One of the things I find most interesting about reading reviews of stuff I’ve written (I originally wrote that as “reviews of my works” but realised I was pushing the bullshit needle right into the red zone marked “deeply pretentious”) is the degree to which the score, assuming there is one, can often seem to not match the text.

Sometimes, there’s a reason, such as in a review of my Slayers Guide to Games Masters that included the line:

I guess if you like your humour course and black, this will have you rolling on the floor laughing.

…but then proceeded to give it a score of 1 out of 5 (appalling). It did so because the reviewer then suffered a moral meltdown upon reading certain parts of what I’d written.

And similarly, the person who when reviewing Game Night included a final line – which minus the first word would actually make a quote I’d be happy to put on the cover – of:

However, the story is very good (and original), the characters grow on you, especially as the book progresses, the universe is interesting, the ending is superb and I will probably buy any follow-up book that might be published.

…and then gave it only a 3 out of 5, did so because he didn’t find the book particularly funny. Which is fair enough, really.

But then you get the reviews where the apparent discrepancy is due merely to the different ways in which different people interpret the meanings of such scores. Upon reading a book which he finds highly enjoyable and without any apparent flaw, one man might score it as five out of five, while another man might give it only a three, reserving the “perfect” score for those products so great that they rocked his world to its foundations and left him changed for ever.

I think sitting somewhere in the middle are two reviews that a Google Alert of mine has just uncovered on I think they might be reposts, as they have only just been posted but read as though they were written when the products just came out.

The first review, which scored a solid 7 out of 10, is for the second issue of Mongoose’s gaming magazine Signs & Portents, which I had a column in. The review is quite complementary both about the magazine itself:

Signs & Portents remains good value for money – if you’ve enough interest in Mongoose and can use most of the magazine. If you’re fairly neutral then encourage someone in your gaming group to buy it and then share. In fact, at about US $5, the price is about right for a GM to buy and bring along to a monthly weekend of gaming. It’s the sort of reading that can be flicked through in a long break, a dinner for example, that still counts as a break but doesn’t throw players out of their gaming mindset. If you’re not a Mongoose fan then there’s nothing at all in the Mongoose magazine for you – but what did you expect?

…and about my article:

Johnny Nexus tells us why we he hates monks. It’s a funny article – but no doubt some D&D fanatics will send him hate mail. Poking fun at the D&D class system is like shooting fish in the barrel, the only thing easier is poking fun at the alignment system, and so it’s the tone of this article that makes it a winner.

The second review, by the same author, is of my Slayers Guide to Games Masters, and scored a slightly less impressive 6 out of 10:

It works, it might be British humour and therefore alien to many readers, but I find it funny.

I’d like a higher score, obviously (because I’m horribly insecure), but the review is actually really nice and positive. I’m not quite sure why these reviews popped up now, but it’s really nice to read some reviews of older stuff I’ve done.