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Welcome to our RPG Review Guidelines Wiki. Here you will find ideas and thoughts from those who have made their way through here as reviewers. While reviews are a personal creation and should not be stifled, it may be beneficial to read through these guidelines to help write better reviews. we can all use help, even those who have been writing professionally.

Take your time and look things over. Feel free to post your own ideas in the thread "How do you review? A request for ideas and suggestions on writing RPG reviews" and they may be added to this list.

Please Note: This is a work in progress and is subject to change over its lifetime

ctalbot
A review, in a journalistic sense, is an informed opinion. The one thing every game review should have is an opinion on the game, whether it's good, bad or a combination of both. It should also be supported.

"I like the game" is an opinion that's unsupported. Why do you like the game? What makes it good? Why does it stand out from others in its class? Or if the opinion is "I don't like the game," there should likewise be reasons why that is the case.

Other than that, a review can be as detailed (or not) as the reviewer would like.

What I don't find useful in a review is a thorough description of the product (components, book chapters, etc.) with a short "I like it" opinion at the end. That's just not helpful to me at all.

When reviewing RPGs, I think it's also very important to clearly state up front whether the reviewer has or has not actually used the book/supplement/whatever in play.

hidamann
Speaking as an English Teacher, a professional review is supposed to follow a set structure:

1) Brief overall opinion (usually covered in the headline/1st sentence)
2) Brief plot (content) outline
3) Outline good points
4) Outline bad points
5) Give your opinion, justified with reference to 3) and 4).

Of course, I don't always follow these rules strictly myself and I don't expect others to necessarily. The purpose of a review on RPGG to me is to generate interest and discussion about a product whilst offering a view of the relative value of it and, if not a core book, what it adds to the game for players and GMs.

That last part is particularly important to me as I believe many roleplaying supplements are designed entirely with players in mind and offer little guidance to GMs, assuming that 'the ideas are here, it's your job to integrate them'.

Which is true to some extent, but a more than token discussion of this is nice.

vestige
Personally, I think that the strength of the BGG review database (and I hope eventually RPGG) is its diversity. Just from reading this thread, I can see that my review tastes are very different from some other people's. I personally find detailed reviews most helpful; others like concise ones. So I think we need to encourage diversity.

To that end, I think there are very few absolute requirements (other than to use a spellchecker) - rather I'd give positive suggestions for people to ponder. Things like...

-Consider your perspective: where you're coming from, and what motivated you to review this product in the first place.
-Think broadly: as you read/play the product, consider how other people with other backgrounds might react to the material
-Write clearly: think about your organization, especially if the review is long
-Express your opinion: people are reading the review to get your opinion, so give it!
-Back up your conclusion: nobody will believe you unless you can explain where your feelings come from

For more specific recommendations, I think it would be most helpful to avoid prescribing behavior but instead giving reasons to write a certain way (just like we expect in a review!). For example:

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