Happy birthday to me, happy birthday to me! Punchboard.co.uk is one year old today! What started out as a project to keep me busy during the pandemic, has lasted a whole year, and I can’t quite believe it.
Running the numbers
Everyone loves a few stats, so let’s have a look at some of my first-year numbers.
65 – Reviews published
7,000 – Unique visitors
15,000 – Page views
1,260 – Instagram followers
760 – Twitter followers
2 – Website facelifts
151 – Games currently in my collection
Small numbers compared to many of my fellow review writers, but I’m really happy. A lot of that growth came in the last six months, and I’m recording it here for posterity, clarity, and to look back on this time, next year.
Some thank yous
While this has been a pet project of mine, I’ve had a lot of help, motivation, and inspiration from other people in this wonderful hobby. I’d like to name-check a few of them, and link to them, so you can go and see what they do.
First up, Iain McAllister of The Giant Brain. I was paired with Iain when I joined the Tabletop Mentorship Scheme, with him as my mentor. I learned lots during the few months we were meeting and talking, and my writing has definitely improved since, so I’m very grateful. Check out the link above and listen to his excellent Brainwaves board game news podcast.
I’d like to thank Mike and Grace and everyone involved in the Tabletop Mentorship Scheme I mentioned above too. They match mentors and mentees from all around the world, whatever their area of tabletop games, and it’s all free. They’re amazing people and it’s a wonderful thing to be a part of.
There are some fantastic UK-based writers and content creators, and some of them have been very supportive, and always ready to talk. Especially Oliver of Tabletop Games Blog, Richard from We’re Not Wizards, Paul from Gaming Rules!, Gavin from Keep Up With The Jones Family, and Bez of Stuff By Bez.
I’d really like to thank Shellie and everyone involved with There Will Be Games. I submitted a few of my reviews there, and after a while I was invited to be an Associate Writer, which I’m proud of. Some of my favourite writers submit their work there, I’m in great company.
Gratitude where it’s due
The board game community is pretty tight-knit, and people work together right across the spectrum. I’m very fortunate that some designers and publishers think my thoughts and opinions have some merit, and sometimes send me their games to review and preview.
So, in no particular order, thanks to the folks who have supported me: Stonemaier Games, Braincrack Games, AEG, Capstone Games, Garphill Games, Lucky Duck Games, SDR Games Studio, Leder Games, Renegade Game Studio, Van Ryder Games, TGG, Board&Dice, The Dark Imp, Devir, Tettix Games, Ravensburger, Crab Studio, Twogether Studio, Wren Games, Savania Games, Maniple Games, Reversal Games, Szacha Games, Atikin Games, Paverson Games, and probably others I’ve forgotten.
I’d also like to thank my mystery friends. By that, I mean friends who deal in mystery. It’s no secret I love mysteries, and I’ve been invited along to some fantastic online murder mysteries by Play Dead London and Sharp Teeth Theatre. I also took a look at a great little card game by another mystery-turned-entrepreneur group, After Dark Murder.
To all of you, your faith in someone as small and new on the scene as me, means loads to me. I appreciate it so much.
So what next? Well, part of me wants to say ‘more of the same’. The problem with that though, is that if you try to rest on your laurels and stay at Status Quo, you can’t improve. So yes, I want to carry on writing regularly, but I want to improve. I want to make my writing better. I want to make it feel more personal, and do a better job of conveying what I like and don’t like about games.
I intend to write more articles that aren’t just reviews. I recently wrote a piece about what makes solo board games great, and I want to write more things like that. I’ve made some good friends over the last year, and I’d love to add to that over the next year too.
Basically, bigger and better. Whatever that looks like.
I’d have to be an absolute moron if I didn’t thank the most important person of all.
You, whoever you are. The person reading this. Despite this being a project for my own benefit, I’m so grateful to each and every one of you for reading the stuff that spills out of my brain and into my keyboard. Especially if you come back for more, you poor people. If there’s anything you’d like more of, or less of, please let me know.
See you in year two.