It has come to my attention that I made an error in my letter to ICv2 regarding Bill Bodden's (ICv2's reviewer) background with FFG. In my letter, I noted that Bill applied to write for WRFP3 and was rejected by FFG's editor. Having discussed this with our editors, the fact is that, although Bill did work for FFG on WFRP2, he indeed did not apply for, nor was rejected by FFG for work on WFRP3. I apologize to Bill for this error.
In response to this review, I have read a few erroneous assumptions, one of them being that FFG chose the reviewer. For obvious reasons FFG does not assign a reviewer (that would be a conflict of interest), but the publication to which we provide the review copies does. In this case, ICv2 requested a review copy, which we sent to the individual that ICv2 provided us with. We don't vet this process, as we have (and must have) confidence that the publication holds a high standard for its content, and is willing (along with the reviewer) to be accountable for any misrepresentation or quality issues.
FFG does not fear, nor attack, reviews that are unfavorable to our products. We certainly would not have sent out 400 "Emperor's Decree" event kits prior to the game release, was this the case. Negative reviews are important elements in our industry, as they both inform consumers, and they give valuable feedback to our creators allowing us to improve in the future. However, we do object to bad reviews (note the difference between this and a review that has an unfavorable conclusion) or reviews that project misinformation or those not made impartially. We especially hold those standards to professional publications. In the case of the ICv2 review, there was serious underlying conflicts of interest, combined with misrepresentative conclusions due to the reviewer having obviously not played the game. Professional reviewers and their editors must be held accountable for their choices and actions, just as FFG should be accountable for ours.
FFG does not allow our staff to write reviews (or grade) fellow game publications, nor are we allowed to do so for our own publications (for obvious reasons). I can only hope that other companies, and the editors of gaming publications, see the importance of this.
Now, is it fair to expect Bill Bodden to write a comprehensive review of a huge game system such as WFRP for a hundred dollars or so? (This is what I would guess he was paid for the review. I have no actual knowledge of the real amount)
To actually understand WFRP sufficiently to write a professional-grade review, I suggest it would take at least 10 hours or so to study the rules and the system and *at least* 2-3 session (another 20+ hours or so) to play the game. It is obviously unreasonable to expect a reviewer to do this work for $2-4/hour. This does not excuse the poor choices by Bill or ICv2 in publishing what they did, but it does cast light on an underlying issue with professional reviews in our small hobby market (which simply cannot afford to pay $1000+ for a review). Fortunately, actual players with the power of the internet now have ample room to provide reviews and commentary, most of which is based on experience far exceeding what any professional reviewer could afford to invest. Some private reviews may be balanced, some may not, but in these cases the sense of "reader beware" is obvious in a way that a professional review is not.
Sorry to use these boards for this statement, but in light of some public commentary and the erroneous fact about Bill Bodden's past with FFG, I felt it necessary.
Christian T. Petersen
Fantasy Flight Games