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New lobby update (Sept 17th)

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5 days ago, we published a new lobby for Board Game Arena. Thanks to your feedback, more than 10 updates have been made since then, with many improvements compared to the initial version.

If you didn't read the first news, we recommend you to read it before this one.

We received A LOT of feedback on the new lobby. Board Game Arena is now a huge website, with a much larger audience than before, and it is REALLY hard to satisfy everyone. So we've not been surprised by the volume of the feedback. And of course as it was new, many of you have been at first disoriented by the new interface. As a consequence you played less on BGA during the 2 first days (-5% to -10%).

But the good news is: we made it! Thanks to your patience, your feedback and our updates, the number of players, tables, games played, waiting time is now back to normal. Yesterday, 21.290 games have been played on BGA, which is a very common number for a Monday. Some others statistics are encouraging:
  • The average waiting time before starting a game has dropped by 3%.
  • The % of tables that did not find enough opponents to start has dropped by 1.5 point (39,42% now, 40,96% before).
Of course, it is particularly hard to have such a big bang without disturbing you. We worked hard these latest days, to analyse your feedback, to publish updates, and to make sure that everyone of you is comfortable with the new lobby.


So if you have been disoriented by the new lobby in the past few days, here are the main things we did for you:
  • At first, NO FEATURES have been removed from BGA. Everything that was possible with the old lobby is possible with the new one.
  • In particular, we re-introduced the "available players for this game" and the associated "suggest table to player" feature. This feature was not initially planned for the new lobby, but a lot of you requested it and it is back now.
  • For those who are playing a lot of different games here, we added a "See all available tables", which provides a list of tables for all games in a single view. This view is exactly the same than in the previous lobby, so you shouldn't be disoriented.
  • If you have many games in your favourites, you can use the top-right "Display options" menu to make the game icons smaller.
  • Today, we introduced a tutorial for the lobby, to explain all its features.
  • (and many, many small things :) )

If you are really nostalgic from the old lobby, you can do the following:
  • Click on "Display options" and select "Small icons"
  • Click on "See all available tables" to display tables like in the old lobby.
Once you have done this, your preferences are saved (for this browser), and the interface is really really close to how it was in the old lobby.

Once you get used to it, you can benefit from the cool new features of this lobby:
  • Tables grouped by games: you see immediately if a table of game X is available, and you see all the available tables for game X at the same place.
  • Join from the lobby + join multiple real-time tables.
  • Your ELO rank + stats for each game is now directly visible in the lobby.
  • If you didn't already, we recommend you to test the Automatic mode, which is very powerful and very easy to access now.

This is of course not the end of the story. We still have many things to fix and to upgrade to make this lobby better, and we will continue to push updates in the next days/weeks.

To conclude, I'd like to thank the whole BGA community for your patience and your feedback. Unfortunately, we had a lot of - quite - aggressive feedbacks and comments these past few days, so I'd like to give a special thank you to those of you who took the time to really test the new lobby before giving a feedback, and who explained their situation (and frustrations) in detail instead of just posting a basic "this is awful / I prefer the old one / you are stupid" comment. The feedback from these players has been really helpful to identify what needed to be done, so thanks again.
09/17/2019 Comment on this

A new lobby for BGA

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We are proud to introduce today the new lobby for Board Game Arena.

The lobby is where you choose your games and meet your opponents, so this is definitely the most important piece of an online gaming service.

The previous lobby had been designed in 2013. Since then, the number of games on BGA and the number of players has exploded, and the audience of BGA is way larger than before.

Because of that, we worked on a new lobby design.

Our first priority was to make sure that casual players AND core gamers both got a lobby adapted to their needs. If you want to keep things simple, you can use the "Automatic mode" and you'll be able to get into a game in ONE click. If you want to have more control, you can use the "Manual mode". And if you play a lot of different games, the "Manual mode" with the "Small icons" display is the way to go.

In the end, the new lobby is more simple for beginners, and more efficient for the most demanding players of BGA.

An amazing feature of this new lobby is the possibility to join several realtime tables at the same time. This way, you don't have to "wait" anymore at just one game table that does not start! You can join other tables, and the first table to start will be the one you play at.

This evolution is one of the most important changes we've done on Board Game Arena. Like any big change, and despite all our efforts, there may be some unexpected consequences (or bugs) remaining. Please do not hesitate to report them in the comments or in our bug report system so that we can fix them quickly. There are also probably a lot of minor improvements we can do to make this new lobby even better, so please do not hesitate to provide your feedback!

We've built this FAQ which will answer most of your questions about this new lobby. Please read it before asking your questions ;)
https://boardgamearena.com/forum/viewto ... =5&t=13974

We would also like to take advantage of this news to talk a little about changes and evolutions on BGA. We all know that change can be difficult, especially when we are really used to something.

We know that a lot of you may think that keeping the same interface year after year would be the best solution... and it would probably be the easiest solution for us too! However, the old lobby is exactly like your old basket shoes: quite comfortable, but they look terrible, and you know that your new shoes will be way better once you get used to them.

Each time we bring a new change to BGA, many of you are posting comments like "Please get back the old version" or "Please disable it or make it an option". However, we're 100% sure that if we brought back the service exactly as it was existing a few years ago, ALL of you would be pretty disappointed and realize that you actually prefer the current version.

We know that we do!

In conclusion: from time to time we may be doing some mistakes, but most of time we are doing quite useful changes. At least that's what we try really hard to do! And one thing is certain: we're going to continue making BGA evolve to make it better :)

Hope you'll enjoy this new lobby! Please do not hesitate to post your kind and warmhearted feedback!

UPDATE September 13th: viewtopic.php?f=10&t=13978&p=50117#p50117
09/12/2019 213 comments

Clans of Caledonia

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We are absolutely delighted to continue an incredible series of releases this summer by opening online on Board Game Arena a wonderful strategy board game published only 2 years ago: Clans of Caledonia from designer Juma Al-JouJou (Karma Games).

Play it now!

In Clans of Caledonia, you'll take the head of a Scottish clan of the 19th-century to manage its development from an agricultural to an industrial economy. Yes, we said Scotland, so you'll produce whisky of course!

This mid-to-heavy game is a lot of pleasure to play as actions very closely match the theme of a clan expanding on the Scottish territory, with very diverse and charismatic clans to choose from at the start of the game. You'll chop wood, mine mountains, grow livestock, plant fields, build cheese dairies, bakeries and distilleries in order to - did we mention it already? - produce whisky! :)

But more than everything, as a kilt bearer, your task will be to manage your money in the most efficient possible way. You'll spend, yes, you'll trade, yes, you'll export, sure, but you won't do it lightly! Every action has a cost, even expanding to the nearest pasture. So for sure, you'll spend time counting before spending!

Clans of Caledonia is one of these powerfully enticing games that you like more each time you play, and that has a huge replayability through the use of a composite map (16 different configurations), variable scoring tiles for each turn, variable port tiles for special actions (if you can reach them), and 9 clans to master, making each new game a new challenge.

Clans of Caledonia is available on BGA as a Premium game: a Premium member is required to create a new table, then as usual everyone can join. Thank you all for supporting us!

We would like to extend a warm thank you to the designer Juma Al-JouJou (Innovatormentor) for his authorization to host Clans of Caledonia on BGA and his invaluable help for playtesting, and to Leo Bartoloni (bartoleo) the developer who did the really hard work of implementing such a complex game using BGA studio. Kudos to him for this top notch work!

Enjoy and remember, it's ok to have a sip for tasting, but you need to keep some ot this whisky for exporting! :)

PS : Clans of Caledonia allows to play in "Solo mode" which is perfect to learn the game basics before challenging other players. We recommend you to try it!
08/20/2019 25 comments

Kingdomino

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We are incredibly proud and happy to introduce on Board Game Arena one of the most successful and fun board games of the last few years: Kingdomino!

Play it now!

Kingdomino is a tile placement game from Bruno Cathala released in 2016. This family strategy game for 2 to 4 players has won the "Spiel Des Jahres", the most prestigious award for a board game, and is already considered a classic and a masterpiece.

In Kingdomino, you are a King seeking new lands to expand your Kingdom. You must explore all types of land, including wheat fields, lakes, and mountains, in order to find the best plots to add to your realm, while competing with other lords to acquire them first.

Your goal is to build a 5x5 grid using dominoes (tiles made of 2 terrain sections). Each time you place a domino in your Kingdom, at least one side of the tile must be connected either to a tile previously played or to your castle.

After placing a tile, you must select the tile you'll play on the next turn. However, the selected tile also determines the next turn play order, so selecting a better tile this turn will often mean playing and choosing the following tile after other players on the next turn!

To achieve the best score, you must have as many matching terrains as possible, with a lot of crowns. The squares connected with the same type of terrain form a "territory", and each territory gives you a number of points equal to the number of squares multiplied by the number of crowns visible inside this territory. For example, a 4 squares forest territory with 2 crowns inside scores 4x2 = 8 points.

Kingdomino is a great game for all audiences. We highly recommend 2 players games with "The Mighty Duel" additional rule! With this configuration, you will use all the dominoes to create an impressive 7x7 Kingdom, which can be quite tricky and strategic :)

Kingdomino is available as a Premium game: a Premium member is required to create a new table, and then as usual everyone can join! Thank you all for supporting us!

Board Game Arena would like to thank Blue Orange and Bruno Cathala for allowing their great game to be available online on your favorite website :)

Enjoy!
07/20/2019 22 comments

Terra Mystica: landscapes, auctions, and maps!

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We are happy today to update one of the most played games on Board Game Arena. Terra Mystica is a wonderful game and since its release in February last year, some of you have really played it a lot. Almost 2000 players have played more than 50 games here on BGA! So we are really happy to add more game elements to discover and enjoy!

Play it now!

So what's new? Here is the list!
  • The Special Landscapes expansion is now available! You can find the rules here.
  • Two new maps have been added. Revised Base Map is an update to the original game map moving some terrains around to shift the balance between factions, and Lakes is a new map (designed by Jason Counihan) that has been illustrated by Feuerland Spiele just some weeks ago: it's really new and should be a complete discovery for all but the most well-informed players!
  • The starting VPs are adjusted using the most up to date system devised by the publisher depending on the faction and the map. For the curious who want to know all about it, here are the tables: Base Game, Revised Base Game, Lakes.
  • You can now select factions through an auction system. This way, you'll have to use your own evaluation of the strength of each faction relative to each map and other factions in play to make the best bid. That's quite a challenge! As suggested by the publisher, the auction system on BGA follows a proposal made on BGG for Gaia Project (original post here).
We know that a lot of you always want more, and will ask "What about Fire & Ice?" (yes, we know you will ;) ). For now, it's not possible to have Fire & Ice on BGA. We sure hope that this may change in the future (even if it will be quite a lot of work to implement), but only time will tell!

Have fun discovering this new expansion and options!
06/28/2019 14 comments

The Werewolves of Millers Hollow

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We are happy to introduce today The Werewolves of Millers Hollow the very famous social game from Philippe des Pallières and Hervé Marly (Lui-Même).

Werewolves is one of the most played game in the world: because it is very accessible and lightweight, you can find it everywhere, and even non-regular gamers know it already.

During a Werewolves game, each player has a secret role: some players are nice villagers, but some are Werewolves. Each night, the Werewolves are killing a villagers, and each day, the villagers are voting to execute one of them - if possible, a werewolf. To win as a villager, you must eliminate all Werewolves, and to win as a Werewolves you need to eliminate all villagers.

Werewolves is a game that is way deeper than it looks like. Deduction and bluff is important, but also strategy. To make the online adaptation even more "strategic", we chose to make immediately available the Village expansion. With this expansion, each villager has a visible role (ex: Teacher) in addition to his/her secret role. It introduces some asymmetry from the beginning of the game, and give you additional interesting possibilities. If you find the base game too simple, we recommend you to try it :)

Adapting a game primarily based on discussion was not an easy things to do. However, we took it as a challenge, and did our best to keep the spirit of the original game. We did special adaptations to the BGA interface just for this game, and we worked with talented graphic designers to create the beautiful village you can see in the adaptation (thank you Maëva Kosmic, Christine Deschamps and Ian Parovel for this). We hope you'll enjoy it!

Werewolves is available as a Premium game on BGA: only Premium members can create new tables, and everyone (even non-Premiums) can join.

Board Game Arena would like to thanks Lui-Même for making possible to have this great game here :)

Enjoy!
06/07/2019 5 comments

Through the Ages: A New Story of Civilization

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We are happy to introduce today the upgraded version of Though the Ages, the well known civilization game from Vlaada Chvátil, for online play on Board Game Arena.

"TTA" is considered one of the best strategy games of all time. We are particularly proud about hosting it here on BGA for 5 years now, and that players have been enjoying this adaptation so much, with more than 500.000 games played until now (thank you for this!).

In 2015, the game publisher CGE published a revised version of the game: "Through the Ages: A New Story of Civilization", with new art and rule changes. Everyone knows how hard it is to upgrade an existing "best selling" game... But it has been an incredible success: the revised version of the game is unanimously considered better than the original game, and this new edition is now ranked as the 3rd best game in all categories on BoardGameGeek.

For those who already know TTA, you should not be surprised by the new game rules and should be able to play it immediately. However, we recommend you to read the very last part of the rule book "What's new in the New Story" that summarize all the changes.

For those who do not know about the game: TTA is a civilization game, which by the way holds some similarities with Sid Meier's Civilization videogame. During the 4 ages of the game (from Antiquity to Modern Age), you must earn a maximum number of Culture points (little "harp" symbols) by setting up an efficient combination of technologies, military units and buildings. You have to face various events and attacks from the other players. You have to choose your leaders carefully, and to improve your government from the initial archaic "Despotism" to the most modern political systems.

BGA would like to thank CGE for giving us this possibility to offer the new version of TTA here!

Enjoy :)
05/16/2019 19 comments

Not Alone

Image You and the other members of your expedition just arrived on the mysterious planet Artemia... But the thing is... You are Not Alone. And you should definitely worry about that!

We are happy to introduce today Not Alone, a game from Ghislain Masson (Geek Attitude Games), for online play on BGA :)

Not Alone is an asymmetrical game: all players but one are "Hunted" explorers who are playing together against the last player who is "the Creature". No one seems to know much about this Creature, but it looks like its main objective is to assimilate the Hunted before they are rescued... In this game, as a hunted player your objective will be to collaborate to make sure that the "rescue" counter reaches the victory space BEFORE the "assimilation" counter reaches this same victory space. And the objective of the player acting out the Creature will obviously be the exact opposite :)

We apprise you that a good collaboration between the hunted players requires communication... But guess what? The Creature will be listening :)

At the beginning of each turn, the hunted players choose a place to explore by playing a card face down. Then, the Creature must place one "hunt token" (or several, depending on the available powers). Of course, the Creature attempts to target the places chosen by the hunted players. The players who manage to avoid the Creature will be able to use the power of the places they occupy, thus contributing to their future rescue. On the contrary, those who are caught by the Creature will only contribute to the assimilation of the whole group...

While the game is progressing, there are fewer possibilities for hunted players to escape and more and more special powers on both sides. New places are discovered by hunted players, and special cards can be used on both sides to trigger powerful instant effects.

To learn the complete rules, we recommend this excellent "Watch it played" video:



Not Alone is a game with a very special atmosphere and a powerful theme. This is a true "horror board game": there is a lot of tension around the table until the very end of the game. A lot of "cooperative games" can feel a little mechanical because you are playing "against the game", however in "Not Alone" the Creature is a player and this makes each new game unique. On BGA we strongly recommend to play with 4-5 players to fullly enjoy the cooperative aspect of the game. We also recommend you to play both sides since they are very different.

BGA would like to thank Geek Attitude Games for allowing us to propose this extraordinary game online. We hope you'll enjoy it as much as we do!

And the next time you feel alone, remember to ask you this question: are really sure you are?
04/10/2019 22 comments

Go to the stars with BGA!

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We recently received a very original and special email from David Saint-Jacques, a Canadian astronaut from NASA, currently on mission in the International Space Station.

David is a board game addict, and plays from time to time on BGA. He usually plays here Jaipur, Carcassonne and sometimes Puerto Rico. The extraordinary fact is that he also plays online directly from orbit!

Believe it or not, but the astronauts in the ISS have an Internet connexion available. It is slow, but it is functional, and apparently it is good enough to play on BGA! During one of his (few) free time slot, David played a game and probably became the first person to ever play on BGA from Space, and maybe the first person to ever play board games from Space. It's a small step for (a) man, but a giant leap for a Meeple!

But David's message is going way further: it seems that NASA is looking for new activities for astronauts, in order to stimulate their cerebral capacities while improving the ambience between teammates. Board games is of course their first choice ... except that without gravity this is really hard to manipulate boards, cards and dice... This is why NASA is thinking about using online boardgaming platform "officially" during its long-term missions.

Following this, before the end of this year, we are going to organize on BGA a big contest to select a dozen of candidates for a future job of "Board games instructor" (these are the words from the Agency). The Job Of Your Dreams: you will organise board game sessions for the astronaut crews - on Earth of course, but why not in Space at some point in the future?

Get ready to launch!

UPDATE April 2nd: April's fool! Thank you everyone for your nice comments :)
04/01/2019 38 comments

Some news about the translation system!

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The collaborative translation system has been with BGA almost from the start to allow as many people as possible throughout the world to play together with no language barrier. We are quite happy and proud about it, but of course it's not perfect.

With more than 150 games - and translations happening in 35 languages - we tried to see what we could fix or do better.

1) With so many translations, fixing mistakes in validated translations has become tedious. Doing it manually when reported by players in the forums was slow and time consuming. So we decided to trust the community some more, and to allow players to fix validated strings directly if they have enough experience on BGA and on the game. Please be aware that fixing validated translations doesn't award any gift points, and should be done only to correct clear and obvious mistakes. It's best not to make changes you are not sure of, and always stay as close as possible to the original English text in meaning and style.

2) For some languages there is not a lot of translators and we wanted to try to make things easier, so we thought that it would be faster for translators to proofread and correct than to translate everything. So when possible (which means when there is no substitution parameter involved making the text dynamic), we will now propose a computer generated translation by default, and then translators will be able to either make changes to improve it as usual, or just to confirm it in one click if it's already good! These default translations will appear progressively in the weeks to come, and this new functionnality should allow us in the future to open the website in more languages for which we don't currently have enough players to bootstrap a translation, and maybe spark interest for players in these languages.

Let's be clear, this is absolutely not meant to replace the current community based translation system! We really need the translators help in translating dynamic strings and in proofreading the translations to have them meet the "human quality" level that creates a smooth and natural play experience.

3) Even with good intentions, some mistakes were made by translators making changes to the original English text. And that was really a bummer, because mistakes propagate to all languages afterwards... So for English, we decided to set up a validation step to avoid mistakes. If you spot something incorrect in the English version of the website or in an English text you are currently translating, you can look for that text in the "from English to English" translation system, and propose a change (with a comment!). This change will then be validated (or refused) by the BGA team.

4) Since we didn't think about setting up specific guidelines about punctuation, some translators added or removed final punctuation a little anarchically over the years, for example adding an ending dot for text used in buttons (Yikes! :o ). We homogenized that to get back to the intention of the developer in terms of meaning expressed through punctuation and clarity of the interface (a website is not a book). Now we also trigger a warning if the final punctuation is changed: translators reported some cases where it can be legitimate, so it can still be done, but please be careful with this, it should stay exceptional!

Thanks again to all translators from the community contributing their time to allow players from all over the world to enjoy playing board games in their native language!

Really. That's awesome! :D
03/27/2019 18 comments


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