About Us & Review Policy

Kyle and Riley Workshop games in a March Madness-esque Bracket, to find the one true winner that we'll move onto play testing! They also bring Reviews, Previews, Interviews, and so much more!   Not only content, but keep an eye out Early 2022 for After The Rain!

Kyle Ott is a Pennsylvania based game designer, educator, and co-founder of Desks and Dorks. He has worked for Iello USA as an educational consultant, and demo team member. He’s also developed games for Mount St. Mary’s University.  Now he devotes his time to podcasting with Riley Parks, creating innovative one shot RPGS and party games, and wondering whose idea it was to set him loose.  Known for making games with off the wall themes and experimental ideas, you can contact him for all game related inquiries at @ott_kyle on Twitter or at kyleottdesign@gmail.com.   Kyle also runs the Desks and Dorks Instagram!

Riley is an experienced retail manager and board game novice, only getting into the industry (both designing, and playing!) after co-founding Desks and Dorks. He even wrote about his sudden leap into the industry in Issue #12 of Tabletop Spirit. He embodies his “Desk” nickname by focusing on the back-end and behind-the-scenes part of Desks and Dorks.  While new to the board game end of things, crazy ideas are kind of his thing.   He runs the Twitter page, Facebook, and Email, as well as all of the backend stuff on the Website and Streaming Platforms!  

Desks and Dorks Review Policy

             Transparency and honesty is key.  Desks and Dorks began as the brainchild of two friends.  It started from a simple, honest desire to make something we enjoyed and bring it to people we thought would enjoy it.  In an effort to keep that spirit alive here’s a few things that you should know for how we review games.  All of our Reviews are done in partnership with Let's Play Games and Hobbies of Hanover, PA, and we have a rotating selection of our physical review games there so that listeners can try them for themselves after watching! 

If you're a designer or publisher and would like Desks and Dorks to review your game, just shoot us an email and we can chat more!  We traditionally post videos up 4-6 weeks after receipt of the game, unless otherwise discussed.


Review Copies- We’re not made of money and getting review copies for our show is an incredibly helpful thing: both in terms of keeping this business going, and providing us with the kind of content we want to make. Still, the fact that we’re being given something is a detail we feel the need to disclose. When it is applicable we will let you know when a review copy of a game has been provided to us.

Paid Reviews- The majority of the content we make at Desks and Dorks is unpaid. Our opinions, first impressions, and views on a game or product are strictly our own. Even if we are paid for a review our opinions remain ours. Still, in an effort to be transparent and to prevent any bias from creeping in you will know if and when we are paid for a review.

 Previews- With the rise of Kickstarter and Indie Publishing, Desks and Dorks has embraced previewing prototype and non-production copies of games.  As with all other instances, we'll make sure to let you know if the product in our video is a prototype, and will refrain from rating it.

             As we begin to review more and more games its important for us to be transparent about what our review process is, what our scores mean, and what facets of a game we look at in our reviews.  

             What Do We Look At?

•         Visuals- This is the overall visual presentation of the game itself. This includes but isn't limited to the art included in the game, the graphic design, and box layout. A low score means the art of the game is lacking, its graphic design is sloppy or the box layout is confusing.

•         Component Quality- The overall quality of the game's components. This could include the sturdiness of card stock, the quality of print and ink images, and general durability of components. If elements are missing, damaged, contain numerous errors this would contribute to a low score.

•         Price- Does the product give you your moneys worth, in either gameplay, components or both?

•         Gameplay- The most important aspect of any title. While things like theme may vary and types of games vary, great gameplay does a variety of things regardless of genre or theme. Great gameplay encourages thinking at a deeper level, pushes player interaction, and gives players multiple options to achieve their goal.


             Our score system ranks games based on a 1- 10 basis. A 1 is the lowest score we can give a game. A 10 means the game is an unmitigated classic or the kind of game that plays great for every group regardless of age, experience, or group size.

     1-3 This game is incredibly poor.

The game play is either nonexistent, derivative, or just plain bad. The component quality is shoddy. The value for what you pay is abysmal at best.

4-5 This game has flaws but may appeal to a specific type of person.

These kinds of games are focused on a fan of a particular genre or it’s a game that explores an interesting idea or concept but does not deliver. These kinds of games lack a wide appeal or polish but may still be interesting for the right group at the right time.

6-7 A solid, fun title

This game offers a solid experience. It has the right level of fun gameplay and production value that makes it the kind of product that anyone would like to have on their shelf. While it may be a fun title it isn’t the kind that resonates with most groups and a lack of deep gameplay, a problem with price, or difficulty finding the right group could prevent this game from achieving a higher score.

8-9 An excellent, superb title.

Not quite perfect but an incredible game to play, a game in this category is one that wows us with its interesting gameplay dynamics, production value, and overall experience. It may be held back from perfection by a few minor but noticeable flaws. Still, a 8-9 means that this is a must buy for fans of whatever genre of game it is and a great way to dip your toes into the genre for new players.

          10 A Classic

 A 10 out of 10 game is a modern classic. It’s the kind of game that either plays well with every group for every size or offers deep, re-playable, and innovative gameplay in its genre. A 10 out of 10 blows us away with its production values, overall price point, and total experience. While a 10 out of 10 does not mean a game is devoid of flaws, it does mean that whatever issues are present are so minor that they pale in comparison to what the game has to offer.


Our Partnership with Let's Play Games and Hobbies


         In addition to our partnership with many different independent publishers and designers, Desks and Dorks is a proud partner of Let's Play Games and Hobbies in Hanover Pennsylvania.

         This is a parnership that means a lot to Desks and Dorks on a number of different levels. On a professional level our relationship with Let's Play let's us do a myraid of different cross promotional events. You may see us at the store doing live shows, helping to promote in person events, or reviewing upcoming titles carried by the shop. You can also find the Desks and Dorks section at the store where you can play games that have been reviewed by us on the podcast.

         On a personal level these are friends who are, at least in part, responsible for our enterprise. Without the welcome environment and genuine friendship of our companions at Let's Play, Desks and Dorks may not have been. Like all of our professional relationships it is important to us that we disclose our partnership with Let's Play Games and Hobbies. While these invidiuals are our friends, please know we will disclose when a review copy or other tangible benefit has been provided to us by the store.