Articles Rants & Raves An Open Letter to Boardgamegeek
 

An Open Letter to Boardgamegeek An Open Letter to Boardgamegeek Hot

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A long, long time ago I can still remember how … no, wait. Wrong era. A long time ago one Scott Alden asked me why it was that I had become suddenly unwilling to post my material on boardgamegeek any more. It was a fair question and I promised an answer but back then I just couldn’t find the time or, indeed, the right words to answer that question. Since media plurality is a big issue in the UK right now, it’s something that popped back into my head. In the wake of  boardgamenews, a site I used to write for, has announcing that it’s going to become part of boardgamegeek I think perhaps that I can find the right words and I think perhaps that also that I can no longer afford not to find the time to write about this issue.

There are two reasons why I find myself unwilling to submit content to boardgamegeek any more. One of them is the commercialisation of the site. On a personal level I don’t really feel happy that my efforts with the pen and the keyboard should contribute toward lining someone else’s pockets but from a hobby-wide point of view I think it’s valid to be concerned about the ongoing integrity of the material that’s published to BGG now that the overarching concern for that site has become commercial. I think we can already see the impact that it’s having, most notably in the crackdown on users who are also designers and publishers trying to promote their games through the site. This is possibly understandable when it comes to professionals and big names but it’s hard to see how it’s in the interests of the community as a whole to slap down a blanket ban on promotional activities which also includes independents, self-designed games and small publishers. There is also the increasingly active moderation of posts that are deemed potentially inappropriate, and I found it incredible that BGG were effectively charging stores to have a space on their “approved” retailer list for this years’ Secret Santa. None of this alone is particularly worrying stuff, but it’s the attitude that it represents that should be of concern - the fact that it could be the thin end of a wedge.

Now I don’t want people thinking this is a sour grapes issue. In truth, if I were in Aldie and Derk’s shoes and I spent - literally - years working hard to maintain, build, improve and promote a site through thick and thin and often, in those early years, putting in a lot of effort for zero personal gain then I’d probably feel entitled to making some money out of the venture now that it’s hit the big time. And rightly so: there’s nothing inherently wrong with commercialising a site after all. No, what’s worrying about the situation is the commercialisation of the site alongside the second problem that I have with BGG, and that is it’s ubiquity. Like it or not BGG is treated by the vast majority of people in the gaming hobby as the be-all and end-all for gaming information and commentary. It tops most search engine rankings when it comes to hobby games and has some minor penetration into the wider world of people playing board games as can be seen by actions like the yearly guide to game gift-giving aimed at the general public. Most, if not all other gaming sites on the internet - including this one - started as spin-offs from BGG and still operate at least partially in its orbit, with users and commentators on those sites continually talking about and referring back to BGG. Even when that doesn’t happen, the shared culture that gamers have which is inherited from BGG is staggering: the default use of a ten-point scale to rate games, the idolisation (or demonisation) of Pureto Rico and Agricola as “top” games, the use (which I’m as guilty of as the next man) of the tools on BGG to track plays and collections that you can then feed into discussions you’re participating in, the list goes on.

Basically, it’s a monopoly. There’s competition, sure, but BGG is so big and so powerful and so central that its competitors can’t “compete” in any meaningful sense.  And out in the real world, everyone thinks that monopolies are bad, and we have laws and commissions to try and stop them forming in the first place, and limiting their power when they do.  Of course this isn’t the real world - it’s a daft, backwater, minority hobby that most people have no interest in and its monopoly of gaming discussion can’t be compared to the very real, very harmful effects that real monopolies can have on people all over the globe. So why bother waisting column inches on it? Well, firstly because I care about gaming and the standard of the journalism that goes along with it. And second because I still find it jaw dropping that the majority of gamers on the net not only ignore this great honking issue, but positively celebrate it as a good thing. Amongst a large section of the gaming community, as others have observed, BGG has become a hobby in its own right.

I kind of have some sympathy of this position. Back in the day when I used to do a lot of website development, during the browser wars, I used to thank my lucky stars that virtually everyone owned a Windows PC and used Internet Explorer, so that I got to pretty much ignore the task of making things look pretty in other browsers, so long as they were readable. When everyone is working on the same platform, it does make life a lot easier in some respects. But we’ve already discussed the downside to monopolies and you can see it at work in the staggering lack of innovation that Microsoft has been able to get away with until relatively recently.  And besides, software is not the same as a community. Software is not inherently biased, whereas news and community sites can be and BGG most certainly is although it’s been getting better of late. Communities can become over-large, to the point where you can no longer easily keep track of what your friends and the people you respect are doing, and worthwhile content by the few is too easily washed away by a tide of rubbish. That’s what seems to have happened at BGG.  And that, now, is the public face of gaming that the public who stumble into the gaming hobby sees: a stream of poor quality nonsense, punctuated by gems, which is heavily tilted in favour of not only a particular genre but a particular sub-style of game which is probably as far from the usual public understanding of what constitutes a game as you can get.

I like BGG. I have no ill-will toward it whatsoever. Without it I’d never have met any of the fine people I share a platform with here, and this site would not exist. I spend time there and I’m glad to see it’s still improving and hoping it manages to overcome some of these issues and improves further. What this article is all about is a plea for plurality. If I want to go read about video games I can, and do, go to Gameshark and IGN and Gamespot and I could choose to go to a huge raft of other sites to get my fix of news and reviews. That choice means I can get different perspectives and different opinions much more easily, and it means I can avoid bias in favour of balance, make sure I don’t fall foul of commercial tilt and work round the editorial and moderation policies to choose a site where I can say what I want to say without fear of being censored. The board game hobby is tiny in comparison and can only realistically support a handful of popular sites but it’s certainly big enough to support more than one, and thereby avoid those same pitfalls. The reason I don’t want to put my content on BGG any more is because there’s already more than enough content on BGG. If I want to see my wish come true, and other sites get to the point where they become viable alternatives to promote plurality of opinion then I need to do my bit to share the love, and ensure they have some exclusive content. And that’s what I’m doing. Thankfully there are alternative sites stepping into the breech left by BGN to take up the baton: new boy boardgameinfo is one that I’ve pinned my colours to, the associated gamers project is trying to make sure a huge diversity of opinion can be accessed through one place and if you don’t like those, and think this site is always going to stay niche, then there will surely be more in the future. If you agree with me, then step up to the plate and get writing - or at least get visiting - for as many different outlets as you feel are worth supporting. Ultimately, it’s down to us to get the quality of writing that we think we deserve.

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Comments (110)
  • tofu  - Dissenting opinion.

    First of all let me say that I am a regular reader of this site, and I enjoy the commentary here.

    I've seen this BGG monopoly discussion before, when boardgameinfo.com launched. I have to say that although I appreciate where you're coming from, and agree there are very real concerns surrounding monopolies on the whole, I don't think this industry is large enough to support the "fragmentation" that you seem to imply is good for the industry. You speak of competition, in the business sense, while at the same time reprimanding BGG for treating it as a business. I visit BGG multiple times daily, and I'm sure that I only see the same several hundred users day in and day out contributing the vast majority of the content. Where you see a benefit of fragmentation, I see a terrible future for our hobby, or at least for our community. We are already a niche group, what good can come from splintering us even further? Would it really be better to have us compartmentalized into 10 different sites that each provide different information on a game? Is it better, for me, to be able to reach out into a network of gamers all over the world to find out information on a game, to scrounge up rules for a 30-year old game I found in the attic, and to find people in my city to play them with? Or is it better to have 10 different sites with forums whose latest post was 3 months ago, and who nobody checks regularly because there isn't a community strong enough to support daily activity?

    Think of it from a customer perspective, and I am going to use the term customer here because we are talking about monopolies and business practices. When a parent wants to get their child a game for Christmas, do they want to scour a half-dozen sites, comparing information on each, or do they want a one-stop shop where they can find all the information about the game with photos, rules, reviews, and discussions from people who've actually played it? I'd be willing to wager on the latter.

    The only group who might gain a benefit from this decentralization would be the hard core gamers. Folks like myself who've already found and read your blog, Faidutti's blog, Blogmic Encounter, and the others. It's not a competition with BGG, it's a supplement for a different take. The "Ameritrash" viewpoint, if you will. If you (in the generic sense, not directed at fortressat) don't have anything different or innovative to add to the conversation of games, then why should anyone go to another site? It seems to me that it's complaint for complaint's sake. "No one visits the competitor's sites because they get everything they want out of BGG." Well, who's fault is that? BGG? The customer? No, it's the fault of the content providers, and them alone (Again, I'm not implying anything against this site, as I think it is a fantastic site).

    I haven't checked boardgameinfo.com for months. Months. Do you know why? Because I don't want curated articles from self-appointed experts. I want to know what people think. I want to link up with other gamers in my area. I want to post to the forums and say, "Hey, I'm going to be in Timbuktu this week. Anyone want to game?" And know that if there's someone in Timbuktu who plays board games, he or she will find my post on BGG...

    Keep up the good work you guys do here, but just try to keep in mind that if you're web site isn't driving the traffic of a competing website, then you're obviously missing something the other guys understand.

    Take care.

  • avatarpanzerattack

    I agree with Tofu, I don't think the board game community is really big enough to support more than one BGG. Just because BGG is a big site with a lot of users doesn't mean it's full up of crap though. It's not like you have to wade through loads of rubbish posts just to find something useful. It's mostly the same as what happens on this site - just people talking about games. It's just that there's a lot more talk on BGG.

  • avatarJazzbeaux

    Tricky as I can see what Matt is aiming for - parallel good websites that offer different views on similar subjects. However most people don't work that way - there are lots of newspapers out there but I expect most people read their favourite.
    It is better to have one good site that people can share and set up sub sections on than having lots of separate and unrelated sites - Vtes always struggled with this as White Wolf never bothered with much on their site and so you had to read a newsgroup for international talk, a local forum for UK talk, a couple of fan sites for interesting bits. A real time drag.

    Sam

  • dallen

    Honestly, i'm not trying to be a dick here, but what is the point of this open letter?

    and why post it here and not over there? if you want more players to join this website, quit bitchin about bgg all the time guys. it's makes this site look like it's populated by a bunch of sour-grapes castaways who are pining away for their bgg days. Lame.

    going back to lurking again.

  • avatarMattDP
    Quote:
    Honestly, i'm not trying to be a dick here, but what is the point of this open letter?

    This is explained clearly in the first paragraph. What's unclear?

    Quote:
    if you want more players to join this website, quit bitchin about bgg all the time guys.

    I'm not bitching. As I have attempted to make abundantly clear during the article I an not complaining about BGG, but at the lack of any other hub or community that gamers can visit. If I'm complaining about anything it's about the relatively toothless and/or niche nature of the other websites that do exist, not about BGG.

    Quote:
    and why post it here and not over there?

    Lack of time. What with trying to live some sort of life in addition to writing, I don't have time to put together multiple articles per week, so if I'm going to write something of article length, I'm going to damn well post it as an article.

    I did consider posting a link over there, but they don't like stand-alone links. So it seemed impolite.

  • dallen

    "...Basically, it’s a monopoly. There’s competition, sure, but BGG is so big and so powerful and so central that its competitors can’t “compete” in any meaningful sense. And out in the real world, everyone thinks that monopolies are bad..."

    sounds pretty bitchy to me pal....

  • avatarChapel

    I love BGG, and I love F:AT. It's two personality types that exist and each has a place to express itself. Don't like BGG's heavy moderation, commercialization of material, and ambiguity of users, and just really don't like the homogenization of games in general? Then F:AT is the perfect place to go. I think BoardGameInfo's biggest failure was that it tried to "BE" BGG, and well, we already have that. F:AT is genuinely different and needed in this environment.

    I think the crux of the argument, and a most difficult problem to fix is well, F:AT is hard to show up on a radar as THAT kind of place. You almost have to be in the BGG community, become disenfranchised enough to seek out F:AT as that alternative lifestyle location. It's not a place that can generally be found out from a google search. F:AT is generally hard to find.

  • avatarJonJacob

    Well, Matt, I agree with you on this one.

    If BGG was the only site it's intrusive mod policy would piss me off even more. As is, if I have anything to contribute, which ranges from never to rare, I'd post it here. Or one of the other sites you mention. I honestly find BGG just too big and as a result too fractured and unwelcoming.

    I don't know what the fuck dallen is talking about as this is probably the first time I've seen you write specifically about BGG. People treat this site like it's one big guy sometimes... and then go out of their way to mention that they're not doing it. Actually BGG talk in the last year or two has been virtually non existent around here.

    Let's keep it that way.

  • avatarMattDP
    Quote:
    sounds pretty bitchy to me pal....

    I think you've taken the quote badly out of context. You missed the following sentence where I attempted to make clear that in the gaming world, a "bad monopoly" isn't really much of a big deal.

  • avatarSuperflyTNT

    Matt, as much as I agree with you about the fact that BGG has a corner on the "all inclusive board gaming site", I have to disagree with your assertion that it's a bad thing.

    Let me tell you why:

    For all the cunts that inhabit BGG, there's ten good folks who just use it as I do: as a launchpad for their own contributions, to trade, and to research games.

    Another point that I disagree with, and find absolutely vexing that you'd note, which was that there's no place else for gamers to coagulate and discuss things. What is this site? What is Heroscapers.com? The fact is that there's plenty of places, some better than others, but I'll grant you that there's not a one-site-fits-all place that equals the scope of BGG.

    Still, as I am someone who is paid to be a market analyst, I have to agree that you're spot on when you say that it's become a marketing site. Anyone who would argue that BGG is not simply a sales and product promotion site above all else is either daft or simply cannot see the forest for the trees.

    Interesting thoughts, and although I think you may have missed the mark, you didn't miss it by much.

  • avatarHatchling

    What I find interesting is that whenever anyone expresses any reasonable concerns about BGG, some whiny douchebag like dallen acts like you spat in his mother's face.

    dallen, since you didn't actually engage Matt's points about pluralism and journalism and think up on your own a few possible counter-points (like tofu has), you just sound like a fucking nerdrager who needs to get a life and out from his mother's basement (figuratively if not literally).

    So, here are some questions that seem to follow from Matt's article:


    Is it important to have good game journalism? Who are affected by it one way or another? Does it influence purchasing or game development? Why or why not? Does the venue of journalism (the place where it is shared, the audience it is addressed to, etc) influence the kind of ideas and opinions that can be expressed? If so, how should a reviewer who is concerned about journalism decide about where to publish his or her work? How do we think about the long term? Is it better to work to change a venue from within, or find alternatives to it? Are there other factors that we need to think about that influence the production and reception of game journalism?

  • avatarBlack Barney

    I think your second reason is your only real valid critism of BGG. Your first one applies to the BGGs of every type of product or service. If you want to write insightful articles or reviews, it's going to benefit or detriment(sp?) some company to some extent (depending on your readership). Writing a scathing movie review or a glowing one does a similar thing if you're a respected reviewer.

    I think that you shouldn't see it as lining commercial pockets but as benefiting the community. The more we buy quality games, the more of them that get made (in theory).

    Good read, thanks!

  • avatarpanzerattack

    There's all together too much angst over 'good journalism' when it comes to board games. There's no real money in it (if anyone is getting paid I expect it's only nominal amounts) so everyone is essentially amateurs. The community is relatively small and you quickly get to know the reviewers and which ones to look out for. You're always going to get crap one paragraph reviews on the Geek, but just shrug your shoulders and move on.

  • tofu  - Monopoly

    Hey Matt,

    I wanted to add a bit more to my first post about the topic of monopolies (and then I ramble on a bit more).

    I think people are in the habit of saying, "Oh, it's a big company. It must be bad." When a monopoly in and of itself is never the problem. It's the monopolistic practices they employ to get there. Microsoft threatening to pull all their products from Dell's lineup in the 90's if they offered any competing products, Ma Bell being the only choice of phone company for 2/3rds the nation, Wal-Mart moving into a small town and disrupting the economy by undercutting prices on a dozen different niche mom-and-pop shops... I think, based on your article, that you feel like this is the case with BGG. It's too big to compete against. It's ruining everyone else's chances of success. Unfortunately, that analogy breaks down. BGG has been around for what, 8 years now? It's like they've always been there, in Internet years. To put it in line with the analogy, Wal-Mart didn't come to town and run you out of business, you decided to open your mom-and-pop shop next door to Wal-Mart, and then realized just how hard it is to compete.

    I agree that sometimes the mods over there can be a bit Draconian, I got into a huge debate with a mod about whether Blue Orange Games "Tell Tale" qualified as a game and deserved an entry in the database. We went on for hours over email. Every point he made to prove that it wasn't a game, I had a counter point of another game in the database that also fit the description.

    "There are no points." -- "Neither in Risk."
    "There is no competition." -- "Neither in Pandemic"
    "There is no winner." -- "Neither in Kakerlaken Poker"
    "There's no game." -- "Neither in Extraordinary Adventures of Baron Munchausen or Rory's Story Cubes"

    I was never able to convince him to add "Tell Tale" to the database, and it was frustrating as hell to be sure, but no matter where you go you're going to run across people in a position of power who don't see eye-to-eye with you; at work, at home with the spouse, everywhere you go you have to put up with people who just won't listen to (what you feel is sound) reason.

    I also cannot support your concerns about BGG cracking down on small designers/publishers promoting themselves. The devs and admins have worked tirelessly on that site for years. They make annual trips to Essen to bring us early reviews, they host their own convention (where the focus of the event is playing games, not selling them). BGG is a labor of love, one that has taken many thousands of hours of hard work and cost thousands of dollars to get where it is today. And all they ask in return is that if you want to come along and take advantage of that work, that they get to control how it's done and get some benefit in return? That's more than fair. In fact, the only bad thing about it is that they didn't figure out this revenue stream 5 years ago. Think of all the money they've lost. Money that could have gone back into the site to make it even better than ever. It's this strange age of entitlement we live in, where I read iPhone game reviews that get 1-star ratings because, "I paid 99c for this piece of crap and it doesn't have online play. I got ripped off." You got ripped off for a dollar? You can't even buy a bottle of Coke for a dollar now days, but people expect that a programmer to spends 6 months of their lives huddled over a keyboard in their every waking moment to just hand that work over for free. Everyone wants to get paid, but nobody wants to pay for anything. It's quite unnerving, really. We, as a society, need to pull our collective heads from our arses and re-evaluate what we expect to get in terms of compensation from our hard work, and then question why would we expect anyone to settle for anything less for their own?

  • avatarAdamK

    I mainly use BGG for two purposes:

    1 - Mainly, I use it to get a sense of how a game is going over with other gamers. While I don't necessarily trust any one review to reflect my tastes, I believe aggregate results can give a fairly accurate indication of a game's worth. In this regard, BGG is no different from Metacritic or Rotten Tomatoes or any other site that has a number of different reviews. I'm not aware of any other board gaming sites that can offer a similar number of different opinions on the same number of games.

    2 - I use it to find factual information about board games. In this regard, it's like our hobby's own IMDB or Wikipedia. There is simply no other site out there that even comes close to the breadth and depth of factual information that BGG has accumulated.

    I see no point whatsoever in spreading those functions out amongst a network of sites. All that would do is dilute their efficacy at serving those purposes.

    If I come across a game I've never seen before that intrigues me, I want one place I can reliably visit to research it.

    Again, look at IMDB - it works because it's more or less the sole authority on movie facts and it's got a massive database that no one else can compete with. The same applies to BGG.

  • avatarVonTush

    BGG as a database is the source, there's no denying that. The problem with BGG is the community that has been created along side it.

    A community forms around themes, likes and biases. And the BGG community is now large enough to shape and influence what products hit the market...A safe bet as a designer or publisher is releasing a game that appeals to that community's preferences. People have made livings off of catering to the BGG community's likes and biases.

    That's why I think a lot of people outside of BGG have a perception of the industry being stagnant and lacking innovation at times.

    So ideally, I would like to see other communities form along side BGG to help differentiate and diversify the products hitting the market.

    What I will give the BGG crowd credit for is lapping up games like Agricola and Pandemic by the boatload to allow companies to have funding for or take a chance on higher risk games like Earth Reborn with otherwise might not have ever seen the light of day.

  • avatarMichael Barnes

    I lost interest in the Boardgamegeek hobby years ago, thanks.

  • avatarMattDP
    Quote:
    And the BGG community is now large enough to shape and influence what products hit the market...A safe bet as a designer or publisher is releasing a game that appeals to that community's preferences. People have made livings off of catering to the BGG community's likes and biases.

    Totally.

  • avatarNagajur

    You will be happy to know that it is the same with other hobby sites. Bird watching has the same issue. The one big site has all the info and database tools for logging and tracking info, but thee are a ton of other sites that exist in orbit because the community is better at those sites. Bgg led me to F:AT. I would be lostwithout its tools. However, my home is here. if it was not for bgg, I would have relied on Amazon. That was going nowhere as I was stuck with Carc for several years. FLGS were dead around here by 2008.

  • avatarMerkles  - re:
    Chapel wrote:
    F:AT as that alternative lifestyle location.

    Holy cow...I'm a member of an "altnerative lifestyle location"?!?!? Man, I only thought that existed in Austin, Portland, San Fran and Seattle! And I'm a poor Aggie.

    Now I can tell people I'm a member of an alternative lifestyle section. I'm now cool and hip and all that!! Yes!!

  • avatarStephen Avery

    MattDP:

    Ditto.

    Steve"Feeling succint"Avery

  • avatarJonJacob  - re: re:
    Merkles wrote:
    Chapel wrote:
    F:AT as that alternative lifestyle location.


    Holy cow...I'm a member of an "altnerative lifestyle location"?!?!? Man, I only thought that existed in Austin, Portland, San Fran and Seattle! And I'm a poor Aggie.

    The internet has decreed that all people live everywhere, if movies hadn't done it already. I've never been to New York but I know Central Park like the back of my hand.

    ... and Adam K, there is a thrid reason to visit BGG you don't list. Trolling.

  • avatarEl Cuajinais

    I use BGG as a database as well and there is no denying that having such a database is very convenient. I post there occasionally there but never bothered with the geek gold nonsense. I find the commentary here much better. I can't be bothered to pull some stats on the BGG population, but I can safely say there is a HUGE amount of cunts in there. As proof, I submit the many posts on the "Rules" section of games which can be answered simply by reading the rules booklet included in the game box.

    Another sign that BGG has hit the big time: I noticed on Friday that the BGG website was blocked on my workplace. I hope they don't do the same to F:AT, otherwise my posting here will get reduced by about 70%.

  • avatarSchweig!

    I used to say I'm using BGG mainly for the database, but since I no longer can, it's F:AT only for me.

    I also realised that:
    I don't need to "organise" a "collection".
    I don't need publishers to know what I want.
    I don't need cunts ruining a good conversation.
    I don't need a website like BGG to trade games.
    BGG's audience is too big for the site's administration (and their mindset).

  • avatarNotahandle

    Good article Matt, I agree mostly. Another example of TOS's domination is the Quarrior article linked to the other day. Once Aldie made a positive comment, the potential publisher became a lot more interested. How can it be good when publishers jump to TOS's drum?

    Hatchling wrote: "Is it better to work to change a venue from within, or find alternatives to it"
    But you cannot change it from within, you get banned.

    tofu wrote: "I got into a huge debate with a mod about whether ... a game ... deserved an entry in the database."
    In my case it was a game by a company that had a very similar game in the database. Since the mod was a lawyer-in-training I mentioned 'precedence'. All to no effect, a sixty year old game sits on my shelf, completely unknown to TOS. I also tried arguing against limiting entries on the basis that disk space is hardly expensive these days. But what can you do, closed minds and all that.

  • avatarvandemonium

    ...welcome to 2006... O_o

  • avatarSagrilarus

    The level of conversation is just higher here (except for dallen apparently). I don't refuse to publish there, but I prefer to publish here.

    You'll write a 20 paragraph article on a game's complex mechanical play, some joker will call you retarded and then the conversation will spin down a hole about how inappopriate the use of the word "retarded" is. Usually before the end of page 1. At least here if someone calls me a retard people take it at face value and move on.

    S.

  • avatarbryce0lynch  - re:
    Sagrilarus wrote:
    The level of conversation is just higher here (except for dallen apparently). I don't refuse to publish there, but I prefer to publish here.

    You'll write a 20 paragraph article on a game's complex mechanical play, some joker will call you retarded and then the conversation will spin down a hole about how inappopriate the use of the word "retarded" is. Usually before the end of page 1. At least here if someone calls me a retard people take it at face value and move on.

    S.

    Strongly Concur., and I've started writing here for the same reasons.

  • avatarStephen Avery

    I am here to bring down the level of conversation. However I'm on summer break. I'll get back to you when I'm a wage slave.

    Steve"me no like fancy talk"Avery

  • avatarBlack Barney

    let's get retardid in here

  • avatarjeb

    BGG as a resource is incredibly valuable. I love it and use it often. BGG as a community is not so hot. Unlike, say, YouTube, this is not a universal truth--aspects of the BGG community are amazing. I know ColtsFan76 will answer my incredibly obscure ARKHAM questions within 15 minutes or so (does he sleep?). I know I can count on some crazy bastard to cough up those MMP and GMT P500 lists every month. Math Trading over there is crazy awesome, as they do not like the games I like; I get crazy stuff like WALLENSTEIN in shrink condition for KING PHILIP'S WAR. That's not going to happen here. I don't think I have ever intentionally posted in the Chit Chat section or whatever they call it. I can tell it's not for me--it's like Flickr--I have posted there about twice despite seeing it probably once a day or more.

    Here, this is home. Despite only having ever actually met one of you people (KingPut!), I feel remarkably close to you, even to Barney, who's probably super creepy. Some folks get this over there, and bully for them. They enjoy and thrive in a place where comparing which European craft clay to make pigs out of counts as meaningful interaction. If you can find a spot on the Internet that's home, then you're doing all right.

  • avatarSuperflyTNT  - re:
    Sagrilarus wrote:
    The level of conversation is just higher here

    Did he just call us a bunch of stoners?

  • avatarSan Il Defanso  - re:
    jeb wrote:
    Math Trading over there is crazy awesome, as they do not like the games I like; I get crazy stuff like WALLENSTEIN in shrink condition for KING PHILIP'S WAR. That's not going to happen here. I don't think I have ever intentionally posted in the Chit Chat section or whatever they call it. I can tell it's not for me--it's like Flickr--I have posted there about twice despite seeing it probably once a day or more.

    I once got a new-in-shrink copy of Nexus Ops for a used Zooloretto. That was over a year ago, and I'm still proud of that one.

  • avatarubarose

    I just really miss BoardGameNews. Opinionated Gamers doesn't quite fill it's shoes. The News format on BGG kind of sucks.

  • avatarKingdaddy

    If you want to see a picture of how central BGG is, here's a link to a blog post about that topic.

    http://bit.ly/rjf7yJ

    Compared to other online communities, BGG is exceptionally central. Many other sites, serving many other communities of interest, wish they could achieve the kind of centrality that BGG has.

    My issue with BGG is that they're policing the wrong things. They're hyper-sensitive to any signs of strongly conflicting opinions among members. While any Internet argument can get stupid fast, the frequency with which it happens on BGG is pretty low.

    My beef is the quality of the discussion, not its temperature. I'm sick of wading through the "I just got a game in the mail, now I'll review it" commentary. I'm suspicious of people who, whenever anyone has anything critical to say about a particular game, they zoom into the conversation faster than a cruise missile to tell someone that they're wrong.

    Free speech advocates like myself say, let a thousand opinions bloom, no matter how ignorant, poorly expressed, or obnoxious. At the same time, I want something better to counterbalance the crud. If it means paid reviews, as Michael Barnes was talking about a while ago, fine, let's get them on BGG, or somewhere. The less formal reviews can act as a quality check on the paid stuff, and vice-versa.

    As for commercialization, which is ultimately the source of paid reviews, or just maintaining the site, it all depends on how you do it. Ads are a pretty obvious mechanism, and I think the BGG folks have handled them pretty well. It's the sub rosa promotional activity that bugs me. For example, what do you say about people like the InD20 group, who asks for copies of games to "review," then publishes a summary of the game that reads like a press release? (Here's an example.) It's not commercialization that helps Derk and Aldie, but it does make me queasy about some of the content on the site.

  • avatarKingdaddy

    And one more thing about BGG: Geek of the Week is the fast road to the insularity and cliquishness that can kill a community site.

  • Agent easy

    As a recent newcomer to this site after using BGG for many years, I'd like to add a few things:

    - this site is to BGG what a microbrewery is to a store that happens to sell beer. This seems to be primarily a discussion forum with longer form articles (written primarily by a few users) as launching points. BGG does way more than this site is trying to do.

    - The level and type of articles and commentary here are different than BGG and it's quite possible that the character of the info here will suit some people better than BGG. I enjoy reading the material here, and reading the exchanges that follow, but I can't really say it's better. When it's good, the conversation here is frank, uncensored, and intelligent. Quite often, though, it also reads like a bunch of guys that think reading themselves swear in ever more creative ways is cool in and of itself. It's certainly an environment that is self-selecting.... The portion of gamers that enjoy the games enjoyed here, that like expressing themselves this way, and like to debate at length about these topics enjoy it here. Not surprising that a site like BGG that is trying to be a larger community resource isn't adopting the same strategy, though!

  • avatarSan Il Defanso

    I know that as a sometimes-contributer, I much prefer to see my reviews posted on F:AT. The last few reviews I have posted on BGG have all gotten maybe 2 or 3 comments, but here they will get 30 or so. The level of discourse here is waaaay higher. And although I sometimes think that everything can devolve into some little spat, that usually isn't the case. No smug comments here. And if the smug gets strong, people get called out. It's more volatile, but that makes it more AT, right?

    I still use the trade function a lot on BGG, and I do like rating stuff and posting comments. That's valuable stuff I think. But there's just too much emphasis there on the numbers side of gaming. Recording plays is a good way to make it seem like we're doing something important, I suppose.

    BGG is also a lousy front door to the hobby. I have a lot of casual gamer friends, who go out and buy something like Dominion now and then. And they all agree that BGG is a trainwreck to navigate.

    And I also miss Boardgame News. Opinionated Gamers tends to be way too Euro-centric and trite for me. And am I the only one who thinks that Board Game Info is an unholy mess to look at?

  • avatarubarose

    @ Kingdaddy

    It seems to me that it makes sense that tiny, niche interest, online communities would be centralized. What other communities as small as the online boardgamer community did you map? I'm just curious as to how many hubs they were able to support.

  • avatarBlack Barney
    Quote:
    I feel remarkably close to you, even to Barney, who's probably super creepy.

    HEY! Only creepy, if anything, on the internets. IRL, you'd feel very comfortable hugging me and maybe even showering with me.

    Quote:
    I don't need cunts ruining a good conversation

    But that's YOU!

  • avatarEl Cuajinais
    Quote:
    HEY! Only creepy, if anything, on the internets. IRL, you'd feel very comfortable hugging me and maybe even showering with me.

    There see. How can you NOT love Barney!

  • avatarSuperflyTNT

    KingDaddy:

    The boys at Boardgameinfo are apparently paying for review content. Not sure how much we're talking, nor any of the details.

    Short version is that I was approached, had some dialogue, and then offered to submit my stuff there for free. I'd like to get paid for my articles, sure, but not in that manner.

  • avatarKingdaddy

    @ubarose:

    We looked at a variety of other communities. Since I'm a software industry analyst, a lot of them fit into that category (for example, Agile development). I also took a quick look at the science fiction book community, to get outside the professional communities of interest. The company behind the tool also looked at a lot of hobby and special interest communities, none of which had a hub like BGG.

  • avatarThirstyMan

    Not in what manner? In the 'getting cash in your hand' manner?

    You boys are far too parochial for your own good. Fuck em...if they want to give you money....take it.

    Money is money after all.

  • darkpact  - Puzzled

    Hi,

    I'm not surprised by these arguments, but to tell the truth I never really used BGG, as it far from being usable. The whole User interface is a pain for my eyes and my head.

    BGG is big as it offers everything in one place. Something everyone prefers. Easy beats cheap. Unluckily BGG will fall one day as myspace has fallen, as it is not modern enough. The next one to build a site like BGG and makes it look better and as widely usable will win.

    These are totally different reasons then the one you gave, but on my side of the ocean here in Europe I have the impression, that BGG exists but is far from being dominant or even a monopoly.

    And from knowing that bloggers can exist next to each other in big numbers continue with your site and keep the fun up.

  • avatarEl Cuajinais
    Quote:
    Short version is that I was approached, had some dialogue, and then offered to submit my stuff there for free. I'd like to get paid for my articles, sure, but not in that manner.

    Did they touch you someplace that made you feel uncomfortable?

  • avatarMattDP
    Quote:
    Did they touch you someplace that made you feel uncomfortable?

    Yeah. His wallet :)

  • avatarAEGTodd  - Publishers PoV

    So here's the thing from our end.

    BGG is a huge resource, absolutely, and I really like the folks running it, but it is not the end-all-be-all of the hobby gaming market. We've gone to countless stores and polled, and only a portion of the customers have heard of BGG much less visit it.

    That said it is the largest fish in the pond when it does come to online hobby gamers, so when it comes to ad budgets that's the place we go, as you can hit the most with the money you have to spend. (Sorry F:AT, I'm hoping to have more moolah to spread around in the coming year). Any other choice would be chasing down a smaller market with the same expenditure, and that's not smart.

    As to them "affecting" what producers make. Perhaps it does to some extent for some of them, but I'd really then question the "making a living" side of that equation. I can't help but feel that the ultimate euro-blended game you could make out of BGG sensibilities might sell 3000-4000 copies, and that's not going to keep anyone out of their day job!

    Personally, I like hanging out there to talk to people about our games, because well, I like our games. I wouldn't be making them if I didn't love playing them and sharing them. Same reason we have a booth at BGGcon. I don't generally read much else on there though, as frankly I don't like wooden cube-pushing games, and I don't care what umpteenth iteration of the top 20 games someone ran a math formula for and felt like making a geeklist about it.

    Anyway, that's all I have to contribute.

  • avatarInfinityMax

    I quit posting to BGG over a year ago, and I haven't missed it one little bit. It was like stepping out of a stifling office into a cool spring day. I was reviewing games before BGG even existed, and since I left BGG, traffic to Drake's Flames has tripled. It's a useful database, but that's the only value I see in it any more.

    Matt, I agree with everything you said. I like Aldie and Derk. They're good guys, and I think they deserve all the success they can get. But at some point, anything that gets as big as their site is going to get unwieldy and it's going to attract jackasses, and BGG jumped that shark a long time ago. I don't want to do the gold exchange lotteries, or rate games, or manage my 'collection'. I regularly use the site as an information repository, but I find nothing else redeeming about it.

    (Quick aside - I would no more call my piles of games a 'collection' than I would call my folded undershirts a 'collection.' I don't collect board games. I just have a bunch. In a similar manner, I happen to own many undershirts.)

  • avatarTheDukester

    "We've gone to countless stores and polled, and only a portion of the customers have heard of BGG much less visit it."

    This is one of the dirty little secrets of BGG: very few people, in absolute terms, have heard of the place or have visited more than once.

    When I was heavily into BGG (circa 2005 through 2007), I was always surprised by how many gamers I talked to who just didn't know or care about BGG. I thought all serious gamers were there. But my perspective was skewed from being on the inside and actually caring (briefly, thank God) about how BGG operated and the things it offered.

    From the outside, though, the picture becomes much more clear. There's lots of online resources out there, ranging from company sites to smaller versions of BGG, to places like F:AT, to one-man blogs.

    Hell, there's a pretty good percentage of gamers who don't want or need online resources at all. They like games ... if there's a game night, they play ... and then they move on to other interests. They simply don't want or need page after page of blather, or a list about what the Omaha Games Club played last Thursday, or an 88-step mathematical proof showing that Die Kuh und die Gurke is a superior game to Einfluss des Bischofs mit Pinguinen.

    I'll close with an anecdote ... I'm sure we've all run into something similar. A couple of weeks ago, I played a five-player game of Arkham Horror, during which the subject of BGG came up. Of the five players:

    1. I was a reluctant member of BGG;
    2. My buddy printed out a player aid, but had no intention of ever joining;
    3. His wife had heard of it, but had never even visited;
    4. and 5. The other two guys had heard of it, surfed a few pages, and were indifferent.

    I'm no longer surprised by this sort of reaction to BGG. I don't think it's quite the giant we (and they) make it out to be. It seems gigantic and all-encompassing if you're on the inside and it's a part of your daily routine. Seen from the outside, though? A niche of a niche of a niche ...

  • avatarJesse  - re:
    Chapel wrote:
    I love BGG, and I love F:AT. It's two personality types that exist and each has a place to express itself. Don't like BGG's heavy moderation, commercialization of material, and ambiguity of users, and just really don't like the homogenization of games in general? Then F:AT is the perfect place to go. I think BoardGameInfo's biggest failure was that it tried to "BE" BGG, and well, we already have that. F:AT is genuinely different and needed in this environment.

    Hmm, I think I disagree that we've been trying to BE BGG. Board Game Info is supposed to be a much more editorial site than BGG, which is all user submitted. We had a news section before BGG did, and a staff of regular columnists and reviewers. The index is never going to be like BGG's database, and its not meant to be.

    Simply put- BGi is a news and reviews website that supports the hobby by catering to game stores and conventions. We really wanted to provide a better place to organize "game events". Hell, I still think our convention calendar is pretty darn useful.

    That being said, its been an uphill battle. We've had considerable support from publishers, willing to donate games to giveaway, post press releases and promote their products. But we are missing the community that we NEED to be successful. Part of the problem is that the site is not very user friendly, and I'm working with the owners to try and take care of that. I'd also like to open the site up a little more for user contributions, though I would still like to maintain a certain level of proficiency in posted reviews.

    The other problem is that BGG will not allow any mention of BGi on the website, anywhere in any form. If somebody asks- Are there any board game news websites around? Any response about BGi will be deleted. I'm not talking about advertising here, but regular BGG users talking about the website. A couple of BGi users posted to BGG telling them about the Summoner Wars and Stronghold Games giveaways, and they were deleted, and *I* was warned, even though I had nothing to do with the posts.

    This is their right of course, but I'm a little disappointed because I was hoping to develop an amicable relationship between the two websites. I like BGG, I use it everyday, and I was hoping that some of the users would benefit from some of our convention calenders, news posts, and so forth.

    Lets be real here- BGi is not a direct competitor to BGG, but I do think the site has a lot of offer, and I'm going to do my best to promote its growth.

  • avatarThirstyMan

    Well I can't find BGi on Google (by typing it in) and I tried Board Game Information and got nowhere.

    I guess if you need more custom, something is going to have to be done about that.

  • avatarNotahandle

    "darkpact:" Welcome! Good comments, particularly the myspace analogy.

    BGi wrote: "The other problem is that BGG will not allow any mention of BGi on the website, anywhere in any form. ... A couple of BGi users posted to BGG telling them about the Summoner Wars and Stronghold Games giveaways, and they were deleted, and *I* was warned, even though I had nothing to do with the posts."
    That's just pathetic.

  • avatarubarose  - re:
    andyinkuwait wrote:
    Well I can't find BGi on Google (by typing it in) and I tried Board Game Information and got nowhere.

    I guess if you need more custom, something is going to have to be done about that.

    BoardGameInfo is a Fortress partner. A link to BGi is conviently located on our front page.

  • avatarubarose  - re: re:
    BGi wrote:
    The other problem is that BGG will not allow any mention of BGi on the website, anywhere in any form. If somebody asks- Are there any board game news websites around? Any response about BGi will be deleted. I'm not talking about advertising here, but regular BGG users talking about the website. A couple of BGi users posted to BGG telling them about the Summoner Wars and Stronghold Games giveaways, and they were deleted, and *I* was warned, even though I had nothing to do with the posts.

    This is their right of course, but I'm a little disappointed because I was hoping to develop an amicable relationship between the two websites.

    Yep. But you have a more sophisticated understanding of the flow of internet traffic.

  • avatarThirstyMan  - re: re:
    ubarose wrote:
    andyinkuwait wrote:
    Well I can't find BGi on Google (by typing it in) and I tried Board Game Information and got nowhere.

    I guess if you need more custom, something is going to have to be done about that.


    BoardGameInfo is a Fortress partner. A link to BGi is conviently located on our front page.

    Thanks Uba...I am such a dick!

    However, for those outside F:AT they will still use Google and won't be able to find the site very easily.

  • avatarMsample

    I use both BGG and F:AT, but for different purposes. As others have pointed out, BGG functions well as a database. However, the douchebag quotient is quite high. Whether it be the loser who types in 18 different color fonts or the blowhard that shows up to diss anyone who dares disagree with the collective wisdowm over there, it can be a shallow gene pool. Could the site be better? Sure, but it is light years ahead of Consimworld in terms of UI. But once you get used to it, you deal with it and move on.

    I think part of the issue, and this also parallels CSW once again, is that the dominance of the site relieves the manufacturers of the burden of generating their own content or support for their games. It irks me when I see BGG be the exclusive seller of say a set of expansion cards for a game like Dominion. I'd rather put the money directly into the publisher's hands, but obviously they don't want to be bothered with a $5 sale I guess. It perpetuates the growing black hole for all boardgame content if stuff like this drives people to the same site over and over again.

    I do want to make clear that I certainly don't begrudge what Derk and Aldie have done to make a business out of it. If they can make a living out of it, good for them. I do think they have missed some opportunities and sometimes get caught up in the "feel good" nature of things and it leads them to stuff like BGG.Con, which from what I have read sells out, but doesn't net them a lot of money when they are done with expenses.

    Edit: Just read about the purging of all things related to BGI by the BGG mods. Makes me glad I have yet to contribute any $$ to BGG. That's just petty .

  • avatarJonJacob  - re: re:
    BGi wrote:

    The other problem is that BGG will not allow any mention of BGi on the website, anywhere in any form. If somebody asks- Are there any board game news websites around? Any response about BGi will be deleted.

    I'm going to test this out tonight. If this is true it's utter bullshit... if it's true then we should ALL post about BGi on there.

  • avatarInfinityMax

    That deletion of BGi references is pathetic. It smacks of paranoia and a complete lack of confidence. Which does not surprise me at all.

  • avatarKen B.

    I am pretty sure they will delete references to here too; though at one point I think that was written off as being about Barnes' banning. Some folks have put links to our reviews in the different game sections, and as far as I know those have stayed.

  • avatarMattDP
    Quote:
    I'm going to test this out tonight. If this is true it's utter bullshit... if it's true then we should ALL post about BGi on there.
    Quote:
    I am pretty sure they will delete references to here too;

    We should totally test this out en masse. If they're deleting stuff like that it's below feeble.

  • avatarChapel  - re: re:
    BGi wrote:

    Hmm, I think I disagree that we've been trying to BE BGG. Board Game Info is supposed to be a much more editorial site than BGG, which is all user submitted. We had a news section before BGG did, and a staff of regular columnists and reviewers. The index is never going to be like BGG's database, and its not meant to be.

    Simply put- BGi is a news and reviews website that supports the hobby by catering to game stores and conventions. We really wanted to provide a better place to organize "game events". Hell, I still think our convention calendar is pretty darn useful.

    That being said, its been an uphill battle. We've had considerable support from publishers, willing to donate games to giveaway, post press releases and promote their products. But we are missing the community that we NEED to be successful. Part of the problem is that the site is not very user friendly, and I'm working with the owners to try and take care of that. I'd also like to open the site up a little more for user contributions, though I would still like to maintain a certain level of proficiency in posted reviews.

    The other problem is that BGG will not allow any mention of BGi on the website, anywhere in any form. If somebody asks- Are there any board game news websites around? Any response about BGi will be deleted. I'm not talking about advertising here, but regular BGG users talking about the website. A couple of BGi users posted to BGG telling them about the Summoner Wars and Stronghold Games giveaways, and they were deleted, and *I* was warned, even though I had nothing to do with the posts.

    This is their right of course, but I'm a little disappointed because I was hoping to develop an amicable relationship between the two websites. I like BGG, I use it everyday, and I was hoping that some of the users would benefit from some of our convention calenders, news posts, and so forth.

    Lets be real here- BGi is not a direct competitor to BGG, but I do think the site has a lot of offer, and I'm going to do my best to promote its growth.


    Oh, really?

    <br /> http://board-game-geek.com/

  • avatarMichael Barnes

    Whoa. I just caught this about them deleting mention of BGi. Barnes response?

    FUCK THAT PLACE. I 100% support a carpet-bombing of the site with BGi comments, links, logos, whatever. I'll participate however I can. I haven't participated much over there at BGi, but I'll do what I can from here on out to help out a fellow site with similar goals.

    BGi is _always_ welcome here. Because we're not afraid that people might realize that our site totally fucking sucks because of the terrible interface, cliquish userbase, and bizarre atmosphere and stop coming. We're also not run by a overly sensitive neb who flips out when someone tells him that he's "full of crap".

    Fuck the database. You guys talk about it like it's this indispensible wealth of information. Yet most of it is just trash, and I don't know about others but I played and enjoyed games for a good 15 or so years before BGG came out and I never once though "man, I wish there was a place online where I could look at some variant rules some know-it-all jackass made for Dune". I never needed all of that information because games simply weren't this central, defining element of my life. BGG makes games that, and that's why BGG is a different hobby than playing board games.

    Anyway, BGG can rot in hell and the whole thing can get deleted for all I care if they're going to censor mention of other sites. They've done that to us with Gameshark, Bill Abner was "warned" about linking to our reviews there yet others have done it and they've not bothered to stop it. I bet if one of the BGG elite started a site they'd let them promote it.

    Don't need BGG. Give it up. If you don't want it to be central to the hobby, go to BGi, Drake's Flames, Fortress AT, and any other site that covers games.

  • avatarubarose  - re: re: re:
    Chapel wrote:

    I'm appalled and there is nothing that anyone can say that can change my mind about the total wrongness of this. I'm not going to say anymore, because if I do I'd have to report myself to Juniper.

  • avatarOctavian

    I hate talking shop here, but we most certainly do not delete every single mention of BGi over on BGG. They have their one thread in the Press Releases forum. Users not affiliated with BGi can and do mention them without having comments deleted. We've even approved a microbadge for them. Saying "BGG will not allow any mention of BGi on the website, anywhere in any form" is, at best, a gross exaggeration.

    It's true that James isn't welcome on the site and that we aren't allowing him or his employees to use BGG for free advertising. We feel it is a justified respone to several of James' past and current business practices that we've taken exception to (the aforementioned link being one example).

  • avatarSagrilarus

    I've published F:At links on BGG and even put them through admin approval with no issues.

    S.

  • avatarKen B.

    Yeah, I think that stuff with deleting our links was a long time ago, and had to do with Barnes' content. I haven't really put it to the test or anything, nor paid it much attention since then.

  • avatarHatchling

    There are tons of links on BGG to reviews -- including many by Barnes -- on the Fort and Gameshark. Just go down to the external links section of a game page and you'll find them. I believe that all of those links are approved by admins, not mere mods.

    Pretty sleezy stuff by BGI to put up that imitation BGG website to try to redirect traffic their way. That's total bottom feeding.

  • avatarJesse  - re: re: re: re:
    Chapel wrote:

    [/quote]

    Wow, I've never seen that before. Not too crazy about it. I've been trying to promote an amicable relationship between BGi and all of these other websites, and this obviously has the exact opposite effect.

    *sigh*

  • avatarJesse

    In fact, I'm resigning as Editor of BGi, because that link runs completely counter to everything I've tried to do with the website.

  • avatarozjesting

    I dont buy into the us vs them discussion here...but given where the comments have gone on this thread we have a concern. Since there seems to be an argument for games "journalism" here at F:AT and in general...I find it disturbing how quickly many react to "facts" with out doing the journalistic thing and checking them out!

    "BGG kills babys!!!"

    "What, they kill babys?!? Lets kill THEM!"

    "Oh, just found out they don't kill babys"

    "Oh ok....umm...nevermind."

    It is lazy reactive silliness.

    BGG has its place in terms of how I use it...as does F:AT. I enjoy them both. But really...do we have to have this handwringing foolishness every 6 months? Surely we decided last time F:AT is above that and should focus on what it does best.

  • avatarShellhead

    BGG is an excellent resource in many respects, but I agree with Barnes that it isn't essential to the enjoyment of boardgames. I was playing boardgames for 3 decades before I ever heard of BGG. I do prefer F:AT for more in-depth analysis and reviews. And I have no desire to ever post in the BGG forums again, due to all the passive-aggressive nancy-boys trolling the threads there.

  • avatarMichael Barnes

    Wow...yeah, I feel bamboozled now. That phony site isn't any more right than BGG censoring BGi comments, and it does give Octavian's line some credence in terms of their business practices and why BGI isn't welcome there.

    And really, BGG ultimately is a business and if another business is doing something like this with the fake site...then yes, it's definitely just cause to take action.

    Come clean BGI guy...somebody in your camp did this...you had to have known about it if you're the editor there. Just own up to it.

    Oz, I think part of it is that nobody here has been really pissed off about anything in months now and they're ready to fly off the handle at something. I know I am, I was hoping that the Godzilla review would whip people into a frenzy but it didn't.

  • avatarJonJacob

    I agree with Uba and Mr. Moto. It is funny and unethical at the same time. But that's quite often the case with humor. In any case I'm happy that I said "if" this is true.

    whatever happened to Freakout Fridays, it should be an event where we are required to be dicks, that would shake the site up something fierce.

  • avatarJesse

    Barnes,

    Check the front page of BGi. I resigned as editor. Why? Because I didn't know about it. I don't want to be associated with those types of business practices.

    Not only is it shady, but its bad for business. Why would you alienate all of the users of the largest board game website by pissing them all off?

  • avatarubarose  - re:
    BGi wrote:
    In fact, I'm resigning as Editor of BGi, because that link runs completely counter to everything I've tried to do with the website.

    Wow, he actually resigned.
    BGi Guy Resigns as editor of BGi

    Yes he is/was their editor, not the owner or webmaster.

    BGi is owned by Minion Development Corp i.e. James Mathe.

  • avatarubarose

    BGi guy beat me to it.

    Hey Zaphod, you should change your user name and get an avatar. There may be some dicks here, but no douchbags. Also we only piss off a few people on BGG, not all of them.

  • avatarSpace Ghost  - re:
    Michael Barnes wrote:
    I know I am, I was hoping that the Godzilla review would whip people into a frenzy but it didn't.

    I have been waiting for something...maybe for you to insult my corporate sensibilities or my blatant promotion of responsible credit card use as a manner to game the system :) But, you have been playing nice lately -- much to my disappointment. Hell, you didn't even take my bait about Fantastic Four Pinball and how big of a letdown.

    As for the Godzilla review, I think that everyone tempered their hopes well before it was out.

  • avatarSpace Ghost

    Zaphod -- you should definitely grab an avatar and join the fold.

  • avatarJesse

    Done!

  • avatarSpace Ghost

    nice; glad you are still using the EBL avatar

  • avatarozjesting  - re:
    Michael Barnes wrote:
    Oz, I think part of it is that nobody here has been really pissed off about anything in months now and they're ready to fly off the handle at something. I know I am, I was hoping that the Godzilla review would whip people into a frenzy but it didn't.

    MB...that WAS me flying off the handle trying to be part of the fun. I really am quite laid back ;)

  • avatarMattDP

    Wow, this thread went a bit nuts overnight. I had no idea what was in store when I posted the article!

    Glad to know that BGG aren't deleting references to competitors.

  • avatarKen B.

    I apologize if I was 'reactional'. At one time it was certainly an but apparently hasn't been so in quite some time. Bit of foot in mouth, there.

  • avatarJackwraith

    Hm. Well, I maintain a collection over at BGG for the sake of math trades that are organized there. That's about it. I don't post anymore because a) I don't really have time and b) I'd prefer to post here (even at the minimal rate at which I do that.)

  • avatardysjunct

    I like BGG. By far my favorite part is the Geekbuddy Analysis. I have most of you on my GB list, and I like being able to easily get a sense of what everyone thinks about a particular game. Yeah, I could post a thread there asking about it and wait for replies to trickle in, but the immediacy is convenient.

    I keep the trade list current too.

  • avatarjeb

    What dysjunct said. The GeekBuddy analysis is great. Plus you can find some ancient Barnes thoughts that are just crack ups now. I gently encourage folks here to check those ratings and comments on BGG from time to time just so my GB analysis keeps working. ;)

    This is the Internet people. SETEC ASTROMONY and all that.

    Quote:
    Registrant:
    James Mathe

    Registered through: GoDaddy.com, Inc. (http://www.godaddy.com)
    Domain Name: BOARD-GAME-GEEK.COM

    'Tis himself.

  • avatarMichael Barnes

    OK Jesse, you're off the hook brother...it does look like it's this James character that's the culprit. That is really shitty, and I don't blame BGG for taking action Releash the hounds.

    Anyway, you're among friends...and woe befall James if he registers Fortress-AT.com...

  • avatarWoodall

    The quality of writing over here is much higher than BGG but that's also probably true in part because the lower quantity of posts limits the noise here. Though even this comment section here has well written responses and conversations. :)

    BGG is basically just too sterilized and homogenous for me to take as a review site anymore. Even the genre labels (strategy vs. thematic) are so inoffensive to the point of being a non-descriptive bore. Is War of the Ring not a game of strategy? Evidently not, according to BGG. Just doesn't make any sense to me.

    The site itself is great for searching as a database but also bland (evidently they are redesigning it) and not visually engaging. Of course, that boardgameinfo has managed to take the visual design down even further.

    This site at least posts the content that I want to read front and center with some color so it grabs the eye. And I appreciate the fact that people will call a piece of shit game a piece of shit game here without blinking. That's refreshing, especially after unwittingly finding myself in a game of Macao recently. I knew I was in trouble on turn 1 but felt I should be polite and finish the game out. Absolute crap.

  • avatarSuperflyTNT  - re:
    andyinkuwait wrote:
    Not in what manner? In the 'getting cash in your hand' manner?

    You boys are far too parochial for your own good. Fuck em...if they want to give you money....take it.

    Money is money after all.

    HA! No, not like that. I know some people get paid to do reviews, but I don't really need the money. Not saying I make a fortune, because I don't, and especially raising 2 kids and a high-maintenance wife on one income isn't easy.

    My point was that if I'm going to get paid to write, it's going to be as a writer for a magazine or newspaper. I was doing the blog anyhow, and I give everything related to the site away (review copies, unrestricted content usage, my publishing contacts to other bloggers...) and I'd like to keep it that way.

    Plus, there's a tax burden involved and I can't press my luck regarding alternative minimum tax or audits. I have an accountant that keeps me in the good graces of the Feds, and I'm already in the FBI and TSA databases, so I'm not pressing any harder.


    Regarding Jesse's resignation: I've talked with him several times and he always appeared to be a class act. This just underscores the fact that my initial impressions were correct.

    That's fucking class.

  • avatarSuperflyTNT

    And thanks to all of you who mentioned Geekbuddy analysis. Never knew it existed.

    I use BGG's Find-A-Friend (not that kind of friend, you fucks) deal and I've actually met some good folks to game with around here, out in the sticks.

    I just wish some F:ATties were closer so I could have some cool kids to play war toys with.

  • avatarubarose  - re:
    jwoodall04 wrote:
    The quality of writing over here is much higher than BGG but that's also probably true in part because the lower quantity of posts limits the noise here.

    I think the quality of writing tends to be better on all the small game sites and blogs. I feel that this is in large part do to the fact that the content is created by people who are committed to writing and who write frequently. Simply writing one game review every week for a year is going to improve a person's writing skills.

    Quote:
    BGG is basically just too sterilized and homogenous for me to take as a review site anymore. Even the genre labels (strategy vs. thematic) are so inoffensive to the point of being a non-descriptive bore. ...And I appreciate the fact that people will call a piece of shit game a piece of shit game here without blinking.

    I think that this gets to the heart of why a person would choose to write for a small game site or blog rather than BGG. A good writer knows his audience and writes for that audience. All game sites and blogs tend to be pretty homogeneous in tone and point of view. They are just each homogeneous in their own way. BGG's audience is large and broad. To write for it you have to aim for the middle and are almost forced to end with a disclaimer that other gamers might not feel the same way you do about the game. If your taste is somewhere in that middle ground, and your writing style is mild and inoffensive, then BGG is a natural fit. If not, then it is probably easier and more enjoyable to write for a smaller site/blog with a narrower audience. In the past, Aldie has encouraged writers to reprint their game reviews in whole on BGG, rather than just a link. I feel that this is not a good idea if the original review was written for a narrow audience whose tastes and sensibility are too far off from that BGG middle ground. At best the reader loses the context of the site where the article was originally published. At worst you end up with a debacle and a locked thread.

  • avatarJesse  - re:
    Michael Barnes wrote:
    That is really shitty, and I don't blame BGG for taking action Releash the hounds.

    Yeah, at first I thought BGG was removing the links because they perceived BGi as a competitor, but now I see why they were doing it, and they are certainly in the right.

  • avatarMattLoter

    Oz, I think part of it is that nobody here has been really pissed off about anything in months now and they're ready to fly off the handle at something. I know I am, I was hoping that the Godzilla review would whip people into a frenzy but it didn't.

    If calling your baby a jerk didn't get you worked up, well then I'm out of ideas and I seem to have lost my touch.

    Also, I repost my reviews to BGG with a link back to the fort and have never had any trouble. Well, other than my Ravenloft review getting locked cause there are a whole lot of idiots over there who didn't like getting called out as such. But the review itself is in fact still up.

  • avatarNotahandle

    Octavian wrote: "It's true that James isn't welcome on the site and that we aren't allowing him or his employees to use BGG for free advertising. We feel it is a justified respone to several of James' past and current business practices that we've taken exception to (the aforementioned link being one example)."
    If "business practices" are the reason, then could you explain why Seth Hiatt got away with so much and for so long? And still continues to do so?

    ubarose wrote:
    "Wow, he actually resigned. 
BGi Guy Resigns as editor of BGi"
    This is a sad day for F:AT. One of our articles causes a major controversy, which results in a resignation. and the individual responsible is . . . Chapel! O M fucking G!! :)

  • avatarMsample

    "If "business practices" are the reason, then could you explain why Seth Hiatt got away with so much and for so long? And still continues to do so? "

    One the one hand, it drives me nuts to see that anyone who reads BGG deals with that asshole. There are more threads about his shitty service than all other companies put together.

    On the flip side, it does present a bit of a slippery slope. How do you quanitify how much a company has to fuck up/screw it's customers before you ban them?

  • avatarSuperflyTNT

    Half of me wants to persistently reprint that on my BGG blogspace so the Crokgate article is always near the front page.

    That being said, he appears to have remedied the situation and isn't doing that anymore, so I chalk it up to bygones and the power of the free press to stop nefarious activities.

  • avatarXlyce
    Quote:
    How do you quanitify how much a company has to fuck up/screw it's customers before you ban them?

    Check with John Bohrer, BGG has banned Winsome Games

  • Gronak

    >Don't need BGG. Give it up. If you don't want it to be central to the hobby, go to BGi, Drake's Flames, Fortress AT, and any other site that covers games.
    >

    How about a list of links? Frequently I read references to "over on JSxo's they said..." but never a URL. FaT suffers from too much in-speak.

  • avatarubarose  - re:
    Gronak wrote:
    >Don't need BGG. Give it up. If you don't want it to be central to the hobby, go to BGi, Drake's Flames, Fortress AT, and any other site that covers games.
    >

    How about a list of links? Frequently I read references to "over on JSxo's they said..." but never a URL. FaT suffers from too much in-speak.

    Front page of FAT. Scroll down to Fortress Partners. There are a few good places to start.

  • avatarNotahandle

    Msample wrote: "How do you quanitify how much a company has to fuck up/screw it's customers before you ban them??"
    Why bother? TOS has never been consistent anyway.

  • avatargvegas  - re: Monopoly
    tofu wrote:
    It's this strange age of entitlement we live in, where I read iPhone game reviews that get 1-star ratings because, "I paid 99c for this piece of crap and it doesn't have online play. I got ripped off." You got ripped off for a dollar? You can't even buy a bottle of Coke for a dollar now days, but people expect that a programmer to spends 6 months of their lives huddled over a keyboard in their every waking moment to just hand that work over for free. Everyone wants to get paid, but nobody wants to pay for anything. It's quite unnerving, really. We, as a society, need to pull our collective heads from our arses and re-evaluate what we expect to get in terms of compensation from our hard work, and then question why would we expect anyone to settle for anything less for their own?

    Amen! It is truly ridiculous, and a function of the information age and free internet (which I totally love, BTW!) that we seem to have come to expect, by proxy, that everything must be free or ridiculously cheap. I just overheard a friend bitchin' about the ads he had to view in his FREE copy of angry birds. I had to give him a reality check, "Dude, it's freakin' free! If you're not going to pay for it, someone has to, so the guy agreed to ads in a banner to compensate him when people like you refused to pay! If you don't want the ads, I guess you'll have to pony up!" He saw the point. I think people just needed to be reminded of this from time to time. Most look like they woke up from a dream (of infinite freeness) when you remind them that some people might actually like to make something for their work! It's kind of hard to argue with, but people seem to expect everything to be free nowadays. I totally agree with the OP.

    This also reminds me of a great rant I saw and use with my students over at the college every semester from Louis CK. You should check it out, it's hilarious and sums up this train of thought quite well, I think. Here's the address. I'm new here, and not quite sure how to embed something.

    If this embed command does not work, here's the link:

    http://youtu.be/8r1CZTLk-Gk

  • avatarGary Sax

    Yeah, in the past I have reprinted in total stuff for BGG I submitted here in articles. I'm not sure now that's a good idea, nor would I do it again.

    Also, I've been nodding along with pretty much everything Jeb said.

  • avatardaveroswell  - We have TWO primary gaming sites already

    I have two gaming personalities: my professional "use games to teach" personailty and my drink Boones Farm out of my own shoe while I blow something up personality. I have BGG for my teacher stuff and F: At for the other.

    Also: Now I can use BGG as a reference for kids who actually want to learn about how to create player aids and modify game components.

    F: AT I use for opinions and BGG for rules references.

  • avatarSagrilarus

    With the smaller community on F:At a higher level of conversation occurs. I think most people aren't willing to risk dropping a cheese-post into the fast lane of the conversation. And when they do they're ignored. So there's very little positive feedback for providing empty posts.

    My biggest issue with BGG now is that it's becoming a platform for branding, and not just game companies. Even average Joes are coming up with trademarks and slogans for their material. Everyone wants to be Tom Vasel apparently. The subject matter is often secondary. I guess that's the drawback to being the center of attention.

    S.

  • avatarNotahandle

    Read the new plonkcast by Average Joe. To avoid the risk of stress to the reader his reviews rate every game a seven. His slogan/title: "7's Up!"!!

  • avatardprijadi

    i dont know if BGG got such bad reputation (regarding commercialization of the site)..

    it seem ok site to me..

  • fuckbgg  - Gas 'em!

    I agree with Barnes. All BGG users should be liquidated, Treblinka-style.

  • fuckbgg

    Although a lot of you asshats spend a lot of time thinking about BGG for people who despise it so much. Maybe you should join them in their demise?

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