A note on transparency

I had planned on posting this a long time ago, but somehow got busy and never got around to it. With the way things have been going recently, I decided to fish this out for a little more clarity on the subject. If anyone has any questions, feel free to contact me. Thanks.

Recently I’ve been seeing a lot of debate on transparency and full disclosure of game reviewers. Rahdo, someone I deeply respect posted a thread in his forum about full disclosure of his review policies in regards to preview and review copies. I felt like this was something that I as a reviewer needed to explain, as I’ve received quite a bit of criticism on the BGG for some of my reviews. So, in regards to all of this, I felt like transparency was the best course of action.

Let me state for the record, I have not received any monetary compensation of any kind for any reviews or previews. I don’t ask for any. Now to the specifics.

Preview Reviews
These are mostly print and play or prototype copies of games from either Kickstarter, Indiegogo or BGG. Either I will approach a company about a game that I’m interested in, or they approach me. I will usually get sent either pdf files, jpgs of the game or a protype copy of the game. I play through it with either my gaming group or my family, depending on the type of game. I write up my thoughts on the game and post it. If a company wants to send me a free copy of the game later, that’s REALLY COOL and I’m more than happy to accept it. If not, that’s cool too. I try to provide information about the game and who I feel this game is more catered towards. A good portion of the time, that’s been me and my gang. I feel that this is mostly because I only approach companies about games that interest me or that I feel will interest either my family or game group.

As for the actual reviews, these are the fully produced and realized copies of the game. The same thing mostly applies here as with previews. I approach a company about a review copy of the game or they approach me, asking if they can send me a free copy of the game. If I approach a company, it’s because something about the game interested me. If they approach me, I try to decide if it would be something that my group or family would like. I have turned down games that I felt would not be well received. The reason is because, I don’t like to do negative reviews. PERIOD! If I don’t think it will be liked, I will and have let companies know that upfront. Sometimes the company will still want to send a copy of a particular game. In that case, I will give it a try and see how it goes. Sometimes I am pleasantly surprised at how much I actually like the game that I thought I wouldn’t. Case in point, I’m not a war gamer, never have been. However, Columbia Games really liked the reviews that I had been posting and approached me. I received a copy of Julius Caesar, thinking that I would play through it and that would be that. However, this wasn’t the case. The game was actually a lot of fun and surprised the heck out of me. Thanks to them, I’m no longer anti-war games. In either case, I try my best to give my actual opinion on the game, the components and the rulebook. Not every game that I’ve reviewed has been sent to me for free. Some games I’ve actually paid for myself. As a matter of fact, some games that I’ve received for free have inspired me to buy expansions or other games by specific designers or companies.

Anyway, that’s that. Love my reviews or hate them. Just don’t call them biased simply because you don’t agree with my assessment of a game. My reviews are my opinion. They don’t have to be your opinion. We can agree to disagree. In any case, thanks for your support and for taking the time to read this thread.

About Gaming Bits - Jonathan Nelson

I'm a happily married man with 2 wonderful kids. I love my family very much. I'm a big fan of board, card and RPG games and have been playing for over 20 years. As a board and card game reviewer, I'm hoping that this blog will inform, educate and entertain you. If you like it, please tell your friends and have them join in on the conversations. Thanks and GAME ON!!
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