Welcome to the last end-of-year post for 2019 on my blog! So far, I’ve done Top Threes in the following categories:
- New-to-me games
- Historical non-fiction books
- Non-historical games
- Historical fiction books
- Historical board games
Today, we come to the blog itself. It’s been a very good year for the blog – I posted 48 times (up by 9 in comparison to 2018) and doubled the number of hits and visitors.
The blog had visitors from 122 different countries and dependencies this year. Unsurprisingly, most (around 40%) of them come from the United States as the biggest English-speaking country, with the UK, Canada, and Australia accounting for another 20%. I’m always a bit surprised to see the blog doing well in countries where I don’t know a single subscriber (but of course, I cannot know everyone personally who stumbles over this blog) – so whoever you are who reads this blog in Sweden, Portugal, South Africa, Hong Kong (among many others) – thanks for stepping by! Leave me a comment. I’d like to get to know you!
Dear readers, thank you for your interest! I hope you had a delightful and possibly even educational time. I certainly had fun writing these posts. And here are the three projects which I regard as my finest achievements this year:
This year has seen many anniversaries of important events in German history of the 20th century (they seem to cluster in years ending in a 9). Therefore, I wrote a series of posts on these events, always illustrating them with exactly one board game. That was always great fun – and by now I have written 9 out of 10 posts in the series (I hope to finish with the one on the Versailles Treaty in 1919 by January 2020).
The first post in the historical chronology I dedicated to the naval arms race between Britain and Imperial Germany – one of the tensions in European power politics before the outbreak of World War I. So, if you are interested in power politics, naval strategy, geopolitics, and the age of imperialism, check it out. The corresponding board game is Europe in Turmoil (Kris Van Beurden, Compass Games).
Another series: I wrote my M.A. thesis in history about the Cold War in board games. So, when I was done, I had amassed a lot of knowledge about Cold War board games which I wanted to share with the world. I’ve done posts on all games that I analyzed in the thesis (and a few more) which aimed to elaborate how the respective game sees the Cold War and what is special about it.
For Wir sind das Volk! (Richard Sivél/Peer Sylvester, Histogame), I wrote about the game’s unusual focus on domestic politics like economic productivity and popular protest, its potential to experience the decision-making process for major political changes, and its bold look into the inner workings of two very different states. Wir sind das Volk! has the courage to present the Cold War as a complex matter (in an intensely playable game). My post tries to show how.
And another long-term project! I am doing an after-action report for a campaign game of Unconditional Surrender! (Salvatore Vasta, GMT Games): In the Twitter thread, you’ll find what’s happening on the front. In my blog posts, I try to give historical perspective by writing a lot of „documents“ from the people – civilians as well as soldiers, ordinary people as well as the elite – involved in the war.
This particular post includes a propaganda leaflet purportedly dropped over the Bavarian countryside by Italian planes during the Italian invasion of south Germany in spring and summer 1940. (Yes, Italy came out on the Allied side in this war!) So I studied comparable leaflets (for example, those the French dropped over Germany during the Phoney War months) to get an idea for the language employed (simple, direct, call to action). And, as I not only rendered the text, but also an image, I sank myself into the art of blackletter typography – finding a font that had all the correct letters (including such quaint things as the two different „s“ characters in German blackletter) and the ligatures for connected characters was only the first step. Am I a huge nerd? You betcha. If that produces results you like, stay around on this blog in 2020.
Have a great new year!