Boards and Bees Turns One!

We interrupt your regularly scheduled blog for a blatantly self-congratulatory post.

It was one year ago today that I published the first post on Boards and Bees, a look at 7 Wonders.  I can trace my idea for this blog back several years, though it wasn’t a blog at the time.  Originally, the idea sprang from a now-defunct movie podcast I used to listen to called Scene Unseen Movie Reviews, where one guy saw a movie and the other didn’t, and then they’d both give it a review.  The Unseen part was what really captured my imagination because it’s true – many people make up their minds about a movie without even seeing it.  And as I thought about, maybe it would be interesting to do that with games.

My first attempt to copy this format was an ill-advised BGG “review” of Galaxy Trucker.  This was before I had played it, though I had read through the rulebook and had read several reviews/watched a couple of videos.  I called it “Unowned and Unplayed”, which I thought would tell people what I was trying to do.  While some people got it, it was still an early lesson for me about how offended people on BGG can get over semantics.  It was called “annoying”, “useless”, “hopefully the last [of the series]”, and someone even wanted to know who had approved it through Geekmod, presumably so he could yell at them too.  I buckled under pressure and switched the category from review to general, but it kind of ended my desire to post anything like that again.

As time went on, I started blogging.  I tried a few things on Blogger and Livejournal for a while, but didn’t really like either of them (for the record, Blogger is MUCH better than Livejournal).  In July of last year, I started my first WordPress blog – The Music Therapy Guy, where I talk about my life working as a music therapist.  I really liked working with WordPress (still do), so in October, I decided to launch Boards and Bees.  I had been revisiting my “Unowned and Unplayed” idea, and had been thinking about just doing rulebook reviews.  I had laid out this big rulebook review of 7 Wonders and was about to write it up when I thought that maybe a blog was a better place for this type of thing than BGG.  And here we are, one year later.  So far I’ve done 94 posts, covering 74 games and 7 expansions.  I’ve done 9 reviews, talked about two game ideas, and five meta-posts (including this one).

In celebration, I thought I’d go back and revisit the top 11 most viewed B&B posts.  But rather than repost my thoughts, I thought I’d try to Wordle them.  If you’ve never Wordled anything, it’s this cool java-based program found at Wordle.net that takes blocks of text and turns them into clouds, with more often used words bigger than others.  I did a GeekList on this once with popular reviews from the Geek, which was fun.  At the very least, it helps you to see what words you use a lot.  So here we go:

11. YGGDRASIL – December 19, 2010

Since this game out, it’s been getting a lot of good buzz.  It sounds HARD, kind of like Ghost Stories.  I’m still very interested in this game because of the theme and the art, and I’m glad to hear that it plays well.

10. AIRLINES EUROPE – April 5, 2011

This game has been pretty well received, particularly by people familiar with the original Airlines and with Union Pacific.  I haven’t gotten to play it yet, but I’m sure I will eventually.

9. KING OF TOKYO – January 27, 2011

I was pretty disappointed after reading the rules of this one.  I’ve warmed up to the idea a little more since then – it’s a filler, it’s thematic, it’s push-your-luck, there’s no reason I wouldn’t like.  I had just thought it would have more to it.  It’s obviously been a popular enough game to take the #9 spot on my most viewed posts list.

8. QUARRIORS – June 25, 2011

This is the only game on the list that I’ve actually played.  I wanted to play a couple more times before doing a review, but I like it so far.  Rolling dice is fun, but I think the point goal, particularly in the four-player game, is too low.

7. DOMINION: CORNUCOPIA – June 13, 2011

The Cornucopia expansion came out to kind of “meh” reviews.  I think most people agree that it’s better than Alchemy, but I think the majority of fans would rather have big expansions.  More on that later.

6. SMALL WORLD UNDERGROUND – June 17, 2011

The more I’ve thought about Small World Underground, the more I’ve decided it’s really following in Ticket to Ride’s footsteps for Days of Wonder.  Ticket to Ride: Europe was essentially Ticket to Ride with a new map and slightly more challenging rules.  This seems to be the case here.  The big difference is that a bunch of expansions for Small World came out first, whereas they came later for TTR.  Small World seems to be DOW’s heir apparent, and they can live off that for years.  It’s a good thing, because their last few properties haven’t done that well.

5. MANSIONS OF MADNESS – February 25, 2011

I heard a lot of good buzz about this game when it first came out, but I haven’t heard much since.  It’s still one I want to play, and is probably the better of the new Arkham games to come out this year.

4. LETTERS FROM WHITECHAPEL – March 4, 2011

This game has gotten a pretty good reception, but most people seem to complain that it’s way too long.  Maybe so.  I still really want to play it.

3. LORD OF THE RINGS: THE CARD GAME – April 12, 2011

People really seem to like this one, and it already has several booster packs out.  I’ll have to give it a go sometime.

2. THE GREAT FIRE OF LONDON 1666 – January 21, 2011

It seems odd to me that this was my number one most viewed post for much of the year, particularly because it seems to be a game that has flown mostly under the radar.  I’m guessing that it was showing up on search engines when people were doing a search for the actual great fire of London, and they were intrigued enough to click through.

1. THE FUTURE OF DOMINION – April 1, 2011

I find it absolutely hilarious that this little April Fools prank is my most viewed post ever.  And even now, I still see that people are clicking on the link at the bottom (haven’t clicked on it yet?  I dare you).  It was fun to put it together, but now I probably won’t ever do something like that again.  Too much work.  So I can guarantee that next year’s April 1 post will be 100% legitimate. :shiftyeyes:

There you go.  It’s been a fun year, and I look forward to what the next 12 months will bring.  Thanks for reading, and (for old time’s sake) insert clever tagline here.

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4 comments

  1. Congrats on One Year! I’ve just entered the blogging world myself and it takes up more time than I thought it would – and I thought it would take a lot of time to begin wit!. So kudos on the persistence!

  2. Congrats. Its interesting to hear where you came up with your idea. And I might have to check out that movie podcast!
    I liked your Dominion post quite a bit. As for Small World Underground, it certainly is the new TtR for Days of Wonder, which is great for a Small World fan like myself. Bring on the Underground expansions!!

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