I think I speak for a lot of you when I say that I’m happy that this year is finally behind us. Hopefully, 2022 will be nicer to us all because 2021 has probably been my worst year so far from a personal perspective. Here’s hoping that I can finally start attending some more conventions in the new year and get to play more physical games with you all.
In this article, I will be doing my usual yearly recap of 2021. I will be taking a look at the statistics for the blog over the past year but will also be looking at my personal statistics in terms of how many games I have played. Lastly, I will also be looking at my personal collection and what parts I am still missing. Thanks to the Vision of the Palantir swag of this year, it’s easy to see what items I am still missing, though FFG has been hard at work to release some new expansions, making my spreadsheet outdated real fast. Anyway, let’s dive into the statistics for this year and look ahead to what the new year may bring us!
This year started on the high from 2020, with nearly a thousand views per day. As the months went on, the views started to decrease, likely caused by people exploring the outdoors a bit more. Plenty of players also left the game, as I have noticed with some community members and authors of mine. Still, at the end of the year, the blog managed to accumulate a total of 296,346 views, slightly more than in 2020 by about 4.5 thousand. These views came from more individual visitors, 62,973 to be exact. This means that there were more individual visitors on the site, but they clicked on fewer articles on average (4.71 vs. 5.37 articles/visitor). I have high hopes that with the introduction of the revised Core Set and the new starter decks, the game will attract more new players to the game, which in turn will generate more views for the blog. Not that I gain anything from that, as the blog does not run ads, but it’s nice to see the big number get bigger!
In total, the blog has now received 780,526 views over the course of 4 years. At this rate, I will break the 1 million views next year. That will be cause for celebration for sure!
Likes and Comments
Views and visitors are nice, but it can also be caused by people accidentally stumbling onto the website and clicking away. Viewer interaction is a statistic that is much closer to my heart. This can be done in three ways, two of which are tracked by WordPress itself. The first is likes on the articles. This can be done by anyone with an account and shows that you at least scrolled all the way down to the bottom of the article. The likes this year were significantly more frequent thanks to a loyal group of subscribers who liked nearly all of the articles published. We have nearly 100 more likes on the articles compared to previous years.
Comments can either be substituted for likes or can be people asking questions or pointing out a mistake. Unfortunately, my own comments to those comments are also listed in this statistic. The most comments were definitely received on the swag article about the notebooks, where I instructed everyone to wait for the second wave of books if one was ever made. I might be doing that soon, as I could use the extra funds. More info to follow at some point in the new year. This year saw a small increase in comments overall, but the rate does seem to be leveling out.
The other interaction statistic that I cannot keep track of is the contact forms that people can fill out to contact me privately. There were certainly more of these in the past year, mostly for the people reaching out to get their hands on the notebooks again. Next year, I will have a look if I can keep track of this statistic.
Stats per month
As I mentioned before, the year started out great, with around 30k views per month, nearly 1k per day. However, as time went on, those numbers halved, which is unfortunate to see but not endangering the life of the blog. I am not exactly sure what caused the views to be halved, but I expect it is a combination of many things, like fewer “new” releases for the game and more people dropping the game. The funny thing is that I predicted this trend last year, including the prediction that the views would drop to around 20k. Oh well, we will see what the new year brings. If I’m smart (and I like to think that I am), I release a few new-player articles around the time the revised Core Set is released. Maybe some strategy guides around the pre-made decks too. That would certainly boost the views a bit and might snag some new players to the blog.
This year we saw the blog post a total of 80 new articles. These include new scenario analyses, a lot of Nightmare analyses, news articles, recap articles, polls, and many more excellent articles by my fellow authors on the blog and myself. This is 20 articles less than last year, due to various reasons. The first one to blame for this is me. I have been very busy with work and mental health that the blog has taken a bit of a backseat for me this year. Still, I wrote 51 out of those 80 articles myself (or at least published it under my name). The other factor is that a lot of my co-authors had some pretty significant life changes in the past year. I believe about 5 people had kids born this year, at least 3 people moved house (of which 2 to new countries), and some authors dropped the game altogether. Because of this, the number of articles each month was lower than expected, and I mostly made up for this with the barrage of Flavor Text articles and the monthly recaps. The most popular articles released this year are the following:
- Storage Solutions 4.5 (1.215 views)
- Player Card Review: Heirs of Numenor (1.103 views)
- News: In-flight report September 2021 (1.040 views)
- Keywords (1.007 views)
- Under the Ash Mountains (702 views)
The blog now features 443 articles in total, of which 306 were written by me, and 137 by other authors. The most popular articles of these are the following:
- “Best” packs to buy (11.224 views)
- Fan-made content: Modes and Quests (3.205 views)
- Silvan (2.565 views)
- Dwarves (2.246 views)
- Collectables in LOTR LCG (1.977 views)
I really like maps, and WordPress offers you a map of where all the views on the blog are coming from. The map below shows all the countries that people logged onto the site from in the past year. Most of these are less than 10 views worth, but it’s still fun to see how people logged onto the site from all over the world. This map also includes the views per country for the top 18 countries. These are obviously English-speaking countries first, followed by many larger European countries. The most surprising country in the top-18 to me is Brazil. I suppose with such a large population; there is a decently sized community there as well. I have been in contact with at least 1 of the local players there but didn’t think it would be this popular.
Of course, I cannot run the blog just by myself. I have the good fortune of being supported by this amazing community, and several members have provided me with a lot of articles this year. This was also the year that I got an editor for the blog, Jared, who has been going through many articles adjusting the grammar and spelling. I am very grateful for his help, along with the help of the other authors that released articles this year. You have all received this year’s swag in payment for your services. Below is an overview of how many views each author has received this year. Note that this also includes views on articles published in previous years. Some authors may have made a ton of articles in the past, which are still getting views to this day.
Let’s skip over me, who has the most articles on the blog, and thus by far the most views. Silblade is next, who has continued releasing player card reviews as well as encounter set reviews this year. The player card reviews now reach into the Against the Shadow cycle and are very popular. In third place is Brinx, who hasn’t published for several years, but his Saga analyses are still popular. The Saga will be concluded by MortenDall, who is in fourth place. While less frequent than other authors, Morten produces some high-quality articles on tough topics, like Challenge of the Wainriders and the Saga.
The rest of the authors also did great this year, and I hope to welcome them all back next year with some more articles. This not only lightens the load for me but also brings a lot of variety to the blog in the new year!
I maintained the Patreon account throughout the year, as it has helped me a lot with paying for the blog’s maintenance and funding this year’s notebooks. I want to thank everyone who has subscribed to it, and I hope you are all enjoying the books that I have sent you. Below is an overview of how the pledges have grown over the past year, though it has recently stagnated. I have also noticed a few members leaving due to the fact that they are no longer playing the game. That is a sad thing, but I hope that their place will be taken up by some newer players that will join the game in the new year. The revised Core Set and the new starter decks may prove a good gateway to the game for many people, and any support they want to give to the content creators is also greatly appreciated. See this article from earlier this year for a list of content creators accepting funding in return for some exclusive loot.
With all the blog-related stats out of the way, it is time to look at some personal achievements this year. The playthroughs section will cover all of the quests I have played, including stats like win-rate, most played quest, and an overview of what scenarios I did and didn’t play. The collection segment is also cool to see, as my collection evolved towards near completion this year!
First things first, the playthrough logs that were maintained this year! This was made a lot easier with my new notebooks that allowed for making an easy summary at the end of the year. I did still use the same spreadsheet as last year to get a complete overview of the quests I played this year. Not many new quests were released this year, and I have fallen behind on AleP stuff outside of online conventions. Still, the overview is always pretty to look at!
In total, I have recorded 122 games of LOTR LCG this year, about 1 every 3 days. Of these, I have won 70 games. This brings my win rate to 57%, counting my less frequent victories over tougher quests and Nightmare quests. This is on par with previous years, where the win rates have been 59% (2020), 56% (2019), and 64% (2018). I did play a lot fewer games this year, likely due to the fact that I have only had time on the weekends for the game and did not attend physical events this year. There were also no new official releases, meaning that there was nothing new for me to buy and play when it came in. I will say that the introduction of DragnCards to the community has been a big help in finding more multiplayer games. Most Sundays, I have been playing with various community members, and even on some evenings when I had time.
I have found other statistics in this spreadsheet that I managed to get my X value to 4 this year. The X value is the answer to the question “What X number of quests have you played an X number of times?”. In previous years, the answer has been a bit higher (7 in 2020, 5 in 2019), but this year I had to settle with 4 quests played 4 times. This is due to a wider variety of quests that I have played this year and me not having that many playthroughs under my belt this year. The 4 quests are:
- Passage through Mirkwood (11 plays, 9 wins)
- The Redhorn Gate (4 plays, 3 wins)
- Encounter at Amon Din (5 plays, 3 wins)
- The Fords of Isen (5 plays, 2 wins)
Goes to show that I have a preference for some of the easier quests, though this can be attributed to me testing decks against various quests this year. These 4 quests also tend to be quests I can easily cruise through if I’m on a losing streak (except for Redhorn Gate).
I will try next year to get a wider variety of quests on the table. This year I have only gotten 67 out of 199 quests (counting NM separately) scenarios on the table. I have actually only won against 46 of them. I’d like to increase that number, so I might just do a progression-style run in January with modern decks just to see if I can quickly beat all scenarios from the earlier cycles. That should at least get my playthrough log filled in nicely. I will also continue to track the playthroughs in my notebook so that I can share the images with you all next year.
This year saw two milestones being achieved for my personal collection. The first came in March when a local player approached me with an offer for the two remaining tournament playmats that I was missing. We worked out a decent deal, and combined with the Balrog 2020 playmat; I had finally finished the collection of all tournament-style playmats that have been handed out at events like GenCon or the Fellowship events. To celebrate, I purchased some sleeves for the mats and taped them to my wall to admire since it wouldn’t feel right to hide such amazing mats away in a box somewhere (though this does mean I have some spare boxes…).
The other milestone followed soon after. I had been busy searching for the Nightmare packs for the majority of 2020 (you have to do something when stuck at home), and I finally managed to track down the final packs that I was missing. A huge shoutout to the many members of the community who pointed me in the right direction or sold their copies to me for a fair price. I had to print some of the final NM packs myself in the end, as I thought that I would have no luck finding them in the wild. It turns out that I was wrong, and I now have official NM packs of all quests! I would never have thought I would manage to collect the missing 20 packs in the first half of this year!
A few other boxes on my spreadsheet were also filled in this year, like some promotional material that came with the Fellowship kit, and some full-art promo cards that I traded for some wooden cards I made. Overall, I feel that the collection is as close to completion as I’m ever going to get it. The biggest thing still missing is an alt art Gimli, but with alt art cards selling for $400+ this year, I might just accept that I won’t get to own a full alt art collection.
Resolutions for 2022
Like many of you, I have some new year’s resolutions. I hope that the following list of articles will be completed this time next year. I do not promise that it will be completely done, but I will do my best to complete as many of the following bullets as possible.
- Nightmare Against the Shadow cycle
- Rework Shadows of Mirkwood cycle articles
- Complete all contract analyses
- Complete all POD and Stand-alone scenario analyses (perhaps without the Custom Scenario Kits)
- Create an extra page for Fan-made content analyses
- Continue working on the Sagas, other NM content, and regular releases of other articles
And that wraps up 2021. I hope I will see you all in the new year and that we as a community continue to play together and help out the many new people flocking to the game. It feels that we are leaving the hiatus soon, although the amount of new content will be very little. Still, we get to cover some more news in this new year and have the Amazon show to look forward to. I hope to attend Lure of Middle Earth and Con of the Rings this year to meet up in person with you all. Take care and have a great new year!