Change Is A Comin’

android peekThere’s something quite special about the Fifth of November. We aren’t quite sure if it’s a series of minor coincidences, or more likely, the result of some grand cosmic significance that we can’t quite comprehend, but this is certainly a red letter day in history. On November 5th, 1605, Guy Fawkes was arrested in the Gunpowder Plot. On November 5th, 1955, Doctor Emmett Brown invented the Flux Capacitor. On November 5th, 2007, Google unleashed the Android Operating System upon the world.

And, perhaps most important of all, was the seminal moment on November 5th, 2012, when The Cardboard Republic launched.


Happy Birthday!

Yes, today is our ‘siteiversary’, where we step back and take stock of another year in the board gaming world. Three years ago we launched on a quiet November morning, exhausted from prep work and excited to bring our unique voices to the board gaming world.

Three years later…ok, we’re even more exhausted from our efforts but even more excited that our crazy idea has paid off.

Of course, for as fervently as we work, as tirelessly as we come up with content, none of it would be possible if not for all of you. Really. It’s cliche, it’s cheesy, and it’s 100% true. We cannot thank you enough for giving us a reason to keep doing what we’re doing. Thank you for reading our musings and our unique approach to reviews. Thank you for listening to us for now over 100 podcast episodes. Thank you for watching our short video supplements, and engaging with us on all sorts of social media. Thank you for playing games with us, chatting with us at conventions, validating our work, and vouching for our worth as part of the community. We may be the ones making the CR’s content, but it is you, on that end, who makes it all possible.

Who's the best? You're the best!

Who’s the best? You’re the best!

Really. From all us here, thank you for letting us be part of this fantastic industry.

Three years in the grand scheme is pretty minor, but the tabletop gaming world has been anything but quiet during that period. Looking back at the state of the community since our own entrance, the rate of growth in the hobby has been nothing short of explosive.

There are more people making games, publishing games, playing games, and talking about games than ever before, which is both amazing and at times, rather overwhelming. Convention attendances has risen to staggering new heights. Kickstarter has gone from an experimental board game delivery vehicle to the de facto method for getting new games to market. Renowned game companies exist now that didn’t before 2012, and there has never been a more vibrant library of innovate tabletop RPGs than there is right now.

The demographics of the hobby also continue to diversify, leading to an array of new – and at times clashing – voices about the vast cross-section of the entire hobby, from the importance of theme, artwork, and cultural impact on games to things like innovation, distribution models, and the nature of board gaming media itself. The last three years have seen more than a few contrasting opinions over these (and many other topics). While each instance of these can indeed be flustering, it’s also been a definitive sign of the growing pains being experienced as a result of how rapidly the industry has been changing. For much of it, we’ve had a front row seat. Occasionally, we’ve even been on the other side of the podium.


Marching Ahead

Yes, much has happened in the last three years, and as remarkable, wonderful, and frustrating as it all has been, we at the CR also desire to turn and look forward. We want to see what the next three years will bring to the hobby and how we’ll fit into it all. To do that though, we’ve had to address some simple realities here first as we lay the groundwork to do so.

Changes are coming to the Republic, and now seems as opportune time as ever to mention it.

We had hoped to have many of our planned ideas set in place for today, but, you know, life. Unlike some of the larger media entities, where board gaming media is their choice of occupation / how they spend their retirement, we’re part of the much larger pool of content creators who have day jobs and families, among other things, on top of silly little things like site responsibilities.

CRWantedSo instead, you’ll be seeing many small but incremental changes over the next couple months at the site, including with a high likelihood, an entirely new look to the site itself. There’s a lot of things we’ve been wanting to add for quite some time to make it a better, more enjoyable experience when visiting the site, and we’re actively working on addressing those things right now.

Moreover, earlier this year we had to put on hold our weekly news announcements, simply because we couldn’t devote the resources necessary to maintain them in a manner we felt was worth putting our name to while still doing everything else. The Cardboard Republic is not a large group: at the moment it consists of Erin and myself, two content writers, and a copy editor.

Simply put, we’ve long recognized that we simply can’t do everything all by ourselves.

The news / Kickstarter absence is something I’d like to fix. So as of today we’ll be putting up a new line on the Help Wanted page for a news desk person who can help us with news announcements and Kickstarter-related updates. Keep an eye out for that.

We are also still actively looking for new writers in other areas as well should contributing be something you’re considering. At the very least, we offer a stable and established (which is fun to say) site platform to give you a voice, should that be something you’re interested in.

VR-Logo-postMost importantly today, however, concerns our podcast, the Vox Republica. You may notice, for example, that there is no episode posted. Effective today, the Vox will be switching from a weekly 30 minute production, which has been the case since the beginning, to an alternating week format instead, with episodes likely to average in the 30-45 minute mark. Part of this is a result of all the feedback we got as part of our 100 episode contest, which we indeed have been pouring over to try to make the podcast something more in line with what our audience would like to hear.

The other part of it is because of YouTube.

Prior to this summer, our website didn’t have any video presence. Now, we are putting out at least two short videos a month – yet another part of these aforementioned changes. In a lot of ways these two occupy the same space for us, providing supplemental material in another medium for you, the audience, to enjoy.

Unfortunately, adding yet another medium has compounded all of that extra work stuff I’ve been rambling on about. Erin doesn’t have the time to be doing multiple videos per month plus a weekly podcast, on top of everything else she does around here. We feel that by moving it to a bi-weekly schedule, we can better focus on being more organized for the podcasts and more timely on the videos. It’ll also help us work within our means

So don’t worry: the Vox isn’t going anywhere, nor are we. But changes, like winter, are coming. We’re excited to share many of these things with you in the weeks and months ahead.

Once again, from all of us here, thanks for making these three years worth all of the late nights and many, many, many hours of sacrificing free time to make it happen.