First, I'll tell you right off
the bat that BGG (BoardGameGeek.com)
is an invaluable and entirely necessary part of your Kickstarter
No BGG presence = little to no success. Period.
I am so grateful to the BGG community for their presence and
support! I am also endlessly grateful to the Kickstarter
community. And where those 2 worlds overlap, I am eternally grateful.
So, I'm very happy to offer my help here to aid new Kickstarter Project
Leads become a productive, and helpful, member of the BGG world.
it needs to be said, that BGG is the single least new-user-friendly
site that I have ever attempted use of. And I know few who
disagree with my sentiment.
warned you in the intro Article that I would be candid in these KSACs.
is for these 3 reasons, and the 2 groups of people mentioned above,
that I have written this column. BGG deserves the
help, you need the
help, and BGG is nigh impossible to figure out without the
that being said: I make no claims that this article in particular is a
comprehensive guide. For this topic, that would be nigh
impossible, as BGG is huge. What I am going
to do here is show new/er users how to:
around the forums.
accepted by the community.
up a Game Page for their new game.
banner ads set up.*
getting their account deleted.
up part of the mutually benefiting BGG community.
#1: Make an Account
you've ever made an account with any other Forum site, (or any site for
that matter), this process is easy enough. But I want to give you
in the top left of BoardGameGeek.com's home page, and click "Register".
bring you here:
1. For Username you canhave
spaces and/or symbols in your name. Choose wisely, it'll say a
lot about you and can't be changed.
For your Email-You should have a specialized Email account for your
gaming needs. Don't use your 15 year old personal one in
Yahoo. Create a new email account in Gmail. Believe me,
you'll thank me later.
For your First and Last Name, you by means need to put in your actual
name. Know that what you do put
will show up on every post you make. (compare post image below).
Your Location can be seen by anyone who looks at your profile.
Honesty is better here, in case you intend to trade games later. (A
cool aspect of BGG for another time.)
then go to your email address to confirm your account, then you'll be
brought to this page...
...with ads-a-plenty! BGG lives on
them, as most sites do. If you really hate
ads you can donate where the green arrow shows and they'll give you an
option to disable ads. But then you won't learn about cool
Kickstarter games unless you hunt for the information.
personally like the ads as they're 90% Kickstarter games!
what I mean about needing this place?)
you've got an account you're homepage will look like this:
refer to this "Guide Image" above, and the Colored Stars I added to it,
repeatedly in the next few steps.
#2: Getting around the Forums.
is, at its heart, a Forum site. It's a huge glorified forum with
a bajillion other things to offer, but it's a forum. So let's
tackle this first.
at the Guide Image, you'll see light blue stars. There you can
find the forums and the Geeklists (a different version of a forum, when
it really comes down to it). Let's start by going to the forums.
main forum page shows a laundry list of forums for every major topic
you can hope for.
always amazed how far down you can scroll here.
you're like me, you play first, and read the instructions later.
So head to the General Forum, and find something worth posting.
Click on "post thread" to start a new one, or join a topic you find
interesting and reply!
made a new post, and in it I made a basic introduction. You'll
see the results of that in a bit. But what I want to show you is
on the left. Your user info (green star).
can see your Username (space included), your first & last "name",
your country, an envelope that anyone can click to send you GeekMail (a
private message through the site, which you can have forwarded to your
real email account), and the much disdained: "BGG New User"
badge. I'll show you how to make this info area more acceptable
to the community in Step 3.
to the right on that post, you'll see a little symbol that looks like a
newspaper with an arrow on it (red star). You can "Subscribe" to
your (or any) post, and you'll be notified whenever somebody responds
to the thread; super useful for posts regarding your own game/products.
a matter of minutes you'll get responses to your post...
of reply hidden for courtesy.)
dare say, we're off to a great start! This user was kind,
interpreted stuff from my Username, and invited discussion from
me. These are the people that make BGG wonderful!
that is not secretly me, it's actually a really cool person I don't
next forum you should visit (or the first, if you like to read the
instructions before playing) is the "New
User Questions" forum.
you'll see a bunch of "Pinned"
threads. That means they're never moving down the list so they're
always easy to find. The ones with a green star (added by me to
the image) are worth skimming through now.
#3: Become Accepted by the Community
are a lot of discriminations held against "new user"s, and each
experienced user has a different one; their idea of how things should
be. Then there's also the moderators, more on them in Step
#6. Here I want to cover the most common areas that the haters
will hate on you for.
in mind, hating may come in clear and obvious ways written in posts,
but mostly it'll never be said or seen. A little something that
they find that gives them reason to not like, or trust, or welcome, or
speak to you. Some BGG users can be a bit elitist at times.
But it's a gaming site... so play the game.
#1 - The "BGG New User Badge".
puppy will sit on your account for a full 30 days and there's nothing
you can do about it. So you should create your account AT LEAST
30 days before you launch your first Kickstarter because the BGG New
User badge is prejudiced against by everyone. Some will be really
nice because you're new, others will hate on you for being new (both
are technically pre-judgements). If you are new and are
trying to sell them something, people get pretty indignant.
(Which may be a little childish and certainly unwelcoming, but it's
going to happen. This is part of the "not-New-User-Friendly" part
of the site; but at the same time, you can understand their
point.) Just be ready for it.
#2- No Avatar.
need an Avatar to be taken seriously on BGG. But unlike other
sites, access to add an avatar is not 100% free. You need what is
back to the New
User Forum read over the "How to get GeekGold
to be true, the fastest way to get GeekGold, especially as a new user,
is to beg for it.
It's funny cause it's true.
On the New User Forum you'll see the "No Geek Left Behind..." post with a bajillion thumbs
and replies... go there and plead your case. Somebody will throw
some GG at you. This is part of the wonderful community aspect of
the site. Rejoice in it.
you have GG go into your profile by clicking your user name at the top
of the page.
down that new profile page, click "Buy Avatar".
-Spend the 30 GG and viola! You can now upload any Avatar you like.
-Once you have chosen an Avatar you can change it for free anytime forever;
but people will learn you by your Avatar, so make sure that you pick a
good one before you establish yourself on the site, and only change it
if you have good cause. I propose that your game company's logo
would be an excellent choice.
Thanks goes out to BGG user and dear friend: VolcanoLotus for all the
advice here in #2, who once gave it to me (along with the 30 GG for my
Avatar! ; )
#3 - No Microbadges.
are just that, little-badges of honor. ...Micro honor, but honor
none-the-less. They're gained via GG also, 8 at a time to be
specific. You can own any number, but can only ever display 8 at
a time. Here are my account's current 5...
the company logo Avatar now appearing).
five (at the bottom of the image) indicate:
Married, Martial Arts Fan, Proud Father, Catholic (Mary), and our very
Keeper Games Microbadge (which we designed, and
you can "buy"-If you decide to get it let me know, I'd appreciate it.)
you can see, just from looking over the 5 Microbadges a person
displays, you can learn a lot about them quickly. So choose
wisely what 5 you display.
can find a Microbadge for just about anything! ; )
(I think my next one might be "Optimus Prime". ...I'm just saying.)
option to "Buy Microbadge" is just under "Buy Avatar" in your Profile.
pretty clear that the GG/Avatar/MicroBadge/NewUser thing is a way to
FORCE you to LEARN to be a part of the COMMUNITY, instead of just USING
it. It's a bit long-winded of a system to wade through it all,
but I agree that it gets the job done of weeding out trolls and
the "Game Designer" and "Game Publisher" badges will be given to you
for free when you establish yourself on the site as such. If you
don't get them shortly after setting up your game page, then you can
contact a moderator and ask for them. The patron badges can be
earned by donating to support site, see far below.)
#4 - No participation.
is simple. Contribute to the site, with helpful comments and
thoughts in the areas of the site that most attract you. You can
write articles, offer to help moderate image uploads, auction off items
for charity, create your own Game Review pages, and a bajillion other
things. At the very least update your account's profile page with
that know your symbol (Avatar) will remember you by it, and feel more
comfortable when you're around, unless you choose to be one of the guys
the contributes to the douche-baggery that happens on the site.
In which case, you'll feel better about yourself (falsely) and others
will generally ignore you (...or thumbs your posts). It's a mixed
bag. I suggest you shoot for the former.
#4: Setting up a Game Page
is actually fairly easy if you have a half decent guide. This is
my attempt at giving that.
the Guide Image way above above, next to the White Star is "Misc",
click on that.
Under "Add to Database" click on "Board Game".
Don't add your idea for
a board game. Add your Kickstarter-ready board game that exists,
and has been played, and liked, and ...exists.)
will be a guide at the top of the page show below that gives you the
rules of what to do and not to do. You should read it over.
And here I'll offer a little help with each item line by line.
Name - The Final and Full title of your game.
Describe it in a fun, short, exciting way with some relevant facts.
Published - This can be the future if that's
the reality of it.
Players - Obvious
Players - Obvious
Age - Obvious (use what will be printed on
the game box)
Time - For the average and experienced
player. First time games always take longer, we know.
Click, and select from the list. You may select multiple. Do not
select more than are actually accurate. I wouldn't select PnP
unless it's only a PnP. Some of them are really freaking random,
and some you wish were there are not; others will be found in Mechanic
Click, and select from the list. Pick as many as are
accurate. Be honest. People will decided if they like those
mechanics and you want them to know they exist.
suggest doing "Category" and "Mechanic" together with your partner, so
you can contemplate and decide together.
Click. You can put "Kickstarter".
Leave it blank. It's for an expansion related to the game, which
this item is probably not.
Leave it blank. This is if this is a compilation; ie: if it were
a re-release of Munchkin with 4 main Expansions, etc.
Blank, unless your game resurrects an old one, but you need the rights
to the old for that and if you had those, you'd know all this stuff by
Click, add yourself! ...or the guy that made the game you are
Click, add your artists. If your artist doesn't show up, you can
add them. (Misc->Add to Database->Person. When you do so,
make sure you list your game under their artist credits.) Notes
to Admins rectify the "but this is all happening at the same time"
Yourself or, ideally, your company's name, and "Self-Published".
If you are having your game published by another company, put their
company name, and not "Self-Published".
Nickname - "First Edition" will get the job
Publisher - Same as Publisher
Artist - Just leave it blank, or it's
redundant from above.
Published - Same as above.
Code - Blank.
If you know your box size (which you should by now), then enter
it. If not, measure a game box you have that you expect to use
the same size as.
That the game will definitely be available in.
Date - Obvious
Comment - Blank, unless your release date is
Status - "Unreleased"
Type - Probably "Kickstarter"
URL - You don't know it and can't. I'd
suggest putting your homepage's URL, which you can than update that
page with the Kickstarter link.
Start Date - The day your KS launches, if
unsure, just leave it blank, it's fine, I promise.
End Date - The day it ends...
to Admin - This would be where your thank
them for reviewing this for you, and mention any new people that you
added during the process, so they can find and confirm them at the same
time. If you are the publisher and/or designer, you could request
the badges here. Again: thank them. Some are paid, but most
Only when you're sure. Some is editable later, some is not.
None of it will make or break your KS life, save for the using the
correct and final game name.
all of that is done and you're Game Page is made and approved your game
will show up in GeekLinks (option when making a forum post).
But before you go linking all over the place, you'll want go look at
the Game Page and a couple more things.
Upload a mess of photos.
volunteer mod will approve or reject them usually within 24
hours. You'll get the hang of what's acceptable and what's not.
Here's a guide to which "Gallery" you want to select for each image
when uploading them because it can be rather hard to discern, and they
won't fix it for you, they'll only deny it if they disapprove of your
- Game -
Actual pics of the game or definitive components. If cards, put
at least 2 in each pic or it will be rejected for "Individual
Component". Thumbed "Game" images can make the Hotness!
- People -
Humans. If people are the central object/concept of the image,
- Creative -
Anything else. Fan art, component mock ups, alternate pics for
the manual, etc.
tips for image uploads...
a short worthy caption on every one, either a description or a quote
for "People" images.
an occasional comment/note to admin saying thank you (most volunteer
images are returned with really odd reasons why, listed in weird
percentages that rarely add up to 100%. If you think your image
is worthy, yet denied for poor reasons, change the Gallery and submit
again tomorrow. You just might catch a different moderator who
sees what you see.
images will get rejected, repeatedly, and should be. Don't be
sore. Clean them up and try again when they're ready.
(Fuzzy, repeats, inappropriate, etc.) Or concede that the image
isn't worthy and move on. No one image will make or break your
game page (except your Box Cover Art, but that will get approved
that your Box Cover Art image be made the main image for the Game Page
(via a comment on the image during the upload process).
Link to your website.
your Game Page go the the "Weblinks" section. Click "Add Link".
in the form. "Primary Name" will be the next for link on your
you have fan sites, forum sites, or any other worthy and related site,
add them too.
your game's main website link is approved. (Everything has to be
approved)... Return to Web Links Section and click "Browse" and on the
link that is where people can find out about the game and order it in
the future, click "Propose Default", and submit it with a note.
that's approved (again), it will show up on the main Game Page in the
topmost section next to "Website". ...Simple right!? ; )
Update your "More Information" section (click Edit, very simple).
Update your "Files" section with your rules manual in PDF form when
they're available (click "Upload", fairly simple).
Sit and watch.
majority of the rest of the other areas of your Game Page will
auto-populate as people create threads in your name and drop your
GeekLink all over creation.
#5-Get Banner Ads Set Up.
ads can be (are)
VERY TIME CONSUMING, and expensive, but they're going to get you
pledges, and if you're reasonable in your chosen quantities, they WILL
pay for themselves.
are an upfront
cost that you're going to have to pay
whether you succeed on Kickstarter or you don't. So be
prepared to budget that out of your PERSONAL finances.
If you succeed on Kickstarter, and budget well, you can pay yourself
back for them.
Review BGG's Marketing Guidelines, downloadable
PDF here. (Updated as of 11/27/13). Know what your costs are
(Budget!) and what the specifications are.
It's free photoshop type software. I've done every last bit of my
everything in it for The King's Armory. In my humble opinion,
it's more user friendly than Photoshop as well. It has its quirks
and limitations, but for $0, you can't really write them letters of
Design your static ad (non-Flash). Use art & fonts from your
game. Make it compelling in a short amount of time. Make
sure it shows the energy of your game. (Light hearted games should have
bright ads that invite the viewer into a world of smiles, and happy,
and fun; Dark games... we'll you've seen those ads a lot. Either
way, you can use ads that you've seen that worked their magic on you as
inspiration for your own ads.)
Flash Banners-If you have the
time and the devotion to making your own Flash
Ads, I used the Aleo
Intro Flash Banner Maker. It's not free, but it's fairly
cheap and gets the job done. If you choose to use this, Tip: make all images
that you import the EXACT same size as the full banner ad (with as much
transparency in the layer as needed to achieve that), because using the
image re-location offset controls is nothing short of painful.
Just trust me. If anyone knows another tool with an easier
user interface, I'm open to knowing about it, and will link it here.
(Note: if you choose to make flash ads, you still also need static
Email Chad Krizan (aka:Chaddyboy), the Marketing guru for BGG at
firstname.lastname@example.org, let him know you're interested, and tell him
that I sent you. He's super nice and one of my absolute best
experiences with BGG to date. 5 Stars.
Consider making all of
your ads now. Take the ad you have, make a new one for "Fully
Funded!"; another for "Stretch Goals Unlocked"; another for "Final
Week"; "Final Days"; "Final 48 Hours"; "LAST DAY". They can be
identical with that area of text changed. This will make you very
happy in the final 48 hours when you don't have to spend time fiddling
with ads, when you'd rather update your stretch goals chart and respond
to backers. When it's time for the new ad to start running, email
it to Chad at least 12 hours in advance and ask him to switch the old
out for the new. He's fast, pleasant, and does this all the time;
so you don't have to feel bad for asking.
#6-Avoid getting your account deleted.
all that is great about BGG, it is run largely by volunteer Moderators
(or "mods"). And in my relatively solid experience, moderators of
forums tend to be heavy-handed, crotchety, somewhat self-important, and highly volatile.
And I'll be honest (and candid) here when I say that: BGG's moderators
have been no different. While some are cool and reasonable
people, there are some that fit all of the above adjectives and
outright ruin the site for many people.
I love BGG and I'm writing this whole thing to help you and them.
But their moderators have at times been vicious and very heavy
handed to both myself and especially to my Kickstarter Backers, up to
and including deleting some of their accounts.
My personality type can easily be described as: "Over-protective
Older Brother". I am here to help everyone, but when you
hurt my own, I'm not going to gloss over it. It is what it is.
So to that end, I think you should be aware of what you're getting
yourself into by choosing to be part of BGG, especially as a dev/pub.
here's some tips to keep your account, and that of your wonderful
it's not obvious: Read
the Community Rules. They are merciless in enforcing them,
and they won't
warn you before deleting your HARD WORK in posts,
no matter who you are (Joel Eddy, etc.), OR even your account (several
of my backers).
of what I'm about to mention is listed
in the Community Rules, but they deserve honorable mention here based
on our experiences, and our effort to help you as a new Dev.
you should know clearly now:
sex, certain uses of profanity, etc., will rightfully get
you slapped around.
can not "promote" yourself or your game. This rule is somewhat
absurd, as they'll take your money for advertising (ads displayed in
all areas), but not let you mention your own Kickstarter in many, if
not most, areas without jumping down your throat. I see a bit of
a dichotomy/double-standard there. But it is the case, so be
can't even "promote" another's game. This is a VERY fine
line; because there are some areas where you can get
away with it, and others that you can't.
And if a moderator thinks that you are doing so, you'll get the post
deleted; and if they deem your account isn't old enough, or hasn't
contributed enough, they'll delete that too ...without warning.
Therefore this one is of particular relevance to
your Backers. (I have friends that have refused to return to
BGG for what happened to them during one of our campaigns.)
Again, be aware, and be sure to be clear with your backers when you ask
them for support on BGG.
You can get
away with just about anything on your own Game Page, except for
"Contests", and it usually works out better anyway.)
contests. ...unless it's a contest. You can't run "Unofficial
Contests" even if there are ZERO prizes.
The only contests you can run are the ones that cost $1,200 and run
only 1 week. This sort of stuff makes a guy wonder about a site's
current motivations in life... but I'll leave that for you to decide on
from the few issues that I and my backers have had, the place is
otherwise fairly well run and respectable. Especially when you
consider the traffic it gets in any given day. They really do do
a really good job; and they know it needs work, and as I understand,
they are endeavoring to make improvements. So with time I think
BGG will become even
have made good new friends on BGG.
Chad (the ad guy) even let us wait until after BOTH of
our Kickstarters were over to pay for our ad invoices. We got to
meet at GenCon 2014 and got to chat for a good 5 mins before he got
called back to work.
And I'm honored to say that Aldie (one of the owners) even pledged for
the FULLLLL version of TKA, plus an extra copy! Also met him in
person at GenCon 2014, very busy at the time, but quite approachable.
the place is great. And YOU as a new Kickstarter Project Lead,
can't live without it. But do take note of where the landmines
#7-End up part of the mutually benefiting BGG community.
is the goal.
just use them because you think you can. You'll get sucked in by
the greatness anyway and end up part of it. You can't really plan
to do this as a step, you just have to hope it happens organically at
some point. You'll know when it's official. I can't say
how... you'll just know.
to a few items of potential interest to those who have become familiar
How to make a
new 16×16 pixel Microbadge - Here.
How to rate and comment on a game and give/get "thumbs" on images - Here.
How to support BGG with cash donations - Here.
On BGG and want our Microbadge? Support us by getting it here and
adding it to your displayed set!
here to be brought to Article
#9: Speed Tips!