This guide is primarily aimed at the individual who has decided to log, or store, information on the game they have played. A previous article details the many advantages, and the odd disadvantage of logging your game plays.  Although there are several different methods that can be used, this article is concerned with how you can log plays using the BoardGameGeek.com website.

This guide is also be of use for a game group that wants to use this method to record the games they have played. In a separate article I explain why a game group should record and publicize the list of games that were played at their gaming sessions.

Requirements and terminology used in this article:

Game play logging –  This involves of the storing of specific information concerning your playing of a board game. This information can included the following pieces of data: when, and where the game was played, who played the game, how many times it was played, what happened during the game, and who won. A separate article details why you may want to logging your game plays.

BGG means BoardGameGeek.com – A excellent website devote to all things board gaming.You will need to be a registered user on BoardGameGeek.com to log your game plays there.

Where to log your game plays

BGG has a built-in play logging system, the information is then stored in the BGG database. You can also use various iOS/Android apps that act as an improved interface to the very same BGG database. If required you can use different tools to log your plays.
The BGG wesbite also provides some data analysis tools. The various iOS/Android apps and other websites, can also provide further data analysis functionality.

Here I will show how to us the BGG website interface. It is a may not be the best interface, but it is the one that everyone can access as long as they have a computer and access to the Internet.

Logging a play on BGG

At this point I am assuming the user has logged into the website, and have navigated to the page for the game they want to log.
The Log Play button (shown below as circled in red) is used to launch the screen where the actual game plays are recorded.
bSG log play Capture
Log Play button on the BSG game page – BoardGameGeek

The Core data fields

The core data to be recorded is quite self explanatory. Basic information on when and where is

  • When did you play ? – The date is shown in a year-month-day date format e.g. 2016-12-25. This makes it universal
  • Qty – How many times did you play ? Use the  < or > buttons to quickly adjust the quantity. There is  separate field to record if the game was not finished.
  • Where did you play ?  – You can specify the location. Once a location has been inputed, you can easily chose it from the list of your existing locations.
  • How long did you play ? – The total time spent playing the game/s.
  • Was the game incomplete ? – Check the box if the game was not finished. This field can affect the win-lose statistics.
bgg-capture
Log Play form – BoardGameGeek

The Comment field

The Comment field is a text field. This is where the user can type in anything they want. This is where the choices really start. Over time I have developed my own shorthand style of writing. I want to include a brief description of what happened in the game, yet at the same time I do not want to write a book.
Keep the details simple, keep them relevant and keep it punchy ! 
Here is an example of a game of Black Orchestra from November the 16th, 2016.

4 player – Me, Jim D, Glenn G, Larry

LAll arrested in Stage 5 or 6

No plots attempted

Lots of arrests, I got Larry out several times, only for the next card to be Gestapo Raid

The capital L at the beginning denotes that we lost the game, having that at the beginning allows me to quickly determine whether the game was a victory or loss.
 Afterwards is a synopsis of what happened in the game, just a few lines is enough to record what happened. Recording every move or choice is not required. Keep it short and focus on the major points of the game. These major points are enough to remind you what happened.
In that game we pushed our luck on our Suspicion levels. We let our suspicion get too high, and we bounced in and out of jail. The timing of the raid cards was uncannily bad for us.
To contrast how my own logging style has changed, especially for BSG. Here are two entires from 5 years apart.
An entry from April the 12th, 2011

6 player inc a cylon leader

Admiral Cain (shot by Cally) then back as Gaeta. (human)

cylon win at 8.2 jumps via 0 Morale.

Compare that to my last game of BSG where I wrote a book. My shorthand style has be expanded for clarity purposes.

5p

Baltar, human

WinGaeta David

New Zarek Rob

Cain Liz

Starbuck Dodgy JohnUsing Cain House Rule – randomly pick destination from middle of deck.

We accidentally skipped Liz’s turn.

Peggy went boom before 1st jump.

Jump from distance 0-2

Jump from distance 2-4 resources are 6-4-8-9

I lost President title to NZ Rob, I knew he had an Arrest Order Quorum Card.

Adm Cain Liz refused to OPG (OncePerGame) at an opportune time, instead she went to AQ (Admirals Quarters to possibly throw someone in the brig)

Very cylony move Liz !

A discussion occurred, Starbuck DJ tried to talk Liz into NOT brigging him, inferring he was a cylon.

She went ahead, the SC (Skill Check) passed by 22. Starbuck DJ was executed.

He was human after all!

DJ back as Roslin

J4-6

Pres NZ Rob brigged me via AO QC. (Arrest Order Quorum Card). He was other cylon.

Was soon out via Y6 (The Yellow 6 card Political Prowess), Gaeta David jumped early.

J6-8 and Basestar to freeze tracks.

Gaeta David = CAG (David now has the CAG title)

Gaeta David = Mutineer.

Nz Rob was cylony = Princess (Rob is almost definitely a cylon, and he has all three titles CAG, President and Admiral)

Roslin DJ used Administration to give Pres to Gaeta (from cylon Rob)

Gaeta brigged via MC (Mutiny Card)

I became CAG Adm Baltar.

Barely surviving. Jump early risking -3 pop and therefore the game.

Gaeta David rolled 6+2 = 8  we won via a die roll with a 50-50 chance !

1-4-1-3 (The resources were very low at the end)

This game was a nail biter, the humans could have lost in a variety of ways. We held on and took the chance on a die roll to win. If we had not taken the risk when we did, we believe would have definitely lost.
As you can see I now record a lot of information for a two hour game. Most of my notes are shorthand abbreviations e.g. QC for Quorum card, SC for Skill Check. Peggy for the Battlestar Pegasus. Adm for Admiral. Keeping the notes short, and detailed is important to keep the game flowing.
Do not overlook the use of a voice recorder app to log your games played.

The Players

Finally on the Log Play form is the Who played? fields. Here you can add each player, record their score, the color they played etc. I do not always record the players. Most of these fields have safe default values. This means you do not have to enter any data.
Once again I would like to stress that it is up to the individual gamer to decide how much data is recorded. 

Other ways to log the games played

Another method of logging your game plays is to use a spreadsheet or database program. I leave that up to you of course. Use the BGG Log Play form (above) as a reference and you can see that the data structure is quite simple. Make you spreadsheet or database as complicated, or as simple as you require.
A Calendar program can also be used to record your games. A note against the date with the name of the game as the Note title. It is very simple and it works!

Final thoughts

The process of logging you game plays is supposed to be for your own benefit. The time taken to log the information is your time. Find your own balance of how much detail and how much time that takes.

Start logging, and see if it works for you.

If it becomes a bore, or it becomes a chore, stop logging !

Oh, by the way.  As of the 6th of March 2017, I have logged 512 plays of BSG. My regular gaming friends/opponents know about my BSG obsession, they joke about it, they poke fun of me. Yet they still play BSG with me. That is a lot of plays of the same game, that is a lot of time spent playing the same game. For me Battlestar Galactica it is still a fun, intriguing, social, and challenging game. I will leave the reasons why for another (ongoing) article.

So say we all.
Tim aka ‘Baltar’
9th March 2017

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