A Different Approach to Reviewing Games

I come to realise that when it comes to reviews and YouTube videos, that I’m not going to have the humour of Actualol, zaniness of No Pun Included, walkthroughs like Rahdo or Rodney. No, I’m going to come at boardgames in my own way. I don’t think I was intentionally trying to be like them but you know you subconsciously compare yourself.

I quality assurance software for a living and I like to think that I’m pretty good at what I do. As Rahdo, can look at games from a design perspective, I can do the same from a QA viewpoint.

So that is how I’m going to approach the boardgames I play and look at. I’ll still give my spin and base it on how it played for my family, friends and myself but I will also analyse various aspects. I will effective QA the game. I know the game would have gone through extensive play testing and it’s own QA but I think it’s a worth while exercise.

So what aspects will I be exploring?

Rules:

  • How easy are the rules to understand on the first read?
  • How easy are the rules to understand (similar to the Flesch-Kincaid scale).
  • Are the rules in a logical order?
  • Do the rules leave the reader with unanswered questions that come up during gameplay (therefore have to refer back to the rules)?
  • Does the reader have to have previous knowledge? (Sometimes there is a danger that rules are written with implied knowledge which may not be obvious to a new player of the game)

Gameplay:

  • Developing personas that explore difference approaches to the game and how it affects gameplay.
  • Different ages, play counts (if possible).
  • Miniatures, are they the game or could you replace them with blank tokens and still experience the same gameplay?

Art:

  • How easy is to see the text on the board/cards?
  • How does the box art look at a distance?
  • Colour scheme/Icons – Have to think about colour blindness or people that have a hard time distinguishing between colours. Does it have icons that make it easy to tell the difference.

The above list is not an exhaustive list and I will probably come with different criteria based on the game I’m playing. No doubt, several questions will be raised as I examine the game but that is a trademark of a good quality assurance engineer (always asking the pertinent questions).

Personally, I think it’ll bring something new and different. Whether it’ll work and people will want to read, I’m not sure but I want to give it a go and see what feedback I get.

I also want to incorporate music (musical reviews *jazz hands*) but that’s another blog post.