Doing “year in review” posts seems to be the thing to do, so I’ll write one as well. This post started out as an overall overview of my 2016 tabletop gaming, but that turned out to be mostly about GURPS anyway, so I’m categorizing it as a GURPS post.
State of the Blog
The big news here is that I started a blog! You’re looking at it! Octopus Carnival is a little over three months old at this point: its first post went up in September 27th, 2016. Let’s talk a bit about how it’s been doing.
I’ve been keeping track of how many visitors and views I get using Google Analytics, purely for my own enjoyment as I’ve pledged to myself I wouldn’t include adds or affiliate links here. The following comments about my traffic all refer from the data registered in Analytics.
During the first month I managed to publish a post every day, making progress in two still ongoing projects: an adaptation of Dragon’s Dogma to GURPS, and GURPS Dungeon Fantasy versions of the Pathfinder Iconic characters. Whenever a new post came up I posted announcements to a thread in the Steve Jackson Games forum and a thread on RPG.net, and after a while I started posting to a GURPS community in Google Plus and to the [GURPS Discord as well.
From October 26th to November 13th I was out of the country and didn’t have time to post anything, which meant my carefully cultivated traffic fell to nearly zero and I had to start over. My posting rate for gameable content isn’t quite up to what it was before that trip, but that’s intentional: it was kinda eating into the rest of my life. I still hope to post 2-3 times a week from now on.
Direct access seems to be the main source of traffic to the site, sitting at 21% of the total. I imagine that’s not just people typing up the URL in their browsers, tough that’s certainly part of it. Links that don’t contain a referrer would also count towards this total, and a good bit of those are likely to be people following internal links between posts.
The second largest source overall, and the main source of referral traffic is the SJ Games forum threa, accounting for 20% or all sessions. Google Plus comes in third overall. Gaming Ballistic’s GURPS Day posts came in at fourth until very recently, but were just edged out by an interesting phenomenom.
Looks like a couple of my posts were linked at a pair of Russian social networks/blog sites, imaginaria.ru and vk.com, and they got some attention from Russian roleplayers. That’s something I never thought would happen, and it makes me happy!
Most of those accesses seem to be to the Octopus Carnival home page, which means a lot of people just go there to read the latest post. As for the individual posts, the most popular ones are the Pathfinder characters, despite those only technically being a side project. I can’t say I’m surprised that the Pathfinder name draws eyeballs even on a blog with not a single d20 rule on it. It’s a big name! Amiri the Barbarian is the most popular of the converted iconics, being both the first I posted and the one that got linked to those Russian blogs. Valeros the Fighter comes just below her, having also been linked there. Kyra the Cleric is third.
Overall, I’m pretty happy about how I’m doing! Octopus Carnival isn’t as popular as some of the superstars in the GURPS blogging community, but it does have a following and that’s a lot more than I expected :). So thank you for reading it!
For next year, I’ll try to diversify my subjects a bit more. I’m literally one article away from finishing the main Pathfinder series, and I can already see the end of the Dragon’s Dogma posts as well. There’s plenty of other stuff I want to say on all sorts of RPG-related topics, so I won’t run out of material anytime soon.
Pretty much all of my actual roleplaying in this past year has happened online and asynchronously. I’ve been GMing a Dungeon Fantasy play-by-forum game over on RPG.net for quite a while now, and while players have come and gone I managed to get a small but solid core of players who don’t mind the occasional posting slowdown and are entertained enough by my dungeons and the humorous interactions between their PCs. In 2016 this game has continued, and we just managed to complete our third dungeon delve (and our second full adventure!).
I had also started a GURPS X-COM game back in 2015, and until recently we had managed to complete several adventures as well and make good progress on the overall campaign (which was planned in far greater detail than the dungeon-of-the-week DF game). Unfortunately, the game ran out of steam around November, and I ended it with a post-mortem rather than letting it whimper out of existence.
I also participated in a few forum games as a player, though all but three of them died the usual death of forum games. Two are still ongoing: one is Godbound, the other a homebrew science fiction system. One was a Legend of the Five Rings 4th edition adventure that concluded successfully, and which I still remember fondly.
Most of my face-to-face gaming has been of the board game variety. I’ve gotten plenty of use out of the XCOM board game, and played a bunch of stuff from my friends’ vast collections.
I’m not exactly dissatisfied with the overall situation in this area, but I do wish I could play a few RPG sessions at a pace closer to real time. And that’s what I’ll try to do in 2017.