So you’ve been playing tabletop games for years, you’ve got every expansion for Firefly and Ticket to Ride, and you’ve got piles of manic scribbles in a desk draw that you open up gleefully at the end of every day of work.
You love designing games, and now you’ve taken the plunge into the vast and, at times, intimidating, ocean of tabletop game publishing. You’ve read every one of Jamey Stegmaier’s and James Mathe’s blogs (or realistically not because jeez there’s a lot of them), and you’re absolutely ready for a Kickstarter campaign, the fulfillment, the manufacturing, the marketing, and everything – except for one thing.
On all the forums, websites, blogs, facebook groups and more, you hear about boardgamegeek.com, an old school corner of the internet dedicated to tabletop gaming – talking about it, logging it, categorising it, critiquing it, everything. You may have come across it as a hobbyist, it’s got a lot of info on board games and so many places reference it, it’s hard not to at least heard of it.
But using it as a publisher? WHOLE different board game.
It’s like playing Uno a few times and then saying you could give Twilight Imperium a crack. Sure, you could, but it’s gonna be a steep learning curve. Or it seems so intimidating that you ignore it and miss out on the marvellousness of it all. (If you can see a copy of Uno right now, kindly recycle it and immediately purchase a copy of a heavy euro game).
So I’ve been using boardgamegeek.com (which I will now just refer to as the geek because I’m lazy) as a publisher/designer for the last 18 months under the moniker peetreeblinky (an amalgam of two teenage nicknames – don’t ask), and what I’m hoping I’ll be able to do is to illuminate the various ways in which you, as a fellow indie publisher, can use the geek as a tool to help you build, shape and discuss your games.
You’ll notice I didn’t say market. We’ll get to that.
The magic of the geek is the level of the enthusiasm of its users, in spite of the somewhat outdated user interface, but there are a lot of challenges and obstacles that prevent a publisher-user from tapping into that, or in some cases, wanting to.
So here in this series of blogs I’m going to run through all the practical things you’ll need to know, as well as some commentary on what I’ve found to be the most effective, or useless, ways of doing things.
I’ll also probably whine about UX (user experience) a LOT, so please bear with me.
I sincerely hope that this is a useful resource for you, and that by reading these articles you’ll be able to more effectively use the geek to grow your projects, and ultimately, your publishing business.
So here’s what we’re going to cover:
- Intro – this is the one you’re reading…
- Your Personal Profile
- Your Publisher Page
- Your Game Page
- Images & User Submissions
- File Uploads
- Badges & Avatars
- Rich Content
- Game Families & Expansions
- Reviews & Previews
- Competitions & Awards
- The Hotness
- Selling Your Stuff
- Advertising on the Geek