Hi folks! This week is the second half of my look at Game Designer vs Game Reviewer (see my last blog for a recap if you missed it!) so I’ll just get straight into the cons of mixing these two elements of the table top industry.

Phew! The cons turned out to be longer than the pros. The take home message for those who skipped through (I promise it’s worth reading, honest!) is that if we lived in a perfect world where people could dissociate their feelings from the opinions of others, designers should have no negative repercussions from their review, provided they are balanced and written from a purely neutral perspective with no agenda. The reality is that feeling may get in the way, leading to rightly or wrongly perceived notions of arrogance and foul play from designers giving their opinions on games.

To me, designers should strive to always be open and frank about their thoughts. It’s no good giving a good review to establish a positive relationship with a publisher if that game is garbage; you’re hurting your reputation with non-designers and causing damage to industry as a whole. Equally, as a designer you don’t want to sabotage yourself by giving an honest opinion on a game only to find the publisher would be a perfect fit for your next project. The line that must be tread is very thin, between self-preservation and industry integrity.

As always, we’d love to hear from you! Contact me on twitter: @bluecatgames and send me your thoughts, or send us an email: info@tinkerbotgames.com

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Also massive thanks to everyone who contributed to these articles, I feel humbled by the response and time each of you gave and honoured by the help. Much appreciated folks!

From Twitter: @MFGCast, @funeral0polis, @Cephalofair, @TGIK_Games_CR, @Stephen_Avery, @dicehateme, @benny275, @phillier937, @KindFortress, @PolyhedronC, @HeavyCardboard @ginobrancazio

From Reddit: slow56k, Oreoshake, glencurio, TheTruthandtheAnswer, ElPrezAU

From BoardGameGeek: Paul DeStefano, GeekInsight, Mike Jones, TTDG, Take joy from your wins; take lessons from your losses, David Monteforte, Tony Go, Pete Lezecruz

2 Responses

  1. Writing a negative review is always a risky proposition. Specially so for designer/reviewers, who have even more to lose if they turn off folk.

    I was kinda planning a series called ‘play, gift, destroy’ about whether I keep, give/sell a game or destroy it. It’s probably not a great idea as it’s a very negative thing (I was first inspired by some terrible games I want to get rid of, but feel the need to ‘say goodbye’ to somehow.) and it does very much invite a backlash towards my own games.

    I think maybe the key is simply to go in depth with your negative reviews. Positive reviews can be brief, but if you’re being negative, you better explain yourself.

    I personally don’t see any downside to the designers who choose to only publish positive reviews, although I guess that in itself could be seen as a question of authenticity.

    1. Never even thought of that, length of article being affected by whether you’re giving a negative or positive review. I’ve gone back and looked at some of my earlier reviews and it looks to make sense (although I have far fewer negative ones!)
      Maybe I need to add a disclaimer that I was always taught ‘if you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all’!