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Subject: Does the age of a review matter to you? rss

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Stephen Hall
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The longer I have been in this hobby, the more discerning I have become about what games I acquire. I read and watch as many reviews as I can before purchasing a game, in order to make sure it's one I will fully enjoy. I'm sure this is the case for most of BGG.

With that said, does the age of a given review matter to you? If you're researching an older game, would you look at a review from 15 years ago differently than one from 15 days ago? Do you take into account the time period a review was written and what games were out at that time?

I can see two different viewpoints here:

1) A review is a review. If a game was good/bad in 2002, it's still going to be good/bad now.

2) A 15-year old review is meaningful, but it doesn't carry the same weight as a more recent review, because of how greatly the industry has changed in that time.
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No One
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I watch reviews more to understand the flow of the game, see the graphic design, then match what is presented to my own tastes and wants. So, no I don't take into account the age of the review. What's good and bad mechanically and artistically about a game is not going to change unless a new edition comes out.

Also, sometimes older reviews are all that exist for a game.

~V
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Chengkai Yang
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Depends on if your looking for the reviewers thoughts or just the flow of a game. The former is time sensitive as its impacted by the context of what else was around, a play through or more rules focused review however will be pretty timeless.
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Stephen Hall
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Indeed. I should have been more specific in my question. I'm wondering more about how reviews age in terms of the reviewer's actual verdict on the game. Not so much concerning the overview of the game and it's mechanisms (as those are indeed timeless).
 
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Robert Hafley
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I watch to see the components, the look of the game, and how it is played. I may listen to their thoughts to identify if they coincide with what I am thinking, or if their remarks would be something I agree with or potentially dislike.

I am not overly concerned with how they like the game--I am not them. The game is the same then as it is now.
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Stuart Dunn
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Age of the review matters, because new games are coming out all the time. What a reviewer might see as revolutionary at the time in term of game play or mechanics, might have spawned other games that employ that mechanic even better. What is viewed as a new theme or a less-visited theme might have been beaten to death in the time that has passed and now games x, y, and z make the theme shine through even more. It really varies on a case-by-case basis. Some games can stand the test of time. Some fall to the wayside.
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Ed Sherman
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I also watch reviews to get an idea of how a game is played but a good reviewer can also put a game in context because they've played a lot more games than I have. Granted, this is a deeper level of analysis that many reviewers give but I really appreciate when a reviewer says that game x is good but a similar game y is better.

If someone were to come out with a review today talking about how great Dominion is without comparing it to other deck building games I wouldn't find it terribly useful, for example.
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John
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juggler5 wrote:
1) A review is a review. If a game was good/bad in 2002, it's still going to be good/bad now.

I'd learn towards with this. A more recent review could compare the game to recent releases (e.g. a 14 year old review of Puerto Rico isn't going to compare it to San Juan or Race for the Galaxy whereas a more recent review might).

If a game is bad then time isn't going to improve matters. If it's really good then it's likely still really good. However games that are quite good might no longer be as good as they were compared to newer game - particularly with early games in a particular genre.
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Matt Brown
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A good review from 2000 is going to able to let you know how well it still holds up.
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K S
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juggler5 wrote:
2) A 15-year old review is meaningful, but it doesn't carry the same weight as a more recent review, because of how greatly the industry has changed in that time.

This is how I feel, especially when there are notable later iterations, re-implementations, spiritual successors or competing, similar games.
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While an old review may be able to tell you if a game is good or not it can't tell you if it is the best of it's type. On the other hand some reviews are too new and the reviewers haven't taken long enough to explore the game ( Seafall reviews are a good example of this), its understandable because a game with buzz makes people want to be involved in it.
So for me reviews that appear a month after the game appears and are less than a year old are the most relevant. Though older reviews are still interesting to read and a lot are still accurate.
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Michael Korson
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I'm probably in the minority here in thinking that the age of a review doesn't really matter. While some facets of a review may be influenced by what was then-available (especially with comparisons to games with similar mechanics or theme), other assessments such on a games flow, internal mechanics, game play, replay value, components, complexity, strength of theme etc are pretty likely to still be valid at a later date, unless there has been an update or revision.

Overall, I don't think what was currently available at the time a review was made makes a huge impact, unless a particular reviewer is making a lot of comparisons and judgements based on other games of the time.
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Cardboard Hustle
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An old review is going to lack any comparison to other modern games.

That being said, this guys reviews still hold up in my opinion.

Paul Springer
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John Smith
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Ish. I like to see a few recent reviews as well. I've noticed a few cases where a reviewer raved about a game then later has been less enthusiastic about it and has sold their copy.
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Steve C
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blackmeeple wrote:
Ish. I like to see a few recent reviews as well. I've noticed a few cases where a reviewer raved about a game then later has been less enthusiastic about it and has sold their copy.

I think we already talked about Seafall.

That aside, "good" is not really an objective measurement. Just because every reviewer out there likes a game, does not mean that your game group will like the game OR that you will find enough time/people to play the game enough to justify the purchase.

I think that age of a review is one of the factors that should be measured when looking at potential purchases (both for brand new reviews and old reviews), but a review should not be discarded out of hand simply because the age.
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Rob Doupe
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juggler5 wrote:
Indeed. I should have been more specific in my question. I'm wondering more about how reviews age in terms of the reviewer's actual verdict on the game. Not so much concerning the overview of the game and it's mechanisms (as those are indeed timeless).


Your question is fine. The problem is with people who don't understand the difference between a review and a run-through or overview.

As for your question, the age of a review does not matter to me.
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Geoffrey Burrell
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It shouldn't matter because a review is only one person's perspective and may not necessarily fit your tastes. I use reviews only as a reference and not the end all be all. As long as the game is still in print or still being played, you will able to find an up to date review.
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Trent Boardgamer
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Yes it matters, for pretty much the reasons the OP suggests. So I'm going with viewpoint 2.

The biggest issue with old reviews is that many of the mechanics may now be done better or used in more interesting ways in newer games. I could get hyped by old Dominion reviews, or look at more modern ones which will direct you towards Thunderstone Advanced or Artic Scavengers for instance, which would give me a more recently balanced viewpoint.

Since others have gone there though, if merely watching a playthrough or learn to play video for instance, as long as the content is still correct, the age of the video has no bearing.
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I don't really care about the age of the review.

I do however put more stock in reviews written at least a year after the game's release.

They're far less prone to hype and kickstarter backers trying to increase visibility. They're also less likely to be done by people who've only played the game once or twice. (I'm fine with "first impressions" reviews, but I prefer them to be clearly marked).
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Simon Maynard
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juggler5 wrote:
I can see two different viewpoints here:

1) A review is a review. If a game was good/bad in 2002, it's still going to be good/bad now.

2) A 15-year old review is meaningful, but it doesn't carry the same weight as a more recent review, because of how greatly the industry has changed in that time.

I definitely lean towards the second view point. Simply because it's the truth. For instance, a review of Citadels when it came out (2000 I think?) would be more likely to be a glowing review than now, simply because the games industry has changed and there's been games released since that many would argue have replaced that game. You may or may not agree with that but the simple fact is that if you are considering buying Citadels today, you want to know how well it holds up by today's standards with so many more games available now.

That is not to say that reviews lose all their value over time. Ideally one would read both old and newer reviews before drawing their conclusions. But, at the end of the day, people buying games today are choosing between what's out there now and not what was out there 15 (or whatever) years ago. And a more recent review is going to inevitably help more in that regard.
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Jeff Meunier
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The age of the review does not matter to me. I actually like to watch or read some of the earliest reviews of a game. What was the reviewer's opinion of the game at the time it was released?

But otoh the biggest benefit to newer reviews is that the game can be placed into a more up-to-date context of games that are similar.

To me, the most valuable video review is one that's done well and where the reviewer has some personality (this is the primary reason I like to watch Dice Tower videos, even though I disagree with many of their opinions, but Tom is fun enough to watch and listen to that it's easy to sit through them). It doesn't matter how old the review is.

The most valuable written review is one that is organized well into sections, so I can skip right to the things I want to read.
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