It’s bloody difficult critqueing a game.
It’s difficult being someone a writer trusts enough that they’ll share their first hesitant ideas and then having the responsibility to say ‘It doesn’t work’. Or ‘What you want it to do? It does the opposite’. How do you do that directly and clearly, without losing trust? If you beat around the bush, will that glaring error creep into the game and pop out in a review three months down the line?
And how do you ever know where it’s just your opinion, or an incompatible playstyle? A clear-eyed perception of a mechanical assumption, or something not present in the text but present at the table? Who’s at fault then? The participants? The manual’s missing words?
So perhaps I need a manifesto. This is what I want. This is what you’ll get. This is what we’ll have when we’re done.