Inquiring minds want to know...
1.) Why do you do reviews and what are the big things you look for in a game?
First, I love games. When I was younger, I was enrolled in a program called MORE, More Opportunities for a Richer Education. Looking back it was probably an acronym that would offend some people by today's standards, but essenially it was a program at my school that had "after school" meetings where the group studied subjects much higher than our grade level. My instructor introduced me to GAMES magazine, and she would constantly challenge us with riddles, problems, and games to solve. Since then, I've been hooked on gaming of all kinds, board, card, video, you name it. Ironically, not much an RPGer, but I've just never had the right opportunity there. I digress though...
I do reviews because I love gaming and I love talking about games. I love theory-crafting, spinning ideas, and thinking. Doing my blogs/videos provides me an outlet for those things to be shared with all of you, and if you like that, awesome, I always welcome more Critical Fans!
As for what I look for in a game, it's three main things; The Components, the Design, and the Experience. These are the essentials to me.
2.) What is your definition of a Crit, Hit or Miss?
A lot of reviewers use "thumbs up" or a 1-10 scale for rating a game. For me, those three things I mentioned above, Components, Design, and Experience are the cruxes of a game and what I think gamers are interested in knowing about. I'm a big believer in the power of 3s, so when I sat down to "design" Crits Happen, I came up with these rating levels that I've used for our Critical Reviews:
Do some games cross boundaries? Sure. As stated, components, design, and experience are the three things I primarily look at. Can a game have poor components but through excellent gameplay and experience make up for it and become a Crit? Sure. Can something look beautiful and be a terrible time at the table and get a Miss? Spot on. Reviews are only opinions, and these are mine. That said, I highly suggest you to check out others as well, there are many great reviewers out there!
3.) Speaking of "these are your opinions"... do you get paid for your reviews?
I don't, nor will I, accept monetary payment for a review of a game. Monetary payment for review services is, in my opinion, a paid advertisement and not an impartial review. A large portion of what you see reviewed on the site is self-purchased, however, from time to time, a game may be provided by our local game stores, the publisher, or a fan. If this happens, we both highlight that in the video and written reviews, thanking the provider, but it does not impact nor sway opinions to a desired outcome, nor honestly, should it for any upstanding reviewer anywhere in any industry.
Additionally, most copies of games are donated to either local convention libraries or charities of our choice anonymously. Sometimes we give away copies as well, so stay tuned, you never know what is coming up!
4.) Can you review my game?
Maybe. I focus Crits Happen on a 50/50 scale. 50% focused on big name publisher games like those from Fantasy Flight Games or Cryptozoic, and 50% on independent games like those from Kickstarter type sites or TheGameCrafter.com sites. Just because you have a game though, doesn't mean it's right for a review. The best thing to do if you are interested in a Critical Review is to contact me directly and let's discuss the opportunity.
5.) Will you post my Kickstarter project on your site?
Again, maybe. I'm a fan, first and foremost. I peruse Indiegogo and Kickstarter all the time looking for creativity. If I see a project I like, I'll highlight it on one of our social sites. If I get excited about it, I'll add it to our section on the right sidebar of our site. However, that's all out of my own interest and nothing else. Those ads you see right now over there on the right under the "These are Kickstarter and Indiegogo Projects Tox is excited about!" section? Those are the things I'm honestly really excited about and no one has, nor will they, pay to be on there... ever.
For all those who have a project, feel free to contact me and tell me about it. For all those launching a project who would like a review of their game, please make sure you have something camera worthy, and again, contact me and let's discuss it. If you have a project in flight and want me to review it, I'm sorry, but you're a bit late and probably should look elsewhere. My average time to play, formulate an opinion, research, write, film, edit, produce and upload a review is, on average, 3 to 4 weeks from receipt of product.
Do you have a question you'd like to ask? Contact me today!
In addition, we've done a Q&A video previously and I was nominated as the Geek of the Week at Board Game Geek. More questions and answers in that video and in the BGG thread as well!