My name is Dylan Gwin and I’m a board and card game designer who has started his own company to create and manufacture games. You can take a look at my company website if you’d like: www.gwingames.com. (There’s not much there at the moment, but there will be soon! I made it all by myself, can you tell? XD) I’m starting a blog that will mainly consist of game reviews. This blog has several purposes:
- To help me hone my abilities to pick out interesting elements of games that players enjoy
- To make shameless plugs for the releases of my own games. (If you like my take on games, you’ll probably like the ones I design, too, so really we are both winners here! XD)
- To act as a resource for players who have some interests that overlap with mine. Hopefully, you can find some interesting new games to play, and make better informed decisions about what to buy!
When I write reviews I’ll provide some basic information at the top to give you a quick idea about the game:
- My personal rating score out of 10.
- This is an indication of how much I personally enjoy playing the game. If you have similar tastes to me, this can be a good indicator of how stellar a game is. I will usually be reviewing games that I like, so this score will likely be fairly high most of the time.
- Time to play
- Simple – how long it takes to play the game on average.
- Number of players
- Again, simple – Lets you know how many friends you can (or must!) rope into playing the game with you.
- Complexity will have 4 levels:
- Complexity I – You can play this game with the kids.
- Complexity II – Don’t be shy about showing this game to your friends, they might enjoy it!
- Complexity III – Play this game with fellow strategy gamers.
- Complexity IV – Dedicated gamers only!
- Complexity I games are usually very simple. All information in the game is usually available to everyone so more experienced players can help out the novices. For example, players won’t generally have hands of cards that they keep from other players in Complexity I games. Think Monopoly – something like that.
- Complexity II games are a step up. These games may include information that players are counted on to handle entirely on their own, but the rules are generally fairly simple, so most people will be able to follow them without too much trouble. You may be able to increase your odds of winning by playing strategically, but you can still enjoy these games without doing so. Something like UNO would fit into the simpler side of this category.
- Complexity III games require some analytical thinking to be able to enjoy. The mechanics of a Complexity III game require some critical thinking skills to understand, and players who don’t understand them will likely not have very much fun, or in some cases simply be unable to play. A game like 7 wonders would fall in this category.
- Category IV games are the most difficult to play. They may have lots of complex rules take an incredibly long time to play or both. I tend to not play too many of these types of games, so I don’t have an example, but I choose to apply this label, know that the game is probably a harrowing experience in some way.
- Complexity will have 4 levels:
- Key enjoyment factors – These are the main things that I think players will enjoy about the game. These factors are qualitative, and could include things like “humor,” “strategy,” or “social interaction.”
- Board Game Geek Link – Board game geek pretty much has every figure and statistic about every game ever. If you really want to deep dive a game that seems interesting on my blog, take a look at its board game geek entry. You’ll find a wealth of information.
In addition to the basic information provided, my reviews will generally include 2 sections – synopsis and critique. The first section, synopsis, briefly goes over gameplay so there is some grounding to discuss my impression of the game. If you are already familiar with the gameplay you may read this section as a quick refresher or skip it entirely. The synopsis is not intended to exhaustively detail all the rules. Rather, it’s meant to give the reader a sense of gameplay to guide a discussion about what makes the game enjoyable or not enjoyable. The second section, critique, is where I’ll detail what I think makes the game enjoyable or not.
If I accomplish what I want to accomplish, after reading one of my reviews you should know a few key merits of the game, and that should help you decide whether it is a game worth pursuing for you.