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DavidNorris
October 21, 2021
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October 20, 2021
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October 20, 2021
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October 20, 2021
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October 15, 2021
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K2 Review - Digital Eyes

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October 15, 2021
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October 14, 2021
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October 12, 2021
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October 08, 2021
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Sprawlopolis Review

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Let us now praise great reviews

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30 Apr 2020 21:19 #309826 by DarthJoJo
I’m sure most of this site’s visitors are already aware, but Dan Thurot of SPACE-BIFF is one of the luminaries of this hobby (and sorely lacking in wide appreciation because his preferred medium is the written word, but I digress.). His works are funny and erudite while also considering what makes the game work or not. His tastes are wide, and he gives plenty of attention to odd and important work from outside the mainstream.

Anyway, Dan has topped himself this week with his review of Nubia ( spacebiff.com/2020/04/29/nubia/ ). Read it.

It sounds like a fascinating game that covers a piece of history overlooked in the West (and East too, probably), but Dan goes farther by opening the discussion of its less savory historical bases in a fair, reasonable and decidedly non-hysterical way. Read it.

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30 Apr 2020 22:39 #309828 by Michael Barnes
I would easily regard this as among the very best pieces of games writing the hobby has ever produced. THiS is what games criticism should be. His opinion,’perspective, context, and scope here point to a mastery of analysis of the medium that virtually no one- myself included- can touch. It’s about this game but really about larger, more uncomfortable issues. It’s a daring, provocative piece that pushes the reader to ask questions and reflect. We need more of this and less glad-handing Pollyanna shills with their smarmy shit-eating grins and “aw shucks, ain’t games grand” shticks.

Dan has always been one of the best writers out there, but I swear he always finds a way to top himself.
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30 Apr 2020 22:47 #309829 by mc
Replied by mc on topic Let us now praise great reviews
Great writer, great piece.

Did I imagine it or was he going to maybe contributing some stuff here at one point?

Also, it really stood out for me this morning ,reading Andi's piece on Escape the Dark Castle and then having everyone else's reviews of it pop up below, that this place has easily some of the best going around, regardless of where anyone might think they compare to Dan. Writing that is just good to read. Which is what I've always liked about Space Biff. It helps that his interest lies where mine does a lot of the time, but even when it doesn't, just entertaining to read.
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30 Apr 2020 23:33 #309830 by Gary Sax
He has really stepped up his game in the last two to three years imo. He's always been good.
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30 Apr 2020 23:48 - 30 Apr 2020 23:52 #309831 by Sagrilarus
I ignored him for years because of his Space Biff! branding in every subject line.

Has anybody played it? He speaks well to the history, but States of Siege titles are generally pretty 2-dimensional. If this one isn't I'll pick it up. Now is the time for solo games.
Last edit: 30 Apr 2020 23:52 by Sagrilarus.

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01 May 2020 08:46 #309836 by southernman
Please stop saying 'he's topped himself' - I thought 'shit, more bad news' until I finished the line :pinch:
That phrase has an alternative meaning in many other English as a first language countries.
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01 May 2020 11:20 - 01 May 2020 11:27 #309839 by Andi Lennon
Dan is definitely that rare beast, a writer's writer who also has a firm grasp on the art and science of deconstructing a games cogs and spindles to outline what really makes it tick. The ability to contextualise a game in the manner demonstrated here is also a deft piece of framing.

I also agree that TWBG is punching above its weight in terms of quality prose. As someone who is still really new to tabletop journalism, I must say it's super gratifying to share page space with the likes of Barnes, Thrower, Theel and the others I'm sure i'll discover as I continue to dig.
Last edit: 01 May 2020 11:27 by Andi Lennon.
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01 May 2020 11:23 #309840 by Andi Lennon
For my twopenny, this piece by Soren Narnia is still the gold standard of writing on games. It has enough fiction in the pot to really capture what this hobby can mean and how it buffets peoples trajectories in life :

boardgamegeek.com/thread/940888/life-alt...-kind-session-report
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01 May 2020 12:20 #309849 by Gary Sax
Just to be clear for anyone reading, Theel only posts here in the forums and is a valued community member! He gets paid a wage for most of his writing except his blog posts. He's probably my favorite reviewer, all told, but that's because our tastes align pretty closely.
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01 May 2020 13:50 #309852 by charlest
Yes that's true, but I do have a number of old articles here from years ago.

Dan is the best writer in tabletop in my opinion. Whenever anyone mentions my name in the same sentence it is a great honor.

Dude is just in another category all by his lonesome.

But this place is pretty damn special. I hope Michael and Matt and others start writing more regularly again at some point. That being said I've enjoyed much of the work from newcomers over the past two years.
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01 May 2020 15:27 #309855 by dysjunct

Sagrilarus wrote: I ignored him for years because of his Space Biff! branding in every subject line.


Me too. Skipping branded reviews is typically a great time-saving trick to avoid the mediocre wishy-washiness of people churning out content solely to keep the comped copies coming. Dan is the rare exception, someone who is consistent but also passionate, thoughtful, and insightful.
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03 May 2020 21:35 #309884 by DarthJoJo
All this appreciation for Dan is just bumming me out that YouTube is the dominant board game medium. A ten-, even twenty-minute video can’t do the same thing as a Space-Biff critique, even though it takes less time to read one of Dan’s pieces, and the content producers (I loathe the term though it is very appropriate here) don’t even try. Paul Dean’s BattleLore Second review made the attempt years ago but still came up short. The medium is just not suited for that sort of depth of analysis and settles (in the best case) for shots that artfully showcase the components and player actions. Bleh.

This forum and its members do seem to be an outlier, but I feel the hobby is going to be culturally stunted until a more literate community develops.
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03 May 2020 22:06 #309885 by Andi Lennon
Yeah I think most YouTube board game content is in serious need of an evolution. The majority of it seems to consist of interminable rambling to camera. Some scripting and editing makes all the difference. Forty minutes of some dude's stream of conscious doesn't exactly make for compelling viewing. There are exceptions of course that utilise the medium appropriately and leverage it's strengths but i certainly hope this site never 'pivots to video'.
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03 May 2020 22:21 #309886 by Sagrilarus
Video reviews can be more easily monetized, so attract writers with different goals.

This particular "review" is more focused on the era it covers than the game itself, which is valid, and I enjoyed it. But I still don't know how the game plays or dan's opinion of it besides its historical context. Given the publisher and the series I don't think it's designed to be played two-dozen times.
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03 May 2020 22:22 #309887 by DarthJoJo
What does YouTube and its medium even best at, with regard to board games? If we were to put the best of written reviews up against the best of video reviews, what advantages would YouTube creators hold? I would argue rules explanations and personal connections. Videos can cut through the jargon to show you what it means when a unit is banished instead of defeated. And seeing a person’s apartment, maybe a rogue cat, and hearing their voice is certainly a lot warmer than a well-crafted sentence.

I’m not saying these things aren’t good or don’t have a place, but they aren’t pushing the hobby forward. Videos are popular because they’re easy to consume and don’t require much for thought, engagement or even attention, but we need these to have a better hobby.

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