Five Years of Cannibal Halflings

Five years! Half a decade! That, uh, that wasn’t really the plan, you understand. Not that there was a plan, it was more of an eyes-closed death-and-glory charge into the void… Let’s see how we did this year, and what the future holds!

We published 1 Glimpse Into The Vault, 10 Adventure Logs, 1 Bargain Bin Gaming, 24 Editorials, 1 Indie Frontier, 13 Kickstarter Wonks, 10 Level One Wonks, 2 Meet the Campaigns, 1 Meet the Party, 8 Solitaire Storytellings, 2 System Hacks, 1 System Split, 13 Independents, and 38 Weekend Updates, for a total of 125 articles since 12/31/20, not including this one.

Solitaire Storytelling and the Weekend Updates are our two new categories. Solitaire has let me stretch the ol’ creative writing muscles a bit while highlighting some single-player games, a boon in this literally plague-ridden world we find ourselves in. The Weekend Updates have been an effort to get a little more current news into our portfolio. Originally Aaron’s brainchild, I’ll admit I wasn’t sure if it would work out, but I think we’ve managed to provide something of value while also covering events and items we otherwise would have had to ignore.

The most viewed articles published this year from tenth to first are SLA Industries 2e, Star Trek Adventures In-Depth, Twilight:2000, The Trouble With Finding New Systems, Wanderhome, Fallout, System Split: Worlds Without Number and D&D5e, Avatar Legends Quickstart, Dune: Adventures in the Imperium, and So You Don’t Want to Play D&D. The tail has been mightier than ever, with seventeen older articles netting more than 2000 views each, with plenty more churning away below that marker.

We also released another 6 episodes of Cannibal Halfling Radio! We talked about ending campaigns, getting them started, how to work with settings, and crossing the line between traditional and indie games. We also released a two-parter actual play of Electric Bastionland that was, frankly, some of the best fun we had all year. The puppet, in particular, was masterful.

We write more than we ‘cast, obviously, and that’ll probably always be the way. It would be quite the change to reality if it was otherwise, and we’d have to give up too much else to manage it, I think. As modest as it has been, though, I’m actually very proud of what we recorded this year. It’s also blown up a fair bit as of late – as of this writing Episode 15 is closing in on 4000 downloads, and Episode 16 has more than 6000!

So, was it a good year for CHG? Well, it depends on what metric you use, I guess. Everything above sounds pretty good. In terms of statistics, we surpassed 2020 in both number of items published and sheer word content. We surpassed everything in terms of visitors and views, which is pretty awesome!

On the other hand, this is the first year we didn’t have anyone new join us, which is a bit of a bummer. It’s also gotten a bit lonelier in the office, so to speak, as some of our friends have headed out as their own adventures took them elsewhere. On a personal note, I’ve always told our contributors to write at their own pace, don’t be down on yourself for not churning an article out every week, but I’ve found it difficult to follow my own advice as my own productivity  fell under the pressures of… well, everything, you know how it’s been out there.

On the gripping hand, the future of CHG seems wide open. Aaron has provided us with a weekly bedrock to stand on, which I will always be impressed with. On the personal level, having finished Transit: Advanced Programming and Lost Among The Starlit Wreckage my game design workload has retreated to the drawing board, giving me some breathing room. We’ve got another episode of Cannibal Halfling Radio already in the can with an old friend making a return in the bargain, and the next CHR: Now Playing is in the works. While a little intimidating (because backlogs always are) the To Be Reviewed folder in the CHG Library has some really interesting stuff for us to work on.

When it comes to dollarbucks, our Affiliate credit with DriveThruRPG has frankly outpaced our ability to spend it for quite a while now, leaving a not-insignificant sum sitting at the ready. Meanwhile our Patrons both current and past (thanks to Ryan, Fae, AB, Adam, Marty, and a most honorable mention to Eric) have kept a small but steady trickle going into the coffers, enough to cover site costs and let a respectable nest egg build up. This has me rethinking paying contributors in a big way.

Granted, most of this rabblerousing lot have been stubborn about it, and I’ve often had to resort to sending their due to charities or other Patreons of their choice, sending out gift cards, or throwing money at their own games to balance the account as I see fit. Fact is though, that the pay scale of a buck or two an article is woefully outdated – I carried it over from when I was just a writer at the Mad Adventurers, and at the time it felt awesome just to get anything, but now it just feels miserly. Like, I feel bad about even promoting it.

There are limits to consider, and sustainability to think about – even with Aaron and I not paying ourselves, the per-word pay would probably be meager, and with funds being a trickle instead of a torrent there would be the chance that the coffers would drain faster than we could fill them. CHG has been and is a project of passion, though; I’d like to think with more effort put into recruitment we could find more passionate people who want to bring games and gamers together for its own sake. I’d also like those people to have a better sense of how valuable their work is, though, so yeah: keep an eye on the socials for some increased offerings of loot for the halflings cannibal.

And hey, if it doesn’t work out the loot could always get donated somewhere.

You know what, it was a good year. and a good half a decade for Cannibal Halfling Gaming.  Ups and downs, bumps in the road and smooth patches, bad rolls and good ones, I think we’re still on the right path. Will we go another five years? Gosh, who knows, we’ll see what the dice say, but I can guarantee you’ll get a sixth one at the very least.

Thank you to all our contributors and readers, past and present (and future)! 2020!Seamus’s words still stand: I hope that we were able to provide you with a smile or a cool idea or a fun experience when you needed one, and I think I safely speak for all of us when I say that we’re gladly going to keep trying to do so.

Stay safe, go get helpfully stabbed a few times if you haven’t already, and we’ll see you in ’22!

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