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  • Writer's pictureboardgameoverlord

The life of a reviewer

The life of a board game content creator is tough..

My day generally starts at 6am, and first things first excercise! Normally an hour before, then getting ready for work and leaving at 7:50am.

Work, which is not board games, tends to a mixture of meetings and the like and before i know it home time is here!

And I'm normally home just after 6pm, after preparing dinner its 7:30pm before I know it. And after that bed time (10pm) quickly approaches! Oh I didn't play a board game drat.

As someone who's been active in the board gaming community as a content creator for almost 7 years, its been a bit of a rollercoaster with ups and downs but I've always aimed to be consistent with my content. Posting regularly, pretty much daily, talking about games I enjoy, and when reflecting this year has been continued the gradual shift to reviews, previews and that type of content. And with that comes companies, publishers who all operate by vastly different rules, some are great, appreciative and recognise the contribution and time it takes, but others are not so great.

And I've become somewhat overwhelmed by the bad eggs of publishers and in the same breath but to a lesser extent fellow content creators. The increasing numbers of game publishers who are sending me games expecting a turn around in a couple of days is simply astounding. Since September, I've had 6 of those encounters ranging from a game that arrived on a monday, and wanted me to be done and ready to post by Wednesday to another content creator. Or the company that took to contacting me multiple times a day, asking when I would review their game that I had only recieved the day before. When I politely point out that the level and tone of communication is something they might want to think on as I'm trying their game for free and not being paid, and posting the game onto someone else. I'm met with disagreement, anger and often further rudeness. In the end I've blocked several publishers as they began to resort to insults, in the last week alone I've found myself being called strange, not normal and a bad representative.

And unfortunately most of these interactions have for me become increasingly negative. To point where some companies have given the impression that I should be honored to review their game and in fact pay them for the privilege. I'm currently out of pocket by 3 figures (approx £150) due to companies never returning postage costs. And now I just recieve radio silence. I've two companies quoting law at me and that they simply won't be paying me back for onward postage, despite originally agreeing to.

I'm always upfront and explain I work full time, but it's never acknowledged or recognised and I suspect alot of content creators do similar. I often point out that I'm not paid for the content and I do this in my spare time. Again, there's no recognition. Another recent example, I recieved a game on a Monday and was essentially instructed to review the game that evening. When I explained I had plans every evening that week and had I know upfront that was the expectation, I wouldn't have agreed. There was no response from the company, other than to continue to pester me daily for a review and content.

I wonder at times am I the only person calling this out? Or is this considered acceptable.

I should clarify that there are great companies that I collaborate with, who respect and understand the time pressures. And those are relationships that have been neglected as a result, which I need to put effort into.

But equally there are companies who ignore me, or indeed block me from working with other companies. There's unfortunately a number of large UK based distributors who despite publisher's wanting to send me stuff to review which they are responsible for distributing, refuse to send me games. The excuses range from "sorry" to "sorry, you're not big enough" or a flat "we're not sending you anything" or to just radio silence. It's all alittle bit frustrating, especially when you see those companies working with smaller content creators, so it becomes a matter of who knows who? Or when you hear that allegedly other content creators are telling publishers not to collaborate with me. And my only question remains why?

Right now there's 17 review games sat waiting for me to review, and I've been aiming to do 3-4 each weekend, and aim to play all games 3 times, with one or two during the week if I can. And here's the key difference publishers like for example Stonemaier (and others) send you a game and say you have for example 3 months to produce permanently discoverable content. Other publishers expect detailed written and video content within a day or two on social media platforms, often not being open and honest upfront, and then want the game posted on, without acknowledgement of the time or in an increasing number of cases, covering postage costs.

So for me, its time to make a decision to step back and reduce the amount of reviews I do for publishers or companies with insanely frustrating time frames and little to no recognition for the time that collaborators like myself spend playing their games. It also means I have no other option but to change the way I personally operate in that postage needs to be paid upfront. Maybe it will change and reduce the number of companies that want to collaborate with me.

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