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Thursday, June 30, 2005


What's this?

Original title: You have to be Sh!##!ng me.

Tom Vasel rated my blog a 9? I guess this proves he sees everything through rose colored glasses.

For those who haven't been there, The Dice Tower isn't really a blog. It is a website. Tom's blog is at Gamefest.com. He must have all 300+ of his game reviews posted at The Dice Tower, plus a ton of other stuff. For perspective Tom has reviewed more games that begin with "Q" than I have reviewed.

I was looking at the Boardgamegeek top 50 lists the other day. Tom has written the most game reviews, 306 and growing every week. Second place is waaaaaaaaaaaay back there at less than 100. Second place is Greg Schloesser with 86 reviews.

I must, with some shame, say that I am currently at #25 with 18 reviews. Most of my reviews on BGG are of children's games. I play various games with my kids (ages 4 and 5) that we buy at the thrift stores. If there is no review I post one. Few of my reviews on BGG are of "meaty" games. I think that others, Tom included, do a much better job of reviewing games.

I say "with some shame" because that seems pitiful to me. I'm at #25 with a dozen and a half reviews? Seems like I should barely be in the top 200 with so few.

I am not on the cutting edge of games. I have never played a game before it was generally released. I rarely get a game to the table before there are a half dozen suitable reviews on Boardgamegeek. Seems to me like I am just cluttering up the site by adding a 7th or 8th review.

I got my start writing about games by posting short reviews on Funagain. When I was new to the hobby I found Funagain to be the best source of information for potential games. I think I had posted almost 90 reviews by the time I quit, which was nearly a year ago. When they changed to the new format they deleted many, many reviews of out-of-print games. The whole website generally took a turn for the worse. It was right about that time that Gamefest started publishing game blogs. I started perusing Gamefest instead of Funagain, and it was about that time that I finally quit lurking on BGG and got a user name.

Also, there used to be a glitch in Funagain's ordering system. They would send packages to Alaska and only charge Ground rates (the lowest rate to Alaska is Second Day Air, if you use a commercial shipper). They fixed the glitch. Funagain refuses to ship packages with any carrier other than FedEx. I can save a ton of money if the sender will ship via the Postal Service. Gamefest (as well as every other on-line game retailer except Funagain) will ship USPS.

Basically, Funagain pissed me off twice. They fixed the glitch, and ruined the site. I also didn't like the fact that I couldn't go back and change a rating on my reviews.

Anyhooo. My reviews on Funagain were short and to the point (or so I thought). Short reviews are frowned upon on BGG. I have noticed several short, to the point reviews get shot down in favor of longer reviews that say very little. I actually prefer the shorter reviews. I am (usually) looking for game concepts, a quick overview of the rules (just to give a feeling of how the game flows) and the overall impression of the reviewer. Those things interest me more than a restatement of the rules.

Maybe I will try posting a series of short reviews. There must be someone other than me who likes a review that doesn't just cover the rules. Don't get me wrong, there is a place for those reviews. Most people seem to prefer them. If I have a question about a particular game mechanic, or concept that seems odd I will consult the longer reviews for clarification. Also, if I can't make up my mind on a certain game I will consult the longer review.

I guess it boils down to this. I would hate to write a few reviews that are short and get rated a "1" simply because they are short.

That is certainly more than I intended to write, but I have one more comment.

Chris Farrell, IMO, writes the best reviews. He doesn't rehash the rulebook more than is necessary for the reader to follow along, and gives details about the location and people he is playing with. These few (seemingly) unnecessary details leave me with a better overview of the game than I would get from reading the rulebook from cover to cover.

Good gaming

Good post. I agree with you about Chris', but I think Mikko's, Rick Heli's and Bruno Faidutti's are as good.

I have noticed some people putting short reviews in their comments field of their games collections. That works pretty well.

How about reviewing the games in this blog and then linking to the post in your BGG collection?
This post was getting too long to mention everybody.

Does Rick Heli have 2 blogs? I remember wanting to link to his blog when I first linked some sites, but it had't been updated for quite some time.

I went back and looked at it a couple times since, and it hadn't been updated. I must have been mistaken. It has clearly been kept up to date. I will link to it soon.
Gack! Tom only rated my blog a 7. I've really been neglecting it lately. I'm actually flattered he listed it at all :-)
Part of the reason I got out of review-writing and into blogging was that I had a hard time getting worked up to write full-length reviews of most euros. For most of them a paragraph or two seems about the level of effort justified, and that works in my blog. Of course, that means my blog is now a mish-mash, with some stuff that should be archived as reviews.

I can't read most of the actual articles on BGG. It's way too boring. Although as Iain says, the comment fields in the ratings actually work pretty well, and I scan those fairly often. Of course, I can no longer get onto BGG as often as I used to (it's now blocked at work).
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