|2,523 (Apr 2015[update])|
BoardGameGeek is a website that was founded in January 2000 by Scott Alden and Derk Solko as a resource for board gaming hobbyists. The database holds reviews, articles, session reports, images, videos, and files for over 77,000 different games and expansions, and over 21,000 game designers. BoardGameGeek includes German-style board games, wargames, card games and other tabletop games, as well as public-domain card games like Spades. The site also features bulletin boards, a marketplace, several online boardgames, and a gamer database to help gamers find each other in the same location. BoardGameGeek was the recipient of the 2010 Diana Jones Award, which recognized it as "a resource without peer for board and card gamers, the recognized authority of this online community."
In addition to the game database, one of the features of BoardGameGeek is the statistical information obtained from player ratings. The site allows users to rate games on a 1–10 scale. The average and Bayesian average ratings are presented for each game. The Bayesian system adds dummy ratings in order to pull the average of games with fewer ratings closer to the overall mean. It is this set of averages that is used to generate a ranked list of games. Only games with at least 30 ratings are included in the ranked list.
In 2006, an additional list of top-ranked wargames was created. Due to the generally smaller number of ratings these games receive, they often become lost in the overall rating list. In 2010 other category lists were introduced, including Abstract Games, Customizable Games, Children's Games, Family Games, Party Games, Strategy Games, and Thematic Games.
Players can also rate how light or heavy (essentially its complexity in rules and/or gameplay) a game is on a scale of 1–5, though this is not used in the calculation of the rankings. The only three games that have achieved No. 1 in the BoardGameGeek rankings from 2003-2015 are Puerto Rico, Agricola, and Twilight Struggle.
BoardGameGeek is a large, international community with over 1,000,000 users, as of February 18, 2015. One major activity is the creation of GeekLists, which are often lists of games based on a particular theme or games that people want to trade, and which are also used as a means to discuss game or non-game related topics. There are forums in which members discuss topics such as the merits of theme versus mechanics, European versus American design, game ratings, game recommendations, game groups, and other general gaming activity. Gamers can also get to know each other online by using the chat room, by participating in Guilds, writing blogs, or listening to podcasts. There is a large community of Werewolf players, and online games are frequently arranged on the forums. A Secret Santa gift exchange was introduced several years ago, with more than 1700 participants in 2010, and more than 2700 participants in 2014. The annual BGG.CON game convention also helps foster this sense of community, by giving BoardGameGeek members opportunity to meet and play games in person.
The site uses a virtual currency, GeekGold, to reward users who provide site content, including entries for new games, pictures of games, game reviews, game sessions, rule translations, and play aids. GeekGold was originally awarded only by administrators, but an automated moderation system called GeekMod was subsequently implemented, to enable users to vote on submission approvals and award GeekGold for them. GeekGold can be used to purchase an avatar as well as various types of badges. It can also be transferred from one user to another in the form of "tips".
When it was first released, GeekGold could not be purchased with actual money, but this has changed in recent years. From September 1–5, 2005 in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, users were able to purchase GeekGold with money, the proceeds of $36,403 being donated to the Red Cross. Beginning January 2, 2008, the site began giving its donors one GeekGold for every dollar donated., which was announced as "a small token of thanks" to supplement the "supporter badges" previously given to donors. Since 2010, the annual end-of-year support drive has included a reward of GeekGold proportional to the number of new supporters, which typically amounts to over 100GG being issued to each supporter, and has led to the value of GeekGold becoming deflated.
GeekGold is occasionally traded for actual money or games, and there are GeekAuctions and Games-for-GeekGold Lotteries in which members can bid GeekGold in exchange for games and accessories. Direct GeekGold-for-money transfers between users generally result in a superior exchange rate of about 50 GeekGold to the dollar.
Another system for rewarding individual effort is the use of a "thumbs up" icon for good contributions. Any user can award a thumbs up whenever he or she sees something that deserves recognition. Thumbs are recorded on a user's profile, but unlike GeekGold, they cannot be used to purchase benefits.
Beginning in 2005 Scott Alden and Derk Solko inaugurated an annual boardgaming convention called BGG.CON. While the convention was open to anybody it was overwhelmingly attended by registered users of BoardGameGeek, and was heavily promoted on the website.
The first BGG.CON was held at The Westin City Center in Dallas Texas (now closed) and had an attendance of 250 people. The convention was organized primarily around open gaming, and it featured a large game library from which attendees could check out a game. Other scheduled events included a flea market, a Texas Hold 'Em tournament, a game show contest, and grand prize drawings. In 2006 attendance increased to 400 persons. A treasure hunt was added to the list of scheduled events, and the Golden Geek Awards were presented for the first time.
The Westin City Center in Dallas Texas held the following events
- November 15–18, 2005
- November 9–12, 2006
In 2007 BGG.CON was moved to The Westin DFW in Irving, TX in order to accommodate growth in attendance. This location hosted the following events
- November 15–18, 2007
- November 20–23, 2008
- November 19–22, 2009
- November 17–21, 2010
- November 16–20, 2011
In 2012, the convention was again moved to a larger venue to accommodate the growth of even more attendees, this time to the Hyatt Regency DFW hotel inside the grounds of the Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport in Dallas, TX. This new location has been used for the following events
- November 14–18, 2012
- November 20–24, 2013
- November 19–23, 2014
In 2014 two additional conventions were announced for 2015:
- BGG@SEA - a week-long convention on a Caribbean cruise (held March 29 - April 5, 2015)
- BGG♥FAM - a family-friendly convention that welcomed children (held May 22–25, 2015)
Boardgame News, an industry-specific news site dedicated to providing large quantities of news and commentary regarding boardgames, and originally hosted at BoardgameNews.com, announced in the final months of 2010 that it would be merging with BoardgameGeek.com.  Some BoardgameNews editorial columns were not transferred to BoardGameGeek at the time of this merger, since the guest writers of those columns decided to create their own web site, Opinionated Gamers, in order to keep their independence.
After the assimilation of BoardgameNews, information about new releases and other game news, as well as Designer Diaries, have been published regularly on the BoardGameGeek News blog edited by W. Eric Martin. In recent years this has been expanded with another official blog entitled IOS Board Games, which is a companion blog announcing news and reviews for digital games.
Golden Geek Award
2006 was the first year of the Golden Geek Awards which are to be given annually to the best new games of the year as selected by registered BoardGameGeek users. The awards use the Schulze method to determine the winners. From 2010 the RPGGeek and VideoGameGeek sites joined the Golden Geek Awards The award categories and winners are listed below.
- "Boardgamegeek.com Site Info". Alexa Internet. Retrieved 2015-04-05.
- The Dice Tower: Interviews by an Optimist #32 - Scott Alden Retrieved December 29, 2006
- KublaCon: Special Guests Aldie and Derk Retrieved December 29, 2006
- 1,000,000 Users!
- GeekGold for Katrina Relief [Ends Friday!] | BoardGameGeek Forums Retrieved September 3, 2008
- BGG News Retrieved February 22, 2008
- Geek 2010 Support Drive - Update Retrieved May 27, 2015
- GeekGold Exchange Rate Retrieved May 27, 2015
- Are we about to experience GG inflation? Retrieved May 27, 2015
- Geekgold - what the gosh darn heck is THAT about? | BoardGameGeek Forums Retrieved September 3, 2008
- Announcing: BGG@SEA!! Retrieved May 27, 2015
- Announcing: BGG♥FAM!! Retrieved May 27, 2015
- "The Past and Future of Boardgame News". BoardGameGeek. Retrieved 2012-11-10.
- BoardGameGeek Golden Geek Awards Retrieved May 27, 2015