2022 Retrospective

In the first retrospective, I shared some stats over the first year of reviews (July 10, 2021 – July 10, 2022.) I’ve decided that going forward I would like to these at calendar year end instead at the blog anniversary. This is to make the stat collection and compilation much easier. Apologies this will overlap some with the first anniversary retrospective, but it will be all new next time.

Overall

Views43,701
Visitors18,981
Posts169
Card Reviews55
Written Playthroughs69
Most Viewed PostFAQ on Revised Core Set and New LOTR LCG Release Model (6,021 views)
Most Viewed Card ReviewTactics Glorfindel – Spoiler Review (534)
Most Viewed Card Review Excluding Spoiler ReviewsLeadership Aragorn (323)
Most Viewed Written PlaythroughCore Campaign Escape from Dol Guldur 6 – March 1, 2022 (202)

The most viewed posts continued to be those most beneficial to new players. You can see this with the most popular card review and playthrough are both from the Core Set. Then there is the FAQ I wrote because there were many questions about what was different and if the older expansions would continue or not. I was answering those questions often on reddit and wanted something I could just link to people. It consistently has been the top viewed post since it was published. I’m so glad many people are finding it and hope it helped answered their questions.

Traffic really took off with the release of the revised Core Set and the new Starter decks. I’m sure it brought an influx of people looking to learn more about the game. Then it settled down again until the first anniversary extravaganza when I had posts every weekday. The rest of the year has settled down again and has stayed very solid aside from November which I’m sure is just due to the holidays.

Card Reviews

I reviewed a total of 39 cards in 2022. My average rating was 4.9, but 7 rings was my most common rating. As you can see below, I give nearly half of the cards 4 rings or better. Not many cards got a 5 or 6 especially compared to how many I gave a 7 to. It is possible this year we just had more limited use or niche cards to rate. Still I’m going give some more thought to what a middle of the road card is to me.

Below I’ve broken down the reviews by sphere with the average ring rating for that sphere. (I know Neutral is not a sphere, but you get the idea.) Leadership isn’t my lowest rated sphere but Fellowship hardly counts with its 1 card I’ve reviewed. I blame a number of more niche cards being reviewed this year. I’ll have to squeeze in Steward of Gondor next year to help that average. The rest are all pretty close around 4 or 4.5.

SphereReviewsRing Rating Average
Leadership96.2
Lore74.5
Neutral44
Spirit64.2
Tactics114.5
Fellowship18
Grand Total394.9

I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention that the blog also featured reviews by other members of the community! We had 2 from Joe Hoffman, and stoneoferic. Joe, our resident Rohan fan Horseback Archer for our series of Core Set reviews. It sports the most complex ring rating determination on the blog thus far. stoneoferic reviewed Gleowine known as one of the best early card pool card draw cards and gaining a new relevance with Messenger of the King.

We also had 16 community reviews from participants in the blog’s first contest. People generally picked cards they really liked. In a few cases, card they really disliked. This is great because they wrote some fantastic reviews about cards they were passionate about. I’m glad to feature all of them here.

Playthroughs

Written playthroughs surpassed card reviews this year with 64. I expect this to continue considering I still have many more from 2020 and 2021 that are unpublished and I continue to make more as I play the game.

Scenarios and Cycles Covered

  • Paths of Mirkwood campaign (includes Core Set and Dark of Mirkwood scenarios)
  • Against the Shadow Cycle
  • Fords of Isen
  • To Catch an Orc
  • Into Fangorn
  • The Dunland Trap
  • Intruders in Chetwood
  • The Weather Hills
  • Deadman’s Dike
  • Fire in the Night
  • Under the Ash Mountains
  • The Land of Sorrow
  • Fortress of Nurn
  • Massing at Osgiliath

The playthroughs covered a double different ends of the game because this last year I was nearing the end of the cycles. The playthroughs from when I started logging quests began with Against the Shadow. There were also detours to play the new exciting stuff like the Paths of Mirkwood campaign. Now I’m finally playing the Angmar Awakened campaign with a revised card pool minimum purchase deck.

Thanks

Thank you everyone that has come here and read a news, card review, and/or playthrough post. It’s been a great year of reviews at the blog that I plan to continue through 2023!

First Year Retrospective

I’d like to wrap the first year anniversary celebration by taking a look back over the past year through some stats! I think it has been very interesting to see how the blog has grown both in content and readership. I’ve done some work to make sure these will only cover exactly one year. That is July 10th, 2021 when the blog went live (despite that I started working on it well before then) to July 10th, 2022.

Overall

Views32,995
Visitors14,436
Posts169
Card Reviews55
Written Playthroughs69
Most Viewed PostFAQ on Revised Core Set and New LOTR LCG Release Model (3,402 views)
Most Viewed Card ReviewTactics Glorfindel – Spoiler Review (451)
Most Viewed Card Review Excluding Spoiler ReviewsBrok Ironfist (271)
Most Viewed Written PlaythroughCore Campaign Escape from Dol Guldur 6 – March 1, 2022 (168)
Most Viewed GuideNew Player Buying Guide (1,306)

The most viewed posts generally were those most beneficial to new players. The announcement of the revised Core Set excited many people into trying out, or at least finding out more about the game. This is evidenced by the site traffic spiking in February and March with all the announcements and releases. I know also there were many questions and confusion regarding if the old deluxes and adventure packs were compatible. I initially wrote the FAQ because I was answering those questions often on reddit and wanted something I could just link to people. It consistently has been the top viewed post since it was published. I’m so glad many people are finding it and hope it helped answered their questions.

MonthViewsVisitors
Jul-21818382
Aug-211,018547
Sep-211,440740
Oct-211,686917
Nov-21740359
Dec-211,671783
Jan-222,022985
Feb-226,2632,635
Mar-227,1852,626
Apr-223,8401,782
May-222,9231,242
Jun-222,3571,088
Jul-22972350

Card Reviews

I reviewed a total of 38 cards in the first year. Not quite the 52 if I had done one every week. Early on, I was at about 1 review every 2 weeks. Then I hit my stride and really nailed down my process to match pace with the podcast. My average rating was 4, but 3 rings was my most common rating. As you can see below, my ratings skew pretty positively. There were a lot of good cards reviewed this past year! Perhaps this next year, we’ll review more cards that I don’t find as good and it will balance out a little. I don’t expect to average 5 and have a completely normal distribution because I think every card in the card pool has a use and doesn’t quite deserve a 10. There are 1 or 2 that are probably close to a ten for me, but time will tell.

Below I’ve broken down the reviews by sphere with the average ring rating for that sphere. I know Neutral is not a sphere, but you get the idea. I feel so bad about Leadership being my lowest rated sphere so far. I think much more highly of it than those 6 ratings indicate. I blame Brok’s 8 rings dragging down that average. I’m pleasantly surprised that Tactics cards on average I’ve rated better than Spirit despite I’ve rated 2 Spirit cards at 1 ring. Tactics does a have a couple more reviews than Spirit. Many of the Tactics cards I’ve rated 2 or 3 which is likely pushing it past Spirit for now.

SphereReviewsRing Rating Average
Leadership65.2
Lore114
Neutral53.6
Spirit73.86
Tactics93.56
Grand Total384

I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention that the blog also featured reviews by other members of the community! We had 8 from Quetzal, Joe Hoffman, and stoneoferic.

Quetzal reviewed Fast Hitch and Ranger of Cardolan ring rating each at 4 and 3, respectively. Ranger of Cardolan’s review also has a very detailed background of Cardolan and the Arnorian kingdoms featured in Angmar Awakenged. A great read for players looking to dive into the lore behind that new campaign.

Joe, our resident Rohan fan, reviewed Spirit Theoden, Leadership Elfhelm, and Horseback Archer. His reviews there covered a Rohan glue card, a more multiplayer oriented strategy enabler, and a Core Set card that suffers from the change in overall cost curve of subsequent cards. Horseback Archer also sports the most complex ring rating determination on the blog thus far.

stoneoferic reviewd Blade of Gondolin working ahead of the podcast. He also stepped in to review the podcast’s choice of a holiday thematic card with Bombur hero. Then for our Core Set series of reviews, he reviewed Gleowine known as one of the best early card pool card draw cards and gaining a new relevance with Messenger of the King.

We also had 10 (17 if all of July 2022 included) from participants in the blog’s first contest.1 People generally picked cards they really liked. In a few cases, card they really disliked. This is great because they wrote some fantastic reviews about cards they were passionate about. I’m glad to feature all of them here.

Playthroughs

Written playthroughs surpassed card reviews this year. It is just because I have so many written up with the play by plays starting in 2019. These made for ready fill ins when the review had to be postponed. Also I could easily publish more for this celebration month. I also continuously create new ones as I play my solo games. I’ve had to slow down this summer due to trips and family visits, but I still have plenty for the next year or two.

Scenarios and Cycles Covered

  • Paths of Mirkwood campaign (includes Core Set and Dark of Mirkwood scenarios)
  • Peril in Pelargir
  • Into Ithilien
  • Seige of Cair Andros
  • Steward’s Fear
  • Celebrimbor’s Secret
  • Intruders in Chetwood
  • The Ghost of Framsburg
  • Mount Gundabad
  • Fate of the Wilderland
  • Vengeance of Mordor Cycle

The playthroughs covered a double different ends of the game because this last year I was nearing the end of the cycles. The playthroughs from when I started logging quests began with Against the Shadow. There were also detours to play the new exciting stuff like the Paths of Mirkwood campaign. Now I’ve been doing some testing prior to Angmar Awakened’s campaign being released. It’s a bit of jumping around, but I hope people find them useful to explore some different strategies especially as I try to diagnose deck problems after each game.

Thanks

Thank you everyone that has come here and read a news, card review, and/or playthrough post. I’ve really enjoyed working on everything here at the site. I’m glad so many keep coming back each week to read these and I really appreciate it. Also a big thank you to everyone else that has written for the blog here, Dave, Grant, Quetzal, Joe, stoneoferic, and all the great community members that kindly let me post the reviews they did for our first contest. You all are great and wonderful!

Footnotes

1I know someone is looking at those numbers going hey how do you have 55 total card reviews when those 18 plus Matt’s 38 ring ratings is 56? Radaghast and his staff was a double review. I have 2 ring ratings in a single card review post.