Release Update #6 – Improving the Core: Recommendations

We’ve been working hard since our last update to improve what we think is the core of the Game Table—the board game recommendations it gives to you!

This update is all about the recommendations:

  • Several improvements have been made to the recommendation engine, thanks to your feedback in our new testing program (enroll here if you haven’t already)! Make sure to rate games you’ve played before to take full advantage of the improvements to the recommendation engine!
  • Now showing: the main reason we think you will love each game we’re recommending to you. Hover over any game on your homepage now to see it.

Because you like grid movement games.

  • Super-powered the game and rating importer: now 10x faster and 99% accurate! Importing games and ratings quickly and accurately means you get better recommendations faster. If you’ve used the old importer before, re-import your collection with the new importer today!
  • Recommend games to your friends directly using messages! Think a new game looks cool? Recommend it to your friend in a message! Want to try out a game with them? Let them know in a message!

Recommend to...

  • Added Luck/Skill ratio and Difficulty level stats to each game. Do you like complex games that depend heavily on skill? Or do you like quick, easy games that rely on equal parts skill and random chance? These ratings will help us find them for you! You’ll see them under the description for each game.

Hard and Mostly luck.

  • Search for friends by username in the quick search bar to find them faster!

Friend!

  • Improved how we handle new game submissions on our end = faster response time to game submissions.
  • A few interface tweaks.

That’s all for now. Happy board gaming!

Join the Recommendation Improvement Program today!

We want to let everybody know about a program we launched privately about a month ago: the Recommendation Improvement Program.

Short version: Board gamers like you can help improve Game Table’s recommendations! Click here to help!

Longer version:

We are always thinking up ways to improve our recommendation engine, which is what picks out personalized board games to put on Game Table’s home page, game night planner, and other pages. When we make any changes to the way those recommendations are picked out, we generate two lists of games for every volunteer (both custom-made for that volunteer, one with the existing engine, one with the new engine), and send them out. Then, you get to vote on which list is better, which tells us if our changes were actually improvements or not. Based on your voice and your vote, we move forward with the better engine and come up with another improvement, always ensuring that Game Table’s recommendations are made better, not worse.

Does that sound like a fun process to be a part of? If you want to give us your opinion from time to time and help us improve Game Table’s board game recommendations, enroll today by clicking here!

Thank you for being a part of our community!

Release Update #5 – Game Night planner! Recommendation Engine 2.0!

Imagine: you’re having your friends over for a game night, and you’re trying to pick out the perfect game to play with them. Everyone likes something a little bit different. But which game will everyone like?

Our solution: plan a Game Night on the Game Table!

New features this update:

  • Find a game everyone in your group of friends likes to play by planning a Game Night! Pick the friends you’ll be playing with… Who are you playing with?…and see combined recommendations for you and your friends together!

    Planning a game nightGame night recommendations are based on each of your friends unique recommendation profiles, so you can easily find games that everyone will enjoy.1
  • And while we’re talking about recommendations… introducing Recommendation Engine 2.0! We made some major updates to the recommendation engine, allowing all recommendations to take a huge number of new factors into account, including how much you like the games you own, whether the games you like depend more on skill or luck, and what games are on your wishlist. Now we can give better recommendations to you!
  • More rows on the front page! Specialized rows will only show up on your home page if we think they’ll contain games that are interesting to you.New recommended game rows on the Game Table.
  • Improved navigation from users’ profile pages.
  • Made it easier to add friends to your friends list.
  • Now you can add a traditional password to a Facebook-login-only account from your account settings page.
  • Better mobile site navigation and cross-browser support.
  • Liberal application of bug-be-gone.

That’s all for this update. Have fun and stay warm this winter!

1 The Game Table does not guarantee that your friends will want to play that one game that you’ve been trying to convince them to play with you for forever, because it’s such a great game and you’re sure they will like it if they just try it once. We know how great it is. Really we do. We feel for you.

Release Update #4 – Merry Christmas! Faster game submissions, smarter imports

Hello all,

First of all, to all the new users from /r/boardgames: Welcome! It’s great to have you on board. Your suggestions to improve the site and submissions for new games are making a difference already.

This isn’t a new feature, but I wanted to sneak this in here: we’ve added over 250 games to our library over the past three weeks (that’s over 150% more games!), all thanks to you and your new game submissions! Thank you very much for helping us improve our library. If you have any more games you’d like to see in our library, don’t hesitate to let us know here.

Here are the Game Table’s new features for this update:

  • New Submit a Game page: now with 150% more information! Having more information on new game submissions means that those games can get added to our library faster. Also, tons of improvements to how we process game submissions on the back end mean that your games can get added to our library A LOT faster. Woo hoo!

Game submissions: now with 150% more information! And fat free!

  • Made the game collection importer smarter—it now imports all of the games that it should import, and none of the ones that it shouldn’t. Plus, you get to confirm your collection in step two of the import process, so any faulty matches that sneak through will get caught right away!

Most of these games are my own

  • Added a new button to your Shelf: Click “Copy link” to share a public link to your game Shelf with your friends and family! Also, made the “Import” button on the Shelf more visible after the first import, to help users re-import existing game collections to their Shelf.

New shelf buttons

  • Added a page control to the top of the games search page, in addition to the one that was already at the bottom.

Paging Dr. Leacock...

  • Squashed more bugs. Squish!
  • Lastly, I know some of you commented on how fast the site was, and that’s awesome! But for a few of you, the site was timing out when there were more than 40 users on it at once, and to us, that is not acceptable. So, for times when traffic is heavy like that again, we are making the Game Table FAST. There’s a lot of optimization going into the speed improvement, and not a lot to take a picture of, so, for this “feature,” here’s a picture of something to indicate just how fast we are working to make the Game Table:

VROOOOOOM

  • VROOOOOOOOOOOOOM!

That’s all for now. Have a very Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

Coming soon: Recommendations 2.0!

Release Update #3 – Log in with Facebook, Better Searching, and more!

It’s been a long time since the last update. We’ve been busy adding new games to our database over here and concocting new ways to make the site better for you all.

But you know what this means: We’ve got some new features to announce!

New features this update (with pictures!):

  • Log In and Sign Up with Facebook! Look at the fancy new buttons:facebooklogin    facebooksignup
    If you have already signed up, you can log in to the Game Table with Facebook automatically if you are using the same email address on your Facebook and Game Table accounts, or if you connect them explicitly here.
  • Search for board game mechanics and awards from the search bar.

searchmechanics

  • Sort games by how much they are recommended for you (registered users only, must have at least one game on your shelf)!

recommended

  • Submit tags for games! Tags help games get recommended to people like similar games, so if you know what mechanics a game uses, tag the game to give it better visibility. The button is right under the description for all users:

submittags

  • New and improved image slideshow for user-uploaded images (I uploaded one to get you guys started):

useruploads

  • Squashed some bugs. (No image available.)

That’s all for now! What games have you been playing recently? Reply in the comments to let us know!

Release Update #2 – The Friend Update

We’ve got some new features to announce!

Over the last week and a half, we’ve added a bunch of new features. The common theme of these new features: Friends!

  • Find your friends! You can now connect your account with Facebook and see which of your other Facebook friends are already on the Game Table. First friend to connect? Connecting will make it easier for your friends to find you!
  • Play with friends! Looking for a game with a certain number of players? Try searching “4 player games” in the search bar now — a quick way to find what you’re looking for.
  • Share with friends! Find a game you like? One-click share to your favorite social media platform.
  • Talk with friends! Discussions added to every game page. Share your opinion, discuss the game’s mechanics or pieces, talk about anything, really.

In addition, a few other things we couldn’t make sound friend-related:

  • Added Twitter feed to home page
  • Improved home page navigation
  • New logo! We may be trying out new logos in the future, so your feedback would be very helpful as we change it.

We’re also settling in to a schedule for Featured Games: a new one every Wednesday! Check out the home page this upcoming Wednesday to see the new game our resident board game expert will recommend for you and your friends.

That’s all for this update. Have fun out there!

Follow us on Twitter to get more frequent updates.

Release Update #1 – The First Week

Last week’s first-access release went very well. Over 30 people created accounts, and over 500 games were added to shelves — awesome! Thank you to all of you for making it happen.

We’ve been pushing updates out over the last week since our initial release, so some of you may have already noticed some changes to the Game Table. We got good feedback from our new users, and we’re excited to announce these new features:

  • User profiles – see fellow users at a glance! Upload a photo to make your profile your own.
  • Import games to your Shelf from lists somewhere else on the web.
  • Support for more international characters in game names and descriptions.
  • Improved mobile navigation.
  • A handful of bug fixes.

One more announcement: we’re on Twitter! Want to get shorter, more frequent updates on Game Table news? Follow us on our new Twitter account, @GameTableSite.

Want to get emails when the newest features come out? Sign up on the bar to the right.

Have any more awesome ideas for the Game Table? We can’t wait to hear them.

First Access Release Today!

Hello, first access friends! It’s release time: the Game Table goes live today! Thank you for helping get the Game Table off the ground.

The Game Table is an online library of information and recommendations about board games for the casual and hardcore gamer alike. You can explore and share new games, and keep track of games you like.

“So, what can I do on the Game Table?” you might be asking us right now.

Well, here are some things you can do:

  • Discover new board games based on your preferences. Your home page changes its content in response to games you own or like, making recommendations specifically for you.
  • Keep track of what games you own and want on your shelf and wishlist.
  • Search for specific kinds of games with advanced search. Want a game that you and five friends can play in a few minutes? Here you go. Search, sort, and filter however you like to find exactly what you’re looking for.

Excited to start exploring? Head over and make an account now.

The Game Table has been in development on and off since March of this year, and we’re super excited to release it now. We have so many ideas for new features we’d love to add, but we want the development of this site to be driven by the needs and desires of board game players of all kinds — and that’s you! Changes in the future will be made based on what feedback we get from our users. This blog is where updates will be posted when new features or exciting changes get added to the site, or when there is any other major news about the Game Table website. If you want to get emails when new features come out, sign up in the bar to the right.

The more feedback the Game Table gets from its users, the better it will become. Think of some cool new feature or improvement? Let us know. Can’t find a game you’re looking for in our library? Let us know about it. Notice something that doesn’t work quite right? You shouldn’t find anything like this — fingers crossed — but, if you do, please let us know!

Thank you for joining us for this release.

Happy board game hunting!