Game Review Tripe and Other Random Thoughts

When I first heard someone use the word tripe to describe something they were saying, I really had no clue what it meant. I infered something like a rant. There are 2 common meanings for tripe. Choose either for this post. Both are probably equally fitting:

1. The rubbery lining of the stomach of cattle or other ruminants, used as food.
2. Informal Something of no value; rubbish.

I read a lot of tabletop game reviews. I watch a lot of video reviews and gameplay. And FYI, video reviews and gameplay are rarely the same thing. For the most part everything I read or watch has the same formula. Generally, I don’t see a huge difference from one review to the other with the exception of the end score or rating.

I started this blog because I wanted to write my own reviews. I’m not concerned with reviewing every possible game available. I just want to review games that I own and/or have played. But something has kept me from proceeding. What do I have to offer that isn’t already being said? And who is even going to see my reviews besides the handful of people I send a link to. Do the interwebs really need yet another random person reviewing tabletop games?

YES

The reason I read and watch a lot of information on games is because, even though they can be quite similar, there is usually something in each one that can make a difference on a buying decision. And if you’ve ever been to your local game store you know that buying tabletop games today can be reltively expensive (another blog post in waiting).

What I see lacking from reviews, however, is emotion. When I’m playing games with my kids they can get really caught up in winning and losing. I try to educate them on the journey. For me, the best part of the game is playing it, not ending it. I honestly have just as much fun losing as I do winning.

Written reviews are clinical, flat, and cold. They usually go something like this:

This game is designed by Some Designer and distributed by Some Production Company. The goal of the game is to Do Something Fun and eventually Get To The End. The components are of Some Sort Of Quality and the artwork is of Some Sort of Quality. I liked it because Something Was Fun About It. I don’t like it because Something Crummy. It is kind of like Some Other Game. It cost Some Amount of Money.

There’s nothing wrong with the forumla per say and those kinds of reviews are useful in their own right. What I am going to attempt in my reviews is to bring the journey to the page. What did I feel while I was playing the game. Was I scared? Was I excited? I literally feel out of breath after playing some games. I’m talking about you Pandemic.

I like to think that gaming groups aren’t just 3-5 friends sitting around robotically playing a game. Games are adventures. I’m not suggesting everyone needs to roleplay. But games are better when you’re in the game. Relish in your victory and learn from your defeat. But most of all, enjoy the journey.

I hope that by adding emotion and feeling to my reviews I can add to the existing formula and provide that additional nugget of information that allows someone to make a better buying decision.