Keep in mind that Burning Empires is a game, in the sense that it has a definite lifecycle. If you want speak on it in a playtest sense that’s at least multiple sessions. You need a few hours before you are even rolling dice, AKA what is normally known as “playing”. This is something that’s big in computer game reviews, reviewers not playing the game. Or not playing the game in a natural way (they rush through to the ‘end’ of the game, going much faster than what someone that owns it would).
If a reviewer is reading and saying “don’t get it” without playing it that’s a pretty good sign to just skip the conclusion of the review. Even moreso than other reviews where the person wasn’t playing it. shrug Oh well. At least he isn’t trying to say he’s played it.
The reviewer could have taken four hours to run Fires Over Omac in order to see what the game was about. Even though the review is not totally unfavorable, it says little about Burning Empires. It doesn’t cover the game’s basic mechanics or examine the character creation in depth.
The reviewer has a right not to play a game in which he is not interested, and it sounds like after reading the text, Burning Empires made this impression on him. But tell me something substantive in the review–don’t say “I don’t get it” for five minutes.
I don’t think it’s necessary to play a game you’re reviewing. That’s the difference between a playtest review and a … “readthrough review”(?).
The latter, however, should be more along the lines of a system presentation, i.e. telling you what’s in the rulebook, whether it’s comprehensible, has a good layout, etc., and give a short impression on how the system works, i.e. is it a dice pool system, does it have a fate point mechanic, do you need a battlemap for combat, etc. In the course of this presentation, the reviewer may then say what he does or doesn’t understand or like, and it’s imo perfectly reasonable to say that reading the book did not make him want to play it.
I have written a lot of reviews for a German website (I’ll link to the BW review once that’s done), and I have not played every game I reviewed, or at least I hadn’t played it when I reviewed it. Nor did I test out every Prestige Class and every Feat in D&D sourcebooks I reviewed. I always did try and create a character or something like that, just to see how the system works together, and I usually simulated a short conflict to test that out on my own (which is not real play experience at all). I also wrote playtest reviews, for example for All Flesh Must Be Eaten.
I mean, if I were to review BW without playing it, I might judge on the mechanical probabilities of advancement (you more or less have to fail tests at the higher exponent rates), whether a dice pool system or the flat percentages of d20 are better to simulate certain situations, whether the idea of scripting seems like a sensible choice, etc. I would have to say that I didn’t know whether or not it worked in play, but I could comment on the purely mechanical stuff anyways.
That’s awesome! If Maxim magazine can do it, who’s to say youtube can’t.
So I have no problem with his thumbs up or thumbs down, that’s fine (of course). I have no problem with him not having played the game, I look at rules and decide whether or not I want to make the investment or not (all the time).
My problem with the thing is that he doesn’t say WHY he has decided it’s not for him. As a lot of folks said, it’s not credible that a seasoned gamer can’t figure out ANYTHING in the rules, it’s written in English… Give us the things that you did figure out, or the things you didn’t figure out (like that whole bizarre predestination bit), but don’t just sit there for three minutes picking your nose and saying “i don’t get it.” That’s not useful on any level.
I think it so outside his experience and thought process and so blows his mind that he can’t begin to put it in a coherent stream of words. He sits there and listens for 273 seconds and doesn’t hear any music and just throws up his hands. Which does undermine his credibility on the technical side of giving any meaningful review or evaluation of it. But if you look at his past reviews they are pretty much fluff too. shrug
Burning Empires was the first game (since MERP, way back when I learned how to r-p) that I couldn’t “get” by just reading it. I’ve been playing for 15 years, and it really stomped me. I had to play it to get it. I had to read the Infection rules three times, because I couldn’t believe what they were actually saying. Now, I love the game.
I think it’s a bad review. Kurt has made some bad reviews before (like the one on PTA). Still, the amount of criticism this has generated is overwhelming. The big difference between Maxim and Kurt is that Maxim is Maxim and Kurt is a guy who’s been making reviews of games on youtube. And some of them are good reviews. Some are OK reviews. Some are bad.
I sincerely don’t get the general reaction to this piece of video.
Luke, the user-edited custom title is too short for me to change it to “…is never going back to mere flaccid Traveler.” Could you ask Iskander if he can help me announce my allegiance to the rigid 10" cock of BE?
Paul, good work. Your ceremonial red internet-cape of nerdgoading is in the mail.
I just don`t get it whole halo around this review. Kurt maked some buzz, so it can be helpfully to selling more books, guys on RPG.net did their job (and started classical small-talk with all stuff kinda “and your mother was a…”)… Fortress was built, bridges was burnt.
Maybe me and my group are little strange, but i dont get it all this frakin classical nerdy shit about “which game is best, how can you play in game like that, im playing since 1776 AD and you dont, so shut up". Its boring. Sure, here its Internet and maybe i wonna to say anything what i want to say - but its pointless for me. Kurt dont get it how to play (but he also pointed out some advantages this game), me and my pack had played two campaigns (and since May we are planning to start new) so we get it, moreover most of us have brains and can choose - "i like this stuff, i try with BE/uhh, to heavy for me - ill buy f.e. SWEX”. There is no place for Messiah here - it`s only hobby.