BoardGameGeek Wiki Style Guide
Now that any user can go into a game's description Wiki and change it, it has become more important than ever to have some guidelines for those just starting out. With literally tens of thousands of game listings in the BGG database, having a consistent format for game descriptions will make the BGG database:
- Easier to read
- Easier to organize
- Easier to add new information
- More professional
The goal of this style guide is to define that consistent format.
General Formatting Guidelines
Using a consistent format will help users digest your information more quickly and easily. Here are the general guidelines, applicable for both game/designer/publisher descriptions and wiki pages.
The basic format rules for a game description are:
- Put every occurrence of that game's name in bold.
- Put references to the game's designer/publisher, other games or other material that has a Wiki page as a link.
- Do not make the name of the game whose description you are editing into a link as the reader is already at that page and it just creates an extra link that can be clicked on inadvertently that will reload the same page they are already reading.
Simply following these three simple rules will make the BGG database much more uniform and readable for the vast majority of the game entries.
It's easy to do, here is an example:
- Initial game text:
- Amun-Re is from the same guy who designed Ra.
- Adding the bold format it now becomes:
- Code added: '''Amun-Re''' is from the same guy who designed Ra.
- Displays: Amun-Re is from the same guy who designed Ra.
- Next we add the links next (and make it grammatically correct):
- Code added: '''Amun-Re''' is from [designerid=2] who also designed [gameid=12].
- Displays: Amun-Re is from Reiner Knizia, who also designed Ra.
Notice we do not make the name Amun Re into a link as the link will simply take us back to the page we were already on - which then has to load again.
Often, you will need to add a "display" name after a link in order for it to read correctly as the links show the entire name that the game is listed under in the database. These can be unwieldy to read if the game has a long name.
An example of adding "display text":
- Initial game text:
- Panzerblitz does not have the same level of detail as Tobruk does however. Those looking for more realism should try Tobruk as it simulates every aspect of tank combat and is considered a simulation as much as it is a game.
- Adding the format:
- Code Added: '''Panzerblitz''' does not have the same level of detail as [gameid=5455] does however. Those looking for more realism should try [gameid=5455] as it simulates every aspect of tank combat and is considered a simulation as much as it is a game.
- Displays: Panzerblitz does not have the same level of detail as Tobruk: Tank Battles in North Africa 1942 does however. Those looking for more realism should try Tobruk: Tank Battles in North Africa 1942 as it simulates every aspect of tank combat and is considered a simulation as much as it is a game.
As you can see, that is difficult to read and does not look right as well. All you need to do is add the "display text" you want to see for the link after the game id. Leave a space after the game/publisher/designer number and then type in your display text inside the brackets.
- Adding the display text:
- Code Added: '''Panzerblitz''' does not have the same level of detail as [gameid=5455 Tobruk] does however. Those looking for more realism should try [gameid=5455 Tobruk] as it simulates every aspect of tank combat and is considered a simulation as much as it is a game.
- Displays: Panzerblitz does not have the same level of detail as Tobruk does however. Those looking for more realism should try Tobruk as it simulates every aspect of tank combat and is considered a simulation as much as it is a game.
You typically want to make any references to the game's designers or publisher as a link, as well as any references to any other games, designers or publishers you are mentioning in the game description. Be careful not to include redundant information however. It is not necessary to mention in a game description who the game's designer and publisher is, as both of those bits of information are already included in the game's "Information" section. However it is perfectly acceptable to say something like the example below:
Amun-Re is from Reiner Knizia, who also designed Ra, which is another game set in Egyptian times.
Here, a specific reference is made that gives more information about both games. Again, the links are made, so the reader can easily click on them to go to either Reiner Knizia's designer page or to the Ra game page.
Designating Sections of a Description with Headers
Typically, most game descriptions will not need to have be broken down into sections as the information is not of large enough quantity to warrant it. However there are still many games that will need to have sections in the description. Use the following guidelines if you need to add header descriptions.
Typical Header descriptions would be along the lines of:
- Components (listing the game's components)
- Expansions (listing the expansions available for the game)
- Awards (listing the awards the game has received)
- Magazine References (listing articles about the game) etc...
- Online Play (only if the game can be played on the internet)
- The Online Play wiki page lists some large sites, such as BrettspielWelt, that host many games, as well as smaller sites.
- For those with their own BGG wiki page, link to the wiki page, rather than using the URL. For example:
- For sites that don't have their own BGG wiki page, just use the URL (with text if the site has a name other than its domain). Examples:
It is not necessary to have major headers for these sections. The simplest emphasis is often the best and only bolding the headers gives a nice clean look.
- 6 Pawns
- Deck of Cards
Other Basic Editing Guidelines
When editing, please keep in mind the following guidelines:
- Correct any misspellings or typographical errors.
- Break a single, monolithic "paragraph" into smaller paragraphs if you can.
- Improve dodgy grammar and general clarity. If something is written in broken English, and you have enough knowledge about the game to translate it to decent - or maybe even good English, help a geek out!
- Remove arbitrary linefeeds. Some descriptions and other text have unnecessary linefeeds that break the text inappropriately.
- Remove obviously outdated information. Examples:
- Remove "the new game/expansion..."
- Change "This will be released at Essen 2004" to "This was released at Essen 2004"
- When adding links, don't rely on the BGG Wiki macros to do all the work. The next person who tries to update the page in a year (which might be you!) will not be happy trying to figure out which of the fifty-three [gameid] tags you added is "Settlers of Catan, The" so they can correct it to "The Settlers of Catan". Here's a helpful, step-by-step technique for labeling the links without linking to the wrong game:
- Type "[gameid=9446] Blue Moon" in the wikitext.
- Preview it to be sure it says "Blue Moon Blue Moon". [You'd be surprised how often someone misses a gameid by 1, or enters an imageid instead of a gameid, or....]
- Change it to "[gameid=9446 Blue Moon]".
- When listing expansions or games with the years, put the year first, since its length is consistent.
Descriptions for Database Entries
Whether submitting a new entry, or editing an existing one, spending just a minute or so more can result in a much nicer, more consistent layout for BoardGameGeek's data. Here are some guidelines:
- If the description mentions another game, designer, or publisher, turn it into a link.
- Before: Blue Moon City picks up where the two-player game...
- After (wikitext): '''Blue Moon City''' picks up where the [gameid=9446 two-player game]...
- After (displays): Blue Moon City picks up where the two-player game...
- Remove overt opinions from the description.
- Example: This is indisputably an essential game for anyone's collection.
- Example: The rules are detailed, but actually fairly simple.
First, see the Game Wiki Guidelines for some idea of what content is appropriate in the game description.
Ideally, we want a game description to give us a quick idea of what the game is about, and a really broad notion of how it works. Many games in BGG's database have been added with a "description" quoted from the publisher's blurb on the box. That sort of promotional tool rarely gives even a passable description of the game, due to the brevity. On the other hand, some "descriptions" are becoming unwieldy as we geeks contribute to the game wiki pages. With all that in mind, on to the guidelines for game entries:
- Put a link in the expansion's description to its base game.
- wikitext: These expansions to '''[gameid=21882 Blue Moon City]'''...
- displays: These expansions to Blue Moon City...
- Again, link expansions to their base games, even if it requires adding a little text.
- Before: These expansions to the base game...
- After (wikitext): These expansions to the [gameid=21882 base game]...
- After (displays): These expansions to the base game...
- If it is just a blurb "from the publisher", and you feel it doesn't describe the game well at all:
- Replace it or flesh it out.
- Remove the "from the publisher" or "from the box" disclaimer, because you just changed it from plagiarism into your own words!
- If it seems way too long...
- ...because all twenty of its expansions are listed, and so forth:
- See if a wiki page for that game - or series of games - exists.
- Add a link to the wiki page for the game (series), even if it doesn't exist.
- Ensure that the excess content is on the wiki page. (This might require you to perform a taxing Copy and Paste.)
- Remove it from the game description.
- ...because the description is too detailed, and gives a full, phase-by-phase explanation of the game:
- To do: Please provide suggestions! We don't want a separate wiki page for every complex game in the database.
- Suggestion: Simply pare it down.
This is essentially a biography. You can't go too wrong here. Just remember to make any references to games, publishers, or other designers into links.
You can't go too wrong here. Just remember to make any references to games, designers, or other publishers into links.
Tip: Don't follow a header immediately by a bulleted or numbered list: It creates an oddly large amount of space between the header and the list. Options:
- Add some text between the header and the list to introduce the list.
- If you don't need the list to show up in a table of contents ([[toc]]), then change the header from a header to simply bold.
- Before (wikitext): ==Games in the Series==
- After (wikitext): '''Games in the Series'''
Please try to avoid language errors
Please try to write good quality English and avoid mistakes in grammar and spelling. You might find the list of Common English Mistakes to be helpful.