We need BGA to evolve into a full fledged alternative to BGG; how do we make that happen?

BGA

The climate at BGG, has become more and more hostile and politicized over the last couple years. A full fledged alternative is needed, and I think BGA is in the best position to become that.

How do we increase functionality (trading, markets), game data, publisher involvement (posting rulebooks and other material now only found on BGG), and whatever else.is needed to make BGA a complete alternative?

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Owner30 days ago

Our focus isn't to directly replace BGG since there's other things we like to focus on. We're looking at /r/boardgames, twitter, and many facebook groups as other areas that have large board gamer communities that we feel like we can serve better in the future.

We're hoping to grow to be the biggest online community for board gamers and have the best supporting tools and features that bring people here.

A quick view into our near term road map for features

  • Improvements / redesign to the game page
  • Ability to comment on plays, reviews, and images uploaded
  • Game Store pages
  • A paid affiliate program for API users and content creators (We're doing a beta test of this now)

We're going to have a new set of features to focus on growth and will have more to share after but we'd love more suggestions on things you'd like to see in the near term.

30 days ago

I'm glad you are looking to cultivate membership. I'm looking forward to seeing what those upgrades look like! I'd like to see publisher files (not much in your control, but perhaps you can contact them and ask them to upload them?) and an awesome trading system that blows the doors off BGG's clunky antiquated system.

Owner30 days ago

We have a file system now for anyone to upload files for. We are also starting partnerships with Publishers but it's a huge amount of work to build.

24 days ago

The wife and I were wondering if you were planning on adding any more breakout content to the graphs? Stuff like being able to hover over the Days of the Week graph to see exactly what games were played on a given day and how many times they were played. 
 
Keep up the great work. We love what you have done so far and we're looking forward to seeing the site continue to evolve.

Moderator Level 129 days ago

Sounds great, as always!

31 days ago

I also wish BGA would become an alternative to BGG. I got banned there for not agreeing with a famous female game designer about sexism in games. There is no conversation at all. Only an echo chamber and those that fail to repeat the accepted mantras are removed.

Unfortunately, BGA is lacking. Right now, it is only useful as a cool place to hang out for a couple of posts a week. I only persevere because I really want the site to grow, but I do not see any progress at all towards the features that would interest me.

Sadly, I do not think that there is place for two sites like BGG. It'd be like trying to create a site to compete with IMDB. They have the historical data (rankings, forums, files, videos) and the users (including almost all important people in the industry).

31 days ago

I was temp banned from BGG for politely and logically arguing that Ant Lab Games did not victim blame in the past and that it was wrong to try to destroy their new channel, and then I refused to apologize to Octavian (and promise to never post anything like that again) for disagreeing with him, and I expressed how unreasonable it was for him to delete my posts and temp ban me, so he perma banned me.  They have lost their minds over there.

I agree that BGA just isn't there yet,.and like you don't know if it will ever be. But the banning at BGG keeps accelerating exponentially (several big banning episodes since I was banned), and all those folks need a good alternative. You'd think BGA would recognize the opportunity to grow, they should be actively going after BGG members.

 

30 days ago

I hear you. Don't know if all this is Octavian's doing or if the push comes from Scott himself. Either way, for as much as they preach inclusiveness, they are exactly the opposite.

30 days ago

I'd have zero issue if they banned all politicized and uncivil conversations, but they don't, they allow and even seem to encourage extremely uncivil and frankly nasty comments, accusations, and attacks from one side (Octavian's side) of the issue, but immediately delete/ban very civil and usually even polite that disagrees or challenges Octavian's stance.

24 days ago

I agree. BGG is so hostile now, Im done there. I hope BGA can grow into something similar to provide that other place to go. 

24 days ago

I hope we all can help evolve it into something superior to BGG! 

 

I never understood the anger at BGG. Even before all the recent political nonsense some people would just get so bent out of shape if you had a different opinion than they did, or dared interact in any way with them that wasn't deferential enough to their opinion of themselves.

29 days ago

This is a great topic. Like a few have already stated, a user-friendly trade function would be nice. I would also like to see more reviews and files.

I'm new to BGA and am really enjoying the more laid back attitude of everyone so far. I was recently banned from BGG for liking a post with which one of the moderators disagreed.

Moderator Level 129 days ago

Welcome aboard!

Premium User31 days ago

It really depends on what you use BGG for. 

For me I use BGA for two things typically, the forums for specific games and the different files.  (Player aids, rulebooks, variants, etc.)  I couldn't care less about anything else.  

On BGA I find I spend a lot more time in the general forum talking about board games to people. 

There's not a lot of content for specific games to search through and we don't have people producing variants and rules summaries etc.  It's a bit of a chicken and egg thing.  The more content you have the more people will come and produce content.  People don't want to produce content if they don't have a big audience.

I think BGA could look at encouraging people to put files here as well as on BGG.  I'm not sure how to do it the best way.  

On the other hand, I personally like the feel of BGA.  I wouldn't want hordes of people invading it because we'd likely end up exactly with what BGG has.  (I'm sure Phil and Trent might not agree wiith me of course. :)  )

Premium User25 days ago

I tend to agree with on the smaller community of BGA.  I don't use forums in general on BGG unless I'm looking for something very specific or have a question about a rule that I need a hard ruling on.  

BGG feels like a big machine to me and while I like that it's there, I don't feel at home posting on forums there like on BGA.  I feel comforatable starting a thread on BGA and generally get a comment or two.  On BGG I'd likely be referred back to some thread written two years ago.  

In some ways, I feel like BGG is for full-time hobby gamers and BGA feels more suitable to my own lifestyle where work and family only allow me to be a part-time hobby gamer.  I am likely overstating on both sides of that to some degree, but hopefully that makes a little sense.

Premium User25 days ago

It's a tough one.  I assume that Trent and Phil would like this to get bigger.  Why would they not? I think they have done a good job on the site and listening to the group etc and I want all the success in the world for them.

But on the other hand, is there a way to get them all of that while still keeping the "flavour" of the site the same?  Ok, keeping it the same is really unlikely to happen. Things get bigger, a broader audience comes in, things will change.  You're going to get more extremists of all kinds.

The only group I can think of that has grown a ton and retained their positive community vibes for the most part is Critical Role.  That was heavily engendered by the group and enforced by the core audience they had early on. 

We do have a reasonable strong core group here but we have rarely had to deal with people taking extremist combative views.  I don't know if it's a "hold the line" type group if things start veering off in a bad direction.

I think BGG has a small but very vocal set of users that like stirring the pot, finding something negative to comment on no matter what is being posted, and generally being gatekeepers to anything new or that they are slightly suspicious of.  Look to any new user post making suggestions around how their ratings could be better to see prime examples.

BGA so far has kept away from that.  We had one person come in questioning if he would be banned for posting strong opinions on various issues.  The response was it depends how you post it.  We want to avoid those type of posts in general but post it with respect and with a willingness to listen and change your mind and it's likely to be ok.  Post inflammatory memes, and don't actually engage with people responding to your post and we don't want you.  

Honestly, since then it hasn't even come up at all.

24 days ago

I think you are saying the same thing I have been, it's all about civil discussion; that doesn't mean you have to agree at all with someone, but you should debate and discuss the idea without turning to nastiness, or attacking the person (you can explain how and why you disagree strongly but civilly). On the flip side though; do we need politicized discussion here unless it strongly and directly ties into board gaming? Sometimes that's hard to avoid, but if we all accept that we all have different viewpoints on things, we can get along just fine.

Premium User24 days ago

Agreed.  I'd definitely prefer we keep politics to the minimum.  However, politics is part of everything and will and should be discussed sometimes.  Keeping it civil is key as we have both said.

25 days ago

I may have been the one you speak about: https://www.boardgameatlas.com/forum/Yf3ScZ6H9s/how-are-dissenting-opinions-treated-at-bga-

You may review my comment history at BGA and you will see how extreme and political my opinions are. I am not racist and I am not sexist, but I will not be ashamed for saying I like anime or beautiful people with beautiful body parts. Those opinions are not accepted anymore at BGG.

I am here to talk about games and I will not start a thread about ethical issues. But, if there is a conversation about a topic, I may want to express my opinion, if only so that other people reading may feel that they are not alone in not agreeing with the official premises. I hope BGA allows me to do that, if the time ever comes.

Premium User25 days ago

I think it's all in how things are expressed.   Assertive is fine, aggressive is not.  Being open to criticism and changing of opinions is great.  Repeating mantras and shouting down dissent without listening is not. And that applies for everyone regardless of their opinion.

All of that said, I'm not the boss here so it's just my opinion. :)

Premium User25 days ago

Yeah, I remember that fella (assuming it's the one I'm thinink of) and he sort of disappeared.  I think there's something to be said about just ignoring some overly heated comments...lol

31 days ago

I definitely like the people and conversations I've had here far more than at BGG.

The frustrations I've personally experienced are not being able to fully participate in the discussion about a Kickstarter I'm backing when for.some.campaigns a lot of the backer input that can influence how the game evolves happens in the BGG forums. The other is not being able to download files from BGG, or find information from a designer or publisher about upcoming unpublished games (that's not always there either).

For reviews I usually look to YouTube first, so that's not an issue for me. I've also become far more active on discord.

I do miss hunting for and working trades, although I thankfully traded almost everything I wanted to before experiencing Octavian's unreasonableness first hand (I sold the last couple to Noble Knight for store credit, which of course is long gone)

Premium User30 days ago

It's a chicken and egg situation.  Designers and publishers and people who create files want an audience.  But having those things create an audience.

I think if you want those type of things here you need to make sure you really participate when it happens.  We had a Q&A session with a designer a while back and it was really quiet with very little feedback.  Just the typical regulars showing up.  

IF they could setup local math trades (I'm not in the US) with a easier system than what BGG uses I would likely participate in that.

30 days ago

What designer are you referring to?

I never tried a math trade on BGG because of the challenge of figuring it out. If it were more straightforward I'd probably have tried it.

I did trades with individuals, sometimes multiple games, sometimes a single game. With shipping through the roof it would be harder to justify single trades these days though.

I don't see why the entire trade system couldn't essentially be a giant math trade system. You put in all the parameters and games you'll trade/accept, and whenever matches pop up an automated trade proposal is sent to both users.

Premium User30 days ago

I can't remember the designer to be honest.  It was a while ago.  (Hopefully I'm not misremembering.)

I like the idea of people putting their trades and wants in to an engine built in to BGA (including things like geographic locations etc) that then suggests trades.

I trade locally on craigslist and facebook marketplace.  When people have things for sale I'll make them a trade offer if it seems reasonable.  They aren't always in for it but I've made some great trades that way!

 

30 days ago

That's what I envision, set trade regions/distance, number of matched items, or minim total value to justify shipping (can use the price feature here to get that data, use used data if available, otherwise use new values minus some.percentage), trade desire (1 high, 2 avg, 3 low,) adjusts matches by scaling value? No expiration date, but an outstanding trade  offer is autocancelled if someone else accepts a trade involving the same game(s). Also allow manual cancellation of unaccepted offers. It would make it like a big ongoing math trade.

Would also mandate trade condition be include; completeness, box condition, content condition, with some auto scaling and user selection for those as well.

31 days ago

I'm not suggesting a straight up clone, there are so many ways BGG can be improved on. But some overlapping features are needed. The key thing is to get publishers to post the same game downloads/content here as there; BGG being the only source, and requiring am account to access it, is a big problem.  My next priority would be a trade system, but I'm probably in a minority wanting that as a priority (but it would be relatively easy to build a.much better trading system than the one at BGG)

I do promote BGA all the time; but growth here feels slow, and I most definitely still need to visit BGG to research a game except for price.