Hello and Welcome Back for 2020!

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I hope you all saw out 2020 safely!

Welcome back!

There have been a lot of changes over the last year, and 2 moves in one year for me hasn’t helped for me personally. If that is my biggest actual gripe about 2019, I actually consider myself pretty lucky!

But the move is all settled, and Rabbit and I are settling into the new place nicely. Work is a thing (isn’t it always?), but this year even that should have some levels of ‘normalcy’ to it.

Not everyone has had it so lucky.

Here in Australia, the bushfires are still rampaging out of control. Personally, we are going OK where I live and work, so I am definitely in the ‘lucky’ group of Australians. Smoke from Australian fires has reached Antarctica and South America, according to the UN. And it will probably get worse still before anything gets better.

World War 3 memes are out in the wild trying to make light of a sensitive situation. The situation between the US and Iran will most likely affect the entire world in one way or another.

And the Iran incidents happening with President Trump’s impeachment progressing makes for an even more “What the?” situation than usual in the States.

And that is just two countries. Most of the world is going through trouble at the moment in some form.

I am not trying to start the year off on a sour note. I don’t want to dwell on it here, but the global political spiral is real. It is something we all have to acknowledge and work together on.

What I am looking forward to doing is continue to talk about a topic I love – gaming. I hope that JohnHQLD.com continues to be a safe place for the people that come here, and I hope that whatever the situation around you that you are as safe as you can be.

So what has been going on over the extended break?

Site wise, not as much as I hoped, but a lot of headway has been made in different areas. I keep talking about projects that I want to do, but time always feels like it is against me.

But this year I have started to make some real progress on some wish lists that I have.

We have a new family member!

Just before I started writing this article, we got a new addition to our household. If you follow me on Instagram, you would have already seen this cutie 🙂

Adopted from the RSPCA as Ash, he hasn’t let us know his proper name yet. Rabbit is partial to Meeple, and Enzo. Enzo because he purrs like a Ferrari 😀

Totally doting on this little cutie. The boys (Fitz and Harry) are bonding nicely with the new addition, and it is amazing seeing them all together.

Expect to see lots of random pics of this little fella in random game night pics in the future 🙂

Such a fun little cutie 🙂

My Games Library

My games collection. My shining jewel and a shame. Why shame? Because I can’t tell you what’s in it half the time!

I have a broader board game collection than many people. Like any extensive collection, management has been a problem. My goal this year is to address this and stay on top of it.

The new house is allowing me for a great setup though, and can’t wait to finish updating my catalogue.

What has this got to do with the site? Well, I am also working on a couple of apps to help me keep on top of all this! And when they are done, I will be opening them up to the world 🙂

Apps, you say?

The first app will be a prettier way of exporting your Board Game Geek collection. BGG is the number one board game information site, with the best database of game info around. Exporting my collection though always causes me problems. So I am doing something about it 🙂

This will be a work in progress for a while, and I will be looking for user feedback once the first version goes up. All going well, the prototype form of this feature will be ready for March 🙂

The second app will be a library system. That’s right – a run of the mill library system. This won’t be for everyone, but it will help me, and I hope others with extensive collections.

The idea is I can select a game from my collection, and the app will tell me what shelf it’s on. Yep – that’s actually a problem for me. Finding games is such a pain!

Secondly, if someone from my games group wants to borrow a game, the app can keep track of who has it and for how long.

This is a longer-term project for 2020, but if you have been looking for something like this tell me what you would like!

The Lists are back!

So I haven’t made a list since 2018. I hadn’t realised it was so long, and getting my 2019/20 made me realise how handy these can be. Of my best games for 2019, I didn’t realise how many of my choices I hadn’t written a review for!

So for 2019, I have made 6 lists. There are two ‘Best of 2019’ lists for Board Games and Video Games. One list is games I have played, and the other games I wish I had. This should be fun 🙂

The last two lists are games I am looking forward to releasing in 2020. I can’t wait to hear feedback on what you are looking forward to playing!

These will be coming pretty fast so that all of the lists are out before February. Don’t get used to multiple articles a day!

My gaming challenges are going public!

I love playing games. Learning new games keeps me engaged, and playing games is a great way to unwind. Time commitments don’t always allow this, but there is no reason to not shoot for the moon!

If you look at last years numbers, I am pretty sure I got closer to my board game goals than I recorded. If it wasn’t games night or playing with Alpal, I wasn’t too good at recording the game. New year goals!

What does this mean for you? That I can’t say. This is just a bit of fun for me. Hopefully, you will enjoy it as well. Time will tell!

More about the challenges in an upcoming article 😀

I need to record all of my plays!

Tuesday’s and Thursday’s won’t be as empty – eventually.

My current schedule has been relatively light. Last Week’s Gaming is a summary I work on during the week. Yeti in Wahroonga Village is fun, playing around with Alpal’s Lego world. It changes much more than you realise, and I am always looking forward to seeing her new changes. Friday’s are review days, and I have struggled to keep up with these.

The review schedule has been a time management problem on my part. And I realised when making the lists how much harder I was making this on myself.

So now that I have about 30 reviews ready to write, I have been busy starting to write them. These have been started, but with the move and some much-needed downtime, I am not as ready with them as I wanted to be.

In prepping my challenges, I also had a few ideas on other stand-alone articles. Some I have wanted to write for a while, some are brand new. So during the year, Reviews will start migrating from Fridays only to be twice weekly. That final day will be used for other articles, and I can’t wait to see how they go!

Finally, I am hoping in the future to write a weekly preview or impressions on a Kickstarter project. Sometimes it will be why I am backing them, sometimes it will be why I am not supporting them. But they will become regular tidbits through the year.

So what do you think? Looking forward to some of the changes, or wish I was focusing on something else? Let me know! As always, I want JohnHQLD.com to become a community we all build together. I am really looking forward to 2020, and there are still things I have planned in the background 😀

Catch you later today, with my Last Week’s Gaming from during the break!

JohnHQLD

So 2019 has been a big year for me, and more to come!

JohnHQLD Site Background

The only constant this year has been change

As I said on Monday in Last Week’s Gaming, there have been a lot of going on for me over the last few days.

The main cause hasn’t been work for once, but I am moving again. That’s right – twice in one year!

Our current home has been sold to make way for units, but luckily we got a new place pretty quickly. This does mean a lot more activity over the next couple of weeks, which puts us right up against the holidays.

What does this mean for the site?

So because of this, I am going on a break a bit earlier and a bit longer than normal. Between the physical move, setup, lack of internet etc, I think it’s the best choice.

I am hoping to get a review up on Friday for Terminator: Resistance, but no promises. I don’t think I will get it finished before the move now, so it’s hard to review what I haven’t finished!

There will also likely be infrequent Last Week’s Gaming articles, as for at least 2 weeks I probably won’t be playing anything. Anything I do play though I will throw up on Instagram and maybe Twitter, with the odd random Facebook post to keep things happening.

Yeti hunting in the Puzzles will continue as normal though, as I have a few weeks primed already 😀

I am thinking I will bring things back to normal from the 13th of January. This will give me plenty of lead time to get things happening and maybe finally some of the new projects as well!

That’s a big break!

Yep, it is. And I am sorry it’s late notice for such a long break, but everything has been up in the air and moving close the holidays will surely bring some more suprises. Planning for the unexpected hoping it’s enough!

As mentioned, there will be infrequent bits and pieces happening, so keep in touch via Facebook, Instagram or Twitter and I hope you all have a more relaxing time than we will 😀

Until next time,

JohnHQLD

So until PAX Aus, a bit of a change in the schedule

The crunch has gotten to me!

As I have been talking about for the last couple of weeks, I have been working a lot in the buildup to PAX Aus. Not for PAX Aus, but my full time job that has a lot of things coming to a head.

I like to have all the articles done and ready to go while I am away like last year. This year, time has not been as kind.

So for the next couple of weeks, I am putting reviews on hold. Last Week’s Gaming and Yeti in Wahroonga Village will continue, but no reviews for a little bit.

Instead, today is me saying what I am planning on doing. Next week, I will be either frantically fixing work problems or packing for PAX. Probably both :p

So another quiet week next week article wise. The week after though, that is when Rabbit and I drive down to Melbourne. I won’t be putting much up on the site, but expect a more regular posting on Instagram and Facebook of our adventures!

Then, it’s time for PAX Aus itself. I don’t know what or when I will be posting, but it will be fun!

OK So this was from 2 years ago, expect new pics this week!

The PAX Aus XP 2019 group will be made over the next few days. I will be posting there for the XP hunt obviously, but if you aren’t doing PAX XP that won’t be of interest.

Random pictures of things will be posted of things I have seen/played with, again of Facebook and Instagram. Tweets if I remember. That many people in such a small area tends to lead to mobile issues, so it’s a ‘when it works’ scenario.

The week after that, we hang for a bit longer then come home. That review day (October 18th) will be a write up of all the things I got up to and random thoughts on PAX Aus 2019.

After that, the site will return to normal. For a given amount of normal anyway 😀

Until next time,

JohnHQLD

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

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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

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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

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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!

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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