Not Necessarily the News

BGG News editor W. Eric Martin exhibits signs of obsessive completeness and complete obsessiveness – and invites you to join him in this fruitless, yet satisfying quest

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BGG Style Guide: How to Propose Representative Images for Game Pages and Versions

W. Eric Martin
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I receive a lot of questions from designers and publishers, not to mention other BGG users, about how to place representative images on game pages, as well as on publisher and designer pages. For far too long, I've answered these questions individually, while telling people that I need to write up these processes to share them with the world.

Finally, I have done this, and assembling this post took far less time than I spent telling people that I will do this someday, a lesson I must keep in mind for the future: Create written guidelines once, then share them forever, revising as needed.

After all, BGG has hundreds of thousands of users. What a person asks once is asked by thousands of other people as well. We're reworking the front page layout right now — well, others are and I'm hearing about it in passing — and part of that front page will include guidelines for how to use this site. By writing up this material ahead of time, I'll have it ready to go (bar any reformatting for wiki's sake) once the front page is ready for launch.

With that preamble out of the way, let's get started, laying out the basics of image uploading for those who need a refresher...

•••


How to Upload an Image

To upload an image on a game page, visit that page, then click on the "Images" tab, then click the blue +UPLOAD button at right:


From gallery of W Eric Martin


To upload an image on a designer or publisher page, scroll down to the "Images" module on that page, then click Upload >> on the left.


From gallery of W Eric Martin


A pop-up box will then appear on the game page. (For a designer/publisher page, you'll be brought to a new page.) Click on "Choose Files", then find the image file that you want to upload on your computer. Add a caption that describes the image. As for which gallery to choose:

Quote:
• If the image features one or more people and the people are the focal point of the image, choose PEOPLE for the gallery.

• If the image shows the game, the box, or unaltered components as they will appear in print, choose GAME for the gallery. (Digital representations of covers, cards, boards, boxes, and other flat elements should go in the GAME gallery.)

• Otherwise, choose CREATIVE as the gallery.
Uploaded images will be moderated by users via our GeekMod system. You can't moderate your own images, but you can mod those of other users! Go to GeekMod, then click "Images" to start looking at images and modding them.


From gallery of W Eric Martin


Once an image has been approved — and you'll receive a message via Geekmail stating this — then you can view that image under the "Images" tab on a game page or in the "Images" module on a publisher or designer page.

•••


How to Make an Image Representative on a Game, Designer, or Publisher Page

Each game, designer, and publisher page has a representative image to help users identify what the thing in question is:

Quote:
• For a game, the representative image should be the 2D front cover of the oldest English-language version of the game still in print or available on the market. (If this 2D front cover isn't available, then we'd prefer a 2D front cover the oldest non-English version of the game still in print. Failing that, a 3D representation of the oldest English-language version of the game still in print is acceptable, but this image should be replaced ASAP.)

• For a publisher, the representative image should be the current logo.

• For a designer, the representative image should be an image of the person in which they are recognizable and ideally on their own.
For a game page, go to the "Images" tab, find the 2D front cover image, then click on the three vertical dots underneath the image, then click "Propose Representative".


From gallery of W Eric Martin


For a designer or publisher page, click "Browse >>" in the "Images" module, find the image of the individual or logo that seems most appropriate, then click [More...] underneath the image, then click "Propose Representative Image".


From gallery of W Eric Martin


Whether for a game, designer, or publisher page, a pop-up box will allow you to include a note for those in GeekMod who will review your suggestion. (A note is not required.) As with the image submission process, any user (other than the submitter) can moderate this suggestion. To do so, go to GeekMod, then click "Data" to start looking at images that have been proposed as representative images (as well as images that are supposedly in the wrong gallery and are having a new gallery proposed for them).

•••


How to Make an Image Representative on a Specific Game Version

Each game page has one or more versions. Images of games in the GAME gallery should ideally be linked to one or more of these versions.

To link an image to a version, go to the "Images" tab on a game page, click on a particular image, then click on "Add a Link" underneath the image, then click "Add version link", then click on the specific version in the list that appears in the pop-up menu. (Once an image is linked to a version, that version won't appear in the pop-up list.)


From gallery of W Eric Martin


Your suggestion will go into GeekMod, and any user (other than the submitter) can moderate this suggestion. To do so, go to GeekMod, then click "Image links" to start looking at images for which links have been suggested.

Once an image has been linked to a version, you can choose a representative image for a specific version by going to the version page, then clicking on "Browse X images" underneath the depicted image on the version page.


From gallery of W Eric Martin


Find the image that seems most appropriate — namely the 2D front cover image — then click [More...] underneath the image, then click "Propose Representative Image".


From gallery of W Eric Martin


Again, this suggestion will go into GeekMod in the "Data" category.

Note that the first image linked to a version page will default as the representative image, so if you link the 2D front cover to a version first, then you won't later have to go back and propose that the 2D front cover be made representative for that version.

•••


Is anything unclear in the directions above? Have suggestions for how to present this material in a better format? Please leave a comment!
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Thu Feb 28, 2019 5:26 pm
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One-Time Task: Create Game Listings for...

W. Eric Martin
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From gallery of W Eric Martin
...a number of titles, some requiring more work than others. The games are:

Tricky Monkey, from Ariel Laden and Smart Zone Games
Publisher's page
Listing by Gigamic, which is distributing the game in France.
French rules, which seem to be the only ones available.
–I have images from Gigamic to upload once the game listing is approved.

• The card game Diam's from Les XII Singes
–As with Tricky Monkey above, knowledge of French would be helpful since both the game page and the rules (PDF) are only in French. (There is a submission in the queue, but the game description is far from clear.)

Konito? from IELLO
—French website Tric Trac has posted a game preview.

Mimtoo from Cocktail Games.
–Another game previewed on Tric Trac, and thus another title best for someone who speaks French.

Antartik from Iopeli
–Once again previewed on Tric Trac.

• The card game Dégage
–Yet another game preview on Tric Trac.

Gitterrätsel Junior and Gitterrätsel English Expansion Set
–As covered in this German-language press release.

Time No Time Junior
–From the same press release.

Das kleine Ich bin ich: Würfelwettlauf
–Posted on the Selecta Spielzeug website, with downloadable rules in German.
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Tue Jan 31, 2012 8:06 pm
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One-Time Task: Create Listings for Reprinted Expansions for A Game of Thrones: The Card Game

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Board Game: A Game of Thrones: The Card Game – Secrets and Spies
Fantasy Flight Games has reprinted a half-dozen expansion packs for A Game of Thrones: The Card Game, updating the card text to match the current rules and errata while adjusting the card deck composition to match the current approach of including three copies each of twenty different cards. I've created a listing for one such item – specifically this version of A Game of Thrones: The Card Game: Secrets and Spies – and am looking for someone who wants to create the other five. Any takers?
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Wed Dec 28, 2011 6:49 pm
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One-Time Tasks: Write Better Descriptions for Dungeon Petz, Klondike 1896, More

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Board Game: Klondike 1896
Want to write game descriptions for titles that need some love? If so, here is what's on the agenda:

Klondike 1896 from new Czech publisher Stragoo Games. Post a comment for this or the next item, and I'll get you started.

Speedway Champion, another release from Stragoo in association with Czech Board Games.

Ugh! from Calliope Games. Strangely, I can't link to the rules directly on the Calliope website – boo, restrictive web design! – but you can find them on this page if you want to call "dibs" and get started.

Takenoko from Matagot is just starting to appear on store shelves, and in honor of its presence we should rewrite the description to tell potential players what they'll actually be doing in the game! English rules (PDF) are available on the Matagot website.

• How about another panda game, this one being the children's game Paul Panda from Beleduc? I somehow ended up with rules for this on my desktop if anyone's interested in redoing the Babelfish in place now.

• What about String Railway: Transport from OKAZU Brand? Lots of attention prior to Spiel 2011, and now? English, French and German rules are available on the game page.

• And my goodness, what about Dungeon Petz, which got lots of love prior to Spiel 2011 and still has folks in the U.S. on the edge of their seats waiting for it to pop up in retail stores? The description could use a bit of expansion to cover what's going on in the game. Anyone want to read over the English rules here on BGG and have at it?
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Tue Dec 20, 2011 8:54 pm
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BGG Style Guide: One Trick to Posting Better Images – Eliminate White Space

W. Eric Martin
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From gallery of W Eric Martin
I see a lot of images in my role as BGG News guy, whether sent directly from publishers, in press releases, or on websites, and many of them feature the same problem: too much white space.

Why is white space bad? Because white space equals lack of game-related imagery, and when an image is viewed at thumbnail size – which is often the case on BGG – then the game itself looks tiny and adrift in a cloud. Here's one example from a press release I received via email:

From gallery of W Eric Martin

Thankfully Cryptozoic Entertainment goes through the trouble of including both a full cover shot and a 3D box shot, thus allowing people like me to choose the image that will work best on BGG – that being the image most visible at thumbnail size while also being a decent size for those who want to view it at medium. (Why not upload both boxes? Because they effectively provide the same content, but with one (after cropping) being slightly tilted and surrounded by meaningless white space. Better to have less noise on the game page. As an added bonus, I don't have to go through the effort of cropping the image with the 3D box to remove most of the white space.)

(Additional side note: While flat images work best for BGG and its omnipresent thumbnail images, 3D images work best for advertisements both online and in print.)

Here's another example of a 3D image versus a flat cover image:

Board Game: SUTAKKU
From gallery of W Eric Martin

Subtle difference? Yes, but why cede ground to white space when you can instead dominate that space with your game box. Take full advantage of the ground given to you. This next example makes the difference clearer:

Board Game: The Lord of the Rings: The Card Game – The Hunt for Gollum
Board Game: The Lord of the Rings: The Card Game – The Hunt for Gollum

Let's ignore the terrible misaligned punchhole on the tab at the top of the weirdly digitally-generated box and instead notice that one box looks larger than the other, making that image more recognizable at a quick glance.

Flat vs. 3D cover images isn't the only area in which one can be vigilant about eliminating the void. Here's the original image (600x600 pixels) of the logo for a publisher that's debuting in 2012:

Board Game Publisher: Frost Forge Games

Looks pretty good, right? Nice and clean – everything clear. Now let's see that same image at thumbnail size:

Board Game Publisher: Frost Forge Games

Still visible and clear, but what if you had cropped much of the white border from the original image? Now let's compare the thumbnails:

Board Game Publisher: Frost Forge Games
From gallery of W Eric Martin

Maybe the difference isn't much, but I can see it and I'm sure you can, too. The less white space used in an image, the larger and crisper the important stuff will be.

•••


On a mostly unrelated topic, I thought I'd share these two images from a certain publisher's PR department, the first being for The Game of Life: Adventures Card Game:

From gallery of W Eric Martin

And the second being for Cluedo: The Card Game:

From gallery of W Eric Martin

Now let's view them side-by-side:

From gallery of W Eric Martin

*Sigh* – lazy, lazy, lazy...
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Tue Dec 20, 2011 3:42 pm
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One-Time Task: Create Listings for a Half-Dozen Games from Giochi Uniti

W. Eric Martin
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Board Game Publisher: Giochi Uniti
I received a product list from Italian publisher Giochi Uniti, and while I've created listings for the titles scheduled for release in 2012 – Dungeon Venture, Bookmaker, and other games – I'm looking for someone who would like to create listings for a half-dozen already released titles, all of them trivia-based games and most of them based on locations in Italy.

Knowing Italian is not required for this project as you could probably get by with an online translation program, but it would certainly help. Reply if you're interested, and I'll get you more information. Thanks!
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Mon Dec 19, 2011 8:11 pm
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One-Time Task: Upload Images & Edit Lots of Stuff on 1st & Goal

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Board Game: 1st & Goal
I have cover images for each of the 1st & Goal expansions from R&R Games, but in addition to uploading images, I'm looking for someone who wants to edit and make corrections on five of the expansion pages. I've already done one as a model and can provide more details to whoever posts first with interest in the project. Thanks!
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Wed Dec 7, 2011 9:02 pm
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One-Time Task: Enter SKUs & Weights for Eagle/Gryphon Titles

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Video Game Publisher: Eagle-Gryphon Games
Video Game Publisher: Eagle-Gryphon Games
I have an Excel file with a list of titles from Eagle Games, Gryphon Games and other companies published or distributed by FRED Distribution. This list contains only the game names (in alphabetical order), their SKUs (aka, the product numbers), their weights, and the listed publisher of these games.

I'm looking for a volunteer who wants to input (when needed) SKUs/product numbers and weights for these titles. Your reward will be whatever Geekgold you receive for having your corrections accepted, which is a minimum of .25 per correction. First commenter below who volunteers gets the job. I'll provide more details then. Thanks!
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Mon Dec 5, 2011 3:16 pm
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Ongoing Project: Create Better Game Descriptions

W. Eric Martin
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Board Game: Carcassonne
Check out the game description for Carcassonne in the BGG database:

Quote:
A clever tile-laying game. The southern French city of Carcassonne is famous for its unique Roman and Medieval fortifications. The players develop the area around Carcassonne and deploy their followers on the roads, in the cities, in the cloisters and in the fields. The skill of the players to best develop the area will determine who is victorious.

Part of the Carcassonne series.
Lame! And how about this description of The Settlers of Catan (minus the mostly extraneous links)?

Quote:
In Settlers of Catan, players try to be the dominant force on the island of Catan by building settlements, cities, and roads. On each turn dice are rolled to determine what resources the island produces. Players collect these resources to build up their civilizations to get to 10 victory points and win the game. Multi-award-winning and one of the most popular games in recent history due to its amazing ability to appeal to non-gamers and gamers alike.

Die Siedler von Catan was originally published by Kosmos and has gone through multiple editions. It was licensed by Mayfair and has undergone at least 4 editions as Settlers of Catan. It has also been re-published in a travel edition by Kosmos and in yet another edition for Japan/Asia, Settlers of Catan: Rockman Edition.

Settlers of Catan is the original game in the Catan Series.
Really? More than 15 million copies of The Settlers of Catan sold, and that's all it gets?! For comparison, here's the description for Queen Games' 2012 release Edo:

Quote:
In Edo, players represent daimyo in mid-second millennium Japan who are trying to serve their shogun by using their samurai to construct castles, markets and houses in Tokyo and surrounding areas.

At the start of Edo – which won "best evening-length game" in the 2010 Hippodice Game Design competition under the name Altiplano – each player has five samurai tokens, seven houses, one market and three square action cards, each of which has four possible actions on it. One card, for example, allows a player to:

• Collect rice (up to four bundles depending on the number of samurai applied to the action),
• Collect $5 (per samurai),
• Collect wood (up to four, with one samurai on the action and one in the forest for each wood you want), or
• Build (up to two buildings, with two samurai on the card and one in the desired city, along with the required resources)

Each turn, the players simultaneously choose which actions they want to take with their three cards and in which order, programming those actions on their player cards, similar to the planning phase in Dirk Henn's Wallenstein and Shogun. Players then take actions in turn order, moving samurai on the board as needed (paying $1 per space moved) in order to complete actions (to the forest for wood, the rice fields for rice, cities to build, and so on). Before a player can move samurai, however, he must use an action to place them on the game board; some actions allow free movement, and others allow a player to recruit additional samurai beyond the initial five.

One other action allows you to recruit additional action cards from an array on the side of the game board, thereby giving you four (or more) cards from which to choose for the rest of the game.

Building in cities costs resources and gives you points as well as money; as more players build in a city, the funds are split among all present, with those first in the city receiving a larger share. Players can also receive points or buy stone by dealing with a traveling merchant.

Once at least one player has twelve points, the game finishes at the end of the round, with players scoring endgame bonuses for money in hand and other things. The player with the most points wins.

Edo includes separate game boards for 2-3 players and 4-5 players.
Now admittedly I wrote that description of Edo – which may be part of why I think it's so good – as I was covering the game on BGG News after a demo at BGG.CON 2011, but I think we can all agree that the descriptions of Carcassonne, The Settlers of Catan and many other titles in the BGG database are lacking. That's somewhat to be expected since one of the hazards of a ten-year-old database is that material from years past typically stays untouched – and until the start of 2011 BGG had no one on staff creating content for the site, instead relying solely on user submissions, which vary greatly in quality.

And that brings us to this challenge: Visit the BGG pages of your three favorite games and (if necessary) rewrite their descriptions.

The goal behind a game description, as noted in the BGG Guide to Game Submissions, is to cover theme, the mechanisms of game play, and the goal of the game. As a potential player, I want to know what I'm trying to do, how I'm trying to do it, and where and when all this is taking place and what I'm pretending to be while doing stuff. Further advice from the Guide to Game Submissions:

Quote:
A game description should be written as a neutral statement about the game. Editorial comments about the quality of the game components or opinions about the game play should not be present in the game description and should be reserved for reviews or a user's personal commentary about the game.
Now, that's not to say you need to be formulaic or boring in your description. None of this "The goal of this game is to..." stuff, please! My goal, both for BGG News in general and for game descriptions in particular, is to write about games so that someone who would be likely to enjoy the game realizes that. I don't have to be a fan of a game to write something that describes it well; I just need to describe it objectively and hope that the description resonates with potential fans (and keeps those who would dislike the game from following a false path).

While BGG has a detailed page on wiki formatting – and game descriptions use a wiki style – you don't need to worry about most of the formatting. This should be enough to get you through a description:

• Use ''''' around a title to embolden and italicize the first use of the game's name, e.g., '''''The Settlers of Catan''''' = The Settlers of Catan.
• Use '' around a title for all other mentions of that game's title in the description, or any other game mentioned, e.g., ''The Settlers of Catan'' = The Settlers of Catan.
• Use * in front of items in a bulleted list.
• Omit links to expansions, designers, publishers and other such information that is included in the header at the top of the game page.
• Include a component list (if one is available) in the "More Information" section and not in the main description.
• Use keywords like "Reimplements:" or "Reimplemented by:" or "Similar to:" at the bottom of the description when a game is a cousin to an existing game. The coding for this is:

'''Reimplements:'''
*''[gameid=XXXX]''

with XXXX being replaced the ID number of the game in question. Check the description of the new version of Wallenstein for an example.

If you take on this challenge, please comment below with the names of the games that you have edited, preferably with links to those games. I'll send Geekgold your way as a thank you. If you run across other games that have poor descriptions and don't know enough to rewrite the description yourself (or have other stuff to do, like all the rest of us), add needs-better-description as a tag at the bottom of the page. Enterprising parties who get their kicks rewriting game descriptions then know where to go for more such charity cases. Thanks for your help!
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Sat Nov 26, 2011 9:41 pm
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What NNTN Is All About: Filling in the Holes in the BGG Database

W. Eric Martin
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From gallery of W Eric Martin
While I spend much of my time researching upcoming games, contacting designers and publishers, and navigating a thousand-plus RSS feeds, newsletters and websites in my role as editor of BoardGameGeek News, I also spend a fair number of hours working on the BGG database on these tasks:

• Adding games/designers/artists/publishers
• Editing and approving/declining/asking for revisions to submissions from BGG users (pending lists of games, publishers, and people)
• Adding and editing links on game/publisher pages
• Requesting images/finding them on a publisher's press page and adding them to the game/publisher pages

Mostly I do such things in order to link to a new game in a BGG News post (which means I need to create or approve the game listing first!) or add a link to newly available rules for an upcoming game, but I also work on improving the BGG database as a result of my obsessive desire for comprehensive information. I want everything to be as complete and detailed and (most importantly) correct as possible!

Thus, I rewrite ho-hum game descriptions after reading the rules or ask a publisher for a sharp, large logo to replace an tiny, scanned logo from years ago. Yay, one more step towards comprehensiveness!

The problem, however, is that I find way more information and images and links than I can possibly add to the BGG database, especially since I need to focus first and foremost on getting news about games in front of you, dear reader.

As a result, I created this blog to try to crowdsource this material and make it accessible for all BGG users thanks to the efforts of whoever picks up the shovel I offer. Ideally, someone will say, "I'm a fan of this designer/publisher, so I'll spend a half-hour and take care of this." My job will be to keep posting these raw data finds so that you and others can make the material available for all. Well, that and dangling Geekgold carrots to help encourage folks to participate...
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Sat Nov 26, 2011 6:11 pm
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