Big Changes … But You May Not Notice

Hi folks, this post comes at the end of some intense discussion on behalf of the hosts. We’ve been discussing what works, what doesn’t, how it affects our lives, and who is in charge of what here at Saving the Game and we’re simplifying and changing a few things.

The TL;DR for the anxious reader is this: we’re scaling back on extras and gimmicks, but the key components of the podcast itself, the Discord community, and the blog are all sticking around and most are getting some minor enhancements. Read on for a more in-depth breakdown of what’s coming and changing roles among our hosting staff.

Administration

This will probably be the least-obvious change, but it’s the one I’m most closely tied to, so I’m going to start with this. Many of you may not realize it, but since our launch in 2012, Grant has done almost all of the behind-the-scenes work for Saving the Game. He has been our primary editor, webmaster, sysadmin, treasurer, and social media expert. He has handled the lion’s share of scheduling guest hosts, relations with other podcasts, communication with our patrons, and he also set up all of our standard operating procedures. He’s an impressive guy with a broad skill set and a brilliant mind. He’s also the very tired father of two young children – one of whom is now in school for real. Meanwhile, I, the other founding host, show up on recording days and write the blog. I have a wife and two cats.

Does that look out of whack to anyone else? Yeeeaaah. We’re a little slow on the uptake, but this is finally getting addressed.

Starting immediately (actually starting in the recent past) I’m taking over the back-end stuff. I probably should have done this at least 3 or 4 years ago when Grant and Krissi has their second kid, but habit and momentum did their thing, and we didn’t even think about it.

Grant isn’t leaving the podcast; on the contrary, he’ll probably have more energy for our episodes now. And more importantly, he will be getting a bunch of time he could ill afford to spend back. The only real change you’ll notice if I’m doing my job properly is that you’ll probably start hearing my voice at the start of the episodes and the editing style might change a little bit for a while as I take that role up.

Jenny’s role is also expanding as a result of the redistribution of administrative duties. As the youngest and most social media-savvy of us, she’s taking over the role of “primary social media person.” This is also something we probably should have done before now. Old habits, and all that.

End of Regular Streaming

To anyone who was really enjoying the stream, we apologize, but the weekly Friday stream is going away. We’re a bunch of introverts, so it’s a little rough to come home at the end of a week and do a stream for all of us, and, with the exception of a few very special streams, they just weren’t being watched to any meaningful extent. We routinely had just one or two viewers and sometimes one of those viewers was one of us showing up in solidarity so our fellow host wasn’t alone. We also had multiple streams where we just streamed into the void with nobody watching at all. After doing that for about a year, it really became evident that the effort being put into the weekly stream could be better spent on making the stuff our community really is passionate about better, so that’s what we’re going to do.

This isn’t to say we’ll never stream anything ever again. Most likely we will stream something at some point, but it’ll probably be a planned special event like when Grant got me to play Minecraft for the first time in 2019 or the time all three of us played Ultimate Chicken Horse. In particular, I think it would be cool to do something special around Christmas and Easter, and perhaps around some other dates in the Christian calendar (World Communion Sunday, perhaps?) or fun holidays and pseudo-holidays such as Halloween or GM’s Day, but we’re not sure what that would look like yet.

Patreon Restructuring

We’re going to be changing what we promise at various funding levels to more accurately reflect the current state of the podcast.

One of the biggest investments we put back into the podcast was hiring Justin (a.k.a. “Chivalrybean”), who edits one episode per month for us. This has, to put it lightly, been a huge boon for us, and we’d really like to be able to pay him to edit all of our episodes—as Grant and I enter middle age, our lives just keep getting busier. So funding levels will reflect the thresholds at which we can afford to pay Justin to edit more episodes with some enhancements to the content we get the most community engagement on. I’ll give you one right now: if we get to a level where we can afford to hire him to do both episodes every month, I’ll take the blog weekly. I enjoy writing it and discussing it with you all a great deal. If that happens, look for the blog on Thursdays instead of “off week” Tuesdays.

I will still try to get to at least one con a year and it seems likely that Jenny will too but this year it’s probably going to be GaryCon for me instead of Fear the Con (much to my sadness). Lake Geneva is close enough that I can just drive up there, hang out at the con, and then drive back at night with no hotel required. St. Louis is, sadly, not nearly so convenient. But that’s going to happen regardless of our funding levels. If we’ve got enough in our reserves to defray the cost of admission for me, that’s an option I’d gladly accept, but it won’t be a requirement. Hardware upgrades are unlikely to happen at this point as we all have fairly good setups (made possible by our backers, for which we thank you). At this point, the best investment for the quality of the podcast is to pay an editor. The reason hardware upgrades were on the list for so long is that one of the things we had thought about for a while was a pocket recorder for interviews at cons, but we’re spread over thousands of miles of territory. Who would store it? How would we transfer it around without risking damage? And none of us are really all that journalistic anyway. Better to keep paying our editor.

Patron tiers will be getting a small addition, too: Patreon backers will have the option to have the color of their user name in our Discord changed to match their funding level. This is optional however. If you’d rather keep the basic gray, no worries.

One of the changes that will also be coming is the return of our quarterly topic polls. This is one thing that’s fallen by the wayside as Grant’s life went from busy to chaotic to crazy in the last few months. With my more stable and kid-free schedule, I’ll get that started up again.

Potential New Voices

One of the things we’ve been considering is bringing in some other folks to join us on the mics as recurring, but not regular, contributors. We’ve actually been sort of doing this for years. Mike Perna, Krissi Woodward, Derek White, and Kris Newton have all been on 3-5 times each. One of the jobs I’m giving myself is to form a list of additional people we can draw on for fresh perspectives and maybe even the occasional episode off. I’ve also got some ideas on how to bring some of these folks in on shorter notice than we typically do with guest hosts now. I’m not naming any names at this point, but a lot of you would recognize a number of the people on my list. In fact, a few of you reading this may be on that list yourselves.

If you have ever listened to a podcast like Fear the Boot or Gamers With Jobs with a pool of hosts that changes from week to week, you’ll have some idea what I’m getting at here. Though I’m not looking to switch our week-to-week lineup that much, you may eventually start hearing a few names other than Grant, Peter, and Jenny that don’t introduce themselves and plug something at the start of the occasional episode. Because we’ve been around for so long, we’ve made contact with a bunch of really nice, smart, and interesting people that could easily add to virtually any topic we could see ourselves discussing, so I’d like to tap into that pool of talent a bit.

Conclusion

And that’s about it – if you’ve got any questions or concerns, feel free to get in touch or comment on the post. Hopefully the loss of streaming isn’t too painful and the other stuff we’re planning makes the podcast better. It’ll certainly make it more sustainable. We have a couple more years to go before we even reach the ten-year mark and we still have lots of interesting stuff to talk about. We’re a mature podcast, but there’s lots of life in us yet!

Photo by Aaron Mello on Unsplash

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