I’ve just listened to episode 98 of the Plaid Hat Podcast, in which the guys were joined by Dice tower grand poobah Tom Vasel to discuss reviewing games. It was an interesting listen and the main thing I got out of it was this: get on with it, you idiot.
I’ve done a few game reviews previously and while I didn’t get any negative response, I ran out of steam on doing them pretty quickly. I think this was largely due to the format being a bit uninspiring, so instead of ploughing on with them I’ve decided to try something different.
I’m going to aim at doing three a month, with a more realistic aim of getting 10 done before the end of October. At that point I can reassess things and see where we go from there. Anyway, this is the format I’m planning (with the aim of about 1,000 words per review).
This will be a concise description of the game, listing anything I see as stand-out or original features alongside age, feel, length, player count etc. I’ll then go into talking about the game as I’ve seen it played from four different angles (see below).
This will be a personal perspective on how I feel the game plays. I’ll list what I see as its strengths and weaknesses, and how I felt during the game, but without coming to an overall conclusion. I see myself mainly as a social euro gamer, but with an open mind to more American style and also abstract games too.
I have several friend who play games in a very considered way; this will be an amalgam of how I see their game experience. Whether a chess fan or just a slower, AP prone gamer, they tend to take a long view of a game and head slow and steady towards a well-oiled machine – whether it’s going to get over the line first or not.
I also have several friends I regularly play with who are far more strategic than tactical – often the polar opposite of the thinkers. Sometimes they crash and burn or lose interest, while other times they flip a game on its head in a way you’d never see coming and romp to a glorious victory. Their thoughts here.
Finally there’s the dabblers; the folk who love to join in and have fun but that are very much casual players. These guys favour the shorter, less involved games but will still surprise you when the mood takes them. Just because they’re breezy and chatty, doesn’t mean they can’t still throw a mean gaming punch.
I see myself as having a little of all these guys in the way I play. Here I’ll give the game an overall rating from a personal perspective, which will be tempered by those of the other personalities. Hopefully this will lead to a personal review but with a lot of consideration given to more focused styles of gaming.
This little breakdown is as much for me as anyone else! As I had the idea I felt I should write it down, so what better place to reference it than here? Also, by posting this live, it’s going to make me look dumb if I don’t stick to it – which is always added incentive.
Of course l’d love to hear any feedback on the idea, as well as on the first reviews once they go live (I plan to put them up in full here, with teasers over at BoardGameGeek). In fact if I stick with it, I’ll probably make this a ‘page’ (instead of a post) and link them all from here. If I can even do that. We’ll see I guess…