Is One Play Enough For A Good Review?

Ok, I’m opening up a big ole can of worms with this one.

Is one play enough for a good review?

Should a reviewer play a game more than once to do a review? Is a one play review really just an impression or is it adequate for a good review? What about previews? Every Kickstarter has to have at least three or four to be taken seriously. So are they legit ‘reviews’ since the game and components could change in production?

Games like Candyland or most Haba games (and there are scads I don’t know I’m sure) probably don’t need more than one play before I have enough info to do a review. But most of the games the majority of us play are quite a bit more complex than these games. To me a single play of the types of games we play the most is just an impression. I get an idea of the game but I don’t fully understand it yet.

For most games, a single play just doesn’t give me enough of a feel for the game. I’m kind of slow. I need several plays to understand a game. I don’t do reviews often.  I need to play a game a couple of times to feel like I have a handle on it enough to be able to review it.  That one reason I don’t do a ton of reviews. It takes me some time to do what I feel is a proper job.  For the most part when I agree to do a review, I play a minimum of three times so that I am comfortable giving an honest review. And if I have some negative things to say, I will pass it by the designer/publisher first to let them know so they are not surprised. If I don’t like a game that I review, I will let the designer/publisher know this and most likely will not post it. That said I do give the full story, with the things that just weren’t for me and the things that I enjoyed.

Here’s a real good question that’s floating out there in the gaming community – what about paid reviews? Can they be trusted? I don’t know how I feel about this one. Part of me says “Sure, as long as it’s an honest review.”. And I would hope that they are. Part of me wonders at the pressure there must be to give a game a good review if you are getting paid.  I just don’t really know where I stand on this one.  I’d very much like to hear from some of you who do reviews for dollars. Tell us your ideas.

And what makes up a good review anyway? We will address that one on an upcoming podcast! So stay tuned.

There are a lot of different opinions on this one, folks. Tweet with #goforthandgame or @tomgurg. Record a 2 minute reply. Email me at  So let’s hear your voice! We will use it on a future podcast!!

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2 thoughts on “Is One Play Enough For A Good Review?

  1. Great article and question!

    I play games as much as the next guy. It’s VERY often that I or a friend miss a note, a small rule that’s critical, or a point of strategy that ruins a first play for us. The 2nd and third play are the only things truly good enough to make a fair public/formal review of.

    If you’re just a player, you can decide if it’s for you or not in just 1 game. If you’re your a pro and other people will follow your opinion, good or bad first play, a 2nd and 3rd set the trend.

    1. “If you’re just a player, you can decide if it’s for you or not in just 1 game. If you’re your a pro and other people will follow your opinion, good or bad first play, a 2nd and 3rd set the trend.” That is an excellent point. I’m very glad you brought that out. And thank you for reading and the feedback.

Please let me know what you think.

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