This has been a pretty big year for The Giant Brain, and I wanted to take a moment at the end of the year, and start of the next, to look back on what we have been up to and forward to what 2019 holds.
Biting off more than I could chew
At the start of the year I committed to posting a couple of times a week. This proved to be way too much for me to sort out, though may be something I come back to if I can get myself a bit more organised. I was on board with the Board Game Exposure(BGE) crew as well which gave me access to a variety of games I would not have otherwise been able to get. It was a great opportunity but I found that I was not getting through games quickly enough letting down both the BGE crew and the publishers they were liaising with. Reluctant as I was to give it up I did so for the sake of everyone involved, especially my own sanity.
It’s OK to take a step back from things sometimes, and one of the lessons I’ve been trying to learn is that I don’t need to worry when I miss the occasional week for whatever reason. I’ll be staying on the weekly schedule for the forseeable future but when the mood takes me you will get the occasional extra article, especially for the Meeting of Minds series.
The other reason I scaled back some of my writing commitments was to embark on a totally new chapter for The Giant Brain. I’d had the inkling of an idea for a news focused podcast along the lines of The Day Today and other satirical shows. I knew I wouldn’t be able to do this single-handed so roped in the help of Jamie Adams and Samuel Maggs, two friends I’d met over games in the much missed Tabletop Cafe.
We set out with the aim to produce a tight, broad-reaching satirical news show. Our first shot wasn’t great, that’s not been transmitted, and the feedback from friends sent us on another path entirely. We kept the news show, lost the satire and injected more of our own personalities into the proceedings. The result was Brainwaves and I’ve had a huge amount of fun putting it together and learning how to cast. We’ve added skits, regular segments and even done a special investigation into the Dized app over the course of the year.
I’d launched a Patreon at the start of the year but never really felt that it was offering ‘bang for your buck’. I sat down with the new team and retooled it in the last couple of months to give something back to those who have seen fit to support us financially. An extended version of the main cast is available to all patrons and we now put out a monthly show about what we have been playing for all the $2 and above folks.
Over 2019 we will continue to bring you the best in tabletop gaming news alongside the occasional specials as subjects peak our interest. We’d like to thank everyone who has reviewed the cast on iTunes, shared us about and generally fed back to us in anyway.
Pen to Paper
When I made the decision at the start of 2017 to make an actual go of writing about games, I knew I wanted to work on my writing and bring a variety of articles to the site. I’ve had some help from friends on the editing side of things which has really helped and I think the work I’m putting in has shown in the quality of my writing. 2018 has been a good year for The Giant Brain but I always want to focus the site on the written word. As of writing this (24/12/18) we have had 9269 visitors to the site this year and 18117 views. Last year we had in total 3773 visitors (6902 views) so a substantial increase.
I’ve been really happy to see the readership of the site grow. My Beyond the Veil series has been the most popular thing on the site and I’ll be continuing that in the new year, finishing off ‘The Path to Carcosa’ and diving into the ‘Forgotten Age’. I’ve not had as much chance to play Arkham over the last half of the year but I hope to get a regular game going again soon.
Besides that the Gloomhaven Diaries, reports on expo and some RPG reviews have also seen good numbers which is very gratifying to see. I’d be lying if I said the views on a piece aren’t important, everyone who creates something and puts it out in the public eye wants to see their work appreciated. If you are a regular fan of anyone’s work then I urge you to engage with them, share it about and help them grow. That sort of help is always appreciated.
What is 2019 looking like for The Giant Brain team? Honestly I don’t fully know. 2018 has been full of surprises and we are all looking forward to what the next year will bring our way.
I am going to personally be working on reaching out to the independent scene more: interviewing designers, reviewing games and helping other bloggers and casts reach a wider audience. I am not the best when it comes to engagement with our audience, though I feel I’ve done a better job of that this year, which has been reflected in a growth in our followers on Twitter, Facebook and on the page directly.
I’m hoping to have a few guest writers on the site over the course of 2019 and I will also be looking for opportunities to write for other blogs and publications where I can. I put out a couple of articles on We’re Not Wizards this year and it’s likely that that relationship will continue over the course of 2019.
I’m really excited to have taken the next steps with the site this year and 2019 is bound to bring its own surprises as we grow and change. Thank you so much to everyone who has supported us over the last year, it means a huge amount. From all the team here at The Giant Brain HQ we wish you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.
Iain, Jamie and Sam