May 26, 2023Liked by Wyrd Science

On the subject of reviews, Edge magazine, once did an issue with no scores. Quite an interesting read.

I wonder if having how a review copy was given/purchased/loaned in the text, would change things?

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Hi Alistair, yeah personally I'm not a fan of review 'scores'. it's just such a blunt mechanism especially if it's out of 10 or god forbid 5, especially when we've ended up in a place where things seem to be 5/5 or they're trash

Clash, a music magazine, tried to rebalance this a while ago as you'd have people lose their shit if an album was rated say 6 or 7, which the public seemed to view as mediocre, disappointing & a violent assault on a band rather than what was meant that this was just a perfectly fine record.

also to me it's obvious that reviews are, and should be, completely subjective. and that one reviewer's take may very well be totally different had I or another writer on our team looked at it

I do try to pair writers with games that I think are in their wheelhouse (I -generally- see little point giving someone who just loves say PbtA games some OSR mega dungeon to figure out) but I don't tell them what stance to take and we've had a few occasions where they've come to very different conclusions than I have, all to the good I say.

as for explaining how we got a copy for review, this has come up a couple of times and I'll be honest somewhat caught me offguard. having spent 20 or so years working in music/lifestyle/culture journalism & PR I guess I kind of thought that people would generally assume reviewers were sent copies (after all often the only way to cover something around the date of its release is to have access to it well before then which would necessarily mean you'd been sent it by someone involved)

also I think people believe that plays a vastly inflated role in anyone's opinion than it does, I'd be amazed if any serious writers would be swayed by the 'gift' of a PDF or even a book, especially when our shelves both virtual and physical are probably already well over saturated.

but as I said it's come up a few times so perhaps that's another case of me having assumptions based on my experience and not what the general public think and we should look at it.

as it happens (sorry didn't mean for this to turn into another essay!) when someone asked me about this yesterday I had a look at all the games we'd featured in a significant way across our first 4 issues to see what % I'd bought myself versus what we'd been sent 'for free', you can see the results of that here:


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May 27, 2023Liked by Wyrd Science

This is great, thank you for the reply.

I think "Gamergate" is probably the worst example of 'fans' eating their young over scores/access. Videogames, anything below a 7 is considered trash, the amount of kickback the new Zelda game is getting because it's on low spec hardware, despite developers heralding the inherent wizardry to achieve it and it scoring 10s. Sorry for the tangent!

I enjoy the simple review system of Tabletop Gaming, should you buy it? Yes/Maybe/No and a comparison or option of something else.

I think maybe write ups without a score, and that elsewhere in a magazine might be a compromise? Looking at back at the crazy kickstarter boardgames that sail past millions despite no reviews...

Thanks for sharing your list too, we have similar kickstarter choices.

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