RETRO REVIEWER

“For when the one great scorer comes to mark against your name, he writes not that you won or lost, but how you played the game”. Grantland Rice

 

 

Retro Reviewer is a division of Sweet Wimble Games Ltd, reviewing both Commercial and Indie Games.

For actual Reviews and Previews visit our specific Blogs per game.. 

Why come to us for your reviews and previews? Why read our reviews and previews? Well, it’s good to ask these questions and here is the answer, as best as we can put it.

We are focused on the positives of game playing. We are a team of 6, with 3 regular reviewers (playing games on a weekly basis) and occasional reviewers (playing games on scheduled calendars). This allows us to take any game from 1 – 6 players, but to trial and review games for 2-3 players specifically.

We work on the ‘Eight Types of Fun’ identified by Marc LeBlanc, and will go into more detail on this theory further along.  The reason for us is to help designers and publishers use our reviews for marketing purposes. For Indie games specifically, we can offer the review and/or preview you want/need for a Kickstarter campaign. However, we are also here for the players, the laymen and women and children, giving you an insight into how a game works, what emotions we felt during the game, the duration of the game, what worked well and even when you feel like you have lost the will to continue playing a game that is beating you, we may even help you find the answer in order for you to enjoy that game once more.

We offer the following:

  • Video unboxing
  • New game previews – What’s in the box and the first play through
  • Positive and honest reviews of new games
  • Reviews, hints and tips on current games

We believe that every game out there has a good aspect to it, a positive mechanic, theme, story etc., that will capture someone, and we want to find that and share it with the world (the ones who want to listen).

So let’s meet the team… If you have already visited the ‘About us’ page, then you will know already a little bit of the background of our MD – Jayne. So let’s start with her, and why Retro Reviewer came to life.

Jayne, founder and Managing Director of Sweet Wimble Games Ltd.

Jayne is the Designer and Creator of the Spycret game series. With a successful Kickstarter campaign now under her belt, it was time for her to spread her knowledge far and wide.  What better way to do this than to review and preview for others.

Jayne’s favourite all time traditional game/s are: Anything Cluedo and Trivia related. Her current favourite game: Scythe.

“I have been playing games all of my life, from before I can even remember and probably before that. I had a mother who bought me board games every Christmas and we played them together.  She loved good board games and introduced me to such games as Othelo and Backgammon (although I was taught by a master of Backgammon, a lovely Italian man called Antonio!) Jayne’s first game was Paddington’s Travels bought in the 1970’s!

“As time went on and I grew, I travelled the world in the military where the only thing that kept us sane and up at night on duty were games, especially in the time of Trivial Pursuit! From years of playing to having children and bringing them up to play games, there has not been a year that has passed by when I haven’t played a board game or 10”.

“Retro Reviewer? I am all things retro. I am retro myself, life is now in its 52nd year and going strong.  I believe I have a lot to give and a lot I understand. Now enough about me, meet my amazing team”.

This team is very much a family affair!

Meet Emily, she is Jayne’s life partner and wife.  Emily has been playing games since she can remember but when she met Jayne she entered into the world of heavy weight game playing and marathon gameathons!

Emily’s all time favourite traditional games are: Monopoly! Yes that’s right, she loves a good long game of the most traditional game that ever was, and she plays it hard and ruthless! Another one of her favourites, that frequents the table is Outrage! – A retro game in itself, a simple roll and move, steal the crown jewels game.  Emily’s current favourite game is also Scythe, which is great as it means they both play it often together and it will come up in one of the first reviews for Retro Reviewer. The first games Emily remembers are Uno and Atmosfear!

Emily is excellent with English usage and as you will see there will be some very descriptive words used along the way within our reviews and previews.

 

Next we have Gregg. He is the youngest member and brings ultimate youth to the team. Gregg is also the third member of the regular review team.  He is a stickler for detail but likes to cheat now and again! If there are cheats to be had then Gregg will seek them out!

Gregg grew up in a family that already played games throughout the year, although Christmas was the ultimate gameathon time of the year. Gregg has had many favourite games as the years have gone by, games such as Risk, Escape from Colditz and Ticket to Ride games. One year he bought nearly all of the Ticket to Ride expansions! Today his favourite game is Arkham Horror 3rd Edition and he is on a mission to complete all of the scenarios in many different ways and with different combinations of investigators.

Gregg’s first game that he remembers is Inflatable Monopoly. Gregg is also Jayne’s youngest son.

 

Sean is one of our occasional reviewers and Jayne’s eldest son. He is a traditional, loving man and has been stuck on board games since he was old enough to hold a pawn and play a game.  Sean is also a very passionate player and in heated and conflict situations can be an extremely funny guy to play with, but watch out, he is a team player and will play again and again until he wins!

Sean’s first memory of game playing is with the game ‘Hogwarts Castle 3D Game’ and ‘Quest for Makuta – Lego Bionicle’! He also likes Cluedo and feels that this is a nostalgic game for him when playing it. He enjoys a good game of Ticket to Ride and likes to play these at Christmas time specifically (as a tradition).

These days his favourite game to play is Arkham Horror 3rd Edition and is very similar to Gregg in that he ‘must’ win against the enemies of Arkham.

 

This is Owen. He is usually the rule reader, although he is known to miss a few rules that pop up later in the game, but he is predominantly the one to pick the rules up first.

Owen is another of our occasional reviewers and will play as and when he is able to due to his busy lifestyle. Owen is Jayne’s middle son.

Like Sean and Gregg, Owen has been playing games since before he can remember, a tradition in his family.  His first memory of a game is Mousetrap, and he enjoyed the components of this game long before learning how to actually play. Over the years, Owen has been known to enjoy hours of playing Risk and winning every game, he is the Risk Master!

Recently he has played a simple game of 221b Baker Street and enjoyed the idea of that game, he has chosen that one as his favourite for now. We have a new Sherlock Holmes game coming our way in the next few months and so Owen is looking forward to playing that one.

Meet Hecate, she is the newest member of the team, having been with us for 5 years now. Hecate enjoys a game if it is not too heavy to begin with.  Hecate is the perfect reviewer for looking at the depth and weight of a game. She is meticulous with the rules and works well with Owen when trying to figure them out for the first time.

Hecate remembers her first game as Mousetrap too, but she also has a vintage Monopoly which is very tatty but gives her that nostalgia she loves in a board game.

Her favourite game these days is Labyrinth, she enjoys playing this as “you can move the board around and ruin peoples plans!” But she will have a go at anything.

Hecate is Owen’s partner in life and makes up the balance of a 3 male and 3 female team!

 

And last but by no means least is our little Timothy Wimble. His first game was ‘catch’ and ‘fly ball’ with a bit of ‘tug of war’ thrown in! Poor Timmy has to endure hours of neglect when we open a box. As soon as he sees it, he finds a bed to lie in and knows he will be there fore some time!

Timmy is our mascot, and the name sake of Sweet Wimble.

And there you have it, that is us and this is what we do.

Now lets look at the earlier mentioned Eight Kinds of Fun by Marc LeBlanc:

In his work on Mechanics Dynamics & Aesthetics (MDA) Marc LeBlanc came up with the Eight kinds of fun which are:

1. Sensation – Game as sense-pleasure e.g. Visuals, sounds and motion controls.

2. Fantasy – Game as make-believe – Fantasy world and settings that don’t exist in reality.

3. Narrative – Game as drama – Escalation in events or difficulty.

4. Challenge – Game as obstacle course – Games were most of the fun comes from a high difficulty from the game itself or competing against other players.

5. Fellowship – Game as social framework e.g. competitive or cooperative game play.

6. Discovery – Game as uncharted territory – Discover new areas, locations, secrets and skills throughout your journey through the game.

7. Expression – Game as self-discovery – The ability to express yourself within the game e.g. creating avatars and being more open allowing the player to have freedom to make decisions.

8. Submission – Game as pastime – A game that has ongoing events like raids, tournaments, quests, meting. A good example of this is a collectable card game, you will buy more packs to collect the cards you want to build your ideal deck and trade cards usually within the community, then enter tournaments to test your cards and skill. Aspects of Play 2013.

Not all of these eight will be appropriate for a lot of games we review and preview, but it is a good start and a theory that we as a collective feel works well for our purpose. Sniezak C, (2016) points out in his blog that these eight types of fun aren’t exclusive to each other, more like dials that get turned up and down for different experiences. Board, Card, Video, and Role Playing Games are all made up of different kinds of fun. Within those categories of games there are even more variations. Think of the difference in the kind of fun that one has in a Fiasco* game compared to a Pathfinder** game. Both are fun, but are different kinds of fun.
We will pay particular attention to playability and as mentioned above, the emotions that a game brings to the table. Retro Reviewers criteria will be thus:
  1. OVERALL STRATEGY
  2. ORIGINALITY AND INTEGRATION OF THE THEME
  3. DEPTH OF SKILL NEEDED
  4. ORIGINALITY IN GAME MECHANICS
  5. INTERACTION OF PLAYERS
  6. LUCK FACTOR 
  7. RULE BOOK – EASY TO FOLLOW
  8. FUN FACTOR – FOCUSING ON HOW MUCH FUN WE HAD.
  9. EMOTIONS OF PLAYERS DURING AND AFTERWARDS
  10. REPLAYABILITY

“When playing a game, the goal is to win, but it is the goal that is important, not the winning”. Reiner Knizia

We look forward to adding a plethora of new games to our favourite lists over the coming weeks, months and years. Please always feel free to comment and add your favourite games to the comments in our blog posts, we are people people, so love to hear from you all out there.

Thank you for your continued support, look forward to our interactions.

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*Fiasco is a role-playing game by Jason Morningstar, independently published by Bully Pulpit Games. It is marketed as a “GM-less game for 3–5 players, designed to be played in a few hours with six-sided dice and no preparation”.
**The Pathfinder Roleplaying Game is a fantasy role-playing game (RPG) that was published in 2009 by Paizo Publishing.