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Subject: For the Meeple, by the Meeple (Review of Small World) rss

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Michael Carpenter
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BOX ART



Small World takes a step away from Risk to include more types of gamers without losing the feel of a combative area control game.



QUICK FACTS:
Style of Game: Family, Strategy
Play Time: 40 to 80 minutes
Theme: War between multiple types of races
Number of Players: 2-5
Main Mechanics: Area Control, Area Movement, Dice Rolling, Variable Player Powers
Components: Nice
Weight: Medium Weight


THEME AND MECHANISMS:
- The theme pits various types of races with enhancements against one another in a battle to control areas of the world.

- The mechanisms stress this conquest and give each race a nice special ability that can change from game to game.

- I don't really see anything mechanically that would contrast the theme but the simplicity of the combat mechanism feels as though it abstracts the war "feel" pretty heavily.

- I will say that if the players can get into the idea of representing their races there is some theme that you can pull out of the overall atmosphere.



GAMEPLAY OVERVIEW (In five sentences or less):
Each player will be rounding up the forces of multiple races throughout the game to earn the most victory points. Players will earn VPs from controlling areas of the map at the end of their turn. On a player's turn they will decide if they want to continue their quest with their current race or call on a new race to enter the mix. When races go into decline, they still impact the game, but typically become easy targets for enemies. The player that can maneuver their troops the most efficiently and effectively throughout the game will earn the most VPs and win the game.

Rules Clarifications:
- Players will mix and match races with special abilities and then choose one of the available races to them on their first turn. From then on they will have to put their current race into decline to start with a new race. Choosing a third race will remove your first race from the game. A fourth will remove your second, and so on.

- Controlling areas of the map will require a player to spend one troop token for each token in the space on the board, whether it is terrain or an enemy troop.

ASSESSMENT


My assessment of board games is broken into three core areas: Depth of Strategy, Replayability, and Quality of Design.

Depth of Strategy

Small World is a light "dudes on a map game". It is medium weight compared to many games in the genre. Small World does not reach the complexity of a war game and it doesn't take itself seriously enough to feel as heated and contested as maybe a Kemet. However, that does not take away from the strategical feel of the game. Though, it lies so deep within the area control that you can lose the feel of the theme and become entranced in the mechanisms.

There is a hint at creating a thematic feel when players begin looking at the available races but that is quickly snuffed out by the tokens the players receive that represent each of their troops in the given race. For me, any feel of creating an army quickly begins to feel more like I am spending coins to win a bid. I lose all connection to a combative feel. Once you get over that, and you must during your first turn, you can dive into the strategy required to compete in Small World. If we are assuming most players will use between 3 and 5 races throughout the game the strategy ends up feeling like 3 to 5 mini-strategies or 3 to 5 detailed tactics. Even though players have a pretty good idea of where they would like to enter the map from and how they would like to spread out, you can't guarantee yourself which races will be available to use as their later races. You may have an idea by the time you decide to choose a new race but there will likely be a round or two when you are using your current race and do not know if your next desired race will be available so the feel of the game is one of quick planning when the moment is right.

Each race will have a couple special characteristics to it but for the most part every race obtains control of areas on the map the same way so maximizing your number of troops or at the very least, maximizing your efficiency of your troops, is crucial but managing to find ways to make your races work well with each other throughout the game has probably been the deciding factor in most games I have played.

Small World basically boils down to a math problem, but it is a fun little problem to solve and takes thought because haphazard moves will just simply crush your efficiency and chances of winning.

Depth of Strategy:
3.5 = There are multiple viable strategies due to the variable player powers and method to gaining control of the areas in the map.




Replayability

As with many modern board games, Small World took note of the variable setup concept to enhance replayability. However, in Small World there is really only one variable that changes from game to game and that is which races are available at the beginning of the game. Yes, the board changes for different player counts but there isn't a huge change in the fundamentals of the gameplay at different player counts so it is more of a slight adjustment to the approach to the board. I do acknowledge that this is a nice factor for the game if you plan on playing with different player counts often, but if you do not, there is not much that is going to change from game to game in setup.

Where I feel the game's replayability suffers though is that even it's big attempt at replayability falls short (in the base game) because there are definitely races/special power combinations that players will be competing to get every game and realistically it is more like there are races that are key to get and special abilities that are key to get and if there's ever a combination of key characteristics you really need to get them. If you look at this as an element that is infused into the strategical approach to your game, I can understand that, but it just doesn't do much for me after a few plays of the game.




Replayability:
2.5 = High replayability is going to be heavily reliant on the group, but I think several groups could play the game and enjoy it occasionally.




Quality of Design


Area Control/Area Influence: Area influence is included here because there are races that can impact spaces on the board with their special abilities. The area control mechanism abstracts the combative feel of the game too much for me to really enjoy it. I can appreciate the brilliance of the use of the mechanism because it is technically a means of scoring, and a combat resolution system. With deterministic combat isn't always exciting but it is pretty simple for most people to wrap their head around so it makes the game more accessible than most games of it's type.

Area Movement: This mechanism sits behind the more exciting mechanisms but it is a key element in your strategy/tactics because moving troops effectively at the end of your turn can be vital to your future defenses and how you can hinder your opponent's plans. There's very little to the mechanism but I like to measure the significance of a mechanism against it's complexity and this one offers a lot without adding much complexity to the game at all.

Dice Rolling: I haven't mentioned this area of the game until now, but there is an element of luck in the game when conquering a new area of the board a player may attack a final space that requires more troops than he or she has left (assuming they have at least one more troop). If this is attempted, the player rolls a six sided die (with 0,1,2 and 3 pips) rather than the normal distribution. If the player rolls enough to allow their attack to overcome the defense in the space, they may move into the space as normal. If not, they must put their troop in a different space they already control. Is this necessary to the game? Not in my opinion, but it does give kids, and some people a welcomed moment of excitement and chance in an otherwise deterministic game.

Variable Player Powers: This is obviously where the game shines and reels players in. I admit, it is quite fun to cycle through the potential combinations of races and special abilities that can be created and it is nice to have to try to maximize the effects of the races you get your hands on. Unfortunately, I don't think they are enough to make the game more than mediocre.


Quality of Design:
3.0 = No major break but the gameplay is just average.


FINAL THOUGHTS:
Small World got my interest because I want to like a "dudes on a map" game. Unfortunately, I did not find a true connection with Small World but I did find a game that I am okay with having for that occasion when I want to play a game in the genre. I am still searching for that game that fills a void in my collection that is the great dudes on a map game, but for now Small World will do the job of filling a role that is a game I can play if I am in the mood for the genre but don't have a better game or a more suitable group to play a heavier dudes on a map game.

I realize I may be in the minority on this game because it is rated highly but I just never quite got into this one. Something is missing, I made some points as to why, but I'm not sure it is any one of these things that keeps me from liking it more, I think it is everything together that makes it fall short and keeps this game from shining.

Overall Rating -
Small World is a solid little game but it doesn't do what I want a game like this to do to be a great game for me.

Overall Opinion: Just barely positive

One Positive / One Negative:
- (P) If you can look past the abstracted feel, the game offers a solid bit of strategy and tactics for as light as it is in this genre.

- (N) The game doesn't lose the feel of an area control game, but it does really suffer thematically because of the combat system.

GENRE METER

Risk | | | | | | | | | colonist | | | | | | | | | Kemet


colonist = To me, Small World falls right between Risk and Kemet. Small World has the area control idea of both the other games but has a much different combat mechanism and length than Risk and Kemet adds in more complexity (not to the point of being convoluted) that Small World does not have. It's not really going to feel like either all that much.


If you enjoy my reviews please recommend and check out my geeklist For the Meeple, by the Meeple
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David Hammel
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I don't think a simple design is necessarily mediocre by default. Also, the different player counts change the dynamics a lot more than is stated here. (I love this game at 2-3, but I hate the 5-6 player experience.) It isn't just the variability of the special powers / races that make the game dynamic; it is the order in which they are made available. There's so many tactical decisions to make in this game. If you thought this was bland, I have to wonder what games you consider 10s.
 
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Michael Carpenter
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I think you may have interpreted my statement about different player counts differently than I intended. Playing with different player counts really only changes the board you play on in termsheet of variable setup. I apologize if the way I said it made it seem like I was intending to blanket the entire game's experience being similar at all player counts. We can agree that at 5 players is not enjoyable.

As for the simplistic design equals mediocrity... I feel like you put words in my mouth. I certainly didn't say that and I'm not sure that that is even a reasonable assumption to make from what I wrote. My claim is that the game doesn't do much for me after a few plays because the game doesn't offer me much to get interested in. Simplicity can be brilliant and for many people that's probably the case with Small World. For me, Small World does a good job at what it is but it wasn't what I was looking for. Sorry if I hit a nerve.
 
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David Hammel
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No nerve hit, just responding. Only a game, after all.
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Danny Mack
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With over 130 reviews already submitted for this 1 game, I'm not sure yours is really even necessary. It doesn't make any fresh observations or present anything in a new or compelling way.

It's obvious that you put a lot of time & effort into this (as is evidenced by the amount of text the reader will scroll through to get to the end), but I can't help but feel you could benefit from (a) an editor, and (b) a clearer understanding of what the key industry terms mean to others in the hobby (the ones you've bolded).

IMO you could have saved us & yourself a lot of time & effort by just leaving a comment on an existing review that described how you feel about the game: you compare it to Kemet & Risk and it proved to be lacking in your opinion. That would have been sufficient.

Perhaps it would have benefited your readers to know at the outset what you were expecting to find in a "dudes on a map" game, and then all of us would understand why this one came up short for you. But it sounds like you're not even sure yourself.

Smallworld is a fantastic, elegant design with a proven sales record--you rating it poorly just makes you look silly. Really, it's okay if it's not for you, and posting a warning to others about why it might not be for them is perfectly acceptable too. But I don't feel you accomplished that.
You meandered. And you tried to make your unnameable dissatisfaction into a quantifiable (poor) rating. This "assessment" is more of a journal entry/self-reflection than an effective review.

I did not enjoy this review, and strangely, it had nothing to do with our difference of opinion on the game. I will not be subscribing.
 
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Kevy B
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Yet you are responding in the manner of someone who has a problem with a differing opinion. Honestly, I can't even imagine how this game's sales has ANYTHING to do with its quality. Because I'm sure you realize that many people buy games without ever having played them, right? Similarly, people go to movies without ever having seen them. "Suicide Squad" sold millions of tickets; by your logic, that means it's a great movie. Even if every single person who bought Small World had played it previously, then obviously Monopoly is one of the greatest games of all time. (It's only at 4.43? Well, clearly the people rating it are all "silly"!)

Furthermore, not being able to specify one's dissatisfaction of something does not disqualify one from slapping a grade on it. A grade isn't something derived after an algebraic equation. It's a FEELING. I can grade a strawberry I just ate, but I couldn't write five words about why I felt that way. Also, a 6/10 is NOT a "poor" grade. It's "above average". Even BGG considers a 6 to be "OK - will play if in the mood."

People find different things to like in a game, so differing opinions are all helpful to those that are thinking about buying the game. And that's who reviews are actually for, right? Sure, there are those desperate to find validation in someone agreeing with them. But what's truly "silly" is that it takes very little time to find others on this site who like Small World even less, so acting as if this reviewer is the only person on the planet who doesn't want to marry it and have its Small World babies makes you more than a little disingenous. At best.

You think this review isn't necessary? What's even LESS necessary is a review of a review.
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Danny Mack
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No, LaffnStock, I never lifted up my opinion as superior to the reviewer's opinion. I did not try to invalidate or dismiss his negative opinion of the game; I'm fully aware there are plenty of Small World haters. I have no intention of tracking down each one and starting an online flame-war. The OP's post is a new one, triggered by my subscriptions, so I read it. Trying to invalidate my comments with that straw man together with the old "Monopoly has sold millions" appeal is lame.

For starters, games are not movies or strawberries, neither is a review the same as a grade or an opinion.

Games can indeed be experienced without any purchase necessary, so of course your sales reasoning is correct. (Moreover, I think this is obvious to anyone who has ever played a game with more than 1 player.)

Days of Wonder, historically, has proven that they have the industry savvy to help a truly good game succeed--Small World is one such that has risen to the top of their game catalog. Many of their other titles, given the same treatment, have not fared as well. Perhaps as a "new user" you're not familiar with all of that.

As an aside, if you are personally unable to put into words how you feel about the things you experience, and if this causes you frustration, I'd suggest a writing class at a local community college. Contrariwise, if you are projecting onto the OP your own inability to express yourself, and if you are simultaneously trying to make a case that someone who is only able to "slap grades on things" should be able to pose as a reviewer--independent of any any help or objective input--I feel that would be a poor choice for such a person. If you can grade, stick to grading, otherwise open yourself up to criticism & growth.

I don't know what you're trying to say about grading strawberries...
Perhaps you're trying to say that the reviewer should have stuck to "slapping a grade on" this game, rather than writing this extensive meandering review. If so, I'm inclined to agree with you.

A real writer knows the value of objective criticism, and really wants to find ways to distinguish his voice--especially in situations where there are 100+ other options for readers. All I did was observe the pointlessness of the writer's very long review and suggest that he consider getting help with focus from an editor in the future. Since he is soliciting "subscriptions" from readers of this so-called review, he clearly wants to be taken seriously in this environment. One way of doing that is to not ignore terminology that is already en vogue, in favor of your own made-up jargon. That's why I mentioned that: specific examples make for real criticism.

Furthermore, it is poor practice for a reviewer to fail to acknowledge the undeniable merits of their subject, especially if they are about to focus on its negative aspects. That's what we have here. It comes across as either lazy, unaware, or disingenuous.

There are already plenty of negative reviews in the Small World forums, and some of them are quite well written. I agree: having them there is important. In this case (as I said) I think the OP would have served his cause better by simply commenting on another existing review, rather than diluting the forums with more banality for future inquiring minds to sort through.

Ultimately, my dissatisfied comments were about the writing here (and the choice of subject matter). They were not the result of reading an opinion that differed from my own. I thought I was pretty clear about that. I'm surprised you have so ardently taken up offense for the OP. Perhaps you have married him and had his babies?
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Michael Carpenter
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Hey guys, I apologize if the review comes off as lazy or disingenuous or anything else that doesn't represent my real efforts. I do appreciate the criticism of the review though and will try to improve on what "needs" to be addressed to properly educate the reader.


For your own self-improvement "Bandit", you should take some time to consider how others perceive you and your words or actions. You come across as arrogant and having an elitist mentality.

There is no need for you to speak to people the way you do, and I don't mean myself. You don't need to point out someone's new user status and assume they are uneducated on a topic. I actually will take your comments into consideration and try to improve my reviews, so no foul there, but being insulting and taking unnecessary jabs at people (especially potentially new people to the hobby) isn't what this hobby is about. You claim to not lift your opinions to a level of superiority, and I am not disputing that, but you should consider raising your level of behavior and maturity to that of a person that seemingly claims to know the industry and wants to influence others.

You can constructively or harshly criticize (whichever you intended) me and my effort to learn a skill like reviewing as much as you would like you but you don't get to determine worth or value for anyone other than yourself. Please do not tell me or anyone else that may not be as "ELITE" as yourself what is worth our time. I don't care to stand out in a crowded market whatsoever. I have a successful career far from this industry but enjoy board games and writing about them. You do not need to attack what I do in my spare time.

Anyway...
I see you are a game designer. Do you have anything published that I could research and/or play? Or are you an aspiring designer?
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Curt Frantz
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bandit_boy7 wrote:
With over 130 reviews already submitted for this 1 game, I'm not sure yours is really even necessary. It doesn't make any fresh observations or present anything in a new or compelling way.

It's obvious that you put a lot of time & effort into this (as is evidenced by the amount of text the reader will scroll through to get to the end), but I can't help but feel you could benefit from (a) an editor, and (b) a clearer understanding of what the key industry terms mean to others in the hobby (the ones you've bolded).

IMO you could have saved us & yourself a lot of time & effort by just leaving a comment on an existing review that described how you feel about the game: you compare it to Kemet & Risk and it proved to be lacking in your opinion. That would have been sufficient.


Nobody made you open up and read this review. If you already have concrete opinions on the game, there's really no need. I think an player new to Small World gains from this review what they do from a lot of others, but why punish this reviewer for being late to the party? He can review whatever games he would like to. Also, MANY people give the following advice to fledgling reviewers:

"Review as many games as you can; all the games in your collection, if possible."

Who cares if there are 131 instead of 130 reviews on a particular game?? Nobody said you have to read them all...

bandit_boy7 wrote:
Smallworld is a fantastic, elegant design with a proven sales record--you rating it poorly just makes you look silly.


No, it makes you look butt-hurt because someone doesn't agree with you. If anything, we should be encouraging negative reviews, as they're few and far between (and honestly, often more helpful than positive reviews).

bandit_boy7 wrote:
Really, it's okay if it's not for you, and posting a warning to others about why it might not be for them is perfectly acceptable too. But I don't feel you accomplished that.


That is your opinion, not the gospel.

bandit_boy7 wrote:
You meandered. And you tried to make your unnameable dissatisfaction into a quantifiable (poor) rating. This "assessment" is more of a journal entry/self-reflection than an effective review.


As stated above, sometimes you *can't* put your finger on why you don't like a game...and that's fine!

bandit_boy7 wrote:
I did not enjoy this review, and strangely, it had nothing to do with our difference of opinion on the game. I will not be subscribing.


Great! I'd rather not have to scroll through all the negativity,and occasionally, feel the need to respond shake

P.S. It sounds like it has a lot to do with your difference of opinion on the game. (Read: "Smallworld is a fantastic, elegant design with a proven sales record--you rating it poorly just makes you look silly.")
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Danny Mack
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This is hilarious.
At least everyone is looking out for complete strangers around the holidays.

MariettaTennis wrote:
Hey guys, I apologize if the review comes off as lazy or disingenuous or anything else that doesn't represent my real efforts. I do appreciate the criticism of the review though and will try to improve on what "needs" to be addressed to properly educate the reader.

Well, MariettaTennis, it's good to hear that you are getting what I'm saying, even if others feel the need to "defend" what you've done here. (But that implies that there was an attack, in the first place.) If you go back and re-read my initial comments, all I did was assess the review, and how I felt as a reader, trying to get something out of it. It was obvious that you wrote your review as a 1st draft and then published it into the forums as a finished draft. Some see that as my opinion. I'm pretty sure that it's a fact, but only you could clear that up. Either way, pointing it out is not attacking you. Neither is suggesting an editor.

MariettaTennis wrote:
For your own self-improvement "Bandit", you should take some time to consider how others perceive you and your words or actions. You come across as arrogant and having an elitist mentality.

That's always the risk when you're putting your thoughts out into the internet, to be seen in black-and-white (and sans facial expression).

I have just gone back and re-read my initial comment, "taking some time" as you said, and honestly there's nothing there that I would take back. Those are solid notes. It's a good editor's assessment. The first & last paragraphs alone are of a personal nature, but there I'm the reader, and as entitled to publish my reaction to your writing as you were entitled to publish your reaction to the game.

Anyway, it's true that we should all take time to consider how we come across to others. (But I bet you'll get in less trouble for saying it than I did, LOL.)

MariettaTennis wrote:
There is no need for you to speak to people the way you do, and I don't mean myself. You don't need to point out someone's new user status and assume they are uneducated on a topic.

Okay. Well, there's a reason why BGG puts those labels on people. It helps us to know what we're dealing with, (hopefully) giving people the benefit of the doubt and being more ready-to-explain. After a little while the "new user" label goes away--avatars on BGG automatically update wherever they are seeded in the forums. So comments made when someone is a "new user" will remain, but their perspective will likely change as the months go by and they get further into the hobby. (I hate typing all of this just to prove I'm not after anybody.) I gave LaffnStock the benefit of the doubt. He was the one who said he was uneducated on the topic, saying: "I can't imagine how this game's sales has ANYTHING to do with its quality." As a more veteran game-geek he will know. You can check sales figures and plays recorded right here on BGG to give you a good idea of how well-received the game is in comparison to other games and in comparison to the reviewers review. More importantly, you can watch these stats over time...and that's where this game really stands out. It's a 2009 design, yet still a contender in the annual GeekMadness tournament, and was the #32 most-purchased game last month (ahead of many newer or more serious/complex designs). It spent 3 years in the Top 50 games, and even now is still ranked in the top 150 (only 10 games from 2009 are). Regardless of what my opinion is, these facts & sales figures recommend the design to a new user.

Additionally, if you've not tried the design yet and you don't want to be a number hunter, you can look at the designer, the publisher, and the sales/buzz--not just a reviewer--to decide whether to trust that the design is solid.

Anyway, the OP feels attacked, the new user feels talked-down-to...I'm still unaware of what I said that was out of line. I have tried to give feedback to the OP (not an argument with his opinion) yet I have been accused of a litany of social offenses. If I type too much, I'm verbose/elitist/negative. If I type too little my statements are twisted out of context and accused of being meant in ways they weren't. I know games, I know writing/editing. That doesn't make me "elitist"; it makes me knowledgeable about 2 topics. I have spoken on a topic with authority, and people are getting all bent out of shape. If they were writers/editors they wouldn't be. The irony is that it's okay to be negative about a designer's hard work/game design, but not a reviewer's article (that took MUCH less time & work). Then if someone is critical of the reviewer's writing it turns into a censorship rally.

Telling me that a "review of a review [is] even less necessary" is rude and completely ignorant, but nobody is speaking up about that. LaffnStock's tone was completely condescending, as were all of his examples. Additionally, so far, every comment after my own has accused me of motives I do not have.
> I am NOT responding in the manner of someone who has a problem with a differing opinion. Already spent time & effort explaining that.
> I didn't accuse the OP of being lazy or disingenuous.
> I didn't "assume" that a new user was uneducated about the topic. He admitted he was. Also his comments about writing/editing show plainly that he has no background as a writer or an editor.
> I haven't insulted anyone, but it's clear several people have taken insult. I was trying to give feedback on an article that I thought was poorly written. Now I regret it. Despite the claims of the author, his perturbed comments show him to have taken insult over how his efforts were received. The best I can do at this point is to offer my services at editing the above review for him, free of charge, so that he can learn & improve, so that he can clearly see what isn't working best for him, and so that he (and all of these surprise combatants rushing to his aid) can see that I meant no ill will against him.
> In this thread I have been accused of being intolerant of opinions that differ with my own, but no examples were given. I have been accused of taking unnecessary jabs and insulting people, but no examples were given. I have been accused of being elitist & butt-hurt. I have had words put in my mouth--saying that I was singling this author out as the only person on the planet who dislikes the game, etc. I have had my "behavior and maturity" called into question, but no examples were given. I have been accused of "punishing this reviewer" which is completely off-base and just fanning the flame.

I'm trying to help people here, and nowadays anytime you don't blow sunshine up somebody's @$$ you get accused of flaming/trolling/attacking/negativity/ranting. That's a shame, because most of the really great leaps forward that I've ever experienced have come after tough realizations. I'm glad people speak into my life. They don't have to. Objective criticism and even the extreme expression of dislike are NOT insults.

MariettaTennis wrote:
You can constructively or harshly criticize (whichever you intended) me and my effort to learn a skill like reviewing as much as you would like you but you don't get to determine worth or value for anyone other than yourself. Please do not tell me or anyone else that may not be as "ELITE" as yourself what is worth our time. I don't care to stand out in a crowded market whatsoever. I have a successful career far from this industry but enjoy board games and writing about them. You do not need to attack what I do in my spare time.

Nowhere in your article was there a disclaimer that you were merely "trying to learn the skill of reviewing". The reader responds to how the writer presents himself; what other choice does the reader have? If you're not quite ready to write and you're not ready to take negative feedback, then why put yourself (and potential readers) in this position?

And this statement about not "determining worth or value for anyone other than myself" is astounding. That is precisely what an editor does. It is not a moral issue, otherwise anyone who takes up the role of an editor is a transgressor. It is a fact, that pieces of writing can be improved for the benefit & inclusion of (more) readers. I have worked professionally as both a writer & an editor; I'm not being elitist or arrogant when I say these things. I just know what I'm talking about. It's also a bit hypocritical of you to say this because as a reviewer you are taking it upon yourself to determine for others the worth or value of this game! (My head is about to pop.) Nobody is denying you that right. Yet you would deny me. As a reviewer, your whole purpose is to tell others whether this thing is or is not worth our time. Yet you would forbid others from adversely reacting to what you've created. Wow.

This deflection about your successful career outside of games is bad form. We've all got day jobs. Most of us are not game industry pros. That doesn't mean you can't stand by what you wrote and just receive the criticism along with the thumbs & GG tips. Nobody is implying you participate on BGG as a search for validation. Nobody is attacking you.

I simply said that the meat of your whole lengthy article could have been boiled down to a comment on someone else's review. This is also a fact, not an opinion. If this were not true, then there would be no such thing as a precis or summary, and the term "boil it down" would be out of use. A writer values the reader's time (unless they are in the sensationalist journalism field, or writing puff pieces.) The ways he does this are numerous, but if it's bloated or disorganized or unclear, the writer has not done his best. When I speak about "worth our time" this is what I mean. Writing a nice juicy comment on someone else's review (for instance) would have bumped that fine article up in everyone's subscriptions, and you would have still been able to scratch the itch of writing about games.

Things are published to COMMUNICATE. Therefore, writing hundreds of reviews for the sake of practicing reviews is self-serving, and REALLY crappy advice. If you want to practice, take a class, write drafts, or just hit "print" instead of "publish". If you just like writing about games, that's great! Try writing Session reports, or keep a gaming journal. I have nothing against negative reviews, but to be fair, I'm not sure that classification fits here. You said you enjoy the game.

I'm not making hot-headed replies, unsupported accusations, indefensible assertions, or using a nasty tone. Others here are. I have accused the OP of nothing. I have not argued my opinion of the game against his. I am not against anyone here, but I won't sit here and silently take the accusations and hostility being directed at me.

tribefan07 wrote:
Nobody made you open up and read this review. If you already have concrete opinions on the game, there's really no need. I think an player new to Small World gains from this review what they do from a lot of others, but why punish this reviewer for being late to the party? He can review whatever games he would like to...Who cares if there are 131 instead of 130 reviews on a particular game?? Nobody said you have to read them all.

Well, I have subscribed to the Small World Reviews forums because I generally enjoy discussions about this game. I also enjoy a really well-written, fresh review. I don't read reviews in order to hear my own viewpoints reinforced (although everybody enjoys that when it happens). I like to leave GG tips for good reviews to encourage reviewers to keep going, and I usually enjoy intelligent discussion with other readers who share my interests. So that's my reason(s) for "opening it up and reading" it. (I feel my options are dwindling here: first I can't respond critically, now I'm not even entitled to open & read--yikes!)


tribefan07 wrote:
We should be encouraging negative reviews, as they're few and far between (and honestly, often more helpful than positive reviews).

I have already completely agreed with this in a prior post. There's no argument here; I'm in favor of encouraging good reviews, be they positive, negative, or explorative. I haven't tried to silence the OP's opinion--negative or otherwise, contrary to my own or otherwise.

tribefan07 wrote:
bandit_boy7 wrote:
Really, it's okay if it's not for you, and posting a warning to others about why it might not be for them is perfectly acceptable too. But I don't feel you accomplished that.

That is your opinion, not the gospel.

Which statement among those you've quoted?

tribefan07 wrote:
As stated above, sometimes you *can't* put your finger on why you don't like a game...and that's fine!

I agree. Sometimes I have to play games multiple times before I can figure out what I feel about them or why I feel the way I do. So, sure, it's natural to feel that way, but it's a poor/premature position to be writing an evaluation from. Again it's the difference between writing for self or writing for others--a journal entry or a review.

tribefan07 wrote:
It sounds like it has a lot to do with your difference of opinion on the game. (Read: "Smallworld is a fantastic, elegant design with a proven sales record--you rating it poorly just makes you look silly.")

Small World's design is EXTREMELY elegant. That is a fact--so many moving pieces, such a simple game. It is also very successful, as has been demonstrated above. This is not my opinion. Again, I have not argued my opinion about the game in this thread. It was not my intent to hijack another reviewer's thread...but then I didn't expect to be set upon by the community for leaving a comment for the author either.

MariettaTennis wrote:
I see you are a game designer. Do you have anything published that I could research and/or play? Or are you an aspiring designer?

Assuming your query is genuine, just click on anyone's "Game Designer" banner. It takes you to their designer page. The banners are admin awarded, and tied to the database, therefore they cannot be given to aspiring designers. People generally don't have them attached to their avatars because they think they are "elite".
 
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Curt Frantz
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bandit_boy7 wrote:
This is hilarious.
At least everyone is looking out for complete strangers around the holidays.


Ever tried it?

bandit_boy7 wrote:
MariettaTennis wrote:
For your own self-improvement "Bandit", you should take some time to consider how others perceive you and your words or actions. You come across as arrogant and having an elitist mentality.

That's always the risk when you're putting your thoughts out into the internet, to be seen in black-and-white (and sans facial expression).

I have just gone back and re-read my initial comment, "taking some time" as you said, and honestly there's nothing there that I would take back. Those are solid notes. It's a good editor's assessment. The first & last paragraphs alone are of a personal nature, but there I'm the reader, and as entitled to publish my reaction to your writing as you were entitled to publish your reaction to the game.

Anyway, it's true that we should all take time to consider how we come across to others. (But I bet you'll get in less trouble for saying it than I did, LOL.)


You ARE entitled to your opinion. The rest of us are just here to inform you that, if you can't see that you've said anything wrong or offensive, you're the one being silly (and some other things).

Furthermore, why do you care what stylistic approach the author took? I'm not sure why you care how the author approached the game and review. He's not publishing a scientific journal article. Scroll past it. Don't comment. Whatever. Live and let live, man.

One could argue that your comment 'added less value' to the forums than the review did.
 
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Michael Carpenter
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Look everyone, I appreciate both the poster in question and anyone who seems to defending me but I think it is best if we just drop this. I will take what has been mentioned as constructive criticism and see if I can in fact improve my reviews. It's only fair that I do so. I don't have any issue with what has been said about me or my writing style or lack thereof. If I were to be offended it would be a childish approach to publishing public content. I think what this boils down to is that BGG and all it's content is diverse and different areas and styles will satisfy different people. I am sorry that you are unhappy with my review but it's okay to not be on the same page. I also didn't mean to be insulting when I addressed you originally Danny, but as you have stated it is very easy for someone to misinterpret your intentions. It's arguable that intentions are the hardest thing to measure in life so please apply your logic to both sides of the coin. At least with any communication between the two of us.


At the end of the day though, you have put yourself into the discussion and now are becoming defensive about public opinion of your comments but won't allow anyone else to do so. I don't deny that you have experience in your fields and I have taken your opinions to heart and plan to utilize them. However, I stand by my suggestion to contemplate social interaction and public perception of you and your words, not just what is printed or published. You have a glaring weakness when it comes to incorrectly applying logic to conversations and that I can confirm because of my experience with the subject and the time I have put into it in higher education courses.
 
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Danny Mack
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So now I get to be "childish", but you didn't mean to be insulting before when you used those other labels?

I already got your point, Michael. You think I'm out of line, socially. I went back and re-examined my statements, like you suggested. My willingness to be agreeable/concede on many points was not enough, nor was it enough to explain myself. I realize it would have been better if I had just shut up, but that doesn't seem fair. I have invited those who threw around labels/accusations to provide examples/basis for them. In absence of this, there's nothing else I can do but miss what I'm doing wrong. (Like I said, an editor helps you see how to do better, when you can't discern what you've missed via contemplation.)

MariettaTennis wrote:
You have put yourself into the discussion and now are becoming defensive about public opinion of your comments but won't allow anyone else to do so.

The difference is, Michael, I didn't call anyone names, or attempt to smear anyone's motivations or character. I tried asking follow-up questions to elicit why people were perceiving me the way they were, but those have gone unanswered. Pardon me if you think it unreasonable to defend myself instead.

In either case, I have not forbidden "anyone else to do so". Challenging other people's statements/accusations (and waiting for an explanation from them) is part of intelligent debate & disagreement. Nobody else has been willing to spend the time/effort to explain their points of view. I guess that's the real difference between published writing and the public internet forum. Here it's fire-and-forget for most people.

Anyway, it's not childish to expect a review to follow the rules of review writing. Publishing public content is no different than publishing a magazine--in that a review is a review. I suggested other perfectly acceptable names for what you've got here, and even offered to help you with your work. If the rationale here is: "It doesn't matter how we communicate; the internet is full of bad examples & ignorance anyway." Well, I can't just shut up and follow the crowd on that. I want to do my best and call out for the best in others. If that makes me elitist, clueless, square, or offensive, then I'm sorry--that's not my intent.

I have at least discovered that making comments about someone's writing on BGG is likely to kick an anthill that will result in an outpouring of accusations, ire, and hypocritical reasoning by the community. I guess writing now goes into the "off-limits" category with religion & politics.

I have taken a lot of my free time today to clarify my points, to answer the barbed questions that were directed at me, and to try to give context to my misunderstood motives, etc. I see it has had no result except to incite more snarky comments and more rhetorical questions. I might be the clueless one here, but I know when I'm not having a genuine conversation. You guys aren't really trying to see where I'm coming from; you just want to poke the bear and judge me. This is not why I show up to BGG. I'm done with this thread.

Good luck, Michael.

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