No One Is Buying Positive Board Game Reviews -

No One Is Buying Positive Board Game Reviews

Views: 15079
Like: 729
BoardGameCo Patreon –
Exclusive Patreon Videos Every Monday!

Every now and then people like a game that others feel they just shouldn’t….and the comments begin. The game is too simple, reviewers like it too much, they clearly haven’t even played the game….the reviews must be bought and paid for. There’s no way that’s happening. I’m not arguing for the moral integrity of myself or others….I’m just saying it makes no sense if you think about it for more than 10 seconds.

0:00:00 – Introduction
0:00:24 – Why I’m Talking About This
0:03:05 – The Risk Isn’t Worth It
0:04:35 ​- How Do You Explain The Negative Reviews?
0:06:10 – The Truth Would Out
0:10:30 – Negative Reviews Aren’t More “Honest”
0:12:10 – No One Is Buying Positive Reviews

For media inquiries, please email


  1. I wish you would do a video with KoA about this. Could be an interessting Diskussion. With Quack you do too often agree 🙂

  2. Took me a while to understand the topic of the discussion… I agree with you but I’m sure that Capitan America bought your positive review on Marvel United…

  3. I think as a recent example, it was hard to find a bad word said about Ares Expedition, until AFTER the payment was due. Now there are many content creators saying, 'ya know what, it's actually not that great'.

  4. Hmm, I don't think people are saying it's as blatant and overt as what you're describing. I think what happens is more of an evolution of paying for positive reviews. Companies only give copies/money to content creators they think will give good reviews prior to release. Leading to content creators being more generous to get deals with game manufacturers. Also, the content creators that give more negative reviews than positive will then naturally be chosen less for paid reviews of upcoming games, because game manufacturers see them as less likely to provide a positive review. I think people are seeing game price rise faster than college tuition, and are frustrated in their search for the few best to spend their limited resources on, finding virtually nothing but glowing reveiws for most games. Then after Ares Expedition is already paid for, THEN the videos saying it's not so great come out. Seems fairly straightforward what people are frustrated about.

  5. There is one major flaw with your argument. It is getting harder to find bad games. If most games, particularly popular ones, are good games, or even mediocre, someone will love that game. If you are getting paid for a review, you can afford to praise almost every game because most games are good, not all, but most. And you can do so without be suspect because most games are good.

  6. i always wonder how they would communicate such a thing. like, do the reviewers contact the publisher and say 'pay me this much and i'll make a positive review', or does the publisher approach the reviewer and tell them 'we will pay you this much if you make a positive review'?

    because either would mean if they do that repeatedly they will definitely get exposed for it eventually. that counts for any kind of career reviewer.

  7. I don't think it need so much to be "secret", it's actually very opened, it's called sponsored content. From this point, the content is manipulated to a certain point. First, you didn't choose it out of interest, it was brought to your attention. Then, even if you're not praising it like the next God, you won't commit to your normal opinion, you are paid for it so you'll give it a chance. Even if we know it is sponsored content, we still trust your opinion… which got manipulated. That's the "influencer" game, welcome to Maketing tricks 101.

    But your video is more about a position opinion black market, and I'm not sure common large scale conspiracy debunk techniques work as well. In large scale, many share one secret that isn't theirs. In this idea of opinion for sale, each individual hold on their secret if they did so, which is much easier to keep. I don't think it's real either, it would just be pointless. A sponsored content would fair just as good and be cheaper. I think it's just an exaggeration of sponsored content, we love large scale fantasy.

  8. I think your interpretation of the notion of "buying opinions" is a bit too direct and outdated.

    Look at the history of commerce and political communication: the act of "buying opinion" is more of a low-key, almost passive, long term mutually benefitial relation between participants where pointing out the actual act of open promotion and direct payment is impossible. Criticts and reviewers get review copies, or prototypes, or the designer asks them for their opinion, while they can make content out of it, sometimes even without deep and intense consideration.

    This ishow the "soft-review" or "preview" was born. A review lacking the intention of really getting into it, really analyzing the product, becoming soft, skin-deep, lacking and full with praisings and ambiguous expressions. Look at Rahdo's work in the last 1-2 years, or look at what Quackalope does: "The company would like it if I say nice things, the buyers migth love this because everyone has different taste in games so all games have a place on someone's shelf, and also I don't want to make enemies, I want to be nice with everyone, so I will tell generally nice things about the product and stay on the surface, and try to avoid aspects of the game that might be mediocre or even bad, or if I mention something that is not great I will use the classic evasive not-for-me or for-my-taste-but-you-might-love-it card."

  9. Hhm like I Said, still learning about this subculture: In the meantime it seem King of average, proofed u wrong, by admitting, he still gets offers to buy reviews. And where are offers, there must be someone who takes it. What leaves me wondering, you must have known such offers, and didn’t mention them in this video, why? Link:

  10. Good video. If I say 'you' here I'm referring to content creators in general 😊

    My only issue with YT content creators (across the board) is something that they can't really talk about, due to the amount of content they need to produce. And that's value for money. If someone receives a game for free then how can value for money be judged? Whether a game is good can be determined, whether you would play it in future… OK, you probably have an idea. But whether the viewer should put down £$€100 on a luxury item that the review may have received gratis? That's where I have the grey area. Maybe some thoughts on that would be good. Would you spend your money on this?

    Another thing is the amount of content. You have a channel to keep going, so you probably have a lot of churn. Learn rules, play game, edit video, release, repeat. We probably buy a game a month. So how do you determine that a game will get the 10+ plays that a home viewer would require for value?

    Again, the 'you' is a generalisation. And it was a good video.

  11. Took the words out of my mouth Alex !
    I just have 3 subscription for board games Chan’s. Yours, quack and watch bit played.

    Best regards from Germany!

  12. You keep saying Dice Tower… They're big enough to exempt from this whole problem.

  13. I can name several channels whose opinions I do not trust. Don't assume because you have morals that everyone else does.

  14. Companies buy reviews all the time. Started with newspapers, tv commercials, insert x celebrity into any superbowl commercial or pretty girl drinking Pepsi's. I am sure its happened in the board game industry. Proably not as common in board game industry since it's still relatively smaller hobby compared to video games and movies though bigger then most know.But I always look to see how many "fake" 10s there on bgg

  15. No, they're effectively paying you not to review their bad games.

  16. I feel like it's the sort of thing that people WANT to be true or assume is true to the degree that it becomes something "everyone knows". I always assume the most likely answer is correct and it seems like games don't succeed or fail much at all based on reviews. It doesn't make sense that anyone would bother paying for them unless there was a decent return and it doesn't seem that there is

  17. Firstly it's not that much about the cold hard cash, it's mostly about access and connections, which you know very well. If you bomb a game, that publisher, and others, will most certainly be very wary of ever giving you a preview again. You're out of the good company. If you don't have the previews for the games people want to see, your viewership drops. Your viewership drops and you do YouTube (at least partially) for a living, that's a whole lot more cash long-term than those 900$ that might have changed hands once.
    This is why, in healthy democracies, politicians are limited as to how they can be offered e.g high-paying leadership positions at companies they lobbied for in government. It's why journalists are given access to things, even if everyone knows their coverage will not be in a positive light. These things cause an inherently corrupt system even without any direct payments taking place.

    Of course being very negative or critical on everything isn't any more truthful in and of itself, but it's absolutely lacking on YouTube. Anyone daring to actually state straight-up negative things are, _rightfully_, seen as more honest than the run-of-the-mill, because of what I said above. Not mainly because "ooooooh, so much drama" but because almost every big review channel is more or less castrated at this point. If you're unwilling to go into actual negatives you do find because you're scared to lose connections or access, that is inherently less honest than telling it like you personally see it.

    Most people watch reviews to make up their minds. That's a lot harder if all you're fed is the positive aspects of every game or maaaaybe sometimes some veiled hint at something not being "perfect". I'd give my right arm for a channel that solely focused on straight up condemning every little bad or negative thing in a game, because no one else is doing it at the moment as far as I know. They'd probably never get a preview, but it'd sure be helpful.

  18. I find kickstarter "free" reviews to be one of, if not thee most amoral aspect of this hobby. Same tactics used as drug dealing. "This is amazing, dont worry about the risk, youre missing out, everyone's doing it, who cares how much it costs- you'll get more value back" etc. Seemingly the only negative ever presented from these "free reviews" are "there's just not enough!… but they'll probably fix that in the stretch goals *wink wink*". You may not be being paid cash to give these reviews, but youre being afforded the opportunity to generate views that other channels cannot and thus to generate more money through an increased subscriber base – more likely to develop patreon and other collateral income streams. Consideration is passed in the free product alone, let alone the opportunity from it. You're being paid. And you feed into a system which creates an obviously problematic feedback loop; "I get kickstarter review copy, I give good review, I get more viewers and money, I get more kickstarter review content", which you do seem to be more than comfortable with. Your marvel united video "i shouldn't have spent $800, but if im excited it's my job to get you excited". "I shouldn't have drank so much last night, but when I drink its my job to get everyone else drunk". It is super problematic. These reviews are morally compromised trojan horses for publishers which take advantage of the very human obsessive compulsive need to not miss out. And you do it for very real gain – fame, free product, etc; you got your Assassins Creed pledge weeks before anyone else, did you cough up the extra shipping cost? Somewhere, Quinns is sitting at his gratis multithousand pound gaming table and chairs, stroking his heavily discounted heirloom crocinol board, saying "but we don't get paid, we give honest reviews including negative reviews". Bullshit. DiceTower are the only legitimate channel in this industry because they have diversified income; they don't need publishers to like them, so I trust the honesty of their opinions. Though I do wish they left off the subjective "this is what I like" part at the end of their paid previews.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *