Rodney Smith
Canada
Montague
Prince Edward Island
flag msg tools
badge
Join us to learn and watch games played at youtube.com/watchitplayed
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
  • [+] Dice rolls
Benjamin Kerenza
United Kingdom
Bradford
West Yorkshire
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
It's obviously not a black and white issue. Paid reviews are not just bad. A paid review could be perfectly balanced if the reviewer is confident enough to objectively do their 'job' and I think a review from an objectively good reviewer is better than a paid preview.

I definitely sympathise with the issues of 'unpaid' reviews. The solution probably being that they are paid for by a more neutral party. Shut up and Sit Down has been working on donations for years now and economically the people buying board games are paying them to make unbiased reviews so hopefully they don't waste extra money on poor games.

Let it also be known that I don't donate to SUASD or any other boardgame reviewer, I'm not solving the issue. But I also wouldn't have an issue with paid content that is more transparent as I feel it would still inform making a purchase.
10 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
M N
United States
Vermont
flag msg tools
You must unlearn what you have learned...because the next expansion or errata might just change the rules!
badge
The task is, not so much to see what no one has yet seen; but to think what nobody has yet thought, about that which everybody sees
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Interesting topic Rodney. Thanks for taking the time to "review" it.

The biggest challenge I see is equity across the various review platforms and the potential for favoritism WRT publishers that are chosen as the subjects of reviews.

Lets say Publisher A and Publisher B (PA and PB) are both releasing a new boardgame. I would have a significant issue if PA paid twice as much to the same reviewer as PB. That, to me, would immediately bias the reviewer to accept PA's game for review, possibly excluding PB's if the reviewer had to choose. It may also bias the review of PA's game to seem more positive than PB's if both, in fact, were reviewed.

If they paid the same amount for the same platform (video, written, etc.) that would at least level the bias field in terms of which games the reviewer chooses to review.

Another issue would be the magnitude of the fee. If PA is a large, established company and PB is some Jill Schmoe in her garage, PB will not be able to afford the same fee as PA. That could exclude her game from getting exposure and possibly a glowing review.

I think it's fine for people to be paid for their time and effort BUT when they are reviewing a product the consumer's expectation is that it is a frank and completely unbiased review. Complete transparency with regard to the fact that the review is paid would be necessary as would some sort of agreement that the fees charged would be the same for the same types of products irrespective of the publisher. THat doesn't get to the big-house / little-house issue of being able to afford a review but I feel a diatribe coming on so I'll stop here.

I am really curious where this conversation will go. I'll be watching this closely!
3 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Neil Poree
United Kingdom
Leyland
Lancashire
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Why don't publishers just review/preview their own games in the way of an extended advert, BGG could possibly provide the platform. That would level the playing field and then the independent reviewers could then let us know their thoughts. So to sum up, straight from the horses mouth and then independent critique to shelve the ambiguity.
9 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Emanuele Ornella
Germany
Malschenberg
flag msg tools
designer
publisher
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Wow Rodney,
you are so great on explaining things! Not only on tutorials.

It is similar problem on independence of journalism. If the journalist (or the newspaper where they are working) is paid by a party for example, they will never criticize that party or that lobby, or whoever is paying.
Free journalism is the key factor to have news which are fair, but still with some opinion to stimulate readers on the topic.
So reviewers which are paid not by the publisher but by the readers may be a possible solution.
Readers will have a great service, and for sure a fair one because they are paying and they are the consumer (and final judgment on the quality of the reviewer).
So if a have to pay a little subscription or pay per view for a video review, but I know this guy is fair, I will probably do, rather than going to review any unpaid, or paid review...
Still I will have my opinion of course...

Just my 5 cents.
Ema
18 
 Thumb up
0.05
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Haakon Gaarder
Norway
Oslo
flag msg tools
designer
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
I know it's hard to pull off and all that but imagine this:

a monthly magazine with high quality independent reviews written by full time employees. Paid for by subscription, mailed home every month. I would easily pay 10$ a month for that, or even more. It could even be done through Patreon. Perhaps someone like Jamie Stegmaier could help getting enough patreons early, without getting involved in the actual product later.
8 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Andy B
United Kingdom
Mold
Clwyd
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Being objective is quite difficult, however, lots of people think they can do it. Some succeed and some fail. Once you add a material incentive (money, a game, etc)the issue begins to becoming increasingly complex.

I believe that the challenge is not black and white, as we have various motivations on behalf of the publisher, the reviewer and the reader of the review. Each scenario plays out differently. For instance, lets say a publisher wants a favourable review for their new game. First off, they decide to add an incentive (whatever that may be). Now, they could choose a reviewer they know they will get a good review from. Let's say they don't and they just choose a reviewer. Now, that reviewer could be wowed by the incentive enough to provide a non-objective review.....motivated purely by the fact that if they give a bad review, maybe the publisher won't ask them again. Moving on to the reader, how do they view the fact that the reviewer got paid for the review? Maybe they hate the fact that someone got paid to give a review and instantly distrust them. Maybe they actually read the review and thought it was good, regardless.

You see, I believe that even without an incentive, the review from start to finish (publisher to reader) is driven by our own motivations. Add an incentive.....and well, it just exacerbates the situation (potentially).

This is business. I think Fry from Futurama said it best


13 
 Thumb up
0.50
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Josh Santiago
United States
Negaunee
Michigan
flag msg tools
mb
Great video, never really thought about it that way. I think this is a good conversation to have.

I wonder if a network of independent reviewers could be created. Find a way to patreon or kickstart a review show. It would probably take a lot of momentum and front end work but maybe could grow to something that could be trusted. Maybe an already existing related platform like BGG could help launch it.
2 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Nelson Cox
United States
Marietta
Georgia
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
This issue is the third rail of boardgaming and unfortunately a quagmire at best. People's subjective opinions may certainly be biased towards their own livelyhood.
5 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Jonathan Ramundi
Canada
Cornwall
Ontario
flag msg tools
badge
I call green!
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
I definitely use board game reviews/previews, tutorials/walk-throughs, and even play-throughs to inform my purchasing decisions. However, for the most part, I put more weight on what I see/hear about the rules, mechanics, and components than the reviewer's opinion.

This is largely because I know reviewers can be biased, not necessarily because they are getting paid but because many of them review games as a hobby or secondary form of income at most, and will tend to purchase, play, and review games that are likely to suit their tastes; that they've enjoyed and are excited to talk about.

With that in mind, my opinions on the topic of paid reviews (previews, etc.):

Paid: For the sake of transparency, I like when content creators disclose whether or not the content is sponsored, paid for, or anything that could, in the eyes of the viewer, compromise their honesty.

Unpaid: I don't know that I have a real solution to this. As mentioned, I imagine many of these content creators do it as a hobby and aren't expecting compensation.

Perhaps one solution is donating to your favourite 'unpaid' reviewers. I've backed Kickstarters made by regularly-watched creators whose work I find particularly entertaining or informative. I appreciate their efforts and feel compelled to compensate them for it (it's the same reason I donate to BGG every other year).
4 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Drinky Drinky
United States
Indianapolis
Indiana
flag msg tools
badge
Mr. Cat. Hold on I think I know my next move, just give me another minute....NO!!!!!!!
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
I do not know why people get upset at paid reviews. Especially if payment is up front for the service of "basic advertising in the form of a review".

The scary thing would be if companies said You get X up front and Y only if it is a good review or we sell so many units.

We are gamers, the world runs off worker placement and resource(time and demand). But good reviewers like Rodney and others, I would like to see make a living off this and continue doing such. That only happens with capital.

If a company doesn't use someone if they gave a bad review, so what, there are plenty of more games to go around.

Companies come to Rodney because he does a great job, there are so many games out there, there is no review graft and corruption.



Now because there are so many games out there, there is some I like this game I am going to give some focus to it, that will naturally happen and people of influence in the industry can direct the market, but that is a different topic and this happens with other products, services, and CPG's too not just gaming.

This is more of a case where there are too many good games so which of them get highlighted. But that is a different topic.

Rodney you kick butt and don't let anyone tell you otherwise.





4 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
robert lausevic
United States
Oregon
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Remember, if you're not paying for it, you're not the customer. If the publisher is paying the reviewer, ultimately the reviewer will want to please them. That review could still be useful for many reasons but you're going to have to watch it with a critical eye.
15 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Eric Jack
United States
Massachusetts
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Rodney,

In regards to unpaid reviewers getting paid, I was always under the impression that video content creators were getting paid by the number of views of the video. Many creators also have fan bases who will help crowd fund them on platforms like Kickstarter or Patreon. Is this not the case?

In regards to paid reviews, previews, or whatever; I think there is always going to be some skepticism that just can't be avoided. Regardless of how unbiased the reviewer may be, the consumers watching will never know for sure if they are biased or not. On the other hand, you need to be wary of any reviewers. There are less scrupulous people out there who will post reviews with opinions on a game that are way off base, perhaps because they have a grudge with a publisher or designer.

So I guess what I'm saying is there's always going to be some problem with reviews. And that's why I typically won't watch review videos.

Rodney, you are one of my favorite content creators because your how-to-play videos are concise and to the point with no bias or opinion. It shows the viewers how the game is played and that's it! That allows me to watch the video, gain an understanding of what the game is all about and how it plays, and make an informed decision on whether it's something I want or not. I don't need a review to tell me to get or not to get a game.

When trying to find out information on a game, my preference for videos is:
1. How-to-play
2. Full or partial play-through
3. Previews or all-about
4. Reviews
And within each of those categories, I have a small selection of content creators that I have come to know and trust.
5 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Lucas Spears
United States
Oklahoma
flag msg tools
badge
Give me ham on 5, hold the mayo....
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Paid..
Reviews are not typically used by me to gauge whether or not the game is something i'd like. I have games like many others that aren't highly regarded but get tons of enjoyment. Instead it's to see how it plays and the workings of it. If they want to get paid for a review let them but at least add a disclaimer. Each reviewer I've found typically has a mechanic, theme, length, etc. they gravitate towards. I will usually seek out that reviewer since they more than likely will give it the attention it deserves.
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Mathieu Leroux
Canada
Quebec
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
One of the immediate issues with unpaid reviews that you briefly mentioned at the start is of course, personal bias.

I'm sure many of us watched reviews at some point just before being tempted to pull the trigger on a new purchase. It can be convincing to be hyped by a game when you hear someone talk about with so much excitement and passion. But the problem lies in our individual experiences with boardgames in general. I know now, for example, that Tom Vasel likes a particular type of experience in his boardgames, which I only found out after "learning" a bit more about his personal likes and dislikes. Nothing I could have known upon watching a single of his videos on a specific game.

The immediate benefit of paid reviews regarding the above mentioned problem is that there is quite a gap between personal opinion and what constitutes more or less an advertisement for a product. There is a layer of distance, or reasonable neutrality, between someone giving a scripted impression of a game he is paid to comment about. You are (in my opinion) much less likely to be influenced by a video like that. In a sense, ironically, paid reviews give more room to interpret whatever YOU see in the product than unpaid reviews.

Thanks for the video Rodney, always appreciate a good morning discussion with a warm coffee! Cheers
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Michael W.
Canada
Toronto
Ontario
flag msg tools
mbmbmbmbmb

I think a paid review leaves a bad taste much like an "infomercial". Yet, as long as we are aware that it is a "paid review" then the presenter has done their job, no?

As for "how to play videos", unboxing videos etc. My assumption has been that the presenter is being paid if they have received a free game and if on YouTube then possibly paid by views...

I am not "bothered" by any of the aforementioned stuff as I tend to over- research before, I buy...

ArrOOoo!
8 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
curt frager
United States
Denver
Colorado
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmb
This is a hard one... Maybe someone needs to write a $15 million dollar international grant to fund a study which collects and analyses the data to compare positive vs negative reviews between paid and unpaid reviewers... then we'll have the hard evidence to know for sure if the $$$ swings the perspective

Kidding aside... Honestly, I’m ok whether a reviewer chooses to get paid for their time (or not) I just really hope that the reviewer is truthful and comes from a place of integrity vs only acting as a commercial.
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Evgeni Dimitrov
msg tools
Avatar
mb
MvM are doing mostly PAID reviews or KS ... I do not understand why and how their channel exists.
7 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Andy B
United Kingdom
Mold
Clwyd
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
realfen wrote:
MvM are doing mostly PAID reviews or KS ... I do not understand why and how their channel exists.


People can be suckers for that stuff



That is all
3 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Gary Clarkson
United States
Watertown
NEW YORK
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
I think getting paid to do reviews/play-through is the key. I love watching these and make most game decisions based on this medium. Just have people, such as yourself, speak with companies about compensation for this. They also just keep their opinion out of it and let the game speak for itself. There are plenty of people like yourself, antlab games, one stop coop shop that I love watching but I don't like all the games you do video's on. I buy the ones that resonate with me. A simple review really isn't enough for me. I would rather the rules over view and/or play-through.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
United States
Ontario
New York
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Jotora wrote:
Perhaps one solution is donating to your favourite 'unpaid' reviewers. I've backed Kickstarters made by regularly-watched creators whose work I find particularly entertaining or informative. I appreciate their efforts and feel compelled to compensate them for it (it's the same reason I donate to BGG every other year).

I also donate sometimes to my favorite YouTube review and/or playthrough channels via Kickstarter. This is nice because I can support the ones I most resonate with.

Although, there could be some controversy here too. These Kickstarters often come with game promos to entice backers. Some might consider these promos being "paid" by the game publishers (and I suppose it ultimately depends on how that is happening behind the scenes*). I don't really see it in a negative way because the promos are not being reviewed and backers choose which ones they want (if they even care). I see it more like the ads that some people have interrupting their YouTube channels (only less annoying and something I might actually care about). The promos are basically like mini, self-contained advertisements that actually serve a purpose outside of promoting the games they are from. Alternatively, since people often only care about getting the promos for games they already have, they're also kinda like 'thank you' gifts.

*Not having ever run a Kickstarter before, how do they get the promos for those Kickstarters? Are they free? Do they get donated or does the reviewer have to pay to get them?
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
William Thaw
United States
California
flag msg tools
mbmbmbmb
What I really like about your video is your recognition that there is no "pure" way of doing reviews. It will ALWAYS be problematic. The onus still needs to be on the viewer. We will always suffer some level of naivite, but none of us is completely blind to the methods of commercialism. We must be aware of our own tendencies to do impulsive purchasing. At this point, if I make a bad purchase, its probably because I was impulsive and didn't look at the mechanics of the game. You should also point out that unpaid reviewers can also mislead buyers - the charitable nature doesn't mean they are quality reviews.

However, if you want to give some guidance to people who are not familiar with board gaming, set a button on the Home Page of BGG that says "New to gaming?" or "How to figure out what kinds of games I like" and you can use a video to discuss some of these issues with reviews, and guide people to what they like. Newbies tend to think every new game is the best thing they've ever seen. They may buy games that they will find mediocre later. But is this really so bad?

You are concerned people will misspend their money on the wrong games, but have you considered the hidden upside? The industry NEEDS a bit of erratic purchasing. There is risk in creating games. If people only buy the top 300 games and completely ignore the rest, then the risk increases for less than stellar games. That leads to less innovation, risk taking and may force companies to try only to recreate the same kind of game over and over, afraid to try something that hasn't already have a track record. Allow for people to make mistakes. It has helped create a whole market of buying and trading, such as the Geek Market, and that's not a bad thing. So don't try to over-sanitize the reviewing process. It will have side affects. "Waste" is actually a good thing... crumbs at the table fall to the dogs. Manure fertilizes the soil. And poor decisions in purchasing leave some wiggle room for publishers to take risks and supplies them with a revenue stream for operations. People will discover for themselves who they trust for their reviews, sometimes the hard way.

3 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Eric Wentling
United States
Waconia
Minnesota
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Great topic and well done.

I've really found gameplay previews to help inform my buying decisions (especially Kickstarter games) recently. I listen to a few podcasts and take their reviews and thoughts into consideration as well--especially for currently available games. After a while, you can usually tell which reviewers have personal tastes like yours, and which tend to be up front with problematic issues in games. But the idea of a paid review to me is rife with conflict of interest. I do a craft beer blog with a couple other guys and find myself struggling when I have negative things to say about a brewery I/we have a personal connection to. In the end, I may end up just not reviewing a beer or brewery in these cases. And that is without being given any money for it!
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Del Turner
Canada
Victoria
British Columbia
flag msg tools
Avatar
mb
jahhdog wrote:

I think a paid review leaves a bad taste much like an "infomercial". Yet, as long as we are aware that it is a "paid review" then the presenter has done their job, no?


I am generally anti-paid-review, but it'd be fun to start a channel of only paid reviews that look like late-night infomercials.

"Are you sick and tired of this?" *black and white footage of someone placing a worker meeple on a board and knocking all the pieces around in the process*
6 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Mathias Hansen
Germany
Kiel
S-H
flag msg tools
mbmb
After watching this episode I have a split opinion.

Yesh, of course I'm aware that reviewers need to get paied for the reviews. But the dependence from the publishers can influence the opinion of the reviewer. Sometimes, I have to admit, I have the feeling "Yeah, of course you like the game. You have to say so to get future payments or the publisher will not give you any further assignments."

I also understand Rodneys concern about unpaid previews. The equipment to create such content needs to be paied and maintenance also and of course you need to get a living out of it.

My thoughts always circle around the fact: Why do people have to do these reviews and tutorials and previews and everything content-wise as a full-time-project / work?

I mean, I'm a full time male nurse, I love my job. I like to play boardgames and I like to give my opinions to others about games. But I would never waste a thought about quitting my job and take on a full-time youtube, video, BGG career.

If I would think about creating a channel about boardgames, I would certainly create reviews, but I would never think about making a video because I need to get paid. I would create videos about the games I own and think: "Maybe others would like them too!" but I don't like the thought about creating dependency to a publisher.

What's the reason for someone to quit their job and make boardgamevideos a full-time-job?
12 
 Thumb up
0.25
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
1 , 2 , 3 , 4 , 5  Next »  [6] | 
Front Page | Welcome | Contact | Privacy Policy | Terms of Service | Advertise | Support BGG | Feeds RSS
Geekdo, BoardGameGeek, the Geekdo logo, and the BoardGameGeek logo are trademarks of BoardGameGeek, LLC.