For fun, about a year ago I made a teaching video on how to play the game “Archipelago.” It was rough around the edges, for sure, but it was a way to have my friends come to game night ready to play. I figured if they watched a video before coming, we wouldn’t have to take extra time going over the rules. Archipelago can be complex to understand, but a lot of fun once everyone knows what’s going on.
Even though the video was shot in poor quality, I gained a lot of valuable feedback and positive comments! I realized there are a lot of people that absolutely need video explanations of things in order to understand them. I didn’t know just how many people refuse to read a long rulebook, or just have so much trouble with it that they quit! I knew there was something to this, and that there are lots of fairly complex games that most people won’t ever get to play if left to figure it out on their own.
Creating that first video was useful to me to get practice, but also find other people who would be able to help me with making better quality videos. Since making it over a year ago, I partnered with a friend who is an expert videographer, editor, and graphic designer. Together, we launched a channel dedicated to providing helpful board game teaching videos. Archipelago became a proof-of-concept thing, to help me get my project together. Having a year of YouTube analytics on it has been extremely valuable.
I’ve been able to get a clear idea of the direction of the channel, and what kinds of games to cover. We’ve created Meeple Mentor because too many great games get unplayed or sit on shelves because they are deemed "too complicated." I aim to change that by creating helpful teaching videos for all kinds of tabletop board games, focusing primarily on medium-to-heavy weight complexity games. I want everyone to be able to enjoy the wide range of games now out there and being created! It's amazing the variety we have, and yet we're still limited by our ability to read, comprehend, and teach new rules.
My YouTube channel's first teaching videos were recorded and edited during the months leading up to the launch in July, 2019. We prepared 3-4 ready to go for July, then planned for 1-2 a month thereafter. The first recording session was April 27, 2019. On May 13, the first video was uploaded and published to the YouTube channel. It was our coming soon announcement for the big launch. I began getting involved in social media around June. Media like Instagram, Twitter, Tumblr, and of course Facebook.
My friend quit on me after a few videos recorded, unfortunately. His life was picking up with a new baby on the way, and he didn't share my passion for the project. It takes a lot of time to record and edit the kind of videos I wanted to make. So, I was left to pick up the pieces and find out how to continue to make this channel happen on my own...