The State of the Bottom Shelf - Changes
I am a curious person. I like to learn. Bottom Shelf Board Games initially started as an exercise. I was interested in increasing my knowledge of design, still photography and video/sound production. What better way to learn all of the above than by creating a website and what better topic to cover than board games? I've learned a lot in the short time that the Bottom Shelf has been around and I still have tons more to learn.
I had a reason and I had a topic, but I never had a direction. I started off doing what everyone else was doing. Pick a game off the (bottom) shelf, write some words, shoot some video and send it off to the void of the internet. It was... OK. But I soon realized that I'd never be able to keep up. There were too many games and too many other voices. I knew from the start that I couldn't compete in volume so I focused on quality. There's always room to improve, but I felt I did a decent job on that end. However, something was off. I wasn't having as much fun as I used to. My already above average consumption of new games was exacerbated by my desire to keep up to date with what's hot in an effort provide content for the site. The people I played with were getting annoyed as I foisted yet another new game to learn upon them. I let the games take precedence over the play. Something had to change.
The times they are a changin'
I still enjoy the work that I do on the site and I appreciate all the kind words that readers and viewers have given me. It's extremely gratifying and makes me want to constantly do better. And I still love playing games! But there's going to be some changes around here. First of all, the news section will be no more. There are plenty of other sites that do it better and more consistently. I always tried to highlight stories that were a bit off the beaten path rather than focus on new releases and announcements. Instead I'll be sharing those stories on my twitter feed. So if you're interested in that, feel free to follow me.
The biggest change will be the actual game reviews. Initially, I tried to release new reviews every two weeks. It proved to be difficult and, as mentioned earlier, lead to a pattern of playing games in a way that led to me enjoying them less. Starting in 2015, I'll be taking a book club approach. I'll choose one game a month and try and play it as much as possible. I want to explore a game more than the previous schedule I was on allowed me to do. I want to plumb it's depths of strategy and techniques. I want to see if the initial luster of a game wears off after repeated plays. And most importantly, I want the people I play with to be able to engage with the game fully rather than wrestling to just understand how to play.
This will likely lead to less reviews a year, but more extensive coverage of each game. That doesn't necessarily mean longer videos or longer written reviews, but hopefully more in depth ones. I'll also be incorporating your questions and thoughts about the game in various ways. I'm really excited about this! That means that the mailbag sections as you know it will also be no more. Instead of being a general purpose mailbag section, each month the mailbag will focus on the game of the month. And I'm considering answering these questions in audio form if I can figure out a good format.
A New Year, A New Goal
This is very much a labor of love for me. I don't have any ads or even a clear goal in mind. I'm doing this to learn and to share and I very much appreciate every viewer, reader and commenter. I'm excited for this new direction and I hope you'll be there with me.