Rating Scale Definitions or What does a three star review mean?

Here’s my personal grading scale for the reviews I have posted here on my blog. I look at products based upon what kind of utility they have for gaming, how compelling the content is, and production values. I tend not to go into the weeds on things like grammatical errors, because, well, I just frankly don’t care about that kind of stuff unless it is egregious and unreadable. I’m pretty forgiving on production values as well. I’m a hobbyist gamer that comes from a punk rock/DIY aesthetic. I don’t care so much if a product is slick and glossy (sometimes – actually a lot of times - that can be a negative for me as it tries to cover up something else). I look for a product having soul/heart/blood, sweat, and tears. A product wins points with me if it is obvious that the creator didn’t phone it in and this is truly a work of love. You’ll note that most of my ratings tend to be at the higher end of the scale and that is due to the fact I purchase stuff that I think will interest me (and I am fairly broad in that category). Don’t look for outright thrashings of products here because that is not my style. If I don’t care for a product, I will state that, but I’m not here to put on a spectacle. I view reviews as a tool for consumers to know what is worthwhile not as a gladiatorial event.
Here’s my review scale:

Five Stars: The highest rating. This probably doesn’t have a hallowed space on my shelf because I keep it easily accessible and refer to it so often that it is probably a little battered. This is a keeper and a classic. If for some reason I lose my copy, I will go to great lengths to get a new one. I cannot recommend this more highly. What are you waiting for? Go check this out!

Four Stars: Excellent. This product is great and I refer to it often. The difference between this and a five star rating is usually slight. The product may not have totally set my mind ablaze and imprinted on me the way a five star rated product would. It is definitely a product I will replace if my copy gets lost or damaged, but I won’t necessarily be an immediate need. Never the less, I highly recommend this.

Three Stars: Good. I liked this and it is a good solid product. However, there may be some issues due to originality of the subject, the product just didn’t really grab me, or whatever. I wouldn’t mind replacing this if I lost my copy, but I won’t go out of my way to turn over every rock to replace it. I feel comfortable recommending this to someone, especially if it is a niche product that would appeal to that person’s interests.

Two Stars: Fair. I could go either way. Not a really bad product, but not a standout either. For whatever reason the product just didn’t grab me (probably clichéd subject matter, too much clip art, etc). If I lost my copy, I probably won’t replace it. I’ll recommend with reservations and usually to people that are interested in the topic.

One Star: Poor. I just didn’t care for the product. It probably was due to the subject matter being over clichéd and drawn out, the production values were bad, and any number of other things. I for sure won’t replace this and am probably actively looking for a new home for it.

I tend to rate things in half stars as well. For instance, I may rate a project 4 ½ stars. This is due to the fact that there might be one minor flaw in my mind (taste is a fickle thing), but in all other respects, treat it as the next highest rating.

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