As much as 2020 sucked for long periods of time (mainly due to COVID and the lockdowns/health issues that dominated the world), 2021 was predicted to be a year where things would start looking up.
Vaccines for COVID were becoming available and people could actually see an end to all of the loneliness and despair, the health issues and people dying needlessly.
Then 2021 actually came and…well, it sucked even worse. Yes, there were those lights. Things started getting back to some semblance of normal. I got my first shot in May 2021 and my second shot in July. I started being able to go to game days in August, so my gaming world did improve.
But the rest of the world didn’t.
The intensity of the culture wars has gone through the roof, having added the war between people who take the vaccines and try to take care of people, still wearing masks when necessary because we’re not out of the woods yet, and those who believe that the vaccines are evil, that they don’t work, that vaccine requirements are Hitlerian.
Guess which side I’m on.
This isn’t a year in review article, but I still just wanted to mention how much 2021 truly was terrible. The January 6 attack on the US Capitol, countless anti-mask and anti-vaccine protests walking down the streets, still more demonstrations that the world basically sucks right now.
Too many of them to go into here.
On a personal level, I was in a horrible mental place throughout much of the year. Too much going on and not enough mental capacity to deal with it.
However, even with the Omicron wave setting records for COVID infections, things are kind of looking up. This seems like a last desperate gasp for the disease and if we can just weather this storm, COVID may be on its way to becoming more like the flu: potentially deadly (flu kills tens of thousands of people a year) but for a large portion of the population just something else to deal with.
One can hope, anyway.
But then, just as 2021 is ending (literally, the last day and some in the world were already into 2022!), the year decides to give us one more fucking kick in the ass on its way out.
Betty White died yesterday.
Such a bright icon in the sea of idiocy that is the world right now. Whenever she was trending on Twitter, people wondered, but it was always for some very good (and sometimes very funny) reason.
But not yesterday. Sadly, this time it was for real.
Rest in peace, Betty. You will be missed but now, as you said, you know the secret.
Another indication of how much 2021 can just get wrapped up and shot into the sun.
I almost didn’t want to do this blog retrospective, but I’ve been doing it for a couple of years now and I don’t want to let a horrible year keep me from doing what I love doing.
Even though I had some trouble doing it earlier this year.
So with that, let’s get started.
Last year’s entry wasn’t nearly as long, so sorry about that!
For those of you new to the blog, my 2019 retrospective went into detail on how this blog was conceived, so I won’t bother my long-time readers with that.
This year was an up and down year for Dude Take Your Turn, but ultimately it turned out about the same as last year, and my gaming picked up, mainly from our weekly game days starting again in August and us returning to campus for work since lunchtime games are a big source of my gaming normally.
I played 73 unique games this year (as opposed to 62 last year)
Prior to September, most of my gaming was online, either asynchronously or a few live plays of faster games (plus some lunchtime games with co-workers on Boardgame Arena). I don’t actually count async games in my “games played” count, for reasons outlined here.
My wife was willing to play games with me while we were still in more of a lockdown mode but my mental capacity for doing it just wasn’t there.
There were a few highlights, though.
My friend Michal (from the Boardgames Chronicle) was a godsend this year.
He introduced me to the world of Combat Commander which is my new passion. I love this game so much!
We played (and are still playing, actually) asynchronously using Discord as our way of passing files back and forth, as well as checking on things (“are you going to fire on this squad moving?”).
Other than my wife (who has done so much for me and I don’t know how I would have gotten through the first 6-8 months without her), Michal played a big part in keeping me sane those first months.
Thank you, Michal.
Then I started the Combat Commander ladder in May (taking June off, though) and I’ve been doing pretty well, at least until last month’s train wreck of a game. But I shall get back to my winning ways!
Seeing my friends again starting in August when we could get together for games again was definitely a great part of the year.
I was able to play a bunch of the games I’d collected over the past 18 months, along with some games that they’ve collected as well.
I discovered some great ones that way, like Terraforming Mars: Ares Expedition, which is a fabulous game.
But it was also just nice seeing them all again.
As far as the blog goes, 2021 was about as up and down as 2020 was, though I did manage to write one more post than I did last year (112 as opposed to 111).
Last year’s views and visitors stats were skewed by The Podfather of Gaming (Stephen Buonocore) with two posts that had huge hit totals (the Terraforming Mars Big Box announcement and my interview with him about it, having a combined total of over 25,000 views).
Thus, my 2021 stats are down this year.
However, I take heart in the fact that, removing those two posts, my hit totals are about the same. In fact, they slightly increased.
I had 44,587 views and 30,095 visitors in 2021 (minus those two posts, I had around 39,125 views last year).
My writing was down a bit this year, or at least the length of my posts. However, I know why that is.
One of the things that kept me going in 2020 was my posts about the Boardgame Geek board games ranking and whether I’ve played the games or not. Those posts are quite long and I only did one series of them this year.
I did three series last year.
Thus, I wrote 157,842 words this year (181,075 last year). My average words per post was 1409 (1631 last year, again due to the lists).
For some reason, my review of the app version of Wingspan has taken off and never really dropped. It’s very consistent in its views, and was #1 for me this year with 4,208 views (it will reach 5,000 hits in a day or two!).
Yeah, that’s from the announcement of the upcoming Wingspan: European Expansion. Which I can’t wait for!
Also for some reason, people have been looking for the 2021 Marvel – Legendary expansions as my post about them still continues to garner hits, just not at the same rate as Wingspan. It ended the year at 2,669 (and sadly, only the Annihilation expansion actually made it out!)
I now have 11 posts that have made the 1000 hit mark (as opposed to 4 last year) so things are definitely looking good there.
I know those numbers don’t sound big for a “successful” blog, but we all define success in our own way.
I have fun doing this blog (even though I did have trouble throughout the pandemic lockdowns) and I don’t put a lot of money into it. It’s a hobby and one I enjoy.
And I’m starting to actually get review copies of games!
To me, that’s a kind of measure of success, that a game company thinks that it’s worth sending you a game to do a review for.
I really appreciate Alderac Entertainment Group for being one of the first major companies (rather than a small publisher, who I’ve done a few reviews of their games before) to actually send me a couple of review copies (Ten and Whirling Witchcraft).
So look for those reviews in the next couple of months (I have to play them first, and that’s the difficult part sometimes).
Once again, as I said last year, I have to remember that this is a hobby blog. I’m not going to have huge numbers of hits and be super successful as far as publicity goes and stuff.
This is just for fun.
I do appreciate my regular visitors, though, including a couple that I just found out about this year (hi, James!). You are the best.
So let’s go into the visitors for the final part of this (yes, long-winded, sorry about that) blog.
Obviously once again my main readership is in the US, with 18,587 visitors.
Canada is logically my second highest with 5,353. This actually passed the UK this year (3,363) which was second last year.
Germany’s dropped to fifth (1,565), just behind Australia (1,855).
Clio, you gotta pick it up, man. Geez.
Finally, there were a few countries from which I only had one visitor.
This year, I will pick out Greenland, Gibraltar, and Gabon!
Thanks to whomever came here from there, and the other 28 countries who had only one visitor each.
I appreciate you all.
I hope 2022 treats you well, much better than 2021 did. I truly do intend to write more in 2022 and I will do my best to keep that promise.
More reviews and fewer lists.
That being said, I do have my newest Top 25 of all time series coming up as I have now played over 400 games.
Also, because all of my top games will be in that Top 25, I’m not going to do a “best games played in 2021” post. I may just note it when the time comes.
Keep an eye out for that, and I truly wish you the best new year.