Lesson #21 – BoardGameGeek Tips and Tricks for Kickstarter Creators

Board Game Geek (BGG) is a fantastic site but most creators that use it have a love/hate relationship with it. The site has a lot of users, is a fantastic resource for all things tabletop, and is a great way to spread word of your crowdfunding campaign. However, although useful, the site is archaic and can be troublesome to navigate, especially for newer users.

This post focuses on some tips and tricks that will help you in utilizing BGG not just for promoting your crowdfunding campaign but for helping to build your game page and increasing your brand recognition. Topics that will be covered are:

  • Setting up your game’s page
  • Adding your game to relevant Geeklists
  • Posting in Forums

Setting up your game’s page ^

The first thing you need to do is to set up a page for your game. This may seem pretty obvious, but there are so many creators that launch their games on Kickstarter before they even set up a BGG page for their games. This should never happen. Many potential backers go to BGG  for a multitude of reasons that include: ensuring you have done your due diligence to actually create a page, find answers they may have after reading your rules, find more images, and to add the game to their collection (as a pre-order).

Adding games to the BGG database is done under the Misc menu.

If these backers head to BGG and you have no page, they may lose faith in your game as it may seem like you are not really experienced since you skipped such a crucial step in establishing yourself in the industry (can you imagine if a movie wasn’t on IMDB?). People want to connect with your game, add it to their collection, and often leave a comment about backing on BGG, so MAKE YOUR GAME PAGE!!!

To do this, simply go to the boardgamegeek.com homepage, select the drop-down menu under Misc, and under the add to database section is ‘Board Game’.  You can now fill in all the information for your game and create your page!

Setting up your game’s page: pro-tips ^

  • Whenever you fill in any information on the site, load images/files, or make changes to anything related to one of your games be sure to write “I am the publisher (or designer)” into the “Note to Moderator” field. This will help them out when approving your changes as they will know the info is direct from the publisher.
  • Under the Files section of the game page, load your rules and print and play files. We get hundreds of downloads for each when running a campaign.
  • There is a forums section for each game page. Under your game’s forum section, post a general forum post about “Our Kickstarter is launching on XXXXX date, you can see the preview at yourpreviewlink.com”. Many people that are not connected to you on social media will find your BGG page. If they are interested in your campaign but did not catch when you launch or what the preview page will be, this will give them all of that info!
  • When you create a version of your game (i.e. first edition) you can enter in a pre-order link. Enter in the link to your campaign’s preview page and select the dates you are live for it to be present. Once your campaign goes live, this preview link will be put right on your game’s BGG page and it will remain for the entirety of your campaign.
  • Load a lot of nice high quality images. Select a great box cover image or 3D box render for your representative image. To do this (once you have loaded the image and it is approved by a moderator), go to your game’s BGG page and select the image tab. You will be directed to a page displaying all of the images loaded for your game. Find the image you want to be your representative image, select the vertical column of 3 dots underneath the image, and click “Propose Representative Image”.
  • Any time you add a file, image, forum thread, or anything that gives you the option to subscribe to the thread, be sure to click that option. Make sure you also subscribe to your game as well. This makes sure that anytime anyone comments are posts on any of these items, you will get a notification upon signing into the site.

Adding your game to relevant Geek Lists ^

Geeklists are lists curated by users of games under specific categories. Some people create top 10/100 lists while others make lists about particular themes or genres. Although adding your game to relevant geeklists is a great way to get more eyes on your game, you need to make sure it is appropriate to add your game to a specific geeklist.

Geeklist Pro Tips ^

Check out geeklists before you post in them; look at the games being added and who is adding them. If a list only has entries by a single user, it may be their personal list (For instance “my favorite worker placement games”. I wouldn’t want you to add your game to MY list of favorites).

Here are some of the most useful geeklists to post to when launching a campaign:

Under the drop-down menu next to the search tab, select Geeklists and search for terms relevant to your game.

  • For my Dino Dude Ranch campaign, I searched for dinosaur related geeklists and family-friendly related geeklists.
  • For my Dirigible Disaster campaign, I searched for steampunk geeklists and cooperative game geeklists.
  • Again, for these geeklists, I did not add my games to all of the geeklists that returned from my search, just those I felt were appropriate to add the game to.

Check out this related TIGR story

Dino Dude Ranch: Review
Dino Dude Ranch is a great family, surprisingly adult-friendly, dice rolling game of wrangling dinosaurs and   Dino Dude Ranch is a dinosaur-collecting game by... read more...

Posting in Forums ^

The final place I will discuss to post about your campaign are the forum sections of BGG. I recommend posting in the forums the morning you launch (also remember to add to the specific Geeklists and post on your game page’s forum page on morning of launch as well). There are 3 locations in the forums you are going to want to post. Make sure you mention the game, post some nice pictures with some informative information, and sell the game as best as you can. Look at some examples in the forums and see which posts you find most informative and captivating.

Forums Pro Tips ^

Post in the following forums making sure to read the rules/guidelines provided at the top of each forum:

Do not just post in the forums once and leave them there. When Groves was live, I updated all of my forum posts whenever a stretch goal was unlocked. By adding a reply with an image linked, the forum post would bump right back up to the top of the forums list. I would also change the title to reflect the status of the campaign (“Groves, a hybrid worker placement/bag-builder has 2 weeks left and has 3 stretch goals unlocked!”) in order to attract prospective new backers.

Check out this related TIGR story

Dirigible Disaster: Review
In a busy travel week like Thanksgiving, Fairway picks up yet another game involving terrible modes of Dirigible Disaster is a two- to five-player real-time, cooperative game from Letiman Games... read more...

Final Remarks ^

All of this information is just the tip of the iceberg for using Board Game Geek. There are many other uses and functions for the site, so I recommend you just spend a lot of time on the site and see what you can find! I feel like I still often learn new things whenever I am browsing the site. These tips and tricks will definitely help to increase your brand recognition and put more eyes on your campaigns when you are live. I must impress though that you should work hard to remain active on the site ALL OF THE TIME. Do not just use the site/sign in only when you have a campaign active. You need to be active in order to actively address questions that may come up on the site about your games, so make this another part of your daily social media routine.

Let me know if you have any specific questions about board game geek that were not addressed in this post and as always, please feel free to leave a comment with a topic that you would be interested in seeing me cover! Best of luck on your campaigns and happy gaming!

3 thoughts on “Lesson #21 – BoardGameGeek Tips and Tricks for Kickstarter Creators”

  1. This is great stuff! Thanks for sharing it. BGG is such a foreboding entity when you first encounter. I have been considering writing a blog post for a while on how to use BGG as a publisher, a designer, or just as a user but my biggest issue is I still don’t really know how to use it. I haven’t finished browsing your blog yet, but do you have any specifics about what to do on BGG before your game is ready to be added to BGG? I constantly hear people say that you need to make a presence first before you launch your games, but I’m still trying to figure out where to contribute, and how to manage it. I just find the whole thing so NOT user friendly that while I’ve posted here and there I’ve yet to find a way to be consistently active, so any advice there would be great! Thanks again for this post, I’ve bookmarked it for future reference!

    1. Tyson, thanks for reading the blog and for reaching out! Sorry it has taken so long to get back to you. I would recommend starting a designer diary of some sort and sharing that there. It gives people an insight as to who you are, where you are coming from and what you are working on.

      Best of luck!

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