Let's Talk Board Games #1: 4 Quick Reviews + Giveaway - boardgamerblues.com

Let’s Talk Board Games #1: 4 Quick Reviews + Giveaway

Before You Play
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Welcome to our first episode of “Let’s Talk Board Games,”where we will be doing quick reviews of several board games as well as a possible topic of discussion. Let us know if you have anything you’d like to see us include as a part of this segment!

00:00​​ – Intro
04:42 – What do you look for in a board game review/reviewer?
09:08 – Mass Transit
13:40 – Fantasy Realms: The Cursed Hoard Expansion
19:37 – The Castles of Tuscany
24:05 – Tiny Towns: Villagers Expansion

@ThinkerThemer – “Small Talk” episode:


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ENDS: Wednesday, June 30th 2021 @ 11:59 PM PST

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  1. What do you look for in a board game review/reviewer?

  2. To be eligible for the Spiel – there are a number of criteria to be eligible. One of the criteria is that the game must be published in Germany in the German language. This is the first year that happened for Fantasy Realms

  3. I suppose what I am looking for in a reviewer is their honest opinion. I may or may not disagree with it, but I appreciate when someone gives their views on a game. Naturally, I would also like to know why they think a certain way – what they liked and what they disliked, as simply saying "Play this game!" or "This game is worthless!" doesn't work for me.

    The biggest issue here is bias, which may happen to be unconscious. For instance, publishers may be really nice to you and you subconsciously don't want to be too harsh on them, even if you didn't like the game. Or you may fall victim to hype (something I've done many times) and then find out that you don't really like that particular game so much. I know it is not easy to detach yourself and look objectively, but I treasure a measured and well argued opinion above anything else.

    Some content creators tend to avoid doing reviews altogether for content they were paid to do. While I appreciate the integrity, it doesn't resolve the issue that often people don't really want to watch full playthroughs and form their own opinion, but rather get a quick review from someone they trust. I believe Rodney Smith had a discussion about this a couple of years back, arguing that reviewers and content creators in general deserve to be paid, as they do actual work. I mean, if you don't see an issue paying someone to review books, music, films or art in general for media, why should reviewers be unpaid? I believe that in the long run, you can sort out which reviewer is often biased and which is objective.

    In the end, what I like the most about you is that you always keep an open mind and don't snub games just because it is not your usual cup of tea. There are some very smart content creators out there whom I respect, but they tend to restrict themselves in a very narrow view of what games should be. I believe Shut Up and Sit Down and No Pun Intended (who are actually friends) is a good example – they produce great content, but I dislike that they are too narrowly focused on what they like, and it has turned out that my opinion diverges too much from theirs more frequently than not. With you, I know that you will approach a game with an open mind, even if it is not your first choice.

  4. Great new format! Thanks Monique and Naveen for making these videos! Really enjoy the background music as well. Other people will probably have great ideas about reviewing; I just know I love your format you're using 😉 Have a great day!

  5. I actually don't value reviews all that much. I place a much higher value and emphasis on play throughs. It's one of the reasons I've been watching your channel since its inception.

  6. One thing I don't really need from a reviewer is a detailed explanation of game play. If I'm looking to buy a game I will check a few reviews but always learn the rules through watching a playthrough. I wish more reviewers would explain the game from a more experiencial perspective. I want to know how the game made you feel. Did it make you think? Did you cause you to be high or low energy? Did you think about it laying in bed that night? Did it make you and your friends laugh or cheer or gasp? Thanks again for the content!

    Also have you tried The Mind Extreme? It's a good time. Never made it past round 6 tho.

  7. I love to see situational recommendations – like portable games for travel, games you like to play to unwind, etc. Right now for example I'm looking for some light games to bring to a beach picnic this weekend 🙂

  8. While I know it’s sometimes better to have a tutorial and a review separate I appreciate that you two do both. If I just need a review I’ll do my on research and watch multiple people. But if there’s a tutorial I look to you two or Rodney smith. I base a lot of my own thoughts on a game just by a good understanding of how it’s played. So long as you keep up with a solid tutorial before your review. I think that’s best.

  9. Hi guys🙂 doesnt this Cursed expansion make the game more random due to more card in deck and luck of a draw?

  10. When it comes to a reviewer, I want someone to give me positives and negatives, who the game is for, and is not afraid to give their honest opinion. That being said, I can understand why reviewing games is a mine-field. Alex Radcliffe (BoardGameCo) did a very informative video on the review process and why some reviewers will only offer opinions on games they like. I have respect for Alex and Quackalope for reviews, but I think people should watch a game played in full. That is why I like your channel and other channels like Rob’s Gaming Table and Canje Studios (who does solo) and Greg at Solo Playthroughs. Ultimately, I make the decision. Reviewers help, but i know when I really like a game and buy it. Thank you for your content-I have come to realize these videos are a labor of love!

  11. About what I look for in a review is something along these lines: a quick overview, what are the standout points of the game (emphasizing mechanics/decision making), how well it holds up with what it sets out to do, major issues if any, how well it scales in player count, playtime.

    I do enjoy susd and npi review content for their opinions, even though it’s buried in sketch comedy. Mostly because my tastes align with theirs, so it’s easy to tell if something is for me or not. I like Radho because everything is always great for him, and it fits my general approach to games – I like them all, to varying degrees, and will choose any based on the time or group. My tastes don’t go with his as much, but I like his approach.
    I don’t appreciate much “objective” reviews in a structured way because it tries to much to hide bias behind criteria, and it fails. For a newcomer I think it’s not as effective, and for me I already know if I like the same things as who I’m watching or not so it doesn’t matter.

    I really appreciate you taking the time to do playthroughs because everything else is a poor substitute for letting the game showcase itself. Reviews work better for gamers who already know what to expect when they hear things like euro, mechanics, interaction, production and so on. All the lingo.

  12. I don't watch many game reviews because they are mostly based on someone's opinion. I used to watch them quite a bit, but then I found myself not trying games because someone with a different taste for games than me didn't like it. The one thing I do like about reviews is when they suggest other games that are similar in some way to the game they are reviewing. "If you like X game, you'll probably like this one." I also like when they say, "If you like this game, then game X is a bigger/more involved version of it."

  13. What do I look for in a reviewer? I look for BeforeYouPlay! LOL

    Seriously though, you guys are really genuine and your kindness and personality really comes through. Whenever you "review" games I never get the feeling that you are doing so to intentionally kick down games or to appeal to the audience; you simply share your views on the games.

    I love when reviewers break down the pros and cons of each game without being forceful. I also like when price is not compeltely ignored because its a reality for myself and my family.

    Thanks for doing what you do – keep being genuine!

  14. I prefer the playthrough to reviews, you can see a game being played and know if it’s for you or not. Reviewers bring their own slant to the table for better or worse. I’ve bought games from watching shows like game night and yourselves for example.

  15. We had the same problem with Tiny Towns; it worked with 2-3 players, but at higher counts it just bombs when some players are actively looking around and choosing things to destroy other players towns. With less players you are master builder more often atleast, but it still didn't really click.

    Then we tried the alternative version without the Master Builder, and it clicks together ALOT better. The deck of material cards, where you shuffle, discard 5, then take Rounds in sets of 3 where you draw a card (everyone gets THAT resource), draw another (get that resource), then every 3rd round EVERYONE gets to choose a material for themselves, just works so much smoother for such a short game, and doesn't lead to people feeling mean against each other. And with 5 of the cards removed every time you go through the deck, you never know what materials might come up.

    If you are willing to give it a chance again, try the card version. Also works great no matter how many players you are. Thanks for the video, I like these short reviews aswell as the longer, more in-depth ones 😀

  16. What I’m looking for is What did you like, and what you didn’t like about a game. Was it fun. Because I’m still trying to figure out what I like. I’m new to all the different types of mechanisms. I don’t need an hour review but something 10-15 mins is great. I want to know how the game plays at different player counts And complexity for new gamers. Most of my games are one or two players and a few with three.

  17. Perhaps the best reviewer I look for is someone who can teach the rules in a condensed version and make it seem easy to teach. It’s a hard trick to master that balance. I really like your style. I’m the type of person that watches the play through in order to fully understand how to play. I like play through because I get a preview at game flow, turn order, theme, overall feel the game brings to the players. You can review games without teaching them, which is fine. If you did I would prefer just a brief synopsis of what the goals and objectives are. Otherwise I would have no context as to what you are talking about.

  18. For me I first look for a reviewer that covers the style of games I enjoy. Some reviewers I follow seam to only really review large plastic Battle/Monster games. Not my thing. I am more into thinky Euros with cleaver mechanisms and theme ( if possible ). Then I enjoy watching a gameplay so I can see how things interact together. After the game, a comment about what the players thought about the game helps me understand how the game came across to them. I may not agree once I know how the game works but at least I have something to base it on. I take all plain reviews with a grain of salt. Those like Broken Meeple give me the what where and why of the game along with their thoughts afterward are more important to me.

  19. In my opinion you guys perfectly explain how the game is played and your playthrough just further helps in understanding how the game is played. I think for a review I would also like to hear the quality of the items in the game (tokens, figurines, cards etc). Also how well is the game built for storage. Because some board games when you punch out all the pieces you find yourself with a nightmare in trying to store it back in the box. Btw great first video of this series

  20. I’m drawn to reviewers with personality and I appreciate their honest opinions. I want to hear the good, the bad, and the ugly in a game review. I’m curious to hear the reviewers personal experience playing the game and their initial thoughts after a gameplay, whether they enjoyed it or not. Even if the events in the game were purely situational, I love to hear about them. Tell us your experience understanding the rulebook, some strengths and weaknesses you found in the game, your thoughts on what would enhance the game (if any).

    I also appreciate play-throughs. Knowing how the game plays is what I need to see before I make a purchase.

  21. I personally love your play-thrus. And I like your laid back personalities. I do prefer a play-thru that only gives me a few rounds of a game not a start to finish, but that might be because I’ve been playing board games for a few years now so I watch a lot about them online. I really like this new series! Talking about several games, like ThinkerThemer, is very cool. 👍👍

  22. Fantasy Realms just came out in German – that's why it's nominated: It's new in Germany.

  23. My personal reference for review videos:
    1) Game Overview
    – game background thematically (if there’s any)
    – a short how the game is played

    2) Game Mechanics
    – overall game mechanics
    – complexity and game length
    – similar game comparisons (if any)

    3) Target Audience
    – the main audience this game is cater for?(mass market, heavy euro gamers, certain game group like Root, etc.)
    – learning curve of the game for people to get into the game

    4) What You Like About The Game (Pros)
    – what do you appreciate on the games (engagement, depth, replayability, thematic, etc.)
    – your perspective/background on similar games (if any)
    – genuine and honesty

    5) What You Don’t Like About The Game (Cons)
    – what do you think is lacking on this game (engagement, depth, replayability, thematic, etc.)
    – your perspective/background on similar games (if any)
    – genuine and honesty

    6) Price And Value
    – what do you think about the price point for the value of the game (components quality, replayability value, resell value, etc)

    Last but not least if you 2 are ok with a scoring systems (just your opinion of course), I think that would be awesome too but I think that’s up to your side to decide as not everyone can accept the points of the respective games (especially those who love that game 😂)

    Hope it helps! 😁

  24. I prefer brutal honesty in a review. im not a fan of the wishy washy spineless people who cause people to waste money on crappy games. Eventually, (after wasting a bunch of money) I think people align themselves with reviewers with similar tastes. we are all different and like different things which is great and there is no shame in giving your opinion, but there is great shame in holding back because publishers won't send you games anymore if you review a game negatively

  25. I much prefer playthrus to just standalone review videos on one game (since I'm so visual, I'd much rather see a game in action, how it plays, how appealing and colorful and thematic a game is, etc.) BUT talking specifically about reviews, I do really prefer your style of reviewing already! I think really critical reviews aren't the way to go, since, like you said already, it's SO opinions based. A game that didn't work for the reviewer might totally work for me, so I would want much more practical reviews of games. What are the stand-out mechanisms (since so many people have preferences– mine is tile-laying), if there's a solo mode how does it play compared to multiplayer (since I mostly play games by myself), who would this game best service? I think you're doing a good job already with your reviews, really excited for these snipit review videos– if a game piques my interest I can find more content about it as well! 🙂

  26. I like this format a lot! Jongetsgames does something similar and it's my favourite of all reviewers. If you've seen it, Jon does a spectacular job of not only describing the game's flow, but also giving very insightful analysis. When I'm deciding on buying a game, his "short takes" (I forgot what he calls it) are the most helpful for me. You have the advantage of two voices to discuss and trade off points. Looking forward to more!

  27. As a primarily solo player myself I wish there are more solo variant reviews out there. I'm also partial to shorter, concise reviews much like the 5 in 5 format.

  28. I like this new format. Thanks so much for the video. Also like the subtle music in the background. 😁

  29. In reviews, I want to see their honest opinion and also get an overview of the game itself. Also, I expect reviewers to have played the game at least a specific number of times. Or if not, at least tell how often they played and if they tried all different player counts or just one. In general, I enjoy open communication.

  30. Love this format! 🙂 I think for us, we are just looking for honest reviews! I like when people aren't afraid to give some critiques and I always appreciate when reviews include who the game is for. I think we all need to keep in mind that reviews are super subjective, so I generally find reviewers who have similar tastes to mine.

    I always loved your vlogs, so any sit down talk videos are always a treat!

  31. Hey, Monique and Naveen o/

    Congrats for the new show. Looking forward to it.

    To answer your question – for me, the good reviewer is following a stable moral system in his / her reviews. I followed many reviewers, and content creators for that matter, and almost 95% of them at some point decide to abandon their moral system in favor of more views and income. This is especially visible once they decide to make YouTube, Tik Tok, or whatever platform they are using, into their main source of income in life. It usually starts very hush-hush, a winy or controversial opinion here and there, a missed promise made publicly in a video… but before you know it the content is compromised in favor of more views, or comments, or broader public sample, usually focused to please the teenage target group.

    Many reviewers decide to go on offensive with more negative reviews than positive, not because they do not like the reviewed object, but because, as we know from television, life, and everything. Drama makes more sales. Currently, you guys are my favorite content creation team, for many reasons, but mainly because I love your moral system – you don't give personal review on objects, that you paid to show case; you always speak respectfully about other content creators, designers, players, etc.; you race only with yourself, trying to be better; you pick to create the content you enjoy, not the one that will make the most buzz, and so many other small things. I really love your moral system. I believe that you are the same in real life and I really hope that in some future time on the way, you will not decide to sacrifice it on "The Alter of Viewership".

    I believe that the best system you can use here is – Pros, Cons and Personal opinion. In that order. The first two will take care of the unbiased portion of the review. The second will give you opportunity to show your mind on things. Do not swing into “OH, this is so baaaad", but equally important do not be "in love" with every single product.

    I hope this is helpful. Good luck guys. o/

    I am watching you! 😀 <3

  32. I've never thought i'd enjoy a playthrough as much as i do watching you guys. I really love it and your comments in the end. Considering reviews, i like #BoardgameCo cause his reviews include what he likes about the game, what he doesn't like and what he thinks other people might not like about the game. It's an interesting what of looking at games. By the way, i can't get Fantasy Realms anywhere and you guys have 2 copies!!! 😉

  33. The “we don’t know what your do’in” is your channels charm. And ya end music!!,,,,, Do! Not! Change! It! otherwise doing you both are doing so well.

  34. I want to hear your subjective experiences as you play the game, particularly in terms of decision space and atmosphere. What do the decisions you're making in the game feel like – do they feel varied or very similar from game to game? Are they crunchy, puzzly decisions, tension of being uncertain what other players are doing decisions, or more breezy decisions that seem obvious based on the situation? What specifics mechanics of the game are most engaging to you and how do those contribute to the decision space – which of the decision points in the game is the most engaging? Do you feel like the decision space changes significantly between games, or is one or few broad path to victory fairly dominant? And in terms of atmosphere, what does it feel like? Is there a lot of table talk and banter about what other people will do (like in blood rage or Root) or is it more of a quiet tense game of you looking over your player board and figuring things out (like in orléans)?

    Those are the two broad answers I want when I watch a review – what's the atmosphere of the game like, and what do the decisions of the game feel like? Outside of that, I think you do a great job of discussing who it could be for in terms of weight, length, and player scaling (which is also pretty important in deciding to buy a game). I definitely am much more inclined to watch reviews than playthroughs so I really value your reviews when you give them and will almost always watch just the review section. The number one thing I want in a game is to make a high density of varied and interesting decisions, rather than similar decisions throughout the game or decisions that feel the same from game to game, so I am always looking for that as I watch. Thank you!! As always love your content

  35. I agree that each game has its audience. To figure out if the game is right for , I would want to know who it's for and who it isn't for. In other words, I appreciate an equal distribution of positive and negative comments about a game.
    For example, I like trading and negotiating so a high interactivity game would be great for me. For people who like efficiency puzzles, probably not so much.
    I imagine a checklist of people who would enjoy a game and tick it off something like people who like: Combat, Timing, Resource Conversion, King making…

  36. One thing I would love to see would be a channel that reviews games that they've played numerous times over a decent period of time, as opposed to the newest game that they've played a few times, and are just trying to crank out a review.

  37. I think everyone prefers different kind of reviews. Personaly I prefer critical and in depth reviews. How does the card drafting work? Are there different valid strategies or is everyone fighting over the same cards/board spaces? How does the player interaction feel? Are there empty/clear decisions (e.g obvious best options)? What are the things that feel odd or can kill the fun (player elimination, alpha leader, hate draft) and what is the impact of them?
    The more information about the game the better I can guess if it fits my group. This is why I like your review + lets play, because I can see everything in action. See the impact of player decisions… But I know it takes more time and think shorter previews with your opinion (like this one) is also nice.

  38. I look for many things in a game review, components, mechanics, theme, gameplay, etc… that being said I don’t think that in the format you’re suggesting everything is needed. I feel that this format would be more aligned with getting games on people’s radar and then we can look more into them. What I’d be interested in hearing is enjoyment level, complexity, and something I don’t see as much as I’d like which is PLAYER INTERACTION. I don’t mind it but my wife hates heavy take that gameplay so it’s a huge factor for me when judging to get a game.

  39. I love that your guiding star for play-throughs is whether you can 'showcase' a game. I think that your post-play through reviews are a natural extension of that where you can 'review' it with less of the baggage that other reviews tend to have/inspire because we as viewers went on that journey with you. That said, I like review formats that sit on ends of the spectrum (e.g., long form content /video essays like NPI or impressions like ThinkerThemer and JonGetsGames). I've also gotten into Board Game Barrage on your recommendation and love how they discuss games.

  40. i think fantasy Realms (fantastische Reiche) came out this year in German for germany and EU- so thats why the nomination for "Spiel des Jahres"….

  41. Thank you for a great video. Really enjoyed it and I have a feeling that this series will become my favorite series from your channel. Keep up the great work!

  42. With the Tiny Towns Trees mini expansion, is this an expansion that turns Tiny Towns into a real time game? As in, after we plant the seeds how long do we have to wait until it grows? Cause I hear it can take a while.

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