Another year is almost over – and what an eventful year it has been. It is time to talk about everything that has happened, the events I attended and the games I played, give you all an update on the financial state of the blog and maybe share some sneak peeks for the year ahead. So, here goes…

Conventions, Events and Exhibitions

As seems to have become custom for me, let me start with the conventions, events and exhibitions I attended this year. There were only two: UK Games Expo and Berlin Con. Both were very special in their own unique way.

UK Games Expo

I used to attend the UK’s largest board game convention as a member of the press for a number of years, but the costs for travel and accommodation had always worried me a bit. So I thought it was time to change things up. I decided to apply as a game demoer and was lucky enough for Asmodee to hire me for all three days of the show. That meant that travel, accommodation and food were all paid for and I even got a small salary on top. It basically meant I got paid to do what I love doing, which was amazing.

You can read more about my experience of UK Games Expo 2023 in my review. There just isn’t enough space in this article to cover everything.

Berlin Con

I also attended Berlin Con this year. It was my first time, but I had a press pass and was on home turf. If you didn’t know, I am a born and bred Berliner. I was able to stay at my parents’, which meant I only had to pay for travel and food, but given I could cook for myself, that expense was relatively low. As you can see in my review, the event is the perfect size with a great mix of exhibition space and open gaming tables.

While I was in Berlin, I also attended the Spiel des Jahres awards ceremony. I got a complimentary invite as international press, which was a real honour and got to speak to many of the designers and catch up with a number of the German board game people, whom I had previously often only known from social media. I also recorded interviews with the award winners, which you can hear in an episode of the Brainwaves podcast.

left to right: Shaun Newman of Gamealot and Oliver Kinne (photo courtesy of Shaun Newman)
left to right: Shaun Newman of Gamealot and Oliver Kinne (photo courtesy of Shaun Newman)

Meeting Friends, Old and New

That leads me nicely to the next topic: people. I think this year has been very much about people for me. I finally got to meet so many wonderful board game hobbyists in person, when I previously only knew them from social media.

UK Games Expo

Let me first talk about the wonderful Shaun Newman of Game-a-lot. I first met him during a board game design contest, where I was a mentor and judge. He has since started supporting the blog via Patreon, which is wonderful. After having known him for so long, it was amazing to finally see him in person at UK Games Expo. Even though it was only a short hello, it was very special.

It was also great to finally meet the wonderful Roland MacDonald whose amazing illustrations you will have seen on many a game. He’s been so very busy in 2023, but he made time to pop round, say hello and give me one of his art books at UK Games Expo. I have it sitting here on my board game shelf in pride of place.

My probably favourite moment of the event was meeting Daniel Newman, trick-taking maestro a la excellence and not only eat fish and chips with him, talk about our shared interest that is trick-taking games and get some previews of his upcoming games, but also play one of his games, Enemy Anemone. I have since endlessly bored my family and friends by talking about this special moment.

I also need to speak about Martina Fuchs and Manuel Fritsch, who are members of the Spiel des Jahres jury and who represented the German board game association at UK Games Expo. They had all the nominees for the year’s award at the event, which took place about a month before the winners were going to be announced. Martina had contacted me beforehand and asked if I was willing to take the games off them, so they didn’t have to take them back to Germany and donate them to good causes, which I happily obliged.

Berlin Con

I met Martina and Manuel again when I was in Berlin, along with many other people from the German board game bubble: Dirk Roos, Nico Wagner, Stephan Kessler, Julia Zerlink and Maren Hoffmann.

At Berlin Con, I finally got to meet the wonderful Uli Blennemann from Spielworxx. He had already been very supportive and helpful on social media and he didn’t let up when I met him in person. It was great to see him and talk about all things board games. He’s such a lovely person.

I also have to thank Ben Maddox of Five Games for Doomsday for being so welcoming and inviting me to a game of Blood Bowl: Team Manager on the first evening of Berlin Con. It was so great to finally meet him in person and hope that some of his mega-celebrity status would rub off on me.

Uli Blennemann of Spielworxx demoing Magnate from Naylor Games
Uli Blennemann of Spielworxx demoing Magnate from Naylor Games

Other Happenings

2023 was also a good year for doing some things outside of Tabletop Games Blog.

I was invited to join the Brainwaves podcast crew as a regular presenter and have really enjoyed working with Iain McAllister and Jamie Adams and am honoured to be part of the team. I have gained a much better insight into how much work Iain puts into getting the articles written up, organizing the recording and then getting everything edited and published.

Let me tell you: it’s a lot of work. So if you’ve not listened to the podcast yet, please do. It’s the best board game news podcast out there, if you ask me. If you like it, please support them in whatever way you can.

I am also pleased to say that I was able to use my language skills in a professional capacity. I worked on a number of games this year, translating some from German into English and others from English into German. You can find out more on my other website, Make My Game Travel, but let me just mention the main projects I have had the honour to be a part of.

The probably biggest and most exciting one is EPOS – A Gentes Game coming from Spielworxx in autumn 2024. There is a lot more work to be done, but it has been so interesting to work on a game of this calibre and size.

However, I also loved working on Ecosfera from Julibert Games. I have previously worked with this independent publisher and it has been a pleasure. Their games are always very interesting and tackle some really important topics.

So if you want help or know someone who needs translating a game from English to German or German to English, please get in touch.


Now comes the boring bit – the blog’s finances.

First of all, I have had some really good commission deals that gave me a bit of extra income. Like always, if I get paid by a company, I won’t review their games. So I had to choose carefully what I was advertising on the site, but I think wooden puzzle boxes, board game accessories and other hobby-adjacent products are fine.

So here is a rough breakdown of the income and outgoings. I’ve been rounding the amounts up to the nearest £10.

Cash Expenses

Blog hosting (including domain name, email, etc.)£190
Board game purchases (including discounted review copies)£1,330
Event attendance (including tickets, travel, food, accommodation, etc.)£520
Cash Expenses Total£2,040

Cash Income

Ad and affiliate income£320
Board game sales (I never sell free review copies)£570
Ko-Fi and Patreon support£440
Cash Income Total£1,330

Cash Profit/Loss

Cash Income minus Cash Expenses-£710

So that means that I have made a cash loss of around £710 in 2023. I will talk about this some more later, but I think you can see that I cannot continue investing this much into the blog.

Next are the non-cash benefits, like the cash equivalent of getting free review copies, press passes to events, etc. These are things that save me money, that I would otherwise have to spend, but of course, they don’t allow me to pay my bills or buy food.

Non-Cash Income

Review copy cash equivalent£570
Events attendance cash equivalent£110
Cash Equivalent Total£680
the nine Spiel des Jahres 2023 nominations and some other games
the nine Spiel des Jahres 2023 nominations and some other games

Looking Ahead

Tightening the Belt

So, after taking a sobering look at my outgoings and income, I think we can all see that there is a fair amount of money being invested. Given that belts need to be tied tighter, I simply cannot justify investing that much into the blog in 2024.

However, that doesn’t mean I will stop. I don’t think I’ll ever stop, to be honest. It does mean though that I have to reduce the amount of money I spend on games for review. That’s the biggest line item in my accounts and the easiest one to tackle.

Already in 2023, I have been sent a lot more free review copies than before. In 2024, I need to rely on this more. I also want to expand on having guest reviewers on the site. Already we’ve heard from Gavin Jones and Hope Thompson. It’s not quite as easy to find the right guest reviewers as it is to have someone write an opinion piece on the blog, but it’s certainly something I’m looking at more. So if you want to review a game on Tabletop Games Blog, please do get in touch and let’s talk.

If I am unable to fill the weekly review slot, then I will just have to cut back and only publish reviews when I can. I’d prefer to stick to the weekly schedule, but needs must. Let’s see how it goes. I’m quite hopeful at this stage, especially as there are still a number of games due to arrive that I have already paid for.

A Good Year Ahead

Other than that, I think 2024 will be another great year. I’m planning to attend the same two conventions, UK Games Expo and Berlin Con, again and also demo again for Asmodee. So, if you’re going, let me know. I’ve made more time for UK Games Expo, so hopefully, we can meet up and maybe even play a game together or two.

I also expect to play a lot of games again in 2024. I seem to have a good mix of playing with my games group online, with the neighbours in person and sometimes with the family. I am also trying to attend board game play events more and get even more playtime under my belt.

All in all, 2023 was great and 2024 will be even better. I hope to you see then. In the meantime, have a wonderful holiday season, relax, recharge and get ready for another year of fun and excitement.

Useful Links

Audio Version

Intro Music: Bomber (Sting) by Riot (

Music: “Stars” by AShamaluevMusic.

Music: “Pleasure” by AShamaluevMusic.


These are the songs I listened to while I was writing this review:

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