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Madelyn Holthouse
April 21, 2021
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Dutch Blitz Review

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April 19, 2021
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Moonrakers - Grant's Game Recs

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April 19, 2021
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April 16, 2021
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Fort Board Game Review

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April 15, 2021
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Abstraction: GO

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April 15, 2021
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Review of Bayonets & Tomahawks

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whowhatwhycast
April 14, 2021
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April 13, 2021
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April 13, 2021
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Episode 69 - Bullet Time

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Venice - Punchboard Reviews

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Matt Thrower
April 12, 2021
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Play Matt: Elric, Ranked

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April 09, 2021
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Tabletop game reviews enjoyed lately thread

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13 Dec 2020 12:37 #317124 by Gary Sax
I don't 'have an outlet for when I read a thought-provoking board game review, besides if one of our writers wrote it, so I thought I'd put a topic up as a dumping ground for reviews you've read that you'd like to expose to other people or talk about. I couldn't find one in a pretty heavy trawl through the forum's history using search, so here it is. To start off:



I think I've posted this before, but I have such a mixed relationship with Shut Up and Sit Down. They have such different taste from me that I consider them entertainment and criticism rather than anything that will *ever* inform my purchasing. I found their review of Eclipse incredibly tedious, their live stream stuff was dire and kind of embarrassing given the rest of their content quality, but then occassionally they hit with a really strong review that raises interesting issues.

I quite enjoy this Etherfields review and encourage you to watch it. In particular, I think the issue Quinns brings up about 1/2 of the way through the review about procedural gaming is something I mull over constantly about games. I have, historically, played games with a lot of procedure and enjoyed them. I think it's fair to say that everyone has a threshold of procedure to decisionmaking that might be different. But I think about even the most procedural games I've played, e.g. Fields of Fire or Comancheria, and they still had really high stakes game-making decisions amongst a bunch of pretty procedural or rote decisions to push the game along.

I mean, people play clickers! Similarly, many of the pleasures of an Assassin's Creed or Skyrim game are really about procedurally going through content you know the result of, and not decisionmaking. So I think there's a big space for this sort of gaming.
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13 Dec 2020 14:46 #317126 by Gary Sax
Thanks mad dog, missed that one. I'll keep this one since there was only one post in that thread but I'll search a little harder next time.

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14 Dec 2020 05:43 #317135 by Erik Twice
I also found their review of Eclipse very tedious. I think they took way too much time talking about the components and about the game "as a whole" without going anywhere. For example, they spend a lot of time on technologies using game-jargon (Shields, missiles, etc.) but don't talk about how those effects look like in practical terms or how they shape the game.

I think their review fell into a common trap when reviewing gamers which is to tack on adjectives instead of verbs or nouns. For example "This is an enthralling, beautiful game which flows perfectly" sounds good but it doesn't actually say anything. This is not a dig at SUSD, it's something that happens to everybody, including myself. It's also more likely to happen when you are writing a very positive review or the game is more of a "best of its kind" type than something unique.

Personally, I think the best line in their Etherfield review is "my critic friends would not spend money on this". I don't know if that kind of line hits hard for a general audience but for me it's telling. The second big thing for me was them recommending a videogame. I believe boardgames and videogames are the same art form and I'm glad more people compare each other.

Regarding procedural actions, I'm a far more radical reviewer than Quinns. The issue is simply that what you do is boring. The issue is not procedure, it's that you move and attack and no game bothers to make that interesting. I don't know how Etherfields differs from Gloomhaven, but for me it's the same issue with all games of this type: They are combat games in which combat is boring. As opposed to wargames, which are combat-heavy games where combat is interesting.
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14 Dec 2020 16:39 #317183 by Andi Lennon
I thought Charlie's take on Etherfields was pretty boss and kind of mirrors my experience with Tainted Grail. Initial wonder smothered by intense tedium.

playerelimination.com/2020/12/14/downwar...-etherfields-review/
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14 Dec 2020 17:13 #317185 by Gary Sax
Oh hey, awesome, I didn't see he had a new review up.
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15 Dec 2020 11:43 #317205 by charlest
Thanks for sharing Andi.
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09 Feb 2021 11:25 #319025 by Gary Sax
spacebiff.com/2021/02/08/sidereal-confluence-2/

I really enjoyed this re-review of Sidereal Confluence's second edition from Thurot. God I need to play that fucking game.
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09 Feb 2021 13:43 #319033 by Count Orlok

Gary Sax wrote: spacebiff.com/2021/02/08/sidereal-confluence-2/

I really enjoyed this re-review of Sidereal Confluence's second edition from Thurot. God I need to play that fucking game.


If it has a TTS module, count me in.
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09 Feb 2021 13:52 #319034 by Gary Sax
I briefly tried to put something together for it, it does have a TTS module. It's a bit of a nightmare, though, would require multiple discord channels to move in and out of since it's all about negotiating trades, and cross talk is difficult to handle via digital voice. Might be worth it though.

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09 Feb 2021 17:22 #319045 by southernman
I find this thread a bit funny as we all know reviews are always subjective so will reflect some part of their feelings towards the game type or genre or theme.
For example the SUSD review of Etherfields, (from memory) he basically starts off listing similar games large KS games (including Gloomhaven) and saying Gloomhaven was the only worthwhile one among them, we colours nailed to the mast. And then another reviewer (BoardgameCo) reviewed his Etherfields review and agreed with most of the critiques/complaints but then said he will still be keeping it and be leaving it set up so he can play whenever he has time because he is enthralled with it.
You can really only take notice of reviews from people who you know have a similar outlook to you on the subject, and then take it with a grain of salt.

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09 Feb 2021 19:18 #319049 by charlest
I think that's true if you're using reviews as purchasing advice (which is totally valid), but I personally read reviews of games I have no interest in if the writer is Dan, Michael, Matt, etc.

Often you can find interesting observations or interpretations that are worth the price of admission, even if you never plan on touching the game.
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09 Feb 2021 19:31 - 09 Feb 2021 19:33 #319050 by Gary Sax
I tend to use reviewers like charlest says above---I tend to find a stable of reviewers who I'm on the same wavelength as (e.g. Thurot, charlest, Bigney from So Very Wrong About Games, wade and jackwraith here) and use their broad exposure to a huge diversity of games to help me narrow my wishlist. I almost always like what charlest likes, for example, so I will buy stuff I'm not totally sure about (Core Space) because of our consistently similar taste---like we have *very* similar taste consistently year on year. He just plays like 1000 more games than I do, so I get to use that.

But you're right in that I'm not going to go out and buy something that looks bad to me because a reviewer I liked enjoyed it, there's self selection going on for unchallenging opinions.

Weirdly, there *are* some reviewers whom I really like but that I also know I have little overlapping game interest in that I still read and watch---Shut Up and Sit Down, Barnes, It Came From the Tabletop are good examples here. I don't use their reviews to help my purchasing, we have pretty different taste, but I read and watch their stuff.
Last edit: 09 Feb 2021 19:33 by Gary Sax.
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09 Feb 2021 20:43 #319051 by Jackwraith
Right. I think it's important to recognize the entertainment value that a lot of people like SU&SD bring. I also disagree with a lot of their conclusions, but I think they have great insight as to how games function and what they are and they surround said insights with a lot of humor.

Similarly, I pay attention to all of what Charlie and Wade review, not only because they play far more games than I do and have brought things to my attention that I never would've noticed (Lords of Hellas from Charlie and Tournament at Camelot from Wade, to name just two of many, many examples) but I'm also pretty confident that we're in similar Venn diagrams as far as game tastes.
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09 Feb 2021 21:11 #319052 by Gary Sax
This ranting about CMON being shit is a great example---I sort of agree on average but I know they do some excellent stuff too. Enter reviewers stage left.
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