You can read as much about a game as you want, and talk about it until you’re blue in the face, but there’s no substitute for playing.
Quotes about game criticism
We would never lump Hollywood action films, Sundance winners, and nature documentaries together when discussing the impact of film. We see these as different kinds of works, using different techniques, for different audiences, to different ends. We don’t hold films from each of these categories to the same standards as the others. We wouldn’t assume Hollywood films represent the full emotional register of filmmaking, and we don’t expect every art house film to save the rain forest. Yet we still talk about games as if they’re all the same.
And that’s why we play board games right? For fun? If that’s what board game critics are to be judging then I think we need to seriously work out what we mean when we use that word. Our default mode is to let fun be a personal and visceral sort of thing. It’s not something you can define or get a hold of. You just feel it, and different people feel it for different reasons. If that’s the case, then board game criticism will probably remain what it is now—publicity and rules explanations.