Author Topic: So I did a thing ... need advice ...  (Read 1143 times)

Offline gantry

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So I did a thing ... need advice ...
« on: January 05, 2023, 09:30:58 PM »
The Background

Friends, I started a game company! Been in the works for about a year now. I consider myself a businessman first, so much of my research has been on the games industry. Right now, I'm in the very early stages. As most game companies fail, I'm not expecting too much to come of this, but I think my ideas are unique and have a good potential market. I'm trying to do it right, as it's going to be my side gig to keep me busy during my retirement.

I have a close group of friends who will be my main playtesters. I also need a larger number for a focus group, that's where you all come in. Hopefully, it's okay with the admins if I post this in here.

The Scenario

There are a few game companies out there that have their own official communities. The rest of them do not; one unofficial community is boardgamegeek. As you'll all recall, I created Carc Central out of frustration with BGG, and CC has done relatively well. There was even talk of it becoming the "official" Carcassonne community.

I'd like your opinions on whether I should build my own official community around my games.

Pros:

  • It is a place where I can offer official answers to player questions
  • It provides players with a place to share ideas and build excitement for the games
  • I will be able to offer gamification to encourage players to return to the community, and perhaps get bonus material for the games

Cons:

  • It takes a lot of work to run and maintain, whereas putting stuff out on social media is easier
  • It will add to the cost of running the business
  • If the games do not become popular enough, the community will likely migrate to BGG or somewhere else and my time and effort will be wasted

If you believe that I should build my own community, what should that look like? A structured forum like Carc Central, or a less structured free-for-all place for discussions like a Facebook group or something like Hivebrite/Circle.so (assuming you know what those are)? I should add that I am very much mobile-first, anything that I build will work on your mobile phone or tablet as well as on any computer.

Feel free to provide any other comments or suggestions!

Linkback: https://www.carcassonnecentral.com/community/index.php?topic=6227.0
« Last Edit: January 05, 2023, 09:33:26 PM by gantry »

Offline Scott

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Re: So I did a thing ... need advice ...
« Reply #1 on: January 06, 2023, 08:10:51 AM »
I don’t think you can look at this as a question of A vs B. I would assume that you will need to do the whole BGG thing, and the question becomes whether to do your own community in addition. My answer to that question would be yes.

Also, if you need any assistance with anything, I’m not far away. I’ve got some game ideas of my own that might need a publisher some day.


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Offline gamgeefan2

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Re: So I did a thing ... need advice ...
« Reply #2 on: January 06, 2023, 05:12:09 PM »
For the unstructured approach, I feel like Discord is a very active place for gaming vs. Facebook and the like.

Offline Decar

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Re: So I did a thing ... need advice ...
« Reply #3 on: January 07, 2023, 07:36:08 AM »
Hi Gantry,

I certainly have no issue with you telling us what you're up to - I hope we're able to help any way we can.  I sounds like a fun and exciting project; so certainly interested to hear more.

I see your dilemma.  I think modern boardgame companies are attempting to manage their own communities.  I would recommend checking out Van Ryder Games; their Discord is very active, and they manage their news well.   I think much much larger companies struggle in this regard, I think larger companies, like HiG, have benefited more from having unofficial fan communities that probably skirt around some the legal issues.  HiG haven't been able to maintain their Discord and have decided to close it, as they seem stretched in other directions.

So I guess I'm saying.... why not both :D

Offline Challa007

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Re: So I did a thing ... need advice ...
« Reply #4 on: January 10, 2023, 12:54:48 PM »
Hi Gantry,
I am not a professional in games, not even do I know much about websites, forums etc, I can only offer my humble view as an average player  :)

There are only two games for which I have ever looked up anything online:

Carcassonne and Pokemon Go

For Carcassonne I ended up here and for Pokemon Go I ended up on Reddit (The SilphRoad), both brought me also on Discord.

Why these two?
- they are active (nothing worse than a "dead" forum)
- they provide quality information
- they provide the possibility to exchange with other players /get in contact with other players
- they are friendly, welcoming and organised
- they react instantly to the latest news OR EVEN BETTER they bring to my attention the latest news
The last point seems to be of more importance than the others. I feel that any forum that has "a direct line" to the author of the game/the game company has already an advantage because players will get the impression that they might get the newest information here first....
In your situation, you are comfortable, because you ARE the author/game company. So wherever you will get active, this will be the place where people will go.

So for me it looks like you chould first focus on already existing platforms with many players in order to launch your game and get attention and get people talk about it. After some time, when you see which platform works best for your game, you can maybe focus on that one and attract the various players there.
Only after that I would think about starting something myself (if this is even necessary or if you feel that the fanbase is big enough and you don't like the existing platform)...

Anyway, I wish you all the best of luck with this project!  :)









Offline Bixby

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Re: So I did a thing ... need advice ...
« Reply #5 on: April 21, 2023, 11:30:57 AM »
Congrats on following a dream. It sounds like a very exciting time for you. So, first of all, I would like to say "Good Luck" with the project(s), and may they remain fun and rewarding through the entire journey.

Regarding communities, I have a few opinions and a bit of experience. Communities are a tricky thing and they come and go as interests wax and wane. I tend to be a fan of larger / broader communities smaller ones. There are a few reasons for this.

(1) Board games are a niche hobby. Even as mainstream as they feel these days, it is a generally small portion of the population that is involved in the hobby.
(2) As communities form around the hobby of board games, you start to see sub groups form. Niches within a niche. At some point sub-communities get so small that they may have a razor sharp focus on a particular topic, but they lack a lot of members / conversation.
(3) Establishing critical mass in a community is key and becomes harder the more specialized the "niche within a niche" is.

For these reasons, I tend to advocate for larger / broader communities to make sure there is always ample exposure / participation. I wrote about this a bit in an article I wrote for SaskGames back when I was involved in that community. It can be found here: https://boardgamegeek.com/blogpost/53788/community-musing-part-iv

I think the best / strongest / longest-lived communities tend to be those with a broad members base. These tend to be more generalized from a hobby perspective, a site devoted to a particular game / sub-genre of games, or a group that shares a geographic region.
www.BoardGameGeek.com - Generalized site
https://opinionatedgamers.com/ - Generalized site
www.carcassonnecentral.com - Devoted to a specific game.
www.wingsofwar.org - Devoted to a specific game.
https://www.torontoboardgamers.ca/ - Devoted to a geographic region.
https://www.meetup.com/seattle-board-games/ - Devoted to a geographic region.

I think for a game company, it is even more challenging. I believe you need to tap into existing communities and build a base of interest to create inertia to move forward. Probably lots of outreach on existing sites, social media, etc.

I have used Discord and belong to a number of communities. Those communities tend to be more "underground" and do not readily show up on goggle searches for people looking for games and related items. For that reason, I generally avoid using Discord, Slack, and tools like that to "build" a community. I think you need a more open / searchable / web format for that.

Anyways, that was a lot of rambling on my part. Very best to you in your efforts, I will certainly follow along and hope things take off.
Very best,
a voice from your past.
Matt "Bixby"
My KARMA ran over your DOGMA

Offline danisthirty

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Re: So I did a thing ... need advice ...
« Reply #6 on: April 24, 2023, 08:38:10 AM »
Hey gantry. That sounds like an exciting direction to be heading in. Wishing you every success with it!

I'd like your opinions on whether I should build my own official community around my games.

Pros:

  • It is a place where I can offer official answers to player questions
  • It provides players with a place to share ideas and build excitement for the games
  • I will be able to offer gamification to encourage players to return to the community, and perhaps get bonus material for the games

Cons:

  • It takes a lot of work to run and maintain, whereas putting stuff out on social media is easier
  • It will add to the cost of running the business
  • If the games do not become popular enough, the community will likely migrate to BGG or somewhere else and my time and effort will be wasted

If you believe that I should build my own community, what should that look like? A structured forum like Carc Central, or a less structured free-for-all place for discussions like a Facebook group or something like Hivebrite/Circle.so (assuming you know what those are)? I should add that I am very much mobile-first, anything that I build will work on your mobile phone or tablet as well as on any computer.

Feel free to provide any other comments or suggestions!

I think a lot of what you've suggested makes good sense and could be beneficial, but the timing is also important. For example, none of the pros on your list are really relevant until you've already published something that has attracted a fanbase, otherwise who is asking the questions you want to answer/ sharing ideas/ seeking out the cool promos? Touching on what Bixby already said, boardgaming is still very much a niche thing and whilst there's a lot I don't like about BGG (the interface and the snobby/ elitist attitude of almost everyone I've had any interaction with there) I still feel that it serves as a good starting point to build a fanbase before moving onto something more customised.

With regards how you implement it when the time is right, I do think that Facebook groups and Discord offer a lot in the way of keep people engaged and showing "life" within your community. But they're not very searchable and if you intend to share something in the way of a FAQ, or downloads, or ongoing debates covering a multitude of different topics I feel that a platform such as CarcC is quite effective, despite seeming a little dated now.

So in summary, I'd suggest starting on BGG to let people know about your games, then moving to social media/ Discord (or both?) as soon as you feel you've built enough a sustainable fanbase and actively seeking to grow it, then finally moving to somewhere like this if things have gone well and you're prepared to to spend the money/ do the work.

Hope this helps! :(y)


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