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Florenza: the card game BETA test

Want to try the next game on BGA before anyone else?

You just have to join the following group (limited space!):
http://boardgamearena.com/#!group?id=1251211

Thanks for your feedback!
05/26/2015 Comment on this

Soon on Board Game Arena...

Image

UPATE: and the good answer is obviously "Florenza, the card game" :)
05/20/201514 comments

Plenty of little things

We are constantly adding new things to BGA, but very often they are too small to be noticed. Here is a quick summary of what changed recently for groups, friends and ELO management:

GROUPS are a very good way to exchange with the BGA community. When you are a member of a group, you are receiving the updates of this group on the BGA homepage.

We improved the "find a player or a group" (in the "community" menu entry) to display the most important groups first, with the number of players. We also completely redesigned the group page to make it up to date. Then, we created automatic groups for players who are playing a game. This way, game developers and publishers can send messages to you when needed, for example when an important bug has been fixed, when a new option is available or when your feedback is requested.

You already know that you can add any player to your FRIENDS so that you can check his activity and create tables restricted to you and your friends. In addition, it is now a lot easier to invite a friend at a table: when you click on "Save a place for ...", before you start typing a name, the list of all your friends is displayed, so you can invite them with just 1 click.

Concerning ELO rating, we did a small change in ELO calculation: before today, when 2 players with an ELO difference of more than 600 were playing together, we considered the difference to be exactly 600. Some strong players were abusing this limit to boost their ELO by playing with very weak players, so we removed it. When playing on BGA, to gain ELO the best (and most fun) way to go is to choose opponents matching your level.
Another small change: to stay in a game ELO leaderboard, you must play at least one game every 60 days with ELO option switched on (until today it was possible to switch it off and stay in the leaderboard).

Enjoy!
05/05/201516 comments

We answer YOUR questions!

A few days ago, we invited you to ask us questions. We picked the most interesting/popular ones and here are our answers.

If you liked this Q&A, don't hesitate to say it and we will do it again in the future.

How do we select games that are on BGA? Why the game XXX is not on BGA?

To have a game published on BGA we need 2 things:
_ The authorization of the rights owner (most of the time: original publisher of the game).
_ A software developer who develop the adaptation (ie: has some time available to develop it).

We (= BGA team) are trying a lot of board games ourselves. Sometimes we are lucky enough to play prototypes too. And of course we receive a lot of game suggestions through the BGA forum, the BoardGameGeek "most wanted games" list, or by any other means.
Based on this we are asking game publishers for authorizations, and sometimes we also receive requests directly from game publishers - there is no rule.

As it is today, BGA has a very good reputation and very productive relationships with almost all major board game publishers, but this is not enough: each situation is specific, and there can be various reasons why a game publisher can refuse to see a game adaptions on BGA (for example: board games with a third party licence, like "Star Wars", is practically impossible to negotiate).

On the other hand, we got some authorizations for some very good games but no developers volunteering to develop them, or sometimes some of them don't manage to finish the job. Developers of adaptations are volunteers, and we don't blame them for this.

Finally, some games are authorized and being developed, but the time frame is not good. For example, it happened that we had too many games to release and we decided to delay some of them. It also frequently happens that we must synchronize the release of a game with a publisher event, so the game adaptation can stay "on hold" for some months.

So if you are asking yourself: why game XXX is not on BGA, it could be for various reasons:
_ Maybe we never asked the authorization for this game. Note that usually we ask authorizations for every popular games (ex: "Most wanted games"). So if the game is popular, the reason is probably not this one.
_ The publisher refused.
_ The publisher accepted, but we didn't find a developer until now for this game.
_ The game adaptation is ready, but we are waiting for a specific event to release it.

To conclude: yes we are taking into account your suggestions, but as you can see there are many factors than can influence the fact that a game is (or is not) on BGA. In addition, as a rule of thumb, we don't communicate about "why" this game is not on BGA. If we already get the authorization, we want to keep the "surprise", and if we didn't get the authorization, the game publisher may not want to explain the reasons.

Are you taking into account the "Most wanted games" list? When will these games be on BGA?

So the answer is:
_ Yes, we are taking this list into account.
_ For most of these games we already asked for authorizations.
_ Some of these games won't be on BGA (authorization refused), some may be, some are in an "intermediate" step.
_ We don't communicate about future game releases anyway.

Why do some games have expansions on BGA and some don't?

Game expansion follows the same steps than games. There can be various reasons why a game publisher doesn't want the expansion online, and sometimes we don't find a developer that has the time to develop it.

Will there be improvement for the turn-based mode ?

Yes. By the way, thank you for all your suggestions (ex: email invitations, vacation mode, faster turn-based ...).

We will do a major update of the turn-based mode in the following months, but we don't know exactly when.

Why is it not possible to create my own tournament on BGA ?

Tournaments is a BETA feature of BGA (has been for a long time).

Tournament management is very complex. We'd like to open tournament creation to everyone at some time in the future but it needs a lot of work and until then we always had something more urgent to do.

How you guys make money? Do you make a living of it?

Yes we still work aside, and yes there is a huge work to be done here everyday.

There is essentially Club membership, but it is not enough. What we'd like to do is basically continue like this because we think this "community based" approach is the best for BGA.

What we are trying to do, in addition, is to find a way to create a commercial activity in game portal development, distinct from BGA. This way we could have a flexible work with a source of revenue, distinct from BGA, that allows us to finance the time we spent on BGA.

Why is BGA slow? Why do I have bad connections performances on BGA?

We are constantly monitoring server responsiveness. Some incidents occurs, but most of the time BGA is responsive.

We designed our game servers (ie: servers used when you are inside a game) to be very responsive. Usually, less than 2% of the game moves take more than 200 milliseconds to process, and less than 0.2% take more than 1 second.
BGA servers are located in Europe (France), but we bought servers all across the world (19 locations) so that the big files (ex: images) are loaded fast even if you are far from us.

Most of bad performances come from your internet connection or your system. Try to connect with a different browser / computer / internet connection to troubleshoot the issue.

As a rule of thumb, if BGA is not responsive enough, you shouldn't engage yourself into a game because there is a risk for you to get clock penalties.

I play on smartphone / tablet / touch device and I have some difficulties: what can I do?

As a rule of thumb, BGA does not support tablet/smartphones. There are tons of board game adaptations for tablet/smartphones, and some BGA adaptations are not well designed for small screens. Thus, we don't have plans to do a mobile / tablet version at the moment.

So if you want to use BGA from a smartphone / tablet you can, but we don't promise to fix all bugs so it's at your own risk :)

I'm a game publisher: how can I get my game on Board Game Arena?

At first, you just have to write us an email (contact (at) boardgamearena.com) with a description of your game(s).

Then, we add this game to the list of "available licences" on our website dedicated to game developers (BGA Studio).

The most difficult part is to find a developer among our community. Our only requirement is that the developer must love the game. Of course, the most popular the game is, the easiest it is to find a volunteer developer. Sometimes this is very fast, sometimes it takes months, sometimes it never happens. We can't say in advance.

It is also possible to find your own developer: of course it accelerates the process a lot!
04/28/20158 comments

Adjustments on quitting players

In last January, we changed the way we handle game clock and quitting players on BGA (unique clock, skip turn function, and so on).

A lot of you react about this new system in the forum. Thanks to your help we identified and fixed some bugs, and removed/updated some of the new features.

Now, the new system is simpler than the old one, and we have still an average of 98% of "games finished with everyone on board" on BGA, so we are quite happy with this evolution.

However, we are still concerned about some of your remarks, and decided to do some minor changes to address them.

Here is the list of changes:
  • Like yesterday: there is a unique clock for each player, and a "skip turn" button appears as soon as the clock is negative (no change).
  • Addition: you can't skip the turn of a player who have more time than you, even his time is negative. So if you choose to allow your opponent to play with a huge negative clock, he/she cannot skip your turn when you are 1 second below zero.
  • Update for turn-based mode: when you skip the turn of a player, all his following turns are skipped instantaneously until he eventually join back the game - just like we do in real-time mode. Note: as it was until today, you was able to only skip 1 turn, and then you had to wait that your opponent clock decrease below zero again to skip another turn.
  • Addition: as soon as at least 1 turn has been skipped, we display a banner at the top of the game that say the following: "Player XXX left this game (at Y% of the game progression) and lost this game. All other players will be considered 1st. You can continue to play if you like, or [quit] this game without any penalty".
  • Note: to be 100% clear: this means that you are to continue to play "just for fun", but it counts for nothing. In any way, player that left the game are considered as the last player in results (with associated ELO losses in addition to a "leave" penalty), and the other players will be considered as winners (all tied in 1st place).
  • Note: ... and this is true whatever your choice is: continue the game until the end or quit it without penalty.
  • At the end of the game, the quitter has a "leave" penalty (in addition to the "clock" penalty), plus a loss of ELO corresponding to his last position.
  • At the end of the game, the others players have a ELO gains corresponding to a 1st position (tied), multiplied by the percentage of progression of the game where the quitter left the game. Example: if the quitting player left the game at 95% of the game progression, you will get 95% of the ELO you would have won as a normal winner. This way, this is always more interesting to continue a game until the end than skipping turn of an opponent that is just below zero.

We think that this new system combines the advantages of the old system (possibility to leave a pointless game after a player left + incentive to not using the "expel player" button) and the new system (simple clock + discourage "rage quit" one move before the end). In addition, it is even more simple than the current one (and it works exactly the same with realtime and turnbased).
04/27/201523 comments


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