The Top Three (plus bonus) most reliable BGG reviewers of all time
Dane Peacock
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Stansbury Park
Utah
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This list provides names of the reviewers here on BGG that I rely on the most. It is important to find trusted reviewers, and these are the best of the best. Their comments have been immeasurably valuable. When I finally spend my hard earned money on a game, I am reasonably confidant that I will be getting something fun!

I do not always agree with their ratings, comments, views, or opinions; but they all have one thing in common: their reviews are honest. I never have to question their motives. I know that they believe what they are writing. This is surprisingly rare and special.

I do not know any of these reviewers outside of BGG. In fact, we have never had any personal correspondence even here. They will be as surprised as anyone that they are listed here, and probably clueless to whom I am.

You are welcome to add others to this list, but PLEASE remember that this list is only for the top-notch reviewers. It must be someone that comes to mind immediately. Preferably, it is best to list someone you don’t know personally, (don’t list the guy that does all of the reviews for your game group, for instance). Hopefully, the names listed will help everyone with future game considerations.

You’ll notice that these reviewers are very different from each other. They are listed in order of a random die roll.
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1. Board Game: Duel of Ages Set 1: Worldspanner [Average Rating:6.55 Overall Rank:2038]
Dane Peacock
United States
Stansbury Park
Utah
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TOM VASEL

There is no question that Tom LOVES games. I love games, but this guy LOVES games. Despite numerous reviews, Tom has kept a rare quality. He plays games with the sole purpose of enjoying them, not of critiquing them. This shines through in his reviews, and knowing this has been very helpful to me.

Duel of ages came out with a lot of hype. I was scared away for a while. After reading Tom’s review, I bought it and have never regretted that decision. Tom rates it a 10 and has called it his favorite game. I rate it a 9 and it is in my personal top 10 games. It’s interesting, had I listened to two other of the reviewers on this list, I would have stayed far away from the game. Both Chris and Greg had some bad things to say about it. In fact, it may be one of Greg’s most controversial reviews ever. Moral of the story: have more than one trusted reviewer, and realize where they are coming from and how it applies to you
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2. Board Game: Hammer of the Scots [Average Rating:7.56 Overall Rank:362]
Dane Peacock
United States
Stansbury Park
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CHRIS FARRELL

I have been playing war games for a long time. I had the luck of finding a game store when I was young that sold all of their war games for practically nothing. I was the only one that bought them. All of my discretionary income went there. I’ve owned most of the Avalon hill, SPI, etc, titles. I subscribed to all of the old games magazine, Ares being my favorite. I got all of the old fantasy and sci-fi games. I remember getting Magic Realm for $12 bucks, which broke me. I kept the ASL rules by my bed as a bedtime story. Why do I bring this up? Because when it comes to knowledge of war games, Chris runs circles around me. When I first read Chris’ articles, I quickly considered him the official Wargame Grognard Guru, but I have come to rely on him for far more that.

Chris is the consummate expert. His reviews are hard hitting, well articulated, and professional. He has the uncanny ability to remain focused, although he has been personally attacked for his strong views many times. When he has gripes with a game, he always explains clearly his reasoning. Even if I disagree, I know he has been fair. Where I find Chris the most valuable is in his comments on geek lists and reviews. He has made me think, changed my views, and articulated what I had trouble saying. The reason my gaming friends think that I am such an expert, is because I quote Chris all the time.

I list Hammer of the Scotts because this one illustrates the classic cfarrell in action. He liked the game, but didn’t give it the props that many others thought it deserved. It is very interesting to watch this one evolve. I have the game, like it a lot, and found myself defending Chris’ position all along on this one.
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3. Board Game: The Princes of Florence [Average Rating:7.54 Overall Rank:149]
Dane Peacock
United States
Stansbury Park
Utah
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GREG SCHLOESSER

Quite simply, this list would not be legitimate without Greg. He has arguably been the single biggest influence on gaming purchases over the last few years. It is very tough to be the first reviewer, like Greg often is. It is much easier to come along later and glean off everything that was said before.

Greg is the session report King, and it is there where his comments have helped me the most, plus, they are just fun to read. I don’t know how many times that I’ve seen a little obscure game at the store, logged onto BGG, and found a session report by Greg.

Princes of Florence is obviously one of Greg’s favorite games, as it is mine. His session reports are great and convinced me to buy a game where your goal is to inspire dramatists and poets to do their work. Sheesh.
 
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4. Board Game: Cosmic Encounter [Average Rating:6.92 Overall Rank:942]
Dane Peacock
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Stansbury Park
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Bonus: DERK SOLKO

I started visiting BGG in the summer of 2000. I joined later that same year as Dark Elf. Derk’s were the first reviews that I remember having a profound effect on me. His honesty and candor were refreshing and very helpful.

Derk is listed as a ‘bonus’ because I don’t see very many articles from him anymore. He and Aldie seem to be consumed with the nuts and bolts operation of this site. But the role that those first articles played in bringing attention to the new age of gaming, particularly for me, can never be understated. What else can you really say about the co-creators of BGG? This site, as much as any other source, has inspired the current revitalization (or should I just say vitalization) in gaming. Of course, a big thank you goes to Aldie as well.

Somehow, someway, the original version of Cosmic Encounters got by me. It is exactly the type of game I would have spent my measly income on. The review of Dirk’s is the first BGG article I remember that inspired me to go right out and purchase the game.
 
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5. Board Game: Acquire [Average Rating:7.35 Overall Rank:237]
Gerald Cameron
Canada
Unspecified
Nova Scotia
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CHUCK BLAHOUS

While not as prolific a reviewer as the first four on this list, chuckles is easily one of the most thoughtful commenters and GeekList writers on BGG. His opinions are thought out and sincere. While his taste runs more to simple elegance than mine, I value his opinions because they are a cut above most in terms of the thought that has gone into forming them and expressing them.

Of course, he's a hopeless Sid Sackson shill, but he's a sincere Sid Sackson shill
 
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6. Board Game: Pirate's Cove [Average Rating:6.58 Overall Rank:1155]
Gerald Cameron
Canada
Unspecified
Nova Scotia
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MORGAN DONTANVILLE

Arguably BGG's most thoughtful contrarian, Morgan is a boon to anyone looking for games that are outside of *THE CANON*. I look forward to him creating new GeekLists, since they are thoughtful, entertaining, and independant-minded.

I've also had the opportunity to play a few games of Meuterer online with him, and if he's that much fun to play with online, I can only imagine what he's like in person.
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7. Board Game: Liberté [Average Rating:7.16 Overall Rank:829]
Chuck Uherske
United States
Rockville
Maryland
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JOE GOLA

Since I have been so generously added to this list, I feel almost honor-bound to contribute a nominee as well.

Per my comment before, BGG provides so many candidates from whom to choose, that I fear slighting someone by leaving them out. Just to name a few: Randy Cox is among the best at conveying the different kinds of pleasures boardgames can provide over a lifetime. Thi Nguyen has an absolutely unique capacity for conveying the essence of a game. I love Josh Adelson's (Mister Cranky)'s wry quips, which are never so dry as to disguise his insightful perspectives on different games.

But if I must choose one, I'm going with Joe Gola. Gola is the master of the Session Report. His reports function as game reviews for me, because they convey so vividly the dynamic experience of playing a particular game. In addition to providing details about the game's design, and the ebb and flow of the playing experience, Joe's writing is always tinged with atmosphere and laced with off-the-wall humor.

Mr. Gola's flair for language carries over into his comments on games, and his replies to Geeklists. My feeling when reading him is that someone who is this aware of the nuances of written style, and who can so well absorb and then reflect the fun of a game-playing session, is likely to also perceive the subtle elements that make a game fun for me as well.

I learn about games here from the lists, from the comments, from the session reports, and from the reviews. Joe's breadth of contributions to these are what make him, in my sight, one of BGG's finest contributors.
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8. Board Game: A Game of Thrones (First Edition) [Average Rating:7.24 Overall Rank:377]
Chris Farrell
United States
Cupertino
California
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SHANNON APPLECLINE

Shannon may not be a houshold name on BGG, but she lurks here a bit. Check out this link, though:

http://www.rpg.net/reviews/search-review.phtml?reviewerName=...

That's one serious quantity of reviews.

I find I don't generally read that many reviews, for whatever reason; but Shannon's reviews are the exception. Despite doing a couple a week on average, it appears, the quality remains consistant, and I find her reviewng style is helpful to me. It's a very good mix of details of game mechanics mixed with analysis. I find that I always go over to rpg.net every Wednesday to check out the boardgame reviews.

Her username here is shannona. But her real content is on rpg.net.
 
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9. Board Game: Fresh Fish [Average Rating:6.67 Overall Rank:2312]
Cyn Norton
United States
Palo Alto
California
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JASON LITTLE

My absolute favorite Geeklister. His lists are unfailingly intelligent, original, perceptive, humorous, and thorough, with well developed comments and the perspective of a really seasoned and well-rounded gamer.
 
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