What is Board Game Arena?
Board Game Arena (BGA) is an online board game platform. With BGA, you can play online and in real time against players from the whole world. A selection of various board games and card games is available. In order to play, the only thing you need is your browser!
What do you mean by "real time play"?
On Board Game Arena your opponents are connected to the game platform during the entire game. They can see your moves and react to them immediately - as is the case in the real world.
What is "turn based play"?
This is often referred to as "asynchronous play" on other sites, and is used here to differentiate from "real time play". Instead of all players being around the table at the same time, players leave and come back. After your opponent takes a move you are notified that it is your turn (via email or on your next visit to the site). You then go to your game, take your turn, and the process repeats for the next player.
For details please read Turn based FAQ.
What do I need to play?
Your browser ... and that's it!
Board Game Arena does not require anything else on your computer. Thus, you can play from any computer, anywhere, anytime!
In order to make this possible we are using the latest technologies available for the web. This is the reason you should play with the most up to date web browsers to enjoy an optimal BGA experience (read more about our browser policy).
How much does it cost to play on BGA?
Playing on BGA is free.
You can also choose to help us by making a donation and becoming a Board Game Arena club member.
What are the games available on BGA?
Board Game Arena offers a various selection of board and card games, but specializes in modern ("European style") adult games.
Meeting players and starting games
I launched a new table but nobody is joining?
For the most popular games you can find players at any time of the day. For other games we advise you to come back at peak hour (around 22:00 CEST) if you can't find opponents at the moment.
Tip: check the number of online/available players for a game before launching the table.
Tip: if nobody is available for a realtime game, you can turn your table into a turn-based table, so another player can join even hours/days after you created it.
I joined a game. When does the game start?
For realtime games:
Each table has an administrator, which is the table creator. It is the responsibility of the table administrator to start the game when he or she is satisfied with the number of players having joined the table.
If you are the table administrator and can't launch the game, most of the time it's because there is not yet enough players joined the table.
For turnbased games:
The game starts as soon as the maximum number of players has been reached. The table administrator can also starts the game manually if the minimum number of required players has been reached.
What is the meaning of the small color circle next to players names?
- : this player is active. He or she completed an action very recently.
- : this player is inactive. He or she is connected to the website but did not perform any action recently.
- : this player is offline.
What does the '% hits' statistic mean?
% hits = number of victory points / number of games played
Where number of victory points is the following:
- When you win a 2 players game: 1 point.
- When you win a 3 players game: 1.5 points.
- When you win a 4 players game: 2 points.
This way, "50%" means that you win 50% of 2 players game, or 33% of 3 players game, etc.
During the game
What is the meaning of the icons next to players names?
- : this player must make a move now.
- : this player must make a move now, and has spent their reflexion time. Can someone wake them up? ;)
- : this player must make a move now, but is probably not aware of the fact. If the situation does not evolve, it might be that this player has some connection issue.
- : this player is a "zombie" (left the game or has been fired from the game). The game goes on without this player.
When the "normal" avatar of a player is displayed, it means that this player is waiting for their turn to play.
A player has to make a move but he/she doesn't. What can I do?
- First, please remember that this player has the right to think as long as they need to about the next move... well as long as there is still some time left on the game clock, that is.
- Then you can ask this player to confirm that he or she is still thinking about how to play.
- If this player seems to be away, we advise you to wait a few minutes: this player may be experiencing some network problems or have left the computer temporarily.
- If the player is not coming back, you can skip their turn as soon as the clock is negative. This player will get a "leave" penalty and you will win "by forfeit".
For more details, please read Game clock.
What is the current progression of the game I'm playing?
A percentage of progression is displayed on the top of the web page. There is also a progress bar at the bottom of the web page shows you the current progression of the game.
What is forbidden on Board Game Arena?
- Leaving a game in progress on purpose.
- Taking an unnecessary and unreasonable amount of time at the end of game in an obvious losing situation.
- Kingmaking: enabling another player to win on purpose while there is a better move to make for yourself.
- Running out of time on the game clock.
- Giving some piece of information about the current game situation that corrupts the normal game flow.
- Communicating with another player about the game privately (ex: with MSN).
- Provocation / triumphalism / defeatism ... anything which is not fair play.
- Having a shocking avatar (no advertisement, no politics, ...)
Going against these rules will affect your reputation.
What is absolutely forbidden in Board Game Arena?
- Creating multiple accounts and playing against oneself.
- Insulting other players in any manner.
Going against these rules can lead to the removal of your account and/or to the blacklisting of your IP.
What if some player does something wrong?
The Board Game Arena platform has been designed to encourage players to maintain good behavior. The reputation system allows you to distinguish between good and bad players. Then, it is up to you to decide whether to start a game with them or not.
If you think a player has behaved badly during a game, you can give them a "red thumb" at the end of the game.
If you think a player has committed a serious wrongdoing during a game (ex: insult), please report this player to us, using the "report this player" link from their profile or game result page, so that we can take appropriate measures.
Tournaments is a BETA feature of BGA (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 need a lot of work and until then we always had something more urgent to do.
When tournaments will be improved, this FAQ section will be improved too.
About board games we proposed on BGA
What is the legal status of this website?
All the games currently available on this site have been licensed or otherwise authorized by copyright holders. Please be aware that games available on BGA can be removed at the copyright holders demand (for example: if they publish their own adaptation of the game).
Board Game Arena would like to thank all game publishers and game designers who allow us to have their games here, thus making it possible for this website to exist.
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 develops 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 adaptation 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 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 got 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?
You should read first the previous section ("how do we select games that are 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?
You should read first the previous section ("how do we select games that are on BGA?").
Game expansions follow 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.
I'm a game publisher: why would I like to have my game on Board Game Arena?
The main goal of Board Game Arena is to make it easy for people to discover and love new games. We think that there are only two kinds of players on Board Game Arena: those who already bought the games they are playing online, and those who plan to buy them soon!
As the activity of this website contributes to increasing a game's popularity and thus generates hard copy sales in the "real world", we think it is beneficial to the board game community: people from all over the world can play online, we can have fun developing this game platform to the best of our ability, and game publishers get money from the box sales and build a special relationship with their player's community.
I'm a game publisher: how to 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 it 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!
Please read Turn based FAQ.
Issues with BGA
What can I do if I have an issue with the website?
Most of the issues on this website should be solved with a simple web page refresh (or "F5").
If you experience persistent issues, you can browse the bug tool, see if someone already reported the issue, and add a new bug report if that's not the case. Please take some time to describe the bug you are reporting in detail so that we can quickly reproduce and fix it.
Why is my bug still not fixed?
We fix bugs every weeks. Of course we have priorities:
- We give the highest priority to recent features and recent games, because the most important bugs are reported fast.
- We give the highest priority to the bugs with the biggest number of "green thumb" on the bug tool.
- Usually we fix bugs by group. So if we decide to fix an important bug on a game, there is a chance that we will fix 3 or 4 minor bugs at the same time.
BGA is known for the quality of its adaptations, and if you look at the bug tool, you can see that -considering the number of games and the size of the community- there are not so many critical bugs with a lot of "green thumbs".
Please also note that BGA adaptations are realized by volunteers (even if most of them are also professional developers). It is not always easy for them to fix bugs, especially when some players are complaining violently and/or do not give precise information in bug reports.
I played on smartphone / tablet / touch device and I have some difficulties: what can I do?
As a rule of thumb, BGA does not support tablets/smartphones. There are tons of board game adaptations for tablets/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 :)
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 came 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, is 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 got issue with a specific player: how does the moderation works?
You should read Moderation and grades page.
Contribute to BGA
How can I contribute to BGA?
Please visit page Contribute to BGA.
I'm a software developer. What can I do?
We created a website specifically dedicated to board games adaptation development: BGA Studio.
About the BGA team
Who are you? How to contact you?
Please read page About us.
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 this 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.
Do you recruit?
If we had enough money we would start by "recruiting ourselves" :)