Call for Contributors
As you might know, Meeple Mountain does a twice-yearly open call for contributors where we try to attract talented writers who want to share their voices and board gaming stories. When we first started publishing content, I was the only writer. But in the 4 years since we hung out our shingle we’ve grown to a team of nearly 40 writers. That number gives us an unprecedented amount of variety and talent.
In 2019 we also began actively searching for writers from more diverse backgrounds so that we could attempt to reflect the gaming community at large. It’s a slow process, but we’re doing our best. If you’re interested in writing for us, you don’t have to wait: come write for us!
Content is King
As a primarily text-based media outlet the written word is the most important thing at Meeple Mountain. We wrote – and published – a lot this year, thanks in part to the infusion of new writers. We released an astonishing 264 written pieces, an average of more than 5 per week. Let’s take a look at all the different types of content we worked on in 2019.
In 2017 we published 79 reviews, in 2018 it was 123, and in 2019 we reviewed 145 games. While this sounds like a relatively low number for a “review site” we pride ourselves on our diversity of content. That said we do love a good game.
In 2019 our mega review of the Exit: the Game series has been the big winner, with over 13,000 readers. Reviews of PARKS (and a video review of PARKS), Wingspan, Race for the Galaxy, Call to Adventure, and Shobu were also very well-received.
And we’re not slowing down either; we met with a number of publishers at this year’s PAX Unplugged who gave us glimpses into what you can expect in 2020. Titles from Alderac Entertainment Group, Funko / Prospero Hall, Flatout Games, and many more will be showing up.
14 Top 6 Lists
Top 6 lists continue to generate an astonishing amount of traffic; clearly they’re a favorite amongst our readers. Given our recent push into more RPG content, it’s appropriate that our Top 6 Board Games that Scratch the RPG Itch article has received the bulk of this year’s Top 6 traffic, followed by Top 6 Ways to Add Joy to Your Gaming Experience and Kurt Refling’s linguistic experiment Top 6 Reasons Why I Play Games, Explained in the Ten Hundred Most Used Words.
Our interviews are a chance for us to exercise our curiosity and find out more about people we’re interested in. This year gave us the chance to interview Elizabeth Hargrave, the designer of the Kennerspiel des Jahres winner Wingspan. We also got to interview Peter McPherson, the designer of the wonderful Tiny Towns (nominated for Best Gateway Game, Best Family Game, and Game of the Year in our Diamond Climber Awards).
53 Articles and Editorials
This year, our articles and editorials were so well-received that they provided over 25% of the traffic to MeepleMountain.com. That’s thanks in part to a massive end of the year one-two punch combo from The 100 Most Important Board Games of the 2010s (nearly 60k readers) and our Ultimate Worldwide Guide to Board Game Cafes (almost 33k). But the most gratifying side of both of these articles were the positive discussions they generated. Readers on both our website and Reddit engaged in lively discussions around the topics (thanks to you all!).
Additionally, our most anticipated games of Essen and most anticipated games of Gen Con pieces were both very well-received.
13 Board Game Award Nominations (and counting)
The Diamond Climber Awards are back for a second year, this time in 15 different categories. The 2018 Diamond Climber winners represented a broad swath of board games, from the zany Fireball Island to the asymmetric Root, from the best family game for kids Drop It to the best RPG about kids, Kids on Bikes. The 2019 nominations have already begun, but there’s still time to vote for your 2019 favorites. The winners will be announced on January 17th. Check back then to find out if your favorite won the top prize.
While Meeple Mountain has released the occasional video in the past, we’re certainly not known for them. That’s why in 2019 I wanted us to begin releasing videos to the Meeple Mountain YouTube channel so that we could work with publishers in all areas of their release and marketing cycles. Brody Sheard joined us at the end of the summer and since then we’ve released several videos a month including review videos for Dice Hospital, Winner Winner Chicken Dinner, and a series of interviews done at PAX Unplugged 2019.
22 Humor pieces
At the end of 2018 we launched one of our most successful series, the Perfect Information Press humor and satire pieces. Intended to be absurdist articles “ripped from the headlines”, these pieces caused quite a lot of drama for readers who…missed the apparently too subtle “nod and a wink” indicated by the #satire hashtag. Headlines like “Soulless” Euro Games Condemned by Christian Leaders, Harry Potter Miniatures Adventure Game to Feature 9 3/4 Sided Dice, and Local Man Sleeves Cards, Games, Self were standouts this year.
But none of them had the massive traffic spike we saw when we “suggested” that Dungeons & Dragons would be receiving a name change. Reddit, Facebook, and Google News all shoveled readers to Meeple Mountain, so much so that we had to beef up our servers to keep pace. Never poke a sleeping dragon – or touch someone’s sacred cow.
Traffic & Social Media
If we thought last year’s numbers were great, they were simply smashed by 2019. The year began along the same trajectory started at the end of 2018, but when the D&D Name Change piece hit we got almost 200k visitors in the space of just 3 days. To put that into perspective, that’s more traffic in 3 days than the site had gotten in our first two years combined.
Even though June’s traffic numbers were huge, they in turn were surpassed by our end of year traffic in December (242k) thanks to the The 100 Most Important Board Games of the 2010s (nearly 60k readers) and our Ultimate Worldwide Guide to Board Game Cafes (almost 33k).
On September 9th, a monumental thing happened in the life of Meeple Mountain…we surpassed one million lifetime page views (from December 2015 to September 2019). While that’s the blink of an eye for some sites, we’re an all-volunteer group writing about board games. And even more amazing, we’re on track to hit 2M pageviews less than a year later.
In 2020 we’re going to do our best to continue to publish “evergreen” pieces, ones which can continually appeal to readers for years to come. Have a suggestion for a topic? Let us know!
Our social media presence continued to grow in 2019 as well, with our Instagram account ending the year at nearly 1,500 followers, our Facebook page close to 1,600 followers, and almost 3,300 followers on Twitter. The Meeple Mountain YouTube channel has seen great growth as well, with over 500 subs. YouTube is going to be one of our main focuses in 2020, so pay attention.
You like us, you really like us!
Board Gaming in Nashville
Last year we had some great things to report about our events in Nashville. This year is no different. Board gaming in Nashville is growing by leaps and bounds, with active groups all over the city. People love gaming, and gamers love Nashville.
Nashville Game Night
Nashville Game Night is still the largest and most popular, averaging almost 80 attendees per event. In 2019 we launched a trial run of a monthly event in Smyrna, just 30 minutes south of Nashville, and it’s been a big success. If you live near that area, check out our Facebook event page for more details.
Nashville Tabletop Day
Nashville Tabletop Day has been a wonderful, amazing and rewarding experience. Gamers have joined us from all over Middle Tennessee and the southeast for a fun-filled day of gaming and prizes. In 2019 we partnered with local institution Trevecca University to host in the main room of their Boone Events Center, and the results were huge; we had almost 500 attendees. Trevecca liked the event so much they’ve decided to donate the use of the entire Boone building. So be on the lookout for an even better Nashville Tabletop Day (this year celebrating it’s 5th anniversary)!
2020 Is Looking Up!
2019 has brought so many great things to Meeple Mountain, and to board gaming in general, that we’re excited to see what might come about in 2020. We’re already publishing 5 or more pieces a week, so it seems likely that we’ll start publishing multiple pieces per day in 2020. We also dove back into video in 2019, so we’ll be publishing more videos as well.
Goals are always tough to come up with, but based on previous milestones, I’d love to see us hit some, or all of these goals.
- Begin publishing wargame content
- Expand coverage of RPG content
- Start publishing regular email newsletters
- Begin releasing 6+ articles a week
- Hit 1000 subscribers on YouTube
- Hit 2000 followers on Instagram/Facebook
- Hit 4000 followers on Twitter
Only the next 12 months will tell us if we made it or not. Will you join us on a journey through time?
Founder of Meeple Mountain
Editor of MeepleMountain.com
Sounds like a wonderful year! Good luck in the coming years.