April fools' day
Thanks for all your nice comments, and sorry for those who searched this feature everywhere
To chat or not to chat during a BGA game: that is the question!
The most important thing we always keep in mind at BGA is that board games is a way to express human interactions. This is why on BGA you play only against other humans, and also why our baseline is "Play with the world".
Beside playing your moves, we consider that chatting with your opponents is part of playing board games. This is the reason why on BGA we let you tell (almost) anything you want in the chat, instead of limiting you to a set of pre-defined interactions like other gaming platforms do.
However, for a fraction of our community, this "chat" part of the game is also a pain. Some of them are too shy to communicate.
Some do not speak the same language than the other players, or not enough to participate. Some may have other reasons, but whatever the reason we, at BGA, care about this part of the community and would like to work on integrating them more.
Thanks to the support of our parent company Asmodee, we have been put in touch at the beginning of last year with OpenAI, a leading company in the domain of AI chatbot, to work on advanced prototypes in order to find commercial applications to their next product which you have now probably heard about: ChatGPT.
The result of this collaboration has been a 12 months joint development effort to build a new feature for Board Game Arena: ShyChat.
By enabling ShyChat on your BGA profile, you will be able to focus 100% on the game you play, while our AI engine takes care of the conversation with your opponents.
Thanks to the powerful technology behind ShyChat, our bot will answer to everything written by your opponents during your BGA game: give the proper salutation and "good luck" when game starts (each time in a very unique way, depending on the context), makes the appropriate comments when an opponent suggests that you could have played a better move (politely explaining him/her to mind their own business), and even defend yourself if your opponent says innapropriate things in an appropriate way (applying best conflict reduction strategies).
But ShyChat do not only answer: it has the initiative to speak when appropriate. ShyChat has been trained ("Machine learning" technology) to recognize certain games situations, and has learned to react in a certain way based on what real human players have said in similar situations. Thus, on your behalf, ShyChat will comment the game when appropriate, doing some interesting comments on the game. If you target again and again the same opponents, it will find you very good rational reasons to do it ("Sorry, I really do not want to target you, but I am forced to do it because of XXX"). If have to quickly quit your computer for few minutes when it is your turn to play, it will tell your opponents something like "I really sorry, I must really take my time on this move" or will enjoy everyone with some jokes to make sure your opponents will no be made at you.
In addition to all of this, ShyChat is strongly customizable so that it matches perfectly your needs. The default "over-polite" will make sure everything is always fine with everyone at your table, while some other settings like "passive-aggressive" (available for Premium players only) will limit the exchange to what is exactly needed to devolve your opponents while you are 100% focused on the game itself. The "multilingual" option allows ShyChat to pretend that you are fluent in all the available languages, and combined with the "make friends" option, it will allow you to make close friends in the whole world with absolutely no effort.
We just would like to do an important disclaimer about the "flirting" option: this option will try to seduce your opponents in a rather effective way. However, and even if our technical partner ensured us that the AI is doing it "in a way that matches the 2023 highest standards", we should recall you that at the end, you are accountable of everything that has been said by you on BGA, even if the messages has been written by ShyChat.
So obviously one question at this step is: why not move this to the next level and create an AI that takes care of your games moves themselves, and not only of the chat message?
Indeed, we are receiving tons of messages from players on BGA that are annoyed by playing board games against humans: "they are so slow", "they are making unmeaningful moves", "you have to learn all these rules, and moving these strange pieces on these overcomplicated boards", "why would I need to do all that while I just want to have fun?".
Well, for now we must admit that the technology is not mature enough, but we are working on a prototype named "DumbBot" that will allow even non gamers to play on BGA, thanks to the AI.
We hope that you will enjoy this new feature a lot, and would like to mention that against all odds... this news has been written by a human.