We interrupt your regularly scheduled blog for a blatantly self-congratulatory post.
Boards and Bees was born three years ago today as I posted about a game coming out at Essen, 7 Wonders. Ever since then, I’ve dedicated my October 4 post to a review of the progress of the blog over the past year. This may not be that interesting to a whole lot of people, but be sure you keep reading, because you just might win something!
Spoiler alert: you won’t win anything. Sorry.
This is post number 295 for the blog, meaning that I’ve published 106 posts in the last year. This includes 71 game previews, 8 expansion previews, 6 reviews, 3 in the ABCs of Gaming series, 9 in the Eleven series, 1 SHOWDOWN!, 2 posts about the Kennerspiel/Spiel des Jahres nominees, and 6 miscellaneous. Views have increased by about 80% for me this year, which is pretty cool.
One big thing that was new this year was Twitter. I started using Twitter at GenCon last year, but I still consider it to be new because I’m actually starting to use it as a promotional tool. It’s been good for boosting my numbers, and is the second highest referral site for me, behind BoardGameGeek and ahead of Facebook. I have never used Facebook to promote the blog, but apparently someone does. I have no idea who – all I know is people are finding me from Facebook. Which is cool. If you’re promoting this blog there, let me know. I’ll like your page.
Last November, I ended my series on The ABCs of Gaming. The series was a lot of fun, but was a lot of work. I hope to do another one someday, but I doubt it’s going to be in the near future. In January, I started The Eleven, my monthly list of 11 things. This has been a lot of work as well, but I’m finding that I can spread the construction of each post over a longer period of time. I do have a strict deadline for each post – the 11th of the month at 11:11 am (Central Time). But so far, I haven’t had a problem getting them out. These posts have sparked some good discussions – I don’t get a whole lot of comments on the blog, but I seem to get more when I do an edition of The Eleven. My list from August (Artists You Should Know) had a corresponding GeekList, and led to my two highest view days I’ve ever had. Also, my list on Dice Allocation Games caught the attention of On Board Games, and for some reason they thought they’d bring me on to talk about dice games. So that was my podcast debut.
My annual tradition in these annual reviews is to look back at the most popular posts from the last year, and Wordle them. This is a word cloud created by pasting text into the creator at Wordle.net. HOWEVER…apparently my computer is now too ancient to run the necessary applications, so I’m not going to be able to do it this year. Strangely, I’m OK with it…it was a lot of work. I’ll still review the top 11 from the past year, excluding the 22 from the previous years.
11. The Resistance (December 16, 2010)
The oldest item on this list, this post went up a scant two months after this blog began. It’s interesting that it’s taken this long to be one of the top 11 posts of the year, but it has been gaining in popularity, what with being on TableTop and the release of The Resistance: Avalon.
10. Suburbia (October 16, 2012)
This post on Suburbia went up shortly after my last anniversary, and was indeed one of the big hits at last year’s Spiel. There’s an expansion coming out this year, Suburbia Inc., plus an iOS app, so it’s going to be talked about for a while. I still haven’t played it.
9. Pathfinder Adventure Card Game: Rise of the Runelords (August 27, 2013)
The newest item on this list. This game has been incredibly popular. I have gotten to play it once, and thoroughly enjoyed myself, so I can see where all the acclaim comes from.
8. Forbidden Desert (June 3, 2013)
After the phenomenal success of Pandemic, and the equally as phenomenal success of Forbidden Desert, it makes sense that Matt Leacock’s next follow-up game in the series would make the list. I’ve heard very good things about the game, and am still looking forward to trying it out.
7. Dominion: Dark Ages (August 21, 2012)
This is the only Dominion expansion that made the list this year. As the series has wound down, people have been moving on to other games from Dominion, but they’re still popular. My post on Dominion: Prosperity has made it all the way up to second place on my most viewed posts ever (following the still number one The Future of Dominion). Still, the biggest of all the expansions did find its way onto the list.
6. Eleven Designers You Should Know (January 11, 2013)
This was the first post of my Eleven series of posts, one that has been fairly well received. For this one, I covered eleven well-known designers that people in the hobby market should know. There are a lot more out there, of course, and I’m planning do to eleven more next January (spoiler alert – Charles Darrow is NOT on the list).
5. SHOWDOWN! Core Worlds vs. Eminent Domain (August 12, 2012)
This was my second SHOWDOWN!, an occasional feature where I compare two games and determine which is better. This one has been a popular post, I think, due to the popularity of the games, the expansions for both, and the fact that I’m not the only one comparing them – it seems to be a popular thing to do, and most people seem to agree with me that Core Worlds is the better game of the two.
4. Eleven Artists You Should Know (August 11, 2013)
The views for this one was most likely helped by the corresponding GeekList on BGG. It’s my most popular edition of The Eleven, and I hope it brought some attention to artists in games.
3. Escape: The Curse of the Temple (October 26, 2012)
Escape: The Curse of the Temple was the big hit from last year’s Spiel. Escape is a real-time dice game where players are trying to, well, escape from a temple. It lasts a grand total of 10 minutes, and is pretty chaotic. I have gotten to play several times, and enjoy it a lot. I still need to try out the expansions.
2. Romance of the Nine Empires (July 26, 2013)
Romance of the Nine Empires is a game that was looked forward to be a lot of people, especially in the CCG world. Due to the successful Kickstarter of The Gamers: Hands of Fate, this fictional game was created in reality by AEG, and I think I piggybacked off of some of that excitement (and some others people putting up links in various forums) to get this one high up on the list.
1. 7 Wonders Wonder Pack (April 18, 2013)
The 7 Wonders Wonder Pack was an expansion that added four new wonders to the game. It’s a testament to the continuing popularity of 7 Wonders that this became my most viewed post of the last year, and my sixth most viewed post ever. I haven’t played it yet, and indeed haven’t played 7 Wonders in a while. However, it does look pretty cool, and I hope to play someday.
Looking ahead to the future – I’m hoping to start doing more reviews, I’m planning on continuing The Eleven, and I’m looking forward to playing lots of great new games. I’m excited to see what the next year brings, both for the blog and the world of gaming. Thanks for joining me, and thanks for reading!