the topic: #322014 13 Apr 2021 14:55

fightcitymayor wrote: Some people applaud the internet age for "getting rid of the gatekeepers" and all you have to do is look at the amount of wannabe "boardgame reviewers" polluting the world to see maybe "getting rid of the gatekeepers" was a bad idea. (See also: Music, movies, food, books, magazines, print journalism, political commentary, and a million other arenas formerly occupied by capable, knowledgeable folks now occupied by shills, dorks, morons, and grifters.)


One of the usual defenses for this phenomenon are that "the good will out"; as in, the cream will rise to the top and the actually "good" stuff will be the stuff that gets noticed. But I don't think that's actually true, simply based on the number of voices out there. In the old days, pro writing kinda sucked because there were only a few outlets ("gatekeepers") and those outlets determined who was actually seen and heard. In the now days, pro writing kinda sucks because there are so many outlets that a lot of stuff gets drowned out by the sea of shit. What's even worse in the board game niche is that a significant chunk of the audience thinks that everyone should be providing their work for free, since it's just tapping on a keyboard like anyone can do. This is, of course, an issue that has often followed writers around through much of the modern era. I remember Peter David overhearing a child explaining to their mother at a convention that "the writer is the guy who just puts the words in the bubbles."
Shellhead's Avatar
Shellhead replied the topic: #322016 13 Apr 2021 16:01

Jackwraith wrote: I remember Peter David overhearing a child explaining to their mother at a convention that "the writer is the guy who just puts the words in the bubbles."


Traditionally, comics did have a professional who put the words in the bubbles, but that was the letterer, not the writer. Or sometimes the artist would put the words in the bubbles. The much-maligned Comic Sans font is based on comic book lettering.
Sagrilarus's Avatar
Sagrilarus replied the topic: #322019 13 Apr 2021 16:19

Jackwraith wrote: One of the usual defenses for this phenomenon are that "the good will out"; as in, the cream will rise to the top and the actually "good" stuff will be the stuff that gets noticed. But I don't think that's actually true,


It's patently false, and I think the last 20 years of the Internet are all the proof you will ever need that "wisdom of the masses" is complete bullshit. The trick is to look more polished than anyone else, regardless of your content.

The boardgame industry is absolutely no exception, and the number of cheesy-ass white guys standing in front of a wall of games with a dapper hat on is a pretty solid indication that best-practices don't involve intellectual content very much. The vast majority of video downloads fit into the highly-polished-drivel category. "Look at the thickness of that cardboard!"

Sorry for sounding pissy; it's 36 minutes before happy hour. But honestly, the number of times I've heard reviewers explain things about games that are just plain wrong, that are a clear indication that they've never played so much as two turns is a pretty good indication that there isn't much focus on the actual game for a lot of reviewers that have $3500 worth of recording gear.

I read Matt's reviews here because he describes how the experience affected him. I read Barnes here (in spite of almost universally disagreeing with him) because he finds a way to slot the product into its bigger implications in the industry and even the culture. I read Wade because, damn, he's just fun to read. I have as much fun reading his stuff as I have playing myself.

I know y'all like Tom Vasel, and he seems like a nice guy. But seriously, he's Mayor McCheese. He's bringing as safe, as dependable a product as can be had while keeping costs down. Most of the wannabes are looking to duplicate him instead our guys here, because he's slicky enough to generate traffic in as short a period of time as possible.
Gary Sax's Avatar
Gary Sax replied the topic: #322021 13 Apr 2021 16:22

Sagrilarus wrote: I know y'all like Tom Vasel, and he seems like a nice guy. But seriously, he's Mayor McCheese. He's bringing as safe, as dependable a product as can be had while keeping costs down. Most of the wannabes are looking to duplicate him instead our guys here, because he's slicky enough to generate traffic in as short a period of time as possible.


God damn dude, shots fired.

But yes, I agree with you.
Jackwraith's Avatar
Jackwraith replied the topic: #322022 13 Apr 2021 16:25

Shellhead wrote: Traditionally, comics did have a professional who put the words in the bubbles, but that was the letterer, not the writer. Or sometimes the artist would put the words in the bubbles. The much-maligned Comic Sans font is based on comic book lettering.


Having written, edited, and published them for almost a decade, I'm aware of that. That, of course, wasn't my point or David's. I often did the second part of the letterer's job, in that we used a specific font for the words, but needed a way to transcribe them to the original art. So I'd cut them out with a craft knife and glue them into the bubbles; often on my own work/scripts, so I was doing my own work twice, according to that kid.
Jackwraith's Avatar
Jackwraith replied the topic: #322024 13 Apr 2021 16:35
To Sag's point, while I agree that most of the regulars here find Vasel to be rather vanilla in his presentation and opinions, he does provide value to an awful lot of people because he gives them information about games that they don't know about. I think with the continued volume of production, expecting that enough people will know what Sleeping Gods is and how it's played and then come here or go to Charlie's site to get his opinion on what it's REALLY like may be a fool's errand. My oft-cited complaint is that people aren't willing to pay for the insight/entertainment that many reviewers (like both Vasel and Charlie) are providing, but they are willing to toss away hundreds or thousands on games on Kickstarter that may be not even worth a single play or certainly not worth the one or two plays they'll get before spending months or years on a shelf, untouched in the face of the newer, hotter thing.

So, yes, I agree that Vasel is not providing the critical insight that MB or Matt or Wade or Andi or others provide here. But he is providing a general look in and entertainment for a much wider audience that aren't as niche as we are in our already niche realm. He's also found a way to make a living doing it, which I can't particularly fault anyone for, as long as they're not hurting someone else while they're doing it.
drewcula's Avatar
drewcula replied the topic: #322029 13 Apr 2021 20:56

Gregarius wrote: Yeah, I'm reading a book about this right now: The Death of Expertise. It's a light, entertaining read, but kinda depressing.


My Ivory Tower made faculty read it. It wasn't my favorite, but it did make me appreciate that we're collectively screwed.
Jexik's Avatar
Jexik replied the topic: #322031 13 Apr 2021 22:24

Gary Sax wrote:

Sagrilarus wrote: I know y'all like Tom Vasel, and he seems like a nice guy. But seriously, he's Mayor McCheese. He's bringing as safe, as dependable a product as can be had while keeping costs down. Most of the wannabes are looking to duplicate him instead our guys here, because he's slicky enough to generate traffic in as short a period of time as possible.


God damn dude, shots fired.

But yes, I agree with you.


The funny thing to me is that I find I agree with his sentiments (when he does express them even more excitedly than usual) more often than I do just about any other reviewer. He puts Cosmic Encounter, Heroscape, and Summoner Wars near the top of his big list all the time, and I also hated Hawaii...

I appreciate Barnes' perspective, but I rarely agree with his opinions. He's much more willing to play board games solo, as was evident even back when he had nice things to say about Mage Knight. "Great game. 1 hour per player. Maybe best played solo." I knew it wasn't for me at that point.

I tend not to buy a whole lot of games, so when the stars align and pretty much everyone is saying great things (like with Root), I perk up. Otherwise I stick to games I know I like already.

Another kinda weird thing that I do (and I think others do too) is seek out reviews as a form of affirmation. I already know how I feel bout Summoner Wars 2e, but I am basically on the edge of my seat waiting for Dan Thurot (space biff) to say nice things about it in a more coherent way than I do. I think this is probably why negative reviews often get so much flak, especially on BGG. I got way fewer thumbs for my negative or lukewarm Dominion expansion reviews than I did for the ones I was excited about.
ubarose's Avatar
ubarose replied the topic: #322033 13 Apr 2021 23:10
Anyone can review a great game and anyone can review a terrible game. But a really outstanding reviewer is able to provide critical insight on all the games that are in between. That's what sets the people who contribute here apart from the vast majority of the other reviewers, including several of the super popular ones.
dysjunct's Avatar
dysjunct replied the topic: #322036 13 Apr 2021 23:22
I don’t follow Vasel anymore but he always seemed very consistent, which was a good benchmark. I can almost always triangulate off his opinion on something to get a good guess on if I’ll like something or not.
Erik Twice's Avatar
Erik Twice replied the topic: #322045 14 Apr 2021 05:22
So much I would love to talk about here.

First, I don't think artists should comment on reviews of their work. It's uncoth and makes you look petty. In all other art forms, artists are recommended to ignore reviews. After all, critics are just members of the audience and often amateur or unpaid. The trend of game designers to dunk on BGG comments is sad and shows how insecure the medium is and makes you look like shit. Seriously, at least go for the big guys.

David Cage is a joke for several reasons, him calling critics to complain about reviews is one of them. And I've never played a David Sirlin game (sadly) but I'll always know him as the guy who complained about a 10/10 review from Barnes. If you are a designer, you don't want to join these two.

fightcitymayor wrote: Somewhere during the last decade's boardgaming boom every person with access to a keyboard and an internet connection decided to fancy themself a "reviewer" and most are not. They are a person with an opinion. Which is fine, but of drastically less utility than a person well-acquainted with the hobby as a whole.

I've ran into reviewers who haven't played Magic: The Gathering or a single roleplaying game. People who, most importantly, don't believe not having played these games impairs their ability to review and analyze games.

Sagrilarus wrote: Sorry for sounding pissy; it's 36 minutes before happy hour. But honestly, the number of times I've heard reviewers explain things about games that are just plain wrong, that are a clear indication that they've never played so much as two turns is a pretty good indication that there isn't much focus on the actual game for a lot of reviewers that have $3500 worth of recording gear.

It's an open secret that most reviewers barely play the games they cover.

It's no surprise, either. Just playing them takes a long time and you need other people to do so. It has proven difficult for me and I have the advantage of not writing reviews weekly. Like you say, you can sometimes tell when details are wrong. For example, I remember a review of a videogame called A-Train 9 that said you couldn't build curved track. Erm, yes you can and it's impossible not to see how unless you haven't even tried to because it bends like spagetthi.

There are also some problems with games that are ignored completely and that's suspicious as fuck. Seriously, did nobody else notice Deep Sea Adventure is broken? Half of the posts on Boardgamegeek about the game are about how broken it is and the game has been refused publication by some publishers because of it. How can I have on of the few negative reviews of the game? I'm not some sort of critical genius seeing what others can't.

Sagrilarus wrote: I know y'all like Tom Vasel, and he seems like a nice guy. But seriously, he's Mayor McCheese. He's bringing as safe, as dependable a product as can be had while keeping costs down. Most of the wannabes are looking to duplicate him instead our guys here, because he's slicky enough to generate traffic in as short a period of time as possible.

I have nothing wrong to say about Vasel as a person. From what I little I know of him and I've heard of others he's kind. I have no personal beef with him and even appreciate him sharing one of my articles.

However, I think he's unethical as a reviewer. He does yearly kickstarters were game companies pay him and put pictures of his staff in their games as a way of promotion. That's just so ludicrous! I remember John Walker (Rock Paper Shotgun) talking about how he accepted buggy rides from the makers of a racing game and it looks dumb when the largest boardgame reviewer is getting checks from every established publisher on earth. How can he not be Mayor McCheese when he has a vested financial interest in keeping things that way.

You guys know better than I do, but the vast majority of publishers seem to think it's okay to ask me my fees or tell me when I should publish my reviews or other plainly unethical crap. And they do because people like Vasel have normalized the idea that it's fine to get money from publishers. The question I get asked more often in my club about my blog is how much publishers pay me. And they don't even realize that what they are asking is offensive or wrong.

There's a serious cultural cost to this kind of corrupt criticism. It harms the art form and those who care about it. That his criticism is softball and lacking insight is just expected.
Vysetron's Avatar
Vysetron replied the topic: #322056 14 Apr 2021 10:20
Erik is, as usual, on point. I'd go so far as to say that outlets like TDT and SU&SD (I haven't forgotten how they conveniently threw all their principles out the window for Blood on the Clocktower) acting openly unethically have made even approaching the discussion in the board game space uniquely challenging. At least in other fields of criticism there are good examples of high profile creators that operate on the up and up, but in board games people will jump down your throat if you so much as mention a potential ethical issue or even a personal code of conduct. And as the line between hobbyist and professional continues to erode to the point of nonexistence it's getting worse.

I see sites like Dicebreaker attempt to break into more traditional forms of coverage only to be met with indifference on all of their content that doesn't resemble The One True Format board game consumers have come to accept. They don't want critique or analysis, they want buyers guides. They want to be told that they're good somehow for purchasing a thing, that they'll be happier for having it, and to post about it online to the applause of other people doing the same. Tantrum House and Man VS Meeple are practically infomercial networks and they continue to succeed because, moreso than any other hobby I've ever seen, people are dying for an excuse to spend their money and just want to be told where. Doesn't matter how many times someone gets caught shilling for an undisclosed sponsor, or is demonstrably incorrect about a game, or whatever anymore. Just keep producing and people will keep buying.

Reviews are a niche form of entertainment in and of themselves, and critique is a niche within a niche.
Sagrilarus's Avatar
Sagrilarus replied the topic: #322057 14 Apr 2021 10:34

Gary Sax wrote:

Sagrilarus wrote: I know y'all like Tom Vasel, and he seems like a nice guy. But seriously, he's Mayor McCheese. He's bringing as safe, as dependable a product as can be had while keeping costs down. Most of the wannabes are looking to duplicate him instead our guys here, because he's slicky enough to generate traffic in as short a period of time as possible.


God damn dude, shots fired.

But yes, I agree with you.


I'm not certain Tom would argue the point, at least not the heart of it. I don't think he's a game reviewer anymore, I think he's a broadcaster that specializes in board gaming. Much of his most-watched material isn't reviews, and I'd wager he sees his core competency as board game entertainer, not board game reviewer. He needs to maintain the latter to keep his street cred, but that's just his lower third. He's on your screen because he's entertaining. He's providing board game content, not board game reviews. There's a real market for that stuff.

He might be less enamored with the Mayor McCheese epithet. But honestly, he's the baseline. He's the benchmark for the work he's in. He industrialized the genre.


As to game designers and publishers responding to reviews, they're best not to. I think the only time it makes sense to do that is if the reviewer really boots a detail of the game that grossly misrepresents it, such as how it's played. There was a review for Rallyman that everyone requested be taken down because the reviewer completely misunderstood how to play the game (and to his credit he did remove it.) But even in that case, were I the publisher, I would send a scout. I'd let someone else issue the clarification. "Don't punch down" is the political phrase for the concept.

That said, the reviewer could work that exact same concept to the responses his review generates.
Shellhead's Avatar
Shellhead replied the topic: #322058 14 Apr 2021 10:48

Erik Twice wrote: It's no surprise, either. Just playing them takes a long time and you need other people to do so. It has proven difficult for me and I have the advantage of not writing reviews weekly. Like you say, you can sometimes tell when details are wrong. For example, I remember a review of a videogame called A-Train 9 that said you couldn't build curved track. Erm, yes you can and it's impossible not to see how unless you haven't even tried to because it bends like spagetthi.


This is why I rarely write reviews and instead just comment on games in the forums. Unless a game is really bad, I don't think I can post an honest review based on a single play. And if the game can't be played properly in solitaire, it might take me months just to get in a few plays with friends. By then, the industry has already churned out a thousand new games and a late review is less relevant to readers. Compared to almost any other product that gets reviewed, board games potentially require more people just to do a single review.
Jackwraith's Avatar
Jackwraith replied the topic: #322062 14 Apr 2021 11:02

Shellhead wrote: And if the game can't be played properly in solitaire, it might take me months just to get in a few plays with friends. By then, the industry has already churned out a thousand new games and a late review is less relevant to readers. Compared to almost any other product that gets reviewed, board games potentially require more people just to do a single review.


I think those reviews can still be relevant BECAUSE of that constant churn of thousands. I know that I've been tuned into games that I'd never heard of from both comments on this forum and reviews (often from Wade.) I don't think it's a detriment that you're writing about something that isn't the latest hot thing or which won't attract readers as much as a one-time play review of Latest Hot Thing. No one can keep up with the constant, frenetic pace of the current time. If it takes you a year to to write something about a game you like, do it, anyway. I can almost guarantee that someone will read it and have no idea that the game existed and might be excited to discover it because of what you write.
ubarose's Avatar
ubarose replied the topic: #322071 14 Apr 2021 11:53
I really appreciate working with established, professional publishers. I also find it interesting that recently a few of them have felt the need to communicate to us that critical reviews are okay, and that we shouldn't not publish "bad" reviews (it has become somewhat common for reviewers to publish nothing, rather than to publish something critical of a game).

Working with newer, smaller, less experienced publishers is so much more difficult. They act they are sending you their first born when sending out a review copy. Like the wholesale cost of the game (which is usually like $10 -$20) plus shipping is going to break them. Plus, what most of them are "shopping" around for isn't a review, it's someone to produce a uncritical, slick video for them for free. Iain's "David & Goliath" article that is up today touches on this.
jason10mm's Avatar
jason10mm replied the topic: #322169 15 Apr 2021 15:53
"Reviewers" being little more than paid (or hope to be paid, if only in free games down the line) shills has turned me off from almost all reviewers. I'd much rather just watch some game enthusiasts play the game without really critiquing it, preferably with pseudo-famous and/or attractive friends, basically what Wil Wheaton was doing a few years back.

I require honesty and integrity for professional reviewers of life and safety products like cars, power tools, and food, not really luxury items for the affluent. If I get suckered by a reviewer and drop $60 on a shit game with pretty minis, well, I really can't complain too much. It's a bit different when I buy crap nails that have a poor tensile strength and my staircase collapses with my kids on it. Perspective, which is why games specifically marketed for kids are so much more regulated and publisher limited.
Gregarius's Avatar
Gregarius replied the topic: #322183 15 Apr 2021 18:44
Do you actually read reviews for nails?
Ah_Pook's Avatar
Ah_Pook replied the topic: #322197 16 Apr 2021 12:33

fightcitymayor wrote: .

Some people applaud the internet age for "getting rid of the gatekeepers" and all you have to do is look at the amount of wannabe "boardgame reviewers" polluting the world to see maybe "getting rid of the gatekeepers" was a bad idea. (See also: Music, movies, food, books, magazines, print journalism, political commentary, and a million other arenas formerly occupied by capable, knowledgeable folks now occupied by shills, dorks, morons, and grifters.)


Ah the halcyon days of yore, famously free of shills, morons and grifters.

Also, before you get too wound up bemoaning the lack of gatekeepers I assure you we still have plenty :laugh:

Erik Twice wrote: I've ran into reviewers who haven't played Magic: The Gathering or a single roleplaying game. People who, most importantly, don't believe not having played these games impairs their ability to review and analyze games.


"Oh you like games? Name every game, idiot. Pfft that's what I thought."
Erik Twice's Avatar
Erik Twice replied the topic: #322209 16 Apr 2021 15:59

Ah_Pook wrote: "Oh you like games? Name every game, idiot. Pfft that's what I thought."

I simply believe critics should be knowledgeable about the medium they write about. That's not "gatekeeping", it's having standards. If you are going to put yourself on a pedestal and judge the work of others as a professional, the least you can do is do so from a position of knowledge, not ignorance. It's part of the job description.

The whole point of criticism is to be insightful. If you are ignorant about what you write about, you cannot do the job It's not even a high bar. D&D and Magic are the two most influential games ever made. They have shaped the whole art form. If you care about the quality of your work, your insight into the medium and the recommendations you make to your audience, you should know about them.
Erik Twice's Avatar
Erik Twice replied the topic: #322210 16 Apr 2021 16:16
And I'm not even advocating taking bad critics to the street and calling them dumb. I just think that, if they are not as knowledgeble, they should be. I play infleuntial or important games all the time, simply to know where everything comes from. It's part of the job.
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Jexik replied the topic: #322211 16 Apr 2021 16:29
To be fair, I’d put stuff like Chess and at least one traditional trick taking game as something people should at least try...
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Shellhead replied the topic: #322213 16 Apr 2021 16:52
Different hobby, but I sometimes like reading reviews from My Husband's Stupid Record Collection. The writer starts the project with a normal person's knowledge of music and the music industry, but gradually acquires some knowledge just through the process of sincerely reviewing every single album in a collection of 1,500 albums. In alphabetical order.