Kicking the Habit

I would be the first to admit I’ve been in a reflective mood over the first month of this year. I’ve looked back at 2021 for the hobby and the site and taken a long hard look at the collection. With our first Meeting of Minds out of the way, and 2 more planned, I’ve started to look forward to the rest of the year. With that in mind I would like to take the time to announce a major change to the site and why I want to make it.

From February 2022, we will no longer be doing previews of crowdfunded projects. I’ve been moving towards this for a while and recent announcements by Kickstarter regarding blockchain made me think once more about my attitude towards reviewing crowdfunded projects. My reasons for dropping crowdfunded game previews are as follows.

I have been increasingly of the opinion that it is not possible for a critic to properly review a game that is coming to crowdfunding. Components can alter, art may differ, and in extreme cases rules can change. All these things colour the critical opinion, meaning the judgement given before the campaign may differ from that after.

Secondly, it may be that I am pointing you at a game that will never see the light of day. Now thankfully I think all the previews I have done up to this point have been for games that have come to backers within a reasonable time frame. There is always that possibility, especially in the current global situation, that things will go awry and I do not want to encourage our readers to effectively gamble with their money.

The reason I got into criticism was in order to help folks find games they want to play, to point out what I consider to be the diamonds in the rough. If a game is only available via crowdfunding, or only for a very short window, is there any merit in providing critique of it? Good criticism should extend beyond just ‘buy this or not?’ question. That said, it’s hard to ignore the fact that most folk go to review to learn more about a game before buying it. This means if the game is very limited, I honestly don’t think I want to spend time reviewing it.

I absolutely still want to support small creators, independent publishers, and highlight new and interesting designers. However, I want to do so in a way that you can have access to as well. I don’t want to send you scrambling for hard to get games that the secondary market hikes the price on. I will continue to champion games from smaller outfits, that you can get direct from them or at wider retail. I will seek them out at conventions and bring them to your attention.

I realise that this change might lead to fewer review copies coming my way, but I’m going to be off setting that problem by being more active in reaching out to publishers. Asking for review copies has never been my strong suit. This move will force me to reach out more, and will generally help with me being more proactive on the site.

Whatever you think about Kickstarter I hope that you will be kind and understanding to the publishers and designers who are endeavouring to bring their dreams to life through what has been a very trying couple of years.

I hope you will continue to enjoy the articles on the site and that I’ll be able to help you find a new game or two over the course of the year.


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Iain McAllister

Tabletop games reviewer and podcaster based in Dalkeith, Scotland.

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