New Year’s Resolution is a phrase that I am not sure we all truly understand….or maybe, we do. We resolve to change our lives, do something better, more often, when the calendar turns and time moves on to a new period of 365 days that we refer to as a year. But we very rarely follow through with that resolution for long. The definition of the word resolve is “decide firmly on a course of action” or “firm determination to do something”. Keeping these resolutions for less than 30 days is hardly resolved or a firm determination. I think that we should change our use of the words resolution or resolve to wish or desire…but desire may be too strong a word as well.

new-years-resolutions

Well, no matter what your thoughts are on the practice of making and keeping New Year’s Resolutions, we all make them, try futilely to keep them diligently and ultimately fail and give up due to many reasons. So, I decided this year that I was going to create a list of personal resolutions as well as blog related resolutions. I won’t bore you with my personal NYR’s as they are just that…personal. But I will share with you my goals for the year with gaming and our fledgling blog. You can also check out Tim’s Resolutions and Matt (Matt is a member of our group and also has done several guest posts including Broom Service, Mare NostrumThe Grizzled and Rules) will be working up a list also.

You see, when we started in April 2016, I don’t know that any of us (Tim, Alexander or me) knew how our blog would be received or what progress we would ultimately make in 2016. I think that we thought if we got 100 views per day that would be great (that was one of our very early goals) or if we had 30 visitors per day or if we happened to receive a few free review copies of great games that would be great! But our little blog has grown and we are now having to decide what we really want to become…when we grow up. With that I have created some blog centric resolutions, a few gaming resolutions and of course several off the wall, oddball, humorous ones!

Develop More Local Gaming Connections

whos-year-con-2017-imageWe have often discussed how to reach out to many of our Favorite Local Game Stores (FLG’s) to make a connection. We currently frequent two locations in the Indianapolis area, Family Time Games and The Game Preserve. I would like to reach out to them more and try to do some blog posts to highlight them and then use those posts to create even more connections. Members of our group have also actually gone there to play in their large open play areas to try out new games from their library but I have not been able to attend.  I would love to go with them one time just to play. I also would like to attend both Who’s Yer Con 2017 (March 31st to April 2nd on the southwest side of Indianapolis) and Indy Pop Con 2017 (July 7-9th at the Indiana Convention Center) as well as Origins 2017 and Gen Con 50! This is going to be a very busy year for my gaming obsession and I look forward to it with great relish!

Triple the Number of Blog Subscribers

Currently out blog has 80 subscribers (thank you to each one of you who subscribe and read our drivel!) and I would like to hit 250+ by the end of 2017. While this is an ambitious goal I do believe that it is reachable. As long as we continue to put out good regular content we will do it. Some of our best performing posts have been from our Best 3 Games with…. series, our reviews of serious wargames such as Falling Sky and Empire of the Sun, our quirky and readable AAR’s for Combat Commander and other games such as Silver Bayonet, as well as our great series of Designer Interviews. As we continue to do these series, as well as continue to expand into the video arena with our unboxing videos (see our YouTube channel), play throughs, rules explanations and examples of play, we will add subscribers.

Complete 50 New Designer Interviews

In 2016, we posted 37 different interviews with the likes of Volko Ruhnke (Ariovistus, the COIN Series Part I, & Part II), Mark Simonitch, Marc Gouyon-Rety Part I, Part II & Part III, Harold Buchanan, Lee Brimmicombe-Wood, Alexander Pfister, Grant Rodiek, Matt Leacock and many others. So with that many in only 8 months, I am resolving to do 50 in 2017! Seems like a lot (that actually equates to nearly 1 per week) but is very doable.

Reach 1,900 Twitter Followers

follow-us-on-twitterOur Twitter account (@theplayersaidblog) currently has 967 followers (once again thank you to each of our followers) since starting our account in late May. We are very active on social media, tweeting out pictures of our games, responding to questions, poking fun at others and most importantly sharing links to our new posts as well as occasionally sharing older posts that will hopefully be read by a new audience of added followers. I would like to double the number of followers for 2017 reaching 1,900! Ambitious? Yes, very. Doable? I think so with good posts, getting involved in conversations, offering our opinions, etc. I also would like to take this opportunity to publicly thank several game publishers that actually get how to use social media well. I’m talking about Stronghold Games, Academy Games, GMT Games, Pangea Games (War Co.) and Consimworld, as well as several others. We appreciate your assistance in sharing our posts last year and look forward to continued relationships in the future.

That is one thing that I don’t get. How can you not have an active social media presence in the 21st Century? Do you know how many games I have become aware of through Twitter?  Dozens. Those games now sit in my collection because I saw others playing and enjoying them. I want to point out to all publishers that if we as bloggers take the time to play and review your games, whether you have asked us to or not, the least you can do is share our posts on social media. It doesn’t cost you anything! Just copy and paste…done! Don’t get me wrong, Likes are good and all…but sharing is better.

Listen More to Tim

As mentioned earlier, our blog is a three way effort between myself, my brother in law Alexander and our friend Tim! We all decided it would be a good idea to do a blog and for some reason thought that it would do alright. From the get go, we have all worked very hard to get it up and off the ground by providing interesting and engaging content. I write, handle our Twitter account and am in charge of our business card printing (really novice job on our 1st cards this year which will be upgraded and professionally done before Origins 2017!). Alexander is our technical support guy for handling issues with WordPress, writes and does lots of our unboxing videos and handles our Instagram account while Tim writes, handles our Facebook page, is our Kickstarter expert and comes up with GREAT ideas!  Here are some of the examples of these great ideas from Tim in 2016:

  1. Best 3 Games with…. series – this has been a very successful series for us where we have chosen a specific mechanic, theme, or game type and chosen the 3 best games out there that we have played, in our opinion.  All told in 2016, we posted 29 different entries that have garnered 13,000+ views.
  2. Alpha Bout – this was one we never followed through with but was supposed to be a group competition to get older games back to the table by starting with each letter of the alphabet (for example, we might play Asgard’s Chosen first) and whoever won that game would then choose the next game starting with the letter B. I still would like to do this in 2017 as I thought it was a great idea and will help us get already played games back to the table!
  3. 12 Days of Christmas Gaming series – Tim had a fun idea on something that was meant to coincide with the holidays and allow us to put out some bite-sized posts to fill the voids as we all didn’t post much around the end of year. These entries were amazing and were also well read with 977 total views or an average of 81.4 views per post.
  4. Christmas Card – this was a great idea as well! We took the below picture and sent out a nice email message to all those designers, publishers, marketing people, etc. that we have had contact with in 2016 thanking them for their assistance and partnerships with us. We received good responses back from the email and hope that it leads to better developed relationships in 2017 and beyond!tpa-happy-holidays-2016

Tim has already started with some new ideas for 2017 which include a quick video reaction series called “TPA (The Players’ Aid) Blitz”, where we will video record our groups thoughts on new games immediately after playing for the 1st time to share with our readers prior to more in-depth reviews. I want to thank Tim for his great ideas and his valuable contributions to The Players’ Aid Blog. I hereby resolve to LISTEN more to Tim in 2017…with the exception of some of his game recommendations!

Attend Weekend at the Warehouse

Alexander and I have long discussed attending a Weekend at the Warehouse at GMT Games headquarters in Hanford, California, which for the two of us anyways is akin to a pilgrimage to Mecca.  With our work schedules and family committments, it hasn’t happened yet but I want to attend this year, either in the spring or in the fall.  This will give us a chance to play some great games, interact with fellow GMT zealots and make some connections for future interviews.

Get Over My Rules Learning Anxiety with Wargames

I love wargames and have been very lucky that Alexander married into the family several years ago as he also loves wargames. This has provided me a “war gaming buddy” as most of our group really isn’t interested! We are a lot alike in our tastes in wargames and the more complex the better for both of us. We both like games covering World War II and the Vietnam War and love the COIN Series from GMT Games. With this we have played dozens and dozens of wargames in 2016. Our most played wargame was Combat Commander, which logged 13 plays in 2016! I wish it had been more but you know…other games to learn and to play! This brings me to my resolution. I have a real phobia about teaching (not learning) new complex and involved wargames. I have a fear that I will embarrass myself, get everything wrong and in the process, lose my gaming buddy. We have several great games that we have yet to play waiting in our pile of shame (including Triumph & Tragedy, No Retreat! The Russian Front, etc.) for me to get off my duff and learn the rules.  I know you might be laughing at me right now as the two examples I shared are hardly complex, but middle of the pack complexity! I want to overcome this fear as I have 20+ new games on GMT’s P500 or preordered from other game companies (such as Saipan The Bloody Rock from Compass Games) and may have found the way to do it. I MUST read the rules thoroughly before our first play (seems elementary and obvious, right?) and then rely on the player aids to get us through the game. Sounds like a good plan and a solid solution to my problem. I just hope that I can get it done.

Use Less Exclamation Points in My Writing!

I love to write! I also am generally a positive and future looking person, not a complainer or negative nelly! But as I read through my writing from 2016, I notice that I use an inordinate amount of exclamation points!!!! In fact, I have been criticized twice in the last year or so for their use. Once was on my Twitter account for my job and the other was on our blog. On the one from the job, it was very humorous! I had posted some somewhat mundane news about goings on in our Town and one of my followers asked me “What was the matter with me? Was I having a rough day?”.  I replied to them no and asked why and they came back with the following: “Well, I was simply worried as you didn’t use any exclamation points!!!!!!”.  I had a great laugh from that one!

The other example was from our blog. I had posted an interview with Carl Paradis covering No Retreat! The Russian Front from GMT Games. As you can see, the title of the game does have an exclamation point in it and was not added by me. One of our readers made the following statement:

no-retreat-comment-about-exclamation-points

So, I have resolved to use LESS!!!!!?!?!&$*%& exclamation points in my writing for 2017!

Limit Myself to 1 P500 Addition Monthly

For those that read our blog regularly, you have seen in writing my struggle with my addiction and love for the P500 system from GMT Games. I currently have 20 (no there is no typo!) games on P500. There have just been too many good ones come out over the past few months that it has been very hard to resist. So, I would like to resolve this year to commit myself to only 1 P500 addition per month, which would still equate to 12 new games. This is one resolution that I have little faith in keeping!

Here is a chronicle of my struggle and my thoughts on the greatness of the P500 program:

P500 ThoughtsAugust Update, September Update, October Update, November Update.

Play 300 Games

I have resolved to track my game plays throughout 2017 and further more, to play 300 games! That is a pretty big number for me as that equates to nearly 1 game play per day! (0.821917808 exactly!) So far through January 10th, I have played 10 games so I have really done pretty well already and hope to be able to follow through with this one. Just think about all those new reviews and commentary on board games that you can read from our blog if we do play that many games.

2017-zipper

I hope that you have enjoyed my look at 2017 and my attempt at both a humorous and a serious outline of the goals that we have for the growth of our blog. I appreciate all of our great readers, the many publishers that have worked with us, the great designers who have provided us information for interviews and most importantly, my blog mates and good friends Alexander and Tim! Here is to a great 2017 filled with gaming.

-Grant