One Year of Blogging

I was recently notified by WordPress that my blog has been active for a year now. Considering it feels like I am just getting started on my blogging adventures, I was shocked to see how long this has been going! To commemorate my year-mark, I would first like to thank everyone who has read my blog, followed it, and commented on my articles. The gaming community is awesome because of people like you, and I’m thrilled to be a part of it. Next, I thought I would talk about a few realizations I have made about blogging over the past year. I’m sure the current bloggers out there can relate, and if any of you are considering starting up a blog for the first time these are also helpful for you to know!

one-year-blog-meme

  • It gets harder to post as time goes on- When I first started The Boardwalk Games, I set a goal for myself to write at least 3 posts a week. I thought that this was a reasonable number of posts and would drive traffic to my site without overdoing it. I was recently looking at my posting history for the past 2 months, and that number has gone down quite considerably since then. I feel like this is a common issue with blogging as a whole- it is hard to keep up a consistent stream of material for a long period of time for a number of reasons. For me it seems like the reason for this drop was mainly because I have been very busy both at work and in my personal life lately and also I have written reviews for a number of the games currently in my possession, so I have less new material to write about. While at first I was frustrated that I cannot dedicate time to posting more regularly, I realized that this is actually a good thing in a way. When I started blogging, regular posts were a way to get my blog more views and make sure The Boardwalk Games was noticed. Now that I have a steady/increasing stream of viewers, I don’t have to focus on a large quantity and can simply post when I want to. I still try and write something once a week, but knowing that I can write based on my own schedule helps make The Boardwalk Games fun and not a burden.
  • You get out of the blog what you put into it- This is something I found out from a number of ways, but I think the biggest one was the marketing and relationship-building side of things. I have never been a huge Twitter person, but I created agametime Twitter account for the blog and quickly realized that the more active I was promoting via Twitter and Facebook, the more opportunities there were to get new viewers. In addition, I dedicated a lot of time to finding blogs with similar topics to mine (or just blogs that I liked) and following them/commenting on them. Bloggers like to interact with each other, and in addition to reading and enjoying a lot of good blogs I got a chance to increase my own group of followers.
  • Stats and Trends are helpful, but don’t get overwhelmed by them- WordPress has so many great functions and tricks that you learn as you go, but my favorite been has always been the Stats breakdown they provide. You can see data on the number of one-yearviews your site has had in a day, week, month, or even a year. It tells you the day and time you receive the most views, and goes into each blog post and checks what has been read the most and what the traffic of your recent posts looks like. It can even tell you which country the viewers are from (I seem to get a lot of people from the UK and Italy reading my blog). These stats are extremely helpful and can be a good indicator of ways to improve your blogging. That being said, some of the data can be misleading. For example, there’s a difference between the number of views and the number of viewers, so sometimes you get a bunch of people checking out 1 page of your blog and other times it’s a few people reading through a lot of different articles. Also if somebody viewed your site, that doesn’t necessarily mean they read anything- I use images on my Blog, and sometimes people will do a Google Images search and find the image without going into the web page content itself. This happened to me once when I used a picture of David Bowie, only to find a week or so later that David Bowie had died and everyone was looking up images of him to post as tribute. The point is, looking at your blog’s stats is a great resource, but be sure to take the numbers with a grain of salt and don’t feel like you have to drastically change your blog because of one piece of data.
  • Have Fun- I blog because I want to, not because I’m obligated to. I don’t make any money for doing this, so I do it because I enjoy it. I also think it helps me improve my writing skills, but ultimately I can find other ways to do that, so I believe that having fun is the most important part of blog writing. If you aren’t enjoying yourself when you’re blogging, it’s hard to stay motivated and continue improving your craft. Make sure that what you’re writing about is something that you’re interested in, and your blog will feel less like a burden and more of a fun project.

typing

That’s all for now. Again, thank you so much to everybody who reads this blog, I appreciate your support!

Advertisements

Board Game of the Week- Codenames

codenames-all-cards

  • Game Title: Codenames
  • Release Date: 2015
  • Number of Players: 2-8
  • Average Game Time: 15-30 minutes
  • Game Publisher: Czech Games Edition
  • Website: https://boardgamegeek.com/boardgame/178900/codenames
  • Game Designer: Vlaada Chvatil
  • Expansions/Alternates: No
  • Available in Stores: Yes

 

I have seen plenty of reviews of the game Codenames online, and it looked like everybody enjoyed the game as a whole. I put the game on my list to try a long time ago and never got a chance until this past weekend, when I went to a Birthday party with a group of board game enthusiasts. We divided up into two teams and ended up playing two rounds before moving on to other activities, and I thoroughly enjoyed both rounds and the game strategy as a whole. At first I thought that you needed an even number of people to play, but after playing I do believe you could have an odd number of players if you really wanted to.

codenames-agent-cards

Codenames is a two-team competitive card based game focused on one team member providing clues to the other team members that relate to specific code names. The game is set up by placing 25 “agent” cards down in a 5×5 row- these cards have a word on them, which is the code name of the agent. Then the team members chosen as Spymasters choose a Map card that shows which agent is on which team. Only the spymasters are allowed to see the map card. The map is set up to show which of the cards on the 5×5 grid are red agents, blue agents, civilians and the assassin. The object of the game is for the spymaster to provide a one-word clue to their team that relates to as many of the codenames as possible that are assigned to their team color. The other team members then guess which code name (or code names) the spymaster is trying to get you to choose. If the team is able to find all of their teams’ agents, they win. However, if they choose the opposing team’s agent, that agent is revealed and the other team has one less word to guess correctly. Guessing a civilian doesn’t hurt, but it does end your turn and leaves you unable to guess again if you wanted to. Guessing the assassin means that your team automatically loses, so the assassin should be avoided at all costs.

The biggest part about this game is the strategy of choosing words both as the spymaster and a team member. For the spymaster, the goal is to choose a word clue that can be linked to multiple agents on your team without misleading your team and causing them to choose the other team’s card or the assassin. There is also strategy in choosing a word that only could apply to one card, making sure that there isn’t any misunderstanding and effectively “playing it safe”. On the other side, the team members choosing the agents must strategically choose how many cards, and which cards, they want to choose. They can choose one card they are sure of, or they can choose multiple cards and take more of a risk. This is usually dependent on which team is winning and how confident you are that your spymaster is indicating a certain card.

codenames-cards-close-up

The most impressive thing about this game is the sheer number of variations: the game consists of numerous code name cards and map cards, so the possibilities of the cards on the grid and the options for agent card layouts are effectively limitless. The game encourages teamwork and strategy and is great for groups of close friends and strangers alike. Finally, the game is easy to set up and quick to play, so it is a perfect party game. The one downside I could think of with the game is the fact that while you can play with an odd number of players, ultimately it is easier/better to play with an even number so that no team gets an advantage. There are also a number of “player’s choice” rules revolving the hints that can be made, such as using Pronouns, that need to be addressed before the game starts. If your group forgets to go over these rules, it can cause confusion.

Overall I recommend Codenames as a great party game with a lot of fun strategy in a simple package. While the game says up to 8 players, you could certainly find a way to include more people if you choose, making it ideal for larger groups. In addition, the game can be played in small groups with the same effect, so don’t skip on it with 3-4 players either.

codenames-box

Jack’s Rating: 4/5 stars