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A PC-User's Purchase "Guide" (it's not...just the ramblings of an idiot) to High Quality Audio on your system.

Hello friends, today I'd like to talk about an aspect of our glorious systems that get overlooked a lot: our audio experience on our battlestations. Thanks to paoper for formatting. Again disclaimer that I am an idiot, so take this post with a grain of salt. Better info and more accurate info from people way more knowledgeable than I am is readily available from /audiophile /budgetaudiophile and /headphones, this is just a start-up guide for the beginner.
NOTE: The monster I gave birth to has become too long. I felt that instead of a short list of things to order, I needed to give context as high fidelity is really all about what sound is like in your experience. Also a fun read if you are interested. Feel free to skip to the actual list (ctrl+f active speakers, passive speakers, headphones, subwoofer, amplifier)!
I have limited the price range of the products, because this is after all just food for thought and not even a proper guide; real audio purchases will require elbow-grease and research from your end to see if the product's sound signature will match your preferences in music and sound. If your product is not here, do not worry. I have put in products that I have had experience with and those that were recommended by multiple reviewers I hold in high regard (with the exception of a 2.1 system you will see later), and I had to consider the endless number of headphones/speakers vs the ones that are worth your hard-earned cash (and products vs how they compare to my current setup which includes both "high-end" and budget options).

Introduction

I've been building systems for myself and others since I randomly took a buildapc course in middle school (currently 28) and enjoy music very much (I grew up on linkin park, dre, biggie smalls, 3 6 mafia, tupac, ac/dc, red hot chilli peppers am fond of electro and dubstep and various genres of music). I have 2 decades of experience playing saxophone, clarinet, and the electric guitar, and have performed in jazz bands, rock bands, and an orchestra. My ear is highly trained from raw musical performance and not just listening to speakers from home, as well as having the nuance to differentiate between good speakers. I have owned many many forms of audio gear (instruments, speakers, headphones, studio monitors).

So wtf is this?

So occasionally while answering questions on this subreddit (mainly on why new builder's systems aren't posting, or what components they should get, or just mourning with fellow builders for systems that have passed on as well as celebrating the birth of new systems and fellow pc builders who take their rite of passage of building their own system with their own two hands) I would come across the occasional "what speakers/headphones are best under $xx" and with the state of pc products being "gaming rgb ultimate series XLR" or w/e, it's hard to discern what audio products are actually worth your money. Note that if you are using just "good enough" cheap speakers, any of the speakers/headphones on this list will blow your mind away. Get ready to enter a new world of audio.

Why should I bother getting better speakers/headphones?

I have owned $20 logitech speakers, I currently own $1500 speakers. I have owned varying levels of headphones. The first half-decent (to my standards) speakers I had was a hand me down stereo set from an uncle. This thing was massive, but this thing was good. It's difficult to explain to you the sensation of music enveloping you with great speakers. Speakers are meant to reproduce sound, as in the sound of the instruments in the song. So great speakers and headphones can literally make you FEEL the music like at a rave or a concert or performance in the comfort of your home. This is why Home Theaters were so popular in the 80s/90s.
Upgrading will GREATLY enhance your music, netflix and gaming experience. In fact with passive bookshelf speakers, you can not only use them for your desktop setup, but also chuck them together with a tv and you've got a fine starter home theater system in your hands. You can even upgrade down the line incrementally, one speaker at a time, to a 2.1, 3.1, 5.1, 5.2, 7.2 Dolby Atmos Home Theater Setup where your movies make you feel like your in SPARTAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA.
I currently live in a small apartment with my TV right next to my battlestation, and when i want to sit down on my couch and watch TV, I simply move 1 speaker from my desk to next to my TV, turn my AVR on and I have an easy 5.1 home theater in my tiny apartment. Move the speaker, revert back to 2.1 (or 5.1 if i choose to but i dont because of badspeaker placement when I'm sitting at my desk) amazingness at my battlestation. Consider this an investment into massively improving your experience of playing video games, watching netflix, or listening to music. You think those 4k graphics and ULTRAWIDE monitor is giving you more immersion in your game? Shit...having great speakers or headphones can make you feel like you're IN NORMANDY BEACH DURING THE FUCKING LANDINGS

General considerations (or feel free to just skip ahead to the list)

Now, I totally understand using simple logitech speakers due to budget/space/easy-access from best buy or not knowing about the wider audio world. So I am here today to give you a perspective on what audio components are TRULY worth your hard-earned cash. I have owned $20 logitech speakers in college, I have owned guitar amps as well as studio monitors/other speakers ranging from $100-$1500. Do know that all of this information is readily available in /BudgetAudiophile /audiophile and /headphones . I am merely condensing all of it into a single list, and attempt to sort of explain it to the pc builders, or just an idiot rambling.
If you would like more information on specific speakers, I would check out reviewers on youtube like zerofidelity, steve guttenberg, nextbigthing (nbt) studios, and thomas and stereo. For headphones, metal751, innerfidelity, Ishca's written reviews, DMS.
Z reviews is okay and he reviews everything from amps and dacs to speakers and headphones, but he gives 90% of his products good reviews, and has affiliate links to every single product he reviews....so you see where my dislike of him as a reviewer comes from. He is still an expert audiophile , he just chooses to not use his knowledge and ramble on in his videos, plus the shilling. Great place to start for audiophiles, as he is still a professional. I just think many move on to other reviewers.
Also with speakers, speaker placement is extremely important. Get those speakers off your desk and the woofers/tweeters to your ear level NO MATTER THE COST. Stack boxes/books, buy speaker stands/isolation pads from amazon, at worst buy yoga blocks from amazon. Put your speakers on them, get ready for even better audio.
General rule of thumb: dont buy HiFi at msrp. There are ALWAYS deals on speakers/headphones to take advantage of at any given time (massdrop for headphones, parts-express, accessories4less, crutchfield, adorama, Sweetwater, guitar center, etc). Speakers will get cheaper over time as manufacturers have to make room for new products/refreshes of the same models just as with headphones. If theres a particular headphone model you want, check to see if massdrop has it (website where users of the website decide what niche products the website will mass order, and both the website and you the users get reduced pricing).
Now this list is just simple guide. Obviously for $150 budget, theres probably like 10 different speakers to choose from. You will catch me repeat this many many times but sound is subjective, I don't know what genres of music you enjoy and what sound signatures in headphones/speakers you would prefer (warm sounds? bright? aggressively forward? laid back sound signature? importance of clarity vs bass?) So consider this list with a grain of salt, as this is after all, the ramblings of an idiot on reddit.

Categories

So I will be splitting this list into 4 categories:
And before I start, bass depth and low end does not fucking equal bad boomy bass. I absolutely detest low quality boomy bass like in Beats headphones and general "gaming speakers" or w/e. Also the budetaudiophile starter package is the dayton audio b652 + mini amp combo from parts-express. All the speakers that were considered were basically compared to the b652 before making it on here (and whether they justified the price bump over the b652)

Active vs. Passive (crude explanation)

So when a speaker plays music from your pc, the audio is processed by the audio card on your motherboard, which is then sent to the amplifier where the signal is amplified, and then finally is sent to be played on your speakers. Active speakers like logitech speakers that have a power cable running from the speakers directly to the wall socket have built-in amplifiers to power the speakers, whereas passive speakers require a separate amplifier to amplify the audio signal and feed the speakers power. Active vs passive, no real difference as both types of speakers will have good audio quality depending on how they are made and which ones you buy, but in the ultra budget section of speakers (under $300) actives tend to be cheaper than their passive counter parts. This is due to the manufacturer cutting corners elsewhere.
Take for instance the Micca MB42X passive speakers($90) which also have a brother, the Micca PB42X ($120) powered speakers. Same exact speaker, but built in amp vs the amp you buy. Obviously the mb42x will sound marginally better purely from the virtue that the amplifier is not inside the goddamn box. But the mb42x + amp + speaker wire will probably cost you anywhere from basic $130 to $200 with difference in amplifier and whether you use bare speaker wire or banana plugs/cables. Cabling aesthetics and management will be greatly affected, with sound quality affected to a lesser degree, or more (but at what cost?). Amp choice to be explained later.
Now generally speakers should be recommended based on your music/audio preferences and tastes as speakers and in a larger part, speaker brands will have their own unique sound signatures that some will love and others will hate as sound is such a subjective experience. But since this is meant to cater to a wide audience, note that my list is not the ALL inclusive, and again is only the ramblings of an idiot.

BLUETOOTH SPEAKERS

If you want to add bluetooth capabilities to your wires active or passive speakers, simply buy the esinkin W29 wireless bluetooth module, plug your speakers in, connect to your bluetooth on pc/phone/w/e, enjoy.

ACTIVE SPEAKERS

Simply connect to your PC or TV via 3.5mm (or the occasional usb).
Note: you may experience a hissing with active speakers that may annoy you to no end even up to the $400 mark. This is a result of the amplifier being built in to the speaker in close proximity, as well as sometimes the manufacturer cutting corners elsewhere. Passive speakers do not have this unless you buy a really shitty amp. Note that while bigger woofer size does not necessarily indicate better quality/bass, this does more often than not seem to be the case as manufacturers put bigger woofers on the higher stepup model.
Note that while I have included 2.1 systems here, I would always recommend you get good bookshelves first, save up money and buy a subwoofer separate.

Example options

PASSIVE SPEAKERS

These speakers will require you to buy a separate amplifier, as well as separate cables. But the passive route allows you to have a modular audio system that allows you to upgrade parts as you go along in your life (yes I said life for once you dip your toes into high fidelity, you will get hooked onto a great lifelong journey searching for the perfect setup), or even just add parts in altogether (like having a miniamp on your desk for your passive speakers, having a separate dac or bluetooth module for your speakers so you can connect the passive speakers via USB or bluetooth wirelessly, stacked on top of a headphone dac/amp combo, stacked on top of a preamp, etc). Amplifier list to follow later.
Passive speaker specs to pay attention to will be their impedance (measured in ohms) and their sensitivity (measured in xx db/1w/1m). Speaker ratings in wattage are measurements of how much power can be driven to them (higher watts, higher volume...once again crude explanation). A 20 watt x 2 channel amp (measured in 4 ohms) is enough to power 4 and 6 ohm speakers rated at 100 watts to moderate/decently loud listening levels on your desktop. Now the sensitivity thing. A speaker with a rating of 85db/1m/1w means it will produce 85 decibels of noise at 1 meter with 1 watt of power. Now this not linear....to make the same speaker go up to 90 decibels may require 10 or 15 watts of power depending on other variables. Depending on how loudly you play your music and what impedance/sensitivity your speakers have will result in your choice of amplifiers. More on this later.
The thing about passive bookshelf speakers are that you can use them in your desktop setup, AND with your TV as a legitimate starter 2.1 home theater setup (which you can upgrade to 3.1, and then 5.1/5.2, just buy a used receiver from craigslist for 50 bucks, ez)

What you will need for passive setup:

Note that passive speakers and amp require you to purchase speaker wire separately (fairly cheap) and strip them (youtube video will guide you, very easy). Or if you like clean cable management and easy setups, banana plug cables from amazon will set you straight, and while these banana plugs and cable are nice and PURELY OPTIONAL, they will add up in cost as your buy more of them for frankenstein 2.1 cabling. Also a 3.5mm to rca cable will be required. The connection will be your pc -> 3.5mm->rca->amp->speaker wire-> speaker wire->speaker. (replace speaker wire with banana plug if going that route). Subwoofer connection will be explained in subwoofer section.

Example options

AMPLIFIERS

Okay here is where we need to get into specific numbers. Active speakers have built-in amplifiers so they are exempt. But passive speakers will require separate amps and so you will need to pay attention to certain specs. In speakers you will need to pay attention to their impedance (measured in ohms) and their sensitivity (measured in xx db/1m/1w). The typical mini amplifier will be class D (small form factor amps for desktop use) and their wattage per channel will be usually expressed in 4ohms. Take for instance the popular SMSL SA50. This is an amp that delivers 50 watts to its 2 channels, rated at 4 ohms. Speakers will have impedance of 4, 6, or 8 ohms usually. 50 watts at 4 ohms can be 25 watts at 8 ohms, but is probably more like 20 watts at 8 ohms, refer to product specs for specific wattage ratings at specific ohms. Speakers with high sensitivity (85-95 db/1w/1m) that have 6 ohm impedance are easier to drive with lower wattage.
But here's the thing, an the smsl sa50 will not deliver 50 CLEAN watts. Somewhere in the 30-40w range distortion will start to appear. But for reference, 30 clean watts is enough to drive sony cs5s to uncomfortably loud levels in an apartment (the whole apt, not just your room) so listening on your desktop, you only really need 10-15 clean watts (only after turning up your preamp input to maximum volume, which in this case is your youtube/windows10 volume level). Do note that if you have the space, a used $60 AV Receiver that will just shit out watts and have 5.1 surround will be the best, but these things are massive.

Example options

If you need more watts than the AD18, you're gonna need to get a class a/b amp that just shits out watts for cheap, or get a used av receiver. If you want a new one, the best budget option is the DENON AVR-S540BT 5.2 channel AVR from accessories4less.

SUBWOOFERS

Good subwoofers are expensive, and cheap subwoofers will hurt your listening experience rather than improve it (muddy boomy shitty bass). Your best bet may be to simply find a used subwoofer from craigslist or offerup, just dont get the polk audio PSW10, this is a very common sub you see on the 2nd hand market, because it is a shitty sub and so people get rid of it. Now as to whether you need a subwoofer. If you are in a dorm, don't get a subwoofer. Because.... if you live in a dorm, do not get a fucking subwoofer. Now if you live in a small apartment, fear not, proper subwoofer management will save you noise complaints. A good subwoofer will produce good quality low end you can hear and feel without having to turn up the volume. You want to look at the subwoofer's lowest frequency it can go to. That will show you how "tight" the bass will be. Now, low volume levels on a good sub will produce that bass for you without vibrating your walls (though subwoofer and speaker isolation as well as PLACEMENT (refer to the sub-crawl) will do more for getting the most sound out of your speakers without having to turn up the volume....and just turn off the sub after a reasonable time)
Now as to how to add a subwoofer to your system will depend on what setup you have and the available connections. If your speakers or amplifier has a subwoofer output, simply connect that to your subwoofer, set the crossover freuency (the frequency at which the subwoofer will start making sound) to 80hz, or lower depending on how low of a frequency our bookshelves can go down to.
If your speakers/amp do not have a subwoofer out, you will need to find a subwoofer that has high level speaker inputs. You will need to connect your bookshelves to the speaker outputs on the subwoofer via speaker wire/banana plugs, and then run speaker wire/banana plugs from the subwoofer input to your amplifier, ending with rca to 3.5mm connection to your pc.

Example options

HEADPHONES

Okay, I keep saying headphones and not headsets right. But you ask, Kilroy, you're an idiot. You're posting on buildapc for PC gamers and builders but you're talking headphones and not headsets. How idiotic are you? Pretty big, but friends hear me out. Now I used to live in South Korea, where PC Bangs (internet cafes) set the nation's standards for computers. All the places had to get the best bang for the buck pc gear to stay in business and remain competitive (all 100 computers at these places had like i5-6600k and gtx 1080 in 2015 or something I don't remember, along with mechanical BLUE SWITCH FUCCCCCCKKKKKKKK (imagine 100 blue switch keyboards being smashed on in a small underground area in Seoul) keyboards and decent headsets.
So I have tried MANY MANY different headsets, here is my conclusion. Just get proper headphones and get either get an antlion modmic, or V-MODA Boompro mic both available on amazon. (short list of mics later) or get proper headphones and usb mic. Okay, I have seen the headphone recommendation list, and the only one I would give any (if at all) weight to in the usual pc websites that our subreddit goes to, is the list from rtings. These guys mainly measure monitors and tvs (very well might i add) but the writer for their audio section is lacking it seems.
Please dont get Astro AXX headphones or corsair rgb xxxxxx w/e. Please for the love of god, take your good hard earned cash and get yourself a NICE pair of cans my fellow PC users. The mic part is secondary as GOOD headphones will forever change your PC using and music listening experience FOREVER
The TWO EXCEPTIONS that I have observed to this rule are the Hyperx Clouds and Cooler Master mh751/752.

Example options

Now obviously, there's other choices. A metric fuck load of them. But I had to account for how much you should be paying (price range) for upgrades in sound quality and performance.

Example options (Wireless headsets)

Okay. Wireless headsets, now let's think why do you need a wireless headset? Do you want to walk around your house while on discord? Maybe you want to keep the headset on while having to afk real quick for a smoke break or whatnot.

HEADPHONE AMP/DAC (digital to analogue converter)

My knowledge/experience with headphone amps and dacs are...extremely lacking, I'm more of a speaker guy. But, here is a list for you guys.

MICS

Other mics? Yes, but are they worth the extra $$ for marginally better audio recording? You decide.

Concluding remarks

Cool. Stay safe in these dark times brothers. Have a glorious day.
submitted by Kilroy1311 to buildapc [link] [comments]

Updated list of Global Beermoney opportunities (+180!) - June 2020

Updated list of Global Beermoney opportunities (+180!) - June 2020

Introduction

The current, and now previous, Beermoney Global list started nearly 5 years ago. It’s been updated and has grown over all that time, but it also became a hassle to keep current. It was time to build a new list from scratch based on my experience in the Beermoney world over all these years and all the contributions all of you have been making in this sub.
The lists consist of opportunities that are available in at least one country that is not the US. This means there are sites which only work in Canada or the UK. There’s sites which are open to the whole world, but this does not mean everyone can really earn something on it. It’s all still very demographic and therefore location dependent. This list should give you a starting point to try out and find what works for you. I’m not using everything myself as I prefer to focus on a few, so not all are tested by me. They are found in this sub, other subreddits and other resources where people claim to have success.
I’ve chosen the format of a simple table with the bare minimum of information to keep things clean. It includes a link, how you earn, personal payment proof if available and sign-up bonus codes if applicable. Some of these bonuses are also one-time use codes specifically made for this sub! For the ones I don’t have payment proof (yet) feel free to provide some as a comment or via modmail so others know it’s legit. I am working on detailed instructions for each method that I personally use which will include things like cashout minimum, cashout options, tips & tricks,... For now I’ve split things up based on the type of earning like passive or mobile. Because of this there’s sometimes an overlap as some are both passive and on mobile or both earning crypto and a GPT (Get Paid To) website.
The lists are obviously not complete so I invite you to keep posting new ones in the sub, as a comment to this post, or in modmail. Especially if you have sites or apps which work for one single specific country I can start building a list, just like I did for The Netherlands and Belgium. If you recognize things which are in fact scams or not worth it let me know as well.

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submitted by Proim to beermoneyglobal [link] [comments]

A brief Guide to Boardgames for Newcomers

Hello dwellers, I’m a German guy who just recently got into the hobby, and spent a long time researching… well, a lot of stuff. The following is intended as a reference or perhaps a guide for newcomers who might find themselves lost. It is a long read, but I think it may save you a lot of “work” and touch topics that you might not have considered yet. Headlines are written in bold letters, so you could just scan through it or simply use Ctrl+F to see if something interests you. I mentioned my nationality so you can put some statements further down into perspective. I apologize in advance for any inconsistencies, I wrote this over a longer timespan. Anyway, here goes:
Boardgamegeek
Chances are you already heard about this infamous website. Its main purpose is to serve as a database for boardgames. All games (and many expansions) are assigned an individual score from 1 (bad) to 10 (good), one of which is the community rating, and the other a weighted rating that BGG implemented to prevent games with low review counts to reach unproportonally high ratings. As a rule of thumb, if a game you are considering to buy has a score of 6.5 or lower (which is still fine of course), you should think twice. Assigned to each game (by the community) are also: a “good” and a recommended number of players, the estimated length of the game and its “weight” on a scale from 1 (easy) to 5 (hard). There’s been some criticism regarding that simple weight score, because it does not differentiate between “difficulty to learn” and “difficulty to play”, but it is still a solid indicator of how heavy a game is. For starters, if you are trying to introduce new people to the hobby, games with weight < 2.5 might be a good starting point (for a brief list of recommendations as well as links to BGG sites, scroll all the way down).
Another important part of each game’s site is the “Expansions” tab, but we will get to that later.
BGG also hosts a market place that I have used twice so far, with great experience. You can directly access it by searching for the “Buy” button on your desired game’s BGG site. On the “Geek Market”, you’ll find listings of sellers, with their location next to their names. Make sure to read the description first, because not all listings are necessarily offering the full game.
There is a lot more going on on BGG, but I want to finish off by mentioning the Top 100, which is led by Gloomhaven. There is a latent debate about how representative that list is, but most games in the Top 100 are widely considered excellent, and they cover many different “genres”.
Kickstarter
Kickstarter is a crowdfunding platform for new ideas of all kinds, not only boardgames. Still, boardgames are introduced on Kickstarter frequently, and they require a certain amount of money from so-called “backers” (people who support the project financially) who pick a certain “pledge” (prices usually don’t contain shipping cost already, which is often fairly high for non-USAmericans). If enough money is collected, only then the product can actually be produced. Backers receive what they pledged for, usually 1 or even 2 years later. Most Kickstarter campaigns last for about 30 days, some are much shorter. Once the funding goal for a game has been reached, many projects will offer “stretch goals”, extra content that is unlocked gradually as more money is pledged. Again, there are some pros and cons, but remember: All that glitters is not gold, which is especially true for miniatures. You’ll run out of precious shelf space soon enough. Kickstarter projects toying with customers’ fear of missing out is a bad trend in my opinion. Some projects even offer Kickstarter Exclusive Content which is almost impossible to get your hands on later, for exmaple the “Unspeakable Box” that was part of the “Cthulhu: Death may die” Kickstarter. Dealing with that can be frustrating, so be warned.
In general, a very important question you must ask yourself is, if that game you saw for 150$ + shipping with all those stretch goals and exclusives is worth more than the number of throughly reviewed, excellent games out there that you could get instead. If money is not an issue for you at all, and you have empty shelves to fill, these concerns become less relevant.
One thing I want to mention is that for people with no credit or debit card, it may be hard to find a reliable and inexpensive way of payment. I spent days researching on that, and finally settled with the “boon” banking app. Setting it up may take a while, and since it’s a proper bank managing the whole thing, you’ll have to confirm identity for “boon+” which is highly recommended and free. It works like this: You use “SEPA” to send money to your virtual prepaid credit card (can’t go below 0), and are free to use it about 1 or 2 days later. Anyway, think carefully before entrusting someone with your personal data.
To finish off this topic, here is a “calendar” of some upcoming boardgames on Kickstarter, maintained by u/Zelbinian . Props to him.
Out-of-print (OOP) games
Unfortunately, not all games are continued indefinitely. Contracts and licences expire, money has to be made. That includes games like Android Netrunner LCG (see section below), Forbidden Stars and Battlestar Galactica. Your best bet is to try and find these games second-hand (see section “buying used”) for somewhat reasonable prices, or maybe go for a different language (see section “Buying in other languages”). Even if an OOP base game is still affordable, the price of its better expansions will often increase rapidly. The Reign and Reverie expansion for Android Netrunner, which was released in 2018 at a price of about 30$, costs at least 200$ at the time I wrote this, and there are only 2 offers I could find. For some games, like Android Netrunner, you may be lucky enough to find so-called proxies, aka scans of all cards for you to print and use. Don’t waste your money, just print them on paper and sleeve them along with the others in matte sleeves (more under section “Sleeves”). Be careful not to break any laws. Especially games that are still printed and expanded are most likely not to be copied or custom printed.
Living Card Games (LCGs)
A Living Card Game like Arkham Horror LCG is any card game that receives (somewhat) regular expansions with fixed content, some of which may be part of a “cycle”, a set of expansions that is connected thematically or storywise. I want to make very clear that it makes little sense to buy expansions packs from different cycles in random order. As a newcomer, you should first try and get a brief overview. Resources such as the .pdf files in this BGG thread for the Arkham Horror LCG will be very useful. Of course, you should start with the base set / core game before going for expansions. While you should stick to the release order within cycles, whole cycles and deluxe / standalone expansions can usually be bought and played in any order. If you are unsure what expansions to go for first, I recommend minding three criteria: Age, Price and Rating on BGG. Age is important because older expansions may not be reprinted, so getting them first could make sense. Price is important because you will probably find complete cycles for a cheaper price later, rather than following along with the newest releases. BGG Rating is a great reference if you do not know where to start after the base game. Just make sure to check the number of ratings to put the rating into perspective.
Famous and high-rated LCGs include Arkham Horror LCG, Marvel Champions LCG and Android Netrunner LCG, most of which are ideally or exclusively played with 2 players.
Unfortunately, LCGs can become very expensive. A whole cycle of the Arkham Horror LCG, consisting of one “cycle core box” (Example here) and 6 mini-expansions costs anywhere between 80$ and 120$ if you buy new. Replayability may or may not be an issue, depending on the LCG.
Most LCGs have very poor storage solutions (if any) by default. For more information, see section “Storage”.
Legacy” Games
Legacy Games like Clank! Legacy: Aquisitions Incorporated and Pandemic Legacy: Season 1 are spinoffs of standalone games that make for a campaign-like, session-oriented playthrough of their respective base games (in this case: Clank! and Pandemic). You do not need to own the base game, but trying it first will give you an idea if you will like the Legacy game or not. In general, Legacy Games cannot be used to play the base game after you are done with them, because you will put stickers on the board, tear apart cards and so on. Think of them as huge EXIT games with a much better price/value ratio.
Storage
Kallax. Next!
...actually, ikea’s Kallax is a cheap, elegant and practical way of not only storing your boardgames, but also presenting them. A 2x4 shelf costs about 60 bucks here. Only but the most monstrous boardgame boxes such as Mage Knight: Ultimate Edition, Gloomhaven, Too many Bones or War of the Ring 2nd Edition will manage to escape a Kallax’ grasp, everything else will fit in there smoothly. For proof, just go through this sub and check some “[COMC]” posts (I think it means “Cast on my Collection”, but it could just as well be something completely different). 75% of them will be black Kallax shelves stuffed with boardgames, and organizing them is so fun all the time sometimes, haha!
You can also try to store some of your games vertically rather than horizontally. Some boxes come with one side printed sideways for this very purpose. Just make sure to secure everything inside the box with rubber bands and ZIP bags.
Now that we found one possible solution for storing the boxes as a whole, let’s now tackle the much-harder-to-solve issue of storing what’s INSIDE of them (section on sleeves is further down). If the only games you ever played were Wizard and Catan (which comes with an okay storage solution by default), know that this is not the norm. In this part of the section, we will look into several issues regarding component storage and solutions using specific games as examples.

Gaming Mat
After reading into it for a while, it became clear that there is no “best gaming mat”. So to keep it short and simple: Neoprene (material) is widely appreciated, but a cheap fitness mat from amazon (or, preferrably, anywhere else) may work very well, too. All I can say is, don’t put drinks on the table if you can’t live without the game that’s on the table.
Sleeves
There is a large variety of sellers and brands to choose from. You will find a lot of info in several threads such as this, so I will only give a very brief overview with 2 recommendations. First of all, why sleeve? It's not somethign you need to do with all your cards, I'd say you should only sleeve when necessary. After all, a pack of 100 acceptable sleeves can cost anywhere between 2 and 12 bucks (or more if you really want to). Sleeve the cards that you shuffle constantly and, most importantly, you might want to sleeve that card game which went OOP (out of print) like Android Netrunner.
If you are unsure what size you need, check this thread. Many cards will have “standard” size, which means they have the same dimensions as “MtG” (Magic the Gathering) cards. Knowing this will make finding fitting sleeves a lot easier.
Next, think if you want clear or matte sleeves. Clear sleeves may be cheaper, and you get to see the actual back of your cards. Matte sleeves on the other hand have 2 advantages: First, you can pick colours of your liking and second, you can make cheap and expensive proxies likewise indistinguishable from other card for playing. I’m doing this for Android Netrunner, and it works well if you use somewhat sturdy paper. A device like this will help.
For affordable clear sleeves I re-recommend Swan Panasia, heard a lot of good things. For matte sleeves, I ordered a small number of Ultra Pro Eclipse Sleeves. They are pretty expensive tho, about 8 bucks for 100 sleeves.
Buying
This is a somewhat random list with bits of general advice.
Do not buy expensive games that your friends already own.
Try and try games before buying them, for example on Tabletop Simulator.
Don’t buy complex games unless you are sure they will see table time.
Before buying in other languages, make sure the game is either light on language or your potential players won’t mind it. Check BGG forums for a great number of resources, including rulebook translation into other languages. There’s been one for Brass: Birmingham years before it received a German edition.
When ordering from another country, or just in general, try and buy in bulk to save shipping.
Consider buying games as a group, for example Pandemic Legacy: Season 1 or Gloomhaven.
Watch reviews by established Youtubers like Shut up & sit down or No Pun Included for ideas.
If you are German, use the site brettspiel-angebote.de. If you are not, go and create a version of that site for your country. Refer to a game's BGG site to learn about ideal player count, length and complexity. Americans probably have a variety of options to choose from which I am not aware of, but one of them is this subreddit.
You can use BGG as a reference to find what expansion may be the best for your core game. Hit the “Expansions” tab, then sort by average rating. Mind the number of reviews, if it’s too low, the rating may not be representative. If you are not buying English, consider if you should. Is the game light on language? Are the expansions out of print in your language? Then you may want to buy the English version.
Stay away from unreviewed games on Kickstarter unless you are 100% sure the game is worth the price and will see table time. Do not forget about shipping, which may increase if material from stretch goals is included.
The German “equivalent” and partner to Kickstarter is the spieleschmiede from spiele-offensive.de.
If there is no particular order in which you want to buy the games on your wishlist, and there are no big sales, try and get the ones that are out of print (soon) first. Price will only go up, so you won’t lose much even if you end up not liking and reselling the game.
Play a game at least 3 times with an open mind before deciding if you like it or not.
Do not hesitate to buy used (especially for cheaper games), I had great experiences using the BGG marketplace and ebay. Make sure the seller is trustworthy, and always doublecheck the articles’s description and the game’s normal price. Often enough you’ll see offers where the seller wants more money than you’d pay new. Stay away from those guys.
No matter where you buy, unless the seller has a good reputation and you do not mind breaking Paypal’s rules, do not pay by “send[ing] money to a friend”. Serious sellers will probably agree to take the proper Paypal route if you offer them to pay extra for the Paypal fee (0.35€ + 2.5% of the price in Europe). That way, you get Paypal’s buyer protection.
The current pandemic may have you buy a lot more now that you are not playing. Don’t over do it, and make sure to coordinate your purchases with your gaming group if you have one.
Buying can become a bad habit. From what I gathered so far, a lot of people people on here have made that experience (or are going to make it). Here’s a link to a relevant thread. Unfortunately, as I am writing this, the top commentor has deleted his post (or it was removed by a mod), but what he basically said is, get your finances and your dopamine under control (goddammit!).
Last but not least, be patient! If your desired game is still available in large quantities, or seeing a reprint soon, there is no reason to rush it for a high price.
Solo Gaming
...isn’t quite the same as “classic” boardgaming. Make sure you like the concept before buying that Mage Knight: Ultimated Edition for 80 bucks. I think your best bet is to get games which not only fit your taste, but also offer an optional and well working solo mode, like Terraforming Mars. For some games, you’ll find solo variations on the BGG forums. Perhaps check them out to see if you already own a solo-playable candidate?
2-player Games
These can be hit or miss with your (playing) partner, so again you are well adviced to try games that are either cheap or come with an optional 2-player mode first (like, again, Terraforming Mars, Quacks of Quedlinburg, Castles of Burgundy, Race for the Galaxy, Hanabi (cooperative), Ticket to ride, Dominion, Spirit Island (heavy, cooperative), Marvel Champions LCG or Arkham Horror LCG (expensive). I bought most of my first 2-player games according to recommendation threads and BGG’s Top 100 list and wasn’t disappointed twice. Keyforge didn’t really work out well, and its resell value is horrible because people just assume you are trying to get rid of underwhelming decks. Anyway, for dedicated 2-player games you may want to start with cheaper, lighter games that you think fit your partner’s taste. A brief list of examples: Fox in the Forest, Patchwork, Hive or Hive Pocket, 7 Wonders: Duel, Air Land & Sea or Mandala. For dedicated cooperative 2-player games, check out Codenames: Duet or Aeon’s End. Arkham Horror LCG and Marvel Champions LCG will work best with 2 people as well.
Make sure to read the rules and play a short test round first for heavier games if you think your partner may get bored or he/she is really impatient in general. Looking up rules in the middle of the game can become very annoying. I haven’t tried it yet, but maybe use a timer every turn if the issue comes up. That will also give you a chance to point out potential hypocrisy regarding percepted and actual turn length. Of course, this is kind of an extreme measure and may not lead anywhere really. Some people just are not blessed with patience, and to deal with that, either get more people to the table for inter-turn-conversation, actually reduce your turn time somehow or avoid heavier games. Real-time games may also do the trick, but I can’t think of any that are working for 2 players.
Niche” Games
Niche games here refer to stuff like Captain Sonar, Gloomhaven or War of the Ring 2nd Edition. These may be hard to get to the table, either due to their (ideal) player count, their playing time or their complexity. Or a combination of these three (Twilight Imperium). As a general rule, as mentioned above, when you are considering to buy a game, do not listen to uncle dopamine who’s telling you that buying this 150$ game will get you and your friends the best time of your lives. Only buy them if you can actually see them being played. Make sure you know beforehand how a game is supposed to be played, if you need a dedicated group, how long it takes to read the rules, if they are well written and so on. The higher the price, the more careful you should be. 150$ (and everything close to it) is already crazy expensive, do not be fooled by current Kickstarter prices. There are cheaper, often better games waiting for you to be played as well.
(Semi-)Cooperative Games
There’s not much to say about cooperative games I guess, except that they are mostly “PvE” (Player versus Environment). Good and cheap starting options are Hanabi, The Crew, Magic Maze, 5-Minute-Dungeon, Pandemic & Pandemic: Legacy: Season 1 and, the game that I love with all my heart and that is the main reason I got into the hobby, Mansions of Madness 2nd Edition (expensive and requires an app).
But there are also semi-cooperative games. These usually include at least the possibility of one of your “friends” being a betrayer… Semi-cooperative games come in different falvours, but they will often use hidden information of some sorts. Great options out there, like Insider, Human Punishment (ridiculous but I absolutely love it), the classic, player-elimination-featuring Werewolf, the new and different One-Night-Werewolf, the infamous but expensive (and player-elimination-featuring despite its long play-time) Nemesis with a currently ongoing Kickstarter campaign and Dead of Winter, which I haven’t tried myself yet, but seems great although it’s also hit or miss apparently.
Party” Games
Party Games here refer to light games that are quick to teach and work well with large groups. Most of these are reasonably cheap. If you are interested, have a look at Just One, Insider, Wavelength ("Perfect Match" in German), Human Punishment, Decrypto & Codenames: Pictures and, of course, Twister (fight me).
Print & Play (PnP)
Print & Play – Games are, as the name suggests, games that you can print and play right away, at least theoretically. It my take some work to have the components look good, but many games do not require many components. For exmaple, I found a PnP version of Air, Land & Sea (legally of course) which usually costs about 15 bucks. If you do PnP card games, perhaps you could use some matte sleeves so your astounding works of craftsmanship are harder to tell apart. Some PnP games are only offered for a short time.
Tabletop Simulator
This is a Virtual Reality – compatible software which offers barely more than a playground for script kiddies (God bless them), who took the opportunity to imitate real games like Mage Knight and Wingspan almost flawlessly. I do not like It myself, but the software (on Steam) is rather cheap and offers tons of games for free. It is thus a great option to test games or just play them with your friends as a substitute in the ongoing pandemic. But be careful, I heard word that some “big” games are being taken down by Asmodee, and other publishers may follow. Which they have every right to do of course, but I doubt it ever hurt their sales, quite the opposite actually. But anyway.
Games that got me into the Hobby
This is what this post was going to be about before I decided to take the time and try to write a brief overview for newcomers. I played board and card games for as long as I can remember, like Yugioh and Catan. But It wasn’t until a friend showed me the Lovecraft-inspired Mansions of Madness 2nd Edition that I thought “Yeah, maybe this hobby is cool”. So props to him. I realized that what got me into the hobby was not just the fun I had playing boardgames.It’s theme. Theme is what makes a game interesting before you even look at the rules or components. Theme is what makes Human Punishment stand out for me, theme is what separates a classic card game from Fox in the Forest, and it’s theme that makes people like Battle for Hogwarts despite its numerous shortcomings. So when a game had weak theme and still managed to convince me, such as Codenames: Pictures or Just One, all the better. Until now, apart from a few games that were (soon) OOP, I focussed mostly on collecting games for any group, that means size and playtime + complexity, which are similar but do not always overlap. Here are my recommendations for games to start with, and their current estimated price in Germany (in €) according to brettspiel-angebote.de, which hopefully serves as a reference for buyers from other countries. You'll often pay much less when you are waiting for sales! If you can't wait, at least buy local if possible.
2 players: Fox in the Forest (~20€), Castles of Burgundy (~38€), Patchwotk (20€), Race for the Galaxy (~30€), Hanabi (~7€).
3&4 players: Quacks of Quedlinburg (~21€), Love Letter (~8€), Roll for the Galaxy (~39€), The Crew (~12€), Magic Maze (~21€), Mansions of Madness 2nd Edition (~80€), 7 Wonders (~36€), Terraforming Mars (~60€), Scythe (~66€), Brass: Birmingham (~60€).
5 players: Cosmic Encounter (34€), Quacks of Quedlinburg (~21€) with Herb Witches Expansion (~15€), Mysterium (~35€) or Dixit (~20€), Human Punishment (~27€), Just One (~16€).
6 players: Decrypto (~18€)or Codenames: Pictures (~18€), Wavelength ("Perfect Match" in German, 35€), Twilight Imperium (~116€), Just One (~16€), Human Punishment (~27€).
7+ players: Just check the “Party Games” section. If you are exactly 8 people, try Captain Sonar (~30€).
This Subreddit
...is amazing. It’s beyond me how there’s over a million subscribers with so few posts over the day. But oh boy is the active community active. Everyone loves talking about boardgames, and I mean, that’s what this sub is forl. Just make sure to read the rules, even though they are not super specific, it’s important to understand that you should not ask for game recommendations outside of the dedicated daily thread. Anyway, I am looking forward to look backwards when I get to build my gaming table one day, and steal all the great ideas posted here over the years for myself. So keep them coming!
Thanks for reading!
submitted by laleluoom to boardgames [link] [comments]

I'm done with Sandstorm.

This was meant to be a review on the Steam Store Page, but it exceeded the maximum character count, so I’m posting it here. Maybe some of the 'suggestions' will be heard eventually, but as the title implies, I don’t give a crap anymore. So here it goes.
700+ hours on this game, so you can reasonably trust this review.
Short version: Don’t buy this game, at least on full price. You will definitely become disappointed of it on the long run. It is an unfinished, underdeveloped and frustratingly unloved (sometimes unwanted) creation.
The core of this review, or the source of my criticism, relies on the developers. Simply put, they don’t give a damn about the players. They will solely focus on how much they can milk this cow before its unavoidable doom. If you think this is an exaggeration, go read the Steam Discussion board to see unbiased critics and suggestions of the community for this game. There, you will be able to witness by yourself how the community is blatantly ignored by the people at NWI. Not only that, but you will also see how *certain* community managers go out of their way to censor and block people, some of them who have valid views and suggestions. You will see post after post with similar, if not the same suggestions, go completely ignored.
I started playing the game little after it was officially released, so I can’t wave the alpha or beta-player flag. Nonetheless, I can safely say I played since the early stages of this game, mainly because just before I bought it, I was hooked with Ins2014, and later with DoD, so I thought this was going to be a sure bet, as well as a game I would remember forever, just like Modern Warfare was.
In the beginning, I noticed some changes from the previous Insurgency right away, like the extended TTK. It shocked me a bit, since I was used to go for 1-shot kills on a regular basis, given that shot would land on the upper torso or higher. Not in this case, however, since the bare minimum required shots to kill are at least 2 (torso). Headshots are lethal as always, but this TTK alteration definitely changed the game pace for me. Like many of the points of this review (being entirely subjective), this opinion will vary from one person to another. This does not alter the need for aiming like in the previous game, but it demands more control for the almost-necessary follow-up shot, meaning that you will need to take into account the recoil (granted, it’s a given on this kind of game) and repositioning of the sight.
Some things that this game implemented as an option became basic for me, such as the flash hider and the gas mask. For the flash hider, I feel like I have a Landing Zone beacon on my butt when I don’t use it, because whenever you fire, your muzzle flash will give your position away (along with the smoke and the sound your gun makes). This does not apply for Machine Guns, as they use tracer rounds, which you can’t change. Funny thing about this is that the Devs not only give you the option to use Flash Hiders, but also provide the option (which requires points, mind you) to use tracer rounds on almost every gun, which is basically begging the enemy to end your misery as fast as possible. Gas masks (free for insurgents, 1 point for security), on the other hand, not only prevent your character from coughing while inside a smoke cloud, or dying inside a chemical gas cloud, but also notoriously diminishes the sound your character does, as in calling enemy positions, requesting for support, or even crying or cursing under enemy fire, which provides an evident advantage over non-mask wearing players (insert COVID-19 related joke here) when it comes to using sound to determine player position. This is an easy way to spot pro-players from new-comers. By the way, sound is another issue on this game. 3D sound is off, and most of the time it won’t help you pinpoint where the enemy is. This actually took me a while to sort out when I started playing this game, since I couldn’t understand the fact that I was unable to trust my ears. It made me feel like I went deaf, which basically translated into losing a basic gameplay element.
Another mayor issue of this game is balance, at least on certain subjects. First, commander support resources. There is simply no comparison. Granted, it’s a game focused somewhat on realism, but simply there is not even the intent to balance them. Security has access to A-10 gun runs, UH-60 Blackhawk minigun and AH-64 Apache gunship (how much god damn money does the company behind Security has?? As far as my limited knowledge goes, Academi, a big player in the Private Military market barely has Armored Personnel Carriers and Transport Airplanes), while the Insurgents get the Rocket Barrage (which used to be lesser rockets, being buffed only in recent updates) (also, where the hell do the insurgents get the damn rockets from, Iran?? Saudi Arabia?? Russia??) and Chemical Gas, both sides having access to the classic Explosive and Smoke Artillery. Even on writing it looks unbalanced, just wait until you experience it. If you hear the blades spinning, you better hide like a possum unless you got a big gun, an RPG and/or good aim.
Second balance issue is party system. If you see a rainbow-array of rank colors on one team, and pure orange-brass on the other, you can be sure it’s a stacked game. That is because the game will always put people on a party together on a team, and they can fill the entire team (up to all the 14 slots). This will lead to what is known as a stacked team, and there is a huge chance you will get steamrolled if you’re on the opposing team. Of course, the positive note on this is that it encourages you to get friends or make them while you’re playing. Effective team playing can be deadlier than an experienced lone gamer. Also, rank on this game does not mean squat. It only means that you have spent time on this game, which isn’t, in any way, a synonym of skill. Perhaps it guarantees knowledge of choke points and camping spots, but that’s it, so don’t lose your mind if you see 500+ levels. There’s a good chance they won’t even play the objective. You will even see 1-100 level players being more effective and having better scores than those guys.
I’ve gone on for a while on this, so I might as well toss in a personal rant: This is an objective-oriented game. There are different game modes for your liking, but I will rant about Push, since it’s mainly the only mode I’ve played: If you’re going to play this game, on Push, PLAY THE **ING OBJECTIVE. Seriously, either PTFO or GTFO. If you love padding your KD and raking those kills from a spot 100+ meters from the OBJ while it’s being taken, ** you. Go play firefight. If you’re in for a point-based gameplay, then focus on it. I’ve been through games in which at least 5 or 6 guys are sitting on their asses while the point is being capped (on defense), or while the rest of the team is fighting to cap it (on attack). Seriously, it’s infuriating. I get that both on defense and offense there is a purpose to camp and mow down the enemy waves, I truly get it. But there is no excuse or justification to persist on that strategy when your enemy has 0 waves to attack, or the point is being taken on defense. This last one might seem extreme, but the fact is that you will never know for certain if you have teammates on the point that are contesting or blocking the capture, even looking at the map, unless you have teammates that actually communicate, or you are playing with friends (wink).
Anyways, the main reason I wrote this whole thing is because I played Rising Storm 2: Vienam yesterday for the first time. This is not a promotion for that game, but it brought tears to my eyes. For those of you who know some stuff about gaming, both games run on the Unreal 4 engine. From Ins2014 to Sandstorm, NWI made the leap from the Source engine to the aforementioned Unreal engine. It was dazzling to see the new features and all the cool things that engine has. And for all this time I thought that Sandstorm could pretty much give you all the possibilities and features that such engine could offer… Until I played RS2:V, and my heart broke. I won’t go into detail as for the differences, but I do have to mention a vital point here: RS2:V was released on May 2017, while Sandstorm did on December 2018. That’s quite more than a year later. And the actions and strategies that you can employ on RS2:V are just baffling. If you’re like me, and the main experience you’ve had on UE4 is Sandstorm, RS2:V will blow you away. On the other hand, if you come from a broader experience than Sandstorm, then you will absolutely feel the lack of features of the game. RS2:V has many things that I didn’t think it was possible to implement, and thought only possible on games like the ArmA franchise (on which I have my fair share of game time), but the one that immediately caught my eye was the possibility to stabilize your gun over or near an object. DUDE. MIND-BOGGLING. Another thing that proved me that Sandstorm is light years from what it could be (or should have been, since I don’t see that the devs care for the game), is how they balanced the command support resources. American and Australian forces get napalm strikes and minigun support. Commies? They get insta-spawn on their squad leader’s location (yes, US forces get insta-spawn too, but on default locations), and half-timer spawn for their dead players. Not balanced enough? They get ANTI-AIR SUPPORT. This is the 1960’s. You mean to tell me modern-day Insurgents can afford Rocket Barrages, but not one AA missile, let alone an AA gun? I would settle for a damned Stinger. But no, you get an RPG and a hail-mary shot.
To wrap this up: I’m quitting this game. I spent a hefty amount of time on it that I won’t get back. And I regret it. Every game that I’ve played has left me with something to cherish, or a skill that I could hone for future games. Not this one. This game has left me bitter, chasing for something that I want to believe I can attain, but knowing that never will. Devs don’t care, the community can’t do anything because mod support is basic (that’s an euphemism), and every update and hotfix they release, almost every time screws something that was good or at least OK prior to it. If you like paying for mediocre gun skins and outfits in order to ‘support’ the team behind the game, go ahead. I would have rather donated to a PayPal account. That would have been more decent. But to charge for stuff you don’t need, while neglecting the fact that the game is broken and unfinished is just insulting. NWI, you had the chance to pioneer into a game genre that was otherwise undeveloped: That rare and appealing mix of realism and arcade. But you blew it, and still you have the nerve to pretend that you care and intend to make it the great game it could and should have been. From the bottom of my heart, go **** yourselves.
PS: I thought about just posting this on the Steam Discussion forums instead, but I have a feeling *one* of the community managers would censor or ban this entirely. **** that person as well.
submitted by aureuscrimson to insurgency [link] [comments]

PSA: Scammers would love to engage all the smart people here

This forum is a great educational tool which may well save you from falling for a scam.
Some of the post and questions here do indicate that some folks believe this education and/or their intelligence might allow them to "use their smarts" to engage with the scammers, perhaps just to see what will happen. example: This Sugar Daddy Victim - https://www.reddit.com/Scams/comments/gkcp8t/i_knew_the_sugar_daddy_thing_was_a_scam_but_i/
It is important to understand a key element of scams: they are the professionals, you are not. It's not about what YOU can think of. You're smart, but you're a novice.
Beware of the "Not me, I'm smart" and excitement reaction you may have when you detect a scam being attempted on you.
While many scammers prey on the uninformed, there are scammers who love smart, confident marks. Marks who "know" they'll outwit the scammers.
Except, the scammers are professionals who hack your psyche and who have spent thousands of hours developing the nuances of their scams; nuances which you likely cannot imagine, incredibly creative ways to get what they want and screw you. They're playing a game with you, but you don't know the rules or even what field you're playing on.
You'd never take a $10k bet that you'd win in football against an NFL pro, soccer against the pro leagues, chess against the Kasparov's and so on. Understand your scammer to be that because you can't tell the pro scammer from the wannabe scammer.
We're all novices when we're playing against the professional scammers. One of the most unnecessary mistakes we can make is to continue engage with a scammer if we're on to them.
By far the smartest thing we can do is to walk away. Anything else is a less wise choice.
submitted by alphanaut to Scams [link] [comments]

Why cEDH?

So, unlike most posts on this subreddit, this isn't going to be a notification about a spike, or a calling out of a buyout. It's not going to ask for advice on pulling the trigger on a purchase, or help you save money on sealed product. It won't be about FOMO. What I want to discuss today is how cEDH fits into the paradigm of MtGFinance. For full and upfront disclosure: I am a cEDH player, so I suppose I have a vested interest here.
Yesterday saw a spike in the price of cEDH staple Tainted Pact, a card which is widely responsible for the dominance of UBx lists in the format. The Tainted Pact spike follows on the heels of other cEDH-based spikes we have seen this month, from Partners (Tymna/Thrasios/Kraum) to Food Chain, LED, and Moxen. This got me thinking - Why is everyone trying to spec on cEDH?
Now, before everyone pulls out pitchforks, do please hear me out. Conventional wisdom (as I understand it) has always been than cEDH trickles down to EDH. Carpet of Flowers, for example, was wildly underappreciated in EDH until it started gaining traction in cEDH. Mystic Remora, Isochron Scepter, Reap... There's definitely a case to be made that speccing on cEDH can yield excellent profits when these cards see widespread adoption. But of late most buyouts seem to be targeting cards which do not port over well to casual. These are your Moxen, your LEDs, your Tainted Pacts - cards which by their nature are hard or impossible to fit into normal EDH lists. They are bets on the cEDH community, not on EDH itself. Sure the Reserve List and Legacy play a role, but discussion on this forum seems largely preoccupied with cEDH as a rationale.
What makes this weird is that the cEDH community is a) vocally pro-proxy and b) tiny. Though it can be very loud when asking for a ban, finding cEDH players in the wild may be harder than one would think. Finding one who owns every card in an optimized list without proxies can be even harder. So what makes the community so attractive? Is it the Whales? The collectors? Does /mtgfinance foresee large growth in the format in future? What is this sub's views on cEDH as a metric for picking up cards, and what have been your experiences buying and selling before/during/after spikes?
TL;DR: I want to hear your experiences speccing on cEDH, as well as rationale behind your picks and how it turned out for you. Stay safe!
submitted by Phr33k101 to mtgfinance [link] [comments]

Long, honest SB3 review from someone who returned one. Aimed at future buyers from a Designer.

Good afternoon,
I want to write about my experience with my Surface Book 3 and the Surface Dock 2. I pre-purchased the 15" 2tb, 32gb ram, core i7. So the top of the line without the Quadro option. I also used the Surface Dock 2 which I will get into only shortly. I'm going to get straight into the issues I think future buyers should be made aware of.
-/
My Problems
GPU Disconnecting: While gaming, using photoshop, or even just putting the tablet portion back on, the dedicated GPU will disconnect randomly. Microsoft still hasn't figured out the connecting and disconnecting of the base and keeping the GPU active. Here are other users experiencing the same thing. I would have to close the program and relaunch or restart my entire machine to fix it. It wouldn't register in DXDiag even, so it just completely disconnect.
I put this issue first because it is the most important. It happened so frequently with my brand new Surface Book 3 that it affected my workflow. A warning to designers, it will crash your render mid-way if it happens during an export. This was the deal-breaker for me because for $3,200, I shouldn't have to deal with this.
Surface Pens Staircasing: This was the 2nd deal breaker for me. If you have multiple touches going on at the same time on the touch screen, it steps your input. So, instead of a smooth line, you get a line that looks like steps on stairs. Here are multiple people reporting it on multiple devices. Again, for how much I paid this shouldn't have been overlooked. It makes drawing pretty much a no go. I guess some people can draw for hours without putting their wrist down but I can't. So just be aware. Here is a video showing what I mean
External Mouse and keyboard stuttering: I will say this is tied as my 2nd deal breaker. If you have a wireless mouse or keyboard attached, it will stutter a lot. Meaning the mouse goes non-responsive (still works on trackpad) for about 2-4 seconds at a time, over and over again, until you restart your computer. Then it might start acting up randomly again. Add to this, my keyboard would just freeze on an input. So I would be typing and sudddddddddddddddddddddddddenly it would have 14 d's like that. So I would have to go back and delete it.
I have the same mouse and keyboard now with my new laptop and it hasn't happened once. In the year I’ve had these with my old laptop, it also never happened. It was an SB3 issue. Here are some other people with these problems, And some more
I put two results because this problem is, I’m guessing, two-folds Microsoft and Logitech’s fault. It's just odd that it never happened on my old MSI or my new Asus.
Surface Dock 2
Screen Issues: The Surface Dock has this issue where it wakes up my external monitors if it's not connected to anything. So my externals monitors would get woken up and turn on looking for input, then turn off, through the whole night if the dock wasn't connected to anything. Other people with these problems
-/
OK. Quick summary of good stuff.
The design of it is awesome. It looks slick and clean, and ignore what people say about the bevels because it looks professional, new, and really great to look at. The keyboard is really nice to work with. The key travel is really great, and it's a joy to type on. Trackpad is also really good, although I admit I barely ever used it. So it worked when I did use it but always use a Wi-Fi mouse. The screen is really sharp and clean and I will miss that aspect ratio. The 16:10 is what all laptops should be using. The Surface Dock 2 is a really powerful docking station for the future. It has a ton of USB C options, and it's heavy (which you want) and it looks really nice.
Summary of mediocre stuff
The battery is not what they advertise. Sure, if I put battery saver on and only used text editor and only typed every now and then, then maybe. You're not going to get 17.5 hours of battery life like they say with actual normal use. Here are people talking about it. I used it with high performance and screen brightness all the way up, so I know that's going to lower my battery time drastically. I bet I could have gotten like 4, maybe 6 hours. I just never took it that far so that's unverified but it certainly wasn't going to reach 17.5 or anywhere close to that.
The drawing experience leaves a lot to be wanted. The pen is not that accurate, meaning if you start a line and try to continue that line, you will struggle. It has a shift and it doesn't do well when you make slow lines.Some people talking about it . But, overall, having the ability to flip the screen over and draw on the giant 16:10 screen was a joy. For how expensive this machine is, I just wish it was more accurate.
The Surface Dock 2 is not made for backwards compatibility. This is really not an issue because they don't hide, you know what ports are on it before you order it but just realize it has no HDMI, and only two USB A ports. Again, they don't hide that, so it's not Microsoft's fault at all. You would just buy a different dock.
-/
In Closing
Read the Reviews. When I read all the reviews, I always defended the SB3 because they compared it to a full fledged laptop. The GPU is pretty weak compared what you can get for the same price or cheaper (Example, Asus ZenBook Pro Duo) but you won't get the tablet portion or the pen pressure levels or the 16:10 aspect ratio. Now that I have the SB3, I understand why those reviews are the way they are. The SB3 tries to be a laptop and it's just not. I felt like I had a roided up tablet. The GPU overheats and sometimes shuts off what you are working on. That sucked. It's the price point that really breaks it. For how much you pay, you expect a working, problem-free (especially because this is the 3rd iteration over a 5 year period), and fast experience. Instead I got a lot of problems and unfulfilled promises.
Listen to the Community. I understand this subreddit is going to be filled with people complaining about their SB3 way more than people praising it. It makes sense, not many people go out of their way to randomly say "My Surface Book 3 is acting just how it should. That is all, thank you. Upvote me please." but many people will go out of their way to say, "My Surface Book 3 is messing up in this way, and this way, please help, thanks." But, really listening to the comments is what changed my perspective. Many people responding have some sort of bandage applied instead of a fix to the common problems. Even outside of reddit, it's always something like, "Well, try uninstalling this from device manager and it should work. In the future hopefully Microsoft fixes it and you can turn that back on." but why should I have to wait for the future? Microsoft promised a fully functioning machine. I would never sell you a car and tell you the turn signals will work later after we fix it. Oh, the brakes are faulty yeah, try turning off your rear lights, it should help. If you need to use both you can use these hands signs. They aren't the rear lights but people will still know when you are braking. It's like, no, no I won't do that. Personally, I paid almost $3,500 dollars for the SB3, Dock2, and warranty and that's too much to get half-finished products.
So, in summary, I returned my SB3 and Dock2, and was refunded all my stuff. Not before learning the Warranty periods starts from the pre-order date. So warning to anyone that pre-orders, you have 60 days (which is nice, instead of 30) to return it from the date you put your pre-order in. Explain how that makes sense? I ordered mine on the 6th, got it on the 24th, so I lost all those days in between. Anyway. I returned my SB3, I still have the Surface Slim Pen. Which, in complete accordance with how annoying Microsoft is, I can't adjust the pen pressure because the Surface App only works on Surface devices. So my new Asus ZenBook Pro Duo, is not a Surface product, so I can't use the app to change the pressure sensitivity. I guess it's in the name, but it's just such a dumb feature.
Closing: If you wanted a roided tablet, get the SB3. If you want a laptop, don't get the SB3. It's not good enough to replace a drawing tablet, and it's not fast enough to replace a laptop at the comparable price point. If none of the things I said will bother you, get the SB3. It is a beautiful machine and it is powerful, but understand your dollars are going strictly to the form factor (being able to detach the screen), and if money isn’t a issue, then go ahead and buy it.
Thanks for reading this, I hope it helps someone make a decision.
ONE LAST THING This community. /Surface is really freakin awesome. There is no Asus community. I can't find anyone talking about this badass laptop I have on Reddit or anywhere really. So just a big shout out to this subreddit, it has been super helpful and honestly, even the people complaining (like me now) and the people who love the Surface make this community better. So thanks for having me for the 8 months I've spent waiting for the SB3 and reading guesses as what it might look like, and the time I had the SB3 and excitement of learning it.
Links
Since I posted Google results with SB2 links, which is because SEO will put those first and because the SB3 is new, here are just a few SB3 Reddit links: Surface Book 3 defective Battery, Another SB3 post about the GPU disappearing, Another, Another Disappearing GPU , Input Lags Issue. Here is one Reddit post. Disappearing GPU SB3
submitted by lightwolv to Surface [link] [comments]

[PART 2/5]50+ things I have tried out to improve my channel, increasing views per day(14 times) from 250 to 3500 and watch time(16 times) 650 minutes to over 10k [12 month analysis conclusion]

Hello everyone, I have been a part of NewTubers from almost a year now, and in that time I have picked up a lot of knowledge and ideas from here. This post is part of my contribution to this community, and a way to give back some tried and tested tips, tricks and ideas about improving your channels.
I have already written PART 1/5 last week, which holds explanations of points 1-10. This week I will cover 11-21. Link to the previous part: https://www.reddit.com/NewTubers/comments/gqve5a/part_15_50_things_i_have_tried_out_to_improve_my/
This is going to be another very long post, so please take your time in reading it, save it for later and try to process it part by part so you can get the most use out of it.
This is my third such post on this subject, with the previous two written at the 6th and 9th month of my year long journey of giving my channel my best try at success. I will post the links to those posts as I get to their appropriate place here.
The 50+ tips, tricks and ideas that you are going to read about here are not all mine, but I have tested them all in the last 12 months thoroughly. Some I found here, and other places online, some I saw in other creators videos and some I came up by myself, often while siting in the toilet.
I kid you not, some of the best ideas I have had in my life popped into my head in that little room. It must have something to do with leaving the worries of life at the door and just thinking freely about the nature of life. I bet there are science papers written about that strange effect of the toilet. But let's get back to the main point of this post.
To give you some context about my channel and the data I will be presenting:
  1. I am not a native English speaker, but all my videos are in English, viewers rate my ascent 4/5
  2. I started back in 2011. but had numerous off times, lasting from a month to a year, last one being over a year long
  3. For the last 12 months I have made 200+ videos(one every 1.8 days)
  4. I have spent an average of 4 hours per day somehow working on my channel, my skills and understanding of my audience and YouTube's rules
  5. I have a gaming channel with the emphasis on tutorials, how to videos and guides. Add to that let's plays, previews and first look videos of new Indie games, performance benchmarks, and some gameplay/montage videos with minimal or no comments
  6. At the moment of writing this 2/5 post I have 2,879 subscribers and 660+ videos
  7. My channel has been monetized since 11.05.2019.
Analytics for the last 28 days say:
I think that about covers it? If you have some other metric you would like to know, feel free to ask
Three months ago I wrote this post about my progress:
Best channel and video practices/tips, update from 3 months ago. For the first time my channel is getting +100 subs a month, and for the second time 100k minutes watched.
https://www.reddit.com/NewTubers/comments/f6tkr3/best_channel_and_video_practicestips_update_from/
Back then the 28 days analytics look like this:
While 6 months ago, I wrote:
31 things I tried out to improve my channel, getting 75% more views, 300% more likes and 450% more subs [6 month analysis conclusion]
https://www.reddit.com/NewTubers/comments/dsygyp/31_things_i_tried_out_to_improve_my_channel/
Back then the 28 days analytics look like this:
Now I will write down all the things I have tried in the last 12 months and I will talk about each one and it's effectiveness, and the ultimate results of it, for my channel, that I could see and analyze.
This is a list of what I have tried out, bellow is a list with the explanations:
  1. Changed my thumbnail design
  2. Redid thumbnails for many of my old, but active videos, according to the new design
  3. Redid titles and tags and added very long descriptions to old videos, same as new videos
  4. Analyzed tags of videos which are on the same subject as mine but have more views
  5. Made many playlists, some videos ended up in as many as three playlists
  6. Paid a friend, professional designer, to create my new channel banner and logo
  7. I now try to show off the best parts of the video in the first 30 seconds
  8. Added a call to action, visual and voice over to almost every new video and picture of my channel logo
  9. Used the analytics to tailor my video release times to when most viewers where online (now YouTube analytics shows that data)
  10. Made new, updated versions of my already popular videos
  11. Collaborate with other content creators in form of script editing, idea sharing, video ideas brainstorming etc.
  12. Started to record audio to separate files from video so I could edit only the audio
  13. Learned to use a more advanced video editor program, now I use more options
  14. Got a better microphone, but still dirt cheap, and added a sock onto it
  15. It was really hard but I got the filler sounds "umm" and "err" out of my speech
  16. Used Google doc to be able to write scrips where ever I go, and on the move
  17. Started to use the community page on my channel to let subscribers vote and to remind them of an already posted video
  18. Analyzed each of my most successful videos and took their framework to make new videos
  19. Created my own rules what to make and what not to make based on what worked in the past
  20. Set up a default END for every video with a black screen and a thank you/like/sub note
  21. Did my best to mention another of my videos in each new video and interconnect them
  22. Answered to comments with a welcome to my channel even if I saw that the person didn't subscribe
  23. Answered 99% of viewers comments
  24. Created my own schedule, but not made it public
  25. Made 4 videos a week, then cut down to 3 a week
  26. Added a subscribe icon of my channel to the end screen, along with next video card, best for viewer card and a playlist card
  27. Added 3-5 video cards during each video
  28. Added my own comment on every new video and pined it to engage the viewers
  29. Added my channel logo as a watermark in my videos
  30. Asked for viewers submissions to feature them on my channel
  31. Engaged my viewers in multiple ways during a video
  32. Had an intro, removed it, made a new intro, removed that one too
  33. Started a blog on games and gaming industry in general and liked my YouTube videos to it
  34. Turned my blog posts into scripts for videos
  35. Posted comments on other channels, with videos which are similar to my own
  36. Created multiple giveaways
  37. Join a number of subreddits both valuable vaults of knowledge and information, like this one
  38. Join a number of subreddits simply explained as "get more views" spam anthills
  39. Made a Facebook group for my channel
  40. Posted my videos on specific subreddits
  41. Posted my videos on my Twitter account
  42. Posted my videos in specific Facebook groups
  43. Posted my videos in specific Discord channels
  44. Posted my videos on specific forums and threads
  45. Posted screenshots or thumbnails on Imgur and Pinterest, + links to video when possible
  46. Posed on Steam client, game specific discussions
  47. Created game guides on Steam client, written long text into which I add screenshots and links to my videos
  48. Linked my videos to Steam game pages, asked my friends to like them so they would be placed at the top of the Most popular (week) page (which is the default page)
  49. Reposted my most successful and my best made but not successful videos on weekends and during specific events to all social media
  50. Read forums, discussions, subreddits, discord chat and other places where people ask about problems in games so I could get ideas for videos and link my own videos as answers
  51. Started making video lists of new games upcoming in 2020 and beyond
  52. Writing directly to Indie developers and getting in touch with them about getting press keys for games, interviews, news
  53. Joined programs to get free Indie and small studio's games, before or at release times, payed for AAA from my pocket
  54. Used Tubebuddy free version, and the most expensive version in the trial period to analyze my channel and videos
  55. Used free version of VidIQ to do the same things as with Tubebuddy
All right, time to go into more details, and see what benefits these 55 things had for my channel:
11. Collaborate with other content creators in form of script editing, idea sharing, video ideas brainstorming etc.
Because of my personal life I have very limited time and working conditions (a baby at home), so I haven't had an opportunity to do a true, live, collaboration video so far. Content creators look at it favorably but I personally have yet to click off a video I am watching, from a creator I follow, to go and check out another channel they introduced. That is just me of course.
Anyway, back to the point. What I did do is talk(write) with other people who have channels with similar content or similar way of presentation. With some I would talk about where to promote, with others how to keep viewers interested, while with others I had more active collaborations. One person, who has currently put his channel in "cold storage" while he is thinking about where to take it, has been my editor for a number of videos which had long scripts. He is a native English speaker, I am not, so his help was key in getting the voice over to sound just right. What he got out of it? To read my scripts, get an idea of a working framework for a video script, practice writing/editing a scrip, and my thanks in the credits at the video's end, exposure of sorts.
Just this last week, I have had a big problem, as I almost lost my voice because of a bad case of a sore throat. I am still recovering, so to avoid more problems, I have offered my friend to pay him to record voice overs for my next few videos using my scripts. He just finishing recording my first script for my next video, and he was immensely grateful for the opportunity to learn as he worked with me on this. He also got a big boost in self-confidence and has more motivation to work on his own channel and content. A Win-Win.
Another creator offered to look through my latest videos and see what would seem like click off points to him. And I did the same for him. This offered valuable insight as we can never truly objectively watch our own videos. Even after a few years have passed since you made a particular video, it's still questionable will you be able to objectively look at your own work. So I would advice always being in contact with other creators and receive/give feedback or help each other with skills or knowledge one might lack and another have.
12. Started to record audio to separate files from video so I could edit only the audio.
This one seems so obvious in retrospective that I am ashamed of my older videos, and sorry for how much better they could have been, had I started doing this before. As a non native English speaker, who makes all his videos in English, I made many, many mistakes in videos over the past. What I used to do, during editing, was to cut the parts where I made mistakes. Which was fine if I had corrected myself right away, so all I was cutting was bad parts, and leaving the goods ones in.
But the problem were the parts when I didn't notice my mistake until the editing. All I could do, was cut out the error or change it's volume to 0, and add a new voice over track on top. But, both are bad options. Now I use recording software(nVidia Experience - Shadowplay) which records video and audio on separate tracks. This way when the video and audio are imported to a video editor software, each can be edited separately, and every mistake almost completely, and seamlessly corrected. Videos made by using scripts, and putting video and audio together later, don't have this problem.
Important thing to know, is that if you record like this, you have to use a video editing software which can read both the video and audio file, and open them in separate tracks. If not, then you have to use an audio track extractor program, which will pull out the second layer of audio ( voice over) you record on the microphone, to another file. Then you import that file to your video editor.
As you might have read before, good audio quality is vital to a successful video. Since I make tutorials, and explain to the viewer what to do next, a mistake or an audio error is simply not acceptable. Improving your audio needs to be just as important to you as the video(picture) component.
13. Learned to use a more advanced video editor program, now I use more options.
This next one sounds simple but is expensive, both in time and money. Good video editing software can be expensive and more importantly, difficult to learn to use. So when I started doing this, back in 2011., I used windows movie maker. Amateur level stuff but, since I had 0 experience and knowledge, it was a good place to start.
Honestly, for someone just starting for the first time, to edit videos, this was a good place to start. Few options, everything easy to use. If it had better performance, and if it where more stable, I would recommend it even today for newcomers. But... I lost several videos because of it, and many hours of hard work. There are several, just as simple, programs on the market today, that are cheap, easy to use and far more stable. But, those are just your training wheels.
To make better videos, you have to use more advanced video editing programs/software, and many of the options they offer. An important thing about video editing, is that flashy effects are less necessary then you might think. As a new editor you might get carried away with all the cool transitions, effects, filters and so on, I know I was, but from the comments my videos got, I must tell you that the best editing is seamless, and unnoticeable editing.
Most people want to watch a smooth video, where content is what they came for, and everything else is just fluff. So every time you get an idea to add some filter, flashy effect or transition, try to make another version, which is almost unnoticeable, and compare it side by side. Even better, show it to someone else, and have them be the judge. Especially if they are the same age as most of your viewers, and intended audience.
This is a list of programs I used after Windows Movie Maker: 1. CyberLink PowerDirector 2. AVS Video Editor 3. Adobe Premiere Elements 4. Pinnacle Studio 5. Sony Vegas (Now it's called Vegas Pro) 6. Movavi video editor 7. probably some others too that I can't remember.
Right now I am using Movavi video editor because:
a) it renders fast
b) has all the options I need (right now, but I aim to learn and use more in another program)
c) it's incredibly stable even with gigabytes of video, dozens of files, hundreds of cuts and effect. I have had one crash in 200+ videos. It does slow down a bit, after you add many effects and have a lot of cuts.
d) I managed to get a fully working version for free. This last one might as well be the most important one, for all new content creators. Find a video editor that you don't have to pay for, or at least not a lot, but which still has everything you need.
One important advice here, is that if you want YouTube to convert your videos, using it's more advanced video codec, which results is less picture quality loss from compression, you have to use, at minimum, 2560x1440 resolution. To be more specific my standard settings are 1440p, 60fps, 24560 video bit rate, 48k Hz audio. I record at 30k video bit rate, and 60fps.
14. Got a better microphone, but still dirt cheap, and added a sock onto it.
Since I improved my video quality, it made sense to improve my audio quality as well, as people don't like to listen to bad quality voice over, and you can't blame them. This one was a lucky accident for me, as I won a microphone from a tech shop's giveaway. It's value is around $20. To be precise, its a Starzz Microphone from Trust. I tested it and didn't like the results very much.
After some playing around the with settings, and adding a sock on the microphone, I found that I got best results, with the microphone at 100%, with boost on, and then, in the video editing software, sound voice over files are boosted to 125%, with the voice enhancement, and noise reduction at 30%. I used to get comments saying I should get a better mic on my older videos. Not a single such comment since I started using this one.
This is a simple improvement, but it really makes a difference. In an ocean of YT videos, your viewers really don't need to suffer a video with bad quality audio. They will just click off, and you don't want to be losing viewers, over something that can be cheaply, and simply solved.
15. It was really hard but I got the filler sounds "umm" and "err" out of my speech. (The "umm" I am referring to should not be confused with a thoughtful "Hmmmmm, what should I do next". )
These two sounds are something I personally very much dislike when listening to other people speaking. And, I absolutely hate it coming from me. Every time I would watch one of my older videos, I would get really annoyed, listening to my own "umm", and "err" sounds when speaking in a video. I am sure I am not alone in this, so it is something I decided to remove from my videos, and not make my viewers listed to it.
First, I would record Let's plays, and edit out each and every "umm" and "err" sound I heard, and saw, in the sound files. This is why recording sound in a separate file, from the video, is so useful. I was horrified when I counted all the annoying sounds I made in 30 minutes of a video. There where sometimes over a 100 of them. Editing them all out, finally let me produce videos free of these "umm" and "err" sounds. But, I was spending a lot of time doing this, and it created small pauses, and gaps, in my voice over. So, I wasn't happy enough with the solution.
Next step, was trying to understand why I made those sounds in the first place. I looked more closely, and listed to myself, in those videos in which I still made those sounds, but noticeably less. I was kinda confused by the reduction of those sounds at that time, but it turned out that just by being more aware of what I am doing, I was able to reduce it.
What I was able to understand, after analyzing those moments, is that I do know what I want to say, I just take a long time to spit it out, and then use the "umm" and "err" sounds to fill the downtime of my mouth, until the rest of the sentence gets out. The solution? Speed up. It does sound counter intuitive, that I would be fixing speech problems by talking faster, but it's what worked for me. The side affect, is that now I talk a bit too fast, and my subscribers, will on occasion comment, that I need to slow down a bit, to be clearly understood. This is something I plan on fixing by having an even better accent. I can now record 2 hours of Let's plays in a single sitting without uttering a single "umm" and "err".
16. Used Google doc to be able to write scrips where ever I go, and on the move.
This is a real time saver. Ideas are worth their weight in gold, they say, and it's true. I now centralize all my writing, scripts, ideas into my Google documents. This let's me work on anything I have written down, at any moment. If I am playing something ,and get a good idea, I just ALT-TAB, and go straight into writing. I never close the browser tab, where my Google doc is open.
If I am traveling, and have a great idea, Google doc is just one finger tap away, on my phone. If I have a long commute from work to home, I will write a few paragraphs of my latest script right there. And if I have a light bulb moment, while siting in the toilet, I just write it down on my phone, right next to my other text and ideas, instead of toilet paper. Trust me, it might have paper in it's name but it doesn't work for writing.
A really cool feature of Google doc is that you can make it shareable, for viewing or editing, so you can send a link to someone, and they can use the editor option to edit your scrip. They can leave notes for you, on what they think would be better in the text, without even changing your version. Then you can chose to change the script, and incorporate those edits, or leave it as it was.
Another thing I have started doing in those Google doc is to make a single file where I write down the dates in the near future. So, if today is the 02.06. I will write down, as a list, 02.06., 02.06 and so on until let's say 13.06. Then I will mark, with a green overlay color, all dates I plan to release videos on. And next to the dates write a title, planed title, of the video for that day. In essence I create my schedule, a plan of activities for the next two weeks or so. BUT! this is totally just a rough plan. If I start doing work on one of the videos, I will mark it orange. If I finish it but not release it yet, I will mark it blue. And green only once I release it. At any point, I might change the order, delete a video an put another in it's place, or switch up the order, depending on what is going on in the world that my videos are about.
I described to you my usage of Google doc for this. You can use any program or app you want. But it's important to have a place to write everything down and set up a plan and an organizational structure.
17.Started to use the community page on my channel to let subscribers vote and to remind them of an already posted video. (Do note that you have to have 1000 subscribers to unlock the use of the community page.)
I started using this option last year. At first, I only used it to create another notification about a video I just published. I did it at the same hour I made my latest video public. But after a while, I realized it might be better to use it as a second release notification, so I started posting my latest videos on the community page 12-24 hours, after I had made my latest video public.
Then after a while, I started to use the community page in more interesting ways. If I was 2 days away from my next video, I would post a screenshot from my latest project, and tell my subscribers a bit about it.
After that, I started to use it to do : "FREE game alerts". If there was a game you could get a key for online for free, I would post a picture of the game, and tell my subscribers where and how to get it. I also started to post about the newest game I got from Developers, and when I planed to make videos about it.
Then, I came to an idea about using the poll option of the community page, to let subscribers vote on possible names for my next projects. Also, to let them vote on which game should I post the next Let's play episode on. After about 2,3 months, more and more subscribers are joining in with likes or votes. It requires some careful though about the text. You want as short and as on the point as possible, and you want to post it at the right time for as many of your subs to see it.
A note here, it relates to text and video content you make:
It's important to remember that your subscribers have a life of their own, just like you. They have a limited amount of time they can spend on you, and your content. So try to present to them, as much as you can, in as short a time as you can, they will respect you for that. Remember, you are taking their time and offering information in return, the more valuable you make this trade, the more will they came back again, and the better your audience attention rate will be.
18. Analyzed each of my most successful videos and took their framework to make new videos.
This is MASSIVELY important! Analyze, with as much scrutiny as you can, each one of your successful videos. There are several very important conclusions you must reach, in order to be able to repeat those successes.
a) how did you open, start the video, what did you show and what did you say
b) what was the length compared to the number of important points you covered
c) what was your tone of voice and speed of talking
d) how much text, effects, transitions did you use
e) how many interactions with the audience did you make (asking questions, asking for feedback etc.)
f) At what time did you post the video, compared to the development of the topic you where talking about in the wide world
g) what was the structure of the video( start, middle, end, jump cuts, mentioning something then explaining only later, at what minute:second did you put a call to action, talk about your channel etc.)
h) how did you cover the subject ( tutorial, guide, explanation, negative points/positive points, etc.)
i) what was the source of views (search hits, external, self-promotion, other people posting it, as part of some other content-blog etc.)
...and many more but I think you get the point
I have, on several occasions, about several different games, come up with new ideas and interesting concepts, about what kind of videos to make. I really liked these, but some failed, and some where successful. So, later when I was planing on doing another video about that game, but new content for it, I would go back to the successful AND failed ones and compare them. Do note here: some videos will fail but not because they are bad, but simply victims of wrong moment to post, bad place to promote and competition form other creators. This is why you should give a second chance even to the failed ones.
To give you an exact example, some months ago, a game that is the core of my channel, gets a new part, a new DLC. Since I get keys for that game's DLC early, thanks to the developers adding me to their inference program, I start making content that I will post as soon as the embargo is lifted. I create 4 videos.
One low effort announcement, with my voice over on top of the trailer (I quite doing that after seeing it's low effort and doesn't provide value), one video where main characters duel. (it didn't turn out as well as I planed it, so next time I did it 10 times better because I analyzed where I made mistakes) , and another two videos, both covering additions this DLC brings to the two different races inside the game. Both of these two videos I promote heavy, and they get good, for my channel at the time, number of views on the first day. Then, they go into low mode, as I call it, getting hits from time to time, but low views every day. Then an interesting thing happens and one of the videos starts doing twice as good, then three times better, then four times better. Even months and months later it's still getting views, and the topic isn't even relevant any more.
I noticed this a while back and after looking at the thumbnail, analytics data, video structure, (framework) I started to realize why it was doing better. The title, tags and description where all the same, only the names of characters where different, since it was different races being presented.
So what was better? First of all the thumbnail was better, as it was more to the point. The video doing worse showed just one of the new additions, as the biggest part of the picture, and text+logo. While the second video, had a thumbnail showing all the new additions. One large and others smaller, and text+logo (text had one word less and was 20% larger and higher contrast to the background). This all translated into ~50% higher CTR over 6 months and thousands of impressions. 6.7% on the better one, 3.4% on the worse one. Astounding difference... I know.
The video that was doing better was... and get this! Longer! By a full minute, 25% compared to the worse one. Better one has 45% retention rate, the worse one 44%. But, this data has to be looked in the light of video length. For a 5 minute video to have 45% retention rate is a big difference to a 4 minute video having 44% retention rate. If you have ever compared your shorter, to your longer videos, you know how hard it is, to keep a high retention rate on a longer video. This showed me that the structure of the second, better video was superior, and that I should use it again in new videos.
Fast forward half a year and this game has a new DLC coming out. Armed with my knowledge of what works better, I watch my old video again, and got to work. After publishing these new videos, using the old structure, framework and thumbnails I am getting significantly better views each day and that is without heavy promotion, no high day one peek and then a major drop off. One video is averaging 6% CTR while the other one is at 8% CTR. But this is raw data, with only a few data points as the videos are a few days old. CTR will get even higher as time passes, and most of the views become search hits. One is already at 50% search hits, the other 40%. With 42% audience retention on the 7+ minute video and 30% on the other one 30 seconds shorter. Once again, that is a lot more watch time considering I increased the length almost 50%.
19. Created my own rules what to make and what not to make based on what worked in the past
This one is directly connected to the previous point, and can be boiled down to: "If you want views, make videos people have already shown an inclination towards watching". Now, don't mistake content (specific things like: Cat falling from a tree) for type( a funny video about animals doing things). When I say videos they have already watched I mean the kind/type of video. The video's structure and framework also have to be recreated. In my post last week, I have already talked about making new versions of your old successful videos (#10 ). This is not what this is about.
Perhaps it's best to use an example:
With the number of subscribers I have now, Indie developers are mostly open to sending me press keys of their game. Sometimes even before release. At first, I did videos I called: "Introduction and First Look", later just "Introduction" or "First Look" or "Preview". These videos are obviously not evergreen (don't stay relevant and stop getting hits). BUT! They are watched a lot, for a limited number of days IF posted at the right time and right places. So, if I decide to make a "Preview" video of a game, I have to do it at least 5-7 days before release, and be able to post it (developers/publishers decide on Embargo dates) a few days before release date. This is their window where these kinds of videos must get lots(and most) of views. Most often from Reddit pages, Forums and Social Media. (more on this in points #39-#48).
Now if I want my video to be evergreen or as close to that as possible, it has to have different structure then a "Preview". It has to be a guide, tutorial, walkthrough, or an explanation of some specific gameplay mechanic. A video like this will not get many views before release, or even at release, but it will get views over time(become evergreen). What is also great about these videos is that their type, the nature of it, will improve their CTR and watch time, because people are more likely to click on something they need, and are in search off, and they will also watch more of it. And since YouTube algorithm likes videos with high CTR and watch time it becomes a kind of perpetuum mobile.
As you analyze you own videos you should be able to narrow down on what you make, that interests people, and what exactly is the type and structure of those videos. Find ones with high CTR, and watch time, and try to recreate their structure for new content.
There are many other rules I have pulled out of my analysis of my videos, but I think this example has made it clear enough for you. It's a bit of a hard thing to grasp, unless you are already thinking in such a direction, so If you need more guidance on it, just ask.
20. Set up a default END for every video with a black screen and a thank you/like/sub note
When I decided to speed up my video editing, I made a video template, into which I import video and audio files, and save it under a new name for my each new project. That template, among other things, has a black picture 2560x1440px size. On that picture, in the video editor, I added a fade in/out out text: "Thank you for watching don't forget to like and subscribe". This is how my every video ends. The last part of the video has a fade to black transition onto this 8 seconds long black picture during which this text fades in and out. It is on this back picture, left and right of the text, that I add my end cards and the subscriber button. But more on this in point #26. The idea of this default END is to
a) create that feel of the familiar for viewers who watch my videos to the end
b) remind them to use the like button and subscribe, if they are new, or haven't subscribed yet
c) save on time when editing, by having a premade end for every video
d) create a place where end cards will stand out, and take center stage
The end result of this has been saving a lot of time, in my last 200 videos, when editing a video. Getting, by my estimate, several more likes then I got in my old videos, and more subscribers. It most definitely hasn't hurt my channel in any way.
21. Did my best to mention another of my videos in each new video and interconnect them
This one is another of those: "How did I not think of it before" ideas. It's so obvious in hindsight but, I only started doing it after 450+ videos. This is how I do this:
a) during my recording of a video, or writing a script, I make a point to remember to mention to my viewers, that I did a similar video, before this one, or that I showed them something from this video, in the previous episode, in more details (of a Let's play for example), or that I plan to show them something in a new video*
b) I tell them that I will leave a link on the upper right corner of the screen (video cards) and in the description below ( I add a link, a name of it and a emoticon to make it stand out more in my 4000+ character description)
c) during video editing I place a red arrow (don't hate me) with two heads on the right side of the screen, one points to the video card spot and the other to the bottom of the video - description.
d) I do this several times during the video if I can find a reason to explain to the viewer why it's important to check out that other video
e) when I upload the video I make sure to find that minute:second I placed the red arrow and add the video card with the appropriate link so it turns on at the same time the read arrow head points to it
*Note here: Once I actually make a video, with the content I mentioned during this old video, I go back to the video where I mentioned it, and add a video card for it, at that moment in the video.
Sub note: You DON'T actually have to ever do that video you said you will do. Unless of course you said: " I will do it next week". But your plan to do something else, that the viewer might just be interested in, can get you a new subscriber who will watch X number of videos, while he/she, waits for that video you promised. And very likely they will even forget about it, and just stayed subscribed. It's another dirty tactic to get new subs for practically 0 effort. Just don't make the mistake of going overboard with your promises, or say when you will do it. And also, you might as well do one of those from time to time, it can't hurt. I plan to talk(write) more about promises when I get to my advice #24.
.....................................................
Well, that would be part two of my "50+ things I have tried out to improve my channel...". I hope that you have had time to try out my advice and ideas from the PART 1/5, and that you have read something in this part that you can use or adept for you channel.
I would love to hear your feedback, and especially if you manage to use these ideas to improve your own channel.
I will keep trying to post at least one part of this post each week.
Thank you for reading, feel free to comment and ask. Do remember that this is all from my experience, and even if my writing style seems like I am telling you what YOU should do, it's only what my advice, from my experience, would be for you. You don't have to use it, you don't even have to agree with it. And if you don't agree with it, I would love to read why, it will help others to hear more opinions and experiences.
Have a nice day!
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Let's Beat The Bookies- Horse Racing Bets 1 Betfair Trading Community - YouTube How I went from a betfair trader to a professional betfair trader How To DO BETTING SERVERS In Toribash Racing & Betting Forum Paris - YouTube

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Let's Beat The Bookies- Horse Racing Bets 1

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