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StupidPanic

How can I trust reviews?

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Yeah,

I’m struggling to work out the exact point of this ‘unique’ concept.

If one person reviews this game 10/10 and another 4/10 how do we know this wasn’t due to their unique copies?

Being that all experiences can be rated, and each game has a unique experience contained within. Some copies of this game will contain less fun than others behind their shrink wrap.

So it’s a $60 gamble!?

My gut feeling is this game sounds great but I will always wonder if my copy is as good as it could have been?

 I think I would prefer a game setup that’s remove 32 adventure cards and 15 tiles from the game, they won’t be used this time.

Panic...

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It would boil down to how the game actually plays from a mechanical standpoint. Even if the situation and objectives change from box to box, as long as how situations and objectives are resolved remain consistent, you could probably trust reviews.

You can compare it to RPGs in a way: different people may use the same system, but one group may play a group of noir vampire hunters, and another may like playing high fantasy, but the system remains the same so both groups can say that it works.

So if one copy of Discover has you stranded in the mountains being hunted by sasquatch and another has you surviving on an island after a shipwreck, as long as the rules for foraging for supplies, setting camp, and whatever else remain consistent, you can assume the game works and reviews are trustworthy.

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I think trusting a reviewer is always a gamble. There are a lot of games that got bad or mixed reviews that I really enjoyed (some with house ruling) and other critical acclaimed games that I found boring. Fun is always subjective and the box you deem less fun than another one might actually be the box another one would like the most. If you want to buy it new, you propably should listen to Swordbreaker and think about the core rules and the general feel of the game. If you can wait, you can probably buy it used with at least some knowledge of the components and make a more educated guess.

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How much do you really know about other board games before you buy? Even though the information is out there, do you really look up the text of every card, character, ability, etc? What about legacy games, where components unlock and are meant to be secret, like Pandemic or Gloomhaven?

Of course not. You just look at the big picture. The mechanics, the style, the writing; how the different systems interact and what specific kind of fun the game is trying to offer. Maybe watch a few turns on youtube, maybe check out a handful of different reviews.

Same here, no?

 

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I would prefer a reviewer gets to play at least two copies of each unique game before reviewing, or at the very least get to look at more than copy. That at least gives them a point of comparison between two boxes, where they can talk about how different or similar they feel. It will never be perfect but it will at least help.

And never trust only a single reviewer, unless you know that your tastes and there's match without question (and even then, probably get at least one more opinion).

Edited by Ixidor

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I have found that you listen/read reviews and try and find those that resonate with your likes and dislikes.

Say you like Cosmic Encounter try and find reviews on Cosmic and see those that like it or don't, maybe pick another game and repeat. Odds are if they like two games you like you should be able to enjoy most of the games they recommend.

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This reminds me of the game '504'. For those who don't know it: It's named '504' because the game consists of nine rule modules that can be combined in different ways to create a new game. So, a game of '987' is slightly different from a game of '789' or '986', while a game of '123' would be very different.

It presented an interesting problem for reviewers, because how do rate such a game? You can rate a specific combination of modules you played, but the game as a whole?

You would have to play a lot of different combinations to get a good idea of how a certain combination of modules might play without actually trying it.

For 'Discover' I'd actually think, it's not as difficult to compare gameplay. At least everyone's playing with the same ruleset!
And if the designers have done a good job, I think the chance to get a 'dud' that isn't fun to play should be really low. Conversely, it should be extremely rare to get a copy that for some reason is significantly more fun than the 'average'. Personal preferences would very likely have a larger impact on a reviewers rating, as the discussion over 'desert' vs. 'arctic' in a different thread already illustrated.

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I think you can trust the reviews to be more accurate for unique games than for legacy games. ELgacy games will be dramatically different in their core game play for each player group. If game reviewers were able to to come up with a valid reveiw for Pandemic Legacy, I think they should be able to handle Discover.

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