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Subject: Knucklebones: Game ratings and summaries rss

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Ryan Johnson
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Dear Knucklebones.

First, let me say I do a little 'snoopy' happy dance when I see the magazine in my mailbox.
I love your format and the various sections of the publication.

After reading this last issue; July '07, I found myself wondering about a couple things.

In your reviews section it would be very nice to get some type of rating (not necessarily like here on BGG, though that would work for me) on each entry. In the same way that the video game mags do, I like to see where the reviewers rate their games. It would be even better if all your review staff included their rating and I saw the average.

Also, I think that the reviews need a short summary of what the reviewer thought in a separated rule, or as a blurb. I usually read all of all the reviews, but this would help stop me on a quick skim through the issue.

Anyway... Keep up the great work...
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W. Eric Martin
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Ryno8 wrote:
In your reviews section it would be very nice to get some type of rating (not necessarily like here on BGG, though that would work for me) on each entry. In the same way that the video game mags do, I like to see where the reviewers rate their games. It would be even better if all your review staff included their rating and I saw the average.


Ryan, as far as I know, all of the reviewers for Kbones are freelancers like me, and we're scattered hither and yon across the U.S. Most of the time, we don't know what the other reviewers are reviewing. I'll forward this note to my editor, though, and perhaps she'll be able to work out some kind of inter-reviewer network in which we all submit grades for the various games. I like the summary idea as well even though that's more work for me!

Eric
Editor, http://www.BoardgameNews.com
 
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Jeffrey D Myers
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Would be a very nice feature. Spielbox does this.
 
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Chris Bailey
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peacmyer wrote:
Would be a very nice feature. Spielbox does this.


I agree. I love Knucklebones but I often get the feeling that every game they review gets a good rating. There was a review of Rocketville and THAT got a good rating so after that I definitely take what they say with a grain of salt and them come here to see what others think about the game in question.
 
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Mark Crocker
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You are never going to find a bad review in KBones. That would be advertising revenue suicide. Once you realize that fact, it's a pleasant magazine.
 
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W. Eric Martin
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ixnay66 wrote:
I love Knucklebones but I often get the feeling that every game they review gets a good rating.


This issue has come up a few times in the BGG forum. The magazine has limited space for review, and the readership consists of people who are likely discovering strategy games beyond the shelves of Toys R Us for the first time, so the editor wants reviewers to recommend games to those people rather than pan games that the readers have likely never heard of. Once readers start exploring the recommended games, they'll surely run across BGG and find warnings for all those bad games anyway.

In other words, reviewers don't give good reviews to every game; they review games that they think are good.

As an aside, I've played Rocketville twice with three players, finishing in a half-hour each time, and in those circumstances the game is fun. Playing with five or having players agonize over which card to play when would definitely make the game unfun. I think expectations were way off when this game debuted as it was pitched as an election game and it's anything but. Played fast and light, I'd recommend it.

Eric
Editor, http://www.BoardgameNews.com
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Ryan Johnson
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I don't mind the generally positive nature of the reviews at all... in fact I don't think scathing reviews have a place in subscription print, as they are usually heavily biased and give the terrible games more exposure than if no review was done at all.

However, I think that a rating box with a breakdown of elements offers impact to the review that the essays just can't replicate. The reviews in knucklebones are clear and concise, but if I'm only marginally interested in a title, I find that I seldom stay focused throughout the read.

On top of that, I find that if I see an odd or unique rating breakdown with a short blurb from the essay, I usually read through the article with more zeal.

For instance, here is a copy of an o.k. review with the rating system. This is obviously a user review, as the spelling and grammer is low, but I still get an overall impression.

 
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Joe Saul-Sehy
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Quote:
I don't mind the generally positive nature of the reviews at all


I realized these were positive reviews only after reading here several months ago the editor's desire for only good press toward games.

As a consumer with limited money to spend I think I'll look at Knucklebones as a filter. If a review even appears there, it's probably thought of highly by someone who's played lots of games.

I got my first issue today and was pretty impressed with the magazine. After some of the rip remarks I'd read of the magazine here at BGG, I was pleasantly surprised with the quality.
 
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