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"Next Phase for Review Contests?" Topic

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746 hits since 11 Oct 2005
©1994-2018 Bill Armintrout
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Personal logo Editor in Chief Bill The Editor of TMP Fezian11 Oct 2005 11:55 a.m. PST

As I've said from time to time in the decade or so that TMP has been around, I never want TMP to turn into the arbitrator of what is "good" or "bad" when it comes to rules. There is too much variety, too much individual preference, for there to be a single judgment on most rulesets.

Therefore, I've taken two approaches:

* Showcase articles (and in the past, Rules Description articles) that described the rules, but passed no judgment.

* Review Contests, which allow reviews from 5 different sets of players, after they have played the rules.

I'd like to publish more "review contest" type material, but I don't want to have to set up a separate contest every time a new product comes along. Therefore, I'm toying with the idea of creating several TMP Review Boards.

Each Review Board would be dedicated to a particular area of interest (probably matching TMP's current Zones of Interest – so there would be one for Fantasy, one for Ancients, etc.). There would be at least five people (or player-teams?) on each board – the number depending on how frequently reviews are needed.

Then, when a manufacturer contacted me about a product for review, I could give him the mailing information for five of the appropriate Review Board members.

The Review Board members would be required to submit a completed battle report prior to writing their review of the product.

Obviously, there would need to be some way to determine who would be on each original board (the usual TMP voting process?), and some way of rotating people on or off the board.


Parmentier Inactive Member11 Oct 2005 1:29 p.m. PST

I think this is a great idea, but I would step away from the current board format for this type of thing, as the signal to noise ratio is pretty screwed in this format.
An interesting format, imo, is the review database on The review article is the main feature, reader input is a click away. There's also a possibility to respond to a review in different topics, adressing different issues separately. Following the responses to current news items or article can be pretty confusing as comments on different issues are stomped into a single thread.


Personal logo Editor in Chief Bill The Editor of TMP Fezian11 Oct 2005 1:54 p.m. PST

I would step away from the current board format for this type of thing

So – hold on this idea, and reprogram that part of the website first?

Parmentier Inactive Member11 Oct 2005 2:50 p.m. PST

The option to start different topics in response to an article would be a nice feature for the site as a whole. But it would be especially interesting for reviews who would be consulted over a long period of time.


Parmentier Inactive Member12 Oct 2005 5:42 a.m. PST

Re-reading your post, I also feel it would be interesting to have a few independant "staff" reviewers. So that you have at least one or two benchmark reviews.
That's my problem with most on-line reviews: they're either by fans or by people who are happy to receive free stuff and don't want to upset a lot of people.
Review contests are a nice feature, but in all honesty: a lot of the reviews aren't all that great.
If there were a few people who would regularily revieuw rulesets, that would give something to hold on to. After a few reviews you would know where this or that guy stood in respect to your gaming opinions.


DAWGIE Inactive Member12 Oct 2005 6:25 a.m. PST


SORRY-that turns me completely off. an "official" to read the rules or eyeball the miniatures he/she gets for free to pronounce judgement on is a thing that has been beat to seath over the years, and not all of it for the good. too many times "impartial staff reviewers" have their own "axes to grind". i have seen this happen off and on since the 70s.

best product seller is hands on "player" level review (word of mouth or written up) with pro and con input from other players .

TMP has done a wonderful job of remaining neutral and allowing players to present their opinions as to yes or no about rules, miniatures, paints, and etc.


Parmentier Inactive Member12 Oct 2005 7:04 a.m. PST

"impartial staff reviewers" have their own "axes to grind"

Absolutely!But you learn this as soon as you've read a few reviews by them. That's what makes them interesting as benchmarks for other reviews.
Right now reviews are scattered all over the web. Having a lot of different reviews in one place with a corpus of regular reviewers (if that other word turns you off) would seem a great benefit to me.
(for the record: I'm not interested in doing regular reviews)


Trapondur Inactive Member23 Oct 2005 1:51 p.m. PST

I'm against staff reviewers, too. reasons seen above.
I liked the empires review contest back then, that was fun, even if not every aspect of it ran perfectly.

I'm not alltogether happy about people being alloted to particular genres/eras, as their interests may change again, but they'd be "typecast" by then.

I think it is a massive free (other than the cost of the 5 sets) advertising for the makers of rules and games to be featured in such manner here.
I was wondering why there were no more contests since empires. producers shouldn't be afraid of reviews, imo.

I'm against the idea of having these "contests" normal style on the forum, though.
the way the empires one was done seemed nice to me. I recall looking forward to every new review posted.

maybe one could make it that way, that producers "donate" a copy of a ruleset, whereupon members interested in the game can "register" (maybe via a vote INTERESTED|NOT INTERESTED) for a random draw, who gets that free ruleset, based on the condition, that the winner must produce a detailed review with photos and all within x weeks.

I think once a particular game has been reviewed in that manner, there is nothing that would speak against another copy of the same rules being given away some time later again, and the new review being "added" to the old review.

the random drawing would greatly filter out the sock puppets.
there could be a poll with every posted review, as of how well written the reader of the review considered it (USELESS-BAD-DULL-GOOD-WONDERFUL), based on the result of that poll the review's author's chances in future who-gets-the-game-drawings might be slightly increased or decreased (kind of like your multiple banner algorithm).

so my point is, that there shouldn't really be different reviews in competition against one another.
as incentive for writing professional as possible reviews, the manufacturers of the game might be talked into giving the reviewer different amount of goodies, strictly hierarchized after what the poll on quality resulted in.

so if I review WHFB, and the review is found to suck I get one lame plastic gobbo, whereas I get maybe a pack of orks for an average review, and a huge dragon or something for a review considered wonderful by the (critical) TMP peer.
This is (as is to be made clear to the rules' manufacturer from the beginning!) meant at the quality of the review, and not at how much the reviewer liked the game.

(please ignore spelling mistakes…)

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