Tuesday 31 December 2019

St Andrews Wargaming- 2019 in review

I thought I would take a look back at the year of blogging in 2019 for St Andrews Wargaming, and seeing what the new year has in store.

My blogging content has been down significantly in 2019. I posted 160 articles on the blog in 2018, compared to only 81 in 2019, a reduction of about 50%. These articles have been exclusively hobby updates, battle reports and codex reviews.

There are several reasons for this. One of the main ones is that I think blog interaction and views appear to be down across the board. I think a lot more readers are migrating to social media and Youtube channels to get their hobby content. This has left a lot of bloggers behind and I think my average article views are well down compared to a couple of years ago.

I think another issue is the way that GW have changed their release schedules and release practices. In previous years, Codex Reviews were a big draw to the blog, as people wanted to read about the new releases and new rules and units for an army. For much of 8th edition, GW have started giving advance copies of the codices to the bigger Youtube channels and websites. As a result, most people are getting their information about the new releases from those sources, weeks before anyone else can supply these highly sought after articles.

Another issue for me has been the increased release schedule of the new books. We have gone from one to two codices a year, to almost one a month with 8th edition. It can be hard to keep up do date with the reviews for just the armies that I have. For most of my reviews, I have focused on the special rules, warlord traits, psychic powers and stratagems, rather than reviewing each unit in turn. I have saved the more indepth reviews for my Frontline Gaming articles.

As I will discuss below, the battle reports have also been a time-consuming part of blogging. This has limited the number of posts I can put out.

Changes in my social life have also limited the amount of time I can spend on the blog. I started a new relationship this year and have taken up some hobbies that have cut down the time I can spend on blogging each week, which has helped contribute to the lower output this year.

Another aspect that I need to work on for the new year is interacting with other blogs. Potentially one of the reasons for the reduced readership and comments on the blog has been that I have also dropped off in reading blogs and commenting on other blogs. As I have said previously, interacting with other bloggers is a great way to keep the community going and get more people interested in your own blog. I've been trying to start this up again more recently, and hope to improve on this in the new year.

Many of the people I starting blogging around the same time as, and many of the blogs I used to follow on a regular basis have either stopped altogether or seen a dramatic reduction in their posts; Confessions of a 40k addict, The Burning Eye, From the Horus Heresy to Infinity and Beyond, From the Fang.

A big shout out to some recent bloggers who have taken up the mantle, producing great content most weeks; Stylus from the Woffboot Chronicles and Redtoof from Redtoof's mostly 40k blog.

I also want to call out some blogs that have continued to go from strength to strength; Old School Gaming, WeeMen and Cascadian Grimdark. If there are any other blogs you think I should be following, please leave a comment and let me know.

Many thanks to all of those that continue to read and comment on the blog on a regular basis, and for helping to keep my motivation up in the past year.

Battle Reports
I think that one of the big draws of the blog has to be my detailed 40k battle reports that I post.

Since the beginning of 8th edition, it has been more difficult to do these. The reduced points cost of most units has meant that armies have gotten bigger than they were in 7th edition, as well as increased rules for psychic power and stratagems. All these combining factors means that it takes longer to write up each game for 8th edition.

Previously, I was able to get at least 1 battle report out per week, playing a game at the club and taking 1-2 week nights to write it up. Now, it can take at least 3-4 week nights to get a game written up, and it can take me several weeks to get tournament games written up for the blog. I still enjoy doing them, but each night spent writing up a game means I cannot do any hobby work, such as painting or making new terrain.

I have also seen a steady decline in interaction with the battle reports, as I think more people are moving to Youtube for their battle reports, to watch or listen to as they are painting. You can't really read a written battle report while doing something else.

For example, my last Youtube battle report got around 1300 views and 14 comments. Pretty small fry compared to most of the channels out there. In comparison, a recent tournament written battle report got 317 views and 2 comments, and that has been the most popular report for a while. I just don't think there is much of a readership for these types of reports any more. In the last year, I still manged 25 battle reports (mostly tournament games), so still almost one every two weeks.

Going forward, I am probably going to limit myself to writing up tournament battle reports, rather than trying to do one each week. I simply don't think it is worth the effort, when I can be spending the time on other hobby aspects.

Hobby Progress
This year, I have been mostly focusing on my Genestealer Cults and Dark Angels Primaris army.

The release of the Genestealer Cults codex brought a bunch of new units and support characters for me to paint up, and I spent the first half of the year getting through some new purchases to add to the army.

The later half of the year has seen my focus shift towards my Dark Angels Primaris army. I have been trying to build up an all Primaris force for my Dark Angels to test out the new units. A bunch of great new Primaris releases this year has made this more viable than in previous years. Given the new Marine Codex, I kind of wish I had just painted them a generic chapter, but hopefully the new Dark Angels rules will give me something to work with.

With my hobby work, I have continued to try and push my skills with the two armies, and I think both armies are looking pretty good, if I do say so myself!

I haven't done much scenery work this year, if any. One of the reasons for this was the limited space at my old flat. I didn't really have room to start or store too many big projects. This is one aspect of the game that I really enjoy, so might make more effort in the new year to try and get more terrain  built and painted.

I actually managed to attend quite a few tournaments this year. Fortunately, there have been a number of great local events, as well as events in the north for me to attend this year.

Towards the end of last year and the start of this year, I was getting really demoralised with going to tournament in 8th edition. I seemed to be constantly going up against Ynnari and Imperial Knights, and was having some of the most un-fun games and miserable tournament experiences that I have ever had with 40k.

Fortunately, both Knights and Ynarri were significantly reigned in part way through the year, to the point where these armies have pretty much disappeared from competitive play. I also started attending some events with more restrictive army selection processes and ones that included more maelstrom games.

I attended the Dark Artisan Open, and ended up going 3-1-1 with my Deathwatch, which I was very happy about. I then took my Deathwatch to Rapid Strike, a maelstrom only tournament, and managed to get first place with them. I then took my White Scars to Warfare 2019 and took second place with them. These have been my best tournament results for a long time and I look forward to see what the White Scars can do.

I've already got a number of tournaments lined up for the start of next year. I'll be travelling to the North East Open in Durham in February. I attended this event last year, and the event was fantastic, despite some poor games and my poor performance at it, so will be looking forward to going back again.

I started my own Youtube channel a while back, but made more of a focus on getting regular content out towards the end of the year.

This is one area where I am seeing strong growth and interaction with the community. I am hoping to continue this in the new year. I recently purchased a gimbal, a device for steadying the camera as I film, which should hopefully improved the quality of the videos as I go forward.

I am currently sitting on nearly 600 subscribers and hope to push this to over 1000 in the coming year.

In all honesty, I did lose a lot of motivation for the blog in this year. Personal circumstances changed for me, and I did lose a bit of my joy from blogging, while continuing to love playing and talking about 40k.

I think the last few months have rekindled some of the enjoyment I get out of blogging, so hope to make a push for more content in the new year.

I hope you have enjoyed my thoughts on the past year and what is to come. If there is anything you would like to see on the blog, please let me know below.

I am also always on the lookout for guest articles or regular contributors to the blog, so please let me know if you are interested. 


  1. A very interesting read Mike.
    I hope you persevere with your written battle reports, I know a lot of effort goes into them and they're very time consuming to produce but I really appreciate them....even if I don't always leave a comment, (apologies for that) I think I will make it my New Year's resolution to leave more comments on the blogs that I read.

    It's no secret that I don't like the direction that 8th edition chose to go with, but reading your battle reports has given me hope that the game is constantly improving and that it might be worth giving it another chance....although I might wait to see if the rumour about 9th edition coming after the final Psychic Awakening book is true.

    I think the blogging audience has seen a steady decline over the last couple of years with most people preferring the eye candy gratification of Instagram/Twitter or the easy watching nature of Youtube.
    For me, blogging has never been about chasing viewing figures, although it is always nice to know that some people are reading what has been written, but has been about sharing experiences, communicating ideas or just recording one's thoughts about the hobby we all share.

    I've enjoyed reading your content over the year (it hasn't felt significantly less than the previous year to me) and I'm looking forward to reading more on your exploits in 2020....Until then, Happy New Year to you and may Slaanesh grant you her number!

    1. Thanks for the kind words! I've been really bad at reading other blogs this year and hope to improve in the new year.

    2. Nail on the head Castigator, I totally second your view of insta-media, but I guess it’s a societal thing so just us oldies blog now...

    3. Ha ha....we used get up in't morning, at half past ten at night, half n hour before we'd gone t'bed. Eat a handful a gravel, work 29 hours at t'mill for h'penny a life time....aye, but you try n tell that to the young people of today, will they believe you?......No!

  2. I'm guilty on both counts... my own blogging has dropped off, as well as my interaction with other blogs. However as I am not a big fan of video battle reports I do enjoy reading yours... I shall endeavor to say so in future. My current feedback would be if you want to focus on certain games rather than all games, go for the eventful ones. I don't care if it's a friendly or a tournament, but if you have pulled off a superb play against your opponent (or even if you have walked blindly into their trap) that's definitely something I'd like to read about. The standard by the numbers game is a little less interesting than the unusual ones, even if luck is a factor in the latter.

    Personally my blogging dropped off a bit because I did a commission army for a friend and I didn't want to show that off on the blog (it wasn't really Mine... my paintjob, but not my build, not my army) and as such had less to blog about, and sadly got out of the habit. But I am planning a new project for next year so maybe that will get the creative juices flowing once more... :)

    Keep at it. As long as you're writing I'll be reading... and from now on trying to remember to comment more :P

    1. Thanks for the comment. I think we all go through stages with it. I've been going almost five years now, so it was likely to wane a bit over time. I'm hoping to get back into it strong in the new year, as I have a bunch of units to paint up and a couple of tournaments to go to.

      I think I will be more selective with the reports, as you say. I like the tournament ones, as they generally result in good games with some tactical decisions to make and lessons to learn.

  3. Hi Mike. Thanks for another great year of blogs, I've really enjoyed them. I like the written battle reports a lot but given how long they take you a reduction seems fair. You're one of the few Dark Angel's blogs I know so really interested to read your views on the new psychic awakening. Have a great 2020 (and congratulations on the new relationship as well).

    1. Thanks for the comment! I'm looking forward to seeing what the Dark Angels get in the new book. I'm hoping it's good after painting up the Primaris army.

      I'm hoping the Chapter Tactic is improved. On paper it looks Ok, but in most games I rarely find it ever applies.

    2. Hi Michael first time poster but long term reader of your battle reports i think they are a great read and tell a good story. I much prefer reading reports as they are easier to dip into and are less time consuming. Please keep going.
      I agree some bigger blogs get the codexes and stuff earlier so hard to compete on that bit you do a great job on hobby updates and battle reports and what the changes mean for your armies so may I suggest concentrating on those rather than the other reviews? Reviews are everywhere but good batreps ate hard to find. Goonhammer has some great contents if you are looking for a good site to read.
      In terms of other events u may like the tides of wzt series in Bristol. Quarterly 1500maelstrom events or try Bristol vanguard vanquish in April.

    3. Thanks for the kind words! I think the focus will be on the reports and hobby work. Reviews will be more summary, like I do now.
      It's great to know that people are enjoying the reports, even if they are not commenting. Don't worry though, they aren't going anywhere.

  4. Mike, thanks for the shout out and long May we both continue. I absolutely love your Batreps and I know from the poor attempt of mine that yours must take loads of effort in game and post-game, but I am glad you do them! I look forward to more Cult and DA action, and wish you a hobby filled 2020.

    1. Thanks Siph! I'm always amazed by the consistency and quality of posts on your blog.

      I'm hoping the DA stuff is good, looking forward to getting them back on the table.

  5. I always have fun when I stop by to read, whether it's a hobby article or a batrep. I also prefer the written batreps; and even though I rarely play these days, I take a way much form reading through your various exploits.

    1. Cheers Dave! Glad I can help you play vicariously through my games.

  6. Hi Mike, long time reader but first time poster (I think!). I enjoy stopping by and reading your blog; I do think that the written blog format does seem to be in something of a slow decline of late.

    There are still some people blogging away in various corners of the InterWeb; I write a primarily 40k focused blog (although I do get horribly distracted by other games as well) where I capture my hobby antics. Feel free to hop over: https://varchildesvault.blogspot.com/

    1. Hi Bryan, thanks for the comment! I'll definitely be adding your own to my reading list.

  7. There are still several of us blogging away, although my blogging has reduced over the last year, I'm hoping to get more content up next year. As for commenting on other blogs, that's something I don't do nearly enough of.

    I do enjoy your battle reports, although I have struggled to read many in full this year, mostly skipping through to the turn summary and final thoughts sections.

    As for YouTube, I tend to put it on when cooking dinner or doing some DIY, times when reading isn't quite so easy. I've listened to a few of your reports and your definitely improving, getting more is to the camera and narrating, I look forward to seeing how it goes with your new device.

    Keep up the good work!