Wow. It’s been 5 years since I first started GamerChris.com!
At this moment each year, I like to take a little time to reflect back on what I’ve been up to. Plus, as I maybe get into a new thing or two over the next few days and weeks, this post might be a good place to start your investigation of my blog, along with the similar articles that I’ve written for year 4, year 3, and year 1 and 2.
This post is all about being a self-indulgent glorification of the last year of this blog, so let’s start with some hard numbers for how many people come by and visit. Here’s a graph, because graphs are cool:
As you can see, my visits continue to go up and up! I had a huge spike in March of 2011 (up to 19,420 visits) and soon crested over 20,000 in June. And then here in 2012, I’ve seen another significant upswing that took me over 30,000 (30,769 to be exact) in March of this year!
For the year as a whole, I had 271,729 total visits and over 190,000 article views. I posted 121 articles consisting of almost 153,000 words, which sounds like a lot to me. As always, these numbers sound pretty good to me, but I have no real frame of reference to similar sites, so I’ll just pretend like I should feel good about them regardless of reality.
It’s pretty fun for me (and you too, I hope) to read back over my contributions of the last year, and I always like to call out some of the articles that I am either most proud of or consider to be the greatest contributions to the hobby. I’ve broken then down into a few categories, though, to help compare apples to apples:
These articles are things that I do every year, and which usually take a lot of work to put together.
- The 2011 Holiday Gift Guide! – By far my most-read article written in 2011. I circulate this to people at work and church, and I also get a lot of referrals from BGG and other places.
- MACE 2011! – My report from a local convention I’ve been attending for 9 years now. Heck, it’s the only real convention I go to these days…
- The Hypermind Boardgamers Turn 5! – The report from my game group’s selections of our favorite games of 2011.
- 2011 Year in Review – My personal opinions about the cream of the crop from 2011.
- Top 100 Games – 2011 Edition – 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:
- Hexing Chronicle of a Fiasco at News Channel Six! (4/21/11) – The highlight here was the report of a Fiasco session using the playset that Kenny, Tom, and I created while it was the Playset of the Month!
- The Alien Frontiers of Troyes (or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Dice) (5/23/11) – This report featured sort of a side-by-side comparison of Alien Frontiers and Troyes (and it had a really cool picture I put together).
- Lord of the Alien Balancing Prototypes (7/4/11) – Some of the Durham guys joined us, and I got to play my first playtest games of both Carnival and Alien Frontiers: Factions.
- Struggle of the White Elephant Lords (7/20/11) – This was mostly about a play of Struggle of Empires, which is a little longer and more in-depth than most of our game night fare.
- Letters of Innovation from Expeditions in the Lost Realm (8/12/11) – This was a monster report chocked full of good commentary, but was most important for featuring my first real play of Letters from Whitechapel, which is still one of my best gaming experiences ever!
- Letters from an Eminent Homesteader at Acute Survival Point (11/29/11) – This is a solid overall report, but it’s a little sentimental to me because it also included the first-ever playtest of Acute Care.
- Sentinels of ZERTZ: Resistance on the Biblios Front (3/5/12) – Another solid report, but I also went into a lot of detail about Popular Front.
- Playing Catch-Up! (mini reports for 14 different games!) (3/15/12) – I talked about a ton of games from a number of different play sessions, including meeting and playing If I’m Going Down… with A.J. Porfirio.
Formal reviews are sort of a booger for me. I feel very strongly about them and enjoy writing them, but I put so much effort into them that I just don’t do nearly as many of them as I’d like. Still, I feel like I’m getting a little better about that, and my output was at least a little better than it has been before. Here are all the reviews I wrote this past year:
- Review – Forbidden Island
- Review – Puerto Rico
- Review – Go Away Monster!
- Review – Lord of the Rings LCG, Part 1
- Review – White Elephant
- Review – Carnival
- Dogs in the Vineyard “Review” (from my IndiePendence Day report)
- Review – Take the Cake
- Kids’ Games Quick Reviews – Splish Splash, Candy Land Castle, & Bug Out
- Review – Eminent Domain
- Review – Letters from Whitechapel
- Taking a Risk on Risk: Legacy
- Review – Kingdom of Solomon
- Review – Kingdom Builder
- Review – Flash Point: Fire Rescue
- Review – Garden Dice
Game pictures have always been a big part of this blog, but especially since I’ve started my Picture of the Week series over the last few months, I thought I’d display some of my favorite and most popular images from the last year as well:
My “Best” 10 Posts of the Year
- The Z-Man Speaks! (well, technically, he writes…) (5/27/11) – This is maybe the only interview I’ve done on the blog, and while I was excited to do it, I just didn’t think it turned out so well. Tom over at Go Forth and Game does a really good job with the email-style interviews, but I just didn’t feel it was very good at all. If you did like it, enjoy it now because I don’t expect to do any more interviews like this anyway on the site.
- Picture of the Week! (1/2/12-Present) – I’ve enjoyed this series for the most part so far. It’s definitely helped me give a little more focus to the photography side of my hobby and blogging, which was the main goal. I’m a little afraid that it might feel like the blog is being taken over by it, though, especially during slow blogging periods when it seems like every other post is a Picture of the Week…
- TomG’s Big Ole’ Game Day! (5/10&11/11) – TomG puts on semi-regular game days at his house, and this was an especially nice one. In Part 1, I joined him and Kenny in a session of Diaspora, where I took on a planet in a social combat (and won!). In Part 2, I played Fury of Dracula and other cool boardgames!
- The True Measure of a Game (8/29/11) – I question some long-held assumptions that I and others make about what makes a game memorable.
- Spreadin’ the Hate! (3/16/12) – I pick up and run with the theme from an episode of Wooden Cubes and Iron Soldiers, a great new podcast. This article is all about games that I hate!
- In Defense of the Auction… (12/9/11) – The Pawnstar blog made some disparaging comments about auctions, and I had to come to their defense.
- Who’s the Most Progressive Boardgame Publisher? (4/19/12) – Just yesterday, I made an argument that Hasbro is a leader in innovation and relevancy in our hobby. I hope it’s as good as I think it is…
- My Favorite Card Games… (5/3/11) – A Dice Tower top 10 list inspired me to think a little deeper about card games and which ones I prefer.
- Preorders, Promos, and the Freaking Definition of “Exclusive” (11/30/11) – Another of my “Freaking Rants!“, this one was in response to Tasty Minstrel Games sort of botching the release of Eminent Domain and “exclusive” Kickstarter promos. Let this be a warning to any publishers out there!
- The Boardgame Design Project (8/25/11-Present) – This series has (and will continue to) detailed my design process for Acute Care, my nursing-themed coop game. The six articles written so far go into design goals, developing initial rules, prototyping it, and my playtesting process. I’ve been a little distracted from it lately, but will hopefully see even more progress with it this coming year!
- So, What’s the Real Deal with Kickstarter? (Part 1) (2/14/12) & Part 2 (2/21/12) – And almost obviously, I guess, I think the best thing I’ve written in the last year was my two-part analysis/defense of Kickstarter. It got a lot of attention, was picked up by Dice Tower News, and even got me a guest appearance on the Funding the Dream podcast.
I really appreciate all of my readers and promise to continue bringing you the same level of content that I’ve been working towards for this whole time. I usually have some sort of contest to go along with my blog-i-versary, but I think that I’m going to hold off for just a little while in anticipation of something else that’s just around the corner. So stay tuned and come along with me for my 6th year!