Let me start by wishing you a Happy New Year. We all somehow made it into 2022, probably a little worse for wear, but we made it nonetheless. The world has changed a lot, but there are still many moments of positivity and hope. I don’t want to make predictions about what might happen to us all in the future, but instead, I want to focus on the Tabletop Games Blog and maybe talk about a couple of things that I hope for in our hobby.
(Photo by Marek Okon on Unsplash)
First of all, I have to thank all of my Patreon supporters as well as everyone who donated a little money on Ko-Fi. I love doing what I do and would continue to do so even if nobody backed me, but of course, running the blog also has its costs attached to it. You can see a breakdown in my review of 2021, but the obvious and biggest cost is web hosting. So, as I say, the financial backing is really hugely appreciated, but what means even more to me is just knowing that there are a bunch of wonderful people who clearly like what I do, because otherwise, they wouldn’t have gotten out their credit card. That is what keeps me going and gives me the impetus to give my best all the time.
Weekly articles continue
Secondly, there is one thing I can assure you, even if some of the other things are less clear: the blog will continue releasing two articles a week: a board game review and a thought piece under the Topic Discussion heading. The blog is the core of what I want to do and that won’t change. I will also continue to record every article in audio format on the podcast to allow a wider audience to enjoy my writing. The audio version does take a fair amount of extra time, but I think it’s important that the blog can be accessed by as many people as possible in at least a couple of different ways.
I also want to continue with Tabletop Games Blog Radio, which is slowly gaining more listeners. Let me thank everyone who is submitting their audio to the station. I couldn’t do it without them and want to revamp the station a bit. Currently, the programmes are almost randomly dotted around the days of the week. The idea was to give people in different time zones an opportunity to listen to everything at least one day of the week, but I think it’s actually quite confusing.
I’ve not finalized the new schedule yet, but the plan is to have board game news, courtesy of the Brainwaves team, at least four times a day for an hour each. Every professional radio station has news at specific times of the day, usually hourly, so Tabletop Games Blog radio will do the same, but probably not as frequently.
I then want to divide the rest of the schedule into regular slots for different types of programmes. There will be an “interview” slot, featuring interviews from Producing Fun and We’re Not Wizards, including their large back catalogue. I will probably also add episodes from the Let me illustrate series of interviews with board game artists. There will also be a regular “chat” slot, with episodes from the Gaming Rules! vlogs and Q&As and maybe some other podcasts. Of course, my board game reviews and Topic Discussion articles will also appear in their own regular slots.
Every slot will be scheduled at a certain time every day of the week and maybe we’ll have some additional, special slots on specific days. For example, we could have a “film” slot on a Saturday evening, with reviews of film-related board games, interviews with their artists and maybe even chats with people from the film industry. The programme will continue to have music to create a bit of variety.
I also plan to continue releasing unboxing videos for the YouTube channel. It’s something I enjoy doing, but it does take an extortionate amount of time, so these videos will not be very frequent. I don’t want to take away from the time I have for writing articles. So, keep an eye out for more of those videos.
Things that have been neglected
Unfortunately, I have been neglecting the Let me illustrate series of interviews with board game artists a bit in the last few months. I do want to pick up on that again, but it’s another project that takes a fair amount of time, so I’ll do my best, but can’t promise anything.
Similarly, the Tabletop Inquisition podcast has taken a back seat recently. I love recording these with Antoinette of Good Owl Games, but again, it’s something that takes up a lot of time, which I don’t seem to find these days. However, I really do want to pick this up again, because we’ve come such a long way with this and I would hate to see it go away.
That leads me nicely to the issue of finding the time. As you have probably heard, I was able to reduce the hours from my day job so that I have half a day a week that I can spend on all things Tabletop Games Blog. However, at the same time, the day job did get a lot busier, so I didn’t have the energy during the rest of the week to work on board game articles, videos, etc. The net effect is that I actually had less time for some of the things that I did previously.
I am planning on reducing my day job hours further, but of course, that has financial implications, so I have to consider it carefully and make sure I can afford to do it. I also have to make sure my employer is happy with this, if I do decide to go ahead with it. There is a lot to think about and it’s a big decision for many reasons.
The industry at large
Lastly, I want to say that I hope our industry can survive these tough times we’re facing globally. I mean that from a business perspective as well as the community side. We’ve seen some smaller publishers go out of business in 2021, buckling under the pressure of increased shipping costs as one of the reasons. The increased interest in board games that we saw in 2020 did not quite continue to the same extent into 2021, which created challenges for everyone in the industry.
So my hope is that 2022 improves and that we see the trend of board games working their way into the mainstream continue. It would be great to have more people join our fantastic hobby and as a result, have more and a wider range of games published. Generally, our hobby can do with more diversity and we still have to overcome the many hurdles and the problems we have, but I am hopeful that this is another thing that will continue to improve in 2022.
Overall, I think 2022 will be a better year and I can’t wait to see you all in person. I don’t say it often enough: if you do ever see me at a convention or other event, please come and say hello. I would love to meet you and find out more about you – and maybe even get to play a game with you.