Month in Review: October 2020

Thanks to the second lockdown (personal at least), I have had quite a lot of time this month to work on the blog behind the scenes. It allowed for a rush of articles near the start of the month, as I had time off from work. This was also the time where I received the final AP for the game, so there was quite some buzz around the community. That buzz got increased when we learned that a new print on demand quest will be released in December. This would have been the GenCon quest for the summer this year, but 2020 had different plans. Regardless, there was a lot of activity and I don’t see that dying down any time soon, as the A long-extended Party project will hopefully soon release their first expansions. So let’s dive into what happened on the blog this past month.

October

As I said, FFG has been busy for the final bits and pieces for the game. We got a surprise with the Hunt for the Dreadnaught article, which meant that Fortress of Nurn wouldn’t be the final expansion for the game just yet. The pack will even include a new contract that we can use in other games as well. This contract should help Valour decks like how Grey Wanderer helped Secrecy. This news is very exciting, and still has the community hoping for a final Saga addition for Scouring of the Shire. We will have to be patient for this, but it is another thing to hang on to while we are going to start the hiatus very soon. But even during that time of little official content, the blog will remain strong. So let’s look at the content pushed out this month on the blog.

Scenario analyses

While I did not have enough time to complete the Journey along the Anduin article, it is very close to be complete. There are just a ton of cards in that encounter deck to properly cover, and a detailed strategy for the quest is also required. This one will be finished soon, after which I myself will move on to the rest of the first cycle. This will be a slow-burning series, but I will be happy once we can have some updated articles for these early quests.

That does not mean we didn’t get any scenario analyses this month. We got the Danger in Dorwinion article near the start of the month. This one was done by VeggieGollum who will take a break for a little while before returning to us with some more Nightmare content. The rest of the cycle will also be done by us in the coming months, and a start has already been made for the Temple of Doom article.

We are also looking to continue our Saga analysis with an author taking over from Brinx. Details on this are to follow in the months to come, but we have not abandoned this project. There has been a ton of interest in this series, so we hope to bring it back soon.

Storage Hub

This was an update that I did not expect, but we have gotten not one, but two new articles for the Storage Hub this month. I got approached by a community member who shared their DIY solutions, after which more people got inspired to write for the hub. I will try to space out these articles a little, so to not overwhelm you all with boxes and tokens, but more updates to the hub are planned in the future. This will help us appeal to a broader audience looking to store their collection.

If you have a collection to share with the community and have the time to do a little write-up about it, be sure to contact us so we can put it up on the blog!

Additional articles

There were a lot of different articles this month that don’t fall under any other category. The first I want to knock out is the Poll-antir article, where I shared the poll I made where everyone can leave feedback on the blog. I will discuss the results and the plans moving forward in a separate section in this article. This month also saw the final First Impressions article that I will make for a long time. With me receiving both Escape from Khazad-Dum and Fortress of Nurn this month, I have now a complete collection until Hunt for the Dreadnaught arrives (not counting NM content, still missing a lot of those). I won’t be doing a First Impression on that pack, since the bulk of such articles is discussing the player cards. I have already shared my thoughts in various tweets and forum posts. Keep looking at those for my thoughts on the quest itself, which I hope to play with more players in the future.

RedSpiderr also continued his mini-series with the best quests to play 2 player or 2-handed. He will continue this for 3 and 4 players, but not for epic multiplayer player counts. We only have a handful of those quests, so those will be all that you can recommend.

I also put out the article on the loot that I have been making these past 3 months. It was great to finally complete all the pieces and getting amazing feedback from the people that have already received their cards and mats. I would have loved to hand out the loot in person, but considering circumstances, I am happy with the way that the loot has been handled this year. For next year, I am already working on ideas, so that supporters next year will get some more unique items to help them with their games.

Poll-antir 3 results

At the time of writing, the poll has been live for 2 weeks, and has received 101 votes. I will not discuss all of the results here, but only a few things that we will look to improve in the future. What I did notice is that nearly half of everyone visiting the site does so on their phone. I have not optimized the site for phones, as long walls of text might cause you to scroll quite a lot. If there is anything we can do about this, let us know!

For favourite articles, a ton of people wanted to see more scenario analyses. While we are working to bring you the final cycle, we are going to be running out of new scenarios soon. Efforts are being made to bring you the saga and more POD stuff as well, so we can cover each and every scenario in the game. Other popular articles were the player card analyses and the trait and mechanics section. I have not worked on the traits in a while, so I will make sure those are updated soon. However, there aren’t too many major traits left to cover, only some minor ones like Craftsman which have no real synergy. So I will look to work on the mechanics list some more in the months to come.

As for the number of articles per month, I’m glad nobody answered 0 articles per month! The distribution asks for about 4-5 articles per month, though many went for the 10 as well. I think in the current conditions, I will try to keep it between those values each month, depending a little on when my co-authors can finish their articles.

Suggestions for future articles were plentyful, so I will see what I can realise from the list. There were some solid suggestions here, but I want to make a few things clear. First, this blog is not very focused on deckbuilding. I myself do build many of my own decks, but I do not feel like I am skilled enough to give articles on the deckbuilding part of the game. It is why Roka has been doing the deckbuilding series and not me. The blog is also not integrating a progression style to its scenario analyses. I made this decision at the start of the blog, where I had to pick between the full card pool or just the cards available progression-wise. I went for the full cardpool to also appeal to veteran players. There is a lot of excellent progression content out there, and I do try to give some tips in the articles keeping in mind the cardpool available to players (Forest Snare+Hill Troll for instance).

There were some cries for cross-community segments where I discuss various parts of the game with other content creators. While I have not yet asked them, I’m sure they would love to enter conversations on some of the topics. My only problem is that the article-format would not be suitable for this. Podcast or video medium would be a better way to tell about how we got into the game and our favourite cards and such. Maybe a video conference about this all. We will keep you guys informed on this.

Some other questions concerning the give-aways and such led me to the conclusion that I am not going to do it. I think it will be too much for now, and it is difficult to find prizes for everyone to enjoy. We will continue the blog as-is, with not any extra competitions or something.

As for the Twitch channel, just over half of the responses were in favor of the channel. However, when looking at the content that was most requested, it would be physical or OCTGN gameplay of the game. There is also a lot of interest in live-(de)construction of decks and live analyses of the scenarios. I am not quite sure about all of this, as it would take some preparation to do, and I am not super confident about all of this yet. I find that running the blog takes already a large part of my spare time, and a video channel would cause me to give up on something else (sleep, work, sanity, take you pick). So I am not yet fully committed to the channel, but might host some gameplay on OCTGN in the months to come. That takes almost no setup to do. An overwhelming majority of people want me to put the recordings up on Youtube, so I will look into doing that as well!

And finally, I want to thank everyone for their heartwarming feedback on everything I do. It means a lot to see that me and my blog have helped so many of you over the years. We will continue to push out content, and I have gotten a lot of inspiration from this poll. Thank you!

Means a lot everyone! (yes, the entire section was like this <3)

The Future

As mentioned earlier, there will be some changes to the blog here and there. I really appreciate the feedback and will continue to work on that so that we can continue to expand and improve the blog. I have gotten some great ideas for future articles and will work together with my authors and the community to bring you those articles during the coming months. I will still be busy with work and personal things, so the quantity of articles will go down, but I hope the quality will continue to be up to par.

To calm down the pressure of the blog, I have also decided to not do a major poll in December like I did in 2018 and 2019. I didn’t really think of a good topic yet, but I also don’t have the time to continuously update the polls and put out reminders every few days. I hope other community members can pick that up, so we still get to vote on some of our favourite cards or quests.

I hope everyone hangs in there with their quarantine, and I hope to entertain you all some more with articles and maybe a stream every now and then. Info for those can be found on Twitter or in the Discord servers. I hope you all stay safe and continue to support our efforts. The support has really pulled us through this year, and I hope to live up to the kind remarks you have left on the polls.

~Aa’menealla nauva calen ar-malta~

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