In 2013, the best tabletop-sports blog was Love, Life, and APBA, by Kenneth Heard.
Heard is a professional writer, and the quality of his work on Love, Life, and APBA (LLaA) is indicative of his talent and training.*
Perhaps the closest analogue (non-tabletop-sports category) to LLaA is Josh Wilker’s Cardboard Gods. Both blogs are written in a confessional, essay-style and use meticulous examination of a specific device (APBA Baseball for Kenneth Heard, late 70’s baseball cards for Josh Wilker) as a jumping off point for thorough and honest self-reflection and good old-fashioned storytelling.
As the blog title suggests, Love, Life, and APBA is devoted to the tabletop baseball game, but it also touches on universal themes of love and loss. Heard is a middle-aged widower, and his reflections are poignant, often funny, sometimes sad, sometimes just the facts about whatever APBA project he’s working on at the time.
In 2013, my favorite post was The July 14 Clock, posted on 7-14-2013.
Oneforfive.com has included Heard’s APBA Baseball replays (1981 and 1942) in each of the last two year’s Best Replays, as well.
Enumerating a short list of my favorite tabletop-sports blogs in 2013 wasn’t a difficult task. There were three that stood out: The APBA Blog curated by Thomas Nelshoppen, Love, Life, and APBA Baseball, written by Kenneth Heard, and The APBA Football Club Blog, by Geoff Giordano.
It’s an odd fact that all three of the best tabletop-sports blogs are on the topic of APBA games, but each of the three offered consistent quality throughout the year. I hope that we see more tabletop-sports blogs devoted to other games start up in 2014.
My number one rule over here at oneforfive.com is to create the kind of website that I would like to read. There simply aren’t very many websites devoted to the tabletop-sports gaming hobby, and most of the ones that are devoted to the hobby are devoted to one specific game or replay season. I created oneforfive.com because I wanted a website that offered more than that.
What I like in a blog:
- News – new games, special offers, free downloads, gameco. news, etc.
- A Distinct Voice – I tend to prefer blogs that are written by (or at least curated by) one person whose voice and personality come through in the writing. I understand this is a completely subjective thing, but it’s what I like and one of the things I notice was missing from many of the table-top sports forums where we hobbyists gather.
- Lack of Clutter – Simpler is better, in my opinion, when it comes to blogs. Even this blog could use some de-cluttering. Also, along that line, I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but there aren’t any ads on this site. You’re welcome.
- A Diverse Range of Topics – I like surprises. I like to go to a blog each day and not know exactly what I’m going to get. Blogs that offer the same content day in and day out get stale quickly for me.
- Pictures – I like pictures. Especially interesting pictures I haven’t seen before.
- Content – that is to say, new posts often. My goal is 25 posts a month. I haven’t hit that goal since January, but that’s what I strive for.
- Stories – I love replays, but a boxscore on its own doesn’t do it for me. I need context, I need personality, I need a compelling reason to care. This site is about story more than anything. My story, the story of each replay and each game, the story of those of us who indulge in this hobby.
And, most importantly:
*As an editorial aside, I think it takes two of the following three qualities to make a good blog: talent, hard work, and passion. That is, any of the three possible combinations (talent and hard work, talent and passion, or hard work and passion) of those qualities in an author would result in a decent blog. The best blogs have an author dedicated to honing all three.