Monday, December 29

2014: The Year in Review

2014 has been a pretty good, if slightly strange, year. It started on New Year's Eve in the house on my own. Thanks to radiotherapy for my overactive thyroid I had to keep my distance from The Daughter for three weeks. With her only 16 months old it was going to be very unfair for me to always be around but never come near her or give her a cuddle, so The Wife and The Daughter stayed in Bristol after Christmas and I came home on my own and got nuked. I got the dose on New Year's Eve in the afternoon, that evening I was at my most radioactive - so I didn't even go out and see friends. Definitely the second crappiest New Year's Eve of my life.

The next three weeks I was home alone, so I got to live the bachelor life style: eating like a student and playing games all the time - I even got a game of Twilight Imperium III in! On the way to rescue The Wife and The Daughter I stopped in at Terry's and had a day's gaming with my old Bedford group. I used to see them for games every week, but since moving to Newcastle (about 250 miles away) I don't get to see much of them at all. The rest of the year was busy but good fun, with a trip to Baltimore for work (but no impromptu gaming this time!), a convention (Beer and Pretzels in Burton again with Terry). But in November we had some bad news which derailed my NaGa DeMon efforts a bit.

Games Design

I'd set myself a few goals in 2014 for games design:
  • Make four more versions of Vacuum
  • Get Zombology ready to submit to a publisher
  • Do NaGa DeMon again
I had mixed success. I made new versions of Vacuum in January (during the exile period) and February, but then didn't really touch it for the rest of the year. Goal 1: Failed. My main focus was Zombology instead. I was making a new version almost every month and playing it a lot. Towards the end of the year I was getting pretty happy with it, so much so that when Dan from Newcastle Playtest saw a publisher asking on BGG for that sort of game, I sent it off. It wasn't really ready, but I sent it off anyway. The result? It's not really ready - could have seen that coming! I've now got another version together that I'm hoping to find playtesters for shortly. The publisher is still interested, once it's ready, so I need to crack on really. Goal 2: I submitted it, so I'm going to call that a pass! I did NaGa DeMon again, designing Dragon Dance: Fire v Lance. It's very early days, but I think it's got some legs, so I'll continue working on it next year. NaGa DeMon on the blog was less successful than last year, but it's still my second best month on the blog ever. Goal 3: Passed. In other news, I dusted off Border Reivers and started trying out some ideas for a second edition, taking everything I've learnt in the ten years since I initially designed it and trying to fix some of the flaws.

General Gaming

My goals for gaming in 2014 were:
  • Play at least as many games as there are days in 2014
  • Play every game I own at least once*
Now that I count playtest games and iPad games against humans towards my totals, goal 1 was pretty easy. The Daughter is older and sleeping better than last year and I've been doing a reasonable amount of travel for work with my iPad and some colleagues/victims, so I've aced it. When I wrote this last week I'd played 514 games. Goal 1: Passed. Like a Boss. You'll note the asterisk next to goal two. That's important. According to BoardGameGeek I currently own 71 games (excluding expansions) but six of those are games I own for sentimental reasons, and those I excluded. So I own 65 games. At this point I've played 64 of them, and I'm pretty sure the last one will get played in the next week or so, so that's a provisional: Goal 2: Passed. I've also used this goal to hone my collection, those games that I've been struggling to drum up the enthusiasm to play left the house this year as gifts to friends or Newcastle Gamers. Those that left: Qwirkle, Meuterer, Snow Tails, Pirates of the Spanish Main, Citadels, Cleopatra and the Society of Architects, Tigris and Euphrates and Clans.

My five and dimes for this year were:
  • 63: Zombology - the joy of designing a short game is that you can test it quickly, over and over again
  • 28: Ra - mostly on the iPad on the train
  • 27: Martian Dice - including testing my Windows Phone app with friends
  • 26: Coup - a Games Night staple
  • 25: Hey! That's My Fish! - on the train
  • 23: Dragon Dance - all since the beginning of November!
  • 23: Carcassonne - on the train again
  • 18: Love Letter - at Games Night
  • 16: Rumis - great fun
  • 16: Race for the Galaxy - mostly with the Alien Artifacts expansion (sans orb bit)
  • 13: 6 Nimmt! - at Games Night
  • 12: Stone Age - on the iPad
  • 11: X-Wing Minis - with Dave mostly
  • 10: Lords of Waterdeep - on the iPad and in the flesh
  • 10: Pandemic - on the iPad mostly
  • 10: Stormy Seas - all on Christmas Day! This is straight onto my wishlist
  • 9: 7 Wonders - still popular at Games Night
  • 7: Hive - no idea when I played this!
  • 6: Codename: Vacuum - early on, before I focussed on Zombology
  • 6: Coloretto - Games Night filler
  • 6: No Thanks! - Games Night filler
  • 6: Hol's der Geier - Games Night filler
  • 6: Die Speicherstadt - Games Night
  • 5: Firefly - Love this, just wish it was shorter, so it fit comfortably in a Games Night
  • 5: Puerto Rico - on the iPad
  • 5: Forbidden Island - iPad, I don't own the cardboard version


My goals for blogging this year were:
  • Write a blog post every Monday
  • Get 40,000 page views
  • Gain 10 new followers
Again, mixed success! I blogged every Monday in 2014 except one, when an automatic scheduling error during my holiday in the wilds meant it didn't go live until Tuesday when I wandered into some mobile signal and checked. I'm gonna call that Goal 1: Passed. During 2014 I got 41,500 page views. Goal 2: Passed. But only three new followers, Goal 3: Failed.

My most popular posts of the year were:

Windows Phone Apps

In addition to playing, designing and writing about board games, this year I started developing board game-related apps for my Windows Phone, a few of them are personal apps for helping me design or test my games, but three of them seemed of interest to others, so I made them freely available this year. Between them they've only had 60 downloads, so they're not wildly successful, but I did them for my own interest and as programming exercises, so if they are useful to anyone else at all that's an added bonus. I'd like to keep up the app designing next year too.

That's enough wittering for now, so until next week's Goals for 2015 blog post; I hope you all had good years too, and here's hoping next year will be even better!


7isprime said...

Happy new year, Jack! Hope you'll have a great 2015 too!

Jackson Pope said...

Hiya Enrique,

Thanks! All the best to you and your family too.