The BGG games pages include tons of community contributed content. Obviously, I am an avid user of the site, but have traditionally participated to a limited degree and have been remiss in tangibly thanking others for their contributions. Let’s take a quick look at the various ways you can contribute to the site information and recognize the efforts of others, using Pandemic as our example..
Round 1: Basics
At the most basic level, each game page has a few pieces of information that you can easily contribute to. There are user ratings (discussed at length in the series on “hate rating”), “favorite” indicator (heart), player count, appropriate ages, and complexity rating. These all require minimum effort to contribute your feedback and provide valuable information to gamers. For example: There are so many games that have a player count “2-4”, but one of those is significantly better or worse than the other two. With enough feedback from gamers, it is easier to see whether that game has a place in your collection or on the table for a particular game night.
Despite the ease of adding your vote to these stats, they are terribly underused. Let’s take a look at Pandemic, which is a popular game that has been around for over 8 years. (Taken from: https://boardgamegeek.com/boardgame/30549/pandemic on 03-14-17)
- Page Views: 2,300,032!
- Own: 86,519
- Ratings: 60,839
- Comments: 11,159
- Player Count Votes: 1121
- Age Votes: 336
- Complexity Rating: 4361
- Favorite/Fans: 4783
Perhaps, people don’t vote if the stats are about where they think are appropriate, but some of these vote counts are very low (~0.55% for Age appropriateness). Or maybe players don’t feel qualified to comment on some of these. If I have only played it 2-player, how should I vote? If I don’t play games with children, how would I know what they can absorb?
The Ratings and Comments can be easily entered/updated from several pages (e.g., user collection), so they get the most attention. Even so, I find it curious that more people have marked it as owned than have rated it.
Round 2: Community Participation
Another way to participate in the community is to provide questions, comments, answers, etc. in the forums. There are forums for just about everything on the site, but we’ll continue with our look at Pandemic and the forum attached to this game page. There are 2,183 forums in 8 different categories and who knows how many actual total entries on each. This seems like a pretty good number, but a closer look shows that it is not as active as you might think (or at least as I thought it would be). The newest entry to a forum was 8 days ago, then 1 at 10 days, and 7 more within the month. Obviously, this is an older game and the forums are probably most active when a game is new, but I found this level of activity light.
In any case, the forums are a great place to get answers to questions and most people seem to be civil about their answers, though there seems to always be “that guy” who watches the forums of his favorite games and scolds people for asking questions that are already answered sometime in the past.
Round 3: Community Contributor
There are many ways to participate in the site and this is an area where I personally need a boost. Since my focus is to create content on the Opie Games site, the majority of my efforts goes here. I also tend to subscribe or watch too many BGG forums, guilds, etc., so my subscriptions page is overwhelming to digest and jump into the dialog. I suggest watching a few things that you are passionate about and joining the dialog and answer questions as you can.
Round 4: A Thankful Recipient
The BGG site provides a number of ways to show your appreciation for the efforts of others.
- This is an obvious way to show appreciation.
- This lets content providers know that they have a regular audience and, trust me, provides motivation to keep up the good work and maybe do more.
Gift Geek Gold
- It is easy to gift Geek Gold to contributors as well.
- Geek Gold might be a rare commodity for you, but as you support the site or contribute content, it will be more available.
While the BGG administrators work diligently to provide as much information as possible about our hobby, the BGG site thrives on the contributions of its community. I have been trying to make a more conscious effort to provide information and vote whenever I visit the site, but it is still easy to dine and dash.
I suggest that whenever you visit the site to get information, watch a video, or whatever, you take the extra few minutes to contribute some information back. If you liked someone’s video or forum post, then “like” it on the site and drop some Geek gold for them.
A suggestion for the BGG administrators is to consider how to make this information more readily available from the pages that are most used by the most active in the community to improve on participation.
Do you contribute to the “Community” information/recommendations on the games pages (i.e., player count, appropriate ages, complexity rating)? What information do you contribute? Do you have any rules as to when you will contribute (e.g. number of plays)?