2020 is all but over! (Cheers erupt everywhere.) It was the third full year of my blog. The blog keeps growing: While my number of posts is almost exactly what it was in 2019, both the number of visitors and views have markedly increased. Unsurprisingly, most of my visitors come from the United States (almost 45%), but there are many other (mostly English-speaking and/or European) countries in which the blog does well – adjusting for population, Clio’s Board Games is very popular in Canada and Sweden (I guess the people in the often dark and cold north know the pleasures of board gaming and blog reading). Some countries whose visitor counts have increased markedly are Spain, France, Brazil, and Japan. Hello everybody new! I hope you enjoy reading this blog.
I certainly enjoy writing it. And so, to top off my review of the year, here are the six posts which I think represent the most interesting this blog had to offer in 2020:
In the end, this blog is mostly dedicated to talking about board games. And what purer form than to just take some popular ones and add one’s thoughts? – That’s what I’m doing in my BoardGameGeek War Game Top 60 series. Each article contains ten of the highest-ranked war games on BGG and my thoughts on them: Have I played them? Would I be interested? How are they representative of a genre, a conflict, a mechanism? What makes them special? These posts are always great to kindle conversation – just some laid-back board games talk. I’ll continue the series next year.
Most historical board games are designed and played by North Americans and Europeans. Consequently, North American and European themes are prevalent in them, and on this blog as well (it doesn’t help that I’m a European who has lived only in Europe and North America). Here, however, we have a post on an Ottoman sultan, his deeds, and the trans-Eurasian trends of empire-building within which he operated. Also, I discuss the othering Western view of the Middle East called Orientalism which also exists in board games!
Covid has ruined many a vacation plan, but staying at home still has its opportunities: Books, movies, and board games (with the people in your household, by yourself, or online – please don’t invite people over right now if you live in a pandemic-struck country). You can group all these media together around a common theme and make a fully immersive day of it! In this post, Naty from Naty’s Bookshelf and I give ideas for three themes: Space, Scotland, and 1980s Germany. If you still have a few days off in the new year (or need something for your weekends), try this out!
Board games can and do tackle serious subjects. That holds true both now and in the past: Two designers have recently made games (one released, one forthcoming) on women’s suffrage in the United States, celebrating the 100th anniversary of the 19th Amendment to the US constitution which established gender equality in voting. A century earlier, the British suffragettes promoted their cause by publishing board games of their own. This post is dedicated to the games on women’s suffrage, old and new.
The odd strategy article on this blog! I’ve adopted the format of Three Basic Tips to give beginner and intermediate players some easy-to-remember guidelines for success. Here, we deal with the Papacy in Here I Stand – a notoriously tricky power to play, but one that offers great potential for creative strategy! As the three Here I Stand strategy articles posted this year were well received, I will continue to hone my craft and post more of them in the coming year.
If you follow this blog for some time, you’ll have noticed I’m intrigued by the Cold War. I even wrote my M.A. thesis on the Cold War in board games! Do you know what was the topic of my B.A. thesis? The decolonization crisis in Angola as a Cold War conflict. So, writing the decolonization miniseries this year was a return to my roots. This post deals with the fascinating interactions between (anti-)colonial local actors and the superpowers – and who was able to get more out of these unequal partnerships.
You can read my other Farewell 2020 posts here:
Happy 2021! May it be everything you missed in 2020.