Jeffro's Space Gaming Blog

Microgames, Monster Games, and Role Playing Games

The Top Gaming Blogs of 2014

[Note: This is a transcript of the awards convocation which was held last Friday, December 5.]

Today is the day! I will be gradually releasing the names of the top ten gaming blogs of 2014. Looking over this list, I am positively blown away. So many awesome posts this year! If you were disappointed by the Ennies… if you think that the real deep thinkers in gaming commentary don’t get the attention they deserve… well, folks, we are going to fix that.

[Wipes tear from eyes.]

You know… this whole awards thing just makes me realize how deeply ennobling your idle thoughts about games really are. I am humbled just contemplating the awesomeness of your heady insightfulness. You guys are brilliant. Thank you for all your efforts. You have made the internet a better place.

The #10 Gaming Blog of 2014Lewis Pulsipher maybe doesn’t need an introduction, but… seriously, the guy was burning up the gaming magazines with “killer posts” before blogging and the internet were even a thing. To be honest, a lot of us spend time rediscovering and repopularizing things he’s already written about. Lew’s blog is much more focused on general game design than it is rpg’s, but he does occasionally weigh in on the original fantasy role-playing game. For these posts and for his excellent rundown of Prezcon this year, his site is my pick for the #10 gaming blog of 2014. [applause]

The #9 Gaming Blog of 2014 — Melding his own brand of ecumenical gaming with impeccable taste, Jason Packer writes a lot about games that aren’t D&D. When it seems like everyone else is stroking their goatees and saying “don’t let the rules get in the way of the fun,” Jason will step up and explain why rules can be your friend. His comments on games like GURPS and RuneQuest are a really good counterbalance to the “rules not rulings” crowd. And heck, the guy even played Squadron Strike this year. For these posts and more, Jason’s site is my pick for the #9 gaming blog of the year. [applause]

The #8 Gaming Blog of 2014Rick Stump has one of the longest-running AD&D campaigns around, and his take on that iconic role-playing game is positively mind blowing. He writes about stuff I never even considered could be a thing: why fighters have to deal with intelligent magic-items, what the role of the monk class was really about, and why the spell descriptions of clairvoyance and teleport can completely change the nature of your campaign milieu. For these consistently thoughtful ramblings and more, his site his my pick for the #8 gaming blog of the year. [applause]

The #7 Gaming Blog of 2014Courtney Campbell‘s gaming blog is positively brilliant. He can not only explain why “xp for gold” really works in practice when compared to “new school” approaches, but he can do so without frothing at the mouth and falling into a berserker rage. Other excellent posts from this year include the time that he unpacked just why it is that gamers have been arguing about falling damage for so long, when he explicated the key to allowing heroism to emerge at the tabletop, and when when he did that scathing take down of the 5e Monster Manual’s penchant for dressing up the critters. (What Ettin wears pants? I mean really…!) For these insights and his consistently entertaining reads, Courtney’s site is my #7 pick for the best gaming blog of 2014. [cheers and stomping of feet from the gallery]

The #6 Gaming Blog of 2014Wayne Rossi has created what is by far the most cogent “old school” gaming blog around. My favorite items from the past year include the time he explained why Freytag’s pyramid is not at all suited for role-playing adventure design and when he took the time to counter award winning designer John Wick’s assertion that classic D&D was not actually a role-playing game. For his consistently deep insights into the nature of fantasy role-playing, Wayne’s site is my pick for the #6 gaming blog of the year. [raucous applause and cheering]

The #5 Gaming Blog of 2014 — Alexis Smolensk may not be to everyone’s taste, but the guy has run a tremendous number of game sessions and is a prolific blogger to boot. If you can overlook his acerbic nature and cantankerous streak, you are in from some of the most insightful posts on game mastering anywhere. To top it off, he was having a field day with “The Great Gamerati” back when gamergate wasn’t even a twinkle in the internet’s eye. For that and for his many quotable nuggets of gaming wisdom, he is my pick for the #5 gaming blog of 2014. [noticeably lighter applause and scattered booing from the crowd]

The #4 Gaming Blog of 2014 — He went to the silver standard and removed clerics from his OD&D campaign, but that doesn’t keep him from serving up consistently good game blog posts. Highlights from the past year include an insanely detailed analysis of archery in old school gaming, an engaging look at the masterpiece D&D module X10, and an explanation of why it is that comic book characters don’t stay dead. And face it, the guy knows Star Frontiers like nobody else. For these posts and his longstanding commitment to excellence in gaming, the Hotspot is my pick for the #4 gaming blog of 2014. [applause]

The #3 Gaming Blog of 2014 — “Save Versus All Wands” is the gaming blog of OD&D aficionado Oakes Spalding. If there is a bright center to the politically correct universe, this is the game-oriented feed that is farthest from it. For his spirited defense of the Appendix N reading list from faux-intellectuals, for his biting take-down of the complete lack of skin in D&D 5e, and for his cogent articulation of why Narnia is a better fit for gaming than Middle Earth, his site is my choice for the #3 gaming blog of 2014. [applause followed by a incomprehensible demonstration by topless Femen activists]

[Shuffles the envelopes containing the #1 and #2 Gaming Blogs of 2014. The crowd is positively rapt with anticipation. So exciting!!!!!]

The #2 Gaming Blog of 2014 — GURPS developer Peter V. Dell’Orto‘s game blog includes session reports from his long-running GURPS Dungeon Fantasy campaign and reflections on classic AD&D products. Peter tends to stick up for adventures and books that get short shrift from self-styled connoisseurs of gaming. For his excellent series on MegaDungeon design, his site is the #2 gaming blog of the year for 2014. [applause… then as Peter makes his way to the podium, four men in black appear and smuggle him out of a side exit]

The #1 Gaming Blog of 2014 — GURPS  contributor Douglas Cole‘s gaming blog includes professional quality interviews with full transcripts. His posts don’t shy away from crunch and he does quite a few old school D&D session reports as well. This site is my #1 pick for 2014 game blog of the year due just to the excellent Steve Jackson interview alone. Congratulations, Doug!!! [applause… until some random people in the back start firing guns into the air; the audience scatters in confusion]

[A note about how the rankings were done: The shortlist came from whoever was writing stuff that I would link to on my blog. Every link was essentially a vote by me for who I enjoyed reading. However… the actual rankings came from what my own readers were clicking on. While some might quibble over the exact order, I think that these really are all together the best gaming blogs around. I certainly have gotten a lot of enjoyment out of them. Oh, and… if you want to make your own list of epic gaming blogs– or anything, really– I can recommend the site called… (wait for it) Recommend. My 2014 blog list is already there!]

A round-up of responses to the awards ceremony:

11 responses to “The Top Gaming Blogs of 2014

  1. Alexis Smolensk December 9, 2014 at 10:57 am

    Thank you, that’s very kind. Had you considered giving a review of my book, How to Run, either here on on the Castalia House website?

  2. PeterD December 9, 2014 at 9:41 pm

    Thank you.

    We need a Jeffro’s Best Blogs badge.

  3. Douglas Cole December 9, 2014 at 11:10 pm

    That would be fun. I don’t even have a nifty Gothridge Newbie Blogger stamp of approval or nuthin. It’s all about he souvenirs you loot from the fallen corpses of your enemies, after all!

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  6. Pj William October 5, 2015 at 2:28 pm

    Hey I would like to add my gaming blog to list gaming.
    Jeffro contact me on my website.

    ~Pj William Founder

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