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After the game listings, the most frequently referenced items in the BGG database are the listings for designers and artists — that is, people — and publishers. This page covers which entities can be submitted for such listings and how to do so.


Publisher Listings: An Overview

For the purposes of the BGG database, a publisher is an entity that prepares and issues games for sale or distribution. A publisher bears the financial risk of the release and makes the final choices for a game's look, design, and manufacturing, albeit typically in consultation with one or more artists, designers, and manufacturers. We group many types of entities together under the "publisher" label, and here's an overview of what we have in mind when we refer to a publisher:

We will accept publisher listings for:
Traditional publishers
A company that prepares and issues games for sale, e.g. Hasbro and Rio Grande Games. If the company's logo is on the box, we will have a listing for it.
Brands
A brand is a set of attributes (name, logo, slogan, etc.) by which a company wishes to be associated, e.g. alea. A brand is not a company on its own, but an identity of that company. A brand might be owned by multiple companies, and a company might release games under multiple brands.
Dōjin groups/circles
In Japan and some other parts of Asia, amateur groups publish their own games under the name or label of their circle, e.g. SoLunerG. They may even obtain all needed legal rights to publish games that belong to other publishers.
Web-only publishers
If a designer consistently markets their designs online under a brand name and logo, then we will include a publisher listing on their games, e.g. Warp Spawn Games. If a designer just posts rules without a brand, the publisher for that game would be listed as "(Web published)".
Miniature makers/companies
A manufacturer of miniatures used within a game typically would not be listed as a publisher unless their logo is on the exterior of the box. These manufacturers do sometimes release game accessories that are listed in the BGG database, and if this is the case, we would create a publisher listing for them.
We will (usually) decline publisher listings for:
An individual person
If the individual has established a business or brand to use for the publication of games, we'll accept a publisher listing for that business entity. We won't, however, create a publisher listing using an individual's name; instead we'd use the publisher listing "(Self-Published)".
Design studios
A design studio should have a designer listing for the studio as a whole or for the individual designers, not a publisher listing — unless they are also bringing the game to market, of course.
Printers or manufacturers ‡
A business responsible for manufacturing a game or its components is being hired by a publisher to produce work. It is not itself a publisher — unless, of course, it's manufacturing work that it has assembled of its own accord.
Retailers
A person or business that sells goods to the consumer is not a publisher — unless that retailer also starts releasing its own games, which does happen sometimes, e.g., Drosselmeyer & Co. Ltd. or Sugorokuya. So many exceptions...
Teams, groups, couples, clubs or guilds
Again, for the most part these entities are not responsible for the actual publication of games — except when they are.

‡ Story: We once approved a company submission that was linked to a suspiciously large number of games — then a major publisher complained, wanting to know why this company was linked to their games. Turns out that the company was a printing service, not a publisher. That company was then removed from the BGG database.

Problems with publisher names

Identical company names cause problems in the BGG database, with games being attributed to the wrong publisher or (in the worst case scenario) two different publisher listings being merged into one because they appear to be the same entity. What's more, publisher entries are shared across BoardGameGeek, RPG Geek, and VideoGameGeek, so sometimes publishers are confused with one another in these three domains, especially given the number of companies who release products catalogued on two or even all three sites. If you search the database for publishers with the words "great" and "games", for example, you'll discover modern, active publishers such as:

The Event Horizons companies took years to sort out:

The VGG merge thread is the only public view of the company naming problems: One System to Rule them All: The Duplicates thread

Versions

  • On a version or game page only the primary company name is shown. You cannot select an alternate name. If the company's primary name is ABC Games, this is what is shown on game and version submissions.
  • If a game or version was published under ABC Games' imprint of XYZ Games, then we will have ABC Games' name displayed on the entry instead of XYZ Games.
  • These entries then become a magnet for duplicate entries, never ending corrections and questions.

In general, we try not to add alternate names for a publisher on a listing. If one publisher changes its name or merges with another to create a new publisher, we'll create a separate listing for that newly named or merged publisher instead of changing the name on the listing or merging the two existing publisher listings. We do this primarily because game listings and version listings cannot be set to display an alternate publisher name; they can show only the primary publisher name. Thus, if a game was published by "Awesome Games", but the company now goes by the name "Spectacular Games" and we change the publisher's primary name to "Spectacular Games", then all associated game listings will show the publisher as "Spectacular Games" — and when this happens, users submit correction after correction to try to fix the "problem".

We do sometimes make exceptions to this "no alternate name" rule, such as when:

  • The name change is minor, as with Horrible Guild, which prior to October 2019 was named "Horrible Games".
  • A publisher is best known by an acronym, often thanks to the publisher's logomark featuring that acronym, as with AEG and TMG.
  • A publisher's name is punctuated inconsistently or unclear from the logomark, although we attempt to contact the publisher to determine the "proper" way to list the name, e.g. Funforge, which is a single word with only the initial letter being capitalized.
  • A publisher's old name is still used in some manner. In 2019, for example, USAopoly changed its name to "The Op", yet it adopted a new logomark that uses both its old name and its new one — so we switched the primary name of that publisher listing to "The Op" and kept "USAopoly" as an alternate name.
Board Game Publisher: The Op
  • A publisher has multiple branches (typically in different companies), with those branches using a different corporate name, albeit with a shared brand or identity. Ravensburger, for example, has the following alternate names on its listing: "Jeux Ravensburger S.A.S.", "Ravensburger AG", "Ravensburger b.v.", "Ravensburger Spieleverlag GmbH", and "Ravensburger Verlag GmbH". These alternate names represent tiny changes to the company's legal name as well as branches outside its German headquarters, but they all name the same entity. It makes no sense to create a separate listing for titles released in France by Jeux Ravensburger S.A.S., when those games are the same as the ones released in Germany.

One exception to this final exception is when different branches of a company with the same name operate independently and release their own games somewhat independently from one another. An example of this is Blue Orange Games and Blue Orange (EU) as the companies are owned by the same people, but they don't necessarily release the same games. Sometimes a title will appear from BOG, and sometimes from BO, and sometimes from both, with games from the former company being released in North America, while games from the latter company are available primarily in Europe.

Recording a publisher's transformation

Given what we described above, when a publisher undergoes a name change, we typically create a new listing for the newly named entity. We then link the publisher listings in the description field as follows

  • In the older publisher listing, add a note along these lines: * On [date], [old publisher name] changed its name to '''[company=##### new publisher name]''' or * On [date], [old publisher name] was purchased by [buyer] and will now operate under the name '''[company=##### new publisher name]'''
  • In the newer publisher listing, add a similar note that reverses the players: * Prior to [date], [new publisher name] operated under the name '''[company=##### old publisher name]''' or * On [date], [new publisher name] was founded when '''[company=##### old publisher name]''' was purchased by [buyer].

How to Submit a Publisher Listing

It's almost time to get into the nitty-gritty of data management, but first, are you sure no listing already exists for this publisher? Have you searched the BGG database? Have you checked the list of pending publisher submissions?

Oh, you have? Okay, let's get started by opening the publisher submission form. You can open this link in another tab, or you can find it yourself by clicking on the Community pulldown menu at the top of the page, then clicking on Publisher under the "CONTRIBUTE" subhead.
User: W Eric Martin
Once you do that, you'll see the following publisher submission form. Let's examine each of the numbered sections on this form in turn:
User: W Eric Martin

1. Primary name

Type the publisher's name as it appears on the publisher's website, perhaps in the "Contact us" or "About us" sections as those should give you the precise way that the name is spelled. Why is that important? Because you can't always grasp a publisher's name from its logo. Look at the logo below, for example. Is the name "Fun Forge", "FunForge", "Funforge", "FUNFORGE", or something else entirely? A quick look at this publisher's "About us" page reveals that the name is "Funforge", which is how we list it in our database. You might also check a publisher's Twitter feed, its Facebook page, its Instagram, and so on. If a publisher is inconsistent in its spacing, punctuation, and capitalization, then you could contact them directly to shame them and ask for clarification.
Board Game Publisher: Funforge

In some cases, as with Chinese, Japanese and Korean publishers, a publisher has more than one name, say a name in its primary language ("カナイ製作所") and a translated name in English ("Kanai Factory"). Please submit the English name as the primary name since that is easier for the majority of BGG users to search for and to type on their keyboards; in the "Note to Admin" section of this submission form, write something like "Alternate name: カナイ製作所" and whichever admin approves the submission will ideally add this alternate name to the publisher listing.

If a publisher's name includes characters from multiple languages or alphabets, such as "Nukenin合同会社", then submit that as the name of the publisher and note the combined nature of the name in the "Note to Admin".

If a publisher doesn't have a name in Roman characters, such as Japanese publisher ビストロ怪談倶楽部 , then please submit the name as follows with a translation in parentheses: "ビストロ怪談倶楽部 (Bistro Kaidan Club)", which is what we have listed on that publisher's page. This format preserves the original name, but also provides a more searchable name for general use.

You are welcome to include a company's "type", such as Inc., Ltd, or GmbH, in the publisher's name, but you are not required to do so. That said, sometimes that type will be the only thing that distinguishes one publisher from another, as is the case with Regent Games Inc. and Regent Games Ltd.

If a publisher in the database has the same name as the publisher you're submitting but is not in fact the same entity, please mention this in the "Note to Admin". We'll add Roman numerals after the publisher's name to help distinguish the listings. Publishers are numbered based on the order in which they are added to the database.

2. Description

Feel free in this section to quote from the publisher's "About us" — preferably finishing this section by writing "''—description from the publisher''" — but if you know something about the publisher firsthand, write the description in your own words. Give a brief overview of the publisher, its history, and its influences in the medium. You can mention landmark products, but try to keep the focus on the company; the description box should not be used as free advertising space.

If you know nothing else about the publisher, simply write "Japanese publisher" or something similar and cross your fingers that someone else will fill in the details later.

The description must be in English. You can include a description in a non-English language (typically that of the designer or publisher), but include it below the English-language description and separate it from the former with •••.

Please do not include any website links in this section. Instead, include them in the "Note to Admin" or submit them by clicking on the "Other Links" tab once the publisher listing is approved.

3. Board game credits

Given that the publisher is not listed in the database, the name of any games published by this entity will likely not be listed in the database either.

Or will they? New publishers sometimes come into being in order to release a new version of an out-of-print game or a game published only in some other part of the world. Stronghold Games was one such example of this, with its first release being a new version of Robert Abbott's Confusion, which had appeared only in a short-run edition from German publisher franjos in 1992. Thus, if you're submitting a listing for a publisher releasing a new edition of a published game, click "Add Board Game Credits", enter the game's name, then click on that name. When this publisher listing is approved, the publisher's name will then appear on that game listing and the publisher listing will show a credit for that game.

If the game's name doesn't come up when you search for it (or a matching name is for a different game), leave this section blank — but see the note under step #5 below.

4. Note to admin

Use this section to include information about alternate names, to list the URL of the publisher's website or its Facebook page (to provide proof of its existence), to note that you represent this company (if you do), or to tell us whatever else seems relevant to this submission.

In this submission, you cannot add a URL or a logo. Those things can be added only after a submission is approved, but if you include those URLs, we can put such details into place ourselves once the listing is live.

5. Save

Click the "Save" button to finish the submission, which will then be reviewed by a BGG admin.

If the publisher submission has no board games linked to it, the admin will ask you to revise the submission to link it to one or more games. We have discovered that if we approve a publisher listing with no games, that listing will often stay in that state forever — which is not helpful to anyone.

If you're submitting a listing for a new publisher with a new, never-before-published game, we suggest that you submit a listing for the publisher first, wait 5-10 minutes for the internal cache to register this submission, then submit a game listing for this particular game. When you do this, you can link the game submission to the pending publisher submission — even though the publisher has not yet been approved.

Note that a game listing cannot be submitted with a publisher being linked to it, and a publisher listing will not be approved without one or more linked games. The idea behind this restriction is to avoid, as much as possible, isolated listings that aren't linked to anything else.

At some point you will receive a GeekMail letting you know whether your publisher listing was approved, declined, or in need of revision. If approved, you and others can now submit web links, upload images, etc. on this publisher listing.


People Listings: An Overview

In addition to publishers, people that have worked on a game can be listed in the database in the database as well. Listings may be created for people that filled one or more of these roles:

  • Designer: The person responsible for the original form or workings of a game, including persons credited with "additional design". Often credited as the "author" of the game.
  • Solo designer: The person responsible for the development of the solitaire mode of a game (if there is one, and if they differ from the actual designer).
  • Artist: The person that provided the illustrations (and occasionally, other artwork for the game). Often credited as "illustrator" instead. Also includes "cartographers" and "mapmakers".
  • Developer: The person responsible for fine-tuning the design.
  • Editor: The person responsible for organizing the production and overall look of a game.
  • Graphic designer: The person responsible for the design of the games component.
  • Sculptor: The person that created the game's miniatures.
  • Insert designer: The person that designed the game's insert.
  • Writer: The person that wrote the fiction for the game.

For a person to be listed in on BGG in any of these roles, they have to be credited in the game's rulebook or other components (often the box or cards).

There are many more persons involved in the creation of a game, but currently, BGG doesn't list persons in other roles than the ones mentioned above, such as managers, art directors, translators, marketers, manufacturers, playtesters, or anyone included in a "Thanks to..." section of the rulebook.

Note that we use the terms "person" and "people" throughout this guide, but we also create designer and artist listings for design studios, such as Forrest-Pruzan Creative, and for individuals who operate under pseudonyms, such as BakaFire. (In years past, we would not have such listings in the BGG database, insisting that person listings should be reserved solely for individual people, but the purpose of this database is to record games and game-related information, so we've adjusted our policy in order to better match what actually exists in the world.)

Problems with people names

As with publishers, people often share the same names, which can lead to confusion in the database as to who should be credited for what. In 2013, for example, a user created a GeekList to determine how many David Martins we should actually have in the database.

As a result, we end up labeling people with identical names with Roman numerals in order to help users differentiate between one David Martin and another. People are numbered based on the order in which they are added to the database.

Privacy concerns

All information entered into the database is done so voluntarily for the purposes of posterity and historical research. If a name appears on a product that consumers received, then we list the name. If you decide you want a person listing removed from the database, keep in mind that anyone can add it back.

That said, we recognize that many individuals value privacy and anonymity. If you do not want a designer or artist badge on your BGG user account — that is, a badge that identifies you as a designer or artist and that can be clicked on to bring a user to your designer or artist listing — let us know and we will keep your account badge free. The same goes for images; we will remove any photos of yourself that you do not want on the site, provided you alert us to their presence.

How to Submit a Person Listing

Before you submit such a listing, have you searched the database to see whether the person is already listed? If the person's name is "Thomas", have you also searched for "Thom" and "Tom"? If the name has three parts, e.g. "Louisa May Alcott", have you also searched for "Louisa May" and "Louisa Alcott"? Have you checked the list of pending person submissions to see whether someone else has already submitted a listing for this person?

If you've checked things out and the person isn't present, get started by opening the person submission form. To do so, you can open this link in another tab, or you can find it yourself by clicking on the Community pulldown menu at the top of the page, then clicking on Person under the "CONTRIBUTE" subhead.
User: W Eric Martin
Once you do that, you'll see the following person submission form. Let's examine each of the numbered sections on this form in turn:
User: W Eric Martin

1. Name

As with the publisher listing above, you want to submit a name that represents how that designer or artist wants it to appear in print. "Eric M. Lang", for example, is how that designer's name appears on games, so that's how it should be listed in the BGG database.

Also as with publisher listings, if a person uses both a Roman-letter name and a character-based name, please use the English transliteration of a person's name as the primary name ("Seiji Kanai") while adding in the "Note to Admin" box something like "Alternate name: カナイセイジ". Please submit names in the order of (given name) (family name) to ensure consistency across the database. With Kanai's name, for example, his name in Japanese is in the order used by that country — (family name) (given name) — but for his primary name we use (given name) (family name), which is also how it appears on most game boxes.

And to repeat another note from publisher listings, if a person uses only a character-based name, such as "わけん", then please submit the name in this format — "わけん (Reason)" — with an English-language translation in parentheses following the name.

Unlike what we do for publishers, if a person has changed their name and wants to continue associating their previous name with their current one, we will list their previous name(s) in the "Alternate Names" section of the designer page. This will ensure that any searches for them under their previous name will still lead a user to their body of creative work.

2. Description

If possible, give a brief overview of the person, their career, life, and influences in the medium. You can mention landmark designs or works from them, but try to keep the focus on the person. The description box should not be used as free advertising space.

As with publisher listings, you might be able to pull a biography of the person from a personal website, but you might be limited to "Japanese designer", "French artist", or something similarly lame. So it goes. Perhaps the actual person behind the listing will be willing to contribute to their own description. In any case, this section of a person listing is a wiki, so anyone can modify or update the description once the listing is live.

The description must be in English. You can include a description in a non-English language (typically that of the designer), but include it below the English-language description and separate it from the former with •••.

Please do not include any website links in this section. Instead, include them in the "Note to Admin" or submit them by clicking on the "Other Links" tab once the person listing is approved.

3. Board game credits

As with publisher listings, the game which this person has created (or illustrated) may or may not already be in the BGG database. Sometimes a user finds out about a game without knowing the designer or artist and submits a listing for it, and now you get to close that loop by connecting it to the creator. To do this, search for the game name and click it if the game is already in the system.

If the game isn't in the BGG database, well, don't click anything. More on this in step #5.

4. Note to admin

In this section of the form, feel free to include alternate names, links to personal websites of the creator, the fact that you are the person in question, and other details that help prove your case that the person in the submission is the correct person. Proof is always better than your say-so, but often your say-so is good enough for us until proven otherwise.

5. Save

Click the "Save" button to finish the submission, which will then be reviewed by a BGG admin. At some point you will receive a GeekMail letting you know whether your person listing was approved, declined, or in need of revision. If approved, you and others can now submit web links, upload images, etc. on this person listing.

If the person is a designer or artist of a game that's not yet listed in the BGG database, you can submit a game listing for this title and links this person listing as the game's designer or artist — even if your submitted listing hasn't yet been approved. Once the game listing has been verified and approved, an admin will then look at linked designer, artist, and publisher listings to see whether to approve those.


Publisher and Person Badges

We have publisher and designer badges that a BGG user can request be added to their account if they represent the publisher or are the person in question. (People that are involved in any role can receive a designer badge; we don't have separate badges for each role.) These badges appear above your avatar, and if someone clicks on the badge, they are redirected to the linked publisher or creator listing.
Person: VGGeek (Promotional Images)
Person: VGGeek (Promotional Images)

These badges are not linked to a user account automatically because some people do not want them. If you qualify for one or both of these badges and want to added them to your user account, contact admin W. Eric Martin with a link to the appropriate publisher or person listing and a short description of who you are.

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