So I’ve had a couple of queries about if I will be doing further play reports for my various games again in future. It’s nice to know that some people really got a lot out of those and are interested in if they will continue, but the Play Report is being (largely) retired. I will of course still do the occasional one, most notably if I run an interesting once off or I feel there is something to be illustrated by doing so – but generally speaking I won’t be in future. There are really two straightforward reasons why I am going to retire the play reports in future.
Firstly, they are extremely time intensive to write up and do, because most of them are between 1 and 2k words. That’s a fair chunk of my time to write up and it’s usually done a few days after the session, which means I have to think quite a bit as to what happened. In some cases, you’ll notice, I haven’t yet done the final write ups on several of my campaigns yet and those finished months ago. I still do intend to finish those reports, but probably as one last major post for each game – instead of summarizing individual sessions. Mostly I feel I have other things I would rather spend my time writing about, which are more generally useful.
Which really brings me to the second and arguably more important point: They just don’t do good traffic. The simple reality of the matter, is that the people who visit this site have spoken quite clearly and the content direction on this blog will reflect that. When I look at the sites analytics, noting that I don’t make money from anything on this site (if you wanted to know), my advice series, reviews and similar get far more views. While the odd Play Report sometimes does well, they tend to have more in common with my general advice columns than actual play reports. Quite frankly, the effort just doesn’t seem to be received as well and aren’t the articles people are reading.
It makes a lot of sense as well, because generally the initial play reports I write do very well in terms of views and then drop off. This probably happens because it’s easy to start getting into something and seeing the set up, which again are often more advice than not, but eventually after 10+ weeks becomes impenetrable. New readers to this site can’t easily get into a play report that has been going on for a year or more, especially with my new campaigns being very long term. Ultimately I like writing and Play Reports are very useful to me, but I feel if they’re not useful to others and the page views point towards a desire for me to write certain articles, then that is where I should go.
So as I get more and more back into blogging reliably about all things roleplaying, I want to focus on writing more reviews like Hoard of the Dragon Queen. That article has been very well received and viewed, so I really should be getting on with finishing the second part on Rise of Tiamat. I also intend to write reviews on some other recent RPG books that I’ve had time to read, like Force and Destiny, Dread, Ryuutama, Dracula Dossier and many others! One thing that does make me rather slow on reviewing, is that I like to try the material in question and play through it a bit before writing a critique. Given that means getting a group, trying out things and then writing about it, probably ensures I won’t be a “Hot off the presses” kind of reviewer.
Likewise my opinion columns like Training Day or Narrative Thoughts, or any of my general advice pieces, are always much better received than Play Reports as well. I also find these quite fun to write and I have a never ending amount of topics to actually cover, some of which I still need to go back to eventually as well. As a result, writing Play Reports has become substantially less attractive than it initially appeared and I will probably minimize the amount I do – especially with three ongoing campaigns planned in future.
Of course, I love my players and the various shenanigans that they get up to. The best thing about having a blog like this is that when interesting or especially tricky situations occur, they can be described easily in a self contained post with advice how I dealt with it. Additionally, I feel describing the overall plot arcs of a game and how we got to that point, is useful for keeping track of my own games without being too dense someone new couldn’t follow along. I feel if a post on this blog requires you to read 10+ pages of archives, it’s probably not going to be a very useful post for most people.
So hopefully everyone understands why I am generally going to be retiring play reports, at least for my long term campaigns, based on this.