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Table of contents

Board Game Arena, ar pep retañ

What is Board Game Arena?

What, you don't know yet? Let's bring you up to speed! Board Game Arena (BGA) is an online board games platform.

With BGA, you can play online, either in real time or turn based, against players from around the whole world. Un dibab ledan c'hoarioù tablez ha kartoù a zo ouzh ho kortoz. A-benn c'hoari, n'ho peus ezhomm eus un dra hepken : ho merdeer !

For a quick overview, please check our 'BGA introduction' page.

What does "real-time play" mean?

When playing a real-time game, 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 does "turn-based play"? mean

When playing a turn-based game, players do not need to be connected all the time. They leave and come back when it's their turn to play. Once all your opponents have completed their moves you are notified that it is your turn (by email or on your next visit to the site). Then you can access this game, take your turn, and the process repeats for the next player.

What do I need to play?

Your browser... and that's all! Board Game Arena does not require anything else. This way, you can play from any device, anywhere, anytime!

However, we are using the latest technologies available for the web. For this reason, you should play with the most up to date web browsers to enjoy an optimal BGA experience.

For the best game experience, we recommend the following browsers:
  • Google Chrome 10+
  • Mozilla Firefox 4+
We officially support the following browsers:
  • Google Chrome 4+
  • Mozilla Firefox 3.5+
  • Internet Explorer 11+
  • Microsoft Edge
  • Safari 4+
  • We also support playing on iPads or similar tablets, or mobile phones.

Ha posubl eo din c'hoari evit netra ?

You can play board games and enjoy most of the functionnalities on Board Game Arena for free. Some extra features are available only to our Premium members.

For more information on the benefits of becoming a Premium user, please refer to our 'Premium membership' page.

I love BGA! How can I help?

Thank you! Board Game Arena is indeed a community website that exists and has grown through the contributions of many passionate players.

You can contribute in several ways, such as:
  • If you are a native speaker in another language than English, you can help us translate Board Game Arena in your language.
  • If you are a web developer, you can help us implementing new games on our BGA Studio development platform.
  • If you have the means to support us financially, please consider becoming a Premium member to keep the website running and expanding!

For more information about the different possibilities to help BGA, please check our 'Contribute to BGA' page.

Playing

How can I start a new game?

Go on the 'Play now' section, select your prefered game mode (ex: 'Real-time'), find the game you want to play, and then click on the 'Play' button.
  • If you've selected the 'Automatic opponents' mode, you just have to wait for opponents.
  • Otherwise, you will be displayed a list of table you can join. Choose a game table, join it, wait for players to join, and once you have the players, click 'Start game'. Have fun!

What if nobody is joining my table?

For the most popular games, you can find players at any time of the day. For other games, if you can't find opponents at the moment, we advise you to come back at peak hour (around 22:00 CEST).

Korvigell : gwiriit an niver a c'hoarierien prest da c'hoari pe en-linenn a-raok digeriñ un daoliad nevez evit ur c'hoari.
Tip: if nobody is available for a real-time game, you can turn your table into a turn-based table, so that another player can join even hours/days after you created it.

Can I join multiple realtime tables at the same time?

Yes, you can join or create multiple realtime tables at the same time, using Manual lobby.

This is even recommended to be in several tables, to maximize your chance to find opponents, instead of waiting at a single table.

When one of your realtime table starts, you are automatically removed from the other tables and you can focus on your game.

For example, if you want to play Carcassonne, Keyflower and 7 Wonders, we suggest you to join or create a table for these 3 games, so all the other players can see you are ready to play these games.

Another example: if you want to play Saboteur, we recommend you to join all open tables.

I joined a game. When does the game start?

For realtime games, each table has an administrator who 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 who have joined the table. If you are the table administrator and can't launch the game, most of the time it's because not enough players have joined the table at the moment.

For turnbased games, the game starts as soon as the maximum number of players has been reached. The table administrator can also decide to start the game manually anytime after the minimum number of players required to play this game have joined.

What does the colored circle next to a player's name mean?

online_.png : This player is active. He or she completed an action very recently.
inactive_.png : This player is inactive. He or she is connected to the website but has not performed any action recently.
offline_.png : This player is offline.

What does the icons next to a player's name mean?

active_player.gif : This player must make a move now.
active_player_clockalert.gif : This player must make a move now, and has used up all his/her available thinking time. Can someone wake them up? ;)
active_player_nonack.gif : This player must make a move now, but is probably not aware of this fact. If the situation doesn't change, it might mean that this player has a connection issue.
: When the 'normal' avatar of a player is displayed, it means that this player is waiting for their turn to play.

Ur c'hoarier-ez a zo bout. Petra ober ?

First, please remember that other players have the right to think as long as they need to about their next move... Well, as long as there is still some time left on their game clock, that is. After that, you can use the chat to ask this player to confirm that he or she is still thinking about how to play.

If the player seems to be away, we advise you to wait a few minutes: this player may be experiencing some network problems or have left temporarily. If the player is not coming back, and his/her clock has become negative, then you can kick this player out of the game. The effects of kicking a player out are the following:
  • This player will get a 'leave' reputation penalty (see 'Reputation/Karma' for more details).
  • This player will lose the same ELO points as if he/she was the loser (last place) of this game, minus an additional -10 ELO.
  • Whatever happens in the game afterwards, all the other players will be considered tied at the first place for ELO, and will receive a % of the ELO corresponding to the % of progression of the game at the moment the player was kicked out. Ex: if 80% of the game has been played, the remaining players will receive 80% of the ELO they would have won.
  • Tremenet e vo holl droioù c'hoari da zont ar c'hoarier-ez-mañ.

With this system, we ensure that even if you are in a losing position, it is NEVER a good choice for you to quit a game in progress. This system is a little bit harsh, but unlike many other services, about 99% of games played on BGA are not abandoned, and we are proud of that :)

How does the game clock work exactly?

Before playing each game, depending on the 'Speed' settings, you can see two values: the initial time amount and the additional time per turn.

When it's your turn to think, we decrease the time available on your clock.

Regularly (usually on each 'turn'), your time is increased with the additional time.

If your timer reaches zero (or gets negative), any other player can kick you out from the game: you should be careful NEVER to be in this situation.

Some details and specific cases:
  • There is a maximum amount of time for each player. In general, this maximum matches the initial time amount (ie: you can never have more than the initial time).
  • If you get a negative clock at some point during a game, even if you are not expelled, you will get a 'clock' red spot on your reputation.
  • When you play a game for the first time, all your time values are doubled.
  • Tournaments are using a completely different system ('fixed time limit'): you get an amount of time at the beginning, and there is no additional time during the game.
  • For turn-based games, 'X turns / day' means '24 / X' hours of additional time per move. For example, '2 turns / day' means '+12 hours per move'.

How do you manage random events (dice throws, card shuffling, ...)?

For dice and equivalent 'pick a number' actions, we are using the PHP function 'random_int'. This function has a cryptographically secure randomness, which means that it may be even better than real dice :)

For card shuffling, we are using the PHP method 'shuffle', based on the 'Mersenne Twister' algorithm which is used by most online Poker websites.

Please note that there are thousands of games played each day on BGA, so a rare event whose probability is really low may still happen dozens of times per day on BGA.

Finally, for those asking themselves "But is that random number generator truly random?", please check this page from random.org which is a great ressource to understand the complexity of this question.

What if a 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 behaved badly during a game, you can give them a 'red thumb' at the end of the game. The effect of a red thumb is:
  • This player won't be able to play with you anymore (except if you meet in a tournament).
  • This player won't be able to send you private messages, or to watch your game as a spectator.
  • Ur biz-meud ruz a c'hell ivez lakaat brud ur c'hoarier-ez da zigreskiñ (gwelet Brud/Karma evit gouzout hiroc'h).

If you think a player committed a serious wrongdoing during a game (for example insulting another player in the chat), please report this player to us, using the 'report this player' link from their profile or by clicking on the 'red thumb' at the end of the game, so that we can take appropriate measures.

Using the `Automatic Mode` lobby: how do the game preferences work?

When using the lobby with `Automatic Mode` on, for each game you can specify your preferences for any value of the available options.
  • `I'm okay to play with...` means that you are willing to play with this option value.
  • `My first choice is to play with...` means that in case you and the other players are okay to play with several of the values available for this option, we will try to select this one.
  • `I prefer not to play with...` means that we won't make you join a game with this option value... Except if this is the only available possibility after searching an alternative during a few minutes.
  • `I'm reluctant to play with...` means that we won't make you join a game with this option value... Except if this is the only available possibility after searching an alternative during a long time.
  • `I never want to play with...` means that we won't make you join a game with this option value at all.

How long does a game table stay open if nobody plays anymore?

When nobody has been playing at a game table for a while, it is closed automatically to free up server resources:
  • A real-time table is closed automatically if more than 4 hours have elapsed since its creation and if all players at this table are now offline.
  • A turn-based table is closed automatically if no move has been played during the last 40 days.

Your account, reputation and ranking

How does my reputation score (Karma) work?

The Karma score (☯) is a quick way to check if a player has a good reputation on BGA (does not quit games, is friendly and fair play, ...).

Depending on your Karma score, you may also be allowed or disallowed to use some features on BGA or to join a given table.

Your initial Karma score is 75☯ (on a maximum of 100☯). Then:
  • Each time you finish a game, if your clock has never been negative during this game, you get +1☯.
  • If you quit, or get kicked out of a game in progress, you lose 10☯ or even 20☯ if you already quit another game recently.
  • If you miss out on a planned tournament game: -4☯.
  • If you receive too many 'Red thumbs' from the other players when compared to the amount of 'Green thumbs' received, your karma will be limited to a maximum value.

What is the code of conduct?

On Board Game Arena, you should not:
  • Run out of time on the game clock.
  • Leave a game in progress on purpose.
  • Take an unnecessary and unreasonable amount of time at the end of game in an obvious losing situation.
  • Engage in Kingmaking: enabling another player to win on purpose while there is a better move to make for yourself.
  • Give some piece of information about the current game situation that disturbs the normal game flow.
  • Communicate with another player about the game privately (for example with an instant messenging app).
  • Engage in provocation / triumphalism / defeatism... anything which is not fair play.
  • Use an avatar that may be shocking or offensive to other players (no advertisement, no politics, ...)
Going against these rules will affect your reputation.

What is absolutely forbidden?

On Board Game Arena, it is absolutely forbidden to:
  • Insult other players in any manner.
  • Krouiñ meur a gont ha c'hoari a-enep outoc'h hoc'h-unan a-benn uhelaat ho renkadur.
  • Trolling, admin-bashing, moderator-bashing, empty critics or diffamation. Please share your frustrations with your therapist rather than imposing them to strangers on the internet.
Going against these rules can lead to the removal of your account and/or a ban from the website.

What guidelines should I follow when communicating?

The general rule you should follow is to talk to people (in the forum, in the chat, ...) as if they were friends that you invited to play at your home: then you'll naturally give them your attention and be kind to them so that everyone feels welcome and at ease. And it's always great to play with friends!

You should also be aware that in an international communication context, not everyone has the same mastery of the language being used, and that cultural differences can sometimes lead to misundernstandings. When in doubt, please consider the most kind and well intentioned meaning as it will be the good one most of the time!

And finally, do not use Board Game Arena communication resources to advertise other gaming websites. If you want to talk about your experience elsewhere, please just say something like 'on another gaming website'.

How is my ELO ranking computed?

The players ELO score on BGA is based on the ELO formula, which is one of the most popular ways to evaluate a player level. Please check Wikipedia if you are interested in the theory.

On BGA, you get an ELO ranking for each different game. When you have never played a game, your ELO is zero.

When you finish a game, the number of points you gain/lose depends on the level of your opponents, and more precisely on the ELO difference between you and your opponents.

The most simple situation is a 2 players game. You will gain a number of ELO point equal to K x (W - p(D)) where:
  • W is the result of the game: 1 for a victory, 0 for a defeat, 0.5 for a tie.
  • D a zo an diforc'h ELO etre ho enebour ha c'hwi.
  • p(D) is the probability of victory considering the previous difference (see Wikipedia for details).
  • K, the 'elasticity factor', has a value depending on the number of games you played: 60 evit ho 10 partienn kentañ, 40 etre ho 11vet hini hag ho 20vet, 20 da c'houde.

Some more details and specific cases:
  • On your very first game, you always win at least 1 ELO, even if you lose the game.
  • Until you reach 100 ELO (beginner), you can never lose ELO points. And after that you can never go back under 100 ELO.
  • When you play with more than 1 opponent, we consider that you win against each opponent who scores lower than you during this game, and lose against each opponent who scores better than you. For example, if you are #2 in a 4 players game, you gain ELO points as if you won against the 3rd and 4th players, and lost against the 1st.

How can I delete my account?

Take a breath... Why would you want to do that? We'll miss you!
Anyway, if you are resolved, you will find what you need under 'Preferences -> Account -> Delete my BGA account'. So long, cowboy!

Premium

How are Premium games working?

Only Premium members can create new tables for Premium games.
Once the table is created, anyone can join (even non-Premium members).

This way, you only have to buy 1 Premium membership to play Premium games with your friends (or anyone else).

Why are some games Premium and some others not?

Each game publisher decides if their games on BGA should be Premium or not.

Please keep in mind that the vast majority of games on BGA are free for everyone :)

I want to play with someone from the same place: should I buy 2 Premium memberships?

No: you only need one Premium membership.
If a Premium member is playing at a table, all restrictions based on location are removed for all other participants at this table.

Why is playing from the same location available only with 1 Premium member?

Playing on BGA from the same location is not something common since if you are at the same place you can play with the real physical board game. It makes sense to make it a Premium feature, so that using BGA stays a way to discover and enjoy board games with the whole world and does not become just a way to avoid buying the real physical game.

With this restriction, we also mean to limit the possibilities for cheaters to play against themselves to boost their rankings.

What is Hotseat mode and how does it work?

Using Hotseat mode (Premium feature), you can play with your friends from the same computer or other device.

Create a simple game table on BGA, click on 'Invite a friend' button, and select 'Hotseat' for each of your opponents.

How is a Premium membership billed?

Premium membership is a subscription: it is billed periodically.

The monthly membership is billed every month: if you subscribe on March 13th, you will be billed on April 13th, May 13th, and so on.

The yearly membership is billed once every year. Since you are commited for one year, there is an important discount on this membership.

If you prefer to pay manually for each membership period, we advise you to use the Paypal payment option as we do not renew automatically memberships payed using Paypal.

How do I cancel my membership? Can I cancel my membership anytime?

You can cancel your Premium membership anytime from the 'Preferences' / 'My account' section.

Whenever you cancel your membership, you always remain Premium for the period you have already paid for.

How can I update my payment information? How can I update my Credit card number?

The best way to do it is the following:

  • Go to the Premium page: https://boardgamearena.com/premium
  • Cancel your current subscription (it won't cancel your membership)
  • Choose monthly or yearly membership and enter your new payment information.

Note: the payment on the new Credit Card will not occur before the end of your current active membership period.

What happens if I'm already Premium and gain a free membership?

If you get one free Premium month by helping BGA, your current membership period is extended by one month.

For example, if you should have been billed on April 13th, you will be billed one month later instead.

Please note that if you get your free month just before the renewal of your membership, it may be impossible to cancel the next billing so we may have to delay the subsequent bill instead.

C'hoarioù tablez prest

What are the available games?

Board Game Arena offers a wide selection of board and card games, with a strong focus on modern ('European style') board games.

For the full list, please refer to our 'Games' page.

How do you choose the games you make available online?

In order to publish a game on BGA we need 2 things:
  • The authorization of the digital rights owner for the game (most of the time, the original publisher).
  • A software developer volunteering the time and skills needed to build an online version of the game.

So if you are asking yourself why one of your favourite games is not yet available on BGA, it could be for various reasons:
  • We never asked an authorization for this game in the first place (of course if the game is popular, there is a good chance that we asked).
  • The publisher didn't reply or refused to grant his authorization, temporarily or definitively.
  • The publisher accepted, but we haven't found a volunteer developer yet for this game, or the development is currently ongoing.
  • The game adaptation is ready, but we are waiting for a specific time or event to release it.

If you just want to suggest a new game for BGA: the best way to help us to have this game on BGA is not to write to us, but to write to this game's publisher, and tell them how cool BGA is, so they can give us an authorization to have this game here :)

It really helps, so please do it! You can send them the following link that explain everything they need to know:
https://boardgamearena.com/gamepublishers

How about game expansions?

Game expansions follow the same selection and development process 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 who has the time to develop it.

I am a publisher: why and how should I get my game on Board Game Arena?

The main goal of Board Game Arena is to make it easy for players to discover new games, learn to play them and love them. 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!

For a more detailed presentation or to contact us about licensing, please check out our 'Game publishers' page.

Technical issues

What can I do if I have an issue with the website?

Most issues on this website should be solved with a simple web page refresh (or 'F5').

If you experience a persistent issue, the first thing to do is to use our troubleshooting tool to check if everything is fine with your configuration.

Then, you can browse our bug tracker: check to see if someone has already reported this issue and upvote it, or create a new report if that's not the case. Please take the time needed to describe the problem in a clear and precise manner so that we can quickly reproduce and fix it.

Why hasn't this bug been fixed yet?

We fix a lot of bugs, all the time. But of course we need to set 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 that gathered the highest number of upvotes (green thumbs) in our bug tracking tool.
  • We usually fix bugs in batches for better efficiency. So if we decide to fix an important bug on a game, there is a good chance that we will fix some other minor bugs at the same time.

BGA is known for the quality of its adaptations, and if you look at the bug tracker, you will see that - considering the number of games and the size of the community - there are not so many really important bugs open with a lot of upvotes.

Please also remember that a lot of BGA adaptations are realized and maintained by volunteers on their free time. Finding and fixing bugs is neither easy nor really fun, so the best way you can help is by being nice and giving precise information in bug reports.

It can also happen that the original developer stops maintaining the game after a while for some personal reason. In that case, remaining bugs can stay open a long time, until another developer interested in the game volunteers to take over, or for more popular games, until the number of votes attracts the attention of an admin on this bug's relevance to the community.

I am playing on a mobile device and I have some difficulties: what can I do?

BGA was designed with desktop and laptop computers in mind. Then we updated the layout to accomodate mobile users, but while some BGA adaptations run perfectly on mobile, some others are not designed well for small screens or touch screens. This can come from the complexity of the game itself (big board, lots of elements) or from the choices made by the developer.

Thus, when you play from a mobile device, we advise you to choose games that won't be too difficult to play on a small screen, and to pay extra attention to each of your moves to be sure to trigger the correct action: zooming a lot really helps!

Why do I have a slow connection or performance troubles on BGA?

We are constantly monitoring our servers responsiveness. Sometimes incidents occur, but most of the time BGA is responsive. Usually, less than 2% of game moves takes more than 200 milliseconds to process, and less than 0.2% takes more than 1 second.

The main BGA servers are located in Europe (France), but we rent relay servers all across the world (in 30+ locations) so that big files (essentially images) are loaded quickly even if you are far from us.

Please be aware that very often, performances problems can come from your internet connection or from your computer system. We advise you to try to connect with a different browser / computer / internet connection to troubleshoot the issues.

As a rule of thumb, if you are finding out that BGA is not responsive enough for you on a given day, you shouldn't start or join a game since there is a risk for you to get clock penalties.

Translations guidelines

What can be translated?

The collaborative translation system is meant to make it possible to translate Board Game Arena into any language, in order to enable more people to discover and play board games.

For example, if you want to play 'Dragonheart' with your 10-year-old nephew and he doesn't speak English yet, no problem! Just help us translate Board Game Arena into your language!

Every string of text for the main site and for the games interfaces are 'internationalized' and can be translated by the player community. News announcements displayed on the BGA 'Home' and 'News' pages are computer translated first, then the translation can be improved by the community.

Who should translate?

This is important: only translate text into a given language if you are a native speaker of that language. When translating a game, the translator should know the game thoroughly and if possible have a box and rulebook of the game in the destination language to check for consistency. Translators should take into account the level of language and the formal/informal pronominal rules usual for the gaming audience of their country.

The source/reference language for translation is English, since the site and games development is made in English.

English is not necessarily the mother tongue of all developers, so fluent (and preferably native) English speakers can submit requests for change to be validated by developers or adminstrators. It is necessary to be very careful when modifying the English texts as this affects the translations in all languages!

What should I aim for when translating?

When translating, please always stay as close as possible to the original English text in meaning and style. Translating a software interface is not a literary exercise: please do not try to transform Board Game Arena into a book. Practicality, clarity and homogeneity are the most important.

In particular, you should respect the final punctuation (or lack thereof), the specific words capitalization choices and the use of digits instead of words.

I fixed some translations, but they don't appear to have changed on the site?

Translation files are updated nightly, so you just have to wait until tomorrow for your changes to appear on the site.

How long is it possible to change translations?

The first translations may not be perfect. So they can be modified until they are 'validated'. Validation occurs when a translation has not been modified for 30 days straight. It is then considered stable and valid (golden icon) and can only be changed by 'seasoned' players.

Computer translated text is never validated until it has been proofread by a member of the community and either "confirmed" or "modified". Afterwards it is considered to have a "human" level of trustability like other translations, and will follow the same rules for validation.

Is there some reward for translating?

Yes! Each validated translation will get its translator 1 gift point. To learn more about gift points, please check our 'Contribute to BGA' page.

People behind Board Game Area

Who are you guys?

This website has been created on their free time by two IT professionals passionate about board games: Grégory Isabelli and Emmanuel Colin.

Aware from the start that we could only go so far on our own limited time and ressources, we made very early the choice to provide tools and rely on the community for time intensive tasks such as translating, developing new games or moderation. BGA is a community website that exists in its current state thanks to the wonderful contributions of passionate players throughout the world.

For a full list of contributors, please check our 'Team' page.

How do you guys make a living?

After more than 7 years building and managing BGA on their free time, both founders have been working on the website with a full-time salaried position since early 2018. This was really required by the growing audience playing on this website, and has finally been made possible by the continued support of our Premium members through the years (thank you again!).

But actually, there is so much work to do to run BGA that two people working full-time is clearly not enough! This is why we intend to preserve and expand our "community based" approach to give to every interested player the possibility to contribute in order to keep this service running as good and smooth as possible.

How can I contact you?

For general questions concerning the website, games or the community, the best way to reach out is by posting a message in our forum. This way, anyone from the community can answer, and everyone benefits from the answer.

To report issues or suggest new features, please use our bugs & suggestions tracker. Please make sure to check if there is already a report dealing with the subject before creating a new report: upvoting existing reports allows us to identify the subjects that are considered as the most important by the community.

For any other subject or specific request, you can reach out to us through our contact page.


Kargañ savenn ar c'hoari ...
TRUGAREZ : Unan eus hor c'hoarierien lealañ oc'h !
Tapit pep gwellañ Board Game Arena evit €2 / miz hepken !
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