Welcome to 2021!
2020 was a very hard year, not just as a boardgamer but as a person in general.
The arrival of COVID-19 and extreme measures taken to counteract it have really taken a toll on me and Dude Take Your Turn in general. But we’ve all persevered.
If you’ve survived and you are in at least a decent mental place, good on you. We did good.
If you are struggling, I’m sorry and I hope you are able to get the help you need to keep moving on until things get back to a relative normal.
One thing I have found funny ever since the beginning of this pandemic. We’re all familiar with the post-apocalyptic movies and books where a disease has run rampant and wiped out half of the world’s population or something like that. The planet is left desolated and roving bands of marauders are making life miserable even as the “good guys” are banding together in small towns to try and survive what’s going on, and perhaps thrive.
The thing these authors and writers have never really shown us (maybe because it would make a boring movie) is the entire world going on lockdown, basically shutting down society for months on end to try and stem the tide of the pandemic.
And it’s largely working (even though too many people have died from this disease).
You don’t see that in the novels or movies!
Anyway, last year, after seeing a number of my fellow bloggers do this, I did a retrospective of how Dude Take Your Turn did in 2019.
If you want to see a little bit of history of how Dude Take Your Turn was formed, I explained it in the introduction to that post so I won’t do that again.
However, I also wanted to do a little bit of a 2020 retrospective in general.
I actually had a good first two months as far as boardgaming went.
I attended three conventions in those two months and got a lot of games (and new to me) games played.
I ended up playing 62 unique games, which isn’t bad considering 9.5 of the 12 months of 2020 were playing with my non-gamer wife.
The highlight of the “new to me” genre was definitely Shards of Infinity, just because not only did I play it for the first time at a convention with my wife, but I bought it and we have played it many more times during our lockdown.
I made it to OrcaCon, CascadeCon, and Dice Tower West in those two months before we were locked down and all of them were great experiences.
Dice Tower West was amazing because it was my first “major” con and also my first trip to Las Vegas.
I not only got to play some great games, but I got to meet some of my Twitter friends for the first time and it was glorious. Kiki Aimerito was awesome to meet, but also Meeple Overboard (I’m sorry, I don’t remember your name!) and Stephen Buonocore. I even got to chat with Eric Summerer and Tom Vasel! Tom seemed very busy and distracted (I think I hit him at a bad time), but the conversation with Eric was wonderful. It’s never a bad thing to talk about Merchant of Venus.
I also got to extend my friendship with Sean from Thing 12 Games and even got a couple of games in with him. One of these days, I will join his convention game of Xia: Legends of a Drift System. My game of Paladins of the West Kingdom with him and PacificNW_Gamer at OrcaCon in January is still a highlight of my 2020 experience.
Once the pandemic came on in full force, though, and all of British Columbia was in lockdown, gaming became a thing to do with my wife. Sure, there were apps (and some great apps, like Wingspan! Which many of you seem to have been looking for as it’s on pace to reach 1000 views in just a week or so) that I played asynchronously with my online friends.
But any face-to-face gaming was with my wife.
Which is not a bad thing, except my mental health took a drastic downswing.
She was ready and willing to play whatever I wanted, but I just wasn’t in the right mindset.
We did play a lot of games over the last 10 months, but we could have played so many more if I had just been in the right mood.
We were both still working, which was a godsend. I know not everybody can say that. I was working from home and she still had to go into work every day.
So weekends were really the only time that was feasible.
But come Sunday when we talked about playing games, many times I was just not able to muster the energy.
We still managed to play a bunch of games, and also new expansions for games I already had.
I’m happy with what we’ve done. These games have kept me going during this tumultuous time.
Here’s hoping that 2021 brings some more actual boardgame meet-ups and maybe even a convention or two! Probably not at least until the Summer, but with the vaccines being administered, we can at least maybe see this on the horizon.
Needless to say, the lack of motivation in gaming has also affected my blogging, since this is a board game blog, you know.
All of that being said, it didn’t turn out too badly.
I had some lean months (6 posts in September and 5 posts in October are kind of the low-lights) but overall, I’m only a few posts short of what I did in 2019 (where I did 117). I’m going to end 2020 with 111 posts.
The one weird thing about 2020 (as far as the blog goes, as there are many weird things about this year in general!) is that my total hits are up but that’s mainly because of two specific posts.
Back in May and June, I happened to see a brief mention in a post on Boardgame Geek about a possible Terraforming Mars Big Box going on Kickstarter. Apparently Stronghold Games CEO Stephen Buonocore had mentioned it in his podcast.
I quickly did a post about it.
And the post just took off.
Keep in mind this is a blog where my post with the biggest hits has only 1600 in a year or two.
This post now has over 14,000 hits in just 6 months.
Because of the Kickstarter, I asked Stephen if I could do a Q&A with him about the Kickstarter.
He graciously agreed and even let me post it a couple of days before the Kickstarter went live.
That has over 11,000 hits.
Needless to say, this has skewed my total stats for the year!
Even without those two posts, though, my stats are much higher than they were in 2019.
Something that is gratifying to see but kind of mystifying is that over the last week (from Christmas onward), my average views per day have been higher than they’ve ever been.
I guess people have been getting games for Christmas and been checking out reviews!
In 2020, I had 64,349 views. Even taking away the two posts mentioned above, I had 39,125 views. Last year I had 20,102 views.
I had 45,960 visitors in 2020 (I can’t remove the visitors for those two posts, but I’m sure many of them were just for the posts themselves so I can safely remove the 25,000 visitors for those). That leaves me with about 20,000 visitors while in 2019 I had 12,889.
Needless to say, the blog is doing well! Even with my lengthy times away when I wasn’t feeling up to blogging this year.
I wrote 180,742 words, which is probably enlarged due to the numerous “list” posts that I did to actually have some content this year. I really enjoyed doing the BGG Top 100 and then the BGG Top 200. The average words per post was 1628, but again that’s probably due to the “list” posts.
While there were a couple of months where I had no “new to me” games played, when I did play new games I still consistently did a “new to me games” post for that month. I’m very satisfied that I’ve been able to keep that up.
Not counting the two posts mentioned above, my most viewed post in 2020 was my review of Architects of the West Kingdom. That is still the second (again, not counting the above-mentioned two posts) most viewed post I’ve done with 1526 hits.
I now have four posts that have achieved the 1000-view total, which is great considering that last year I only had one. Two posts are within 50 views of hitting that mark too so hopefully next year.
My app review of Wingspan is increasing in leaps and bounds this week, so I’m confident that one will hit 1000 soon, even though right now it’s at 796.
When I start to get down on myself, I have to remember this is really a hobby blog. I haven’t invested any money or anything like that into the blog (though that will be changing shortly) so I should be happy with these numbers even though some of my most-admired blogs (like my friends at the Players’ Aid) have pretty huge numbers.
I can’t compare us, because we’ve been doing different things.
Those of you who read regularly (even if I don’t actually see you), I really appreciate you checking out the blog whenever anything new comes up. You are a big part of why this has been as successful as it is, and I hope you continue to come see what is happening.
Needless to say, the US is my biggest source of readers, but surprisingly the UK is my second with 4861 views. Canada is third and Germany fourth (thanks, Clio!).
I actually got hits (just one) from Palau, Malawi, Brunei and Grenada as well! So thanks to that one person who stopped by this year.
Last year, I said “One goal for 2020 is to not take so much time away from it. Sometimes, as I said above, it feels like it’s not worth it. I get down on myself and I have to pull myself up by my bootstraps and get posting again.”
While I didn’t quite succeed in that (having not posted quite as many posts as last year), I think it’s understandable given the situation. I did get down on myself at times, but it makes sense considering everything that was going on.
Here’s hoping 2021 is a much better year in a lot of ways, but definitely in regards to this blog. I do plan on doing more posts this coming year as I am actually going to be putting a bit of money into it.
Will that make a difference?
Time will tell.
One thing I have decided to do is actually buy a WordPress plan, change up the theme and do a better job of both writing more consistently as well as keeping better track of how the blog is doing. Traffic this last week has skyrocketed, at least compared to where it was even before Christmas (so for some other bloggers it would still be way below their daily view count).
I want to keep that up and hopefully improve it even more.
Let me know what your plans are in 2021, and if you are a reader of the blog, maybe let me know so I can count you among my regulars?
Here’s to a much better 2021.
I’ll keep my fingers crossed.
I am thankful for all of you and hope for all the best in 2021!