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I have held off writing any reviews as my impressions change quite a bit between play number 1 and play number 10.

Even now at play 10+ with a certain game I am holding off from scribing a review as I feel I am missing something, because of all the stupendous reviews out there from my fellow BBGers.

Intially I loved it but with every play I am less enamored with it and its mechanics.

I am currently at the point where I would write a horrendous review, then I start thinking about the months/years of effort that went into crafting the game, any game for that matter and I pause. Who am I? I have never created a game from soup to nuts. I haven't even played the game at the least 100 times to fully breathe in all it has to offer.

At this point I find myself cruising BGG for fun and facts and then I read some reactionary review from some player who has just played a game for the first time and he/she rips it.

I dunno, I feel a little sick.

I think I will hold off of my review for a few more plays.

 
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Drew Spencer
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How many times does a food critic typically eat at a restaurant before reviewing it?

If you know your stuff pretty well, I think once or twice is enough. If you discover something totally unexpected later you can always go back and update it.
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I hear ya Drew, but a boardgame does not = a plate of food.

FYI cooking is my first hobby.

Cheers

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Roberta Taylor
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I think that as long as you're upfront about how often (roughly) you've played a game, you can write a review at just about any point. It is helpful to know that a game was a hit right off, or that it took a few plays to really sink in, or...
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Josh P.
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vegasmentat wrote:

I am currently at the point where I would write a horrendous review, then I start thinking about the months/years of effort that went into crafting the game, any game for that matter and I pause. Who am I? I have never created a game from soup to nuts.


And few movie critics have directorial experience.
 
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David F
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At the very least, play it with every combination of players.
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Jason Sadler
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I like to read the back of the box quickly, read a few reviews on BGG, and then disagree with them in broken, incoherent English.
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Godspeed the Punchline
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vegasmentat wrote:

I am currently at the point where I would write a horrendous review, then I start thinking about the months/years of effort that went into crafting the game, any game for that matter and I pause. Who am I? I have never created a game from soup to nuts. I haven't even played the game at the least 100 times to fully breathe in all it has to offer.


I don't think I've ever played any game more than 100 times, outside of Cribbage, which I played like a fiend in college.

I used to write record reviews for a semi-popular music website, and I had to quit for fairly similar reasons. While I make fun of lots of stuff, when it came time to put pen to paper, I felt bad when I didn't like a record, because, well, this band put this thing together, they crafted it, and odds are they weren't getting rich doing what they did (these reviews were of smaller, independent artists). I ended up assuming that the problems were with me, not the record. There was a lot of "if you like this genre, you'll dig..." in them.

I think I was wrong. I listened to and reviewed some real crap, and, as a critic, you owe it to your reader to evaluate the material. So many of the 'reviews' I read here are simply re-hashes of the rules and drooling over the bits, and I'd love to see more harsh reviews. If you've played a game ten times, and hate it, I'd say you've played it enough to have given it a fair shake. If you've played it *once* and hated it, I'd prefer that be mentioned in the review, but if you articulate why you only thought *one* play was enough, that's probably good, too.
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For me it really depends on the game and the degree of complexity. Having gamed for years you can even get an idea of what a game will be like just by reading a rule book. If the rules are simple for a game I think a couple plays are more than enough to justify a review. I would say at least two for these kinds of games so you can possibly see some different outcomes.

However, if we get into highly complex games with lots of factors like Warhammer 40k, I'll review it after playing it about 10 times, but I'm still not sure if I would be playing it 100% correctly. There are a LOT of rules to remember. Doom: The Boardgame, I reviewed after running through the entire campaign with my friends, which was about six plays and that was decently complex. We even went online to get some clarification on rules. So we thought we understood the game mechanics competently.

As I've said in other posts about reviews I don't really hold back much. I hold back even less if your game is outright broken or wrong. I've probably written around 400 reviews (not just on games), but one I recently tore apart was the Aliens RPG. I didn't even play it. They got really basic things completely wrong that didn't correlate with the films at all. From my gaming experience I could also tell that their combat mechanism was completely cumbersome. People say the board game is good, and I hope so, because the RPG for Aliens is horribly designed. It's really rare for me to review something without really sitting down and trying it, but I felt that was a case where my background knowledge was more than adequate to accomodate a review.

So for me, I think it's a combination of a couple specific things. Your experience as a gamer, where you can easily compare and contrast against other games, combined with how many plays based on the weight of the rules. It makes no sense to really blow your brains out over playing a simple game that really is only fun to play twice in a six month period. There's no sense in forcing yourself to go through ten games of simplicity when you want something more to break up the mundane qualities. That doesn't mean it's a terrible game, you might have great fun playing it a couple times in a row... every six months that is.
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Eric Kuha
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BeatPosse wrote:
I like to read the back of the box quickly, read a few reviews on BGG, and then disagree with them in broken, incoherent English.


And Beat Posse, in with the snark! Well, played, mon capitan. Well played.
 
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I agree about complexity being an important factor. You've got to at least make sure you were playing the game right, and with complex games the first (and sometimes the first few) plays are learning plays...

I think if you have played it 10 times, initially liked it and now hate it, then a review explaining that process would be interesting...
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I do rate a game after first play but at least I write it in the comments "rating after first play".
I do think there are games that can be quite well measured after first play...and there are even more that can't.

blush For example, the games of Reiner Knizia... http://www.boardgamegeek.com/geeklist/39137 blush
 
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About 3-4. I rate the game when I've played it with different groups of people. Sometimes the number of players or the different groups can bring different problems on a game. For example I rate Citadels a 8 but when I played it with 6 people I had to make clear that regarding 6 player games, I rate it a 4...

In the case of a really good game I rate it in the first play, like Twilight Imperium or Starcraft. After playing the first game I knew the next games will be awesome.

Also to be sure: I use the recommendations of BGG to rate a game (10= I always want to play it, 1= don't want to sit near it)
 
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I'm also more likely to rate a game after first play if I liked it. If I didn't then usually I try it again to know if it was the players' fault, I was deceived by anything or the game really isn't for me.
 
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BeatPosse wrote:
I like to read the back of the box quickly, read a few reviews on BGG, and then disagree with them in broken, incoherent English.
YancyS wrote:
And Beat Posse, in with the snark! Well, played, mon capitan. Well played.
YancyS, do I detect a "challenge" HERE?!? what happened the LAST 'time' that were 'issued' regarding YOU hmmmmm?
 
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I don't write reviews as a rule, because I don't think writing is one of my skills. When it comes to how many plays I log before making a judgement about a game... generally none!

Oh, how many times do I play it before making a judgement? I usually try to make it 2.
 
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It depends on the game. I'll write a comment after one play but I usually make it clear in the comment I am not that experienced with it.
 
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Good question. I think its pretty obvious that most of us wait till we have a good feel for the game (which can mean lots of plays or just a few) before putting pen to paper (or fingers to keys?). In practicality it generally takes me two plays with every player configuration.

After playing board games for a long time, its pretty easy to read a rulebook or sit down for a game and imagine how the rest will play out, but I find that there is a lot of value in really absorbing all facets of design, even the ones that don't seem clever at first (or ever for that matter).

A good deal of this also has to do with how thorough you want your review to be as well.
 
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As many as I need. I can pretty much form a judgment on whether I will like it after 1 play. Or even after reading the rules.

A review would take more plays and a deeper understanding of the game, because I think it's important to "grok" a game well in order to provide a useful review, part of which is understanding why other people might like it.
 
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vegasmentat wrote:
I have held off writing any reviews as my impressions change quite a bit between play number 1 and play number 10.

Even now at play 10+ with a certain game I am holding off from scribing a review as I feel I am missing something, because of all the stupendous reviews out there from my fellow BBGers.

Intially I loved it but with every play I am less enamored with it and its mechanics.

I am currently at the point where I would write a horrendous review, then I start thinking about the months/years of effort that went into crafting the game, any game for that matter and I pause. Who am I? I have never created a game from soup to nuts. I haven't even played the game at the least 100 times to fully breathe in all it has to offer.

At this point I find myself cruising BGG for fun and facts and then I read some reactionary review from some player who has just played a game for the first time and he/she rips it.

I dunno, I feel a little sick.

I think I will hold off of my review for a few more plays.



Good question. I have been thinking on this for a while - unlike restaurant reviews (which I have written close to a hundred), or book reviews, board game reviews (which I have written only 8 - but which I enjoy writing more) usually have much to gain from a longer time perspective and several plays.

I recently decided not to rate new games anymore, for various reasons:

-Obviously the lasting appeal of a game and the ferocity of the tooth of time is something people are interested in when they are to decide upon a purchase. Restaurant reviews otoh- two visits is usually the way to deem quality in the normative categories. Food is not very complex and neither is service, really, a book you'd normally read once, so you're not interested in if it's good enough for two reads.

-Complexity of the game is obviously a factor, as a lot of people here have mentioned, capturing depth of play and strategy can take 10 or so games depending on the game.

-The time spent on development of the game is a non-factor for me. It doesn't make a good game, and neither does writing a review for 3 months equal good quality. Bad reviews are expected for good games and bad. The rippers would write bad reviews even if they'd played it 15 times.

-I try to review games I owned for several years, to give some further insights that *might* not have been captured by previous reviews. Mind you I've only done this kind of review twice (Mexica and Louis XIV), but I think this is the way I'll proceed. Some games I have reviewed in the past (notably Caylus and Thebes) if I'd rewritten those after a year or so they'd look pretty different than what they do now (I wrote them after 10 or so plays).

-The problem with this approach is three-fold. People are generally most interested in reviews when the games are new, new reviews seem to be the most read/thumbed on BGG. A lot of people seem to prefer buying recently published games, then obviously they don't want to wait several years for the first review. Second, people tend to get inspired by new games, and writing reviews requires inspiration. Lastly, after 4 years games seem to be flooded by reviews, does it then really need another one (I would argue yes, because of the time perspective, but I know others who would argue against)?
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Jeff Forbes

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I haven't really reviewed much of anything on here aside from scoring the game - and that is completely tentative for me.

I can usually tell if I'll love, like, or feel "meh" about a game after my first play or two, even if it is a complicated game. For example - Le Havre - I just played it for the first time. It isn't a game that is terribly friendly for first time new players, and I played a pretty mediocre game of it, but was able to suss out enough to know that I would enjoy playing the game occasionally in the future. I don't think I'd want to play it every week, but I do feel like I'd get more enjoyment from it after a few more plays.

I saw little reason to doubt my initial assessment. With such a game, I would not feel comfortable writing a review, though. One play through hasn't given me enough opportunity to explore the depth of the game at all, and while I could see the strategy of the other players, I couldn't match it, really.

For more simplistic games, I see little reason to hold back from quickly reviewing a game - a few games of No Thanks or Coloretto is plenty to have a full understanding of the game - there may be agonizing decisions, but they are simple and have clear rewards/consequences.

So, IMO, review a game when you think you're ready to - and make sure that the readers understand how many times you've played it.


If someone else hates/loves something you love/hate, don't worry about it. It doesn't matter. Don't feel bad about it. Just shrug. I'm sure the other person has a game they love that you hate.
 
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Hi there guys,

a good question, certainly from my particular side of the BGG community, which happens to be that of a designer and self-publisher.

I am very interested in all ratings and comments - and I know some people will dislike my game or find it boring, simply because there are so many tastes and preferences. That's free speech and that's what you sign up for on Boardgamegeek. Generally, people here are keen to share their positive contributions and encouragement - and I really love this community for it (esp comparing to some others I know).

But I do sometimes wonder why some players rank a game. One person ranked my game and commented like this:

"Played this at a certain Con - I admit this is not the kind of game I expected to like, anyways. We were really bored and thought it sucked so we quit playing after two rounds (out of 8). It was so painful we were happy to stop."

Then I think: "OK....so you played this game, which took me three years to develop, for only 20 minutes (a standard game takes roughly 90 minutes), you admit to bias before even starting.....Does it really make sense you rate this and put your quick and nasty comment on paper? What value is it to other BGG users ? And does it show any respect at all for the energy, financial risk and effort involved? Why not just "not comment"".

It reminded me of some other game forums, where some people thoroughly enjoy publicly commenting very negatively on other people's ideas or opinions.
 
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Depends on the game. Some are fairly transparent, and an analytical review will render them as such after one or two plays. Many are not. I will often rate a game after one play with a tentative personal comment. I often change both the more I play.
 
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Philip Eve
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nsolitander wrote:

-The problem with this approach is three-fold. People are generally most interested in reviews when the games are new, new reviews seem to be the most read/thumbed on BGG. A lot of people seem to prefer buying recently published games, then obviously they don't want to wait several years for the first review. Second, people tend to get inspired by new games, and writing reviews requires inspiration. Lastly, after 4 years games seem to be flooded by reviews, does it then really need another one (I would argue yes, because of the time perspective, but I know others who would argue against)?


I think the answer to the question you seem to be asking with your post is that there are two types of review (or, perhaps, a continuum of types of review with two extremes): reviews that are based on a couple of plays and are for games that have not been out for very long, and reviews based on a longer-term consideration of the game that explore the game in more depth. Both types of reviews can be useful: the first type are useful initially, when a game hasn't been out for long and there are many potential buyers interested in any opinion of what the new game is like; the second type is useful later on, when someone thinking of buying the game could expect people to have written that kind of detailed review.
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A review can be done after just one or two games. I like reading reviews from first experiences as they are more important if you're going to be playing a game with non-gamers.

While geeky gamers are willing to try a game a few times many will not. So it's important, to me at least, to find out what out of the box problems there might be so I can try and address them before asking my friends to play and avoiding the "why did you make us play that pile of crap?" reaction.

 
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