Monday, 20 January 2014

100,000 posts and a retrospective

This blog has reached 100,000 posts.  I never thought it  would get this far.  When I started it in 2010, it was as a way to get back in the hobby while I was time-poor with two small children.  My aim was to solo test a few ancient rules for fast play on a small board size.  There was a dearth of the very thorough reviews that I liked - those that showed in detail how the rule mechanisms worked during a game.  So I decided to blog these battle replays using the same ancient battle:
Nearly 50% of my posts relate to these battle replays so I did not do too badly, afflicted as we all are with starting other projects mid-project.
So, that was the primary aim.  In early 2011 Dave Howitt of Britannia Miniatures tragically passed away.  I was a big fan of his Battalion level 20mm WW2 rules Take Cover!! but had not played with my 20mm collection since about 2004.  So it was an opportunity to dig out the rules and play a game.  This lead me to remind myself how much I liked WW2 gaming and built up some 6mm armies so I could play some solo games on a small table.  I did play some games, but not as much as I would have liked.  I also started acquiring more WW2 rules but ended up writing some of my own.  I am still tinkering with them.
And I did a few projects I had wanted to do for a while - play Hydapses with a few different rules; play a few battles using Cyrus the Great armies against different opponents.  But I had always wanted to play all the Peter Sides scenarios from the three Ancient and Medieval scenario books.  I had just started writing my own set of fast play ancient rules (based on some scratchings from 2001) and thought this would be a good way to test them out.  This has been great fun so far and will continue.

If anyone is interested, here is the gaming map drawers - silky oak and the picture does not do it justice. 
Silky oak map drawers.  The three open at the far end are where I play ancients and ww2.  The closet drawer houses rules I am playing or recently acquired. Other closed drawers hols plaints, terrain and some boardgames. The far computer is my ASUS slate  that I use for all blogging.  If fact, it is my only machine - the others in the picture are my wife's.
My wife was looking for some cheap map drawers to store wood veneers in.  We walked into a huge second hand office warehouse and this was at the the far end.  I knew straight away that my wife would pick it!  And so we walked away with something 10 times more expensive than what "we" were looking for.  But it is a fantastic piece of furniture so I did not mind, and at the time thought I could use it to store some boardgames while in play (that did not happen but I have had Steve Jackson's One Page Bulge setup for about 2 years in one of the drawers!).  It now goes in a corner of the lounge and I have taken over most of the drawers.  Each drawer is about 2.5'x2.5' .  The top drawer is 5'x2.5' but I do not have ownership of that!  So I have three 2'x2' green boards that sit in the drawers and  I use for almost all my figure gaming.
The main thing about gaming blogging is the community of gaming bloggers.  There are not that many of us and we all seem to crop up everywhere - forums, on each other's blogs etc.  It have been an absolute pleasure to be part of this.

When I first started the blog, I had no idea what I was doing or the level of interest out there.  I had been on TMP for only a little while and posted a topic there when I posted a blog entry.  Compared to other blogs, I would be happy to get to 10 followers and a few hundred hits a month.  I have delivered approximately 100 posted over nearly four years - that is a post just under every two weeks.   I have now 70 followers and hits are about 3000-4000 a month.  I would never have thought my ramblings may be of such interest!  I post what I would like to see but the hit rate is always pleasing (and good for the ego).  My wife is stunned I am past 100 hits, let alone 100,000!
Blog Stats
Comments are about 300 on 100 posts.  I respond to most comments but that still means I get about 1.5 comments per post.  My most comments are normally on reviews.

Most popular posts/pages (via Google Analytics, not Blogger):
1. Take Cover!! WW2 rules review
2. WW2 rules ramblings and draft rules
3. Ancient Battlelines Clash (rules)
4. Rally Round the King: Persians V Romans
5. Irregular Miniatures Ancients Rules Review
6. Warrior Kings Review
7. Callinicum refight with Mighty Armies Ancients
8. Mighty Armies Ancients AAR - Greeks Vs Persians
9. Wars Ancient rules overview and battle report - Persians Vs Romans
10. WW2 1943 Eastern Front Take Cover report

Note: don't use Google Analytics if you love your blogger stats!  while you can do far more analysis and detailed drill downs on blog data via Analytics, the hits are only about 60% (or are for me) than reported by blogger due to not recording bot or known spammers.  I use it occasionally to see where some hits are coming from in a bit more detail than blogger.

The thing I gleam from all the statistics is that rules reviews are really popular, and that WW2 posts are generally more popular than than Ancients (this shows up more when I look past the first 10).
What does the next few years hold for this blog?  More of the same:
  • Continue trying out the remaining 10-15 rules that are on my list to play.  I have yet to pick a battle but leaning to Sentinum after playing it with my rules.
  • Continue with the Peter Sides scenario replays using my own solo-friendly rules.
  • Get in a few more games with spaceships. Have lots of rules but no idea on what I will try out - likely give Full Thrust a go but who knows?
  • Increase face to face gaming.  I succeeded in 2013 of increasing non-solo games compared to 2012, that in itself was an increase over 2011 that was also an increase over 2010 ( none).
  • Play more 6mm WW2 but using the rules I have acquired and paid money for.  I wrote a list of the ones I would like to play and stopped at 30!  I need to prioritise this a bit :-)  I think I have a top 10 I have wanted to try out for a while and will start there.
  • Attempt to try out a few more games with my latest incarnation of WW2 rules - Advancing Battalions.
The one new area of gaming over the next few years is to play some of the boardgames I have acquired over the last 30 years.  I did used to play lots of boardgames in the 80s but nearly none since then.  I have a list of a top 10 here too, some designed for solo play, some not.  I am hoping to focus a bit here and play 10 in 2014 (compared to zero in 2013 and one in 2012).

And If I ever acquire some second hand GW fantasy figures (there is a possibility), I may start playing some fantasy games such as Kings of War but no rush there.

Final Word
Thanks to all of you out there that read the posts, comment and provide feedback.  I am glad to have started the blog to get back into gaming - it has been an enjoyable 4 years and here is to many, many more!


  1. Here's to many more posts - cheers!

    I especially enjoyed the ancients rules comparison series.

    1. ..and sometime this year I will update the rules comparison from 2 years ago with the 12 or so new rules I have played since then. As it takes a while to do, it will be a while before it happens! and i still have another 5-10 rules I would like to try out!

  2. Congrats! And keep up the great work!!

    1. Thanks Ray! You are in the big league compared to me!

  3. Congratulations! Map drawers rule.

    1. Thanks Paul. Map drawers are amazing. I have a friend whose widfe also go a set of quality map drawers and she siad "don't you use any of them". I think over the last 5 years he has managed to get half of the drawers under his control!

      Wait until I post a picture of the 100 year old 3'x5' folding timber veneered table that I sometimes use. But this was my choice - I spent probably 10 years looking for something like it. Each leaf of each side is 2'x3'. It folds away to a 1'x3' table... but hey, I am distracted. And I keep a lot of my figures in two old specimen drawers (ex-museum). that way, the furniture looks good around the house,and is storing my stuff where I can easily open up and look at it.

      I am rambling and will stop now.

  4. Replies
    1. Thanks Phil! I seem to remember you hit the 100,000 late last year as well!

  5. Always a pleasure to drop by yours, Shaun. You have a great blog and your dedication to detailing games and rules mechanisms as they are played is wonderful. Here's to 100,000 more! Cheers, Aaron

    1. Thanks Aaron. I have been a follower of your blog for quite a while. I remember you being an early supporter of this blog!