And we are back!

JohnHQLD Site Background

Back in business and slowly getting the engine running again

As I said in my last post, sorry but I needed to take a break.  I was taking on way too much and almost didn’t realise it until it was too late.

But after a reset and some juggling, I think I know what I want to do with things going forward, so let me take you through what I want to do with the site.

Reviews

These are staying, and I will continue to do Video Game and Board Game reviews.  What I won’t continue to be doing is two reviews a week.

Trying to get time in to play sessions to fairly review games on top of also trying to play for fun has been difficult and getting harder.

So I will have a newer game review once a month (e.g. recently received Kickstarter) and a mix of older games and video games two or three times during the month.

That said, I have a couple of reviews already drafted. These include Chronicles of Crime and Kingdom Hearts 3, so there will be a review a week for at least a month.

I am thinking Thursdays?

Chronicles of Crime Cover Art
Taking the criminal deduction genre to exciting new levels

What I am hoping to build back up to is hopefully a review a week, but cycle to once a month a pattern of:

  • Newer Game
  • Video Game
  • Older Game (Video or Tabletop)
  • Smaller Game (PnP for example)

Hopefully, this works well for everyone, but if you would rather I focus on a genre in particular let me know!

Puzzles

Now I have been enjoying the puzzles, they are a quick bit of fun and I enjoy doing them.  I think I will leave these going on a Wednesday as a hump day activity.

I was thinking of increasing the frequency of the puzzles, but I don’t think I can. If I am slowing down the content of the site, pointing to games discussed in the last few weeks will be hard.

So keeping the puzzle once a week is the plan, but I do have some other terrible drawing plans for the future 🙂

20190306 Puzzle
Not a hidden clue, but you still need to have been paying attention

Podcasts

Something I enjoy doing, but recording has started becoming harder and harder.

As discussed earlier, these will be put on hiatus until at least mid-year.  Watch out though, as you may be subjected to the occasional Blatherings in the interim 😀

But when we do come back, it will be with a new show with a slightly different format and probably every two weeks in a slightly longer format (about 15-20 minutes rather than 10-15).

Crowdfunding / Kickstarter news

It’s something we all say to ourselves – I need to cut back on backing Kickstarters. While I enjoy looking at projects, I have a real problem suggesting projects I haven’t backed. This is getting expensive, and I need to cull my library. So I will talk every two weeks about a project, but I won’t have necessarily backed it though.

So I will still be looking at different projects and weighing up what I would like to add to my collection. But I won’t be backing so that I feel better suggesting people check it out themsleves – that’s the only difference.

I think this will be OK, as I will still discuss what I like and what I am wary of, but I would love to know what you think?

Escape The Dark Castle Collectors Box
The semi secret expansion - The Collectors Box *Not final design

Last Week’s Gaming

This is staying on Mondays, no real changes here.  It’s nice to be able to talk about social gaming this way.  What I might be doing though is expanding a little on the description and thoughts to make up for fewer reviews – what do you think?

The Future

So there are quite a few little things planned for the future, and not just a new format of the podcasts.

Video

There will be video content coming. Video Games is my first thought, with the impressions and reactions to the first hour or so of some games.

From there, if we can set up the equipment easily, highlights of game nights and selected game run-throughs. Maybe even How to Plays? I have wanted to make these for some time, but Rodney Smith of Watch It Played does a great job already.  How to Play’s will definitely be time dependent.

Rants

These are something that actually has the highest traffic on the site. I truly enjoy writing these as I always write about something I strongly believe in.

By not having as strict a schedule, these are something I can write more often. Something gaming related, sometimes political. Unfortunately these days there are plenty of issues that shouldn’t be able to stand, so I will have plenty to say.

We Happy Few Screen 02
It's alright, he's the clown police. Wait I shouldn't have said that...

Other things

But this isn’t all I am thinking about – there are still bigger projects and things I want to do, but these will be taken in smaller bites and won’t be on the 2019 list.

So what do you think?  Have I cut back too much on something you like coming too regularly?  Let me know in the comments!

But thank you for staying with me, and thank you for the support shown while I stood back and regrouped for the past week.

Until next time,

JohnHQLD

An unexpected break while the site is being reorganised

JohnHQLD Site Background

I know this is short notice, but I need to make some changes

Hi everyone.

I know this is a little sudden, but it’s more sudden on the front page of the site than if you know me behind the scenes.

JohnHQLD.com started as a bit of fun and as a cathartic experience that I genuinely enjoy creating for.  What started as some loose goals formed into the site you have known, and I have lots of plans and projects that I want to do with the site going forward.

As with anything, one factor you need for something like this is time.  Every activity needs it. When JohnHQLD.com first started, it was an excuse to force myself to make time to do something I love – gaming.  My opinions, rants and summaries have been some of the sites most popular content – but I just don’t quite have the time to do them anymore with the current format.

Things have been happening in the background that I have been trying to balance, and that balance has tipped almost past the point of no return in some areas.

It’s nothing bad or ominous, just the ‘normal’ work/life balance issues that we all have to deal with.  Work turned around and is going really well in letting me have my personal time balance back.  There are some new exciting things happening that will be big, but they aren’t 80-100 hours a week projects so that will be good!

But I started looking at how much time I was looking at keeping the site the way it has been, and I am essentially working another 15-25 hours a week on top of my paid work to do the close to daily content of the site.

Big Trouble in Little China On The Table
Getting games like Big Trouble in Little China has been worth it, but they take time

And this time doesn’t include the time it takes to actually play the games in question.  As all gamers know, finding the time to play bigger games like Big Trouble in Little China can be very difficult.  It’s not just a case of ‘Now I have time to sit and play’, so do 2-3 other people at the same time.  While I have enjoyed the part game we played on games night, I am nowhere near playing it enough times to do a formal review on.

And it also doesn’t include the extra 20-30 hours a week I want to devote to doing new things much more regularly on the site.  And that is part of the trap I have set for myself – in finding more time to do what I enjoy, I have managed to put myself into a second full-time job.

Time isn’t the only trap though – I have caught myself steering to what I think will be popular content or stopping myself from playing other games for the sake of the site.  For example, I have been holding off my Chronicles of Crime review as I had the Kickstarter copy well before retail channels could sell it.

When I started the site, I wanted to use it as a tool to go through my shelves and have a repository of my thoughts on the games.  This meant reviewing games that have been out for some time and in today’s ‘Cult of the New’ publishing mentality, I have come to realise how unfair this can be.

What is the point of reviewing a magnificent game that makes someone need to have it in their lives only to discover it has been out of print for 5 years?

Take Forbidden Stars for example.  A game I really want to play still (I have only had a half game so far), but because Fantasy Flight and Games Workshop split it may never hit shelves again.  That makes it feel more like an in memoriam than a review 🙁

Forbidden Stars Setup
Something like this may come from the Games Workshop / Wizkids deal, but it won't be Forbidden Stars

Instead of clearing my shelves, I have added over 150 titles that I haven’t had time to play at all.

So hey great I have a great games library – but I haven’t played almost a third of it the way I want to.  And when you are looking at more than 700 titles (not including expansions) – that’s a lot of regret and pressure sitting on a shelf looking at you.

So what will the new plans be?

Honestly – today, I’m not 100% sure.

  • Last Week’s Gaming is fun and reasonably popular on the views, so that will stay. Formal reviews will be intermittent rather than Tuesday and Friday, at least for the short term.
  • What I might do are mini-reviews based on Last Week’s Gaming?  I need to work this out during the break, but I like this idea.
  • Kickstarter news that I just started getting back into the groove with will be when I back something or when I am really opposed to backing something. That will be being cut down as I need to really limit the new games I am adding to the library.
  • Podcasts will stop until I can set up a more permanent recording location, so they will be largely on hiatus.
  • The weekly puzzles – these might actually increase in regularity, and have one video game and one board game related?  I find these fun, and stem from brief flashes and doodles.

I really do want to get into video content, and I have recorded almost all of my Kingdom Hearts 3 and Resident Evil 2 gameplay in preparation of video reviews.  The problem already is this is about 60 hours of footage to review and edit, and that is only 2 games!

Later in the year I should have a better setup for capturing both audio and video content, so all these plans are being put on hold until then.

The one thing I am 100% sure of is the site will continue, and if it was a sportsball team this would be a rebuilding season.  The overall goal is to come back better again.  We have done it once, it can happen again 🙂

To help with this, this will be the last regular update until Monday, March 18th.  This will give me the weekend to do the things I just need to do and have a chance to talk to people and sound out some ideas.  The first article back will be what I have decided on, and hopefully some timelines as well.

Upcoming Plans
Between GoG.com and Steam, there are plenty of old classics to relive and more to play for the first time! And I will be doing it on video - well that's always been the plan

So once again, I do apologise for the late notice and apparent stop on the site.  It just worked out this way behind the scenes. This is something I have been musing on for about a fortnight already, but I don’t think it’s something I can delay any longer.  Stepping away from the ‘have to have something up for tomorrow’ and pushing new projects aside will be the best thing long term I think.

Thank you for all of your support, it really is appreciated and I hope that the changes will be something you enjoy going forward.

Until the 18th,

JohnHQLD

Blatherings 016 – Some tweaks are coming, and it’s been a year!

JohnHQLD's Blatherings Podcast

Another Year Bites the Dust

And we made it through a whole year!  It’s a milestone that just zipped by me, it really hasn’t felt like it.

Alpal is still taking some time out, so it’s just me – so that means another Blatherings!  That won’t be the case for much longer though, as The Rabbit has agreed to join us talk about games played 🙂

Sorry I sound a bit sniffly and bleh – my nose is making it hard to breath and talking has been interesting 🙁

Have a great weekend everyone!

JohnHQLD

Don’t forget – you can now search for JohnHQLD Podcasts in most podcast players!

Or you can open them directly in SpotifyiTunes or SoundCloud here.

If searching for JohnHQLD Podcasts doesn’t work, add this RSS feed URL and you should be ready to go!

How would you like to listen to some Clear, Concise Ramblings?

Ramblings Logo

Getting ready to hit the road!

Hi everyone!

Quick one today.  This Saturday marks the very first episode of our new podcast Clear, Concise Ramblings!

Each week, Alpal and I will be having a quick chat about a game or two we have been playing.  Not quite a review, more an overview and our general thoughts.

The episodes will only be about 10 minutes each, so something quick to listen to each week!

End don’t forget the Blatherings haven’t ended – they are just a now and then thing when I feel like talking about some topics 🙂

Looking forward to continuing to unveil all the new stuff during and after PAX!

Until tomorrow,

JohnHQLD and Alpal

Things are quiet, but things are moving! Updates and Changes today

JohnHQLD Logo

So a little bit on what is happening and when

So as you have seen, there has still been a fair bit of daily content coming through thanks largely to Alpal.  I have been working away on both the site and work, which has me snowed at the moment with my upcoming much needed holiday.

It’s about a week later than I hoped for, but here is a hard timeline for items over the next few weeks!

Podcasts (and Vlogs?  Vodcasts?  All the things!)

As mentioned already, Blatherings isn’t gone – it’s just going back to my blathering on about things.

Alpal and I are coming back in a new podcast called Clear, Concise Ramblings, and recording is officially starting TODAY.  I expect a couple of episodes of fine tuning again, but we seem to have what we want to talk about down pat – namely, talking about the games we have played 😀

The Blatherings will continue as me talking about things that I just want to talk about, and not always board game related.  But I am also getting things pretty sorted with the video camera and stuff, so I am also going to do an occasional Video Blatherings as well, probably with Facebook live stream.  Why?  Because PAX is only a few weeks away, and I can get stuff up on the Facebook page immediately!

So expect a couple of trial streams next week as I test out the tech, because I do not Facebook well I know but I am excited about this!

JohnHQLD's Blatherings Podcast
Podcast Banner

The Video Series – How to play, How to teach, and just a game

So far I have gotten one how-to video mostly finished, and a gameplay session that frankly I am not happy still with how it came out.

A problem at my place is lighting and sound.  Normal steady background noise like my PC I can eliminate, but not cars driving by and the like.  That I pretty much live with as it’s circumstantial.  The lighting is harder to live with though.  It is looking good to my eye and on preview, then I move a card half a centimetre in any direction and on camera it’s either to dark or too shiny to see clearly.  You may notice this on some of the photos of components I take.

During the week prior to PAX Aus, there will be a couple of videos going up, but these are looking to be a monthly addition after all for the time being.

Rule books

And PAX Aus itself!

So I am not a media person or anything like that, but my annual PAX trip is really my holiday.  It is all of my annual holidays rolled up into one, and the only time I take dedicated time off work during the year.

This year I am taking a couple of weeks off work and driving down to Melbourne with my partner, so it is going to be great for me personally.  Site updates and internet access wise though?  Not so much.

So there will be more Facebook and Twitter updates as I see things, but the site will not be updated quite as regularly with new things.  This is the period I will have more reviews ready and things like that, but for other updates check out the Facebook page or follow me on Twitter – I am starting to try and use both more actively to get in the habit!

Pax Australia 2018
Road Trip
Two weeks of this 🙂

So that’s all in the works, and when what is coming and how.

Other than that, I hope you are having a great day, and I will catch you later.

Until then,

JohnHQLD

Do not adjust your screen – the changes have arrived!

JohnHQLD Site Changes

After talking about it for a few weeks, the more visual changes are now live on the site!

JohnHQLD Site Changes
It's the site you know, but hopefully better 🙂

Content changes like the Videos and the new Podcast are still incoming, but the technical side is now behind me.

What do you think of the new layout?

Until next time,

JohnHQLD

Blatherings is changing too!

JohnHQLD Logo

The site is not the only changes

I have been wrestling with recording a Blatherings this week for a while, and I just can’t seem to make it.

I have mentioned changes to the site for a little while now, including in a previous Blatherings.  And they are getting here.

Alpal and I are set on the new podcast path, and I am happy where that is going.  We need to start recording, but once that starts hopefully next weekend, it will keep flowing nicely.

Today I was going to do a Blatherings where I just talked about the changes (again!) and some upcoming Video Games like Destiny’s Forsaken expansion coming next week, but then I realised I could just keep updating the site and get the changes quicker.

So that’s what I am doing this morning.  I am sorry for throwing the schedule at the last minute, but the next Podcast will be a debut and my Blatherings, so a doubleheader incoming!

As a sneak peek to the site changes though, do you notice anything different?

Until next time,

JohnHQLD

The Renovations are beginning!

Under Renovation

This is where the hard stuff comes into it

Happy Tuesday everyone!

So today is the first day where planning and current content timelines have hit.  No gaming news today, even though a couple of bits of news have made me raise my eyebrows.

As I have discussed previously here and on the Blatherings, I am bringing the site back to what I originally envisioned while doing some new things.

So what are you working on specifically?

Initially, website updates.  I have wanted to tweak the visuals for the site for a while, and I need to finish standardising my early posts especially.  This is going to be a long process where you will hopefully only see changes if you revisit old posts, but it’s time I need to put in again.  If the site looks funny, please let me know so I can fix it!

I have taken on board a lot of feedback on the layout of the site, especially the fonts and colours.  Fingers crossed this will be done mid-September with a mini-site relaunch 🙂

Content-wise?

Reviews are being written.  I have quite a few lined up and after the relaunch, reviews will be twice weekly affairs 🙂

Videos have been outlined.  There are a few I have in mind, with old game streaming and some solo play videos.  How to play, play examples, and How to teach videos will become a monthly feature – well, at this stage anyway.  See how I go with everything after a couple of months and what the feedback is.

These videos all going well will start to appear on the site and the YouTube channel in late September 🙂

Video reviews at the moment are the last thing on my planned list.  My biggest problem is video takes a lot of time to script, film and edit.  I honestly don’t think I will have the time to do this as a twice-weekly addon to the written reviews.  But I try to never say never.  Reviews aren’t off the cards, just don’t expect them in the first instance.

And the changes I didn’t want to have to make

I have been getting some extra notice lately, and that has been great!  Unfortunately, it has also bought the attention of spammers.  There have been a number of registrations and comments made over the last week especially, none of which were legitimate so I have removed them all.

With the comments, I was hoping to manually approve only the initial comments then allow users to post based on good faith.  On one hand, the comments and discussions have not been as much as I hoped.  On the other, this system did stop spam and/or hurtful comments being publicly posted.

As such, for the short term at least, I have disabled new user registration entirely.  Registered users can still comment on the site, but for new visitors please comment or message me on the Facebook page.  Alternatively, if you wish to register on the site, email me at [email protected] and I can get you set up within a day if you wish.  I just need your name and the screen name you wish to use 🙂

What do you think?  Do these plans sound good?  Is there something you wanted to see that I have missed?  Let me know on the Facebook page!

Until next time,

JohnHQLD

JohnHQLD Blatherings 012 – Some changes are coming

JohnHQLD's Blatherings Podcast

Running solo again for a week!

Hi everyone!

With the rush from the end of the financial year, now that things have started slowing down I have had a chance to look back on how the site and Blatherings have been going over the last few months.

That has led me to start thinking about changes to the site, and with the Blatherings.

With Alpal and I being sick this week, I have taken this chance for a quick update and talk about some of the things I am looking at changing.  Nothing immediate, and I am looking for thoughts and feedback, but it felt like time to start airing the thoughts.

Unfortunately, I am airing these thoughts with a blocked nose, so I have sounded better – sorry about that!

But on that note, I am going to have a restful weekend catching up on some games and learning new ones.

I hope you all have a great weekend too!

JohnHQLD