What is Board Game Geek ?
Note to save the repetition from now on I will use the commonly used acronym of BGG instead of the full Board Game Geek name.
Let me first quote their own description of Board Game Geek:
BoardGameGeek is a website dedicated to the subject of physical board games. The site provides an extensive database of board games as well as an active community of users who discuss, argue, buy, sell, trade and play board games. The database contains over 81,000 board games (as of January 25, 2016) and each game has its own Game entry which gives information about a game, user ratings, forums for discussion and a great deal more.
To be honest, it is a hard site to accurately describe as it has so much content about games. The scope is not just limited to board games as it also covers traditional card games, collectible card games, rules, pictures, game designers, game artists, game publishers, and so much more. Those who enjoy other types of gaming are not left out as BGG also has sister sites for Role Playing Games aka RPGgeek.com, and Video Games aka VideoGameGeek.com.
Oh by the way, that is not a typo; BGG has over 81,000 games in the database. As I own almost 2000 games and game expansions, well let’s just say that I have a few more to get.
Why use BGG ?
BGG is an amazing resource about board, and card games. The amount of information it includes is absolutely mind boggling.
For example, here is the BGG page for Monopoly. They have at least 152 different versions of Monopoly listed. These do not include all the other games with Monopoly in their titles, all the Monopoly re-themes etc.
Most of the content is actually created by the users, with the staff running the hardware and moderating the user created content.
The Cons of BGG
Let’s get the con’s of using BGG out of the way, then I will give example of the Pro’s that will hopefully convince you of the merits of BGG.
- BGG is a victim of it’s own success, it started small and grew, and grew. The biggest problem with BGG is it is huge, both in scope and in scale. It is very well organized into different area of content. This produces the problem that people do not know where to look to find content, or they post in the wrong place. The best way to learn how to use BGG is to learn from an existing user. I will give some examples of where to look, and how to use BGG that will set you off in the correct direction.
- The other annoyance is they are currently in the process of updating the BGG user interface, so the visual style of the BGG sites are inconsistent. Another side effect of this interface upgrade is the site is not always mobile friendly. We hope this user interface upgrade is finish in 2017.
The Pros of BGG
Key to appreciating how to use BGG is with some real world benefits, it may be cool that BGG has all of these snazy things like Geeklists, Guilds, Galleries, Forum, etc. but what does that mean to you, the wannabe user of BGG ? Here are some of the everyday benefits of using BGG.
It is free to join, if you do not want the ads you can donate money. You do not even have to join to use BGG, but you must be a member to post questions.
- The other users help to answer each others game related questions.
- You can track your game collection. As you begin to buy games it becomes useful to track what you own, and even where they are located. Here is a link to my Collection.
- There is even a Wishlist feature that allows you to record your level of interest in owning a particular game. See something you like, add it to your Wishlist.This is a nice way to remind people what games you want for birthday or Christmas presents. Here is my Wishlist, and by the looks of it I may need to prune it down a little.
- The Wishlist is also a way to record that you are not interested in a particular game. Add the game to your Wishlist, but select “5 – Don’t Buy This” option.
- Record your games played, you can include data on who, and where it was played, who won or lost the game. Yeah, things are getting a little obsessive when you start to record the games played. On the plus side it is a good way to remind yourself about fun times shared with people around the game table.
- You are several Glossaries of useful terms on BGG, if you are new to gaming you might want to look at the Glossary here first. If you want to see something both impressive, and rather scary; here is my list of games played.
- You can buy or sell games in the Geek Market. As you would expect the system also records feedback on individual Users market performance. BGG also takes a small percentage.
- You can arrange to trade games with other users. The users arrange what games they want to directly trade with each other, address information is shared and the games are shipped off to the recipient.
- Need to find other people to game with, there are Forums and Guilds to help get gamers together. Want to see what gaming events are occurring in the West Coast of the USA, check out the West Forum in Game Groups. A Guild is like a club which BGG users can join. It’s Here is the Wargame Bootcamp guild page that I co-organize.
Useful resources for BGG beginners, and advanced BGGer’s
Due to the power, and thus the complexity of BGG, users have created guides on how to do more complex things on BGG.
BGGs Guide to BGG and BGGs own FAQ.
If you need to start doing more advanced things, here are some useful tricks and tips geeklists.Tricks of the Geek and More Tricks of the Geek.
Want to watch a video about a game, use this Geeklist to find the video.
Do you want to publish your own game, here is a useful thread on the process.
BGG is a great resource for all types of gamers. For example, here is an visual display of the last games that I played; the information is generated from my game plays recorded on BGG.
Here is a graphic of some of the games in my Collection recorded on BGG. If you hit refresh the graphic will change to show another set of random choices from my collection.
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