Never Forget an Anniversary
Well, oops. on 10/14/2016, I quietly passed a milestone in my volunteer blogging career at Epic Slant Press, LLC. Two years on, and I’m still gaming and still writing.
To be honest, I wasn’t sure I’d make it this far. And yet, here we are, after all the chills, thrills, and spills.
The Highlight Reel
There are a number of things that made being a game blogger great, for all the challenges. What follows is my commentary some two years on regarding the best experiences I’ve had and what I’ve learned.
The Coolest Moment
One of the coolest moments was the attention my retrospective on Sentinels of the Multiverse got. At one point, a designer of the game, Christopher Badell, read and recommended the piece via Tweet, while the OblivAeon Kickstarter for the final Sentinels expansion was live. If nothing else, it was great to know that my praise of a game actually came to the attention of someone who had worked on it.
“Going Solo” probably represents the most significant turn in my hobby: the shift toward seeking out games with a solo option. In the intervening time, solo-playability has become a major consideration for me when looking at new games. And, judging by my informal survey of Kickstarters, podcasts, and other media, I am not alone in enjoying one-player modes.
Hitting The Wall
At a certain point in my experience with tabletop gaming, I hit a wall of sorts. I struggled with how and why to expand my collection of games some time in March 2015. In “Collecting vs. Playing Games,” I’d reached a point where chasing after hot new or hot old games was not sufficient reason to acquire something.
Sure, the new hotness might generate more buzz surrounding my internet presence, but on a basic level, this hobby is about my personal enjoyment. And this post was a reminder to me (and you, dear reader) about that important distinction.
The Kickstarter/Indie Game Phenomenon
Another phenomenon related to collecting is definitely Kickstarter. I did a number of previews or overviews of Kickstarter games, some with a review or preview copy (such as my current series on Vast or my recent look at the Aventuria Adventure Card Game English Edition). And others were based on available Print-and-Play files.
I’ve even reached out to a couple project creators who welcomed the coverage on my blog. While I may not have the reach of a Dice Tower, I do my best to provide would-be backers with timely insights about a project they’re considering.
If your game catches my eye and I back it, I may well approach you to gauge your interest in coverage, here. Of course, you are more than welcome to contact me. Particularly if you have a cooperative, solo, or two-player game, I’d be happy to take a look!
The Learning Curve
I could go on with highlights, but in the interest of giving a balanced perspective, I’ll pause there.
The truth is, while there were many great moments, I had much to learn. This next section is something of an advice column or pep talk for those of you who might want to enter the world of board game media, generally–as derived from my time on the blog.
Here are some of my lessons learned.
- Communicate your experience with a game. Your reader doesn’t need every rules nuance. They do need a sense of what it’s like to play.
- Write (or record) regularly. There were weeks when I felt I had nothing new to say, but I wrote anyway; looking back, I can’t necessarily tell which posts those were. Only a very few look glaringly like writers’ block posts.
- Responses aren’t everything. Judging a successful post by the number of comments on it is sometimes misleading. The number of comments on my most read post of all time? Zero.
- Write your passion. On some level, “passion” is a misleading word. But, you do have to care, at least a little about your topic from week to week.
- Include photos! Suppose you write a brilliant, or less-than-brilliant post. Either way, it will be more attractive to readers with images. Tabletop games are visual. Use that to your advantage.
With those lessons in mind, you’ll go pretty far.
Great question. I have more reviews, previews, and editorials planned. I feel as though there ought to be a next phase to my development as a blogger, though–something in addition to more of the same. Many bloggers have monthly features on specific topics, for example.
Some even put smaller posts out there on a daily basis, just to keep things fresh.
In short, I’d like to develop more of a program for my corner of the blog. I’ve thought of a solo game of the month, or a two-player game of the month, for example. If my ambition matches my work ethic, you should see some of that in the year ahead.
Whatever comes, thanks for reading (whether or not you comment!). Here’s to many happy returns.