Asmodée buys BGA

Just so that we have a thread to talk about it rather than lots of separate posts in other places.

Personally I’ve seen a lot of tech acquisitions and they always start with this same rhetoric, “welcome to the family”, “we’re not going to change anything”, etc. That’s when the experienced cynic starts migrating data off the platform. Then the original people in the acquired organisation leave, or are forced to leave, and the whole thing goes to pot as the new owners desperately try to make it profitable.

I’d potentially give my programming labour to help a non-profit as BGA used to be. I’m certainly not giving it to a private equity firm.

But, you know, hope for the best and maybe I’m wrong.


This must be because I’ve just subscribed for a year! Hope it lasts as is or improves


BGA has, to date, been a last resort for me. I’m not invested either emotionally or otherwise.

But yes, it’s hard to ignore the cynic in me; I don’t see how this does anything good for the end-user who enjoys BGA.

But… there’s a slim chance it won’t do any bad (until BGA goes red on the Asmodée ledger)


Regardless, to there’s little love for Asmodee so it’s now dead to the hardcore enthusiast.


Maybe time to subscribe before a brutal pricing structure is introduced.


What Asmodee hears:

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It’s not so much profit as it is cashing out a brand identity.

Destroying the competitors is still profit!

I am not a fan of Asmodee but I also haven’t really used BGA. Still, it feels like a sad thing. Yet another thing Asmodee gobbles up… -.-


We’ll see how fast it transitions. We may get a few good years out of it still.

When it turns the corner, there’s a lot of other nascent (in polish, not age) sites like Yucata, Mabiweb, or Boitajeaux that I imagine will receive a migration, followed by another few years of slow upgrades.

Of course, if we can drawdown COVID we’ll have an even better substitute for BGA. Friends.


There’s some speculation that they won’t offer non-Asmodée games. I think that’s unlikely. On the other hand it seems quite plausible to me that other sites won’t be able to offer Asmodée games any more – permissions have always been at the whim of the publisher.

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BGA isn’t even a commercialized product to begin with; the only reason I can imagine some massive corporation buying it is to get rid of it. What interest could they possibly have in running a site where people can play “Remember When…” for free (or at all)?

It’s certainly not a profit centre, given that they haven’t had the money to expand even ploughing everything they get back into the site.

There was also the promise that there would be a revised site going up in 2021…

and this cheeky bit on their New Year post:

Many more things are coming, and we cannot get into more details here, but we wanted to share our main priorities with you. Board Game Arena’s audience will be growing, and the service must evolve. One step at a time.

So basically, if BGA just disappears one day, at least we’ll all know why.

That’s funny, I just made an account on there this morning to look around, since I’ve been hearing about it quite a bit lately. Glad I haven’t paid any money as yet.

Their official announcement is here,

Reads like it just grew too big, with not enough paid subs to keep going.

I’m wrong, but that’s coming from the other end - many publishers who were happy to give free licences to a tiny 2-person organisation are not happy to do it to a huge profit-making company, and BGA’s attitude is apparently “we’ll remove your game if you like, but we won’t start paying you”. (Source: Reddit via BGG.)

Weirdly, still no announcement on their front page. I bet only a fairly small proportion of the users look at the forums.


This is the likely output.

pure speculation moment It’s data driven, using usage stats off BGA they can derive what properties/companies to buy. So there is an incentive to keep it open to other publishers but if they’re not getting paid there’s little incentive to keep games in there.


Let’s just hope there aren’t non-competes in the mix and the people who run BGA can bail and just start over. (Spoiler: there are probably non-competes)

I expect them to push Asmodee games front and centre, host a few other games but far fewer 3rd party (fewer publishers wanting to be involved and Asmodee not incentivising sufficiently), and then in a few years kill it off like they have been doing with FFG.

The old ‘do nothing, then claim they tried their hardest and quit’ approach.