No, really, I’m back.
Calm and quiet, the new year rolled through; and with a dozen or so articles posted, I needed a bit of a break. Token Opinion has seen some minor success, more than I might have imagined so quickly- especially considering that this whole ‘journalism’ thing is new to me. After that initial rush of starting things up and shameless self promotion, I was left to ponder “what next?” So, as a result, I decided to lean back a bit, and take stock of things. See what was working, and what was wanting. Most notably I was examining the review process.
I struggled a lot with the entire concept of reviewing table top games in the beginning. How to review a game: what that format should look like, what kind of (industry) standard I might compare to, and how to adequately communicate all of this to a reader. I also really wanted to stick to my guns- find a rating system that worked, and run with it. But the system I selected, just doesn’t seem to be. As a result, Token Opinion will no longer be using the 30 point rating system.
For the most part, folks have responded well to the overall format. Gameplay, Rulebook, Components, Score- all of that seems to be working. So that format will go unchanged. Unfortunately, a couple of issues have cropped up with the practice of combining category scores to achieve a final score.
The first, and more important issue, is just simply the ease of use on part of the reader. It seems like a lot of people were struggling with assigning meaning to a given final score. For example, I gave the game Reef what I felt was a favorable score of 19/30. Unfortunately, most of those who responded didn’t seem to agree that this was a positive score.
I attribute a lot of this to the imbalance between the three categories- I have some amazing games that are either poorly made, or that have terrible rulebooks. The other factor here is the matter of value. I own a $5 copy of Candyland, that is frankly rather difficult to criticize. It’s not a great game, but at five bucks the component quality is good, and it has a near perfect rulebook.
This value problem leads into the second issue; that I was having a lot of trouble scoring component quality in particular. Consider the general build quality of Mechs vs Minions. How could I possibly score any other game 10/10 in comparison with that? I think the build quality of Gloomhaven is perfect, but it would be incredibly difficult to score well in comparison with Mechs vs Minions. Working on my upcoming reviews for Hogwarts Battle and Gem Rush left me with similar struggles. In the case of Hogwarts Battle, component quality leaves a lot to be desired, but I don’t think that should distract from an otherwise fantastic game. And as for Gem Rush, the standees are atrocious, and I’m not currently convinced that the cards are going to hold up; but again I don’t believe this should dissuade you. Both of these are great titles.
Going forward, I will begin giving a game a single over-all score. I will use (or stick with) the tried and true ten point system: 0-10 out of 10. This score will be centered (read: neutral) on 5; please do not think of 7 as an ‘average.’ The score will primarily represent my feelings on gameplay, but the quality of the Rulebook and Components may influence this score from time to time.
I really hope that this change works for everyone. It will undoubtedly give me a lot more confidence in my ratings, and smooth out the review process dramatically. Finally, thank you all for the support! Without you, Token Opinion is little more than an exercise in self indulgence.
And, as always, thanks for stopping by.