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Subject: Ticket to Ride: Europe ~ Success inspires contempt rss

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No way am I going to argue that any game I happen to like ought to be equally enjoyed by all others. T2R and T2RE seem to bring out a particular brand of disdain in some users though and it occured to me today that for some it's not the game, it's the game's success that inspires bitterness.

Looking at the commentary for low ratings on both these titles and thinking back to comments from GL's and articles, there is a discernable pattern wherein the bitter Geek slams T2R because of the very mechanics that actually make it a game.

"Too easy to be blocked" is a frequent negative comment, which flies in the face of, "no player interaction". In at least one case I've seen a Geek make both comments. Okay, so which do you want? Ineraction or a game where nothing can stop your evil plan? Then there's. "too much luck in the cards." Well, no s**t Brainiac! They're cards, which just reek of randomness. That's kind of like saying, "Poker would be great if there were no cards. That way I'd always get a Royal Flush!"

Since there are only a couple of games that have achieved what T2R has achieved, and none that I am aware of that reached such huge numbers so quickly, I think that even if one doesn't like the genre, mechanics or whatever of the game, then at least a low rating ought to be something slightly more intelligent than, "Ah don't like FORDs cus they suck."

There are myriad reasons to not be drawn to a style of game or a mechanic, theme or weight, but not having affinity for a game genre, like party games, doesn't actually mean the game blows. My own personal ratings on the Geek are restricted solely to games I own. And since I don't keep games that don't appeal to me, I have no reason to rate games low. I eliminate the stinkers from my collection very quickly.

As a retailer I bear the onorous burden of having to play many games so I can sell them to the appropriate people. This requires a level of impartiality that I don't think the mainstream Game Geek desires to have. What it has done for me is made me feel very relaxed about games in general. I'm no fan of Yu-Gi-Oh, but I understand that many are and I need enough familiarity with the game to direct people to it if it fits their needs.

T2R and T2RE certainly deserve praise. Not solely because they are successful products (though that is praiseworthy in and of itself), but because the games are so incredibly well suited to such a wide variety of people. I cannot think of any other game that I would recommend with the same level of confidence to cautious buyers. I also believe that owning either of these games is a must for gamers who want to play a game even when there are no Geeks around. The T2R's are icebreakers for family, friends and other casual situations. They are true gateway games.

______________

Wow. I just previewed this commentary and realized some of you might think it was written by an alien presence that took over my body. No biting sarcasm to speak of, no inflammatory remarks, no in-your-face-taunts. Is this the kinder, gentler DW? Nah.... if you dont like what I have to say then go piss up a rope ya whiny little twits. I'm right and you know it!

Oh yeah, and one other thing: for all you knotheads who insist on typing TTR instead of T2R, just look on the locomotive on the cover of Ticket to Ride: Europe. Another case of me being right.

 
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Hayden Scott
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What a load of crap?

(BTW, this response falls into the, I "don't like FORDs cus they suck" category, that you seem to dislike so much.)
 
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Thomas Heaney
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Here, here. I recently notice a rating of 2 a user gave to a game because he "hated wargames." Then why did you trying playing it?! Why rate it at all if you hate the whole genre?

BTW, "Citizen Kane" is a terrible movie. Do not go see it! It isn't in color.

Black and white movies suck. robot

 
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Amy O'Neal
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Well said DW... I do rate games that I don't own, and several times I have ended up buying these games because I liked them so much... I don't play certain types of games cause I'm fairly sure that I won't like them... I will usually rate a game after the first play, but when (and if) I play it again, I will go back and change my rating if I feel it is necessary... and no, "too easy to be blocked" (has some strategy involved) and luck-based games do not go hand in hand... Also, if there are cards or dice involved in any game, then the game has luck/randomness involved... You can learn how to play the game with the odds, but there is always a chance that you will lose, no matter what your strategy is.

Appreciate the comments made by DW, as many of them reflect how I feel about how people rate games. shake
 
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Brian M
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Quote:
Here, here. I recently notice a rating of 2 a user gave to a game because he "hated wargames." Then why did you trying playing it?! Why rate it at all if you hate the whole genre?


You don't always just get to play games you like. Sometimes you have to play a game the group wants to, or you buy a game without knowing something about it, or a game is recommended so highly you try it hoping it will change your opinion. If you play a game like that, it makes sense to rate it.
And I would say giving the comment of 'I hate wargames' would be pretty useful - it tells you why the person gave it a 2, and lets you completely disregard that remark if you do like wargames. So, for example, when I look at a game and see that every low rating has a comment of "too much luck" in it, I know I can say "who cares, I don't mind luck."

Now, I do think that games like Ticket to Ride may draw more than their share of flack, not so much because they are successful, but because they are so 'hyped'. When half the gamers seem to automatically assume that you will think game X is the best game in the world, it can drag down your opinion of that game just from getting sick of hearing about it!
 
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David Tracy
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Well drat. It is always fun to disagree with this Tripp-guy. And yet, there are times when I agree. This is one of those times. Drat and double drat.



 
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Seth Owen
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I haven't succumbed to the Ticket To Ride hype yet, (although I'm weakening) but I have to say that I agree with the spirit of DW's remarks, if not the details. I go ahead and rate some games I don't own but have played, or, more commonly, own no more, so I do justify some low ratings I've given. And I know that, strictly speaking by the BGG rating criteria, someone who "hates wargames" but was dragged into playing one anyway can legitimately rate the game. But I do think it's at least unsporting to rate a game that there's NO chance of you liking, because it does tend to unfairly depress the game's rating. With a game like T2R with its gazillion ratings, some low numbers like that won't have much effect. But for most wargames, which typically have a couple dozen total ratings, it's a bit unfair for genre-haters to chime in, I think.
 
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DWTripp wrote:
My own personal ratings on the Geek are restricted solely to games I own. And since I don't keep games that don't appeal to me, I have no reason to rate games low.


If everyone on BGG only rated games that appealed to them (thusly, only giving games 'high' ratings) then every game on the database would be rated 'highly.' There would be little value to a rating if it only represented the opinion of those who enjoyed the game.
 
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I actually didn't mean this entry to spark another debate over the very personal subtleties of rating games. I did say, after all, that my personal criteria was to rate only games I own and that I don't keep games I don't like.

Distilling the message down, it goes like this: T2R has inspired bitterness and contempt in some Geeks strictly because of it's success. Success is often mis-identified as hype, which is another thing entirely.

What I think happens is that a game becomes successful or has a dramatic effect on many Geeks and then soars in the ratings and is much discussed. The bitter Geek, who secretly wants the game, realizes he is behind the curve and not going to get recognition for being a "1st-liker" of the game, strikes a contrarian position and denounces the obviously excellent and well-liked game as mere hype... all fluff, no substance.

This is the same small-minded, meager blather that you hear from the desperate, lonely souls who haunt record stores and will lecture anyone who'll listen that Green Day, or TMBG, or The Sex Pistols were good, until they signed a deal with a major lable, sold out and started making trash instead of music. This self-important pap is really just a voice in the dark crying out for the love and attention they didn't receive when they first played Monopoly, Risk or Sorry in grade school and really, really wanted to win but were never able to measure up to the high standards required for proper dice rolling or card drawing.

I'll note that the only real disagreement so far is from the guy in Australia... no great suprise there, most Aussies disagree with me just because it's popular. Of course maybe he's just being dryly humorous.. it's hard to tell when someone doesn't make adequate use of the provided emoticons.

If Potter shows up I'm certain he'll straighten this all out.
 
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David Seddon
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Amen, brother DW.

What you say is quite true. I would sometimes go further and use the word "snobbery."

What you say of TtR is even more true of wargames and then even more true of party games, and then even more true again of kids' games. There are many mindless critics of these genres who just lay in because it's not their thing and they're too "nose in the air" to appreciate anything but an abstract or a heavyish Euro. For me, no-one is more irritating than either the "I hate all wargames/(noisy)party games"-group or the "this is a kids' game, right?"- brigade. They usually end their rating with fantastic logical deduction "so, this gets a 1/2."

I've no problem with those people preferring their chosen games, but I wish they'd be a bit less blinkered and cut a bit more slack to everything else.

As a rule, nothing much here gets me mad (phew) and I don't like to rant much - but, in my book, the above tendancy, when it appears, is very ugly, negative, unproductive and boreish.

 
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David Seddon
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What I need to add, is that any game in above genres that has the nerve to be popular, then comes in for double venom. I don't believe that popular = rubbish. The two concepts can go together (as in junk-food, culture etc), but there is no necessity.
 
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Mark Rollings
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Shaun Lysak wrote:
DWTripp wrote:
My own personal ratings on the Geek are restricted solely to games I own. And since I don't keep games that don't appeal to me, I have no reason to rate games low.


If everyone on BGG only rated games that appealed to them (thusly, only giving games 'high' ratings) then every game on the database would be rated 'highly.' There would be little value to a rating if it only represented the opinion of those who enjoyed the game.


I was going to say exactly the same thing. Why would you not rate a game simply because you didn't keep it?
 
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Andy Parsons
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Pick any game. It will have some low ratings. Some of the comments that accompany those ratings will not be illuminating, some ratings will have no comments at all. Perhaps those ratings stem from bitterness or snobbery or an honest opinion that the game is not very good.

I've just done a quick comparison of the low ratings for Ticket to Ride (23rd in the top 50) and Modern Art (19th). TtR has 95 ratings of 5 or lower out of total of 2159 ratings (4.4%), while Modern Art has 62 ratings of 5 or lower out of a total of 1309 (4.7%). On the basis of that quick and dirty analysis, it doesn't look as though TtR is being targeted for low ratings because of its massive success. Is this Defend Alan Moon week?

Andy
 
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Hayden Scott
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Apparently, your thread was about "success inspires contempt" in the specific case of TtR. Well I read your initial piece, and whereas the heading to your piece was clear and concise your comments amounted to a bloated piece of indulgent crap.

A large contributing factor to that result was the fact that you simply berated some for their inability to articulate reasons for the rating that they gave TtR. So what!

People should be able to give a game a rating on BGG without even needing to provide a written statement of reasons that YOU find acceptable. It's THEIR rating. Their reaons, whatever they might be, don't necessarily invalidate their rating, which simply amounts to a statement of whether they like the game. There is nothing wrong with saying, "I don't like a game" even if YOU do.

Of course, failing to give a reason, or giving one that seems too curt, may make it difficult for others to entirely understand the basis for a rating. But the USE that another would make of a rating is another matter.

You think "T2R and T2RE certainly deserve praise". I think the TtR is a good game, with many that are better. I can accept your view. But you seem to suggest that everybody with a different view is motivated by contempt as a result of the success of TtR. Wrong!

I look forward to your next piece where you berate all the people who rated TtR at a 10 for the reason that amounted to, "I liked TtR cus its good".
 
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T2R is a good game but if you judge the game based on gameplay, an average rating of 7.87 is a high rating and that is the result of much hype. Raja or Reef Encounter with similar average ratings are much better games... devil

I played the game with several different people and they all liked the game but none of them were really impressed to give it a rating above 7.
 
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James Cheevers
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A lot of the problem is the internet. No matter which community you're part of there is an element of people that have to race to be the first person to say that something popular is crap. Then after that you get 'jumpers' that want to be seen as cool like the first person. Have you ever seen Aint It Cool News?

This elitist element luckily is only small but it can still seen to be cool.

Now I'm not suggesting that everyone who marks a popular game low is an elitist or a jumper. But I tend to only trust such low ratings from Geekbuddies or our regular reviewers. Anyone else I'll take them with a pinch of salt.

I haven't got many games listed, about thirty-odd I think, but I'm in the middle of a long winded house move so I have games scattered. Recently I was looking through my list of games recently and thought that I'd been rating games too highly in general. Then I realised that since I've been a member of BGG I've avoided bad games so my ratings will be higher. So the chances of me buying or playing a game that will require a low rating from me is getting lower. I have 'trusted' BGGers whose opinions I look for before putting my money down .

I'm like Tripp, in that I don't keep crap games. However if I've played a game enough I still feel obliged to rate it. My lowest rated game is 'Superpower' my only 1 rating. I've never owned it (that piece of luck went to my best friend) but I've played it enough to understand the problems it has and the complete lack of enjoyment it provides.

I'm sorry if this has seemed a little unfocused but I've typed it while two of my children have been arguing.

Peace

James
 
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Andy Daglish
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Who says the *design* is successful? After several plays I asked myself, and others nearby, whether ToRE was a game at all, as this is the first and most important test of any product, nearly always a transient formality. The randomness previously mentioned goes so far there seems to be no way of analysing play. Cards drawn do not seem to help decision-making, and your opponents moves will exert more influence on your final performance than your own. Probably good play in ToRE is to ensure that no moves are wasted, but this may not be avoidable. Original ToR evoked much the same suspicion, but there the game was simple enough that some limited analysis was possible, namely that 5 and 6 train sets were by far the most worthwhile. With ToRE even that level of analysis is no longer possible or valid.

I have serious doubts about the nature of blocking moves in ToRE as these do seem to point up the pointlessness of making an effort to play well. Even the station rules appear to add to this problem rather than alleviate it, and that is a very significant criticism of the quality of the design. Ideally one builds stations before they are necessary as otherwise you'll be blocked here too by others moving before you. However, somehow, for some amazing reason, this doesn't appear to sound very intelligent! The design lessons of Linie 1 have been forgotten or ignored, as in this game you cannot rely on others building your routes for you, but you can rely on their blockage.

The old problem remains: do you just to stick down track [or get the your brawny mansevant Oddjob to do it for you] or to try to complete some or all tickets? I suspect in ToRE it is necessary to keep up with the joneses in ticket completion. Indeed this seems fairly obvious, although that tunnel [?] between Stockholm and St. P looks inviting, especially with opponents who don't shuffle the discard deck as much as they ought. Another reason to do tickets is that it lends structure to what would otherwise be a noticeably rudderless experience.

Another really stinging criticism is that construction of a linear trans-European route allows the draw of pre-constructed tickets, and this would seem to be more likely in this game than in the previous incarnation.

Are there any ToR strat articles? worth a damn??

So where to put it in the shop? Probably separating Monopoly from the indignity of being adjacent to Roulette sets. I would have very serious doubts about recommending this to intellectual snobs of any age. But they know already.

The game is very successful in selling to its target market, and this is its great acheivement. Many of us think or dream about doing just this, and here ToR and ToRE have succeeded. I'll believe when I see it that those responsible will play it for its own sake, although they might enjoy being reminded of the income. I recall Hamilton Felix's gambling game designs in Heinlein's "Beyond This Horizon": although everyone [including his agent] knows they can't come out ahead, they continue to play anyway.
 
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wargamer55 wrote:
for most wargames, which typically have a couple dozen total ratings, it's a bit unfair for genre-haters to chime in, I think.

All the more reason for balanced voting. If only Monopoly lovers rated that game, it'd be (inappropriately) the highest rated game. Same goes for any game or genre. We need dissenting voices to balance fanatics.

Of course, this has nothing to do with TTR, which has plenty of cross-genre votes.
 
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Quote:
I was going to say exactly the same thing. Why would you not rate a game simply because you didn't keep it?


I sort of thought I had explained that, but to clarify - I've played maybe 2,000 or more games and certainly have owned at least that many. My personal view on the ratings is to give my assessment of why a game is worthwhile. I don't view myself as a game critic. I am merely a Game Geek who happens to make a living selling games.

Quote:
it doesn't look as though TtR is being targeted for low ratings because of its massive success. Is this Defend Alan Moon week?


I agree Andy, T2R is not targeted, at least not by many. But I found it interesting that some Geeks slammed it for no reason other than it's success. Thus the article heading. As for defending Alan Moon, I don't personally know him and I'd bet I only have a few of his games in my collection.

Quote:
Who says the *design* is successful? After several plays I asked myself, and others nearby, whether ToRE was a game at all


Well, 300,000 sales indicates success. While you may argue it's the package not the design, I'd disagree. People do play this game. Many thousands of people. Including people who play consims, grand strategy, party games, CCg's, tabletop miniature games and more. Like golf clubs, handtools and firearms, there is a different design for each different application and games tend to suit the particular make-up of the group playing. Since you rate WotR highly it's the perfect example - I have sold maybe 175 copies of T2R and perhaps 12 WotR. I consider each game an excellent product and I know that T2R will eventually make WotR sales look miniscule in comparison. That says nothing about the design of either game but it says a lot about which target market is larger.

As a further illustration of what I mean, I offer this ~ in the late 1960's I owned a Corvair Monza. The design of the car was such that in order to replace the back two spark plugs I had to purchase a specific tool that had the proper angles to reach the plugs. I could have used that tool on the other 4 plugs or in fact I could have used it on a Buick, but it would have been cumbersome.

Games are similar in my view. A game design pretty much always has a target market (even if the designer doesn't say as much) and success in that market will prove the design's worth. It will also inspire bitterness and negative commentary from some quarters. This original thread was meant to address a small group who attack T2R as a game because of it's success.

Quote:
A large contributing factor to that result was the fact that you simply berated some for their inability to articulate reasons for the rating that they gave TtR. So what!


Actually Hayden, I never mentioned anyone in particular and refered to a generic group of resentful Geeks. The only berating of specific individuals I have seen in this thread is you calling me self-indulgent and guilty of bloated crap.

But to respond to your specific disagreement - I merely stated my personal philosophy when it come to using BGG's rating system. I would rather give fellow gamers a reason to buy a game than a reason not to buy a game. It's not my goal or interest to spend time rating and reviewing games that don't appeal to me.

How come you guys down there are always so cranky?

Quote:
T2R is a good game but if you judge the game based on gameplay, an average rating of 7.87 is a high rating and that is the result of much hype. Raja or Reef Encounter with similar average ratings are much better games...


They may be better games. But they didn't get picked up by Day of Wonder and marketed in the manner of T2R. Also, trains have a huge appeal. Whether T2R is or isn't a train game is beside the point, it has trains on the cover, plastic trains in the box and is targeted to a larger audience. Do you really think people will rate a game high because others do? I don't think so. But, I do believe it's more human to rate a game low because others rate it high. Which was my original point
 
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Tom "Snicker Daddy" Pancoast
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theaney wrote:
Here, here. I recently notice a rating of 2 a user gave to a game because he "hated wargames." Then why did you trying playing it?! Why rate it at all if you hate the whole genre?

I object to the idea that one shouldn't venture outside their expectations because sometimes expectations are wrong.

I can somewhat see myself in that position. I am not generally a fan of abstracts, but I continue to try new ones from time to time. I am beginning to think that its not really the abstact nature that bothers me, but more that I don't like 2 player perfect information games. I played and somewhat enjoyed Ingenious, and I never would have if I simply avoided all abstract games.

On the other hand, it doesn't sound like the example you cite was trying to keep an open mind. Even when I thought I didn't like abstracts, I would never have rated an abstract game a 2 unless I thought it was actually a very bad abstract. I would have also left a much more complete comment.
 
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Quote:
Well, 300,000 sales indicates success.


Yes, but success doesn't make it the best game ever and I think it's when some people are saying it's the best game ever that other people have contempt. What games should get rated highly is an opinion of each person here. There have been plenty of games that have popped in to the top 20 in the first few months (or less) of release where the ratings have fallen after enough time and people have rated it. Coming out of the gates it has this group of people making it out to be the best game ever. With each new one of these I think people get more irritated about it and this where I think it stems from. You'll probably find someone with contempt for any game that does this. Maybe because they know its rating will drop and they want to be the "first to not like the game when everyone else thought it was so great". I don't know.

Also, seeing a rating before you get to rate has an effect of people rating a game to move the final rating where is "should be" instead of rating it what it "should be" themselves. A game that has 8.0 for 10 rating might get rated a 1 by someone that thinks it's a 7.0 game so that the final result is 7.36. More in line with where it "should be".
 
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nextinline wrote:
It would also be nice to be able to rate the game itself in terms of how impressed we are with the design, mechanics, fun, etc... as well as how well received we believe this game SHOULD be given all of the above.


I completely agree with that and I think it's something that has been brought up before. It would help a lot to have an overall rating PLUS a rating of "theme", "luck", "strategy", etc. Some people might only look for games that have theme while others might only be looking for a game with deep strategy. One person will rate thematic games highly while the other will rate strategic games highly and what is driving the overall rating is lost in the fog. In their heads, people are making decisions on each of these criteria and feeding through their overall rating formula. This might be "overall = strategy - luck" or it might be "overall = theme".

Also I think people can admit that even if they don't like a game that is has a lot of strategy, but there isn't a lot of theme. I have a feeling people will be able to agree on the elements of the ratings more than the can agree on the overall rating.
 
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Andy D.
I find your criticisms of TtR, in this thread, interesting.
War of the Ring was given the same treatment that Tripp states TtR is being given. Though I do enjoy seeing critiques or all kinds, something is not adding up here.

To all geeks
In the end, rate how you will.
As the ratings stand, with the Geekbuddy Analysis, its not to hard for me to find games that I enjoy. (including TtR & WotR)
 
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theaney wrote:
Here, here. I recently notice a rating of 2 a user gave to a game because he "hated wargames." Then why did you trying playing it?! Why rate it at all if you hate the whole genre?


Here's your own review of "4 first games," which you gave a "3":
Quote:
Bought this for my two young boys. It might be fun for a 3-year-old, but it is dreadfully painful for an adult.


 
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I've said it before, and I'll say it again -- DW, you never cease to amaze me!

I was agreeing with most of your comments, until I reached this one:

Quote:
Do you really think people will rate a game high because others do? I don't think so.


Oh, I'm absolutely certain that some or even many people will rate a game highly ONLY because others are doing so. It's the mob-effect, the bandwagon, the "I want to be on the winning side" attitude. No question, you're wrong about that fact!!! yuk
 
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