I'm Saddened... (Board Games)





While that’s true for me as well, I don’t watch videos to learn how to play a game, I watch videos to see if I’ll enjoy a game and if I should buy it.

How do you decide which games you want to play or buy? Do you just go by word of mouth or friends’ recommendations? If that’s the case, what happens when there’s a game that might interest you but no one you know has played it yet?


I have to play it 5-6 more times to do a deep dive review :wink:

I read the rules. That’s enough 90% of the time. The rest, I play in order to review. I know from my own review if it’s worth owning to play further.

I honestly can review most tabletop games from the rules alone in terms of understanding whether or not I’ll like them.

Tabletop is already deeply oversaturated. The industry side of it is very small, and my word-of-mouth circle is wide enough that I don’t think I’ve missed anything notable in a decade or more. Most games aren’t worth playing (everywhere, not just in tabletop), and anything truly good is either weird and rare (and thus talked about in my circles) or gets talked about everywhere.

Indie games there’s no point in keeping an eye on. Word of mouth is enough, and the Industry will tell me if one is worth the spotlight. Games out of big publishers I learn about from press releases.


It is strange when you’re one of a relatively small set of professional reviewers in a niche space. I literally “read” my own reviews. I have a default skepticism and a finely tuned heuristic filter that keeps me plugged into the good stuff.


I read lots and lots of Internet. Lots. Between RSS feeds, social media, forums, etc. I read every single post. Literally everything. When I open Twitter, I pick up where I left off and scroll all the way to the newest tweet. I do this several times per day, every day.

I know everything that is happening in all of my nerdy areas of interest. I know that Moon Gundam is the hot new Gunpla that Amazon is taking its sweet time shipping to me. I know that Smash Bros. was coming out, and I had it pre-ordered. I knew that Between two Castles was a thing, and then I played it. I know that the anime Mirai directed by Mamoro Hosoda came to theaters in the US, and I went to see the subtitled showing on Wed night, not the dub on Saturday. I know that the KPop group Red Velvet is coming to the US and tickets go on sale for the Newark show this Saturday at 10AM. I know the Samsung Galaxy S10 is coming soon, and I’ve only had iPhones since 2007.

Somehow nothing escapes my eye. Yet, the only reviews I ever consume are for products on Amazon/Newegg or for restaurants on GrubHub. I do need someone to tell me which bath towels are the fluffiest and which Chinese food in this neighborhood is edible. How else could I know without wasting time going to the store? But why would i need someone to tell me which movie to watch or which board game to play? I just inherently know that information without consuming reviews of any kind. And somehow I’m not wrong.


Board game reviews are more for keeping an eye on what someone with similar tastes thinks of a game you’re interested in.


I can just play the game though. At the very least I can just look at the game being played, or the game box and very quickly tell what the deal is and what kind of game it is.

Also, who has similar taste to me?


You seriously sound like Trump.

I find that you and Rym are a bit of outliers. While Rym doesn’t have as much free time as you do, Scott, you both have delved into game theory to easily recognize the things you like/don’t like.

Myself, and I would posit other average board-gamers, tend to actually need reviews to gauge if interested in a game. I don’t keep up with all the hotness, nor would I know of anything really coming out. For me, it’s either word-of-mouth, friends showing, or seeing it on shelf and reading the reviews when a board game is known to me whether or not I would be interested in a game.

I tend to trust my friends when introducing me to a board game because of past experience. I know Jeremy and I have introduced ok games and some great games, but again, it’s all on what you want in board games. Most people tend to be fine with most games, while ScRym has a more defined palate, to best describe it. That’s fine either way, but know that you’re not part the majority.


There are specific publishers I pay more attention to than others… Hans im Gluck for family games, Sierra Madre, Leder, GMT games that aren’t hex/counter.

There are certain people (or designers) whose opinions I value to find interesting games. Recently it’s Cole Wehrle, Space-Biff, and the gestalt of the Heavy Cardboard slack instance.

I’ll play nearly anything Tom Lehmann designs, knowing that he has put on his developer hat and everything in the game is there for a reason.


Yeah, I fully recognize the areas where I have expert opinions. I certainly don’t expect most people to be experts.

  • Tabletop Games
  • NTP
  • The FIX Protocol
  • UX
  • etc…

I have spent a lot of time becoming professionally versed in some things. I don’t want to read reviews of anything in these domains, but instead write them :wink:


Can other people not just look at a game and tell what kind of game it is and whether they will like it or not?


That sounds like a Scott problem.


Scott Problem vs. The World


I couldn’t before I seriously started studying them AND had played a lot of them.

I expected a lot of early euros I tried to be good, and I got burned several times. Remember Tower of Babel? Gloria Mundi?

Face it. We’re experts at this shit now. You underestimate just how many games we’ve played over the years, and how deep we’ve gone with no small number of them.

Remember how long we kept playing Settlers? And tried to get better? And weren’t just playing literally perfectly? It took us a while.


I’m probably an active filter for Rym and Scott, I love to drag willing friends into strange or noteworthy bullshit.

Knowing someone legitimately enjoys Battletech is a surprisingly useful data point for finding the right kind of bullshit (instead of the wrong kind of bullshit)


Hah, there’s a reason I keep putting that game in “The 40 Games You Should Play.” It’s a masterful representation of that particular level of bullshit.


The Dice Tower’s main three guys are just people that play a lot of games with different tastes. If you are familiar with their tastes then you can cut through the noise and find games that you might really enjoy. Expecting a top ten video that’s already an hour about thirty games to go into much more depth is expecting way too much. That kind of video is meant to give you a quick overview and maybe you can go explore the games that sound interesting further instead of watching a 4+ hour ramble.


So you pretty much said: there is a barrier for entrance to this Tower.

That’s some bullshit you just spouted. My critique was how fucking boring that video was. It was just them reading their clipboards while showing the cover of a board game box while they talked about it. People tend to enjoy top 10 lists to see what’s the best of the best for a person. This was probably my 2nd experience with the 3 guys. I also stated, they could have put more work into editing by showing images of the things they liked about the game. As a newer viewer, the video is not something that would grab a newer viewer to keep watching. I understand the put out a lot of content, so that probably wasn’t doable, but just merely commenting how it could be improved.

But I guess, instead it’s only for the HARDCORE LONGTIME fans that know their life history.


I find it very hard to accurately judge a game simply by the box, and find it hard to believe that other people are capable of making accurate judgments based solely on the box as well.

Take Concordia, for example, one of my favorite games, and a game that’s relatively simple to play. Here’s the back of the box:

"2,000 years ago, the Roman Empire ruled the lands around the Mediterranean Sea. With peace at the borders, harmony inside the provinces, uniform law, and a common currency, the economy thrived and gave rise to mighty Roman dynasties as they expanded throughout the numerous cities. Guide one of these dynasties and send colonists to the remote realms of the Empire; develop your trade network; and appease the ancient gods for their favor - all to gain the chance to emerge victorious!

CONCORDIA is a peaceful strategy game of economic development in Roman times for 2 to 5 players age 13 and up. Instead of luck of dice or cards, players must rely on their strategic abilities. Be sure to watch your rivals to determine which goals they are pursuing and where you can outpace them."

I love this game, but that’s just about as generic a description as you can have for a boardgame.

Nothing in the description or in the pictures tells you that it’s really a deckbuilding/drafting game where you’re drafting the cards you’re going to be using as your actions. Nothing from the description or in the picture tells you that these same cards are how you are going to earn your victory points at the end of the game, so not only do you want to draft helpful cards, you also want to keep in mind which cards correspond to which victory condition.

Looking solely at the box for Concordia, I would have no idea how the game played or if I would enjoy it. In fact, Concordia looks so boring and so generic that it wasn’t until years after it was released that it started to become popular. Now it’s almost universally acclaimed as a modern-day classic. It’s only because it was designed by Mac Gerdts, my favorite designer, that I bought it when it was initially released.


That’s exactly what they presented though? They live streamed themselves revealing their favorite games of the year and have a brief description of each one and why they liked it. They have reviews where they go more in depth if a game sounds interesting and they go over the rules of the game.