Greetings! I’m writing this first post as part of the lead-up to the launch of our new website. This site’s taken far longer than I wanted it to, for a variety of reasons that really don’t matter anymore, but with it, we can finally roll out a bunch of things we’ve been promising and hinting at for months.
We’re so very excited to relaunch the site, and with it, the Alliance at large. We’ve taken everything we’ve learned about the tabletop community and our place in it, and poured it into an all-new Alliance offering. We’re pleased to say that the “IGA 2.0” we launch today blows away everything we’ve done in the past, which was already the best set of services available to game publishers in the world.
Here’s a look at a few of the enhancements on the new site, before we get to the really good stuff.
Integration with BoardGameGeek.com
If you’re one of the handful of studios who filled out the Game Library form on the original website, you know it wasn’t exactly user-friendly. The most frequently-requested feature for a new website, a supported game list, wasn’t feasible to provide because the Game Library was so unwieldy and so infrequently used. Not anymore. Members can input their BoardGameGeek.com publisher ID – which we’ve already done for all current members – and import their entire game collection in seconds.
Our automated systems will then monitor your BGG profile and automatically add new games into our library within 6 hours of when they first appear on BGG.
Of course, you can edit the games once they’re imported using our completely redesigned game editor tool.
Oh, and that IGA-supported game list? It’s a reality now too.
If you’re a Minion (or potential Minion), you can simply enter your BoardGameGeek.com username…
… and we’ll scan your collection and list all the IGA-supported games you already own and can start demoing right away.
Live Kickstarter Tracking
The new site integrates with Kickstarter directly, and shows the progress of every active IGA member Kickstarter campaign, updated every 15 minutes and available right on the front page.
It also provides us admins with an awesome back-end tool we can use to easily share campaigns on social media like Facebook, Twitter and Reddit, to make us even more effective than ever before at spreading the word.
Better Support for Hybrids
When we launched the Alliance in April 2014, we never expected the number of “hybrids” we’d meet — folks who wanted to be both designers and Minions, or Minions and retailers, or some other combinations thereof. Our user accounts weren’t structured to allow it. With IGA 2.0, an account can have as many Community Roles as you need, so our double-, triple-, and even quadruple-threat members can use the site seamlessly with a single account.
We’ve added a chronological preview of all the events our teams are scheduled to attend, and the services IGA will be offering at the show. This will make it easier than ever before to make your presence felt at conventions worldwide — even when you can’t be there.
Our members and Minions can now earn achievements for their feats of gaming excellence.
Actual, Real-Live Company Stuff!
IGA’s new website adds a bunch of “grown up company” stuff that the previous iteration lacked, like a media guide and logo pack, testimonials section, a news area with real-live press releases, and even a jobs page.
Prior to the launch of the new site, most IGA information was disseminated over our private Facebook groups. We’ve discovered that more than half our members never joined the groups, and thus never got wind of amazing opportunities and vital details that would have enabled them to get much more benefit out of their Alliance membership. This blog will be the source for the up-to-the-minute pulse of the Alliance. We’ll syndicate the posts to our social media channels, so if you’re used to talking to us there, don’t worry — you won’t miss out!
We’ve moved all our sites and services from a craptasmic shared hosting plan to a swank virtual private server provided by the network gods at HostDime. While this might not sound terribly exciting, it has more than tripled the speed of page loads and provided a much more reliable platform for everything we do. As an added bonus, the server’s in a data center 15 minutes from IGA HQ. We seriously can’t recommend HostDime enough.
… and that’s just the relatively boring stuff.
Now’s where things really get good. Introducing: the future of the Indie Game Alliance.
Real-Time Demo Reporting
Our Minions can now file demo reports from the field on any smartphone or tablet. The average demo report takes about 30 seconds to file, including photos of the event — and the whole thing gets emailed to you in real time! No more wondering where your games are being played; you can follow along with the action at conventions around the country and the globe.
Minions will be awarded their Loot Points instantly, and can spend them within minutes.
One of the original concepts behind the IGA was to allow smaller publishers to get the same economies of scale that bigger companies do on everything from manufacturing to business cards. We’re pleased to say that’s now a reality.
IGA’s partner program offers significant discounts from industry-leading manufacturers, business printers, professional memberships, accessory manufacturing, and even legal services, just for being an active IGA member. Details on all the discount programs are available in one central place on the new site, allowing you to quickly and easily see where your IGA membership saves you money!
Looking for an artist, a graphics designer, a translator, or a rulebook editor for your project? IGA’s new Freelancer Board allows professionals to post their portfolio for our members to browse.
If you’re a publisher who has hired the freelancer before, you can leave feedback for others to view. This feedback system will help members pick the right professional to help finish your project, every time.
At long last, the IGA Game Store is live. The store is how Minions will redeem their Loot Points to score new games to add to their demo library.
… but that’s not all it’s for!
IGA is proud to announce that we’re rolling out our long-awaited consignment wholesaling program. Now, the same Minions that demo your games in their friendly local game stores will become your field sales reps, encouraging the stores they visit to carry copies of your games to sell to all the new fans their demos create. You receive a generous 40% of MSRP on every copy sold — better than most distributors pay! There’s no minimum quantity to get started. We handle the shipping and fulfillment on our end. You provide us some stock, we handle the rest, and you just wait for the money to roll in!
Surveys and Email Lists
When Minions demo for you at stores and conventions, they can now bring along a QR code, printed off the website. When the code is scanned, the player will be taken to a fully-customizable survey, designed to be completed on mobile devices, which takes into account expansions being played and playtested.
The average survey is 5-10 questions, and can be completed in about 90 seconds, which is about as long as it takes for a Minion to switch games. This keeps players at the table between games, allowing the Minion to get off more and more demos.
To encourage Minions to ask for the surveys, and players to complete them, IGA will randomly choose one survey a month, and both the player who completed the survey and the Minion who collected it will receive a free game!
Of course, for the player to receive the game, we’ll need a way to contact them…
As players complete surveys, they can sign up to receive news about all IGA games, just your games, or just the game they played. Members can gain access to this ever-growing database of players to send out Kickstarter announcements, promote organized play, and any number of other exciting opportunities. We even prompt the players to sign up to join our Minion program, potentially adding new volunteers — and best of all, they just finished learning your game!
You can use our default survey, or customize your own for each game in your catalog! This is a powerful tool for designers utilizing our Minion team for playtesting, as you get the feedback you need, instantly, on the questions you need answered most!
Adding new questions is easy, with powerful customization options like free-form entry or multiple choice questions, requiring no answers or more than one, and including an ‘Other’ option that requires user input.
When your new survey is ready, you can attach it to any game in your Game Catalog with a single click. You can even assign sub-surveys to expansions, and the player will be prompted to complete the survey for the base game in addition to the sub-surveys for all the expansions she indicated she played in the demo.
In your member game catalog, you can now turn on a simple checkbox to indicate your game is available for publication. Member publishers can visit our Publisher Marketplace and browse any IGA-supported games that are available, read up on the games, and contact the designer. The designer’s contact information is kept completely anonymous unless he or she decides to respond.
IGA is in the process of hiring Account Executives to work with our member studios. As our client list has grown, it’s become impossible for our small but dedicated admin team to give each member the kind of personal attention we feel that they deserve. To rectify this, we’re expanding our team.
Account Executives will be responsible for no more than 25 or so member studios, and will be in touch with them at least once a month to make sure our members know about the latest IGA news and opportunities, and to make sure IGA knows about the new games you have in the works. These will be paid (commission-only for now) positions and are great part-time opportunities for folks looking to make some side cash or build their gaming resume. Get all the details about applying right here.
I’d like to take a moment to publicly acknowledge some people who helped us make this relaunch possible over the last few months.
Thank you to every minion and member designer that took time to test the site, check out screenshots and offer feedback. You are too numerous to name, but we appreciate all that you did and all that you do. Special thanks to our seven Minibosses: Dylan Martin, Jason Gough, Sherri Haight, Jayson Stevens, Michael Russell, Billy Salazar, and Billy McCann, who also has done a substantial amount of graphics work for IGA.
Thanks to minions Forrest Evans, Victoria Hardman, and Cheryl Billinger for hours of grueling data entry work, and also to Forrest for helping us get the BoardGameGeek integration working. Thanks to Ken Grazier for repeatedly breaking our BoardGameGeek integration with his obnoxiously huge game collection. Thanks to Paul Nguyen for pulling a rabbit out of his hat and getting our store up and running at the last minute. Thank you, Daylina Miller, for your help getting our social media profiles expanded and for giving our new media kit a journalist’s eye.
Thank you to studio members Adrienne Ezell of Dreadful Games, who has become our go-to source for graphics wizardry, and Jason Washburn of Talon Strikes Studios for designing our swank new business cards (and overnighting a few thousand of them to Gen Con for us). Thank you to Shea Looijen and Kristi Uhles of Bibelot Games, who not only took it upon themselves to redesign our logo, but then proceeded to burninate it onto everything they could get their hands on with a frickin’ laser. Thanks to designer Doug Levandowski for the obscene amount of phone calls he took that started with the same sentence, “Let me run something by you real quick.” It rarely was real quick, but it was always real productive.