If you're enough of a gaming nerd to read Drake's Flames on anything like a regular basis, you are almost certainly also aware of the Great Big Gaming Site called Board Game Geek (recently retitled Geekdo, so they could cover every kind of game ever, albeit rather poorly in the case of RPGs and video games). And you probably also know that there's virtually no competition for the job of Primary Geeky Gaming Site.
You may also know that while Board Game Geek is an incredibly useful tool, and a veritable treasure trove of information, it's also about as user-friendly as a punch in the nuts. It will allow you to do a wide range of things, from uploading images and useful files to trading games and managing your profile - if you can find the right link. I never can, so I don't use it a lot. It's also home to some of the most stilted Internet justice and downright censorship that you'll find at a site that owes its entire existence to unpaid volunteers who contribute enormous amounts of time and effort just to be thanked by having some power-mad asswipe give them a five day suspension for defending themselves after douchetit Euro-nerds pull their 'I'm smarter than you are' arrogant horse manure.
But all that is about to change. There's a new game in town, and BGG is about to get a run for its Monopoly money. BoardGameinfo.com is finally live, and it's ready for game nerds to descend on it like a pack of nit-picking locusts. Sure, there's some work to do - but what do you think BoardGameGeek looked like when it started?
If you visit the new site, you may notice that I'm one of three feature reviewers over there. I'll be copying my reviews to BoardGameinfo, and maybe writing exclusive content for them from time to time. I'm very excited to see someone really stepping up and being prepared to compete with the current reigning superpower in gaming sites, and I intend to support the hell out of it.
BoardGameinfo is owned and managed by James Mathe, a guy I’ve been working with off and on for nearly ten years now. He’s a savvy businessman and a pioneer of game-related Internet entrepreneurial efforts. He started RPGNow, and while there were other people selling PDFs on the web before he showed up, he was the first to create a viable online mall combining hundreds of different publishers, and allowing micro-press creators a place to sell their works. That’s not all he’s done, either – he knows gaming, and he doesn’t go into a new project half-cocked. He has done his homework, and he and his team are prepared to pour an incredible amount of time and resources into BoardGameinfo. He has tapped into some serious heavy hitters and knowledgeable people to make BGi a contender (which makes me wonder what he was thinking when he asked my ignorant donkey’s ass to help out).
BoardGameinfo is going to be the same kind of game-information resource that you see at BoardGameGeek, and frankly, they’re not entirely original in how they’re going to get the work done. Just like the bloated beast that is BGG, BGi will allow its users to upload content. And like BGG, which rewards users with a false currency (effectively creating their own internal economy), BGi will pay you for your time. You’ll earn Victory Points, which can be redeemed at their store for actual games. Right now you can’t get a whole hell of a lot, but sooner or later, you’ll be able to get real products, in addition to stuff like avatars and titles and other silly crap that I’ll totally be buying myself.
BoardGameinfo will also have one thing that you won’t find at BoardGameGeek – me. Like I said before, I’ll be copying my reviews there, and I intend to contribute to the forums and otherwise be active at the new site. I quit posting at BoardGameGeek around the beginning of 2009, but I’m enthusiastically looking forward to being a big part of BoardGameinfo, and I hope you will join me.
One point I want to make here is that the Internet is a wide open place, and there’s no reason anyone has to stake their loyalties at one site and ignore another. Unless you just don’t have any time in your day, there’s no reason you can’t visit BoardGameGeek and BoardGameinfo. I still accept the occasional trade request at BGG, and even if I don’t post, I still like that I can find information when I need it. There’s room for two gaming sites, and no reason you have to snub one to be loyal to the other.
Oh, one other thing - I'm not getting jack squat from BoardGameinfo, outside the same rewards any other knucklehead can get for posting reviews. I'm excited about the site because it has a real shot at being the kind of place I wish BoardGameGeek could be, and because it's a seriously professional effort. Sure, I'm shilling for them - but I'm not doing it because I'm getting a kickback. I'm doing it because I'm 100% thrilled they exist.
So come on down and join me. Together, we've got a chance to make BGi into something awesome. Let's take it.