Today my blog, Shed Wars, celebrates its first birthday. It was 12 months ago that I decided to launch the blog with a few objectives in mind. These were chiefly:
1. To catalogue the games and figures in my collection
2. To share with the wider wargames community the activities my small group get involved in
3. To determine if I could use this blog to identify and meet fellow gamers in my vicinity
4. To learn more about the power of social networking.
So what has been achieved?
In the last 12 months I find myself regularly communicating on two key Wargames forums, The Lead Adventure Forum and TMP. In addition I have been posting the focus of 2012’s activity – the French & Indian Wars on the Studio Tomahawk site. These posts have helped to generate in one year 90+ followers and over 24,000 page hits. The recent addition opf a flag counter in November shows that the blog has reached as far as Peru, India and Japan.
During the year I have tried to post weekly with some form of update, game review or small tutorial and have recorded 54 posts in the year. My followers have kindly posted over 200 messages with the vast majority of these being complimentary, positive and sharing interesting feedback.
The most positive posts seem to relate to those surrounding terrain tutorials, and clearly the focus on the French & Indian Wars in the latter half of this year.
I am not too sure if these are good stats in the grand scheme of things but with a fair wind I have set myself the target to double the number of followers in the next 12 months and to treble the number of page views. Why do I want to ‘measure progress?’ Some might call it a challenge, others may see this as my need to massage an ego, others may see this as a sinister side step into advertising. If the truth be told I am not entirely sure why I have set these goals other than a simple fact that I like to measure progress and to learn from my actions. As the son of a former news editor I do know that if I don’t publish what people want to read and advertise its presence then nobody will come back for more.
As far as the original objectives are concerned I think have achieved a few in some small way. 2011 saw a breakup of the group I was gaming with but thanks to some resilient folks we have been able to maintain the shed spirit on most Monday nights. Indeed the blog has opened up new opportunities and I am fortunate to have met others in the Surrey/SW London area who share my passion. Who knows maybe in 2013 a wider and more diverse group of ‘shed’ gamers will emerge.
Cataloguing the shed collection has just not happened, I have boxes of terrain and figures that have not seen the light of day, let alone pictures, One of my new year’s objectives will be revisit some of the old games we used to play, get the boards set up and take the photos. It is my hope that the diversity of my collection will broaden the appeal of this blog and subsequently help me to meet my challenge.
One of the highlights of this year was to attend BLAM, a group of likeminded gamers who convened in Woking for three days of gaming. I was fortunate to be able to attend for just one day (other social/work commitments got in the way to allow me a full pass) and to run four games of Muskets & Tomahawks. Great fun was had by all. BLAM also showed that the standard of some games are incredibly high and a bar to which I aspire to in terms of both scenery and figures. This will be a target for next year.
The wider wargames community is diverse, enthusiastic, incredibly talented and proactive. My singular regret is that I hadn’t taken the opportunity to tell my blog earlier.
So what can I promise my readers and followers in the months to come?
· Lots of big pictures ! I know that these go down well.
· Continuous postings on a weekly basis (more frequently is just not possible)
· A wider array of content – ranging from prehistory to the future
· Battle reports on the games being played
· More simple tutorials on what I call ‘generic terrain’ – stuff you can re-use in lots of periods
· An invitation to catch up and watch ‘Shed Wars’ develop.
Thanks for reading