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Posted by Andreas Ludwig on May 6, 2010

Boardgamegeek – the nerd page!

“CSW, Web Grognards and Boardgamegeek make up the ultimate trinity in Wargaming!”

Boardgamegeek is not a pure wargame/consim website, but it belongs to the key pages and most important central information sites for The Hobby on the web. Boardgamegeek was founded in the year 2000 and it grew into a page with information about board and card games in a very extensive way. So wargames also belong to the games listed there and the wargame area is already very large and still growing.

The database contains over 45,000 board games (January, 2010) and each game has its own game entry which gives information about a game, user ratings and fora for specific discussions on the game and topics related to it.

BGG is an extremely active platform

Boardgamegeek is interesting because it allows the readers to get all information in a very accessible and compact way. Each game has its own page and there you can find everything related to the specific game: pictures, reviews, ratings, publishers, downloads, strategies, discussion, player aids, files etc.. Everyone can upload files, so these games are supported with information on a steady base.

The website is done in a very clear style and you can start searching from the main page within different categories, say looking after the designer, the year of publication, game mechanics, map/cover artists and so on.

A game page offers detailed information about a game: Publisher, year, players. In addition, you find photos, a forum, files, player aids, comments....

The game statistics allow insights on how you would rate the game for yourself, for the page is not only giving abstract ratings, but personal commentaries as well. These are most important because some players like to rate a game even without ever having it played, just based on what they think the game is about or whether they like the topic or not. This makes the ranking a bit pointless but the true information lies in the reviews given by players who actually played the game, in their comments and in the pictures of the game components. This usually gives you a useful first impression whether a certain game might be for you or not.

You can buy and sell games on BGG MarketplaceGeeklists put together various games on the base of different topics so you can easily see  how many games on a  certain topic exist and  what  could fit your playing style and expectations. Through the marketplace you can get thousands of games and it also allows for a quick check what a game you want to sell is currently worth. Everybody can also start his / her own journal to let other gamers take part in their hobby and their thoughts regarding it. Overall BGG offers a tremendous resource site where you can find many fan made or official player aids, rules and useful stuff to enhance your enjoyment of a game. Registered members can also customize the look of the site a bit to their personal liking so you  always get the info you actually need to know.

It’s free of charge to become a registered member of BGG, although you are certainly encouraged to help improve the site by adding your own reviews and thoughts on games to the existing database or by giving a donation. If you want to see what BGG has to offer: check out the Guide to  BGG .

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Posted by Andreas Ludwig on May 6, 2010

You need some information about a certain wargame?

You have some free time and want to talk with fellow wargamers?

You are interested in making new wargaming friendships?

You have to say something about anything?

Then the place to go is……

Wargamers feel the need for some social sharing because they belong to a rather small community beyond which nobody seems to understand their emotional and intellectual bond to this hobby.

Meet other friendly players...

So it’s quite unlikely that wargamers find an enjoyable table talk about their addiction among non-wargamers – quite the contrary: annoying those folks with talks about war, simulation, rules, counters and AARs is a good way to end the day alone…

...from all over the world!

Luckily the internet offers lots of opportunities to share any interests you may have with others doing the same things – and wargaming is no exception. Besides this, it seems that these special places on The Net have a good deal to do with letting this elite hobby survive, as there are a lot of usenet groups, fora, chats, mailing lists etc. out there covering the hobby of wargaming in one form or another.

ConsimWorld is certainly one of the best (or even the best!) of these internet places where you can find communication with other fellows and talks about  The Hobby – but also about everything else.

Consimworld was given to us by its Sysop John Kranz who started supporting the wargaming community many years ago. He began with an e-mail newsletter called the Consim Connections, even before everybody could easily have his/her own web site, then there was the Virtual Wargamer Headquarter’s Discussion Board, where folks could share their thoughts and after that the webzine SPI Revival. After these first steps John created CSW…

So, what is Consimworld (also known as CSW) all about?

Well, it’s certainly one of the most lively discussion fora out there and it’s also a regularly updated news center, where you can learn everything worth knowing in the wargame universe in a very user-friendly style. Almost every existing game has its own discussion folder where you can talk with other gamers about this game, their personal strategies, their experiences, how to interpret a certain rule correctly and so on. You can partake if you have signed in (CSW was once free of charge, but nowadays asks for an annual fee of 18 Dollars since August 1st, 2004, because John wasn’t able to provide a free service anymore because of the sheer extent of this large community), and this allows you not only to read the posts and write your own, but gives you enough space to tell folks who you are and to give some personal information or even set up a blog. So you are more than just a name on the screen. There are about 20.000 gamers from all over the world registered and it’s still a growing community, so it seems that everybody who plays wargames lurks around at CSW, too.

The CSW main page

One interesting thing is that the discussions have a chat-like realtime style because the people who are posting there, log in more than once a day – and because you can manage your own subscriptions of folders you are interested in within your personal message center, you always have new postings popping up right there on your screen – no manual search etc.. is necessary, no missing answers on your questions and you can “control” several discussions simultaneously.

CSW has an archive to browse through older discussions and besides these debates you can also find reviews, game replays, announcements from the publishers (who give much support to CSW as they know it’s a good place to see what people want in their games; many publishers even offer support folders), a wargame calendar with all the minor and major wargaming events over the year, clubs that present themselves and/or have their own forum, etc. pp.. CSW also organizes the most popular annual wargaming Convention – the famous MonsterCon/CSW Expo, where gamers come together for 6 days to engage in tournaments and play even the biggest monster games. Take a look at the photo section of the last Cons and you’ll see what you are missing if you ain’t part of this great festival of a hobby incomparable to any other.

But CSW is not limited to wargames, or even games and there are folders about history, religion, science, movies, internet, computer, consoles …whatever. If you have something to say, CSW offers you a place to speak. It’s the Wargamer’s Speaker’s Corner….

So, here’s a brief overview of what the CSW Forum provides you:

  • Access to nearly 5 Gigabytes of information accumulated over seven years from gamers around the world covering virtually all conflict simulation games published. An invaluable resource to gain insightful tips on all games ranging from the old Classics to the newest game releases
  • Special topic and folder subscribe-to feature and Message Center permits you to automatically view new/unread messages that interest you with a click of the mouse
  • Two-way, immediate access to game designers, developers, and publishers
  • Learn about the latest projects in development
  • Discuss new products with others and obtain quick answers to your questions
  • Gain the ability to influence future game designs/game events
  • Create your own game-related folder for a game that doesn’t already have one
  • Ability to have Q&A addressed by authoritative sources on historical OoBs, games, and other areas of historical interest
  • Ability to run your own BLOG and participate in BLOGs belonging to others
  • Exchange strategies/issues/points with other members
  • Enjoy live chat with members online
  • Communicate on items of personal interest/benefit (Marketplace, Opponents wanted, Convention roommate needed, etc.)
  • Ability to post or view images inline with messages, including links to other helpful resources

You get full access to literally hundreds of gaming-related topics to choose from, while also enjoying a direct connection to many of today’s leading publishers and game designers. No where else will you find a centralized resource of information pertaining to historical conflict simulation gaming.

There are forums for existing games, for upcoming games, playtesting, tournaments, publishers, player blogs, general topics ("wargaming and religion", "on the table")...

Besides the forum CSW also offers a kind of  Facebook community for wargamers, CSW SocialThe official social networking platform of ConsimWorld, based on Ning .

There you can have your own blog as well, upload pictures, videos, music etc., create and join specific game groups or groups that discuss certain eras or topics, create your own buddy list and simply get much more personal about yourself, your interests and your hobby. It’s a great opportunity to get to know those even better who you already know from their postings on the CSW forum (most members do have a personal pic as their avatar so it’s nice to put a face to a name this way) and it strengthens the bond of the wargame community. Not every CSW member is registered on the social site so it’s a smaller community of about 2000 people, but it’s highly recommended to join there as well since it provides such a great service with no additional fee.

CSW Social is a friendly Web 2.0 community where you can join groups, share your pictures, videos, favorite music, and talk to your friends

So, simply click HERE to be part of the international wargaming community and introduce yourself!

See ya there…. 🙂

Great tutorial videos: How to use Consimworld:

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