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A BGG Love Story

Oliver Kiley
United States
Ann Arbor
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Tomorrow will be the start of BGG.CON. This year, I have the opportunity to attend, and I will be there on Thursday around mid-day (sorry I’m missing the opening ceremonies … er … gaming!) until Sunday morning. I can’t wait!

BGG.CON will be the first big gaming convention I’ve attended. As such, I have been reflecting back on the events that brought me to this point, of having a game published, and getting to attend the Con in support of Minion Games and the release of Hegemonic.

Perhaps it’s obvious, but if it wasn’t for BGG, I wouldn’t be going to BGG.CON!

But beyond that matter of fact statement, my personal reasons are more subtle. I’m fortunate to have been able to turn a game idea that I had into a reality, which in turn has enabled me to attend BGG.CON. And the reason I have a published game is because of BGG and the absolutely fantastic group of people that make up this community. It is really quite remarkable.

Hegemonic started as an idea not too long before I stumbled across BGG back in the fall of 2010. The very earliest ideas for Hegemonic started on a BGG Game Design thread just a little over three years ago. It’s remarkable that it went from that initial post and inkling of an idea to a full blown published game. I’m still rather shocked – even more so when I walked into my FLGS a few days ago and saw it sitting right there on the shelf.

Really, the BGG community provided help all along the way, from users offering up their ideas about ways to improve the game, to suggesting design best practices to keep in mind and proofing rules. Through BGG I met the self-proclaimed space artist Alex Skinner – who speculatively donating his time and talents to providing, what we thought, would be some nice artwork and graphic design for the game. Lo and behold his wonderful artwork made it into the final game.

The BGG community was there again when it was time to do blind playtesting – offering readings of the rules. And even more impressive, I had more than dozen people build their own PnP copies of Hegemonic to “beta test” it. I was floored and still am.

And last (in terms of Hegemonic anyway) BGG is what helped get Hegemonic positioned to attract publisher interest and eventual publication. I have many people to thank for that part of the process. In summation, I’m thankful to be a part of this BGG “success story.” From my perspective, being on BGG was an opportunity to have an open design process all the way from idea generation, to refinement, and publication.

BGG has also become the home for this blog – and through my blog and other blogs on BGG I have met many wonderful, kind, and insightful people that have broadened my outlook not only about games – but about life. By writing about and discussing games with the BGG community I’ve had a wonderful sense of connection that has made the hobby more real and enjoyable that I ever imagined it would be. People talk about being addicted to BGG – and that may be true for me. But the addiction stems from those little subscription notices when I eagerly check to see which GeekBuddy has replied to what discussion. The addiction is about the people.

I’ve contemplated moving this blog to somewhere off-site where I can have more control over the visual look and functionality of the blog. But on greater consideration, I don’t think that’s appropriate. This blog is what it is because of the community that surrounds it – and loosing that is not worth any amount of fancy graphics and social media linkage buttons!

If you are going to be attending BGG as well, please drop a line here and I’ll be sure to look out for you – if you aren’t already on my secret stalking list. For most of the con, I’ll be camped out at the Minion Games demo table in DemoLand (slash-Hot Games Room) running games of Hegemonic till I fall over and land in a dice pit, or something else really dorky and cool at the same time like that.

So thank you BGG - and I'll see you at the Con!

Now where's that plane ticket....
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