Eric Jome
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Do you think BGG is a useful tool for helping people find other gamers to play with? It's definitely a great tool for finding games, but is it a great tool for finding gamers? Could it do more? How would you change the site or what features would you want to help you meet up with gamers? Or would such a feature be useless to you?

At present, it seems to me the main method for finding gamers is posting a blind thread in the general gaming forum saying where you are and asking if anyone nearby games.
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Mousey
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There is the "Find Gamers" option:
http://www.boardgamegeek.com/findgamers.php?action=findclose...

But it only finds you when you added yourself in your profile to the gamers database.
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Matt Robertson
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Funny you shoudl mention this. Bear with me as I get a bit abstract here:

Initiatives are successful when they answer some fundamental questions or assist people in organizing themselves to answer these questions.

WHAT - WHO - WHERE - WHEN - WHY - HOW

Currently, BGG is answering a number of these questions. Here is my take on the current state of things:

- WHAT
- WHO
- WHERE
- WHEN

I will leave the WHY & HOW out of this discussion for now as they are more subjective and not as much part of an organizational structure.

BGG gets full marks for the WHAT. A fantastic database of games that has received accolades far and wide.

The WHO is quite well done as a database of members. The ability to flesh out profiles and establish Geekbuddies are great features. Guilds and other features to allow for the formation of Sub-Communities are a bit lacking and are not easily or readily understood by many members / new users.

WHERE is not a strong suit of BGG. You can locate members with some effort, but there is no easy way to get in touch with members in a locale other than GeekMail or posting with the hopes they will see your post. This is somewhat labour intensive and hit or miss.

WHEN is not even really an option. There are calendars in the guilds, but they are not widely used or understood.

Two things that are needed for organizing groups of gamers (members) would be an easy and effective way to nail down the WHERE & the WHEN for event planning. This would have to be easily found and seen by the WHO if it were to be effective.

I know all of that sounds quite abstract. I have been engaging in some social engineering projects this last few years and the above is based on my observations of what is needed to form communities within communities. To this end, a team of us are working on a gaming website for the Province of Saskatchewan that will be primarily focused on helping gamers connect with each other and plan gaming events on a central calendar. We are going to avoid duplicating the WHAT, as BGG does that very well and it would be silly to re-invent something that works. We will be sterring members to BGG as much as possible to get information on games.

Hope that makes sense. Thanks for bearing with me.
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I think that in the US, BGG is a valuable resource for locating gamers, simply using the map (http://www.boardgamegeek.com/map/user/search). It takes a little work to go through and determine which of those are active users and worthwhile contacting, but it's not that onerous.

The next step is the difficult one, and no matter how you attack the problem it will always be there. You have to go and make the initial contact. As a group stereotyped for social ineptitude and painful shyness, this will be a stumbling block for some people.

How can BGG improve things?

1. Have a checkable option in the user profile, something to the effect of "always looking for new people to play with - please drop me a line"

2. Expand the user search to other countries. I'm heading back to the UK next year, and already weighing up my gaming group options. Without the option to search by area, this is a little more difficult than I would like. I don't suspect that it would be the most difficult thing to have a "search by postcode" facility rather than a "search by zipcode" or even a "search by map area" although this would mean people would have to be a little more diligent inputting their location data.

FWIW, the person I play most games with at the moment I met directly through BGG, and the user search facility.
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There's also the Find Users function, where you can search by zip code:

http://boardgamegeek.com/users.php

and if any of them have "want to play" marked for a game that you're excited about, then you might really be in luck!
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Eric Jome
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indigopotter wrote:


Should this be a higher profile aspect of the site?
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I've found that posting in the regional forums is a bit more direct and helpful than posting in general gaming, and often people who are located in that region will subscribe to that forum and it becomes a little easier.

http://boardgamegeek.com/forum/82/boardgamegeek/game-groups
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Martin Rundkvist
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The zip code search and map engine only work within the US. I'm in Sweden. But I actually made contact with one of my best gamer buddies by asking in the Sweden forum here if anybody in my municipality wanted to play more games.
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Richard Pakpreo
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I don't think BGG can really do much. It's the users who need to do more. Also, some users don't want to put down their information and be located. That's perfectly fine. The users who do want to get in contact with people do so and the people who are interested respond. I think forcing people to respond won't help much as then people will be more reluctant to join and/or give wrong information.
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Eric Clason
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pk2317 wrote:
I've found that posting in the regional forums is a bit more direct and helpful than posting in general gaming, and often people who are located in that region will subscribe to that forum and it becomes a little easier.

http://boardgamegeek.com/forum/82/boardgamegeek/game-groups

I second this. 5 years ago I found a gameday invite posted to a regional forum that has led to about half my boardgame play since.
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indigopotter wrote:
There's also the Find Users function, where you can search by zip code:

http://boardgamegeek.com/users.php

and if any of them have "want to play" marked for a game that you're excited about, then you might really be in luck!

I'd be so happy if this feature worked for the rest of the world outside of the US, and don't see how hard it could be to add a variable for "country."
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Re: Does BBG hlep meeple?
Yes, it had for myself as regards BSW, although I had tried "Euros" years prior to BGG being formed, from a closely regarded friend and his Group at Georgia Tech.
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Henrik Havighorst
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While I think the user search should work for the non-US as well, I do agree that is is really up to the users. I had been posting in forums and writing people but to no avail. I managed to found a gamegroup via Facebook. Because of the "invite" and "event" part of the page which makes it really easy to set-up and organize. To be honest, I think people spend way more time on the geek than actually playing games but that is another issue altogether. HX
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The BGG currently provides enough information and tools for gamers to find each other.

Learn to use the tools provided before asking for more tools.
 
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So, are you implying that all people who say that they wish for BGG to offer more and/or better ways to find players are simply too stupid to use the website ?
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Joel K
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The Find Gamers w/ Google Maps tool could be neatly spruced up with the addition of this MarkerClusterer script for use with the Google Maps Javascript API.
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Three years ago I formed a local Guild for Frankfurt. I searched the database for users fromy my hometown and asked them to join. A few of us met a at a local gaming café. These meetings became regular institutions once a month. I advertised our meeting and guild on some other sites. Then we met twice month. I advertised some more and searched for more users from our area. For about a year we have been meeting every thursday and we have roughly between 6 and 15 gamers at each meeting. In September we will start an additional regular meeting on sundays. We now got 90 members (even if not all of the are active) and I got to know a lot of gamers in my area and now have much more opportunity to game (if I can find the time).
BGG has had a HUGE impact on the forming of this group. You just have to put a bit of work in it.
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Eric Jome
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Tanakor wrote:
BGG has had a HUGE impact on the forming of this group. You just have to put a bit of work in it.


It's the work bit that makes me wonder. As I mentioned, BGG is a great tool for finding out about games. Should it be a better tool for finding gamers? How useful is a game without people to play it? Of course, there are already ways to help get together, but they are very generic systems - geekmail, forum threads, map based lookups.

Would it be good to have game invitations or calendars? We have a very small box on a game page "looking to play" - when? Where? How much?

It seems like getting a game would be a very natural extension of the site, yet we don't seem to ask much of the site in that area... and it doesn't have much in the way of features to support that.

Which seems odd, considering how important having other gamers is.
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Walt
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I don't think I've seen all these tools mentioned. This is pretty much a template I use when someone asks how to find gamers:


Fill in that flag info! If you don't want to put in your city, put in your county. If you fill in your zip code, you'll allow other people to find you. How?

Find Gamers. This will list users near you. Be on the lookout for game group organizer badges: You can click on the badge to go to the group page.

You can also do that in reverse and look at all the organizers (some of whom may not display their badge).

I also suggest you look in:
BoardGameGeek Forums » Forum Index » Game Groups

Look for a Guild for your area:
Misc > Guilds

Outside of BGG you could try Yahoo Groups or similar features on Google or other gateways. Meetup.com is very heavily focused on face-to-face meeting, as opposed to email contact.

As I mentioned before, when you see someone's US flag, try mousing over it. If he's near you, talk to him.

Last but not least, if you have a Friendly Local Game Store (FLGS), ask there. (And if you use their expertise, be nice and buy something from them--it's a rough business.)


As can be seen, there are a lot of options, some off-site. I'd use the OC Guild more, but the OC Board Gamers Meetup Group does the job so well, the guild is pretty irrelevant.

Just from population, I'd expect Milwaukee to have hundreds of gamers willing to join a group, so I think what's needed is being or finding a dedicated organizer. This looks good: Milwaukee Company of Gamers
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Eric Jome
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Tall_Walt wrote:
Just from population, I'd expect Milwaukee to have...


Not really about me. I have more gaming than time.
 
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cosine wrote:
Do you think BGG is a useful tool for helping people find other gamers to play with? It's definitely a great tool for finding games, but is it a great tool for finding gamers? Could it do more? How would you change the site or what features would you want to help you meet up with gamers? Or would such a feature be useless to you?

At present, it seems to me the main method for finding gamers is posting a blind thread in the general gaming forum saying where you are and asking if anyone nearby games.

So, to go back to your original post, I think it's a useful tool. I've added many people to my group and nearby groups. I definitely agree that find gamers should work anywhere in the world, and I suggested using Google Maps' &ll tag to do so (Longitude/Latitude).

I think maybe you're discounting users helping others find groups too much. The ease of finding games on BGG is because users act not just to create reviews and session reports, and to keep the DB current; but also they answer recommendation threads, identify old games, compare games, and so many other things. Just because finding gamers isn't some hermetically sealed, exclusively computational function doesn't mean it doesn't work. A lot of people are geeks about games but not so much about computers, so human, fellow-user intervention will always be needed.
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Tall_Walt wrote:
I think maybe you're discounting users helping others find groups too much.


Not really. I know it happens all the time. I was curious as to whether or not other people saw it as part of the mission of BGG or not. And it seems, more or less, not. That seems strange to me, but perhaps people's other social networking opportunities are sufficient.
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I see it as part of the mission. All the tools I mentioned above, most of them on BGG, support that mission. The tools not on BGG are widely available, and I don't see any need for BGG to duplicate them.
 
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I mostly agree with this:

Rappak wrote:
It's the users who need to do more.


The tool's mostly there (at least for us U.S.ians) -- it'd be cool if more people availed themselves of it and opted in.

Perhaps the site could (should?) be a little more forward in promoting participation in the geographic database. Maybe some kind of weeklong mini-event where you get a microbadge for joining or something? This could coincide with the funding drives, possibly.

I think at this point in the internet, most people just reflexively activate maximum privacy options whenever they join a new site. I bet quite a few users have forgotten that they set up their account that way and might change their mind after a few month's experience with the site and a friendly, periodic reminder.
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Yokiboy wrote:
indigopotter wrote:
There's also the Find Users function, where you can search by zip code:

http://boardgamegeek.com/users.php

and if any of them have "want to play" marked for a game that you're excited about, then you might really be in luck!

I'd be so happy if this feature worked for the rest of the world outside of the US, and don't see how hard it could be to add a variable for "country."


Germany for example would be great


Marqos wrote:
I mostly agree with this:

Rappak wrote:
It's the users who need to do more.


The tool's mostly there (at least for us U.S.ians) -- it'd be cool if more people availed themselves of it and opted in.

Perhaps the site could (should?) be a little more forward in promoting participation in the geographic database. Maybe some kind of weeklong mini-event where you get a microbadge for joining or something? This could coincide with the funding drives, possibly.

I think at this point in the internet, most people just reflexively activate maximum privacy options whenever they join a new site. I bet quite a few users have forgotten that they set up their account that way and might change their mind after a few month's experience with the site and a friendly, periodic reminder.


I totally agree with you meeple
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