Sunday, May 29, 2011

Review copies and what I think about them

Prompted by this blog at BoardGame Geek, I thought I'd share my thoughts on review copies.

I have. on occasion, gotten review copies. Back when I reviewed some games for Fire & Movement magazine I was sent copies of the games. Since I've become a game blogger I've received one review copy, although that game hasn't been reviewed because I've been unable to get anyone to play it.

The vast majority of games that I've written reviews of here and on Boardgame Geek were purchased by me. While I wouldn't turn down a review copy if I were sent one, unlike the blogger referenced above I wouldn't write to publishers asking for a copy, either.

In journalism there's a long-standing low-level debate about free stuff and to what extent it could be considered a problem. Some publications prohibit staff from accepting freebies. Most accept it for purposes of reviews. Some take the stuff without worrying about it at all. You send them free stuff and they take it with no obligation at all -- they didn't ask for it.

For me the limiting factor is rounding up enough playing opportunities to do a good job for a review, not the cost of the games. Getting more free games wouldn't help.

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