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Rating System

When I have a chance to review board or card game, I like to rate the games on five major factors:

-Components: How well the game is put together and whether the pieces are likely to last or just fall apart.

-Strategy/Luck Balance: This reflects how much choice the player has over his own destiny. Some games are almost entirely strategy (chess, stratego). Others are highly luck driven (yahtzee). Ideally, the game should strike a balance that allows for some luck, but a player can maximize his chance for success and minimize his chance for failure. 

-Mechanics: Whether the rules and mechanics make sense. Sometimes the rules leave large holes or gaps. Sometimes the manual is written so complex that every turn seems to get slowed down while the rules are cracked open. And some simply don't make sense with the theme of what's going on in game. But, a high score here reflects easily understood (even if complex), intuitive rules.

-Replayability: Some games are fun the first time or two, and then get old quick. This rating reflects whether each play seems different from the last and how often it'll come down from the shelf.

-Spite:  How large is the potential for harming your fellow players in back-stabbing spite inducing ways?This is a measure not of merely putting yourself in a better position to win, but of the game's ability to specifically target opponents and take away their success.  I think spite can be fun, but others disagree.  So this is your warning bell. 

Each factor gets a rating of 1 through 5, 5 being great, awesome, and fabulous and 1 being horrible, atrocious, and awful. Then I provide an overall score. The overall is not an average and is more about how the game flows as a whole, how well it plays, and most importantly, whether it is fun.