Starting today, you are able to start a specific game directly from its game page, with a totally redesigned and new lobby.
BGA’s main mission is to make it possible for you to find opponents anytime, for any game, so you can play fantastic board games with the whole world. The BGA "lobby" is the place where you create tables and meet opponents before starting a game. This is obviously the heart of BGA, its most important piece, and also the most complicated one.
There have been several evolutions of the BGA lobby over the past years, and todays is the first step of a new major evolution. Yes, this is only a first step, and many updates are yet to come. We know you already have many questions about this, which is why we wrote the following FAQ.
The current lobby is good: why change it?
The current lobby is probably perfect for you as you managed to master it. However, our statistics show that it is very hard for new players to start their first games on BGA.
Thus, a significant number of board game players do not play on BGA because they find our service too difficult to use. These are potential opponents that are missing for your games.
We need to fix this, with a new - simpler and more intuitive - way to start games on BGA.
I cannot find the new lobby: where is it?
From the main menu: "Games" => Select the game you want to play => "Play" button.
From the search bar: Search for the game you want to play => “Play” button.
Will the current lobby disappear?
Not for now.
As it is now, and according to the tests we have made, the new lobby is way better than the current one to start a specific game with random players, friends, solo, or hotseat.
However, the old lobby is still more efficient if you want to:
- search for several different games at the same time
- start several turn based tables of the same game
- play in Arena mode with restrictions on opponents’ levels
For these specific cases, we recommend that you continue to use the current lobby.
This is only the first step! Future updates will allow this new lobby to be much more efficient than the current one in almost all use cases.
Our current plan is, by the end of this process, for this new lobby to be the primary lobby (= the most accessible ) while still keeping the current lobby for expert players.
Summary: we will not remove the current lobby feature until the new lobby is an equivalent alternative.
Why would I want to go to a game page to start a game?
Our statistics show that a majority of players, who want to play a specific game, go to the game page first, using the search bar or the "Games" section.
This is especially true for those who discover BGA for the first time.
Also, if you look at the current "Play Now" section, you see a list of games, while the "Games" section is... already a list of games. This is very confusing for many players and a serious design problem on BGA that we needed to fix.
We also particularly care about having game pages which are super fast to load. You have probably experienced that the "Play Now" section is becoming ever slower, now that there are more than 500 different games on BGA, so using the new way of starting a game will be a huge gain of comfort !
This is going to kill the least played games
If you have played on BGA for a long time, you know that we take special care to give every game a chance to be played.
As games will be started from the game page, there is an obvious risk of less popular games losing visibility.
We are totally aware of that, and we already have plans to fix it. A future update will make sure that when you would like to play a less-popular game on BGA, all of the players interested in this game are alerted, so that you can find an opponent as quickly as possible, even for the less popular games.
How does this new lobby work? Is it "manual" or "automatic"?
The new lobby is the "best of both worlds".
Just like our current "manual lobby," it allows you to:
- Define the number of players, speed, and other options for your game in a very simple and straightforward way.
- list available tables you can join manually if you prefer to do so this way.
- invite friends to play with you.
And just like our current "automatic lobby," it allows you to click on "Start" and have nothing else to do other than drink your coffee while waiting for your opponents.
Basically, when you click on "Start," the matchmaking is launched and you automatically join tables compatible with the options you have selected. However, unlike the current "automatic lobby," you can additionally see the available tables and join them specifically.
If I use the new lobby, can I be matched with players that use the old one?
Yes, all players can be matched with each other, regardless of the lobby they use.
I want to set restrictions (on my opponent's level, reputation, or group): how can I do that?
For Arena: this is not available yet and will be available soon.
For regular games: you can use the icon next to "Player number." However, you may not be able to set the exact restrictions you used to have before. This is something we are working on and a future update will make it possible again.
What is the "Invitation link" feature?
Using the "Invitation link" feature, you can quickly copy/paste a link and send it to your friends using your preferred method (Discord, Whatsapp, email...). Using this link, your friends will be able to join your table easily. This is very handy when you want to invite a large group of friends and do not want to invite them one by one.
What is the "locked/flexible" option feature?
Next to each option, a switch is available to make it possible for you to "lock" an option or to make it "flexible."
"Lock" (default) means that you really want to play with the option you specified, no matter what.
"Flexible" means that you prefer the option you specified, but that you will also accept to play on tables that do not match what you selected. This may make your search for opponents faster.
What does "Match my preferences" mean in the list of tables?
When displaying the list of tables, we highlight the tables that match the preferences you set for this game (number of players, speed, game options...).
If a table does not match your preferences, we tell you why.
This way, you can quickly see which table is for you without having to parse all the options.
Why am I redirected when I select the "Tournament" section?
The Tournaments section will be integrated in a future update. For now, this redirects to the current tournament list you already know.
If I set up a game for 4 players, can I start the game when only 2 players have joined?
Just like the current "Manual" lobby, as soon as the minimum number of players for this game is reached, you can trigger the start of the game without having to wait for the remaining seats to be filled.
I cannot see the reputations or the levels of my opponents anymore?
This information is available if you click on any opponents avatar that joined your table. It is also displayed just before the game starts.
What if I want to look for several games at the same time?
Once you have started searching for opponents for a game, you can go to any other game page and start searching for opponents for another game.
Just like with the current lobby, if a realtime table is starting, all of your other real time searches will be canceled (while in turn based they will continue).
What if I want to look for several turn based tables for the same game at the same time?
You cannot for now, but this will be available in a future update. In the meantime, we recommend you use the current Manual lobby.
Why is this news/FAQ not on the front page?
This is a first step for this new lobby, and a lot of features are still missing. There will be a front page news, if needed, when it will be finalized (or near to being finalized).
How did you proceed to create this new lobby?
Because this lobby is a major piece of BGA, we wanted to involve you more than we usually do in the development process.
This is the reason of this message posted on last August (https://boardgamearena.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=26789). Thanks to this “testing team” and for other people, we organized “test sessions” to gather feedback and test options: some with experienced BGA players, and some with players who did not know BGA at all.
We would like here to thank all of you that have been involved, in a way or the other, in these tests. You provided some very valuable feedback that already contributed or will contribute (in next updates) to make this lobby better.
What if I find some bug?
As usual, please use our bug system (https://boardgamearena.com/bugs), using the “Report on BGA website” category. Please write “New lobby” in the title so we can found them easily