Board Game Geek is the online mecca for board gamers. There is no site like it. It’s extraordinarily popular and an immense repository of all the board game data you can imagine. It’s an agreed-upon gathering place for gamers to an extent that most other hobbies cannot relate to. I cannot overstate the importance of Board Game Geek to the board game community.
Now, you don’t have to post there every day to succeed. In fact, there’s plenty of benefits to be reaped simply by lurking on the website. However, ignoring it is foolish. I think that many game developers make the mistake of ignoring Board Game Geek because of its intimidating design. Please don’t make that mistake.
I could go into the nuances of Board Game Geek as a social system. I could also go into detail about how to best use the data available on the site. I’m not going to do that. That could be an entirely different article…which I may very well make one day soon!
In this guide, I’ll be showing game developers how to get board games listed on Board Game Geek. As I write this article, I’m going to assume this is your first board game, that neither your team members nor your publishing company are entered into the database, and that you have a Board Game Geek account. (If you don’t have an account, sign up here.)
Before you get your game listed on Board Game Geek, it’s helpful to understand their data model. You can enter Board Games, People, and Publishers. Board Games reference People and Publishers. People include artists, designers, and other staff involved in making a Board Game. Publishers are the companies that publish Board Games. A good Board Game needs People and Publishers, as well as a lot of other information.
Here’s where it gets weird.
You need to make People and Publishers first…but you can’t have People and Publishers without games. You have to submit the People and Publishers entries first. Then you have to reference the People and Publishers in the Board Game entry. Then you submit the Board Game entry. Lastly, you go back and edit the yet-to-be approved People and Publishers entries to reference the new Board Game entry.
Clear as mud? Great! Let’s continue!
Another important consideration is when you submit your Board Game entry. You need to wait until your game is very close to complete and preferably publicly reviewed. However, if you’re going to be doing a Kickstarter campaign, you need to make sure you make a Board Game entry at least a week or two before the Kickstarter.
Alright, let’s get started…
Step 1: Submit Entries for All Designers and Artists
Navigation: Misc > Add to Database > Person
For each designer and artist involved in the creation of your game, make a Person entry. The most important fields to fill out are Name and Description. The credits sections can be filled out after you’ve got a Board Game entry pending.
You don’t have to fill out the Note to Admin field, but you may choose to mention that you are making a Board Game entry and linking it in the credits shortly after submitting this entry. You may also choose to type nothing but a smiley face. It’s up to you.
Step 2: Submit an Entry for the Publisher
Navigation: Misc > Add to Database > Publisher
If your publisher doesn’t already exist in the Board Game Geek database, create a Publisher entry. This would apply to your company, if you have created your own company with intention to self-publish. That’s what I did by publishing War Co. through Pangea Games, which I own.
The most important fields to fill out are Primary Name and Description. The credits sections can be filled out after you’ve got a Board Game entry pending. Again, the Note to Admin field doesn’t have to be filled in.
Step 3: Submit an Entry for the Board Game
Navigation: Misc > Add to Database > Board Game
Here is the real beast that you have to slay to get your game listed. The fields you need to fill out include are spelled out below. The rest is optional, but you should include it if you can.
The fields you should definitely fill out include:
- Primary Name: Use the name of your game as you’d like it to appear on the Board Game Geek listing.
- Description: A couple of paragraphs to describe your game. Use other listings as reference material when writing your description.
- Year Published
- Minimum Players
- Maximum Players
- Minimum Age
- Playing Time
- Category: The specific type of game, chosen from a list. No free text.
- Mechanic: Mechanics involved in playing the game, chosen from a list. No free text.
- Designer(s): Reference the pending Person entry or entries of your designer(s).
- Artist(s): Reference the pending Person entry or entries of your artist(s).
- Version Nickname: Anything you want it to be.
- Version Publisher: Reference your pending Publisher entry.
- Version Artist(s): Reference the pending Person entry or entries of your artist(s).
- Year Published
- Product Code (if you have bar codes – if you don’t, please see a reputable bar code reseller such as Buy A Bar Code)
- Dimensions: The size of your game.
- Languages: Chosen from a list.
- Release Date: Pick an anticipated release date if your game is not out yet. You can edit this later if you have to.
Step 4: Edit the Person and Publisher Entries to Reference the Board Game
Phew. That’s a lot of data. Now all you have to do is go back to each Person and Publisher entry to reference your pending Board Game entry.
For each designer, edit their Person entry by clicking [Add Board Game Designer Credits] and clicking on your pending Board Game entry.
For each artist, edit their Person entry by clicking [Add Board Game Artist Credits] and clicking on your pending Board Game entry.
For your publisher, edit the Publisher entry by clicking [Add Board Game Credits] and clicking on your pending Board Game entry.
There you have it! It’s a lot of information to absorb, but following these steps is a surefire way to have your game listed on Board Game Geek in no time. Keep an eye out for emails from the Board Game Geek admins once you submit your entries. They may require some modest changes.
If you do this and you find that the process works a little differently for you, let me know what you find and I’ll revise this guide. I want to keep it up to date!
Please share your experiences in the comments.