It’s Friday, the week is over, the shots are flowing, and I’m thinking about board games.
Because that’s what I do!
One of the best things for a lot of board gamers is Boardgame Geek.
You can find so much good stuff on the Geek, including news from Eric Martin and the wonderful Candace Harris to a listing for basically every board game that has ever even been a figment of somebody’s imagination.
Ok, that’s a bit of an exaggeration, but not much!
I almost live on the Geek. I visit it multiple times a day.
I look at it every day, I subscribe to the forums for every game that I own, and even to a few that I may want to own in the future (or just want to follow even though I don’t own them).
Of course, as my game ownership has increased, that means my forum post subscriptions have increased exponentially from there!
Which got me to thinking (though maybe that’s the vodka talking), how do you use the Geek?
I come to the Geek a few times a day to see what has been posted about the games I own. I go to the Subscriptions tab and end up clearing out (“mark read” without actually reading) a whole bunch of posts because I know they will be something I’m not interested in.
But I do it, and then go to read the remainder of the posts.
One thing I wish is that you could avoid subscribing to individual forums within a game. If I don’t want to subscribe to “Play By Forum” (PBF) games of Arkham Horror: the Adventure Card Game but I want to subscribe to the Rules forum, I wish I could do that. But I don’t think you can (or my limited brain power hasn’t figured out how to do that).
I also use it as a collection service, noting when I own a game, when I have played a game, and rating every game that I have played.
The rating system is a little weird. Many people have many different ways to interpret what the ratings mean.
I take it to mean exactly what it says.
When you rate a game a “7”, it says “Good, usually willing to play.”
That’s what I rate the game if that’s how I feel about it.
If I will actively put forward a game to play, then I may rate it higher.
Others use the rating as a “quality” rating, which I don’t think works very well. I rate Factory Fun as a 3 because there is no way in hell that I will ever want to play it, even if that’s the only game on offer during a game day.
That doesn’t mean I think it’s a bad game.
I just have no interest in playing it.
Thus, I don’t have a problem rating games that I’ve only played once.
The rating may change as I play it more, but even after one play, I know whether or not I want to play it again and how enthusiastic I am about it.
Which is how I do my “Top 25 Games Played of All Time” posts.
I use the wonderful Pub Meeple web app to rank all of my games for those posts (there may be another Top 25 coming in 2024!)
In order to rank your games, though, you need to have rated them on BGG.
So I rate my games as soon as I have played them.
I adjust the ratings if I play them more, but it’s important for me to get those ratings in.
Some would say I’m using it wrong, but for me it’s a matter of “do I want to play this game if it’s offered?” and I’m fine with that.
I also use BGG as a “games I own” collection.
People can go to my profile and see what games I own, what expansions I own, and then laugh at me because I’ve previously said I don’t want to have a huge collection yet clearly I do.
Both the plays as well as the collection status is beautifully synchronized with the great iOS app I use to keep track of plays, Boardgame Stats.
I’ve written about them before, and I highly recommend the app if you want to record any plays at all. Or even if you just want to record your collection!
Anyway, let’s get back to Boardgame Geek.
Now that I own so many boardgames, the forum subscriptions have become a little unwieldy, though that would be mitigated if I could unsubscribe to certain subforums in each game.
But I love seeing forum posts for the games, whether they are rules questions, some general questions or comments about the game, or whatever.
I end up marking so many as “read” even before reading them that when I have 145 posts to read, that’s really just, like, 50 or so.
Of course it’s work to mark them all read, so maybe I need to start rethinking this.
I will go back briefly to the news section of BGG, though.
Eric has always been a great source of boardgame news, but the addition of Candace has been a godsend.
First, she covers wargames which has always been missing from the news section.
But even when she doesn’t do wargames, the games she talks about are always interesting.
Between the two of them, I feel like I am truly informed about games that are coming through the pipeline.
Hell, I even use their posts as prompts for my own news posts!
(Maybe that means I shouldn’t point you to them, but I don’t care. They’re worth reading!).
That’s probably enough rambling for today, so I’ll just leave you with the question.
How do you use Boardgame Geek?
A source of boardgame news from some awesome news reporters?
A way to keep track of your games, or the games you’ve played?
A way to be involved with the fandom of the games you really like?
Let me know in the comments.
Same way you do, generally… news about games I own or am interested in, track my collection and use to sell or trade games (that has fallen way off since it has become so much more expensive for Americans to send mail outside their country), and most of all be there to answer questions about my game designs, post errata and variants to them, etc.
The game ratings are worse than useless. Just find ones with comments and read them, though even these are useless much of the time. In my early days I got thoroughly sick of people marking down my games because the counter stock was too thin or something.
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I can certainly get that last post. I’m sure it is annoying. I don’t place much stock in the overall ratings on BGG. In a way, it’s kind of personal to me and just a way for me to keep track of my desire to play a game.
If PubMeeple didn’t require a rating to rank and if I wasn’t doing this blog so that a ranking is important, I probably wouldn’t bother.
Three major reasons:
1) An easy digital link to my collection
2) Checking forum threads when I have a rules question (typically when I have a question, someone else has already asked the exact same one)
3) Checking weight/playtime for games I’m thinking about buying. For example, I had Viva Java in my hands at my FLGS garage sale today, but put it back when I found the average playtime is 90 minutes (well outside my usual time limit). The basic info page is quite useful!
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Those are all good reasons! The rules questions are such a good help
I mostly use it to log plays… and when I’m into a game, to devour all kinds of text about it. Session reports. Strategy. Everything.
Also, it’sqn invaluable resource for research on any given blog post on history in board games!
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That is true! Many good reasons there, and I hadn’t even thought about the historical aspect of it.
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