Where do you go for RPG reviews?
When I am looking for good RPG reviews I generally hit Google first. Because our hobby is both small and diverse, there are a lot of teeny weeny little websites out there (*COUGH* *COUGH*) done by fans and nerds and such that don’t get the same amount of traffic as the big sites and honestly I often like to hit them first just out of solidarity.
After just noodling around on various fan sites for a bit, my second stop is usually the site of the publisher. Publishers obviously have a vested interest in reviews of their product which are positive, but accounting for that they will generally post links to every positive review that they can find (if you go to the publisher’s website and find no links to outside good reviews, worry slightly). This also gives me a chance to read the publisher’s own writing about the RPG, so I can get a better understanding of what they are trying to achieve with the product, which is a big help in determining whether its the product for me.
(Aside: Sophie Lagace came up with the very effective “Character Sheet Litmus Test” many years ago, which has served me well. Find the published character sheet and look it over. You will be able to tell about 90%+ of what the game is like mechanically just from that. If you can’t tell what the game is like mechanically from looking at the character sheet – or if the publisher wants to actually sell you character sheets instead of making them available as free downloads, worry slightly.)
Step three is to go fishing in the review section of some of the big RPG websites like RPG.net, or YouTube reviews like Tabletop. I don’t really have a favorite for this, I just wander around and look at what catches my eye. Frequently I watch the video reviews with Sophie so that we both get a feel for the game and I can gauge her interest as well as my own. I confess though, often this step happens when the game is already in our possession. Impulse buying – what can you do?