Thursday 28 December 2017

St Andrews Wargaming- 2017 in review

For me, 2017 has been a great year for 40k, and it has been a pretty good year for St Andrews Wargaming too. I'm going to take a look at what has happened in the last year for me and for the blog.

Hobby Content
This has been a good year hobby wise for me. At the start of the year, I was well in progress on painting up my Deathwatch army. I had started this force towards the end of 2016 and kept at it as the year began. This was helped along by taking part in Squaduary, allowing me to engage in the community scheme to get a unit painted up in February.

In September, I completed the army and posted a showcase of the force. I was really happy with how the army turned out, becoming quite a sizeable force when it was completed. I was also very happy to receive a best army nomination at one of the tournaments that I attended.

This year, I have been making great progress on my Genestealer Cults army. I was a bit hesitant to get this started, as it was a big project. However, I was glad that I finally got started on this, as it has been a lot of fun to get painted and I think I managed to get through the units rather quickly, while still maintaining a decent standard.

I think that my painting skills have greatly improved in the last year. The Deathwatch and Genestealer Cults forces are without a doubt the best looking forces that I have ever painted. I look forward to finishing up the Genestealers army and getting them on the tabletop a bit more.

2017 was a huge year for gaming in 40k. The release of the 8th edition of the game was the biggest shake up to the game since the release of 3rd edition 40k.

Overall, I think 8th edition has been a very positive change for the game. The apparent simplification of the rules have helped considerably from the bloated mess that 7th edition had become. It has also been a relative reset to the power levels of various armies in the game. That balance has started to shift a bit with the release of the codices, but hopefully we will continue to see a reasonable trend towards power balance.

This year, I have seen the release of 3 codices for armies that I own; Space Marines, Astra Militarum and Dark Angels. I have managed to get games in with two of the codices and have enjoyed using them in 8th edition. Command points and stratagems have been a huge change for armies and really give a big boost to armies.

The only army I haven't used yet is the Astra Militarum. I had to wait to go home at Christmas to pick up my armies, but look forward to trying them out in the new year.

2017 started off with some great success for me. I attended Dave's Birthday Bash in February. This was a tournament based on maelstrom missions, with a focus on fun games with lists that weren't too filthy. As maelstrom is one of my favourite ways to play 40k, I was very pleased to come first in the tournament, making it my first win of a tournament in my 40k history.

After the highs of my Deathwatch in 7th edition, the start of 8th edition was pretty rocky for the Deathwatch. I struggled to pull out the wins with the army in the new edition of the game. My win rate pretty much reversed overnight, going from a roughly two-thirds win rate in 7th, to about a third win rate in 8th. I attended a couple of tournaments with the Deathwatch and put out my worst tournament performances of any that I had attended with the army. I think a combination of very expensive units and lack of variety to the army was a downfall in this edition. They simply did not have the bodies to deal with the massive attrition that 8th edition brings from the shooting phase and fight phase and quickly became a very tough army to play with.

The release of the Space Marine codex saw my White Scars take to the table once more with a reasonable degree of success. The army plays very different to its previous iteration, with bikers struggling to make such a big impact on the tabletop in the new edition of the game. They are still a fun army to use though, and the new game is forcing me to try some different tactical approaches, which is always a nice bonus.

Now that I have picked up the rest of my armies, I look forward to adding a bit more variety to my games in the new year.

Blog Progress
2017 has been an interesting year for the blog. There has been a general downwards trend in page views each month over the past year, despite the overall page views for the blog being up in 2017 compared to 2016.

This year, I wrote around 213 articles on St Andrews Wargaming. The year started with my one of my best months ever, with around 35,000 views in January.

I'm not sure why there is such a downward trend in views this year, but it appears to be something a lot of other 40k bloggers have been commenting on recently.

I have noticed that page views on 8th edition codex reviews have seemed lower this year compared to codex reviews in previous years. I have my own theory on this, whether it is true or not I have no idea. For the first time, GW appear to be giving advance copies of new release codices to certain websites and youtube channels. This allows those outlets to put up codex reviews a week in advance of any other site, generally on the day of the pre-order. As a result, most of my reviews are coming out at least a week late compared to other reviews that can be found online. In addition, games workshop are releasing a lot more information on each codex on warhammer community before the codex release, so there may be fewer people looking for information on the codices when they are released. Anyway, that is one of my thoughts on why views may be down.

The most popular articles on the blog published in 2017 were:
  1. Fall of Cadia Review: Part 2- Belisarius Cawl
  2. Warhammer Fest Event Photos
  3. Fall of Cadia Review: Part 1- Celestine, the Living Saint
  4. It Ain't Easy Being Green- the Evolution of Orks in 40k
  5. Battle Report 103- 2000 pts Deathwatch vs Primaris Marines/Astra Militarum
  6. Pew Pew Pew- the Evolution of the Shooting Phase in 40k
  7. Second Birthday Giveaway
  8. Battle Report 106- Deathwatch vs Astra Militarum
  9. Fracture of Biel-Tan Review: Part 2- The Visarch
  10. Fracture of Biel-Tan Review: Part 1- Yvraine
My two most popular battle reports from this year came at the start of 8th edition, where I guess people were eager to see what changes had been brought about in the game. 

Other than that, some reviews from the Gathering Storm books were popular at the start of the year. My two "Evolution of 40k" articles were also popular. I really like doing this serious, even though they take quite a while to research and write. I still need to finish off the turn sequence, with looking at the assault phase. Maybe I'll find the time to get it done this year. 

It's been a great year for the hobby, in my opinion. I look forward to 2018 and what it will bring for my armies still awaiting a codex. Hobby work is set to continue in the new year, with more work on my Genestealer Cults army, plus I've got an itching to try and do some more terrain work. 

How has 2017 been for your own hobby progress? Anything you are looking forward to in the new year?


  1. A good year on the whole! I’ve noticed a distinct drop in views from the early months, though in the last week or so I’ve been hitting 4-500 a day again.

    You working on anything new for the new year blog wise?

    1. Cheers Nick! Yeah, the last few days have been busy. Just figured it was people checking stuff out over the holidays.

      No major plans for 2018 as of yet. My Army Showcase was a bit of a bust. I had a few people interested, but nothing ever came of it. Maybe I'll keep an eye out for new armies to showcase. I could also do with another push on Better Know A Blogger, get some new blogs to read in the new year. I've also been considering dabbling with a video battle report or two. Not going to get rid of my written ones, as they are still my favourite and relatively unique for my blog, but would be nice to expand it a bit. We'll see.

      Other than that, just going to keep working on my armies and getting some games in. Attending the London grand tournament next year, so need to start building up a list to take there.

  2. I was happy to see your blog keeping going, I thought there was a lot of solid content.

    Also Squaduary will return.

    1. Excellent, I’ve dug out my other RTB01 squad to mirror last year’s efforts in Squaduary.

  3. Awesome stuff! I've still got plenty of cult units to paint up, so looking forward to that!

  4. I've noticed a drop in views as well, around 25% overall and it does seem to be a general trend all round from what I've seen.

    Best of luck with the new year and i look forward to seeing how your AM do in the new year. I've found that the new codex is really good, but it does take a bit of getting use to the new way of playing guard.

    1. Cheers Steve! I've picked up my Guard now and am looking forward to getting them on the table. Dusting off my Baneblade in preparation to crush some foes under its treads.

  5. I think the drop in views is blogosphere wide due to the expansion of other social media outlets, people want instant gratification and can’t be bothered with creating blogs, easier to just post a picture on instant platform without the efforts. Blogs aren’t dead, but I do think they will decline and become the home to more Longbeards rather than Youngbloods. I want more than ‘here is a picture’ so I frequent blogs.

    1. Yeah, I tend to agree with that. I can't complain too much, as I've been a bit lazy in reading other blogs the last few weeks. Need to get back on and commenting!

  6. Hi there!

    Thanks a lot for the review, it prompted me to write one too before I find out it is a middle of 2018 :)

    Congratulations on a very productive year! I am really impressed by the traffic you generate on your blog. While the reviews may not have as many readers as they used to, it seems to me they too contribute a lot to your blog and make it more popular.

    I noticed that posting links to the articles on twitter and facebook helps to reach out to more readers. I get some short comments on social media too but I am glad that it allows me to share with more people.

    I think you are doing great already but I also understand that, especially with the annual review, one wonders what to do better next year :) It would be fantastic if I could close that gap in terms of number of blog articles per year.

    Keep up the great work you do on your excellent blog and all the best in 2018!

    1. Cheers Swordmaster! I haven't found twitter to be that good for engagement, but facebook is awesome. I post certain articles to around 6 facebook groups and there always seems to be a lot of views coming from that.

      I wouldn't worry about the page views too much. Your blog puts out some really high quality work. I think 40k is just such a gaming behemoth that any blog focusing on it is going to do quite well.

      To be honest, I've struggled a bit to keep the article rate going over the past few months. With moving yet again and the new job, I find it difficult to find the time to get the battle reports written up quickly. Also, the codex reviews have been a bit of a struggle to get out, as they are getting released so quickly! Hopefully, my armies will get a bit of a break for now so that I can focus on getting some more painting done.

    2. Hi Michael,

      I agree, facebook helps to reach out to more people it seems. But since it does not take long to post a link on twitter I don't mind.

      In general, it is less about the platform we post the links to blog articles and more about how to share the content with more hobbyist. And as always I am looking for inspiration and ideas. Your blog certainly provides both!

      Ha! If "too many codices" per year was the only issue that would be great! After all, one wants to have enough content to write about. But I do agree that when they are released fast it puts additional pressure to write about them as soon as possible. Otherwise the review may not be so interesting any more if published too late.

      Is there anything in particular you are looking forward to in 2018?


    3. I'd like the Ork codex to be good. It's been a while since I've had them on the tabletop, so would like the codex to bring them back up to a decent level. Don't know if that will be in 2018 though.

  7. Nice overview, and I still admire your Deathwatch army, it looks really good! The Cult already looks great, too, you've really cranked out the painted units there in seemingly no time.

    2017 for me has been more of a year of Infinity than 40K. I got somewhat fed up with not being able to make my mind up which army to play, buying, assembling and selling things all the time. And taking a loss with every sale of course, let alone the time invested.

    So toward the middle/end of the year I made somewhat of a house-cleaning and now have only Dark Eldar and Blood Angels left. The latter I got in a trade for my White Scars, and wasn't really sure I'd like. I was close to selling those as well but the new Codex is really solid and fun to play. So I'll paint them up as World Eaters instead haha (Blood Angels lore is so bland...).

    For 2018 I'm excited about the 2nd iteration of our club league that I'll manage again, this time even with ELO rankings taken from chess. It'll be fun!