ISSUE #42 - October 2, 2005

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The  |___/ociety for the |_|romotion of  |_|_|dventure  \___|ames.

                         ISSUE #42

        Edited by Jimmy Maher (maher SP@G
                       October 2, 2005

           SPAG Website:

SPAG #42 is copyright (c) 2005 by Jimmy Maher.
Authors of reviews and articles retain the rights to their contributions.

All email addresses are spamblocked -- replace the name of our magazine
with the traditional 'at' sign. 

REVIEWS IN THIS ISSUE -----------------------------------------------------

Flat Feet
Future Boy!
Return to Ditch Day


(shuffle, shuffle) Is this thing on?  Oh!  Hello, there!  Jimmy Maher, 
latest caretaker of this venerable institution called SPAG, here!

I will venture to guess that most you don't know me at all.  The sum total 
of my contributions to the IF community so far is one still slightly buggy 
Z-code interpreter that I really must get back to and polish up, a few 
reviews for SPAG, and the occasional newsgroup post.  Be that as it may, 
Paul O'Brian saw something in my meager corpus that he liked.  Assuming it 
was unwise to distrust such a distinguished IFer, I accepted his job offer, 
and so, here I am, the next editor of SPAG.

SPAG is most definitely NOT all about me, but I will nevertheless tell you 
all a little bit about whom I am and how I came to be here...

1) For the long version, read on.
2) For the short version, skip down to where you see this... -->

Like so many of you, I was introduced to IF through Infocom.  Back in 1984, 
my parents bought me a Commodore 64 computer for Christmas.  I hadn't asked 
for a computer, mind you, and I was actually rather disappointed to find 
one under the tree in lieu of all the other grand possibilities.  I was 
even more disappointed when I realized that this magic machine was 
effectively useless.  You see, my parents had had great insight in thinking 
I would (eventually) take to computers with a passion, but they didn't have 
the practical knowledge to realize that a computer without any storage 
media whatsoever -- no tape drive, no disk drive, nothing -- wasn't much 
good to anyone.  The Commodore 64 was soon relegated to my closet as an 
interesting but impractical curiousity.

Months later, I was at the local Waldenbooks browsing for something, likely 
sci-fi novels or role playing game materials, when I stumbled into the 
software aisle.  (Remember those days when bookstores sold software?  
Wasn?t that sort of cool?)  I was stunned to find dozens of colorful boxes 
offering undreamt of adventure, all through that useless little gadget that 
my parents had bought me and I had almost forgotten about.  The games that 
caught my eye most of all were those from Infocom, for they promised me the 
opportunity to become the hero of my own interactive story, and the Infocom 
game that caught my eye most of all was The Hitchhiker's Guide to the 
Galaxy, for I had just finished the novel, and Douglas Adam's surreal 
universe had left quite an impression indeed.  I spent virtually every 
weekend after that examining -- nay, let's be honest, stroking -- those 
boxes that offered me the opportunity to pilot a fighter plane, to plan and 
execute D-Day, to play Dungeons and Dragons without having to drum up four 
or five equally nerdy friends... and, most of all, to wander with Zaphod, 
Ford, and Arthur through the world of Hitchhiker's.  When not fondling 
software at the mall, I spent my free time explaining to my parents that 
what I would like, what I needed more than anything I had ever needed 
before, was a disk drive for Christmas, and a certain gray-boxed game to go 
along with it.  Of course, dear people that they are, they came through.  I 
received my disk drive, along with a nice color monitor, and Hitchhiker's, 
along with a war game my father had picked out called Crusade in Europe.  
That Christmas morning I took my first stumbling steps into the world of 
IF, and into interactive entertainment in general.  I have been hooked, to 
one degree or another, ever since.

And then? I grew up.  For better or for worse, computers and computer 
gaming remained a big part of my life throughout adolescence, and probably 
had much to do with my solid C average in high school.  I bought some games 
and I pirated many more.  I traded my Commodore 64 in for a 128, and traded 
the 128 in for an Amiga.  Along the way, I managed to learn quite a lot 
about how computers work and how to make them do what you want, knowledge 
which still serves me well today.

By the early 90s, I was out of high school, and the Amiga scene in the 
U.S. was beginning its slow death spiral.  I belatedly began to realize 
that there is a great big magical world outside the computer screen.  I 
sold my Amiga and spent a few years wandering bleary-eyed through the Real 
World, trying to puzzle out what I had missed during my decade-long digital 

Then I stumbled into a good job at the IT services company I still work for 
today, and suddenly at least one foot was back in the realm of geekdom.  
This was a different sort of world,  where people used (grrr!) Microsoft 
products on the desktop and the operating systems I was to administer had 
names like Unix, MVS, and OS/400 and ran on big machines larger than my car 
that nevertheless had really bad graphics.  I adopted.

I spent some time doing the corporate America thing full-on, but I began to 
find it unsettling.  I decided to shift gears.  I slowed down at work, 
managing to get myself slotted into a rather cozy and low-stress (if hardly 
career-enhancing) position and then I went back to college as, of all 
perverse things, a liberal arts major.  I am now one semester away from 
finishing up my undergrad work.  I vaguely plan to continue on to graduate 
school, where I hope to spend at least part of my time studying what some 
call "new media" and some call "humanities computing."  Basically I am 
still as excited by the potential of these strange imagination machines of 
ours as I was as a boy back in that Waldenbooks all those years ago.  I am 
interested in introducing the computer to the storyteller, and vice versa.  
Perhaps now you understand why I'm really, really happy to have this 
particular gig.

--> One day several years ago I started feeling nostalgic and typed 
"infocom" into a search engine.  Like so many before me, I was surprised 
and delighted to discover not only a wealth of information on our favorite 
game publisher, but also a thriving community of authors and players still 
working in their tradition.  I never left.  Oh, I wasn't prominent, mind 
you.  I lurked more than anything, and played quite a few games, and then I 
wrote an interpreter for the hell of it, and I also wrote a few reviews, 
and I even started to post a bit (but not too much) on the newsgroups, and 
then suddenly I was the editor of SPAG.  Somewhere a butterfly rests from a 
job well done.  Funny how things work out sometimes...

IF NEWS -------------------------------------------------------------------

COMP 2005
Yes, the IF Comp is upon us once again.  This year we have 36 entries.  If 
any of them makes a strong impression on you, please think about working up 
a review for SPAG... and stay tuned for SPAG's special Comp issue at year's 
end, which will feature interviews with the top three finishers.

Another IntroComp has come and gone.  Congratulations to all the entrants, 
and especially to the top three finishers: Deadsville by William McDuff, 
Weishaupt Scholars by Michael C. Martin, and The Fox, the Dragon, and the 
Stale Loaf of Bread by David Welbourn.  We will hopefully see these games 
completed someday.  In the meantime, feel free to submit a review for SPAG 
if any of the intros made an impression on you.

David Cornelson really wants to bring IF to a wider audience, and I concur 
wholeheartedly.  As his latest venture in that direction, he has created a 
new version of the IF Promotional CD.  This CD allows the newbie to start 
playing a variety of quality IF right away, just by putting the CD into the 
drive.  Windows only, but then that?s where most of our untapped market 
probably is, isn't it?  Share this with your friends!

Gonzalo Garramuno is the latest to try his hand at creating a practical 
system for mapping IF games.  Maybe, just maybe he has succeeded where so 
many others have failed.  IFMapper is multi-platform, but requires that 
Ruby scripting language be installed on your OS of choice.

Greg Boettcher wants to make sure that every IF game released in 2005 gets 
at least one review, and he wants you to help out.

Tor Andersson has brought interpreters for many IF systems together under 
one unified front end.  In its present incarnation, Cugel supports AGT, 
Alan, Z-Code, Glulx, Hugo, Level 9, Magnetic Scrolls, Adrift, TADS 2, and 
TADS 3.  Impressive, no?  This is alpha software, but already usable and 
well worth keeping an eye on.  Mac OS X only... why do they always get the 
good stuff?  

You have probably already noticed that the pickings are a bit slim in this 
issue.  Only four new reviews is a bit disappointing, but SPAG will soldier 
on.  Please, please think about lending the magazine your support.  The 
next issue will be the annual Comp edition, featuring interviews with the 
top three finishers from this year's Competition.  Why not help flesh out 
the issue even more by contributing one or more reviews?  Reviews of Comp 
games are welcome, as are the following unjustly neglected titles that are 
still oh so deserving of a review:

1.  All Hope Abandon
2.  Dawn Of The Demon
3.  1893: A World's Fair Mystery
4.  Finding Martin
5.  The Corn Identity
6.  Mystery House Taken Over games (any, some, or all!)
7.  Narcolepsy
8.  Building
9.  Threnody
10. Whom The Telling Changed

NEWS FROM THE WIDER WORLD--------------------------------------------------

The Escapist is a new online magazine dedicated to games, the games 
industry, and its effect on culture. Serious, thoughtful writing is all too 
rare in game journalism.  These guys are making a brave stab at elevating 
the discourse, and they deserve our support.  (And they've already done an 
article on IF to boot.)

Some of you may have played a game called Star Control 2 back in the day.  
If you did, I am certain that you remember it.  This space opera brought 
together multiple disparate gameplay elements, grafted them to a compelling 
plot, threw in clever and sometimes hilarious writing, and out of the whole 
created one of the most compelling games of... well, ever.  Yes, it really 
is that good, and a stellar example of what interactive storytelling can be 
when it's done right.  The creators of Star Control 2 released the source 
code for the 3DO console version in 2002, and a group of fans have used it 
to make a new version of the game that combines the best features of the PC 
and console versions.  If you remember Star Control 2 fondly, take this 
opportunity to revisit an old friend.  And if you haven't played it, you 
need to.  Yes, it really is that good.  Don't let the early version number 
fool you.  The current release is complete and stable.

KEY TO SCORES AND REVIEWS--------------------------------------------------

Consider the following review header:

TITLE: Cutthroats
AUTHOR: Infocom
EMAIL: ???
DATE: September 1984
PARSER: Infocom Standard
SUPPORTS: Z-code (Infocom/Inform) interpreters
URL: Not available.
VERSION: Release 23

When submitting reviews:  Try to fill in as much of this info as you can.
Authors may not review their own games.

REVIEWS -------------------------------------------------------------------

From: Greg Boettcher 

TITLE: Dastardly
AUTHOR: Andy Chase
EMAIL: dastardly.20.banjo SP@G
DATE: December 2004
PARSER: Inform
SUPPORTS: Z-code ports
AVAILABILITY: Freeware; Author's site or 24 Hours of Inform site
VERSION: Release 1

I came to Dastardly with pretty low expectations. I had never before played 
a game from 24 Hours of Inform, the contest for which this game was 
written. I was expecting something not much better than a SpeedIF game. 
What I got instead was a game that has much to admire in its atmosphere and 
character development, although it does have a particularly serious flaw.

The third 24 Hours of Inform contest had two basic rules: write a game in 
24 hours, and set the game in a theatre, featuring a petticoat, an 
advertisement, something which is repainted, and a trapdoor. These 
requirements led Andy Chase to set his game in a financially troubled 
theatre in Victorian London. Your are an ambitious playwright, while your 
financial backer, James, has ruined your hopes by turning your theatre into 
a burlesque house while he indulges in excesses of drink and flesh.

In the "about" menus for this game, Andy Chase says that Dastardly probably 
contains a lot of historical inaccuracies. Maybe, but I didn't notice any. 
In fact, I really liked the game's setting and atmosphere. Another thing I 
liked was the extent to which its characters were developed, far more than 
I would have expected in a speed-written game. You may not be able to talk 
to James much during the opening segment, but you can read your journal to 
gain insight into him, yourself, and others. Before you are done exploring 
the theatre, you have a fairly good idea of what you must do, and why.

Unfortunately, this game has a serious bug that prevented me from being 
able to finish it. I thought maybe it was just me, so I asked my 
girlfriend, another IF veteran, to play the game, but she got stuck at the 
same place that I did. I wrote to the author and found out that we had both 
essentially done everything we were supposed to do, but were stuck because 
of a serious bug that often turns the final puzzle into a roadblock.

The other major flaw is shallow implementation, whereby a lot of scenery 
items can't be examined, and lots of other details are overlooked. Of 
course, this is what you'd expect in a game written in 24 hours.

Do I recommend Dastardly? Well, I guess that depends on whether you're 
willing to write to the author for help, because I'd expect most people to 
get tripped up by the game's major bug. But if you are so inclined, then 
yes, play it. It's a short, enjoyable little game, with decent characters 
and an interesting but flawed puzzle.

I'll be able to recommend this game much more strongly when Release 2 comes 
out, or if hints or a walkthrough are released. Even if there is never a 
Release 2 (and there usually hasn't been for 24 Hours of Inform games), 
this game shows promise, and I'd be interested to see whatever Andy Chase 
does next.

P.S. Now that I've written to Andy Chase for help on finishing his game, he 
told me that his interest in Inform is somewhat rekindled now. He says that 
a new version of Dastardly may indeed be on the way, though he can't say 
when. To check for any updates, or to get the most recent version of the 
game, visit:


From:	Neil Butters 

TITLE: Flat Feet
AUTHOR: Joel Ray Holveck
EMAIL: joelh SP@G
DATE: March 13, 2005
PARSER: Inform
SUPPORTS: Zcode interpreters
AVAILABILITY: freeware; IF Archive
VERSION: Release 1

When I began playing Flat Feet I was a bit surprised that it only ranked 
fourth in the 2005 Spring Thing Competition. Despite not having played the 
other games I assumed they must have been very good to place better than 
this one. However, it quickly became apparent that the game's  auspicious 
beginning was a broken promise.

In Flat Feet you are a cat and you have a detective agency with your ferret 
partner, Ralph. You haven't had a mystery to solve in a long time but this 
quickly changes. The mystery involves you and Ralph traveling around San 
Francisco trying to solve a series of robberies.

The game opens with a clever prologue and enjoyable interplay between you 
and Ralph. After you receive your assignment and head off there is even an 
"in-joke" that anybody who has attempted to learn the INFORM language will 
likely appreciate. But after that the game becomes tedious as you try to 
solve a couple of contrived puzzles to achieve the simplest tasks. 
Depending on what you already have and the places YOU have visited, these 
puzzles could require a lot of traveling that only slows down the pace. 
Grannted the places you have to visit are interesting authentic San 
Francisco locations but the descriptions could have been more interesting 
and more detailed. None of these puzzles contributed directly to plot 
development and thus the mystery is thin and the perpetrator leaves behind 
some evidence that makes you question her intelligence.

The game also doesn't take advantage of some interesting ideas. I thought 
that being a cat would provide some interesting twists, ie using your 
agility to solve a puzzle or two. In fact, the first puzzle would have been 
solved easily by a cat. Unfortunately being a cat is irrelevant. At one 
point you are offered a different point-of-view of the city but again the 
game doesn't really take advantage of it in its room descriptions (although 
this may have been an attempt by the author to comment on how dirty the 
city is, play the game and you'll see what I mean).

There is a rather poor attempt at creating alternate endings. The final 
showdown could occur in any of six locations but the ending is ultimately 
always the same. You don't even have to get all the evidence to catch the 
robber, the one piece of evidence you do need is so generic that it allows 
for any of six possible suspects. Yet this flimsy evidence is still enough 
proof to confront the robber.

There are some aspects of the game I did enjhoy.  The game was sometimes 
very witty and the comeraderie between yu and the ferret was fun. I liked 
the locations (maybe only because I visited there once) and there are some 
bizarre happenings that may hold some interest. I didn't encounter any bugs 
or any problems interfacing with the game although some room descriptions 
only make sense the first time you enter them or approach the room from a 
certain direction.

I think Flat Feet is probably worth playing if you are interested in the 
San Francisco area and would like to read about some of the attractions 
there. Otherwise you may find the game a bit too tedious  and the weak plot 
won't maintain your interest.

	Note: There is a walkthrough and source code files available with 
the game.  The walkthrough is a sample transcript complete with room 
descriptions so it may be tempting to simply read that and not play the 


From: Soenke Klettner 

TITLE: Future Boy!
AUTHOR: Kent Tessman
EMAIL: kent SP@G
DATE: 2004
SUPPORTS: HUGO interpreters
AVAILABILITY: commercial;

Future Boy! Is the first commercial project developed with the HUGO-engine, 
written by HUGO’s creator Kent Tessman. As expected, it is flawless with 
regard to programming and parsing and it is a convincing proof of HUGO’s 
power. But what is more important, it is one of the best games I have 
played in years.

The story: Even though the title suggests otherwise, you are not Future 
Boy, but his roommate. Nevertheless, it is up to you to save the city from 
the evil supervillain Clayton Eno. To minimize spoilers, let me just say 
that the plot takes many interesting and surprising turns and is 
beautifully designed. Plus, you meet very interesting characters, some 
friends, some foes, some something else. As in any good action comic (or 
movie, by the way) the pace quickens towards the end. At the same time, the 
difficulty of the puzzles rises, thus stretching the suspense to a maximum 
(unless you use the in-built hint system prematurely). The game features 
congenial graphics, animation sequences and music bits. Cartoonish in 
style, they add to the superhero flair effectively, but they are neither 
necessary nor helpful for advancing in the game. So the enjoyment doesn’t 
suffer too much on a system without graphic support (e.g. Palm). The voice 
acting deserves special praise: it is amazingly well done and very 
professional. I didn’t discover any major flaws worth mentioning.

The game itself has a linear structure, which means there are no 
alternative endings and the plot doesn’t develop in different directions 
depending on the player‘s actions. In the beginning,  there is always only 
one puzzle at hand to be solved to advance the story. In the middle game, 
the structure becomes much more open and the player can decide which puzzle 
to try next, so he doesn’t get stuck that easy. The level of difficulty 
starts very moderate, so even the unpracticed (or untalented) puzzle solver 
will advance easily and get motivated to try to solve the later, more 
difficult puzzles by himself as well. This later puzzles get pretty hard 
and multi-layered, but are always fair, solvable and well provided with 

There are two features of the game I would like to see in every future text 
adventure: a "goal" command which tells you what (basically) to do next and 
a short summary of what happened so far after each restore. 

So, I really recommand the game to anyone who likes superhero stories, good 
puzzles and/or good text adventures in general. It is not cheap, but worth 
the price (although I wouldn’t order the deluxe package again, which is 5 $ 
more for a common CD case and a four page booklet).


From:   Valentine Kopteltsev 

TITLE: Return to Ditch Day
AUTHOR: Michael J. Roberts
DATE: June 12, 2004
SUPPORTS: TADS interpreters
AVAILABILITY: freeware; IF Archive
VERSION: Release 1

Prepare for a nostalgic trip to Pasadena, California, back to your alma
mater - the California Institute of Technology, which you once explored 
when playing Ditch Day Drifter.

One of the problems with nostalgic trips is, the traveller risks going
through a major disappointment in the end. Like, when getting to the place
you used to live as a child, you suddenly find out that your wonderful
playing area full of mysterious corners and secluded nooks turns out to be 
a rather dull patch squeezed between faceless blocks of flats, and the 
music school, the way to which you remember as quite a jorney, lies in fact 
within a five minutes' walk from your former house.

The first good news is, you won't have such "shrinkage" troubles with 
Return to DD. There are several reasons for that. The first one has little 
to do with the skills of the game author: the thing is, the world 
perception difference between a student and an alum isn't as harsh as for 
children and adults;).

But even if it was, I doubt you'd have noticed any decrease in size. That's
because the game world itself has grown considerably bigger. I don't mean
just the number of rooms, although Return to DD has about twice as many of
them as DD Drifter (that is, if you don't count in the Behavior Lab maze in
the latter); rather, I'm talking of the way the rooms are depicted.

What passed for room descriptions in DD Drifter, were essentially lists of
exits. That's entirely different in Return to DD: even locations in the 
area leaving the least space for being elaborate, the steam tunnels, can be
distinguished between not just by the directions they lead; other rooms 
have yet more detailed and vivid descriptions, with practically all the 
objects mentioned there implemented. You can bet this makes the whole thing 
seem  more real.

Still, with all those changes, the place remains quite recognizable. There
are topographical resemblances -- in particular, the room you have to solve
the "stack" (a challenge you need to overcome to get into a senior's room)
for is the very same as in DD Drifter, and its nearest surroundings have a
similar structure. Some other major sections, like the aforementioned steam
tunnels, don't retain the layout but maintain the overall atmosphere, the
"feel" of the rooms. Another thing "inherited" by Return to DD from its
predecessor is the humour, which, however, has become more brilliant yet 
much less harmless; in fact, it gets rather spiteful at times -- for 
example, read the brochures in the Carreer Center Office. This is quite 
understandable -- our player character clearly has rid himself of most of 
the illusions he had during the years that have passed since he graduated.

This brings us to the characters. The very generalized, "about the same as
always"-looking drifter has developed to a man with a well-defined
personality. The folks he has to deal with also aren't the sparingly 
animated cardboard puppets they used to be anymore; it was amazing to find 
out they have streaks I previously encountered in real people (for 
instance, I myself recently baited one of my workmates with getting a huge 
project done in the couple of days remaining till her vacation pretty much 
the same way the workers in Return to DD tormented their colleague).

With all the praise the "troupe" deserves, one design choice concerning
character animation seemed somewhat odd to me: namely, the way conversation
was organized. I think it's best described with the term "implicit menu-
based system". In most cases, when you initiate a dialogue with someone, 
the game comes up with topic/action suggestions, like this:

  As you open your mouth, Tiffany suddenly starts to cry.
  (You could try to comfort her, or pummel her into silence.)

These suggestions really work like menu choices: they only are used to
advance the conversation, and the parser doesn't understand them if they're
typed somewhere else in the game. The only difference is, instead of
selecting the options by number, the player has to re-type them, which is
somewhat tedious (in spite of the fact they can be abbreviated). As far as 
I see it, the theoretical benefit of such a system is more freedom for the
player, since, in addition to the options suggested, (s)he can enter some
other command. In practice, however, I didn't encounter any situations 
where this extra freedom was needed, so that a "normal" menu-based 
conversation seemed more appropriate. Well, maybe it's just a matter of 
getting used to; anyway, making the suggested options clickable wouldn't do 
any harm.

Having such great characters in one's game, it'd be rather stupid to stick 
to the old trusted treasure hunt, instead of providing them with a decent 
story. Without getting into much detail, let me assure you -- there is a 
good plot, and, which is even better, an optional semi-mystery by-plot. The 
puzzles needed to be solved in order to complete the main story line are 
kept on the easy side. The player never remains without guideance, as the 
"tactical subgoals" always are formulated clearly. One of the puzzles was 
of the "refer to data source one to find out about data source two, then 
refer to data source two to find out about data source three, then [put the 
necessary number of iterations here]" type, which I'm personally not so 
fond of, yet it was just an episode, and anyway short enough to avoid 
becoming annoying. Also, a couple of puzzles required some random 
exploration of the surroundings, but it seemed quite logical under the 
given context, and was, because of the splendid game world, more of a 
pleasure than of an issue. The puzzles for the by-plot were more 
challenging, but still manageable. Since we're talking about puzzles - 
unlike its predecessor, Return to DD features an adaptive hint system of 
top quality that keeps track of the player's progress in the game.

To put it short - the sequel, quite unsurprisingly, turned out to be 
superior to the original game in almost every respect. The only point where 
DD Drifter probably beats its offspring is, encouraging new authors to 
write in TADS. I mean, after completing DDD, a novice author probably is 
going to feel a fit of energy and enthusiasm, because the game really is 
very simple from the technical point of view; Return to DD, on the other 
hand, is more likely to put him in a state of depression ("Bah, I'll never 
be able to write THAT good!"). Still, if I had to choose between the game's 
overall quality and its promotional value, I'd undoubtedly opt for the 
first one.

SNATS (Score Not Affecting The Scoreboard):

PLOT: The main plot is decent, the by-plot even makes things fancy (1.4)
ATMOSPHERE: Collegiate (1.5)
WRITING: Great fun to read (1.6)
GAMEPLAY: Well-guided (1.3)
BONUSES: Detailed setting, brilliant humour (1.4)
TOTAL: 7.2
CHARACTERS: One of the strongest aspects of the game that has no weak 
points whatsoever (1.8)
PUZZLES: Solid, but they don't seem to be the keystone of the game (1.2)
DIFFICULTY: Optimally suited for introducing novices to IF (6 out of 10)

...And no, there won't be any SNATS for Ditch Day Drifter, because that'd 
be an unfair comparison.

SUBMISSION POLICY ---------------------------------------------------------

SPAG is a non-paying fanzine specializing in reviews of text adventure
games, a.k.a. Interactive Fiction. This includes the classic Infocom
games and similar games, but also some graphic adventures where the
primary player-game communication is text based. Any and all text-based
games are eligible for review, though if a game has been reviewed three
times in SPAG, no further reviews of it will be accepted unless they are
extraordinarily original and/or insightful. SPAG reviews should be free
of spoilers, with the exception of reviews submitted to SPAG Specifics,
where spoilers are allowed in the service of in-depth discussion. In
addition, reviewers should play a game to completion before submitting a
review. There are some exceptions to this clause -- competition games
reviewed after 2 hours, unfinishable games, games with hundreds of
endings, etc. -- if in doubt, ask me first.

Authors retain the rights to use their reviews in other contexts. We
accept submissions that have been previously published elsewhere,
although original reviews are preferred.

For a more detailed version of this policy, see the SPAG FAQ at


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