New Year’s resolutions are awful. Society puts pressure on us all to declare a new page of our lives at the stroke of midnight on 31st December: get fitter, read more books, cut out booze, eat better etc. Advert after advert assaults us with ‘stuff’ that will make our lives better. It’s all rubbish.
However I don’t think there is anything wrong with the idea behind resolutions. There is nothing inherently bad with taking a moment to look back at the year that was, look forward to the months ahead and perhaps set yourself a goal or two. It is in this spirit that I would like to take a moment to reflect on the site and podcast and then look ahead to goals for both of those and myself.
Lies, Damned Lies, and Statistics
The site has been going great guns this year, with a huge surge in visitors and views. As of time of writing, Friday 27th December, we’ve had 16721 visitors and 31365 views in 2019. In the whole of 2018 we had 9399 visitors and 18356 views. That’s a 78% rise in visitors and a 71% rise in views.
The Arkham Horror: Beginner’s Guide continues to pull people to the site and has now hit 7501 views, as of 30th December. Our next most popular article is Beyond The Veil: Black Stars Rise at 741 views. I am so happy with the response to the beginner’s guide and that it has been used to help people discover a game I absolutely love. As a critic one of your hopes is that your writing will help advocate for the games you enjoy and this article has certainly done that.
Our top 10 most popular articles this year were:
Peter was our first guest writer and his Warcry review has proven very popular. Outside of my Beyond the Veil series, my Star Trek: Adventures review continues to see regular hits (this just in, negative reviews can be good for your site).
Podcast wise we’ve had 4341 downloads in our first full year, 1st Jan 19 – 27th December. We kicked off in April 18, on April fools day of all days, and had 2408 downloads over that year. Our most popular episode to date is Episode 13 – Historical App-lication. Top 10 are:
That is quite a spread of casts and its gratifying to see the first episode still picking up regular hits as it is a good indicator of new people discovering the cast.
As those who follow me on twitter know I regularly put out the cast numbers, measuring growth of Brainwaves by average number of downloads we’ve had: total downloads divided by number of casts. At the time of writing this puts as at 145. I suspect that this number will fall over the next few months as our more recent casts have had less downloads, seeing more around the 110 mark. None of them are in our current top 10. I’ll be thinking on how to address that as part of aims for the new year.
Resolutions, it’s what you need
That brings us rather neatly to resolutions; my own and those I have for the site.
Over the last few weeks I’ve been on sabbatical from work, it’s been glorious, which has allowed me to get ahead on my writing. When this article goes live all of my articles for January will be scheduled and ready to go. My first goal for the year is:
Maintain a month (or better) buffer of articles on the site
This also leads to my second goal.
Update patrons at the start of each month with what they can expect from the site for the coming month. Update patreon more regularly in general.
One of the things I like to consider when making a change in my life is how easy it will be to maintain. I’m already on top of the first one so now all I need to do is continue to produce at least 1 article a week, which I was doing anyway. Number two is just a matter of me getting on top of patreon updates more often.
I have general goals to grow my social media presence, visitors to the site and the audience for the podcast. I think setting actual numbers for such things is a path to madness, I’ll just hope to have grown a bit by the end of the year, though probably not as much as this year.
For myself, my resolutions are simple:
- Play more games, especially my own collection for more plays per game
- Play a wider variety of games going outside of my comfort zone with what I play
- Reduce my collection below 40
I think these are all very achievable. I’m hoping to hook up with a group of friends who play more euro style games and Juniper Green has given me lots of opportunities to play family focused games. Playing a wide variety of games makes us better critics, better players, and more understanding of other people’s choices.
That’s it from me. Jamie has his own and I reached out to our patrons, followers, and friends for their new year’s resolutions and here are a few.
I only have two or three resolutions (which is better than my usual zero) this year, hopefully making it likely I’ll keep to them:
1) Cut down my collection. I love playing games, but the past few years has seen me play less and only hesitantly fillet out the games that have seen little play time. As I am writing this I have a stack of six games at my feet that I’m interested to pass on to others. My plan is to be at forty games by the end of the year, from the fifty-five I have now.
2) Attend at least one Megagame this year, if not two. Yes, yes, I know. I’ll shut up about Megagames one day, but it is not this day. After my great experience last year, I would like to be part of some more games, hopefully closer to home. I am aware that True North Megagames runs Megagames in the North of England and Scotland, so I have been eagerly looking at their schedule. I might just be about to book one…
3) Write more for the Giant Brain. I’m very confident in speaking nonsense on Brainwaves, but much less so when writing. I’m going to shoot for a writing modest three articles for the site. If I end up doing more, then fantastic. This one doesn’t count, but it’s a good start.
Followers and Patrons
- Chat to more lovely people at conventions. This is the big one: everyone I’ve met has been so lovely, and I’d really like to meet more of you! Airecon + Tabletop Scotland are the current plans, but maybe Essen/ UKGE too.
- Play a grand game of Twilight Imperium IV! I just want to rob my neighbours for everything they’ve got as the space pirates, that’s all. * play a megagame! This has been on the list ever since SUSD did their video on one, it looks brilliant.
- Finally (shamelessly copied from @Jamie_W_Adams as it’s a great idea): thin my collection down to games I love. There’s no space for games I just like!
Looking to do three things this year
1) Get back into gm’ing after a 25 plus year break! Creating engaging stories with friends is great
2) Convert one of the game ideas in my head into a playable prototype
3) Reduce the shelf of shame! Can’t believe I’ve not played Villagers or Decrypto yet!
Play more games!
Getting more off the shelf of opportunity! (same as the last four years!) Before new year I will have a list of our unplayed games and a plan to work through them
Finish up my first fully viable game prototype!
Play more games and be more aggressive in culling the collection!
Refine my collection. Trade and sell games that don’t work for me and seek out more of the older games I’ve really wanted for a while. I also hope to make more of an effort to place my designs with publishers – work on those sell sheets and pitches!
That’s all folks
We’ve had a great 2019 and are looking forward to what 2020 will bring to the site and the cast. Thanks to all of you who have come on the cast, commented on posts, shared our work and generally been supportive. Special thanks to all our patrons who have made it possible for us to run the podcast and site.
From all of us at The Giant Brain we wish you all the best for The New Year.