It’s a little hard to believe that I’ve been writing this blog for 4 years now. But then again, I can hardly remember a time when I wasn’t writing it either, now that it’s become such a big part of my life. It really is a labor of love for me; both as a reflection of my love for gaming and for the people that I play with. So on this, my 4th Blog-i-versary, please be patient with me as I get a little self-indulgent and review both some statistics about the past year and also highlight some of the articles that I am most proud of. And if you’re relatively new to the site, you can also look back at my anniversary posts from last year and the year before for the same sort of information.
I saw a pretty noticeable increase in my visits in July and August of 2010 which helped me jump up to a plateau of rouchly 10-11,000 visits a month. I’ve been riding that pretty steadily even through the slight decline in my posting after Corinne (my 6-month-old) was born in October, and now I’m beginning to see another slight increase in my readership.
All told, I had 121,170 total visits to GamerChris.com in the last 12 months, with 75,125 article views (averaging about 205 article views a day). I’ve posted 144 articles since the beginning of last April, and I was even meeting my goal of 3 posts per week up until October.
I was still having a little trouble identifying particular readers for the blog, though, and that’s why I ran the contest that just finished up. Partly due to that, I now have 52 blog subscribers, 57 Facebook “fans”, 63 subscribers through Google Reader, and 142 followers on Twitter.
But I’m really not trying to brag or anything with all these numbers. Frankly, I still have trouble benchmarking my statistics against other similar sites, so I really have no clue whether these numbers are brag-worthy anyway. All I really know is that I am truly thankful for all of you that take time out of your week to read my blog, and especially to those of you who give me comments and feedback.
This gets harder every single year. I don’t know if I’m writing better or just writing more, but my “short list” for this started at 25 or so articles. Again, whether you’re new or just want to review some of the posts that I think are fairly decent, this list is a pretty good place to start.
Here are some articles that I do every year, and into which I put a lot of work.
- Ho Ho Ho! 2010 Holiday Gift Guide!
- MACE 2010 Report (part 1) (part 2, about boardgames)
- 2010 Year in Review
- Updating My Top 100 Games!
Almost every week, I write up a report about what happens at my game group, then I put the game names together to form some sort of semi-sensical headline, and publish them for us and the rest of the world to see. Here are a few that I thought were particularly fun or interesting:
- Forbidden Free for All from Notre Dame to Macao! 6/3/10 – I forgot my camera, and had to resort fo “alternative” pictures for entertainment
- Jungle Samurai Pitches Teutonic Colors 12/9/10 – When Richard from Austria came to visit!
- The Ascension of Money in Castle Dungeonquest 10/1/10 – Comparing two mediocre or worse dungeon-crawl games that got a lot of buzz
I don’t write as many formal reviews as I’d like, mostly because (as I said recently) I put too much pressure on myself about them. Plus, I sort of do a mini-review of every game that I mention in my game-night reports. Here’s the reviews I wrote over the last year:
- Review – Tobago
- Review – Cloud 9
- Review – Catacombs
- Peloponnes – Solo and Couple Play Review
- Review – Samurai
- Review – Hansa Teutonica
- Review – Shake ‘n Take
- Review – Castle Ravenloft
- More iPod/iPhone Reviews
- Action Castle – Actual Play Thread 9/28/10 – I didn’t really “write” this article as much as I just set it up and acted as the Parser in an actual play through Jared Sorensen’s Action Castle game (check out this post for more information about it). It was pretty cool and a lot of fun to run, but eventually it ran out of steam. However, it continues to get a lot of hits, so I’d like to know if y’all would like me to pick it back up or maybe even run another one of the Parsely games?
- “Great” vs. “Fun” 4/25/10 – This, like a lot of the articles on this list, came as a response to a podcast episode that I listened to. But it also gets to the heart of my philosophy of games, that they should be fun.
- Making an Investment in Games 1/21/11 – In another article inspired by a podcast, I discuss some of the things that make me want to invest my time, money, and mental bandwidth into a game.
- Diaspora Session 2: Space Combat Boogaloo 8/27/10 – This blog is mostly about modern boardgames, but I’ve got a long history with RPG’s, and this is the report from our second session of Diaspora. In it, I describe our interaction with the space and personal combat mini-games and then throw in some discussion about what I thought of them.
- Am I really NOT a “Game Player”? 5/28/10 – Hiew Chok Sien posted an article titled “We are not game players” on his blog that got me a little fired up, so I wrote this as a response. Both articles actually got picked up by BoardGameNews (RIP), which I though was pretty cool.
- More About Theme as Metaphor and Narrative (response to Boardgames To Go #104) 5/12/10 – One of my favorite podcasts is Boardgames to Go by Mark Johnson, mostly because he also delves into some of the deeper meta-game topics that I like to think about as well. In this article, I take his ideas about Theme and expand them a little bit, tweaked by what I think makes sense.
- What the Heck is a “Gateway Game” Anyway??? 9/20/10 – I and many other gamers throw around the label “Gateway Game” a lot, but I wanted to take some time to discect both the term and some of the motivations surrounding how we use and view these games.
- Game of the Month! 8/29/10 – One of the staples of my game group is our Game of the Month! program, which we started just a few months after we began meeting. In this article, I talk some about my philosophy of the program as well as what I think makes a good Game of the Month!
- GamerChris’ Freaking Rants: Okay, this is sort of cheating, but this is a new “series” that I started this year. Since I try to make most of my articles fairly well balanced and even-tempered, I wanted to have an outlet for sharing some of my stronger opinions about the hobby. And I was also hoping that my harder line might also inspire a few extra responses, which worked pretty well. The “Freaking Rants” I’ve done so far are: Keep Yer Freaking Bordgame Burnout to Yourself! 1/13/11; What’s So Freaking Bad About “Multiplayer Solitaire” Anyway? 1/31/11; and One Freaking Play Is Not Enough to Review a Game! 3/1/11
- MY Top 10 Games That I Play With My Wife 12/3/10 – Even though I don’t write as much as I should about which games I play with Gwen (my wife), this article was an exploration of the games we like to play together. It makes this list so highly mostly because it was a great excuse to talk with her more about games and to work together on building a list that we could both agree on.
- Writing Good Game Reviews 3/16/11 – And finally, I think that the best thing I’ve written this past year is my recent article about what I think makes a good game review. It is sort of my more reasoned reflection from the feelings and responses I had from the last rant, but it also encompasses my ideas about reviews in general and the responsibility I feel is implicit in sharing your opinions publically.
Whew! That seems like a lot of work. Of course, I guess that I have put a lot of work into the 480,000+ words written in this blog over the last 4 years. Let me say again how grateful I am for all of you that follow me consistently, and please feel free to comment on this and every other article that I write.