Spotlight on Games > Features

Game Evaluation Scorecard
Mon Dec 10 16:34:47 PST 2001

Use the scorecard by filling out a column for each game after playing it. Write in the column the number of points or partial points you feel the game has achieved, up to the maximum number given in the parenthesis for each category. The more points given, the better you think the game did. When finished, add up the ratings to find the game's overall rating on a 1-10 scale.

CATEGORY (number of points available)  Title of Game 1: 
 Title of Game 2: 
 Title of Game 3: 
 Title of Game 4: 
 Title of Game 5: 
Physical Quality (1) How sturdily is the game made? How likely are components to accidentally break, wrinkle, tear or be smashed? How likely to roll away or become easily lost?      
Artwork (1) How aesthetically appealing are the board, the components, the box cover, the rules? Does it contribute or detract? Are cards and tiles clear, unambiguous and legible? Is the eye soothed or dazzled to distraction? Are there any issues for color-blind players?      
Rules Clarity (1) Are they well explained? Do they facilitate easy explanation? Did they leave you with questions? How easy is it to look things up again later?      
Involvement (1) How much time did you spend only watching? When you had a turn, how often was it a meaningful one? Does the game force players out before it is over? If so, how long do they have to wait before it ends? Is there too much busywork or recordkeeping?      
Adherence to Theme (1) How well does the actual gameplay match up with the ostensible theme of the game? Yes, this makes it more difficult for purely abstract games, but on the other hand it is easier to invent a purely abstract game as well. (A truly wonderful abstract can be given more points under Discretionary below.)      
Length (1) Is the overall game length appropriate to the situation and amount of decisionmaking? A game might have so many crucial decision points that its length is justified. On the other hand, a game with only a few interesting decision points ought not overstay its welcome.      
General Feeling (1) Did you feel a sense of excitement about what might happen? Maybe it inspired a feeling of laughter and fun around the table? Did everyone feel mentally challenged? Was everyone intensely involved right up to the finish? Etc.      
Luck vs. Strategy (2) Did everyone have a fair chance apart from whatever abilities they brought to the table? If someone got ahead, was it still theoretically possible for everyone to catch up? Were there difficult decisions to make? Were there at least two possible strategic options to try? Was it possible to change strategies midstream? Were there also interesting tactical decisions?      
Discretionary (1) Sometimes a game has an intangible appeal that cannot be explained by the above categories. If a game is so excellent in one of the above categories that it exceeds the points available for that category, it can also receive more here. Perhaps it is just so fresh and innovative that it deserves extra credit for breaking new ground. A game can also be rewarded for other characteristics, for example, if it still works well over a wide range of different number of players. Or perhaps the game is very portable. Etc.      
TOTAL (maximum 10 points)