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Who wants a copy of BLACK OPS?????

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18 Apr 2008 11:14 #5152 by ChristopherMD
Okay I just saw that Greg made a thread specifically about this on BGG. Yeah, I check F:AT first as everyone should. Anyways I take back my defense of him. He's an ass-clown for doing it that way. BGG has a section for posting eBay links, but he's one of the "Friends" if you know what I mean so he gets special treatment there. Aldie even admits its wrong, but leaves the thread. If I started posting about my eBay auctions in order to drive the price up you can bet they'd be deleted.

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18 Apr 2008 14:38 #5160 by jeb
Yeah, it's a bit low. I'm pissed you didn't get your bonus copies most of all. I was looking forward to some sweet contest action here. I even resurrected that thread you started in anticipation . The game looks sweet as hell, but as I've noted elsewhere--these will end up in collectors' hands.

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20 Apr 2008 19:27 - 20 Apr 2008 23:25 #5183 by Mr Skeletor
I don't see the problem. It's his and he is free to do what he likes with it.

If Hasbro don't like what he has done then don't send him anything else in the future. Send it to me instead.

EDIT: Cant find gregs thread. Link?
Last edit: 20 Apr 2008 23:25 by Mr Skeletor.

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20 Apr 2008 21:19 #5187 by mikelawson
You know who'd probably like the game? My son, who for his 7th birthday a week or so ago, ripped wrapping paper off a present to discover Star Wars Risk: Clone Wars Edition. (I'd stashed it away a couple of years ago to give to him when the time was right.)

The kid still keeps asking me everyday if we can play Risk again, even though I point out its a game made for the weekend, not a school weeknight. (At least he could be swayed; we recently played the Sword Beach scenario of M'44 instead.)

--Mike L.

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21 Apr 2008 01:02 #5190 by metalface13
The problem here for me is threefold:

1) If you professionally review something, you should not keep review copies for yourself. That's just the simple ethics of journalism. Probably something most board game reviewers don't think of because they are not trained journalists. It's just ethics 101. If you accept something from a source (whether it's a fruit pie from the lady on the corner or a $10,000 gaming PC from AlienWare) it hurts your credibility because it looks like they are buying your reviews. I can see that if you were a staffed operation with multiple writers - like maybe Scrye, but I don't think they review board games, but it's a close example - maybe you could keep the review games on hand for a game library for your publication. But you don't get to keep it for yourself.

2) OK, so now you need to get rid of the review copy. You don't get to sell it for a profit on ebay. You give it away. Easy as pie. Whether it is to a friend, stranger, send it back to the company when you're done, whatever.

3) I don't think people who review games should be allowed to be play testers. What would you guys think if the video game reviewers at Electronics Gaming Monthly were playtesting the latest Madden game? It's a conflict of interests. I know most board game playtesters don't get paid for their time and have no direct interest in the success of the game, but no one involved of the production of the game should be allowed to review it.

I don't know who the dork is who does these reviews, but his credibility really isn't very hot. Not that he has a lot, looks like not many people take stock in his reviews anyway,

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21 Apr 2008 08:07 #5194 by Notahandle
Mr Skeletor wrote:
"I don't see the problem. It's his and he is free to do what he likes with it.
EDIT: Cant find gregs thread. Link?"
Not if he claims to be a professional it isn't. Someone said there was a "not for resale" rider attached.
Re your EDIT, I looked and cannot find it either, perhaps he deleted it?
P.S. metalface13 covered it eloquently in the next post...

metalface13 wrote:
"The problem here for me is threefold:
1) If you professionally review something, you should not keep review copies for yourself. That's just the simple ethics of journalism.
2) OK, so now you need to get rid of the review copy. You don't get to sell it for a profit on ebay.
3) I don't think people who review games should be allowed to be play testers."
Absolutely spot on on all counts. That Other Sites 'celebrity reviewer' attitude seems obviously that of spend an hour on a review and get paid with a game. No wonder the reviews are all bland and positive!

And I'm really, really hoping that Michael doesn't work this way for the games he reviews...

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21 Apr 2008 09:10 #5195 by Ken B.
I've put my copy up as an Ultimate Trade item. I know that some of you will be disappointed in me but I clearly give my rationale in the trade list. I don't collect out of print or rare boardgames, I own them to play them. Because Risk: Black Ops has such value, I don't want to open it. But I don't want to just hang on to it and let it collect dust as a "collector's item." Yet I'm also not comfortable selling it to make a quick buck.

Best idea I could think of was to keep it to people already in the hobby. I would've done it as a trade item on our site but we're not really set up to handle that sort of thing.

Again, my copy was sent to me not as a review item but because I was a playtester. As such it is very difficult for me to give a proper review of the game.


I'll say this--it "fixes" all the common complaints about Risk but it doesn't turn it into some Euro...it's still Risk, all the way. But it has objective-based variable player powers and rewards and the goals keep the game to a very nice time frame.


I'm playtesting another design from Hasbro right now that I can't talk about (at all), but it appears like Hasbro might be serious about changing their image of only making "blah" games and endless themed-Monopoly reprints. The re-release of Acquire and Diplomacy strengthens that idea as Hasbro/WotC look to be dipping their toes back into the hobbyist boardgaming market. I sincerely hope it goes 'better' than it did the first time, though really the only thing that needs to happen to make it 'better' is an adjusted expectation of performance.

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21 Apr 2008 09:20 - 21 Apr 2008 09:21 #5196 by ChristopherMD
Mr Skeletor wrote:

EDIT: Cant find gregs thread. Link?


All evidence was innocently destroyed.
Last edit: 21 Apr 2008 09:21 by ChristopherMD.

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21 Apr 2008 14:00 - 21 Apr 2008 14:04 #5205 by Michael Barnes
That Other Sites 'celebrity reviewer' attitude seems obviously that of spend an hour on a review and get paid with a game. No wonder the reviews are all bland and positive And I'm really, really hoping that Michael doesn't work this way for the games he reviews...

Absolutely not. When I write a review, I feel a very real sense of responsibility not only to readers and fellow gamers but also to the publishers and authors of the games to be as honest and thorough as I can be. I think it's harmful to everyone to throw out these middling, "not my cup of tea, but you might like it" reviews or these prefunctory "first impression" articles that offer little more than a precis of the rules. If I didn't, for whatever reason, feel that I can be honest, straightforward, and throrough about my opinions regarding a game, then I would write about something else. When you've got these guys like Schloesser who are entrenched in the "Friends" circle and tied into these personal relationships and interests in maintaining a certain status, then you get these kinds of reviews that aren't honest. And when you're in that superconsumer culture of playing games once or twice and then never again, it stands to follow that the reviews are vague or indistinct without a real sense of viewpoint or perspective.

Witness Greg Schloesser's review of UTOPIA posted today over at BGN. I can't tell if he liked the game or not, he basically spends the entire "review" performing acrobatics to ensure that he neither completely praises nor wholly condemns the game. I'm sure he played it once, likely in the midst of a slew of other games, and then wrote about it.

But by far the best line in it is this one, in the Words of the Schloessinator:

The theme seems original: The king of Utopia invites princes from the greatest civilizations of antiquity to settle in his city and develop it with architectural wonders. Players represent the king’s ministers, attempting to assist the princes in their development efforts, which will increase their prestige.

How many years has he been gaming?
Last edit: 21 Apr 2008 14:04 by Michael Barnes.

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21 Apr 2008 14:42 #5206 by Notahandle
Sorry MIchael, I could have put that a lot better with hindsight. I know the quality of your reviews, that's without question, and I didn't mean to imply otherwise. I separated my last sentence with a line break in order to indicate it wasn't connected with the immediate paragraph (3) above. I shouldn't have left it implicit, should I? What I meant was I'm hoping you don't get a free game for doing the review. Or to put it another way, that with Gameshark you're now a professional.

Loved your Schloessinator quote - insert gosh wow breathless with anticiapation antifanboy sarcasm here - but isn't "king of Utopia" an oxymoron?

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21 Apr 2008 15:12 #5207 by Michael Barnes
I'm actually probably one of the very, very few people who get paid to review and write about board games...I don't know anyone else who does. And I do think that there's a level of professional responsibility that goes with that and maintaining integrity is something that I have to consider any time I send Bill Abner an article to publish. The quality of most gaming journalism though is just deplorable- there's no integrity, no authority, and no sense of professionalism at all...it's like there's a horde of Peter Hammonds(that guy from Maxim Magazine who writes extravagant shit just to get the big headline quote on every movie poster)out there who for whatever reason- be it to maintain a flow of free games, to not hurt their designer/publisher buddies' feelings, or whatever- feel compelled to not give people neither a straight line nor a solid sense of individual perspective on a game. That sucks.

But hey, BLACK OPS was free...but I would have bought it if it weren't and I'm not afraid of irking Rob Daviau or Hasbro if I make a negative comment because at the end of the day criticism makes things better. And my good comments on it (coming May 1st in a Gameshark special!) are because I really liked it and I've already played it enough time to panic anyone who's worried about the investment value of their copy. The box is even a little beat up now. So what.

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22 Apr 2008 09:34 #5223 by Notahandle
Thanks for the thoughtful reply, Michael. Yes, I imagine you are in a fairly unique position. From what I remember from occasionally browsing professionally printed games magazines years ago, the reviews were pretty basic. Nowadays, I read Counter and Flagship (a PBM magazine that's necessarily broadened its scope). I've just let my Counter subscription lapse as I'm buying less; they write good lengthy reviews with the occasional negative one. Flagship boardgame reviews are appallingly amateurish: repeating the rules takes up 95%+ followed by the sentence "x gets a n/10 on my highly subjective scale"; if he's feeling really keen we get a couple of sentences saying why he likes it. And, yes, he always likes them . . . he sells games.

Presumably the lack of quality is because of the lack of pay, professionals write for the mainstream which doesn't want boardgame reviews. However, I think there's scope for journalism students here; surely crafting insightful game reviews would be good on a resume? By the same token, it would be helpful for art students to have some published game covers in their portfolio. Of course, I'm probably wrong since it doesn't seem to happen.

It also sucks when reviewers fail to be straight because it fails to help the designer become a better designer. And because it shows no respect to the readers and does a disservice to those who then buy a crap game.

You know, and it's a sad thing to say, that in my 18 months of reading gaming forums (here and T.O.S.) you're the only other person whose posts clearly show that they understand that criticism is helpful. (Apologies to anyone else here in case I've missed your posts. The chances are far higher that more users here understand it.)

Incidentally, now that I have SafariBlock installed I'm enjoying your reviews more, without those pesky pop-up adverts! I'll be looking forward to May 1st to read what all the fuss is about. Oh, and when the English version is published will Hanno be sending you a copy of Agricola?

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22 Apr 2008 10:11 - 22 Apr 2008 10:13 #5225 by Schweig!
I called Schloesser's thread advertising his ebay "hot deal" on BGG pathetic and then it vanished to exist over the weekend.

Michael Barnes: I'm actually probably one of the very, very few people who get paid to review and write about board games...

Greg Schloesser wrote for Fire&Movement, so maybe he got paid for that?
Last edit: 22 Apr 2008 10:13 by Schweig!.

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22 Apr 2008 10:24 #5227 by Michael Barnes
Greg Schloesser wrote for Fire&Movement, so maybe he got paid for that?

I think the folks that write for magazines like that might get paid...probably not much, but I think they would get something.

Flagship boardgame reviews are appallingly amateurish: repeating the rules takes up 95%+ followed by the sentence "x gets a n/10 on my highly subjective scale"

I had an offer a while back to write for Flagship...they sent me a copy of the magazine and I just wasn't impressed with it at all. It was definitely more of a PBEM thing and the 1-2 board game reviews were pretty much just like you described and littered with typographical and grammatical errors.

when the English version is published will Hanno be sending you a copy of Agricola?

HE'D BETTER! My feelings will be hurt if he doesn't. Then I'll put it up on Ebay!

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22 Apr 2008 20:51 #5263 by Mr Skeletor
Ken B is a fucking sell out!

Lets all kill him!

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