A Year in Review – 2019

A Year in Review – 2019

2019 has come and gone away. What a year it has been. On a personal front, it was a year of uncertainty, hard work and dedication. For Must Contain Minis, it has been a year with constant growth and exploration. In today’s post I write about my 2019.

The quality of posts continues to climb, and we are seeing more and more traffic come in from Google. I am very happy with those two facts. While the quality of the posts continues to climb, my quantity of posts has gone down a bit in recent months. I talked a bit about that drop in my Christmas post, but basically I retreated into another hobby briefly as an escape from life stresses. I am happy to say that I am back and the new year looks very bright indeed.

There will be some changes coming (all positive), but I still have to figure out what that will mean to Must Contain Minis and Bell of Lost Souls. For now, I am going to aim for the status quo of two to three posts a week between the two websites. In the future, I will talk about those changes, but for now, I will just state that it is all good!

Quantity of Posts

This year, I wrote a total of 128 posts for Must Contain Minis. That brings the total number of posts on this website up to 532 posts. That is an incredible number for a one man operation. On top of that, I have my full-time job, and I took three courses as well. I have been very busy this year.

I also wrote 48 articles for Bell of Lost Souls this year. That brings my total of articles on that site up to 80.

Between Bell of Lost Souls and Must Contain Minis, I wrote 176 articles in 2019. That is a ton of content. Adding all of the articles up that I wrote so far, I have a total of 612 articles published on the internet. Wow!!!

Sometimes, I found this quantity of posts hard to keep up going. I think 2020 will see a reduced number of posts, but I am going to do my best to up the quality of them even more. That said, I still have a huge backlog of pictures to go through for various posts and enough ideas to keep me busy publishing to the internet for a long time to come.

For those interested in further reading, I wrote celebration posts this year for my 500th post on Must Contain Minis and 50th post on Bell of Lost Souls.

Quality of Posts

Overall, I have been very happy with the quality of my posts and I feel that the quality keeps increasing with each and every post that I make. At this time, I view Must Contain Minis as an online Magazine, so I want to produce some top notch content for my readers. I think I am succeeding in that. My photographs continue to improve (for the most part) and I hear from people that they prefer my current style of writing over when I first started the site. I think 2020 is just going to see even better posts.

The pictures make a huge difference, and there has been some beautiful work on Must Contain Minis this year!

Below are some quick examples.

A Polish Winged Hussar at Sword and Brush 2019 painting competition
Just one example of the many photos that I am proud to have taken and shared on Must Contain Minis. Original Article.
Blood & Plunder Native Warrior painted miniature
One of the first miniatures that Andrew Claessens painted for me. His work is amazing, and yes, he takes commissions (but selectively). Original Article.
The Coolest Hobbit Gaming Tables out there
The title image for a post showcasing the beautiful Hobbit Tables at Hotlead 2019. Original Article.

Of course, I am also pretty happy with my writing and continue to do my best to improve my craft. Hopefully you also think of Must Contain Minis as a good and high quality web magazine for miniature wargaming in general.

Must Contain Minis’ Focus

2019 saw Must Contain Miniatures diverting a little from our tried and true Reviews, Battle Reports and Showcases of 15 and 28mm miniatures. I moved a little further away from Bolt Action than I wanted, and found myself writing about some topics I did not expect at the start of 2019.

The biggest change would be the showcasing of 13 bust and large format miniatures. Typically, these are models that I would have walked past in the past, but they are painted up beautifully. I went to Sword and Brush 2019 with the goal of seeing their paint competition and I was blown away. I figured I might as well write about them too, and hopefully readers would enjoy something different on the site. Check out the wrap up article about that event if you are interested in some amazingly well painted larger sized figures and busts.

I also took time to talk about a large number of companies that I had not written about before. I think that will continue into 2020.

If you are a Bolt Action fan though, don’t worry. I will return there. I have pictures for two Bolt Action Battle Reports that I have yet to write. As for Flames of War, it will likely be some time before I write about them again as my 15mm collection is still packed away.

Different Types of Articles

Aside from the regular reviews, Battle Reports and Showcases, I wrote a number of different types of articles this year.

These articles included some advice pieces. One of the ones I am most happy to share is an 1800-word post on running demo games at conventions. While the piece is aimed specifically at Frostgrave, the information within is good for running games in general at conventions. I also wrote a piece on buying furniture for my painting area followed by a 1600-word article about planning my HobbyZone desk. Judging by the fact that the HobbyZone article made it into my Top 5 Countdown for Must Contain Minis Posts in 2019, I am guessing that some people find the article interesting and useful.

News articles saw a resurgence on the site. If there was something that I saw that I found interesting (or I thought my readers would find interesting), I covered it. This includes stories about various Kickstarter Projects and articles meant to share news or hype a product. So far, I have not been paid for this sort of article, so my excitement is genuine in the stories I share. The way I look at it, you vote with your dollars. If no one spends money, then the product won’t stick around or be expanded. I can’t buy everything that I like, but I can share my support and enthusiasm for a company.

A Painters Section

One of the new initiatives that I wanted to take in 2019 was showcasing the work of other painters. I paint okay, but to a tabletop quality. I like to take close up pictures – not always the best match for aesthetics. There are so many other people that paint better than me and I want to showcase their work too. Sharing other people’s work has opened up some new opportunities that I want to explore further in 2020.

When you look at the top menu, you will now see a painters menu option. The drop down menu takes you to specific people. Some are commission painters while others are people that just do it for fun. Everyone in that list has painted something for me to keep and showcase on MCM. Jeremy Cada’s painting page is the most visited followed by the page for Dave Lamers. The painter in the list with the highest quality work (in my opinion) is Andrew Claessens. His work is amazing! Before moving on, I also want to give a shout out to Brenden Brown and Bill Kocher. Both are talented painters that helped MCM too.

I have more posts to work on for sure showing off the work of Dave, Jeremy and Bill as I have a bit of a backlog. 🙂

While the drop down Painters’ list is reserved for people who painted models for Must Contain Minis, I have also showcased the work of others that have not painted for me. This includes Ullr’s Table and the very talented Les of Underground Painter’s Desk.

Showcasing other people’s work is something I want to expand upon in 2020. If you are interested in me showcasing your non-GW minis, let me know. Maybe we can work something out (especially if you are local).

Feature Articles

Reviews, Showcases and Battle Reports remains the focus of Must Contain Minis. I wrote the following for Must Contain Minis in 2019; 24 Reviews,  10 Battle Reports, and 50 Showcase articles. The Battle Reports remain my favourite to write, but they take a lot of time and effort to complete. The Reviews I enjoy sharing while the Showcases are the easiest and quickest feature articles to write. Some of the posts will show as both Showcases and Reviews if the item is nicely painted.

The Feature Article categories will not change in 2020.

Core Games

Must Contain Minis listed Bolt Action, Frostgrave, Blood & Plunder, Flames of War and Board Games as its core games for 2019. While these are my core games, I found myself writing about many other systems and products in their place. Next year, I plan to focus a little more back onto Bolt Action and I think Flames of War will find itself removed from the Drop Down menu of Core Games. I am hoping that Oathmark will make it onto the list, but we will find out after the release of the actual rule set.

While I do have core games that I like to focus on, they will still run second place to the feature articles of Reviews, Showcases and Battle Reports. Perhaps I can get more features of those games for next year though. I will give it a try. 🙂

As a note, I think I have a lot more posts related to Frostgrave than what I categorize as Frostgrave. The reason for this is that Frostgrave is miniatures agnostic. This means that all of the posts that I do about other companies’ historical and fantasy miniatures can also fit into the Frostgrave world (even though I don’t always categorize them as such).

Plans for the Future

In years past, I talked about getting into YouTubing. I have also been asked by people to host a podcast or to run gaming conventions. I don’t plan to get into any of those three activities in 2020, but I may make an appearance or two on someone else’s channel or event if asked. Of course, I plan to continue promoting gaming in general and promoting gaming in my area with my Ontario Gaming Conventions Page. I will also be writing up more reports from the conventions I attend and focusing on more new products.

I have several posts I am working on still to complete. You will see more reviews of Fireforge Games Products and likely more Board Gaming Posts too. As I already mentioned, I have pictures already taken for a couple of Bolt Action Reports so there is more content coming for my Bolt Action fans too.

For now, it is onwards and forwards as normal.  🙂

Wrapping it up…

I hope that you enjoyed Must Conain Minis in 2019. It was quite a year for me. I found it surprising that I wrote a total of 176 articles. That is incredible!

Overall, I am very happy with the increasing quality of my posts and I plan to keep going strong.

For more reading, check out my top 5 most visited articles on Must Contain Minis for 2019 and my post about the top 5 visited articles that I wrote for Bell of Lost Souls in 2019.

Until next time, Happy Gaming Everyone!!!

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