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Wargames» Forums » General

Subject: Building a Framework for Wargame Reviews rss

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Robert Wesley
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sure, while SOME from US, or 'moi' in particular, have "standards" that go up to '11'! surprise
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Bob
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Seems like a good list for review purposes. You might also consider:

# of Players (including best with)
Playing Time
Game Mechanic Strengths and/or Weaknesses (might fall within CONSISTENCY OF RULES)
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Barton Campbell
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Personally, I would like it if people said if they liked a game or not in the first paragraph since I skip down to the last paragraph first anyway.
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Top of mind thoughts:

* Replay value

* Value for your money.

* How well does it play solitaire.


These aren't scalable, but...

* What game is similar to this one? How is it different and does this make it better or worse?

* People who like ____ game also might be interested in this game.

* People who don't like ____ should stay away from this one because ___.

* Are the rules online to read before purchasing?





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Hunga Dunga
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You need to start with a synopsis of the rules.
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Russ Williams
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Binko wrote:
LONG TERM PLAYABILITY - is the game a one off or part of a larger group of games? - will there be extensions and expansions or is this it?

Long term playability is not the same as a flow of extensions/expansions. A lot of games (e.g. Go for many people) can give endless replay value with no expansions/extensions. And some games (e.g. Munchkin for many people) will be burned out on rapidly, even though the publisher keeps churning out supplements. This seems true for wargames in particular as well, e.g. Hannibal has just a single scenario, yet after a dozen plays the past few months, I continue to love it and feel it has tremendous long term replay value.
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Quote:
I would like it if people said if they liked a game or not in the first paragraph


Exactly right.

A short summary at the beginning of the review which the writer builds upon in the following paragraphs.

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Darrell Pavitt
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Hungadunga wrote:
You need to start with a synopsis of the rules.


Actually, you need to start with what the game is about ("strategic level multiplayer game covering the hundred years war"; "man-to man fighting in the trenches of world war one").
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Bob
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Perhaps some of these ideas would be subsets under an over arching category like PLAYABILITY (vice having different categories for each):

Replayability
Long Term Playability
Solitaire

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Ernest Schubert
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I think that reviews should include as much 'hard data' as possible..

How many maps? What size?
Number of counters?
Mechanics...cards? chit activation? etc.
Rules - how many pages? Mostly rules, or lots of illustrations and examples?
Clear description of the level (tactial, operational, strategic) of the game. Also the scope - a single battle, group of battles, scenarios... etc.

You can do away with alot of the subjective analysis in a review, which is problematic at best, if you give as much objective information as possible...

For example, It would be much better to include a picture of one or two actual counters, than to try to assign some subjective judgement of 'quality of components'... What you think is a great counter, I might hate... I want the numbers on the counter to be clear, and easily found and read. I want the unit identifier - whether that be the actual unit designation (1st Battalion of the 245th Infantry Regiment) or the unit type (Motorized Infantry Company) to be clear... I'd rather have a specific symbol than a picture of a bunch of guys running.

Other folks love glitzy, busy counters, with most of the space taken up with a photo-realistic image of a Hussar in exactly the right uniform for Spring of 1809.

Meh... I just need the movement factor.
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James Lowry
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Binko wrote:
But we are talking about a review framework for historical wargames exclusively. So the kind of long term playability you get from Chess or GO does not really apply.

Yes, yes it does. Some games stand a lot more replaying than others. Or why do you think The Russian Campaign still has some popularity after... 34(?!) years?

bartman347 wrote:
Personally, I would like it if people said if they liked a game or not in the first paragraph since I skip down to the last paragraph first anyway.

But if you skip immediately to the end, won't you miss the judgement given in the first paragraph?
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Andrew C
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I recommend not getting too hung up on a particular structure, and definitely not on a 1-10 scale.

The reason you like, or do not like, the rules, or components, or game play, etc. is far more informative to the reader than a totally arbitrary rating of 1-10.

In terms of structure, I tend to tailor my structure based on the type of review I am writing. If a game hasn't been reviewed before I usually write a more structured review with a detailed overview of the rules -for example, my review of Iron Tide.

If a game has been reviewed or is well known, I tend to write more about why I like (or dislike) it -for example my recent review of ASL).
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Hunga Dunga
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Scenario Viability:

Especially for monster games, most of which I will probably never play in their entirety, it would be very useful to know if a) there are smaller scenarios and b) whether or not those scenarios are compelling in their own right. For me, that would be key to a buy/nobuy decision.

Chrome Content:

How much chrome is there in the game? How well is it integrated into the system? Is the chrome useful, or does it just get in the way? And if so, would I want the chrome anyway?
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Byron Collins
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Binko wrote:

SOLO PLAYABILITY

PUBLISHER SUPPORT - does it have online or living rules? vassal or cyberboard available? Online support by developer or designer? Forums?


I think the first seven are great. I also think publisher support offers great information for potential players as well- if the publisher is active. If a game is long out of print though, there may be no support or future updates for the game, which could be a factor in the buy decision (unless it's a re-print).

While Solo Playability may be of interest to some, many do not play wargames solo (unless testing, etc.). I don't know if I'd rate every game on this since games specifically designed for multiplayer may score very low, bringing the overall rating down.

So here's my thought... have your core 8 or 10 categories, whatever they end up being, then have a pool of 5 additional categories that you can pull in to your reviews that may be appropriate to that specific game. You may have some reviews that cover 8 of your categories and others that cover 12... I think a "flexible" framework will give you more.. well.. flexibility.. in your writing. A rigid structure where you have to rate every game in every category may unfairly penalize games that are not 'well-rounded' in each category.
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Hunga Dunga
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frontlinegeneral wrote:
While Solo Playability may be of interest to some, many do not play wargames solo (unless testing, etc.). I don't know if I'd rate every game on this since games specifically designed for multiplayer may score very low, bringing the overall rating down.

I did a poll here a while ago, and while most wargamers like to play ftf, most of them solo as well!

http://www.boardgamegeek.com/thread/391209

For multiplayer games, the solo rating could be disabled.
 
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Byron Collins
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Hungadunga wrote:

For multiplayer games, the solo rating could be disabled.


Interesting! I guess I'm in that 25% minority. But the quote above is exactly what I was getting at (in a long-winded way).
 
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Russ Williams
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Hungadunga wrote:
For multiplayer games, the solo rating could be disabled.

Well, that actually raises a question. Given that apparently a fair number of wargamers enjoy playing both sides in a 2-player wargame, are there in fact some wargamers who also enjoy playing all sides in a multi-player wargame?
 
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Ryan Powers
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russ wrote:
Hungadunga wrote:
For multiplayer games, the solo rating could be disabled.

Well, that actually raises a question. Given that apparently a fair number of wargamers enjoy playing both sides in a 2-player wargame, are there in fact some wargamers who also enjoy playing all sides in a multi-player wargame?


I've done it to learn the rules, or to work on strategies, but those are both aimed at preparation for a "real" game. I guess I'm just not crazy enough to play more than two sides just to play them.

Next time I get some table space cleared I"m going to run through a full game of Here I Stand before looking to find my first real (likely PBeM) game.
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Andy M
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reviews should be free form, and anarchic. something should inspire you to write a review, whether it is an intense hatred of a terrible gaming experience or the passionate love of 8 hours spent on an incredibly tense knife edge of awesomeness. use that emotion to express why something is any good. most reviews on this site (or all type of games) are passionless, grey, processional recitations of rules. go beyond that. break the rules. write like a crazy guy.
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