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Last Updated

23/3/2017

If you want Kickstarter publicity…

I’m afraid this is a thing we will not consider, unless we have a previously existing relationship with a game.  We do not back board-games on Kickstarter and have no current intention of changing that stance.  We have some fundamental philosophical issues with the way Kickstarter has become a way for larger publishers to effectively invert the risk-reward ratio of capitalist enterprise.   We are also, and this is important, not primarily a site about what’s new and hot in upcoming board-games.

If you want a right of reply…

We’re happy to include a response in any of the sections of a tear-down, and if we have misinterpreted rules or instructions in the reviews we’re happy to acknowledge that in the text.     When we tweet about new articles, we tend to include a mention of the publisher twitter accounts in there.  If you reply via that, or send an email, we’ll provide your unedited remarks either in the body of the article (if they’re brief enough) or at the end if it’s a more comprehensive response.   We’ll usually include our response to your response, but we will otherwise present your comments without modification.  You can see an example of how this works in the Atlas Games response to the Socioeconomic accessibility section of our Once Upon a Time teardown.

If You Want Us To Review Your Game…

For reference, this is the email I send out to those asking if they can send a review copy to Meeple Like Us.

 


Hi there.

Many thanks for the offer of a review copy of your game. I appreciate you keeping me in mind for this, especially given how competitive the board game reviewer ecosystem is.

Meeple Like Us has a different focus to most board game sites. We’re not really, primarily, a site that reviews new games. Instead, we’re a site that looks at games that are interesting or important from the perspective of accessibility. We do reviews, but the thing that makes us distinct are the accessibility teardowns that accompany each. We want to make sure those that are currently excluded from full participation in board-gaming have a wide range of options for things to play with the people around them. That means we tend to focus on older, well known titles or the kind of high-profile new titles that are almost certainly going to be a hit[1]. As such, we often prioritize games we have bought with our own money over games that have been sent for free – I know that’s strange, but it’s a consequence of our objectives with the site.   However, it also means that if you’ve got an older game you want to send our way we’re happy to give it the same consideration we’d afford a more recent title.   Our current intention is to focus primarily on games that are within the BGG top 1000, with a special focus on those that reach the top 500.  This isn’t an absolute cut-off, but an editorial guideline intended to help us invest our time most effectively in the project.

Meeple Like Us is a site that stems out of personal time and has to fit around a demanding, full-time academic job. Our focus, and limited time availability, means that we can’t really guarantee any attention for your game in any particular time period. It’s really a case of ‘we’ll get to it when we get to it’ which often isn’t compatible with the needs of game designers and developers.  We can’t commit to reviewing anything that you send, especially if it is sent unsolicited.  All I can say is ‘We’ll try to fit it in’.

As such, I’d hate if a review copy that could do you some good somewhere else was just languishing in our ‘to review’ pile. Especially since that queue often ends up with stuff being added to the front rather than the back. At some point in the future, we might be able to offer a bespoke accessibility consultancy service that would get you this kind of feedback ahead of a production run, but that would depend on financial viability. We don’t currently have the capacity to do that.

With all of that said what I have advised in the past is that those interested in reaching out to game reviewers think of us a ‘backup’ – if you have a copy of the game that you can’t otherwise make good use of, I’d certainly be willing to consider reviewing it for the site. I’m also prepared to enter into correspondence with individual publishers and developers with whom I’ve previously interacted to see if we can arrange something more specific.

Since our reviews also come with accessibility teardowns, there are some things that need to be taken into account:

  1. We can only review a game if it is meaningfully close to what the production version will be. Our accessibility focus means that we need to see components in roughly the size / shape / style that they’ll have when the thing is completed. It doesn’t need full art and the like, but colour palettes, player markers and boards should be close to what the final product would be. For some games, simply explaining what the real components will be like would be enough for us to do a teardown, but we couldn’t guarantee publishing that teardown without seeing near final components in front of us.
  2. Reviews may occasionally be conducted by research students, under the supervision of the site editor. It’s my intention to build up a sustainable reviewer pool for Meeple Like Us that means I don’t need to write each of the reviews/teardowns myself. As such, whatever name that goes up on the review may not necessarily be mine, although I or another qualified accessibility researcher will have vetted the content.
  3. Unless otherwise requested, games submitted for review may potentially be used in university class exercises on the topic of tactile or cultural accessibility. If you don’t want that to happen, you’ll need to let me know when sending the review copy.

There are some games too we are not currently in a position, largely as a result of limited time availability, to review.  These include:

  1. Print and play games
  2. Digital games,. whether based on board-games or not.
  3. Prototypes of games still in development.

Should you still be interested in sending  a review copy our way, I want to clarify our policy on how it will be treated should we be able to find time to evaluate it.

  1. Review copies will be reviewed in exactly the same way as all other games.  We’ll play it as often as is needed to form an opinion, assess it from the perspective of accessibility, and then post a review and teardown.
  2. Games are not guaranteed a good review.    However, we are not primarily a consumer advocacy site – it’s not our role to warn people away from games we don’t like.  Before doing any associated write-ups, I will let you know my initial thoughts on where a game is likely to end up on the scale, and you can decide whether or not you want us to proceed with the review.  Once the review is written, or substantively under construction, there are no take-backs.  This is an offer that extends only to review copies.  If we bought the game with our own money, we also bought the right to gripe about it.
  3. We will disclose prominently during the review that we received a copy free.  If we have any prior relationship with the designer, developer or publisher, we will disclose that too.
  4. We do no accept financial remuneration for review scores, or even to guarantee a review will be published.  If you want to motivate us to do review then make a compelling game that gets us excited.    If you’re interested in an accessibility teardown and willing to pay for it to be conducted to time constraints compatible with your publication schedule, then we can perhaps come to some arrangement.  I don’t know, the situation hasn’t come up before.  Drop me an email, I’m willing to discuss.

If you still want to send your game to Meeple Like Us, then that’s great. The best way to do it is to send it to me at my work address:

Dr. Michael James Heron
Sir Ian Wood Building
School of Computing and Digital Media
Robert Gordon University
Aberdeen
AB10 7QB

Be aware though that if you’re sending from outside the EU there will be customs implications if you don’t fill out the form indicating that your package is not a commercial item. Unless it has been previously negotiated, any item which arrives along with a ‘fee to pay’ customs note will not be collected, and will be returned to sender unopened.

You can also email us at dice@imaginary-realities.com if you want to clarify or make an attempt to arrange something more definite.

Thanks again for your interest, I really do appreciate it. And regardless of whether you choose to send your game to us, I wish you all the best with your project.

Regards,
Michael.

[1] Usually because one of the larger sites, such as Shut Up and Sit Down, Tabletop or the Dice Tower have already gotten people excited about it.


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