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Let us now praise great reviews
I think that’s the point? If it’s not meant to be played two-dozen times due to a dearth of strategy or minimal player agency, then maybe Dan is right to focus on its themes and setting and how the the rules force you into actions that the Christians did take then.
Sagrilarus wrote: 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.
To put it another way, would it have been a better review if he had spent a few more paragraphs on the rules and whether he enjoyed his time in its story and systems? I would say no. I think he met the game where it wanted to be met.
DarthJoJo wrote: 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.
I'd push back on the comment that videos are easier to consume. I can digest most written reviews in a few minutes, but video reviews take up way more time. Fuck, unboxing videos take more time than reading a written review.
- Teaching how to play a game for people who don't learn well from reading or when the written rules for a game aren't entirely clear. They can be particularly helpful when rules don't have enough pictures or some bit of the rules are particularly complex or unclear.
- Play throughs. Watching a game being played can help you learn how to play, reveal strategies, and inform you as to if you will like the game.
- Interviews. For obvious reasons, video or podcast is a better medium for interviews and discussion that text.
- Entertainment. Some board game videos are simply entertaining, such as Tabletop Island which we share on TWBG on Saturdays.
I prefer text reviews and criticism. I feel they force the writer to be more thoughtful rather than blather on in an unscripted manner. Also, reading is active while watching is passive. When I read actively engage; I think about, consider and remember what I have read. When I watch, I passively consume and forget. Or as DarthJoJo said, it's the amount of attention you pay to it.
I enjoy watching playthroughs in the background of complex games before I play my first games. It is a huge help.
It's not the way I learn, but I also think Rodney provides a tremendous service and he produces well.
I do *not* enjoy youtube screamer talking head in the preview picture "criticism." I think text works far better, and it doesn't help that video criticism has some really bad history at this point in terms of its perspective. I'm not saying it can't be done, it certainly can, but the waters are a little poisoned.