Since our very first post, we’ve been laser focused on publishing high quality board game related content: whether it’s written or video. We craft and recraft, parenthesize, spellcheck, and edit until we’re happy with it. And this year we had our biggest published year ever, with 544 published pieces; that’s crazy for an all-volunteer team like ours.
Let’s walk through the content and see what stood out.
387 Written Reviews
While we’re proud to publish more types of content than just reviews, they’re still the largest percentage of our content. We thought we’d published a lot of reviews in 2021, with 194, but 2022 destroyed that number with nearly 400 reviews, almost 150 of which were for games released in 2022 itself.
By traffic, our biggest game review hits of 2022 were First Take: Ark Nova, Radlands, the 1980 Spiel des Jahres winner Rummikub, the narrative exploration game Sleeping Gods, solo horror game Final Girl, and Disney Big Thunder Mountain Railroad. We also have reviews of some hotly anticipated 2023 titles like Maple Valley, Castles by the Sea, Fit to Print, and Empire’s End. But our strangest review goes to Andrew Lynch’s Riftforce “flow chart review”.
But we also published 7 games in our Focused on Feld series, and 8 in our Awe Uwe series. These two series are the passion project of author David McMillan as he attempts to own, play, and review, every game published by famed designers Stefan Feld and Uwe Rosenberg.
2022 was also the year that we decided to start being a bit more consistent with the thumbnails for our reviews. Rather than shoehorning the game’s cover into a specific box, we’re showing each cover in all its glory, even if we are sacrificing a bit of size to do so. The result is a definitively “Meeple Mountain” thumbnail. Tell us what you think in the comments!
Even though most of our published videos are reviews, we still like to call them out separately to show respect for the hard work that our review team, Brody Sheard and Tyler Williams, have done this year. In fact, while we only have 46 of their reviews published here on the Meeple Mountain website, they actually released 115 videos last year over on our YouTube channel.
For the year we had 166,998 total views views in 2022, which was up by almost 20% over 2021, and we ended 2022 with a net positive 561 subscribers. Our best performing video of the year was Brody’s review of the Ra reprint from 25th Century Games.
Please make sure to check those out…then “make sure to like and subscribe”!
72 Articles & Interviews
I’ve always said that “reviews are table stakes” for a board game media site like ours, but that articles are where the real interesting content lives. Articles are where our writing team gets to flex their creative muscles and come up with topics like a brief and bizzare history of Albert Lamorisse (designer of Risk), learning the value of childlike imagination in RPG, and a comprehensive ranking of every Everdell release.
We examined just what a board game review should look like, we thought about what “complexity” means in board game terms, and proposed that more people should concede when they’re losing.
2022 brought the relaunch of our First Take Friday series: a place for us to provide our thoughts about games we played for the first time; old or new, popular or obscure.
We launched a new series this year: the Publisher Profiles series where we do a deep dive into a selected publisher: we review lots of their games, we interview key personnel, and we talk about what makes them special and notable in this cardboard landscape of ours.
This past year also saw our continued coverage of some of the biggest board game conventions in the world, along with first time exposure to the Asian Board Game Festival in Singapore (thanks to our Singaporean native team member Ly-Ann Tan Low for the coverage).
We continued our board game design article series with a behind the scenes look at board game speed dating, how to know when your game design is done, pulled back the curtain on how to take a game from concept to Kickstarter, and we published the defining article on intellectual property law as it pertains to board games by bar certified attorney Thuan Tran.
Lastly, we celebrated the 10th anniversary of the seminal television show Tabletop, a series that still has ripples throughout the industry more than 5 years after the last episode aired.
6 Top 6 Lists (how apropos)
While we didn’t release quite as many Top 6 articles as in years past, we made up for it in interesting topic choice such as our full team list of the best “filler games”, 6 GMT games to introduce to non war-gamers, and 6 suggestions for games you can play with kids without having to change anything.
New Feature Development
I’m a professional software engineer by trade, and WordPress development (the platform used by Meeple Mountain) is part of my core skill set. This means that if I decide I want to add a new element to the site, I can implement it myself. In 2022 Meeple Mountain added two new high profile features to our website.
Topics is a feature meant to attract long tail searches and consist of lists of games which fit any given subject. Be it Games With Rondels, Board Games Named After Countries, or any other topic our team can come up with. Even though not many people might search for terms like Games Where You Solve a Mystery or Pirate Themed Board Games or Games About Alice in Wonderland, if you do search for them, you’ll find our content, generally in the first 5 results.
Topics are intended to be easy to write, quick to upload, and simple to understand. They don’t show up in the normal flow of our posts, and instead appear in the sidebar of the site, and linked to from the homepage. Authors can brainstorm a topic, research a list of games, create their own header for the article, and upload it, just as quickly as they can. Our very own Tom Franklin has “seeded the pot” as it were by penning over 20 topics, followed closely by Andrew Holmes and Bob Pazehoski, Jr. Kudos boys!
The Meeple Mountain Crowdfunding Roundup was created in order to bring together all the tabletop gaming related crowdfunding campaigns from all the various platforms into a single place so that gamers don’t have to hunt all over for them on their own. Our team regularly reviews Kickstarter, GameFound, and Backerkit to bring you the most interesting and unique campaigns. Additionally game designers and publishers can submit their own campaigns for free. If you’re launching a tabletop gaming related crowdfunding campaign in 2023, please register and let us help you promote your campaign to our monthly readership of over 100,000.
Website Traffic & Social Media
In 2022 we hit some really great milestones on social media. We’re almost at 2,500 subs on YouTube, we hit 4,400 followers on Twitter, 2,600 followers on Facebook, and over 2,300 followers on Instagram.
In 2021 I mentioned that our overall traffic to the site was down from past years due to a Google algorithm tweak. It took us a while, but our traffic recovered and is up close to 25% (812k in 2021 vs 1.07m in 2022).
The high numbers this year are thanks to a few factors
- We published 544 articles to our site this year. Even low amounts of traffic to a large number of pages will get you traffic.
- Continuing high traffic to a smaller number of cornerstone pages
- 116,573 – Top 6 Catan Strategies
- 60,774 – Guide To Board Game Conventions
- 12,373 – Guide to Board Game Cafes
Only time will tell if these numbers continue, but it’s certainly looking promising.
Board Gaming in Nashville
2022 also saw the triumphant return of Nashville Tabletop Day. Hosted yet again by Trevecca University, near Downtown Nashville. While the numbers were lower than we would have liked, they were still great for a free event with the threat of COVID still hanging over everyone’s head. Here’s some relevant numbers from the event.
- 300 attendees
- 43 sponsors
- 119 play to win titles
- 25 door prizes
- 1,605 entries for play to win games
Nashville Tabletop Day 2023 is already locked in for Saturday, April 22, once again at Trevecca University. So if you’re in the area, make sure to join us!
Nashville Game Night is still chugging along, but in 2023 we’re starting off at our first new location in over 4 years. This is a calculated move in hopes that we can attract a new audience at a more convenient location.
What Does 2023 Have in Store for Meeple Mountain?
I think we’re in one of the best positions we’ve ever been in to be honest. We have an amazing and engaged team, traffic is on the rise, our relationships with publishers are at an all-time high, and we’re going into a new year?! Everything is coming up Millhouse.
RPGs are continuing their ascent in the gaming world. It seems like you can’t shake a stick without hitting at least 4 people working on their new TTRPG. I’d love to have a few people who could cover RPG content on the regular. Wargames are also still growing in popularity, as wargame publishers learn to tie more approachable mechanisms in their games to appeal to more traditional tabletop gamers.
So how about some concrete goals?
The Meeple Mountain website was last redesigned sometime in September or October of 2020. And while that might seem fairly new, in website terms it’s almost time to head off to college. Our website traffic numbers are nothing to sneeze at, but I’d like to take time this year to focus on improving the speed of our website, so that it really zings. The upside is that not only will the website load faster and make our readers happier, that will also make search engines happier. And when that happens, they show our content closer to the top of search results, which makes me happier.
I’d also like to work on some internal tooling to make our writing team happier.
So I guess what I’m saying is that I want 2023 to be the year that we’re all happier.
Founder of Meeple Mountain
Editor of MeepleMountain.com