Boardgamegeek.com is free to use. You do not need to register and many users simply browse the site without ever signing up. But there are benefits to registering an account on BGG.
You only need one thing to register – a valid current email address. After that, you do not need to add any true details to your account, least of all your real or full name. NOTE – you can never change your username (something they might enable in future). So if you register as ‘bottyburp77’, you will always be ‘bottyburp77’ on BGG.
So why register, what do you gain?
1. The most obvious benefit is that you get to write in the forums and other parts of the site. BGG does not enable anonymous users to comment anywhere, you must be registered to post anything on the site. Once registered, you can start a thread or post a reply. For example, you can raise a question about the rules of a game on that game’s page, or you can reply to a discussion in a general forum. You can add comments to pictures, geeklists and so on. Best of all, you get to ask “I liked X and Y but not Z, what game should i get next?” and get some useful ideas. No account means no voice.
2. The most hidden benefit is subscribing. You can subscribe to a lot of things on BGG; to a game page, to a user, to a geeklist, or an item on a geeklist or a discussion thread or a whole forum if you want. Your account tracks any updates or changes to whatever you’ve subscribed to on the site, and flags them up for you to look at. Whenever new content is added, the subscription service highlights this, and with a few clicks you can look at the new item. Say you raised a rules query on a game page, you’d want to subscribe to your own thread. Then when any reply is posted, the subscription will flag this up for you. You don’t have to keep looking to see if there was a reply yet.
You can unsubscribe from something anytime too. You might have lost interest in a forum thread that’s gone off-topic, so unsubscribing means you don’t get automatic notices of further replies.
If you log out of BGG for a while, and log back in days later, you could find dozens of things in your subscription page, depending on what you subscribed to.
Subscribing is a great way to find interesting content, especially if you subscribe to active users with similar tastes to you. You will be told of anything they post, and this will lead you to all sorts you wouldn’t have noticed. And by subscribing to a forum, especially the regional forums, you can see a wide range of topics of interest to you.
3. Record your game collection and versions, rate games, comment, log plays, flag for trade/wants, wishlist, want to play. For a lot of registered users, this is the main function of the site, to build data around your personal collection and games you’ve played. With an account, you can go to a game page, and open the User Information module, and start clicking away. Simply ticking a box marked Own adds it to your collection (unticking drops it) and so on. Ticking the Wishlist box adds the game to a wishlist you or other people can look at (and you can qualify your desires). Ticking a game as For Trade will show other users that you have a copy to trade away, and they will make offers to you. Ticking a game as Want in Trade will bring offers from people with a copy to send. Trading games is a great way to get games for just the cost of postage. Ticking the Want To Play box is a good way of reminding yourself what to games you’re really keen to try (especially useful if you play a lot). Logging Plays, Rating and Comments are good for completists, and now there are unofficial BGG apps, logging plays from your smartphone is very easy.
If you’ve got a big collection, it can be laborious to start building up the data on BGG, there’s simply no real shortcut to slogging through. But once done, you can start to realise the benefit. You can select the exact version you own, the game name you want, keep private notes on the item and more.
From your profile, you can select your collection, our wishlist, or trade wants and so on. Or you can use filters, such as games you own, that you want to play for 3 to 5 players. The club collection is on BGG, so you could see what 2 player games we own for example.
4. Geekmail – BGG has it’s own internal mail system. You can write a private message to another BGG user (and receive the same). This is obviously useful for comments you don’t want public, especially remarks to the admin. Geekmail also let’s you make trades or offers to buy or sell games. You can have your geekmail bounce to your normal email, so you can see messages without being logged into BGG. You also get updates from BGG admin, for example item merges on games you own, free microbadge coupons and more.
5. There are many more small benefits: you can get an avatar, get microbadges, customise the front page and game page and your collection views, tag items, bookmark threads, enter the free contests, block users you don’t like or content, create a poll, use the Quickbar, use the Geekbuddy system, earn geekgold, tip and thumb content and users you like, use the marketplace, the geekauction section, upload photos to your own gallery, make corrections, connect with external sites or external sites or external sites or external sites and…
6. ADD CONTENT!!! BGG is run by geeks but built by you. All the content is user-built. Users submit games, expansions, versions, photos, videos, reviews, session reports, geeklists, translations, player aids, hot deals and so much more. You could easily have a game not on BGG. Submit a short form, it gets moderated and approved, you’ve improved the database. Add some photos, rate it and comment. BGG has nearly 60,000 games. Add content and help the geek to grow.