Thursday, August 10, 2017

RPGaDAY 2017 #10

From the #RPGaDAY2017 challenge (info here):

[as I'm starting this thing a little late, I shall be doubling up on my daily posts until I catch up. Early posts will be post-dated to the date they were originally supposed to appear]

Where do you go for RPG reviews?

Well, in this case it really depends on the game. The easy answer is "Google;" I run a search with the name of the game and "review" and see what the Google-machine returns.

However, that's usually not enough for me. I enjoy reading multiple reviews on a product, attempting to get different perspectives. A lot of reviews these days (unfortunately) spend a bunch of time discussing "production values," something I could care less about. Yes, a nice looking game looks good on the shelf, but (in theory) I'm buying these things to play. used to be my go-to for RPG and reviews...and still is when it comes to older games. But older reviews tend to disappear off the site and the things that actually get reviewed tend towards only the most popular or buzz-worthy games and supplements. It's become kind of a wasteland over there (I never bother reading the comments on reviews).

Furthermore, while I do purchase things off DriveThruRPG (and its sister sites) I pay little attention to the reviews posted to products. Usually, I'm going there to pick up something I've already decided to purchase (same with products on LuLu), so it doesn't matter to me whether some anonymous user posted they like or dislike something. When I want a review I prefer something a bit more "in depth," hopefully with some actual experience playing the thing.

To this end, blogs are probably the most informative places to find on-line reviews...hence the necessity of Google (as different blogs have different systems and genres on which they focus).

However, Google is the EASY answer...the one I can give you, dear readers, if you're looking for an easy way to get reviews (and it is easy, and I do utilize it). But my best answer is to get actual word-of-mouth reviews from people with direct exposure to a game. And in my case, that means talking to the folks at my favorite local game shop, Around the Table Game Pub in Lynnwood. When I'm browsing the shelves and come across an interesting, unfamiliar game, it's the folks behind the counter who I'm first to talk to: usually Tim (Morgan) the co-owner/manager, but Nick, Josh, etc. are usually pretty knowledgable. They're generally pretty knowledgable, able to tell me about the system, the setting, the designers (especially if they're local), and the gameplay. They can tell me if a game is selling, if it's popular, if they see people playing/enjoying the thing, because the game pub is open to folks gaming all week long. And even if they don't have any info on a game, they can sometimes direct me to someone else who knows more about it (even if it's one of their colleagues who's not in the shop that particular day).

These "interactive reviews" are often more helpful than anything I read on-line, if only because I can ask questions (and follow-up questions) specifically pointed at the issues that meet MY needs as a potential customer. I should mention I do this in other shops as well, but the folks at Around the Table are the best.

Plus they serve beer.
; )

Just what it says.

[for folks interested in my "Day 1" post for the #RPGaDAY, check out this link]


  1. Maybe I'll start on day 10 or 11. I don't read enough reviews. I go 'oh, I want that shiny thing'. And that's why I have too much stuff I don't use.

    1. Oh, I have plenty of stuff I don't use (well, not in the way it was originally intended). Sometimes I buy thinks just for research or design purposes or even simply to support a particular author or company.

      But I'm a lot less likely to be dissatisfied with a purchase if I do some "legwork" first.
      ; )