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Yesterday morning, Monday September 9, 2019, Meeple Mountain surpassed one million pageviews! What exactly does that mean? It means that one million of you have taken the time to visit our website, read our content, yell at our satire, and hopefully enjoy your time here. It’s also validation for someone like myself who in the past has had difficulty sticking with things. It means that all the times in the past 5 years that I thought no one cared about the site were wrong.

One Million Pageviews is Crazy! Bonkers!

I don’t talk about it often, but I’m the co-author of 4 programming books related to software engineering and web development. I also spent 4 or 5 years writing hundreds of technical blog posts about the same topic over on my personal website. I always prided myself on being a good writer (not the best mind you, but solid and dependable).

When I started getting into board games in 2015 I thought that perhaps I could leverage my experience and write some board game reviews…”how hard could it be, right?” While I do think that anyone can express their opinions, writing board game reviews (or movie reviews or any other product or service) is harder than just saying what you like and don’t like. It’s like a dance in which you try to avoid looking like an ass while still highlighting your partner’s strengths (even if they’re occasionally dressed in a clown suit).

After publishing reviews of Dice Bazaar, Battle Sheep, and Jaipur on my personal website, I decided to shift gears and build a website for those articles. I, like many others, thought something to do with “meeple” would make a good title, and so in December of 2015 Meeple Mountain was born.

Building a Team

I quickly realized that I couldn’t write enough content on my own, and decided to gradually enlist the help of friends here in Nashville and strangers abroad, joined by our mutual love of board games. I never could have guessed that eventually the Meeple Mountain writing team would grow to nearly 40 contributors throughout the US, Canada, and the UK: a writing team that I consider to be one of the best in the industry. My most heartfelt thanks and appreciation go out to Andrew Holmes, Andrew Plassard, Ashley Gariepy, David McMillan, Elijah Longwell, Ian Howard, Jesse Fletcher, Jonathan Elder, Justin Gibbons, Kathleen Hartin, Kurt Refling, Logan Giannini, Marcus Cathey, Phil Chen, Than Gibson, Thomas Wells, Tiffany Leigh, Tyler Williams, Aaron Edwards, Adam Murray, Alex Colby, Art Franz, Bryan Gerding, Dave Seiler, Dietrich Stogner, Dylan Speed, Gary Chavez, Jared Monger, Jessi Goodwin, Jim Becker, JP, KM Riley, Leslie Ewing, Nathan Baker, Robert Crowter-Jones, Scott Pepper, Wendy Barlow, and Will Hare.

Some of you have been with Meeple Mountain almost since the beginning and others are brand new. Regardless of how long you’ve been with us, I know I’m lucky to work with a team so dedicated to board games, and writing about them.

The Collaborative Editing Process

One of the things that makes our team great is that everyone on the team is both a contributor and editor (Editor’s note: It’s true). Code reviews are something I’ve learned from my time as a software engineer, and I’ve found that it transfers quite well to the written word. While I make the scheduling decisions, and usually have the final say on content, the other members of the team help each other improve their writing, offer suggestions on content, and even work together outright to come up with our content. Google Docs is an invaluable part of our workflow and allows us to easily offer suggestions or tweaks, taking something that was merely good and making it great!

Raising a Family

In some ways the other members of the writing team are like an extended family. We chat on Slack constantly, we toss out ideas like John Cusack did in High Fidelity. “Have we done a Top 6 Historical Games?” “I think a ‘Starting a Gaming Group at your Local Library’ might make a good piece.” “What if we covered the Korean reality show The Genius?” We laugh about games, both good and bad, we commiserate when people have bad days, and celebrate when they have great ones!

But What about the Content?

I’d be remiss if I didn’t spend at least a few minutes talking about the content which has drawn readers to the site. The links below point to the 25 most popular pages on our site, and cover the gamut from funny to feeling.

PIP – Perfect Information Press

When Kurt Refling tossed out his idea for satire pieces at the beginning of the year, none of us had any idea that they’d become so popular. Little did we know that these would become a source of love, and occasionally hate. These have been fun to write, but they’ve also given us a chance to poke some fun at a few of the tropes and ideas of our hobby – some of which can be almost as silly as the articles we write about them.

Top Six Lists

Everyone loves a good list, right? They’re easy to write and digest, and they express an opinion in a fun way. Top Six lists have become one of our most loved sections of the site. They cover the range from food, to game design, to board game recommendations; there’s a little something for everyone.

Articles & Editorials

When I started Meeple Mountain I was adamant that we publish more than just board game reviews, and it’s a good thing we did: our articles have become important cornerstones for our website. We’ve published articles on running board game events, talking about shyness and depression, building a board game community, and even limiting your game collections.

Board Game Reviews

I find it amusing that for a “board game review website” we only have one review in the top 25 articles of all time, but if it was going to be one of them, it’s fitting that it’s Gloomhaven. It took the world by storm, and we still get hundreds of readers to Justin Gibbons’ review every month.

What’s Next?

For many people the line between amateur and professional can get a bit fuzzy. I’m not getting paid to run Meeple Mountain, but I’m certainly putting enough hours in to qualify as a solid part-time job. I’d love to make Meeple Mountain a full-time job for someone eventually, even if that someone isn’t me. In the meantime, we’re still working to make the site better, with new content daily and projects underway to help organize our content and find ways to engage our readers more directly.

Thanks for reading, and I look forward to the next million. How long do you think it’ll take?

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Andy Matthews

Founder of Meeple Mountain, editor of MeepleMountain.com, and software engineer. Father of 4, husband to 1, lover of games, books, and movies, and all around nice guy. I run Nashville Game Night, and Nashville Tabletop Day.

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