Review Standards

Far from my expertise, or what I want the focus of this blog to be, but I sometimes like to sit down and write my thoughts on a given game, module, or product in the form of a review. This serves several purposes, and there are people way more experienced and all around better at it than me, both in writing and video form.

First, I promise my reviews will always be transparent. We live in the age of social media, pixel tracking, SEO optimization, and similar garbage. I vouch to disclose my relationship with the author (if any), how the review copy was purchased, and the price I paid for it. This scene is small enough that being moderately active on blogs/twitter/discord will eventually forge relationships, but I will always clearly spell out my biases. I will never accept pay for a positive review, or accept editorial/editing for my writing.

Second, my approach and tone are those of being constructive and provide honest feedback. I won't sugar coat something if it doesn't appeal to my tastes, or I think it is sub-par for the price. But on the other hand I strongly believe we are past the age of snarky and mean reviews. The critic's chair is way too comfortable, and we can be nice to each other.

Third. How I decide what to review? Mostly what is calling me the most from my pile of books, or crying in the digital library. There is no particular agenda or divine order. My focus is in the OSR micro-cosmos*, but I'm happy to expand my horizon to other fields of the hobby.

Fourth, you will notice an absence of numerical ratings, stars, or similar scoring systems. They can be a good gauge, but without massive context and knowledge on the curve all material is ranked on, I find them pretty useless.

Fifth is intended and reviewed use: is this material ready for play, out-of-the-box? Is this RPG material in particular good food for referee inspiration, but requires extensive gap filling? There is nothing wrong with sparking the reader's mind, if it then translates into great ideas for our games.

Lastly, reviewing is a tough and underappreciated job, taking a significant amount of time. There is a huge amount of low quality shovel-ware around. But I understand that a lot of creators in this space are solo operations with a lot of passion. Thanks for what you do. Keep the dice rolling.

* as vague and wide as that tag can be!

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