Monday, June 19, 2023

Board Game Arena Acquisition

Asmodee (in 2021):

Asmodee announces the acquisition of Board Game Arena (BGA), the digital multiplayer board game platform, to provide BGA with high visibility among the consumer market and accelerate the release of Asmodee’s long-awaited successes by players.

Founded in 2010 by Grégory ISABELLI and Emmanuel COLIN, BGA has emerged as the global leader in online board games. The platform provides official online versions of more than 250 games, supported on 40 languages, to more than 5 million members around the world.

Dan Luu:

I wonder if it’s possible for a good platform to unseat BGA as the default place people play board games online within a decade. BGA offers a more mainstream-friendly UX than the major alternatives (BSW, yucata), but it’s comically bad on both performance and correctness (I frequently see blatant concurrency bugs that appear to come from not thinking about concurrency at all, serious rules errors go unfixed for years, etc.)

My feeling is that this is effectively impossible because you’d need to have hundreds of games to compete but, with how little money there is in online board games, the only way to get there is to let basically anyone implement games for your platform with little quality control, guaranteeing extremely buggy code.


When BGA got acquired, there was grumpiness about how the owners made $$ from volunteer labor for an indie site.

Some predicted this would cause mass migration to yucata but most devs doing free labor for a platform just want to be on the biggest platform and most users want some combination of the biggest platform and the least janky UX[…]


3 Comments RSS · Twitter · Mastodon

I don’t see rules errors for games that are out of beta. There is some quirkiness to the UI and some games could be improved with an undo button but overall it does work rather well.

Another site with a nice interface is which has about a dozen wargames. is also well done although requires page reloads mid game when it gets stuck. The above mentioned yucata is plain looking but very functional.

Kevin Schumacher

I can't try BGA without logging in and I can't find my login for it at the moment and am too lazy to try resetting my password. My recollection from several years ago was that it still looked like late '90s web design. Today, their site reminds me of Steve Buscemi talking to his "fellow kids" on 30 Rock--updated but more of a veneer that anything else.

All of that said, is it somehow vastly different from Tabletopia? I have used that for years, actually backed their Kickstarter way back when, and have always found it very nice to play in. And today, in addition to lots of full games, they actually have quite a few games or game demos put up by Kickstarter creators. It's also independent of any publishers, as far as I know.

Tabletopia and Tabletop Simulator are like playing the game in a first person shooter video game, so for me it is about as clumsy as interacting with the real world while wearing oven mitts. Game play take about 3 times as long in them since you it doesn’t enforce the rules and you are just manipulating the pieces so the more fiddly a game is the longer it will take. BGA is a simple point and click 2D interface. Playing games turn based over a matter of days is also nice on BGA.

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