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2014 in review

The stats helper monkeys prepared a 2014 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

A New York City subway train holds 1,200 people. This blog was viewed about 3,800 times in 2014. If it were a NYC subway train, it would take about 3 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.

Online vs Retail vs FLGS

When it comes to games, I prefer to buy from my local friendly gaming shop (or FLGS), though I will sometimes buy online.

For me, there are really three tiers when it comes to shopping.  Online is obvious.  These are the online stores like Amazon or Coolstuffinc.  And while shopping at your FLGS and shopping at Target are both retail, I do differentiate between them.

Shopping online more or less guarantees that you will let the product you want.  I say more or less because even online stores will sell out of items.  Shopping retail can be a crap shoot.  Stores like Target, Walmart, even Barnes & Noble may or may not have the products you want.  And they probably will not have the selection of an online store, or maybe even an FLGS.  Smaller stores like an FLGS can specialize more, which can offer more selection.  And, if you cannot find what you are looking for, you could possibly order it.

Now, there are other advantages of each, but, as I said, I do prefer shopping at my local FLGS.  Doing this probably will not get me the best price on a game, but it will get me the best knowledge of a game.  Online stores offer reviews, but they cannot always be trusted.  I have seen one person who “reviewed” a G.I. Joe figure poorly and simply ran a diatribe about gun control.  And, retail stores just don’t have the personnel to be able to tell you what a game is like.  I’m sure there are even a few people working at these stores that have no idea that they even carry the games.

I also like shopping at my FLGS because they are locally owned and locally operated.  In buying locally, I keep my money local, helping to build up the local economy.  To be honest, I do this beyond games.  When I have hardware questions or needs, I go to my local Ace Hardware, which is locally owned.  And, like the FLGS, I actually get the answers I need, as opposed to a direction to another aisle.

Now, that is not to say that I do not rule out shopping retail, or shopping online.  I have made purchases online, but not often.  Most of the times it was because I wanted something that just was not available at any of my local stores.  Other times it is just because it is convenient to do so.  But I still prefer to shop locally.  This is why when it comes to buying my Rebel Aces set for Star Wars X-Wing, I will buy it at my local comic shop where I’ve been getting my comics because they are a local small business.

And probably get another one at my FLGS as well.

Final Meetup Update

In the wake of getting kicked out of one group, I began to look at the other groups I belonged to on Meetup… all three of them.  In looking them over, I realized that not one event they posted ever happened on a day I was available.  Well, there was a couple of Texas Hold’em tournaments on Sundays, but I don’t do well in tournaments, and think Texas Hold’em should only be played at a casino… opposite Phil Hellmuth and Doyle Brunson.  With a bit of reluctance, I realized that there was no place for me on any of those groups, so I dropped out of them as well (for the record, only one seemed to actually care).

Which got me thinking some more.  I had looked at other Meetup groups before, and the same thing happened.  All their events were on days when I could not participate.  Extremely few Sunday events, and absolutely no Monday events.  In realizing that there were no events that I could participate in, I began to wonder if there really was a place for me on Meetup.

I did not wonder that long.  I deleted my Meetup account.

Update to the Update.

Here’s a surprising turn of events that I had not even considered with the Meetup I had been a part of.

I did not type that wrong.  I meant had been.  It seems that I have been kicked out of the Meetup because I had not attended any events.  Granted, nearly all of these events happened to fall on nights when I happened to work, making attendance impossible.

So now I have been kicked out of the Meetup that I actually had considered stepping in to be the new organizer.

Sometimes it just does not pay to want to help people out.

Meetup Update

It looks like someone has signed on as organizer for the Meetup group I mentioned a few days ago.  While it is a good thing because the group won’t fold, I still have a few reservations.

This particular organizer is not from the area.  He’s from near the area, but not really close enough where it would be feasible for him to be an active part of the group.  He has brought on a number of the regulars as co-organizers who are local.  But, the distance makes me feel like he might be an absent landlord, only paying the bills while the group continues or falters.

Which brings me to my second concern.  As an absent landlord organizer for the Meetup group, he is simply footing the bill for the group to exist (which is roughly $15).  What happens when he decides that it would be better for the members to contribute to the costs?  It is very understandable that this could happen.  But I get the feeling that it would be easier for it to happen with someone who is not taking an active part in the group, but simply paying to keep it alive.  This is especially so when you factor in that this particular organizer is also the organizer for at least three other groups.

Granted, all of this could be simple distrust and paranoia.  But, then again, as the saying goes, just because you’re paranoid does not mean they are not out to get you.

The (Possible) Demise of a Meetup

I received an email today that one of the Meetup groups I belong to no longer has an organizer.  Since the organizer is also the one who pays the Meetup charges, it means that there is currently no one available to pay the dues.  Which also means that in 9 days (as of this posting), the meetup group will cease to be.

I personally have had a, well, I guess you can say a tumultuous time with Meetup.  I am currently a member of four groups (including the afore-mentioned group, and a new one that I just joined).  I also have yet to attend any suggested meetup from any of these groups.  The biggest problem I have is that because of my work schedule, I am rarely available to attend a meetup event for any of the groups.  All of them seem to fall between Tuesdays through Saturdays and nights, which is my current work schedule.  There is the occasional Sunday meetup, but those particular events I really have no interest in (sorry, but if I’m playing Texas Hold’em, it will be at a casino… sometime).  Past attempts to suggest events on days I have off rarely succeeded to get enough attention to move it beyond the “suggested events” stage.

Still, in spite of the fact that I have not attended a single event for any of these Meetups (to the point I have thought about dropping Meetup in general), I still do not want to see a group collapse because of a loss of leadership.  I also don’t want to take up the responsibility of keeping a group alive when I have not yet gone to one of their events.

At least, I don’t want to take it up for long… if I do.

A Few Gaming Videos

Since I’ve started playing board and card games, I have looked around the internet to try and find out information about the games that I had grown interested in, or that looked interesting on the shelves.  Sometimes I was just looking for a review.  Other times I was looking for something that would explain the rules better.  Naturally, I found a lot on YouTube.


The web series that started me down the road of board and card games.  Hosted by Wil Wheaton, TableTop brings together a group of Wil’s friends to play various games.  Think of it as Boardgaming with the Stars.  This web series is getting ready to move into its third season.

The Dice Tower

The catch all channel for board gaming.  The Dice Tower features reviews by Tom Vasel, and other contributors, Top 10 lists, and Board Game Breakfast, a weekly round up of board gaming.  If a game looks interesting, but you are just not too sure about it, it is more than likely that Tom, or one of his contributors, has reviewed it.

Watch It Played

Want to see how a game plays and have a couple of hours to kill?  Check out Rodney Smith’s Watch It Played.  Smith will actually play a game in a series of short videos, usually focusing on one or two turns a video.  He will often leave the segments open ended, asking viewers to leave suggestions for the next move in the comments.  He will also go over any possible errors that may have been made in the previous round.

Rahdo Runs Through

Similar to Watch It Played, Rahdo Runs Through focuses on showing how a game is played.  Unlike Watch It Played, though, Rahdo will play longer segments, usually splitting videos into set up, game play (with extended game play options) and final thoughts.

One or Two

Recently, someone suggested that I consider splitting my blog, with one blog focusing on the gaming stuff that has been in the forefront of my interest lately, and one for the rest of my interests.  Once, I would have dismissed this idea.  I have had in the past tried to maintain three blogs at once without much success.  But, I have to admit that I am considering this.  This is mostly because I have been all over the place with this blog in the past, and not been all that successful at maintaining it lately (as seen by the number of “no blog post tonight” posts.

Now, most likely, if I were to do this, it would mean that I would not be posting on this blog on a regular basis anymore.  There is not guarantee that I would be posting on the other site a lot either, but at least it would be more consistent with a theme.  And maybe this blog would not be all over the place either.

So, what do you think?  Should I just keep everything here on one blog?  Or should I split off the game stuff to a new blog, maintaining a consistent theme at the cost of regular posts on either blog?  Please let me know what you think by replying to this blog.

Thank you.

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