Closing down a bit over the Holidays!


Well, that’s been a year, hasn’t it? relaunched on the 29th of January, 2018.

So technically, publicly, this has been going again for around 11 months.  But what an eleven months this has been for me.

Some things I didn’t quite get off the ground as I hoped.  Video is still something I want to do, but I couldn’t quite get the handle on I was hoping for.

The podcasts though – both JohnHQLD Blatherings and Clear, Concise Ramblings – went better than I could have dreamed.

Sure, we won’t be winning any awards soon, but the reception and feedback have been positive and there are tweaks coming in the future as well.

Being able to share the chats I have with Alpal in the Ramblings has been fun, and it is something that we enjoy doing.  Still, need to nail the sound recording process, but it’s getting there!

Blatherings Banner
Regularly talking out some game thoughts has been a great experience

Kickstarter news has taken a bit of a nosedive, which is unfortunate.  I still keep an eye on Kickstarter, but not as much as I used to.  This is something I am hoping to address in the coming year and fills in that little void on Thursdays.  You knew it was there for something!

But reviews have taken off, and are also being well received.  From a ‘when I can’ to a regular twice-weekly affair, this is probably my biggest time achievement in regards to the site.

The Wednesday puzzles have also been a lot of fun, but they could be evolving again early next year – let me know if you want them left ‘as is’ or would like to see something different!

There is also a new feature that has become surprisingly popular – Last Week’s Gaming.  These mini-snippets into our gaming experiences I thought would be a bit of fun, but have started turning into something more.

Fireball Island 20181210
See the sights, take happy snaps, and don't forget to explore! Oh, did you get hit by a lava ball? Have a free souvenir!

But as much as I am happy and pleased that I have been able to bring you something five days a week, there is something I am a lot prouder of.

Thank you for finding a random link somewhere and coming to have a look.  Thank you for staying, and thank you for joining in.  It sounds cliche, but without you reading this there is no point to me writing it, and I am happy that we can be taking such a journey together.

Hopefully, now, you are starting to wind up work and prepare for the gauntlet that is the holidays.

I know I am, and I am working at clearing the decks as much as possible to continue to grow the site and community next year.  To do this though, I will be taking a little time off from the site over the holidays as well.

So from December 23rd to January 7th, I am going to be taking a bit of a break from updating the site.  The puzzles will be staying, as is possibly Last Week’s Gaming, but Reviews and Clear, Concise Ramblings will be away for a couple of weeks.

That image of an Aussie Holiday. Yeah, not going to happen 🙂

During this time, I will be doing a few things.

I am looking forward to spending time with loved ones.  A couple of days or more will be cataloguing and starting to clear out the gaming pile (Yes, there will be the inevitable ‘shelfies’ once I know what I have again!).

There will also be a concerted effort to getting ready for a couple more large changes in my life next year, not the least of which being moving house.  There is nothing as carefree as moving after the better part of 6 years!

I also hope to be finalising plans for a better setup of my video gaming stuff.  I don’t know if I will have time to implement these plans, but this will hopefully make recording and spoilers! streaming easier.

All in about 9 days.  Why do they call these HOLIDAYS again?

During it all, I will be randomly posting things on Facebook and Twitter, so don’t forget to follow me there as well to see some shenanigans happening!

But that’s my plans.  I hope you enjoy whatever you get up to over the next couple of weeks, even if it’s just enjoying a bit of quiet time at work while everyone else is away!  As always feel free to send me a message showing off what you are up to over the holidays as well – if it’s on Twitter though don’t forget to @JohnHQLD me!

Once again, thank you for joining me this year, and I look forward to seeing you all again next year.  Even if this year has been a short one, it’s been a great ride and I look forward to continuing 🙂

All the best, be safe and enjoy, and once again thank you.


So about those changes I was talking about in the Blatherings

JohnHQLD Logo

A change is as good as a holiday!

So a couple of Blatherings ago, I talked a little bit about some changes I want to make to the site.

Some are to the Blatherings themselves.  While they are not entirely disappearing, I don’t feel comfortable doing a regular co-hosted show and calling it ‘my blatherings’.  So the Blatherings will be reserved just for my special episodes, where I have something to say or want to talk about a particular topic.

The new show will still be Alpal and I, with occasional guests.  This is probably a change that is still a few weeks away, but it is a change that is coming.

The other side of the coin though is the written articles on the site itself.  I enjoy writing about games and pointing out upcoming things I am excited about, but it’s not all I wanted to write about.

I wanted to use the site as a way of going through my games library and making sure every game got played.  The fact I would be reviewing them guaranteed more than a quick solo playthrough and opinions formed that way.

Unfortunately, my desire to write about something every day has gotten in the way of this.  Instead of giving me some dedicated gaming time, I am turning away offers to play and organising game days.

Hurry'Cup Games Night
If I was writing during games night, I would have missed 2008's Hurry'Cup for another 10 years!

I still read my gaming news and go for some different gaming web searches like always, but instead of playing a game and writing how it was I have been looking for the next bit of news.

Now I am not what I would consider a journalist.  I have stated I don’t have ties to gaming companies or sources of any sort.  Still, somehow over the last few months, I have managed to fall into a pattern of looking for the next ‘story’.

Because I write about how a bit of news has an impact on me, I have been happy with what I have been writing about.  The problem is, not something happens every day I want to write about.

This was starting to put a lot of self-imposed stress on myself, especially when I looked at the countdown on the right.  PAX Aus is my birthday and year-long celebrations all rolled into a single event, and I was getting worried about what I could do to keep content flowing in October.  Sure PAX is three days, but I am road tripping it this year followed immediately by a three-day work conference.

It was in looking at alternatives during this period before and after PAX Aus when I realised just how much I had gone off the path I intended.

PAX Aus 2018
PAX. It's my favourite time of year 🙂

It’s also when I came up with the simplest solution.  Why write every day?  Sure, there are plenty of times I will have a bit about a game announcement, Kickstarters that have caught my eye, or just a rant on the world as a whole.

But if I don’t have anything to write that day, then what’s the issue?  I am hoping you will agree with me when I say ‘None at all’.

So probably in about a fortnight, you will see me writing a bit less than I have been.  I won’t stop, it’s simply that I will be rediverting my energy into some other areas of the site I have been looking at doing.

First and foremost will be Reviews.  Less pressure on myself to write something new every day means more energy to write reviews more often!  I don’t have a firm time yet for when this begins, but Reviews will be coming every week in the future at a minimum.  Every now and then (like when I am on the road!) there will be extras 🙂

Second is Videos.  Now I am not talking about streaming, I am too old and too tired for that kind of schedule.  One reason I have not done videos up until now is time – video editing is very time-consuming, and time writing is less time to edit video.

What sort of videos?  Some of my older video classic games playthroughs, and some board game ‘how to play videos’ definitely.  I have some other ideas as well, such as Detective: A Modern Crime Board Game.  Rodney Smith did a great video over on Watch It Played (a site I recommend for all board gamers), but there have been comments on a ‘spoiler’ playthrough.

Now I am not really comfortable with a full playthrough of a game that hasn’t even been fully released worldwide.  Especially one with as many spoilers such as Detective.  But, a video with some actual gameplay of ‘must hit’ locations and working examples of the Antares Database in action would fill in some blanks from the manual and the instructional video.

Detective A Modern Crime Board Game Video Subject
A video of the first few hours, showing the mechanics in action - what do you think? Something you would watch?

Videos would be on a when done basis, and if I can get into a groove I may even extend into the video review realm as well!  As I said, editing takes a lot of time and I am far from proficient at it yet, but I won’t say never.

So what do you think?  Would going the occasional day or two without a small article be worth more gaming reviews and content in the long run?  Let me know what you think!

Until next time,