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Subject: Introducing the Gamer's Roll Call rss

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Jason Brown
United Kingdom
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Hello Fellow Gamers,

I've been working on a way to make scheduling gaming sessions a bit easier, and one that both integrates with and compliments BGG. I have a work-in-progress website I'd like to share with you.

Here's the cheesy infomercial!
------
- Ever dream of a better way to schedule gaming sessions?
- Tired of sifting through a week's worth of emails to figure out who's coming over for games?
- Want a way to let people vote on which games to play? Or what games they're bringing?
- To let you know if they want a meal? If they are bringing refreshments?
- Something that lets you download your game collection from your BGG account?
- Want to search your game collection with lots of advanced criteria?

Now you can!

I hereby introduce the (beta, unoptimized, work-in-progress) site:

Gamer's Roll Call
https://www.gamersrollcall.com
----

It's not quite finished, but I wanted to share what I have so far with all of you. I'd like to also ask a favor: Please let me know if you see anything weird, or if you have any comments- good or bad- about the site. You can email me at support@gamersrollcall.com , or send me geekmail (BGG id: brownout).

I haven't tested on all browsers and platforms, so if the display looks strange or broken to you, could you please email me what you're using (version and OS)? A screen-shot would be great too, if possible. Modern browsers work best as I'm using some CSS3 in the presentation.

I'm curious to hear what you think, and would love your suggestions for how I could make this better!

Thanks for your time,

-- Jason (brownout)

ps: If you want to add me as a friend at GRC, my username is "jason".
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-matt s.
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This is very interesting...I just starting using www.socializr.com as a way to pull together gamers for game nights...I might have to switch to this if it has similar/better features.

The ability to load your BGG game collection is awesome! Luckily I stumbled across it in the settings. I think you should have the option of setting your BGG name as part of setup and then either have the option of loading that information during setup or add a button to do a load/reload (I noticed that synching is available, too!) somewhere on the game shelf when logged into your account.

Also, on the game shelf, lowercase beginning letters sort separately from upper case, so "duck, duck, go!" is at the bottom of the shelves in the 'd' when it should be in the 'D' section.

I noticed Ticket to Ride: Märklin edition isn't handling the 'ä' properly.

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Jason Brown
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Great feedback, thank you very much!

I implemented your suggestions:

* The signup page now allows you to specify your BGG id (and will download your collection/wish list as part of the account creation process).
* Sorting on game shelves is now case-insensitive.
* Characters should now be displayed properly on all pages.

There should already have been a BGG download link under your shelves when you're logged in- please let me know if you don't see it.

Thanks again, and please let me know if you have any other comments!

-- Jason
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Stew Woods
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Hi Jason,

From a quick play, this looks very impressive.

It has the graphical gee whiz of boardgaming.com but with a useful purpose that doesn't duplicate BGG. Awesome!

Quick question - If I update my collection on GRC, does this update same on BGG? (since the interface is much nicer)
 
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Jason Brown
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Hey Stew,

Thank you very much!

Unfortunately, no, updates to GRC aren't pushed up to BGG. The BGG API only lets me read data, not write to your BGG account.

To try to help with this, if you make a series of changes in GRC, when you go to "Games" -> "Download from BGG", you'll see differences between your GRC and BGG accounts, with links back to the BGG game detail pages. From the BGG detail pages, you can then add to your collection in BGG.

To be honest, it's probably easier to update in BGG, then download to GRC.

-- Jason
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T. Fred
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Seems great and I hope it goes well. But how is it better than meetup.com?
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Jason Brown
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Thanks, I hope it goes well too!

Instead of saying better, I'll say it's just more specialized -- and free! My goal is to make it easier to organize gaming sessions on GRC than on any of the general-purpose event sites out there.

In addition to the tighter integration with BGG, you can also easily specify a game plan based on what's in your collection, schedule multiple tables of games, and let people vote on what they want to play. Also, if your friends specify their Gaming Availability, then when you schedule a session, you can pick a day of the week that works for the most people that you invite.

There's also the "what should we play now?" question that sometimes happens when people are over. Since many of us have dozens -if not hundreds- of games, I also put in ways to perform (advanced) searches for this situation. Like, "it's the end of the night, what games do I have that play best with 5 people, are not that too complicated and play in less than 30 minutes". You can even name & save your searches so that you don't have to re-specify all those criteria next time.

Lastly, there's the BGG community. I hope to get suggestions from all of you to make this the best site out there for organizing gaming. It's a "for gamers, by gamers" type of approach.

I hope that helps explain a bit of my motivation.

-- Jason



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Robert Forrest
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Great idea!
 
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James Engelhardt
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Great idea. And good luck!
 
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Brian Looker
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Jason, this is a great idea and I like the look and implementation you have going. I have a couple ideas to send your way, and I have no idea whether they'd be useful.

brownout wrote:

There's also the "what should we play now?" question that sometimes happens when people are over.


I think this is a cool angle that works with our regularly scheduled gaming groups. What about an additional alternative angle where a gamer has a title they want to play and perhaps a span or selection of times he/she'd like to play it? Integrating further with BGG, could such a search offer the result of sending invites to meet and play a title to BGGeeks within the specified radius who have applied the "Want to play" status to the game?

Ignorant lay person question: could this service be used by institutions? I built a game collection and monthly game day at the last public library I worked for, and I can see this as a potential replacement for the generic reminder emails I used to send out to the regulars. I would assume that an institution could create an account, set up their collection, and then notify the email list of the new service, but I thought I'd ask in case this didn't fit with your conception.

Thanks for construction this wonderful service.
 
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Jason Brown
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Hi Brian,

These are great ideas, and yes, very useful- thank you!

I love the idea about using "Want to Play" and letting people find you based on that criteria! It'll take me a little time to get that in there, but it's in the works...

And sure, this can be used by anyone who wants to use it, so if an account makes sense for an institution, go for it! There's also the option of just creating a public group that you own, but if you want to maintain separate collections, then I think you're right-- create separate accounts.

Thanks again!

-- Jason

 
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Aki Järvi-Eskola
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Dude! I just started hacking something exactly like this a couple of weeks ago! What a coincidence!
I just registered, and have been browsing a bit. Looks quite nice. Now I just have to convince my friends to join, so I can test if this answers to all my needs (and according to your "cheesy infomercial", it certainly comes pretty darn close).
 
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Marshal Anderson
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Very nice idea :O) So, what chances of adding other countries post codes to the Public sessions bit, that would be deeply groovy - does Google provide that?

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Jason Brown
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Thanks for the kind words! If your friends or you have any suggestions for how this can fit your gaming needs, please let me know!
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Jason Brown
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I would love to add international post codes, but wasn't sure where to start getting data from... If any international gamers have any tips, I'd love to hear them!
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Marshal Anderson
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brownout wrote:
I would love to add international post codes, but wasn't sure where to start getting data from... If any international gamers have any tips, I'd love to hear them!


A quick look found the following:
http://www.mat-wright.com/2010/01/uk-postcode-date-to-become...
http://www.programmableweb.com/mashup/uk-postcodes
http://www.tomanthony.co.uk/blog/geocoding-uk-postcodes-with...

Does look like Google is the key - my programming days are well behind me so I have no idea how difficult something like this is,

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Jason Brown
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This is fantastic, thank you very much! I'll take a look and might send you some geekmail offline with questions if you don't mind. Thanks!
 
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Amoena aka a girl likes games
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I signed up to play around, I don't know if I have use for the site, I just wanted to know what it's all about. It looked so pretty and shiny! Anyway. I think I found a bug, or sort of a bug. I wanted to set my gaming availability. I usually play games on Fridays and Saturdays... from 8pm to 2am. But GRC likes to think I am available from 2am to 8pm... Which obviously is not the same thing. Not a big deal though : )
 
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Jason Brown
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Ah, yes the availability is on a per-day basis and is just there to give your friends an idea of when you can attend their sessions. In this case, your days would be broken into 2 days, ala:

Friday 8pm-Midnight
Saturday Midnight-2am

Saturday 8pm-Midnight
Sunday Midnight-2am

I'll put in a check for this type of situation to make setting this up a little easier.

Thanks for the report and the kind words!

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Christian Monterroso
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The site looks awesome. I'm playing with it a little bit and I like what I see.

Unfortunately, the site is not set up for international users. When I'm setting up a new gaming session, for example, I can't choose what country I'm in. I can only choose US states.

When I try to go to 'Map' on my event, I get what appears to be a Google API error:
Quote:
Traceback (most recent call last):
File "sessionview.py", line 1734, in ?
printMap()
File "sessionview.py", line 315, in printMap
daddr = getGoogleAddy(loc)
File "sessionview.py", line 296, in getGoogleAddy
daddr = daddr + loc1.get('state', '')+' '
TypeError: cannot concatenate 'str' and 'NoneType' object
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Christian Monterroso
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The "Sort By" functionality on the Game Shelves seems confused.
I can sort in my 'Favourites' shelf and in my 'Wish List' shelf. But I cannot on my 'Game Collection' shelf. The games always appear sorted alphabetically.

I have 253 games on that shelf. The letters of the alphabet don't appear on the left side either.
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Christian Monterroso
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I think that it would be extremely useful to be able to filter out expansions. Expansions really clutter the game shelves and the search results without adding anything really useful. I can see why some people would want them, of course, but it would very useful if we could filter them out.
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Christian Monterroso
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I've sorted my games by rating and I notice that you are pulling down the "Average Rating" and not the "BGG Rating" (Bayesian). I don't know if that's done on purpose, but I just thought I would point that out.
 
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Jason Brown
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Hi Christian,

This is some great feedback, thank you very much!! I'll get to these issues later today- especially the ones that are breaking things.

* Maps: It's easy to fix the error message. Making the addresses less US-centric is a high priority for me, but just might take a little more time. I might send you some geekmail offline to have you look over some new pages.
* The "sort by" problem is because one of the games has quotes in the title, so the javascript is getting confused. Easy to fix.
* Filtering expansions is a great idea; I'm not sure the BGG API distinguishes expansions but I'll be sure to investigate. My guess is that there has to be a way.
* True, I'm pulling the Average Rating, as that is what appears to be what is prominently displayed at the top of the BGG detail pages. I wanted to be consistent with BGG.

Again, thank you for all this! Please, keep your ideas/feedback coming!

-- Jason
 
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Yannick Carriere
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What a great idea! Unfortunately, I can't seem to be able to sign-in right now cause the Captcha function isn't working: there isn't a box for the automatic script. Nore isn't there one to type what I should see. Anything wrong on my computer or is the site?
 
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