2022: A Year in Numbers

Remember in the 2021 article when I said that it was the worst year so far on a personal level? Well, I’m glad I put the “so far” in that sentence because this year was a lot worse. I won’t get into all the details in this article, I have spent several monthly updates on the situation, but this year I lost my job, my father, and my right Arkenstone to cancer. So yeah, I do seriously hope that the worst is behind me and that 2023 will bring more luck to me. Still, the game saw one of the better years in a long time, as the hiatus was finally over, and a ton of new players flocked to the game.

This article will go through the different stats of the blog and my personal statistics for 2022. It is meant to show how the blog has grown over the year and what our highlights were. There weren’t that many in the later months, but the explosive growth at the beginning of the year was a great time to be a part of the community. I will also share the statistics from Patreon this year and my plans for it going forward.

Game

A new segment for this sort of recap: an overview of all content released for the game this year. It’s easy to do for this year since not much was released. Still, there was more than last year and enough to bring in a lot of new players. This started early in the year with the release of the revised Core Set. This allowed 4 players to play the game with just one purchase instantly. It also solved the issue of the traditional Core Set, where you could have only a single copy of a pretty important card in the box, like Unexpected Courage. And while the three scenarios in the box weren’t the best that the game has to offer, a new campaign mode was added to connect them a bit better and to make Dol Guldur a little easier for lower player counts.

But those players that wanted to explore beyond the Core Set quickly got what they wanted around March with the release of the Dark of Mirkwood quest pack. This finally solved a hole in many collections which were missing the Oath and the Caves of Nibin-Dum quests. These had originally been released in the Collectors Edition that came tied in with the digital game. This is also the one product that I picked up this year. While it offered no new player cards, it continued the campaign mode from the Core Set with two relatively easy quests. Players that were more interested in picking up some solid decks right away were lucky, as 4 pre-made thematic decks were released around the same time. These not only came with a decent deck right out of the box but also added a side-board for more variation. The packs were a pretty solid purchase for players looking to get the best cards offered in the early cycles without buying the extra fluff around it.

And they were going to need those stronger decks in the summer, as the Angmar Awakened cycle was released in two parts. The first one contained all the player cards from that cycle and the Lost Realm Deluxe box. This meant that there were finally enough Arwen heroes to go around! The quests followed soon after, with a campaign around it to tie everything better together and to make Carn Dum a little easier to overcome. It’s not the easiest cycle, to begin with, but I must commend all the players that managed to complete it. You did get a proper taste of what the game has to offer with this cycle.

The year concluded with the repackaged LOTR Saga. Just the Fellowship of the Ring this time, as the other two books, will likely be represented in their own repackaged boxes at a later date. This repackaging allowed newer players to get their hands on one of the best expansions for newer players to get, Black Riders. There is also the Road Darkens in there, offering some strong allies and nearly a complete Gandalf setup. More importantly, it sets up the first 6 chapters of the LOTR campaign, though sadly, the Old Forest and Fog on the Barrow Downs were not included. For veteran players, there was also nothing to find in this box other than a storage solution.

Veteran players will more likely have used this year to round out their collection and focus on getting some Nightmare and POD packs. There have been various reprints of these made by GameZenter at reasonable prices. I hope these continue in the new year, as those packs are otherwise close to impossible to get without selling a kidney or your firstborn. The same will go for APs and Deluxes of most cycles. In September, it was confirmed by an insider that those products wouldn’t be reprinted anymore, meaning that prices soared for most of those packs. Especially the Dwarrowdelf and Vengeance of Mordor cycles are selling for a lot these days.

For 2023, I predict that we will get the repackaged Dream-chaser cycle. The Two Towers Saga will be afterwards, but I expect that the Return of the King won’t come until 2024, just to stretch out the releases a little. With a bit of luck, we will get the Ered Mithrin cycle around the holiday season next year or at least soon after that. For new content, we will have to look at fan-made expansions, which will hopefully fill my monthly recaps a little bit in the new year.

Blog

To start off with, let me share a fantastic achievement for the blog obtained this year: The total views since we began all those many years ago has surpassed 1.000.000 views! This is a great achievement that I sadly did not get to celebrate a lot since it happened while I was in the hospital, but it’s remarkable how popular the game still is and how many people flock to the blog to get their information and entertainment. It keeps me motivated to keep going for another 5 years or more! Let’s dive a little deeper into how this year stacks up against the previous years in terms of content and views.

Likes and Comments

I always enjoy looking into the engagement of the blog before I look at passive views and such. Likes and Comments are indicative of people interacting with the content, either by liking it or telling me about things that could have been added/changed to the articles. In 2022, a total of 184 likes were received on the articles, which is on par with 2020. 2021 was more of an outlier in the data, with nearly 100 additional likes. But with the reduced number of articles published this year, I don’t really mind the reduced likes. The important part is that I still get them! Even one per article tells me that my time spent writing has not gone to waste.

Comments were reduced in frequency as well, leading to fewer changes having to be made to the articles. Older articles, of course, draw fewer comments, and the most comments I got this year were on my update posts. I value these comments over some statistics, but in the end, I was left with 67 comments on the blog overall. This is nearly half of 2021 and the first time that the number of comments has gone down. Still, I don’t mind it as much since comments often lead me to spend more time fixing mistakes and such. Keep them coming, as I’m sure I’ve still missed things in the past!

Stats per month

I do love seeing these bar graphs going up and down as the game gains and loses popularity. The blog saw a huge wave of traffic when the revised Core Set and the new player decks were released in Q1. The uptick in views compared to December of the year before was massive, and I hit new daily, weekly, and monthly records all the way to March. It slowed down a little during Q2, but a new spike appeared in September. This is likely due to the entire Angmar Awakened set being released at this point, with the Fellowship of the Ring on its way. It was during this peak that the one-millionth view appeared on the blog as well!

Monthly stats for views and visitors

Overall, the number of views in 2022 hit 346.430 views in total. This is a significant increase compared to 2020 and 2021, where both years stuck around 295.000 views. I attribute this increase to the arrival of many new players and the return of some people that dropped the game during the hiatus but are coming back this year. It’s amazing getting nearly 1000 views per day, and I hope that the new year brings us new records! We won’t hit the 2 million any time soon, but at least we can get halfway there and celebrate 2.000.000 in 2024! We are also going to hit 250.000 unique visitors this year, as we are only 4000 visitors off from that milestone!

Articles

The blog saw a total of exactly 50 new articles released in 2022. These vary from monthly updates to explanations of multiplayer adaptations of quests and everything in between. 34 were written by me, leaving 16 for my amazing co-writers and people who approached me with an article they wrote but were published under my name. This is a lot less than in previous years, but again, there have been enough reasons why that is the case. Let’s just hope that 2023 sees me release more quality articles every month, accompanied by articles written by other members of the community. I have already gotten a few articles lined up for January, so that should be a good kick-off to the new year!

But which articles were the most popular? That’s always a fun question to answer, as it shows you what sort of content people are coming to the blog for. This is the top 5 of newly released articles in 2022:

  1. First Impressions: Starter decks – 9850 views
  2. New Player Buying Guide – 8634 views
  3. Dear New LOTR LCG Player, – 8592 views
  4. First Impressions: The Dark of Mirkwood – 3328 views
  5. Legacy of Fëanor – 1724 views

So it’s pretty obvious: The new-player-oriented articles did most of the heavy lifting this year. It makes sense, seeing how many more players arrived in the first quarter of the year. It tells me that players might be interested in more articles aimed at newer players, though that will be difficult to do now that I own most of the new products releasing this year. It does not make a ton of sense to do a First Impressions article on expansions I already own. But perhaps I will still analyze these packs as they release or promote older articles on the same expansions.

In total, the blog now contains 494 articles, of which I wrote 347. This means that as soon as next month, we will have surpassed the 500-article milestone! Of all these articles, the following five were the most popular in 2022

  1. First Impressions: Starter decks – 9850 views
  2. New Player Buying Guide – 8634 views
  3. Dear New LOTR LCG Player, – 8592 views
  4. “Best” LOTR LCG packs to buy – 6989 views
  5. First Impressions: The Dark of Mirkwood – 3328 views

As you can see, the list is pretty unchanged from the one shared before. Almost all top-ranking articles were released in 2022. These obviously were promoted more than the older articles, but the buying guide I wrote in 2021 still did well. I might look into redoing some of the buying guides in the future or maybe get some more specific ones for people with a limited budget.

Countries

It’s always fun to see where your visitors are from, even if they are using VPNs and such. I still get a good overview of my audience, and it shows that writing the blog in English was a good call over writing it all in Dutch (others have tried and failed). The main audience is from the English-speaking part of the world, with the US and UK taking the first and second slots. Canada is also high on the list, just below Germany, which takes the third spot. The German community is massive, and I hope to meet many of the players during Lure of Middle Earth. Perhaps even find people to translate the articles?

The rest of the top 10 is filled with various European countries, except for Brazil. I have come to know some people in the Brazillian community already, and while it is separated from the community most of us know because of a language barrier, I’m still glad that over 8000 views came from that country.

When looking at the complete map, I find quite a few more countries accessing the blog. Some of these countries only have 1-10 views, so it was likely they entered the site by accident. But it still paints the map a nice color of pink. The only countries that I’m missing are in Africa and the Middle East. I’m honestly surprised to see that it’s so few countries that haven’t been to the site at all this year. Even those writing in different scripts have been to the site and must have thought it looked like some form of Elvish.

Authors

The blog is not just me, as I have a team of writers and editors to help me maintain quality content on the blog. Aside from one-off writers who usually share their thoughts on a single subject or their storage solution, I still have a few dedicated souls who continued their series on the blog this year. They also helped to fill out certain sections of the blog that I am less experienced with, such as the Saga articles and some of the Nightmare scenarios. Below is an overview of which authors got the most views this year, including all the views of their articles released before 2022 as well.

As usual, I’m the first one on the list just because I have written the majority of articles on the blog, as well as the pages linking articles to each other, adding to the view count. So let’s swiftly move onto the next one on the list, which is Silblade. He has been working hard on his encounter set reviews, though he took a little break this year for personal reasons. Still, it’s great to see so many people reading his detailed takes on both player cards and encounter cards.

Morten follows close behind, having taken over the Saga series from brinxian for a while now. We managed to get into the Land of Shadow Saga box this year, adding new fuel to his statistics. Other articles by him also include the Fortress of Nurn review, which I can imagine is quite in high demand with players attempting to beat that quest. RedSpiderr and Matt Duckworth have not been releasing any new content this year, so they are this high on the list thanks to their older articles still being relevant enough this year. They are followed by beleg489, who not only does most of the editing for the articles but has also released a couple of articles on the blog. His Keywords overview is the most popular, but he also shared his storage solutions in a separate article.

The rest of the authors have also done great work this year, and I hope to see them appear higher on the list next year when new articles by them have been published. I would like to thank each and every one of them for their help in creating content for the blog, especially during this difficult year for me. It wouldn’t be the same without their content!

Patreon

This year saw new records for the Patreon side of the blog. This helps me to keep the site going. I can also fund improvements to it, such as having no ads on the site to distract people during their reading. The leftover funds at the end of each year are also used to give back to the community in the form of the yearly swag. But this year, that swag has been delayed a little bit, though it is already fully funded. The blog’s Patreon gained new members and saw the total income grow by about $100 since the start of the year. This got us to a new record of roughly $300 per month, excluding the costs for the platform. In truth, I roughly get 90% of this income by the end, but that was still over $3500 in donations for me to work on the blog all year. As I have stated before, I do not intend to make a profit on the blog, so I have used these funds to create the yearly swag, commission artwork, and keep the site up and running. These donations have helped me a lot, and I am very thankful for everyone spending a little bit of their money on the blog each month.

Yearly income Patreon 2022

Patreon update for 2023

Some changes to the Patreon server are going to happen, though, mostly affecting those that are already subscribed. When I set up the account in 2018, I had a lot of spare time to work on the blog, and as such, I made a few lofty promises that I had not really had the time for this year. The lack of new content also hinders my ability to publish more new articles in the month, despite my promising as much in the different tiers. So a few changes are in order.

First off, I make enough money from my regular job now to afford to keep the blog online. Luckily I have maintained my job during my hospitalization, and it pays well enough to cover the blog, especially since my budget for the game no longer has to go to new products. So I will be deleting the goals from Patreon since there isn’t really any amount I am hoping to raise to keep things going. Whatever amount we raise is nice to have, but it is a bonus given to me by the community.

Second, I have a handful of different tiers to which you can subscribe to Patreon for. Each tier has its own rewards, though I had a hard time finding suitable rewards at the time of making it. And since not many of those rewards are ever cashed in (like nearly nobody having suggestions for the blog), I am making a change here as well. As of the publication of this article, there will only be a single tier for those looking to support the blog at $1. You are more than welcome to donate more, but understand that it is at no additional reward. The $1 tier will still grant you access to the VotP Discord server to have a peek behind the scenes. I will also update the original list of Patreon supporters to a list of people donating for any amount in alphabetical order.

This sort of ties into the next big thing. I had hoped to save it for the dedicated loot article, though this article might actually be released before that time. From 2023 onwards, I am no longer doing the yearly swag/loot. It has given me way more stress over the last years than I care to handle, so I am letting that go. I am sorry to the people expecting awesome stuff made by the community, but I just cannot do the brainstorming, designing, ordering, packaging, and logistics behind distribution besides my regular work and writing articles for the blog. It is too much for a single person to do, and living far apart from people who could help with this is not making things easier. I have a lot of respect for the community members who can maintain this amount of work aside from their main contributions, but I give up. I am very happy with supplying many of you with some awesome gifts over the last few years, and I might still do a reprint of some of the books at a later date, but nothing new is going to come out anymore.

I realize that this is likely going to tank my income via Patreon, but I wanted to make it clear that this is now purely a way for you to give something to the blog. In exchange, you won’t get much except my gratitude and a peak behind the scenes. I am, of course, always open to games and such, and if you have suggestions for an article, I’d love to hear them. But for now, I am simplifying the Patreon site and making things a little easier on myself. Should people want to donate in another way, I will be open to just making a button for a direct donation on the site as well, but I understand that it is not a must. Thank you all for understanding and getting me this far!

Personal statistics

With the blog, game, and Patreon now discussed, it’s time for me to go over my personal stats for this year. How often did the game hit the table? Which quests did I play, and how many times did I manage to win? It won’t come as a surprise that with me moving to a new place, the physical game had to be boxed up for about a month or so, meaning that the physical game wasn’t as much used to play games with. Rather, I like to have it around for writing articles and flipping through the boxes of cards. During my cancer treatments, it was also not within my power to play very much, though I gave it a few tries. Instead, most of my games this year will have been digital games on DragnCards. I have tried to play frequently with a regular game group every Sunday evening via Discord, allowing me to play multiplayer games and even some Epic Multiplayer games over the year. It was also a much easier platform to use for deck testing. I will also admit that it was a lot easier to track games this year, thanks to my Playthrough Notebook that I made last year. But let’s have a look through the spreadsheets and see which quests were played most often by me.

Playthroughs

After having poured all of my playthrough statistics from my notebook into a spreadsheet, I have counted a total of 127 games of LOTR LCG recorded. The actual number could be a little higher since I did not count all of my deck testing or quick resets of games. Still, out of those 127 games, 82 ended in me being victorious. A win rate of 65%! This is both more games played than last year (122 games) and a higher win rate (57%). The new win rate is even higher than my record from 2018, which was 64%. Does this mean that I have played nothing but the easy quests? Yes and no. While I prefer winning against the simpler scenarios, I did have to sink my teeth into the Nightmare Against the Shadow cycle this year, which is anything but easy. There have also been games against some tough quests from the Vengeance of Mordor cycle and even some epic multiplayer games. But I think it helped that I played a lot more multiplayer games this year, as opposed to the many solo games I used to play. Dragncards certainly helped with this, but also, the usual playgroup every Sunday evening helped me to get some experience with quests that I would otherwise avoid playing on my own, and you stand a better chance against those with more players.

Breakdown of all games played in 2022

I also set a challenge to myself this year to play a larger selection of quests than last year. I found myself playing a lot of similar quests last year and wanted a bit more variety in 2022. Turns out that I managed to equal my percentage from last year (24% of all quests attempted, counting Nightmare as a separate quest). But with new quests being released by AleP this year, that percentage means that I did end up playing a wider selection of quests this year. I also enjoyed playing these quests in higher player counts, especially in Epic Multiplayer against some of the quests.

One metric I also enjoy measuring after a year’s worth of playthroughs is how many X times I played X quests. This is a difficult number to get very high since you are forced to play certain scenarios several times in order to advance X one place. In total, I made it to have played at least 4 quests at least 4 times. In reality, it is 6 quests that got this far, but sadly I only played 4 quests 5 or more times, so X stays stuck on 4 for now. My most played quests this year were:

  1. The Oath, 7 plays, 6 wins
  2. Into Ithilien, 7 plays, 1 win
  3. Passage through Mirkwood, 6 plays, 4 wins
  4. Peril in Pelargir, 5 plays, 3 wins

I’m pretty pleased with the results this year and am glad that despite everything, I played more games than in 2021. More free time, I guess… For 2023, I’d like to improve on these statistics by playing even more games. It should be made a little easier now that I have healed and COVID has died down enough that conventions aren’t that difficult to get to. I have already made plans for Lure of Middle Earth and will likely be going to Con of the Rings this year as well. Digital events are also super easy to set up now, and while I am already signed up for an Epic Multiplayer event in January, I will be looking forward to many more events taking place online in 2023 to add to my playthrough counter.

Collection

For official releases, the collection didn’t grow too much, sadly. The only new addition was the Dark of Mirkwood pack, which completed my quest collection. It also made me happy that I didn’t have to hunt down the Collector’s Edition for those two quests. I did a First Impressions article on it and everything! Really wished I could have done it for more expansions released this year, but there wasn’t really a need for me to buy doubles of certain things I already have.

So instead, I spent some time and money expanding the collection with other things. With the completion of the first AleP cycle, I found it to be the right time to buy it all in bulk to have the physical cards in my collection. I also received a few other fan-made items, like the challenge deck handed out at Con of the Rings and a way to expand Fire in the Night to Epic Multiplayer mode. These things aren’t listed on my collection sheet, though, as it is reserved for only the official content. I did update it throughout the year, though, and will share my current collection here. The only real thing still missing is an alt-art Gimli and the pre-order bonuses for various expansions. But I’m happy with what I have and glad that the collection didn’t cost so much to expand this year! It left more funds for me to broaden my horizons towards other games.

Collection of official content as of December 2022

Resolutions for 2023

I am almost scared to put up a list of things on here with the thought that somehow the universe will prevent me from making all these goals, but here we go anyways!

  • Attend more conventions. Lure of Middle Earth and Con of the Rings are already on the planner, now to actually go there and play some physical games!
  • Complete more Nightmare scenario analyses, finishing at least the Against the Shadow cycle, and progressing the rest of the cycles a little bit when I have time.
  • Offer up more positions for co-authors to start series or continue unfinished business like the contracts, sagas, PODs, etc.
  • Appear some more on podcasts and video channels to interact more with the community of creators for the game!
  • Maintain a strong community and a pillar of knowledge for new players with this site!

I wish you all a happy new year and extend my thanks to everyone who has pulled me through 2022. I owe you all a game and a drink, so let’s make that happen in the new year!

6 thoughts on “2022: A Year in Numbers

  1. It’s always a pleasure to read an article Daan and I know it’s been a tough year for you on many levels. Keep doing what you’re doing, you’re such a great ambassador for the game and the Palantir site ids a go-to whenever I play LOTRLCG.
    I think the game is now in a much stronger position than it was 12 months ago, and the release of material this year has been tremendous in bringing in new players to this fantastic game.
    I wish you every good fortune for 23. Who knows, I might even start writing a new series for you…

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I didn’t check in to your fantastic blog at all in 2022, and so your personal difficulties are all news to me. I’m sorry to hear of the loss of your father. All the best to you and your family in a hard time. I also hope that your personal health issues are behind you.

    Like

    1. Thank you. The worst is certainly behind me and I’m being monitored for the next 5 years to see if anything comes back. That gives me some peace of mind whenever something feels off about my body.

      Like

  3. Hey durinsfather,
    thanks for all the effort you put in this blog, it’s amazing. I just bought the revised core set, the Elves starter deck and the saga expansion already and I am keen to explore my first LCG even more. Your blog is a great tool to learn the game and get new insights.
    By the way, I am from Germany and if it should ever get serious concerning a translation, just ask, I will use that as learning time for the game and giving something back.
    Cheers
    //Johnny

    Like

    1. Hi Johnny, welcome to the game. Glad to hear that the blog has been helping you on your adventures.
      Thanks for the offer for translating it all, though I think that 500 articles would be a bit too much to ask for. Maybe one day I’ll consider launching translated articles, for which German would be one of the languages most requested. I’ll keep you in mind then.

      Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s