There are a number of online discussion groups that I take part in and, for the most part, enjoy. When I first got back into the hobby they were invaluable and a great source of information (even if some of it was of dubious reliability). Their one huge advantage is that of speed - there's no waiting around for the latest issue of a magazine to appear. Can't get to that big game convention? No problem, reports will be posted before the event even finishes. Not sure how to play a particular game? Post a message and you'll likely receive a response within an hour (often from the designer!).
Quite often a strange thing occurs - a topic will arise on the same subject as an article about to appear in the issue I'm preparing. Recently, on the Spielfrieks discussion group, the idea of betting actual money in games was bandied about. If that wasn't enough there was also the (recurring) issue of how to rate games. It does seem an odd coincidence given the articles by Dave Shapiro and Robert Markley this month.
I'll leave it to you to decide the reasons for any such synchronicities. In any case, if you enjoy the contents of The Games Journal I'd encourage you to check out any of the various discussion groups that cover similar games.
One of the problems with receiving games for review is that it can often take me a long time to actually play them enough times to feel qualified to write it. This is especially true of longer, more complex games such as Age of Steam. It was the title I had most looked forward to at Essen way back in October, 2002. Was the wait worth it?
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