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Gloomhaven Dungeon Master
Mac/Windows app to track dungeon stats
gloomhaven  boardgames 
10 hours ago by nickv2002
The Space-Biff! Historical Journal | BoardGameGeek
hanibalicious wrote:
Genuinely one of the few games we agree on (note- I love your writing style- indeed, over in our GCL we're talking about what makes a good review... and you specifically), and that's saying quite a bit.

Thanks for linking that, if only because it's incredibly disconcerting seeing my writing discussed on the internet. I’ve never been entirely clear on how to respond to such things.

Interesting, too, because even that short discussion contains an entire essay's worth of responses that I would love to write if only I had the time and inclination. Not necessarily counterpoints so much as mournful agreements. For instance, I abhor most reviewers' fear of subjectivity and the compulsion to be as positive as possible in order to keep the gravy train of review copies flowing. In fact, those are two of the main reasons that I keep Space-Biff! running. When I began, I was tired of seeing reviews that were poorly written, broke their back reaching for that mythological objectivity, didn't strive to capture the way a game felt, and came across as shills.

Because of these realities, it often feels as though I'm fighting an uphill battle. When I'm positive, I'm accused of being too positive. When I'm negative, I'm accused of being too negative. When I try to write about independent titles at the expense of the stuff that will generate two hundred reviews within a month of publication, I come across as being contrarian. When I strive to discuss both the good and bad about a game, which is my main goal for any review, it seems like I'm avoiding a firm stance.

The truth of the matter is that I'm being as subjective as possible. Whether I liked or disliked a game, I regard it as my "job" to explain why that was, as clearly and crisply as possible, while doing my best to ignore how a publisher (or a friend, or my audience) will feel about my conclusions.

Again, I sympathize with some of your GCL-mates' perspectives on critical positivity. As someone who's now spent some time on the "inside" of this industry, I've seen many of these issues firsthand. Offers for paid previews, publishers attempting to strong-arm favorable write-ups, content outlets fearful of losing advertising money, sock-puppet legions of harassers with identical IP addresses waging war on something they disagreed with... for an industry with so much growing up ahead of us, we have our share of hair on our chest.

Which is why I’m doing the best I can to keep a clear head, stay independent, and write the same type of reviews that I value whenever they pop up elsewhere: subjective, personal, expressive, and opinionated. If one of my reviews doesn’t explain why a game did or did not appeal to another person — well, it wasn’t mean to. It was meant to explain why something appealed to me. I make an effort to account for other tastes and explain enough about the game to help a prospective game-player and -purchaser make a decision, but a mind-reader is the last career I could lay claim to. Hopefully, people who disagree with my assessments will feel free to drop a comment on my site and have an open discussion about what we both value in a design.

As an aside, I also got a good chuckle thanks to the fellow who wasn't very excited about my earliest reviews. We'd probably be in agreement about the majority of those. I tend to believe that it's fine to own your past, mistakes and all, which is why I keep those active rather than quietly taking them down. When I entered this hobby, my only touchstones became my first reviews, which were positive because I was having a good time with my friends and family. I like to think my tastes have matured. Hopefully.

Probably a better idea to start at the back end rather than the front, is what I’m saying.
6 days ago by craniac

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