Beginner's Guide to Board Game Atlas
Thanks for visiting! I hope you will find your time here worthwhile. Summarized below are helpful tips and guidelines you can find as a first-time user or veteran users who may have been missing out on some cool features. I will be revisiting this every now and then to update whenever there are changes on the website.
Before we start...
Let's get you situated first. If you're here to check out what we're about and don't want to make an account just yet, feel free to move onto the next section below! For those who are interested, you can make an account with your email and I'll explain some helpful info and tips before you move on.
First, see where your username is on the blue top bar? Hover over your username (or click on the button on the top left corner on mobile) and you can find the first step toward personalizing your account:
- Profile - Here you can find an overview of your account history and get access to our avatar library. Avatars are purchased using gold coins you earn for each contribution you make to the community through creating discussion and adding info to the game pages.
- Messages - Send direct messages to the friends you make on Board Game Atlas.
- Dark Mode - There's dark mode! Don't know about you, but I've been on the Dark Side 100% of the time ever since this feature got added.
- Settings - Set your preference for email notifications on replies to your posts/comments, posts from users you follow, price alerts, etc.
- Price Alerts - Manage the list of games you've turned price alerts on for.
- Notifications - Notifications for replies, activity by users or games you follow, price alerts, etc.
Lastly, if you have an account at BGG and wish to sync up your account, go to BGG Import on the top bar and you can avoid all the hassle of reentering past data.
So what are the main features on Board Game Atlas?
Here you will find:
- A Forum community where you can discuss your favorite games using helpful tools.
- A "wiki-like" database of board games and user ratings and reviews.
- Price comparison across numerous online stores and price alerts.
Let's dive into more details behind each of these.
This is the space for you to discuss all things board game related. Here are some things to be aware of before you jump in:
- General forum structure
- How to create your first post
- What are upvotes? What about downvotes?
- What are all these @'s and #'s?
- Subscribe to your favorite content
- Additional information
General Forum Structure
Our forum structure is most similar to Reddit, if you're familiar with that platform. We have threaded discussions and allow "upvotes" for users to express how much they like another user's post or comment. We also have topic pages which are essentially traditional forum folders that you can create. So if you want to start a series of posts on Board Game Art, you can create a topic page and then start making posts that are linked to that topic. Currently, topic pages created are public and any users will be able to make posts linked to the page. In the future, we may allow the option for creating private topic pages that can only be edited by users you specify.
After creating your topic page, you can add a description for others to understand what type of posts belong to this page.
How To Create Your First Post
1. There are various types of posts you can create: A regular forum post with text only, an image post, a link post, and a poll post. Besides the regular post, all other types of posts allow you to include an optional text description.
You can also click on the circled link (see image below) to write up an article like I'm doing now. The articles written by users are curated on this page, while articles written by BGA staff are curated here.
2. Self-explanatory but this area is where you include a title for your post. Please remember to make it as descriptive as possible to clue others in on the purpose of your post. When making a link post, this section will provide a suggested title which you can choose to edit.
3. I've briefly mentioned this earlier but all forum posts can be linked to a topic page and/or game page(s). This is what you'll see when you click on "Link to Game" and search "Frosthaven":
After linking to the appropriate game(s) and making your post, you will be able to see your post listed on the game page below the game info. See image below for posts linked to Frosthaven:
While we're on the subject of game pages, you can also add related YouTube videos onto the game pages. Scroll down to the videos section and click on the "+" sign shown below. Submit your video link and you will immediately see the results.
Lastly, you can also choose the flair, which allows you to specify the type of your content as a "review," "DIY," "gameplay," and so on. Now you're all ready to make your first post.
What are Upvotes? What about Downvotes?
You will notice gray arrow symbols next to each post and comment in the forum. These arrows are used for "upvotes," and the way we use them is equivalent to a Facebook "like". In general, a post with more upvotes will place higher on the page relative to other posts, bringing the community's most popular content to the top of the front page. So if you see any post or comment that resonates with you, give the user an upvote as a sign of approval! (Once you click on the gray arrow, it'll get highlighted blue to indicate you've thrown your upvote).
You may ask then, "where are the downvotes"? If you're familiar with Reddit, downvotes are used for the purpose of self/community moderation. It's to express that certain content is not appropriate for the community or is off-topic. For Board Game Atlas, we made the decision to leave out this option. And while this comes with its own set of consequences, we will see where this leads us and ask for your feedback in the future if you see any recurring problems in the community.
What are all these @'s and #'s?
These are the features that will make it easier for you to have fun talking about board games, rather than spending time grabbing links for more info.
- @ - If you want to tag a fellow user, type in @ in the comment box, start typing in the username, and you will see a list of options you can click on. Once you select the username, the username you want to tag will come up highlighted in blue. This user will receive a notification after you submit your comment or post.
- # - If you want to tag a game page, type in # in the comment box, start typing in the game title, and you will see a list of options you can click on. Once you select the game title, the game page you want to tag will come up highlighted in blue. Other users will be able to click on this link if they want to find out more about the game.
Please note that this feature is still in need of improvement. While it does its job most of the time, it doesn't yet have the ability to recognize empty spaces, so instead of typing in "#Architects of the West Kingdom," you should type in "#architects" and find the game in the list. This also means that in rare instances, a keyword that's too common may require you to try a more unique keyword so that you don't get a long list of games to sort through.
Subscribe to Your Favorite Content
Is there a game or specific users you'd like to keep up with for content updates? Click on the subscribe button for the games on your radar or "follow" your friends on Board Game Atlas.
These are regularly scheduled content in the forum for general discussions:
- Monday - What did you play this week?
- Wednesday - Recommend a game
- Thursday - Game Trade Thursday
- Friday - Feedback Friday, Kickstarters Ending
Of these, Feedback Friday is by far the most valuable. So please make sure to share on that post for any of your annoyances, bugs, wish features, and any other topics you believe would be beneficial to the community. Your feedback is what led to all these changes over the past year, so we're grateful!
Lastly, please feel free to send a direct message to either me or Trent for any other questions. If you go back to the last image I shared, click on the "Send a Message" text right next to the "Follow" button if you want to send a DM (to me or Trent though, not Skurvy5).
Search Engine and "Wiki-Like" Database
There's a lot to look at so I won't go into too many details. But do take a look at all of the default options available on the top bar:
- Games - You can look up games filtered by trending, popularity, complexity, mechanisms, and more. Note that Roll and Write or other options may not bring up as many results as you might expect if the applicable game pages are missing data.
- Deals - Find games at their historically lowest prices and other daily deals.
- Kickstarters - Here's where we track current Kickstarter campaigns and their progress.
Other important info:
- We currently use a 5-star rating. The ratings you see on the game pages with the colored background are simply converting the average rating to a point system out of 100.
- Complexity rating will get added onto the pages soon. The current plan is to allow users to input two different ratings, one for rule complexity and another for gameplay complexity.
- When you search for a game, the results will display games associated with the key term as well as related forum posts.
- Users with an account can freely update existing game pages or add new ones. Similar to Wiki, previous versions can be restored in the case of reported errors.
- Users with an account can click on the symbol shown in the image below to quickly assign games to lists.
- If you want to go on a rampage adding a bunch of missing data on game pages but don't know where to start, check out Fix a Bounty Game on the bottom most section of the website.
- When searching for games, you can use keywords like "Family," "Area Control," "Worker Placement," and other terms related to game categories or mechanics. Once you've done this, click on the appropriate option on the suggested list and this can be a convenient and faster way to look up specific types of games. We will be adding a similar option for allowing search by designers, artists, and publishers.
This is the most dangerous section of our website. We offer various ways to help you find the best deals for the games you want:
- Prices across various online stores listed on the game page, in addition to historical price data to help you decide whether the current sale is worth it.
- Deals pages such as "Historic Lows" that keep track of all games that are currently at its lowest ever price.
- Price alerts on individual games that's on your radar or on your entire game list.
Well that's enough from me. Have at it and let us know how you feel about everything!
Thanks, Phil and Trent