BoardGaming.com Coming to a Close?

Posted by Jim {Power Gamer} | 12-Jul-18 | 19 comments

When we got into board games back in 2010, our best resources were local game stores, BGG and The Dice Tower. We quickly discovered that there were thousands of games out there, and felt overwhelmed trying to decide which games we’d enjoy the most. This was before Target and other “mainstream” stores had dedicated spaces for board games beyond Monopoly and Yahtzee.

We saw an opportunity to create an online resource and community for both new and avid gamers that was fun to use and make it easy to discover great games. So, combining our skills of programming, illustration and design we dedicated thousands of hours and our own funds to create BoardGaming.com. In our second year we even had a dedicated booth at GenCon.

Over the years, we’ve had many volunteers help us add new games to the site. The work we and our volunteers do on the site has been on our own time without pay. We can’t thank our current and past contributors enough for all the time and effort they’ve put in to expanding the site.

The amount of content users have created has been amazing. Awesome reviews and tips and great discussions. We’d keep the site running indefinitely if we had the funds, but due to its size, it now costs a minimum of $3000/year. The usage and traffic to the site has not generated sufficient revenue required to cover the yearly hosting and server costs. We tried going to a smaller and less expensive service earlier this year and within days/weeks many of the features of the site stopped working, to the point where you couldn’t even log in.

Because of this, the unfortunate outcome is that BoardGaming.com might need to close its virtual doors at the end of this year. It’s just too expensive for us to keep it going.

We’re open to hearing any suggestions and feedback, along with positive stories of how this site has influenced your love of board games, so feel free to comment below.

Crowdfunding is currently a popular suggestion. Please fill out the quick survey below so we can get more input.
Crowdfunding Survey: https://goo.gl/forms/7wCeDhDuy6wxMatJ2

Comments (19)

Gamer Avatar
7
Comic Book Fan
Book Lover
Pet Lover

I would like to discuss possibly working together to work this out, as i maybe rebooting my video channel and maybe we can build a better network of traffic.

I would need stats on the amount of data stored, # of members, and current traffic even to give any serious recommendations.

Initially, the lack of weekly interactive content creates drops in traffic – people just stop tuning in. Having more weekly features would help considerably, and that is something I can help with.

Also, after checking out the survey, it seems a bit off point as far as crowd funding goes. Monthly fees are really more about subscriber services which means providing actual services. You seem focused on creating a monthly subscription.
Crowd funding a site like this is really more about an annual fundraiser, collecting donations and rewarding large donations with cool stuff like merch or exclusive icons, themes and features.
Asking people how much they would pay a month is a bit off putting – you should be asking what do people WANT in exchange for help supporting the site.
Sponsors are key, and offering sponsors more than just a little ad space helps – like a weekly feature specific to a sponsor.
Hit me up if you would like to discuss.

Gamer Avatar
6
Canada
I'm a Real Person
Treasure Map
Video Game Fan

Tiered memberships sounds great… allow the more casual or more intense gaming people varying “levels” to choose from.

Gamer Avatar
6
Advanced Grader
Gamer - Level 6

@Jon I was thinking about what could be part of a paid membership or a higher membership tier. What I could think of was more explorables for higher tiers, and\or feature those users on the My favorite explorables. And allowing paid members to suggest games.

Gamer Avatar
8
I play purple
Explorer - Level 6
Vanguard
Chief Inspector

Playing board games online with other players is becoming quite popular. Would it be feasible to add to Boardgaming.com?

Gamer Avatar
6
Pick a Favorite LGS
Robots on the Line fan
Miniature Painter
I play blue

We put together a quick crowdfunding survey, so please click here to fill it out.

Gamer Avatar
9
USA
I play blue
El Dorado
Guardian Angel

Sorry to hear that the site may be shutting down. It doesn’t come as a surprise though. Jim you must have been reading my mind. I have been loosely tracking foot traffic on the site the past year or so and found that it isn’t all that good. I was wondering what it took to keep this site running. Cleared that up for me.

I spend a good amount of time here as I like the set-up of the site. However the situation is understandable. Things cost money and it’s hard to run something like this with little staff. One thing for sure though – Tiana you have done a fantastic job keeping things going at this site! Many thanks!! I’ve made some suggestions on how to improve the site over the years, but I think Akden sums it up nicely below. Implementing these suggestions will be a lot of work and I’m guessing probably not feasible for the current staff.

I truly hope something can be worked out to keep the site alive. I would miss it. In the meantime I will continue to visit the site as usual. Hope to see everyone here as well!

Gamer Avatar
10
Jungle Elves - Summoner Wars
BoardGaming.com Beta 2.0 Tester
Summoner Wars Fan
Unicorn Clan - Legend of the Five Rings

I am sorry to hear that the site may be shutting down because I have fond memories of my time spent browsing games, posting reviews, and completing quests. I’ve been a member since the Beta test days, and I remember stopping at the Gen Con booth multiple times to work on the convention quests. I spent a lot of time here early on, but obviously my involvement has dropped off a lot in the last couple of years. I love the quests and the leveling up; I think it’s a really novel idea and makes Boardgaming.com stand out. The look of the site and interface also sets it apart. I guess the main reason that I spend less and less time on the site is probably due to the lack of user-generated forums and messaging. There just doesn’t seem to be enough opportunities to interact with the other members of the site. I know you don’t want to recreate BGG, but it would be nice for users to be able to engage with each more than just commenting on games. Just a thought.

It would also be nice to play up more of the “game” of the site. Once users reach a certain level (9 or so), it becomes harder and harder to level up. Leveling up is one of the things that kept me here when I first joined, but when you reach a long plateau, it can be a bit of a drag. I’m not suggesting to make it easier to gain levels, but more opportunities would be appreciated. I understand you do this in your free time so that is definitely easier said than done.

Having said all that, I’d hate to see the site go away, and I’d be happy to help support through Patreon or other ways.

Gamer Avatar
8
I play purple
Explorer - Level 6
Vanguard
Chief Inspector

I would like to be able to talk to other members like on a message board.

Gamer Avatar
5
Platinum Supporter
Thunderstone Fan

Thank you for the feedback, everybody.

We would need some sort of crowdfunding, something that allows us to first get pledges before processing payments, in case the funding level is not met.

GEMS: For security reasons, I don’t want to re-enable the gem system until we convert to HTTPS. Plus, we don’t want to have people purchasing gems only to find out that the funding wasn’t sufficient to continue.

PAID MEMBERSHIP: I think that a paid membership could allow certain features to be unlocked. For example, a much higher limit on recording played games. What other benefits would you like to see being a part of a paid membership?

Gamer Avatar
6
Advanced Grader
Gamer - Level 6

@Nick I like that idea. You could make it very obvious how to help financially and you could even get fancy and put what the goal is and track progress. Everyone who wants to help can help. I also like the idea of saying if every member bought one gem, that would fund the site for one year, or whatever is true.

Gamer Avatar
7
Baseball Fan
Book Lover
Plaid Hat Games fan
Comic Book Fan

This is a shame to hear. I agree with a number of the suggestions offered thus far. You could also look at ways to re-engage members. Psychological lures, easier ways to level up, overhaul your level-up approach etc. Need to offer more rewards for activity and give members reasons to return.

Gamer Avatar
7
The Gold Heart
Grand Master Grader
Knight-errant

How about a nice big piece of real estate at the side of every page that says “Keep BoardGaming.com alive by donating to help cover the cost of our servers!” and display a donation link along with how much is actually needed for the month? The gem system was well-hidden, and I don’t think I even noticed it before it was shuddered, so you’d want to be more direct.

Gamer Avatar
8
I play purple
Explorer - Level 6
Vanguard
Chief Inspector

Oh, the gem buying has been disabled for quite some time now.

Gamer Avatar
8
I play purple
Explorer - Level 6
Vanguard
Chief Inspector

This is where I learn about new games and pick out the ones I like and want to play and own. I do not know what I would do without Boardgaming.com. How about an annual fundraiser like Wikipedia does, asking for donations. I would be willing to buy a gem or two to help out. And donate annually. Lets save Boardgaming.com!!!

Gamer Avatar
2
My First Game Tip

I’m fairly new to the site but I liked it as soon as I found it. The only complaints are mainly due to site activity and not being able to log plays without being a higher rank and those type things.

However, I think a patreon is probably a better choice than charging for memberships since most folks would use a free option and that would limit member numbers ultimately. You could have levels of patron awards so those who are passionate about the site could support at higher levels and those wanting to provide a little help could do that also.

Anyway, great job on the site and I’d hate to see it go away but it’s understandable if other options don’t work out.

Gamer Avatar
6
Advanced Grader
Gamer - Level 6

Would it help to look at members that have not been active on the site for say 3-5 years or more and let them know their account will be closed? I don’t know how much that will save on storage space\costs.

@Tom, actually at $5 a year, even I could afford that. If 600 members or more have been active in the past few months or the past year, I think it could be done, depending on what the other 550 plus members think.

Gamer Avatar
9
Grand Master Grader
Movie Lover
Book Lover
I play blue

I like the crowdfunding concept. I would be very disappointed to see this site disappear, and I hope it can be saved. The current member directory shows that Boardgaming.com has 11,404 members. I know that many of these memberships are inactive, and their users have not logged on in months or even years. But if just 600 or so members purchased one Emerald Gem for $5, that would provide the funding for the site for a year. And perhaps some may spring for a Sapphire or Ruby..?

Gamer Avatar
6
Canada
I'm a Real Person
Treasure Map
Video Game Fan

I would hate to see this site go away. This was the first board gaming site that I wanted to join. It really helped me get back into board gaming and discover so many others that I never knew existed. I hope we can all find a way to keep it going.

What Tiana901 said, amd maybe Donations?

Gamer Avatar
6
Advanced Grader
Gamer - Level 6

I am so sorry to hear this. I have enjoyed this community since I joined it and I think the members here are supportive and positive, which I have really appreciated. I have a few suggestions, which will depend on how much support there is from the members. These are just to get the ball rolling in the discussion and address the funding issue or the time issue.
1. Crowdfunding (funding)
2. Paid membership, and members receive gems in return (funding)
3. Add fields to the membership request form, so less time is required to enter new games (save time)
4. Utilize more volunteers (save time)
5. Charge gold or gems to request games (funding)

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