Board game reviews giant The Dice Tower has deleted its review of Kickstarter success Darwin’s Journey after acknowledging it made a “pretty big rules mistake” before handing the game a 7/10 rating.
Dice Tower founder and host Tom Vasel apologised to publisher ThunderGryph Games and designers Simone Luciani and Nestore Mangone for the mistake, which he said was his own fault, and confirmed the team would replay the game and re-review it in the future.
Despite quickly removing the video and making the apology, Tom’s 7/10 rating and a short opinion on the game is still live on The Dice Tower’s Week in Review video which went live six hours ago. The Dice Tower has more than 323,000 subscribers.
Dice Tower video editor and producer Chris Yi commented on the Week in Review video to explain that it was produced and scheduled last Friday, and the team would discuss what to do about it “when we get in the office today”.
The full statement from Vasel published on the YouTube channel said,
“If you are wondering where the Darwin’s Journey review went, I’ve deleted it. We made a pretty big rules mistake which is my (Tom’s) fault for teaching it that way.
“We will replay it with the correct ruleset and re-review it in the future. I apologize to the publisher/designer for this mistake on my part.
“I have no idea if this will change my opinion of the game (which was positive anyway, but not THAT positive), but I suspect it might. I try not to have errors in our gameplays, but this one is on me, and I’ll work hard to avoid this in the future.”Dice Tower founder and host Tom Vasel
Darwin’s Journey currently has an 8.2 rating on BoardGameGeek. The game raised more than €1m on Kickstarter at the start of 2021 from over 16,700 backers.
ThunderGryph founder Gonzalo Aguirre Bisi has responded to a thread on BoardGameGeek discussing the matter. He said (bold text emphasis in the article is his, not BoardGameWire’s),
“I think mistakes can happen and nobody is to blame for that, but looking at other industries like tech or video games (which I totally understand are bigger and more profitable), the press really spends a good amount of time playing or trying a given product which is normally mentioned in the articles. I was reading one about the new Legend of Zelda and the press outlet played the game for 80 hours before having a clear opinion about it.
I’m not saying that board games should be played on the same scale, but forming an opinion after a single match is so wrong on many levels. What is important is that the press should try to understand how the experience was conceived, and when something strikes as odd, get the rulebook out and read that part of the explanation to confirm that it was understood correctly. Don’t just suppose the publisher was just too stupid to fix that mistake.
Being so opinionated after a glimpse of gameplay offends me. I managed to see part of the video before it was put down and they said that the game was unbalanced to such an extent that it deserved a 5. This is so disappointing because it means that the journalist is so aware of the game after a couple of plays that completely disregards the time spent by the two established game designers and our 18 months of work developing and testing it to make sure it was fair with the possibility of winning by going for different directions each time.
On a smaller scale, this happened to us with Spirits of the Forest too (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HZ-E2cyp_a8) five years ago. This is the most viewed review on youtube for this game, with a huge mistake on one of the two most fundamental rules to enjoy the game the way it was conceived. I kindly requested to remove the video as it was misinforming the community about our game and I never received a reply about it.
That being said, I appreciate that something was done about Darwin’s Journey.”
The Dice Tower Week in Review video has now been edited to remove all mentions of the game.