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Board Game Review Methodology

Before you read game reviews from Controlled Area Gaming, you should know a little about what goes into a review to understand why we rate games the way we do.

To complete a review, we will play the game a minimum of three times. Some may feel that this number is low, but in reality, this is about the number of times we’ve seen that most players will give a game a chance before deciding to give up on it completely. Since there are so many more games competing for attention, if a game cannot express what it’s all about and reward players in three plays, it’s likely not going to matter.

Our reviews will generally start with a brief overview of the game rules and flow of play. This is not meant to be exhaustive since video reviews can do a much better job here. What it is meant to do is briefly describe what the reviewer understands the game is about from opening the box to finishing a game.


The Presentation section of a review is there to discuss the way the game looks, feels, and introduces itself to the players. Not only are art and components discussed, but the ease of rules explanation and depth of rulebook clarity are taken into consideration.


Once rules and first impressions are out of the way, we focus on how well the game flows and whether or not the decisions to be made within the game are interesting. Do the game elements work with the rules? Are we finding we are able to complete game objectives and is the game making sure the objectives matter? All of these things are covered in our reviews.


If the previous two review dimensions are about more concrete impressions, the Fun section of our review covers the feelings during the game. Some games, despite their presentation or depth of gameplay, are just fun. Instead of letting our overall review score calculation be dependent on Presentation and Gameplay, we add a much more subjective metric to help readers know what they might be getting.

Collection Management

If you’re trying to manage a game collection and can’t keep every game, this is the part of the review that helps gamers understand whether or not it meets the bar to stay in your collection. We discuss other games which are similar and what opportunities there might be to play the game. These are just as important to judge whether or not you will get mileage out of this gaming purchase.


An overall score with visual representation of the numbers and short summary follows our reviews to help readers see the big picture.


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