Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Scoring 2012 for Gaming: 112 to 8

This has been a pretty good year for gaming- actually, strike that- a really good year for gaming. Played a number of new board games while keeping my new purchases relatively modest. I only have a couple of games I own which I haven’t yet been able to play.
  • Went to GenCon. Met Robin Laws and Simon Rogers and said how much I liked their work. Met Risus Monkey I didn’t get to play since I went to pitch a board game to three companies. (Sidebar: That was a strange experience. I spent a number of years as an acquisitions editor and as a professional. I have certain expectations about conduct that don’t function in this industry. I had the same experience in dealing with comic book professionals. They operate in a very different way than I’ve experienced elsewhere. I think that has something to do with the scale and type of material the industries deal with. It is a cycle which creates certain expectations- teaching behaviors that get passed down. I’ll have to keep that in mind as I do more pitches.)
  • Won the RPG Geek 24-Hour RPG Contest with my entry, Arclight Revelation Tianmar. Wrote a piece for Pelgrane Press.
  • Put together two solid and complete game hacks for Scion and Legend of the Five Rings to FATE and my homebrew respectively. Printed copies through Lulu. Tried out a number of new game systems and made important improvements to the current Action Cards homebrew.
  • Recorded ten episodes of an RPG Podcast. This could be considered an unofficial RPG Geek Podcast, given that the four of us met through that site. We’ll start releasing episodes in mid-January.
  • Got into G+ which I get a lot out of. Played G+ Hangout games with and without Tabletop Forge. Learned some new gaming tricks.
  • Kept up with my duties for the Iron Reviewer Contest on RPG Geek, producing a review a week. Beginning 1/5/13 that goes to dailies. I’m one of six people remaining right now. Wrapped up my blog over there, The Domesday Lists. Tried to reduce my effort over there. That stems from some discourtesies admins after having done a good deal of behind-the-scenes work. The G+ RPG community is quite strong and I actually use that more.
  • Got cross-linked on the blog by a number of interesting people. Added a bunch of new people to my RSS feeds. Got name-checked on Ken and Robin Talk About Stuff. Got a nice note from someone who’d found my old miniatures rules Ge Koku Jo. They suggested revised and publishing as a pdf.
  • Sponsored a number of cool RPG Kickstarters. Bought a number of new games, most of which I’m pleased with. Received a simple tablet from my mom which has allowed me to burn through rpg pdfs more seriously now.
  • Played with regular groups of sixteen different players. Played irregularly or in one-offs with another 20+ people, many of them for the first time this year. Wrapped four campaigns or campaign arcs this year. Got to play with my sister for the first time in well over a dozen years.
  • Made a few changes to Right of Succession. Probably played four dozen games of it this year. Still enjoy it immensely.

  • Libri Vidicos: Steampunk Magic School using Action Cards. Campaign started Jan 2007. At a guess twenty sessions run this year.
  • Changeling the Lost: Homebrew version using Action Cards/FATE. Campaign started October 2008. At a guess sixteen sessions run this year. We play bi-weekly on Thursdays, making it a game subject to bumps.
  • Artifact Hunters: Fantasy game using Action Cards/FATE with a Microscope session to begin. Campaign started September 2011. 8 sessions run in this year. Campaign wrapped up in April.
  • Last Fleet: Fantasy game using Action Cards/FATE with a Microscope session to begin. Campaign started may of 2011. At a guess 22 sessions this year.
  • Third Continent High Fantasy: Fantasy game using Action Cards. Campaign started April 2009; ran final session this year. At a guess 14 sessions played this year.
  • Mutants & Masterminds G+: Fourteen sessions done weekly.
  • Scion: A FATE Hack I put together (rules here). Eight sessions run for this complete mini-campaign.
  • Legend of the Five Rings: Hacked version using Action Cards/FATE. Just begun; two sessions run.
  • Changeling the Lost Vegas: G+ game. Began with Microscope-style city-building. Just begun; two sessions run.
  • Hollowpoint: Two stand-alone sessions, one with monster hunters and the other with Skyrim as the skin.
  • FATE Hunter the Reckoning: Two episodic sessions run for niece and nephew
  • FATE Core: One session with character creation trying out the new mechanics.
  • Ashen Stars: One session using the Terra Nova module. Tried a Savage Worlds hack to the action mechanics of Gumshoe.


  • Fiasco on G+: Playset: “The Penthouse”
  • Fiasco f2f: Playset: “Camp Dead”
  • Dragon Age (One session, demo scenario)
  • Ambition & Avarice (One session, G+)
  • Savage Worlds Game Day Demo
  • Microscope: three times as stand-alone


  • White Mountain, Black River: Wushu homebrew put on hold in order to run the Last Fleet campaign. We had the opportunity to include a couple of new people in that campaign, so we set this aside. We plan on returning to wrap this up.
  • Aterlier Auzumel: FATE-based alchemy game for Sherri. She’s had a number of support projects this year which meant we haven’t gotten the time we wanted for this.
Conclusion: I need to play more in 2013. A lot more.  

This post marks my 666th post (scary!!!), beginning my fifth year of blogging. I started this year with about 100 followers, and now I’m up to 172. That’s not a great metric, of course, as it doesn’t mean actual eyeballs or track RSS behavior. I’ve only just activated Google Analytics, so I don’t have full data; next year I hope to have more accurate stats. But I’d say I average around 400-450 pageviews a day? Maybe more, that’s increased throughout the year. I hit 100K pageviews on theblog earlier this year; I'm at about 175K right now.  Last month I had about 14K pageviews, at least that’s what the rough tools tell me. I’m really not sure how that measures up. I still don’t get that much in the way of comments, but I do try to respond when I see them. By the same token, I don’t get that much in the way of comment spam, which suggests my metrics are fairly modest. Changeling, Citybooks, and L5R continue to garner me search hits, but nothing big. I thought Warhammer’s The Enemy Within series would get more attention than it did. The two big successes this year were the History of Horror RPGs lists and the reviews of the Mystaran Gazetteers. I have a couple of other RPG History Lists in the works- Steampunk/Victoriana and Post-Apocalypse.

The Most Popular Posts from 2012

Other solid posts I liked that did decently: Creating Memorable NPCsBy Sword, Spell and Spectre: Warfare in Fantasy RPGs; Cracking Mystara: Ten Last Thoughts; The Best in Horror RPGs: Unfair Verdicts; The New Delta Green: A Scanner Not-so-Darkly; and The Principalities of Glaantri: RPG Items I Like. Actual Play and Campaign Posts, I’ve noticed, get fewer hits, even with commentary to make them useful tools. That’s not surprising. I rarely make it through other people’s narratives of their games, unless they make it clear that there will be comments on how they ran and decisions they made. 

Plans for the Blog this year:
  • First and foremost, once we hit January I’m going to be doing daily reviews to keep up with the Iron Reviewer competition. So other posts will go off to the side. I plan to do two parallel series of reviews. The first, The L5R 4e Resource Guide, will go back through the entire line of Legend of the Five Rings publications. I will analyze each product to see whether it offers anything to a GM of the 4th edition- details, history, culture, ideas, etc. The Second, my What the What Reviews?, will offer an overview of a modest game line (Mummy, Unknown Armies, Orpheus, Mekton, Strands of FATE, etc) to explain what the game’s about, if it is worth picking up, and what you’d actually need to play it. I’ll be doing these until I win the contest.
  • Second, I’ll be putting together some more RPG history lists as I mentioned above. They’re a good deal of work. I could just do a list, but I want to provide some value-added commentary to them.
  • Third, at some point this year I want to host one of the of the RPG Blog Carnivals.
  • Fourth, once the RPG Podcast gets rolling, I hope to have some posts to compliment the material presented in the episode.
  • Fifth, eventually I want to reduce my posting schedule to twice a week so that I can get some more writing done.

A good year for gaming. A good year for some of my friends- two of my favorite people got married and they’ve honestly refreshed my optimism about the human race. Some people I knew passed away this year and a couple are going through rough patches which is uncool. We excised at least one problem person for the group which was tough- a long time member who had simply become really unpleasant to other people. My sister came and visited us, I got to spend time with my new nephew, I saw my Dad, and I got to game with my older niece and nephew.

On the down side, the struggle for work continues. The job hunt- for freelance or other employment remains tough. I think I actually got fewer interviews and responses this year than last with more resumes and contacts sent out. Sherri and I have decided that we’ll talk about a completely different track if nothing comes up by the middle of the year (retraining or some other radical approach like moving, I don’t know).

Bottom line, while there was a lot of drama and stupid stuff in 2012, I generally had a pretty good time- and the greater portion of that was directly or indirectly related to gaming. I hope that continues into 2013. 


  1. All good stuff. I recently turned on the analytics, myself. I do love me some data.

    Have you looked at which sites are sending you the most traffic? That could help explain why certain topics receive more hits than others. For example, I have a feeling that Hollowpoint Skyrim received many hits due to being mentioned and linked to via RPG.net. I could be wrong.

    I play with tags all the time. This year, I spent time editing tags down to a small list. I wonder if that hurts the number of hits my blog receives...or not.

    You may wish to speak to my wife about job hunting. She may have ideas for you. I may need to translate or hyper focus some of them, as I understand your work history and what it entails better than she does.

    The Scion link does not appear to be there.

  2. I have very much enjoyed your blog this past year and look forward to a lot more cool in the year to come.

    Having worked in the comic and RPG industry myself I totally agree that it's a completely different animal from, well, almost anything else. There are elements of 'Big Corporate America!' sitting right next to 'Dude, We Make Comic Books/RPGs! How sweet is that?!', often at the same meeting. The ability to talk to both at the same time is harder than anything I've ever encountered before or after.

    Happy New Year good sir and may it bring you great ideas and good fortune.

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