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Subject: my favorite board game reviewers (who are yours?) rss

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CARL SKUTSCH
United States
New York
New York
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Agricola, Sekigahara, Concordia, Innovation, COOKIE!!! (and Guinness)
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SANJURO: You're all tough, then? GAMBLER: What? Kill me if you can! SANJURO: It'll hurt.
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As a public service, to show I don't just make polls, here are the guys and gals (well, gal) who help me spend my money...

#1 - This is tough but I'm going to give #1 to Shut Up and Sit Down. When they are on they are so very funny I adore them. Also, when they're on they can offer some really helpful insights into the feel of a game. How it is to play the darn thing. On the down side, they often cover games that just aren't my cuppa, lighter fare that I don't go for. However, without them, I never would have bought Concordia. Thanks guys!

#2 - Tom Vasel and his various review shows. Look, Tom is Tom. I don't love all his choices and he's a bit too enthusiastic about too many games but I like the format of the show. Quick, here's the game, here's what I think, wham, bam, I know where Tom stands. I like Every Game Is Awesome especially. The contrast between Tom and Jason Levine makes for an interesting review. Downside, well, if you want more depth, you need to look elsewhere. Also, aside from the games he does with Jason, there's not as much heavy game coverage as I'd like.

#3 - Mina's Fresh Cardboard blog with Mina Guberinic (the one non video reviewer I regularly look to). Mina gives some very solid text reviews of a LOT of games. Two things stand out. First, she takes great pictures so you really get a sense of what the game looks like. Second, she reviews for two. This is awesome because my wife is my main gaming partner. And, of course, she has some great insights into what makes a game worth getting. Downside? I think she can be a little too enthusiastic because she loves the games so much. There are worse flaws to have.

#4 - Rahdo Runs Through. Richard Ham does a great job covering IN DEPTH a lot of great games. He also has a focus on two players that I again find very helpful. His reviews are solid, if I want to spend the time. Of course, if I don't, they're way too long. I always put him on 1.5 speed cuz he talks just a wee bit too slow for my taste. The other thing is that he and his wife are allergic to conflict in games. That's not horrible, and he's up front about it, but it makes him less than ideal for some game reviews.

#5 - Drive Through Reviews. I like Joel Eddy's quiet overview of games. Sometimes his reviews are a little quirky for my taste but I almost always find something interesting about his take on a game. My my main criticism is that sometimes (only sometimes) he can seem a little vague to me about what it is that makes the game tick.

#6 - Marnaudo. Marco Arnaudo provides some great reviews that the other guys don't do. He's into war games so I find out about some games that I never would have gotten a clue about without him. My main beef with him, and it's minor, is he's another guy who's almost always positive, so I feel I have to take his reviews with a grain of salt. Still, a minor ding. And he gives some great, in depth, reviews of games that don't get covered elsewhere.
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Drew
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Dallas
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Shut Up and Sit Down and Drive Through Review are my favorites followed by Jon Gets Games and of course The Dice Tower.
I have just recently found No Pun included and am really enjoying their videos as well.
For War Games I enjoy Stuka Joe and Marco.

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Spacebiff does an excellent job of capturing the feel of a game. Really good stuff, always an enjoyable read.
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Jason Brown
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Colorado Springs
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Solid picks, I watch/read all those reviews. I'd add a few that are a bit newer to the scene in JonGetsGames, No Pun Included and Man Vs. Meeple. Also, SlickerDrips and Box of Delights are tops for solo reviews.
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chris thatcher
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I mostly agree with your list. Top for me is Tom Vasel and the dice tower crew. They seem to be the only bunch who says when a game is crap.

Second would be Joel Eddy. He does fantastic in depth reviews.

Third Shut up and Sit down. Their stuff is the most entertaining.

I like to watch Richard Ham for his run throughs but i take his final thoughts with a pinch of salt. I like conflict games. He also has some very strange rants about stuff....and cries about meeples..

One not mentioned that i like is the Discriminating Gamer.

Too many reviewers just give positive reviews for my liking.
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John Ziegler
United States
Portland
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Here are a few of my favorites:

1) Tom Vasel (along with Sam Healey and Zee Garcia) at the Dice Tower is still top dog. I usually agree with him, and I appreciate the fact that he has reviewed so many games that I can usually find a review from him.

2) Rahdo does a great job of showing me how a game is played. I use his videos for half-review/half-instructional.

3) I really appreciate the enthusiasm of Forrest Bower at Bower's Game Corner.

4) Ricky Royal at Box of Delights tends to have very good instructional videos/reviews, and I appreciate his focus on solo gaming.
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I like most reviewers, so long as they don't take money for a positive review (Sorry, Undead Viking). Although, I'm starting to dislike all these positive cheerleaders that review Kickstarter games. Seems like every new game is just fantastic. So, thanks to all those who avoid Kick games or at least provide an honest review.
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Kelley Wolatz
United States
Nebraska
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Boardgame Geek TV has recently helped me, as there are so many games to consider. Watching them play a game that I am interested has helped me far more than Dice Tower or Rahdo. Yes, it can be painful to sit through it, but it helps me get the feel of the interaction and fun.Reading text reviews used to work for me, but there are so many games now, it is really tough to decide what to get next. Does anyone review the level of interaction and pure "fun"?
 
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Jerry Schippa
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Sun Prairie
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I regularly watch Shut up and Sit down, The Secret Cabal Gaming Podcast, Blue Peg Pink Peg. Then I watch whatever I can find on any game I'm interested in. As far as favorite reviewer...
1. SUSD for their entertainment, but they are extremely hit or miss for me. Arboretum, love it. Kemet, very dissatisfied. And I doubt I'll ever consider $80 for Junk Art...but their still entertaining non the less.

2. Joel Eddy. I think he has one of the best reviews out there. He gets his opinions and strengths/weaknesses of games across clearly.
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Josh Roberts
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1. Dice Tower. Great funny reviews
2. Drive Thru review. Also great funny reviews
3. Ricky Royal. Best solo game reviewer.
4. Discriminating gamer.
5. Board Game Brawl

If I want to learn a game nothing beats Watch it Played
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Sky Zero
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Illinois
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The few that are generally not influenced by free swag.
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benjamin CLOVIS
France
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There are so many games out there it is so hard to find reviewers that help guide your choice in what to get. After a few hit and a few misses (the first few tom vessel videos that I saw were so enthusiastic that I bought a few games I regret (didn't realise how much that man just loves life (and i obviously mean that in the most complimentary way)) i have learned that there are reviewers I just love to watch and listen to (vessel, su&sd, blue peg pink peg, secret cabal) but the only podcast I listen to when trying to pick out games that i might buy are the folks from The Dukes of Dice. I like medium euros, but not too heavy. So mostly I follow Sean's reviews, but it can't be too heavy for Alex. that's my sweet spot.
Will then watch rahdo to see a play through.

oh and enjoy the discriminating gamer as well (they don't get enough love, and there Pocket Battles review is hilarious)
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Chris
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Shut up and Sit Down are by far the most entertaining, followed by the discussion / debate segments from the Dice Tower.

As far as getting an idea about the game from the reviews is concerned, I've been starting to think that Joel Eddy at Drive Thru is probably my favourite (there are quite a few decent ones, though). Although he doesn't really stand out for any individual attribute, his manner, style and content occupy a sort-of becalmed Goldilocks zone where it's "just right"; not too stylized, not too dry; not too lacking in analysis, not too much analysis; not too comedic, not entirely humourless either, ..., etc. If I'm researching a game and I see that Drive Thru's had a look at it, there's a sort-of, "thank goodness; I can just watch that and I'll get a reasonably good idea of it. Problem solved." aspect to it that a lot of the other reviewers don't necessarily have.
 
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James Arias
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Sanford
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I don't follow any reviewers specifically, but if I see a review from Vasel or The Purge, I will go there first.

But for polls, skutsch is still #1 even sans bacon.
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Baz Hemmons
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I really rate the Game Pit boyeeeees - although Dice Tower is still just about my favorite gaming podcast overall, when it comes to the review aspect the Game Pit "Picking Over the Bones" episodes are top notch.
 
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Liz D
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Even though he isn't a reviewer, I watch EVERYTHING Ricky Royal puts out. His playthroughs give me a strong idea of whether I want a game, and I play a lot of solo stuff.

I also love the Game Boy Geek's reviews, because his explanations are both quick and crystal clear. I've made many a purchase based on what he had to say.
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LKM 2023
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There's a new reviewer who does discussions and reviews of solo games.

She has a YouTube channel and she made a GeekList of her games here.

I like that she talks about the games and how they work as well as just giving an opinion, and talks about what type of gamer might like a game rather than just whether or not she likes it.
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skyzero wrote:
The few that are generally not influenced by free swag.


Yeah, I think that's a bigger problem in this industry than a lot of people realize. I know it's a huge issue in the video game world. It's tough for reviewers, I think, because even if they are not getting paid money to review (like Lance) they may be getting a free game or at least access to a game that they wouldn't have gotten otherwise, which can have a huge influence on their opinion.

Even though I'm not a big fan of SU&SD, I do like that they routinely dislike games. Same with Tom. Rahdo, although he's always gushy, probably just says every game is good because he's sickeningly positive and nice. Gross.

There is a kick going on right now (won't advertise the game) that incorporated an interesting symbol on their page. It said that no money exchanged hands for the review. It would be neat if we could standardize something like that . . . even though we can't really regulate that.
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K S
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I appreciate a lot of the ones mentioned so far, I also appreciate Starlit Citadels reviews. I think that they (like all of the best reviewers) are very clear about their own biases and who a game might appeal to. I also appreciate the fact that their reviews include multiple reviewers: I always prefer hearing more than one person discussing a game.
 
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K S
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broken clock wrote:
Rahdo, although he's always gushy, probably just says every game is good because he's sickeningly positive and nice. Gross.

I think I have a very different impression of Rahdo's reviews. His tastes don't actually align very well with my own, but I appreciate that he is very clear about identifying his own personal biases, and that he seems to always highlight downsides, even if he loves the game.
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LKM 2023
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wamsp wrote:
broken clock wrote:
Rahdo, although he's always gushy, probably just says every game is good because he's sickeningly positive and nice. Gross.

I think I have a very different impression of Rahdo's reviews. His tastes don't actually align very well with my own, but I appreciate that he is very clear about identifying his own personal biases, and that he seems to always highlight downsides, even if he loves the game.
Couldn't disagree more with both of you. To me, he is suspect because he basically LOVES everything and is obviously getting free and advance copies of games. Anyone, really, who routinely goes on and on about how great certain kickstarter games are just seems suspect. There can't be so many absolutely fantastic, amazing, cool, you-name-it games out there...just ready to be backed or bought by the rest of us who aren't getting it for free.
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Janne
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wamsp wrote:
I appreciate a lot of the ones mentioned so far, I also appreciate Starlit Citadels reviews. I think that they (like all of the best reviewers) are very clear about their own biases and who a game might appeal to. I also appreciate the fact that their reviews include multiple reviewers: I always prefer hearing more than one person discussing a game.


This reminded me to check what they've reviewed lately. Alas, they seem to have stopped doing reviews half a year ago due to other commitments.
 
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Ron
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I love the format of JonGetsGames (quick, yet informative and to-the-point), and many of his core notions about gaming align with mine.

Shut Up and Sit Down has to be my all-time favourite though.
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Christian K
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Albany
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My go to's are Tom Vassal and (should be more popular)The Discriminating Gamer.

I love Vassal because I love his quick dirty rules rundowns with review, but sometimes his opinions are trash(Chaos In The Old World, thumbs down because it's too grim.) Either way you don't see a lot of gamers who have the gaming acumen of the main Dice Tower crew.

I love The Discriminating Gamers for his reviews more than anything. He's the guy where if he says if a game is good, I will think its good. I really wish his channel/reviews were more popular.
 
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No Cat - No Cradle
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I'd like to bring folks' attention to

Young Grasshopper
Canada
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He only reviews one game. But does it to a level of detail and insight that goes beyond anything else I have seen out there - This is review in depth of a game that is obviously a passion and an obsession.

Axis and Allies 1940 Global 2nd Ed. (1940 Europe + 1940 Pacific)

Actually that is not quite true. He does review a few other games, but A&A is his masterpiece.

Check him out on You Tube inside the Cliffside Bunker.



 
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