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Before buying a board game, I would like to read some detailed reviews. It's also hard to tell if the review is just a paid announcement from the publisher.

Is there any website that is "the reference" for those?

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closed as off-topic by user1873, Pablo, Lance Roberts, bengoesboom, Colin D Jan 14 at 16:15

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  • "Questions asking for game recommendations are off-topic. For details on why, and where you might find good recommendations elsewhere, see this meta discussion." – user1873, Pablo, Lance Roberts, bengoesboom
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Four answers until now, and three say the same. Now it should be clear that Boardgamegeek is THE reference :-) –  Christian Specht Oct 26 '10 at 18:48
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I'd like to see more answers to this question. BGG is the obvious answer, but there are TONS of other places to find board game reviews. It'd be great if everyone posted their favorite ones. –  livingtech Oct 28 '10 at 15:35
    
This question appears to be off-topic because it is about reviewing review sites not gaming. –  Colin D Jan 14 at 16:15
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11 Answers

up vote 33 down vote accepted

BoardGameGeek can be a great resource, but it can be a bit hard to figure out where everything is.

First, you can search for games by name, if you know what game you're looking for. Or you can use the "Browse" feature to find games by category or mechanic.

Once you've found a game, you find yourself on a page that's stuffed full of information, somewhat haphazardly laid out. At the top, there is the name of the game, a picture, and some basic information on number of players, suggested age range, and so on. This can be useful to determine if it will work well for your group.

You then see a description of the game, followed by some places it might be for sale, followed by some additional information. Keep on looking as you go down, you eventually come to the Forums. Click on the "Reviews" link, and you will see a list of all of the reviews for that game. Look through these; they tend to be fairly detailed, explaining the mechanics of the game and how they work.

That's not all that BGG has to offer, though. If you keep looking further down the page, you come to the Statistics section. This is where statistics about people's ratings and the game's ranking are collected. One of the links is to "Personal comments." This will give you a list of many short comments that people have made on the games, organized by their rating. I find this invaluable for getting a quick feel of why some people liked the game, and some didn't; I usually try to check out a few of the comments with a 10 rating, a few with a 7 rating, and a few with lower ratings, to get a sense of how different people see the game. Only a few people leave long, detailed reviews, but there are usually hundreds of people who leave comments.

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This is repeated but you provide a very good review than other answers. –  bigown Oct 27 '10 at 0:49
    
I won't add another answer stating BGG, but something to add to this great overview is BGG's advanced search allows you to tailor a search extremely specifically. Looking for a 4-6 player game that takes 90 minutes and features set collection and worker placement? Here's 50 –  nine9ths Nov 14 '12 at 6:43
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The best collection of reviews I have seen are on a site called Games from Pevans. It contains a summary table plus a detailed review. It seems completely impartial and well written with lots of details and pictures.

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Dice Tower Reviews goes over a mind-boggling variety of games. They have a great youtube channel worth subscribing too. I'd also suggest Downtime Town for great, ludicrous, and nuanced reviews - the Scottsman who reviews there is a total nut. Sadly, hasn't been updated lately.

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Amazon has user reviews for the vast majority of their products, and they also sell board games. Some of the most well-written reviews I've seen for games has been on their Amazon page.

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BGG will let you know what the gamers think, but Amazon picks up enough non-serious gamer reviews that it is great to help you know what your family and other less serious game players will think. They provide complementary points of view. –  John Robertson Mar 3 '11 at 6:55
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It's not really an online resource, but Games Magazine does game reviews, too. (board games, video games, etc.). Even if you don't pick up the subscription, in the December issue each year they have a 'best games of the year' feature.

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I write for MTV Geek, Wired GeekDad, and The Geek Collective. None of the sites are as comprehensive as BGG (in fact, all of my reviews are cross-posted to their linked items list). You cannot go wrong with BGG but if you really do want other sites, those are great places to check out!

MTV Geek

The Geek Collective

Wired GeekDad

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Board Games with Scott is an excellent review site that provides video reviews of games and attempts to describe whether the game in question is a good match for the type of game you'd like to own. There are quite a few reviews available, but he isn't necessarily going to cover every single game on the market. Scott has been reviewing fewer games lately, but the reviews that continue to come out are always of very high quality.

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I'm a fan of Ogre Cave. They're good, down-to earth guys with an active community of commenters. There's RPG stuff there too, but there's plenty of boardgame reviews too.

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There is also a long-running German board game magazine called Spielbox. As of (I think) last year, they are also publishing an English version. I've only received one issue, but it is chalk full of reviews for new games. The translations can be... interesting, but it is quite readable.

A VERY interesting resource.

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BoardGame Review is a blog that provides useful board game reviews.

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BoardGameGeek has lots of user reviews and ratings of board games. It's a little hard to navigate sometimes, but there's a lot of valuable information there.

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