Hey everyone, long time no post! I’ve been putting this blog on hold for a very long time (almost a year to be exact) for a number of reasons. Work has been crazy, I’m getting ready for a wedding, and while my love of board games hasn’t diminished I find myself with less time to dedicate to finding and playing new games. All of that being said, I’ve decided to pick this blog back up for one major reason: I am currently in the process of designing my own game!
I’ve had this idea for a game for at least a year now, but I have finally started dedicating time to it and it’s turning into something really cool. I have recently ordered prototypes to use for play testing, and I am hosting a game night next weekend. If all goes well, I should be sending out the game to other bloggers for reviews, and getting a Kickstarter campaign up and running!
I will be setting up a separate page on this site to dedicate to the new game- it will have a basic rundown of the gameplay, some pictures, and an option to sign up to be a play tester yourself. If you have any interest in playing the game and letting me know your thoughts, or if you have any game design experience and are interested in working with me (I have minimal Photoshop experience and need a good designer/manufacturer), send me a message and I’ll follow up as soon as possible!
I have a number of New Year’s Resolutions that I’m working on this year: get in shape, eat better, save some money, all the usual ideas are on my list much like plenty of people going into 2017. Sometimes resolutions get thrown away by the end of the month, but I’m feeling confident that I can follow up with a number of the ones on my list if I work hard and stay focused. Ultimately I feel like 2017 is a great year for me to grow, and I’m hoping this growth will come in a number of different areas.
Looking back on 2016, one of the things I am most proud of is the expansion of theboardwalkgames.com. I realized how different my blog has become since the beginning of last year, and have seen the ebbs and flows of my ability to post along with more and more people beginning to read what I write. I then began to think about 2017 and what it had in store for me and my board gaming adventures. I decided that the best way to move forward into the New Year was to create a separate New Year’s Resolution dedicated to my blog and my goals surrounding board games. I came up with what I believe to be 4 great resolutions that I am hoping to follow through on in 2017:
Play a new board game at least once a month- I’ve found that recently I have gotten myself into a pattern with playing board games. I find myself focusing on games that I’ve already played before more often than not, because it is easy to play a game that is familiar rather than try something new. I will usually try out new games in bursts, where I try out 3 or 4 new games over the course of a month and then add the ones I like into my routine. While having a group of games that I can bring out for game night is never a bad thing, I’ve realized that trying out new games consistently will help me learn more about the games my friends and I like and also help me make sure I have new material for blogging. Because of this, I plan on trying out at least one new board game each month this year, and hopefully try even more than that.
Buy 5 new board games I’ve had my eye on- I realized recently that for whatever reason (time commitment, cost, convenience) I have had a few board games on my “need to play” list for quite some time without ever trying the games out. I have either heard about these games through a friend, a Kickstarter Campaign, or my own research, but however I found out about the games I am going to make it my goal to play them in 2017:
Pandemic Legacy– I have heard nothing but amazing things about Pandemic Legacy since the game first came out. While at first the idea of a game board permanently changing based on your play made me nervous I would screw it up, more and more I have thought of it as an exciting and bold style of game. After playing a Pandemic marathon over Christmas I have decided that Legacy is a game I have to try soon.
Arkham Horror– I received a copy of Arkham Horror a long time ago. Known to be one of the most lengthy and brutal board games out there, I haven’t been able to find the right group of people or a good time to play the game yet. I’m hoping that 2017 will finally be the year that I am able to try it out and understand why it is, as the title suggests, a “Horror”. P.S. Everyone should fear Cthulhu.
Firefly the Game– This game goes on my list mostly because I loved the show Firefly and the movie Serenity, and I also heard that the gameplay is quite good. I recently gave this board game as a gift to my fiancée for Christmas, so I am looking forward to trying it out with her sometime soon!
Carcassonne– Known as one of the best board games in existence, Carcassonne is up there with Settlers of Catan as one of the board games that drove the recent board game resurgence. I am sad to say that I have never had the opportunity to play Carcassonne, and I am hoping that in 2017 I am able to remedy that. The game is easy enough to find, so hopefully in the near future I will be writing a review of it.
Zephyr: Winds of Change- This game is probably the most obscure one on my list, mostly because the game is still in development. I donated money to the Zephyr: Winds of Change Kickstarter a while back, and I am a huge fan of the look of the game and the demos of gameplay I have seen online. I am extremely hopeful that the game will finish development this year, and if it does I am looking forward to being one of the first people to try it out.
Write a blog post once every 2 weeks- I wrote recently about one year of blogging, and I noted that my posting frequency started to go down over the last few months. While I do believe that you shouldn’t force yourself to blog to the point of overexertion, I also feel like I have a lot more content to write about and I want to motivate myself to follow up on that. Because of this, my plan is to try and publish a post at least once every two weeks. I feel like this is a good middle ground between posting too frequently and not posting enough. I won’t be too upset if I miss a week here or there, but if I can keep up a consistent schedule of posts I think it will take The Boardwalk Games to the next level!
Create a test copy of my new board game- For those of you who weren’t aware, last year I came up with an idea for a board game and have been diligently working on the game mechanics and playtesting for a while now. I have refined the rules multiple times and gotten feedback from my friends who have tried the game out. I believe that I am ready to make a legitimate copy of the game and start having people outside of my inner circle try it out. Hopefully within the next few months you will be hearing a lot more about it. In the meantime, if you have any recommendations for good board game designers or if you want to try the game out yourself, feel free to contact me!
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!
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 a 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 views 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.
That’s all for now. Again, thank you so much to everybody who reads this blog, I appreciate your support!