Erik Twice in review: Year 2021
What a year! In the last twelve months I may have written some of my best articles yet. More people than ever read my blog and I’ve met many of you, who are as excited to talk about games as I am. Today I look back at all the articles I’ve written last year, what I think about them and what I’m planning for the future.
MY FAVOURITE ARTICLES
I’ve published so much stuff I liked that I find it hard to pick any favourites. I feel there has been an important step up in quality, not just when it comes to the writing itself, but also the topics I cover. My body of work is much more coherent than it was back in 2020. From that point of view, there are four new articles that stand out:
- The Republic of Rome ★★★★★ – Can a game characterized by unfairness, dishonest deal-making and brutal randomness be great? This is one of the most fun reviews I wrote this year.
- Tragedy Looper should not be Westernized – Settings in board games are often seen as interchangeable. My defense of Tragedy Looper‘s anime aesthetic and cultural influences is part of my belief that they are not.
- Unfathomable vs Battlestar Galactica: Which one is better? – I’m proud of this one, not just because it’s a good article, but because I had to put in a lot of work to write it. I met quite a few times just to play both games and it shows.
- Interview: The player habits of Cole Wehrle, designer of Root – My last article of the year is also one of the most important. It’s the first interview I publish in my blog and it turned out amazingly well. Check it out!
Once again, my most popular article was my beginner strategy guide for Terraforming Mars. Can you believe I once thought the game would be a “flash in the pan”? No matter how widely read my other articles seem to be, or how much shared they are on Twitter, Reddit and other social media. Terraforming Mars seems to beat them all!
However, for me, the biggest difference hasn’t been the articles I’ve written but the people who read them. This year I’ve gotten more comments, more support and participated in more debates with all of you than ever before. Hearing your thoughts and seeing all the discussion my analysis and reviews have created is my highlight of the year. After all, the main reason I’m here is to help others!
Many of you tell me I have an unique perspective, that I talk about games in ways you rarely hear about. To me, there’s no higher praise! The way we see games is often too narrow. It’s easy to think that improved visuals, the standard set of design principles and the latest releases is all there is to gaming. But there’s more and I want to share it with everyone.
I think I did a much better job with that this year. When someone wrote about my articles on Twitter, Reddit or my own comments, I tried to pop in. I followed other critics and read their work more often. I even appeared in a podcast to talk about the greatest board games of all time! Interacting with the community has been a great experience and, as I see from my follower count, it seems you had fun as well!
Lastly, I want to thank my supporters on Patreon. The fact that someone would go as far as supporting me monetarily is still mind blowing to me. I don’t think I could have kept doing this without anyone to help cover my server costs. Having a little more economic leeway allowed me to review Hanamikoji and other great games. I can’t say it enough, thank you.
NEW YEAR GOALS
A new year means a new opportunity to improve. As more people read me than ever, I want to keep delivering the best articles I can. In fact, I’m already working on a few things.
- More interviews– My talk with Cole Wehrle has been the first of what I hope becomes a mainstay feature of the site. I’m already working to chat with other designers to see what makes them tick! There’s so much we can learn about games if we just ask those who make them.
- Planning in advance – The largest difference this year will be how I work. Instead of writing as I come across interesting games, I’ll be planning my articles in advance. I want to have everything, from the translations to the social media links, ready at least one week before publication.
- More rounded coverage – One of the odd things about my blog is that I often write of analysis of games I haven’t reviewed. I want to change that. If I cover a game, I’ll review it as well. If I talk about one expansion, I’ll try to talk about the others. It’s a small thing but I think it makes for a more coherent body of work.
- A new games fund – I’m saving a bit of money to buy and review new games. I’ve already earmarked titles releasing next year and I’ll be covering them as soon as possible. Having a dedicated fund should help keep expenses under control and let me write about all those cool games you want to hear about.
How have you liked my blog this year? Which articles did you like the most? And what would you like me to write more about? Let me know because I love hearing your thoughts. Hope we all have a great year!