Critic Reviews - New Feature Preview and Invitation To Content Creators

We are very excited to roll out a brand new feature unlike anything else in the board game community. We are launching a new critic review system on May 15th! 

With this new feature, reviews from hand-selected critics will contribute to a separate score so users can see the community reaction, as well as, the overall critical consensus. Games are rated on a 100 point scale.

More importantly than what we are doing is you! We are partnering with key figures in the field, but as of today, we are also launching an open enrollment period to accept additional reviewers into our inaugural class of accredited critics. 

The enrollment period for accepting applications will run for ten days with the final group being chosen at the end of April. We invite individuals and publications who meet the criteria (below) to apply to be a critic by filling out the form at the following link:

CRITIC SIGN UP FORM

Enrollment Period: April 14 - April 24, 2021

I can’t wait to reveal the exciting initial roster of critics we have lined up and bring everyone together to give you a definitive decision on a game and help you make sense of what title to check out next.

The criteria for the application process and guidelines for critics are below. Please make sure you read through this information before applying.

 

Board Game Atlas Critic Guidelines & Criteria

WHO ARE THE BOARD GAME ATLAS APPROVED CRITICS?

The Board Game Atlas Critics are individuals, either independent or part of a publication, that are looked to as a distinguishing voice for quality and integrity in the board game community. 

Those participating have gone through a vetting process to gain their critic status. A wide array of platforms and followings are included such as dedicated websites, Youtube, podcasts, Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, Twitch, TikTok, Pinterest, and others. Publications may have multiple individuals registered as critics.

A critic must have consistent review output and an audience that is engaged with their content. A variety of different metrics are considered depending on the platform, volume and community.

HOW DO I BECOME A BOARD GAME ATLAS CRITIC?

Critics who wish to apply should first review our guidelines below. All candidates will go through a vetting process and be evaluated against our criteria. The next open enrollment period will be announced soon, but you can expect 2 - 4 opportunities per year to apply.

Key Values

Insightful: Your work needs to add value to the conversation. You have content that has a distinct voice and offers perspective, not just a synopsis, how to play or retelling of facts. 

Objective: Your opinions are not swayed by paid promotion. You are transparent. Your opinions are based on your knowledge of the board game field and are properly able to convey what a game has to offer to a defined audience. You base your opinions on sound logic and facts.

Original: Your opinions and style are your own. You do not take your opinions or creativity from others in the community.

Articulate: You are able to provide an opinion that provides depth to the subject at hand. You do not just say something is good or bad, you are able to explain why.

Dedicated: You are consistent with your content. You have a long track record for delivering a high volume of content on a schedule. The quality of your coverage is apparent across everything you create.

Civil: You do not attack others. You are respectful to your fellow critic and to the community. You favor building up, not tearing down.

Audience 

You have a strong community that is engaged with your content across one or a variety of platforms. Whether you have an audience on one platform or many, all available information will be considered. The minimum follower/subscriber counts that will be considered are as follows:

For PRINT reviews, have a minimum of 4k followers across all platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest and others.

For AUDIO/VIDEO reviews, have a minimum of 2k subscribers across platforms such as Youtube, TikTok, Twitch, or similar distribution networks.

No one platform is weighed heavier than any other. A critic that is primarily invested in one platform is just as important if not more than a critic that is represented across multiple platforms.

In some cases, even if a critic or publication does not meet the eligibility guidelines listed above, we may consider them for approval if we believe their inclusion will benefit the utility of Board Game Atlas and its audience.

In all cases, Board Game Atlas maintains the right to approve, reject, include, exclude and remove critics, reviews and publications on a case-by-case basis at any time.

From time to time we change our guidelines, and there may be critics or publications who are still included that may not meet the current set of guidelines.

We cannot guarantee a response time on applications. If your application is declined, you may reapply during the next open period of enrollment.

WHAT ARE THE ACTIVE BOARD GAME ATLAS CRITIC REQUIREMENTS?

We will regularly review our active accredited critics to ensure the quality of the system is maintained. We expect you to follow the systems behavior and content guidelines below:

Behavior

We expect both applicants and approved critics to honor journalistic integrity and observe ethical behavior. We do not tolerate plagiarism, harassment, obvious trolling, discrimination, or other breaches of conduct across all platforms.

We expect that for all reviews you create, you log your corresponding summary on the Board Game Atlas Platform.

We expect you to uphold the quality and standards that led to your selection as an accredited critic in the field. You will also uphold the quality standards of the system and not use it maliciously or for any unintended purposes for your own gain.

**We reserve the right to revoke critic status from any participant as we see fit. If you are in violation of any of these requirements, we will be forced to take action to preserve the quality of the system.

Content Guidelines

You have 280 characters to convey your thoughts on a particular title. This can be an excerpt from your review itself or new text that summarizes your existing thoughts.

Your snippet of text cannot contain links. There will be a link that points to your original review, but the description should not contain any additional links.

This is a review and not a how-to or other reference. Your statement should be an opinion and not just a presentation of facts about the game.

Your summary must include insight and not just a generic like or dislike.

Example - Good

“Jenny’s Roof was a fantastic worker placement title that blended in simultaneous action selection in a way that I have never seen. Great use of theme and really solid medium weight gameplay.” (provides opinion and insight that could be helpful)

“You put out tiles and then you play. This fun title may be one of the easiest games ever to get on the table and I love it for that.” (yes uses facts, but ok because used as support for opinion)

Example - Bad

“Check out my review of Jenny’s Roof to see what I had to say. There is also a link there to check out my review of Azul, another game that has to do with tiles.” (not an advertisement for content elsewhere)

“In Jenny’s Roof players take turns placing their workers in an attempt to seize different tiles that they can then play on their roof. The goal is to have an amazing roof. Jenny’s Roof was created in 2020 by designer Blaze Winterstorm” (not a presentation of facts or how-to)

“I hated it.” (lacks insight)

“Jenny’s Roof is a great worker placement game (www.oursite.com/best-worker-placement) and a unique one I think has enough interesting elements to it that it is worth your time.” (links cannot be included)



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Supporter21 days ago

I've been pondering this since y'all announced it. I'm really excited for it, I hope that it does really well.

22 days ago

Love it. Very needed!!

2 days ago

I'm interested in seeing what you all do with this.  I think it's a great idea.  

13 days ago

got in just under the gun!

20 days ago

So you're saying that my many years of just really really liking board games doesn't qualify me to spout nonsense about them and have it given the official BGA stamp of approval? 😅

21 days ago

Great idea. I've always wanted this idea since sites that heavily and solely rely on user ratings such as BGG can result in wacky and misleading ratings that are just honestly annoying to deal with.

21 days ago

I hope to join this list sometime. It will take me awhile to get the followers, but my 6, almost 7 year old, son and I are beginning a board game series called Father-Son Games.

I think there's something to be added to the community about the next generation of young gamers coming up and experiencing all the games new and fresh in their own way.

I'm not dropping anything here because 1) rude, and 2) we're not ready yet.

But this is a really cool idea. Now, if you can only get Shut Up and Sit Down to join :)

21 days ago

This is an awesome idea and I think something like this (at a glance, diversity of opinions and aggregated) has been sorely missing. There have been forum posts that have tried to aggregate this information, but not quite like this. 

Well done folks! Can't wait to see it in action.

21 days ago

If you can pull it off, this will be amazing!! Good luck!

Supporter21 days ago

This is a cool idea.  I'd apply to be a critic but I don't play enough different games.

Premium User22 days ago

This is very exciting! Can't wait to see this grow.

Here's my major concern: at least from this article, I can't determine what's "in it" for the reviewers. Users benefit, obviously, and BGA benefits by having a cool feature that differentiates it from other sites, but why would a reviewer go out of their way to become an accredited reviewer for BGA? I'm assuming they won't be compensated for their 280 character reviews, and since they can't link to their platforms, they have to rely on the users taking the initiative to look them up. Am I missing something? Or are there plans to give reviewers their own pages on BGA, or something like that?

Owner22 days ago

Ah, there must been a part that wasn't clear. But we'll be approaching it in the same way as Rotten Tomatoes, where just below the critic's one-liner, they'll have a link to their original content right beneath it. The example of the "Bad" case is when a critic puts the link to that content within the one-liner. Here's a close-up of the screenshot to give the general idea. So on that note, they'll be able to promote their content.

Besides that, we'll also be creating a dedicated profile page for each of the critics. It'll have link to their socials, their top reviews, Q&A to show a glimpse into their personality, types of games they like, way for users to show support by giving them a "like" or maybe voting for their page when we have an event going on centered on critics, etc. It's all in progress, and we're asking for feedback from all of the reviewers to see what sort of features they would find helpful.

Hope that clarifies!

Premium User22 days ago

Ok, awesome! This sounds like a really cool feature, so I hope people take advantage of it!

21 days ago

I'm not a huge fan of gamifying reviewers. I think it's better to just accept critics and then give them an elevated status across the board. I've seen these silly points battles, and it doesn't make anyone more credible in my mind.

There's no points system for NYT editorialists, or AP News reporters. Maybe throw out some awards for quality in board game journalism at the end of the year.

Owner10 days ago

Currently, there won't be a point system that will elevate one critic over the other. We'll be scrapping the idea of allowing "reactions" on reviews, and possibly include a "helpful" vote, similar to Amazon and other places--for both the critic and regular user reviews. We'll have to see where it goes but we're hoping it'll raise up the overall quality. On the dedicated pages for each critic, we'll still likely have a way to "like" their page so that you can follow their content/show support. I don't foresee us using that metric to affect the critics section on the game pages either, since it would only lead to a popularity contest.

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Partner22 days ago

Signup form needs to be made public. :)

Owner22 days ago

Thanks for pointing that out Tony, should be fixed now! 😆

Owner22 days ago

can you fix that up please?

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