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Posted on Apr 8, 2009 in Admin

Game Reviewers Guidelines

Gerald D. Swick

Before attempting to write a review for ArmchairGeneral.com, please read several of our current reviews to get a feel for style, format and content.

The purpose of any review should be to give gamers enough information to make intelligent buying decisions about whether or not a game is right for them. Every game has players who love it and players who hate it. Keeping that in mind, here is what a review for ArmchairGeneral.com should include.

Title (and subtitle if any). Boardgame or PC game review. Publisher. Designer if known. Suggested Retail Price (not the discounted one on Amazon; if you give the download price, also include the boxed-version price if different). (NOTE: This information should appear in the exact order shown here, with periods separating the different elements such as Title and PC Game.)

Passed Inspection: Best features.

Failed Basic: Worst/Most annoying features or limitations.

EXAMPLE OF HOW A REVIEW SHOULD BE FORMATTED:
Combat Mission: Market Garden. PC Game Review. Publisher: Battlefront.Com. $35

Passed Inspection: Excellent graphics and playability. Adds more weapons and vehicles to the new Combat Mission franchise. Tons of replayability.

Failed Basic: Creating a new battle force from scratch is somewhat confusing especially when compared to the classic Combat Mission games of the 1990s. Some of the screen text is a little too small. Somewhat slow load times for larger battles.

Introductory paragraph that gives readers some idea of your overall impression of the game.

Summary of component parts (board games only).

Summary of play (how combat works, any mechanics unique to the system and those that are similar to other games)

Summary of best features.

Summary of worst features

As noted in summary of play section, a comparison to one or two other games, where applicable, helps. A given mechanic might be similar to Game X, while the overall feel of the game is like that of Game Z, for example.

Close with a summary of your opinion and what type of gamer this product would most appeal to (i.e., fans of real-time strategy, gamers looking for historical depth over playability, gamers looking for an easy-to-learn, quick-playing game, etc.)

If you find the game is unplayable or just really bad, let ACG.com‘s editor know BEFORE writing the review. We’ll ignore the game instead of reviewing it.

FORMAT:
Word doc preferred

Approximately 1,000 – 1,200 words

Do not indent.

At end of review, add Armchair General Rating, on a scale of 0 – 100. The score should be a general consensus of the reviewer’s overall opinion of the game. The final score should also reflect the content of a review. A game that receives a numerical score of 91% should not be inundated with complaints about various features. Generally, editors will not question the score of a game but be prepared to defend your decision if an obvious discrepancy exists. Generally speaking, anything below 70% is probably not worth reviewing; certainly, that is true for anything below 60%; 70 – 79% is good, but better options probably exist; 80 – 89% is an excellent example of its genre; 90 – 100% is the rare, exceptional game that sets standards other games should aspire to.

At end of review (for board games only), provide a Solitaire Suitability rating on a 1–5 scale, with 1 being virtually unplayable as a solitaire game and 5 being completely suitable for solitaire play (5 generally reflects a game that is specifically designed to be played solitaire, such as Ambush).

Close with a short bio that gives an idea of your qualifications to review games. See examples used by current reviewers.

Photographs/Screenshots:
No captions will be used on these, so you do not need to provide any. Naming each according to what it represents is helpful for editors however; e.g., us-antitank-defenses-bastogne. (all lower case, separate words with hyphens)

Board game: Supply 5–10 photographs to give readers an idea of the component parts and what a game in progress looks like.

PC game: Supply 5 – 10 screenshots to give readers an idea of the graphics and/or information screens they can expect to use in gameplay.

Don’t worry about including a shot of the box cover; we’ll take care of that.

 

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