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Subject: Designers: Happy to Read Negative Reviews? rss

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David F
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I'm planning to post a negative review of a game soon. Thing is the game designer is very active on here, and is a great asset to BGG users that are also fans of the game. So designers, how do you feel when you read a negative review? I've seen a few negative reviews where the designer took issue or got defensive, and a pissing contest started between the reviewer and the designer, and I don't want that to happen (granted, the review wasn't always fair).
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I don't think what the designers, fanboys, or anyone else thinks should be a deciding factor on posting any review. It's what you think that's important. Post it.
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Ben Lott
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Some would argue that any attention is good attention.

Honestly, I would think that criticizing a game is fine. But there is a difference between criticism and cruelty. If you state what you dislike about the game and explain why you dislike those aspects it should be taken well by any rational designer. However if you add statements about how "stupid" the game is, or state that it is the "worst game ever made" you can expect a designer to get a little defensive.

I think designers know coming in that by being on BGG they risk seeing their own game berated right in front of them. You shouldn't avoid stating your opinions just because the designer might hear them. What you say negatively isn't going to change what others have expressed positively, it will just provide a different perspective.
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Gabe Alvaro
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Somebody posted a negative review of something or other recently in which the whole point was to be negative (they actually gave the game a very good rating!). I thought that was a stupid exercise. If your review is well thought out, ingenuous, and has integrity then it shouldn't matter if it's negative. Speak truth to power!
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David F
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I'm not being afraid to post a negative review; I'm definitely posting it. I'd just like to hear on what I should be mindful of in my review, and/or what you like to see in a negative review.
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J C Lawrence
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selwyth wrote:
So designers, how do you feel when you read a negative review?


I value and appreciate them more than positive reviews.
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Penny Osborn
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You learn a lot more from a negative review than you do a positive one.
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Gabe Alvaro
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Griddly wrote:
You learn a lot more from a negative review than you do a positive one.

I learn the most from an honest review.
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W. Eric Martin
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Blott wrote:
Honestly, I would think that criticizing a game is fine. But there is a difference between criticism and cruelty. If you state what you dislike about the game and explain why you dislike those aspects it should be taken well by any rational designer.


Seconded. When writing a review, I focus on the game, not the designer. By critiquing the creation – and not the creator – I keep the focus where it should be. Yes, designers will still take such critiques as personal attacks on occasion, and I'm sure that I've goofed along the way, but the principle is still one I aspire to meet.

Eric
Editor, http://www.BoardgameNews.com
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Paul Newsham
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clearclaw wrote:
I value and appreciate negative reviews more than positive reviews.


When I'm researching games on BGG I always check out both positive and negative. For both kinds I'll consider whether they seem objective, and whether the profile of some of those reviewers matches or differs from my own. All these factors help me get greater certainty about whether I'll enjoy the game or not.

We all have our own preferences. I think the average BBGer will appreciate integrity in a review, and have the intellect to decide whether they agree or not. The designers are just the same I'm sure.

Come on then, what is it?!
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Yup say it constructively, back up your statements and there's no need for bad blood. Heck that goes for positive reviews to.

Reviews are nothing more than a point of view really - some people will agree and others won't.

The key is to get your thoughts across well. What those thoughts are should not be tempered by potential reactions. I can recall a good few negative reviews that I've read recently where people thumbed the work even after disagreeing with the core points.

If a designer was to get a little upset I think the key is to recognise their thoughts and leave it at that. Don't engage for any length of time.
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Zack Boatman
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Designers Don't Defend
At least that's my maxim. For me, designing a game is it's own reward. I do not think that my games will be the next Puerto Ricos, but I hope that by adding my games to the mix I will create more interest in gaming. Some will like it and some won't; that comes with the territory. My game is out there, my job is done. The fact that you are reviewing my game should at least say that a company was willing to produce said game and that alone has merit. But I think it would be a mistake on my part, as the designer, to defend my accomplishment. If someone wants to write a negative review then I feel they should be able to do such. Surely your negative review will be balanced by a positive by another member of this site. Which is the purpose of the review process; it allows for members of this site to see the larger picture of a game through not only reviews, but comments, session reports, etc. This site allows gamers to make informed decisions based on more information than you could get from a clerk at your FLGS. When it comes to a designer's involvement with a review or the reviewer I'll say it again- Designers Don't Defend.
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James Barton
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selwyth wrote:
I'm planning to post a negative review of a game soon. Thing is the game designer is very active on here, and is a great asset to BGG users that are also fans of the game. So designers, how do you feel when you read a negative review? I've seen a few negative reviews where the designer took issue or got defensive, and a pissing contest started between the reviewer and the designer, and I don't want that to happen (granted, the review wasn't always fair).


Go for it. A designer puts their ideas in the public domain and often expects you to pay them for their work. That's all well and good, but it also opens you up to public criticism. Just as your review will open you up to criticism from people who disagree with you (and no doubt my post will encourage criticism from the people who think anything negative is bad).

If you don't like the public saying things about you then don't release your ideas to the public. Play them in private with, close, trusted friends.
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selwyth wrote:
So designers, how do you feel when you read a negative review?

I would prefer negative reviews to negative comments. At least, in case of a negative review, I understand what the writer thinks is wrong with the game (if it is a good review). At best, they might help me improve a game. Negative comments, on the other hand, are no good at all. They just leave me wondering what's wrong.
So in short, thumbs up for honest, extensive and well written negative reviews.
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Kris Verbeeck
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What everybody else said.

Be honest.
Don't make it a pissing contest.
Try to explain where you think the game lost it appeal to you. This can be very helpfull info for the designer as well.
Don't say stuff like I will never have any interest forany of his games again. (You are reviewing a single game not a designer)

Did I mention that you have to be honest.

I'm curious. Put the link in this thread and i will certainly read it when posted. If i think it is a fair review even if I don't agree you will have earned yourself a thumbsup
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Paul DeStefano
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Of course I'm happier when I see a rave for a game I worked on, but once the black cloud wears off, I have no problem with negative reviews. I've written a few dozen myself.
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Chris
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selwyth wrote:
and a pissing contest started between the reviewer and the designer

I've had that happen to me, privately, just from my game comments.
 
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Kris Verbeeck
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Liumas wrote:
selwyth wrote:
and a pissing contest started between the reviewer and the designer

I've had that happen to me, privately, just from my game comments.


I'm sorry to hear that.
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David F
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Thanks for all the input, and I'll definitely keep that in mind with my review. It should be ready by the end of the weekend. I bet all you designers are shaking in your shoes, wondering if it's your creation I'm going to denigrate and slam to the ground devil.
 
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Well, if it is objective there is no reason you wound't post it. After all, everbody knows that not everyone will like the game as much. There are a lot of top games that a lot of players don't like to play.
 
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David Murray
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I learn a lot more from negative reviews than other types. When I find a decent negative review it helps me decide whether to purchase the game or not (I find ratings pretty hit and miss and not a lot of use) The thing about good negative reviews is that the analysis is often more precise than general positive statements. I have bought many games based on a good negative review, often what is a criticism for the reviewer is a positive for me!
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Depends on the designer.

You do get designers that have like their one baby game, and will get downright bitchy about them. If they are already members of BGG, then they should be used to the idea of bad reviews.

Although, when writing a bad review, I do make a thorough check to make sure I'm playing the game correctly. That happens entirely too much.



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Steffan O'Sullivan
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Quote:
Designers: Happy to Read Negative Reviews?

No, of course they won't be. Hopefully they'll be civilized and take the criticism well and even learn from it, but they won't be "happy".

I'm not saying you shouldn't do it. It's just that your question is phrased so that only one answer is really accurate: they're not going to be happy.
 
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Chris
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Oh yeah - I should also point out that the converse has happened.

I've been contacted privately and given kudos for some game comments.

KrisVerbeeck wrote:
Liumas wrote:
selwyth wrote:
and a pissing contest started between the reviewer and the designer

I've had that happen to me, privately, just from my game comments.


I'm sorry to hear that.
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Barad_the_dwarf wrote:
Well, if it is objective there is no reason you wound't post it. After all, everbody knows that not everyone will like the game as much. There are a lot of top games that a lot of players don't like to play.


Objective?

Hmm.. I don't really think there is such a thing. Of course, you strive towards objectivity** but I do not believe for a second that there is any review of anything anywhere that is objective.

And I would not want such a thing anyway.

Objective reviews tend to be more overviews. Listing rules and how to play in the instance of games, perhaps giving stats and such for cars or what have you...
Those are BORING and while they do have their place and can be valuable in terms of purchasing decisions they aren't reviews and are useless as such.

**EDIT: Let me restate that... Some reviews can be valuable when a close approximation of objectivity is achieved but many if not most are more valuable as straight up subjective views of the game.
 
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