1000 followers isn’t really that many but I consider it a milestone because we humans use a place-value number system and a base-10 counting system, probably because we’ve got 10 fingers. So even though I’ve got over 1100 followers as of this writing, getting to 1000 was more important to me. There are a good number of board gamers with several thousand Twitter followers or more, so 1000 really isn’t that big, but I also see people celebrate reaching 500, so 1000 is something. I’ll also add that it took me over a year to get to 1000, while some get there in months or even weeks, so there’s nothing really remarkable about it, but I wanted to write down these thoughts in case anyone else will benefit from them.
First off is this: If you like talking board games but you’re not on Twitter, why not? It’s easy to create an account and join in, and Twitter was made to use from your phone and easily digestible in small, quick doses. Board game twitter is great. It’s a fun, funny, supportive community. You can get almost immediate answers to questions about game design, publishing, “what is that old game where you –?” etc. There is all kinds of nerdy goodness from Star Wars films to Transformers toys to Dungeons & Dragons 5e adventures. Furthermore, of course, you will know what’s going on in the world of board games in terms of what’s hot and what’s coming soon. I can feel confident talking to any board gamer at any convention, that I’m relatively “in the know” as far as the board game world. You can start up an account today, and follow me @geektopiagames.
The @geektopiagames Twitter account started in September 2018 and by October the following year I had 1000 followers. One thing about this 1000 is that it’s pretty much entirely board gamers or role players. I don’t use this account to discuss industry or sports or politics or anything else, this is strictly a board games Twitter handle, so it has a little more value if you’re on Twitter for board game presence. That stated, I don’t think it needs to be that way. Use your handle for whatever you want, but for me, Twitter is something of a happy place since I only really connect with board gamers. I don’t have to see too many sad stories about politics or our local sports teams, and I already mentioned what a great community board game Twitter is.
In a nutshell, the main way I got to 1000 is by following others. I follow over 3,333 (if we used a base-3 counting system, that would really be something) other people, and when you follow people, many will follow you back. The more you tweet and the bigger your following gets, the more likely people are to follow you back after you follow them. There’s definitely a momentum thing to it.
A “Twitter thing”
Over time, I found at least one “Twitter thing” in #craftwednesday. My buddy Jackson Pope has run it for a while now. It’s a day for gamers to share what they’ve been crafting. For me, it’s something I look forward to, and something that has pushed me to produce when I otherwise might not have felt like producing. I get accountability, feedback and encouragement, and what game designer doesn’t need those things?
Then, one Wednesday, Jackson announced that he couldn’t do it. I was so disappointed — wait, you mean no #craftwednesday??? — that I volunteered to pick it up for him. I’ve been the #craftwednesday substitute teacher ever since. I recently shared a prototype of a game called Palatero. That has helped drive my Twitter following a lot. If you spend time on Twitter, you’ll find your own “Twitter thing”.
One of the easiest ways to find people to follow is to find a few people with big followings, then look at everyone they follow and everyone following them. You can spend hours this way but you can also find hundreds or even thousands of people to follow, and of course, some of them will follow you back. You may also find a “Twitter thing” somewhere along the way, so keep a lookout for that. If you’re not sure where to start, start with me. Look at who I follow and see which ones have some of the big follower counts.
Cross social media
I say that board game Twitter is great, but I should really say board game social media is great, especially on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. Unfortunately for me, I’m not really as into Instagram as a lot of folks, but I do plug into Facebook groups such as Board Game Exposure, Board Game Spotlight, Board Game Revolution, Pangea Games, Tabletop Games Publisher’s Guild, Card & Board Game Designers Guild, and more. Every now and then, someone will post, “Are you on Twitter? Let me know your handle and I’ll follow you” or that sort of thing. I’ve seen these posts get hundreds of responses, so make sure you get in on some of those. If you have the time, “unfurl” the full post to see several hundred posts, “Like” every post and follow everyone on it.
I don’t actually do a great job of this, but for obvious reasons, you want to tweet often. It’s just about sharing what you’re doing in the board game world, whether it’s creating, or just playing. Even if Twitter is more of a written word medium, pictures go a long way.
You only get what you give. Respond to other people’s posts by liking them. Go further and tell them what you like about their posts, just a single sentence is plenty. Reply when questions are asked or feedback is sought. Just be honest. When discussing board games, I think I come off well because I genuinely love board games and love board game people. My memory of board games goes back to the early 1980s and I’m still an active player and consumer, so I can chew the rag on old games and new games alike. When discussing board games, it’s easy for me to express in a positive, enthusiastic way. As an aside, it is not easy for me to express myself in a positive, enthusiastic way when discussing the state of the human race, U.S. politics, or the Chicago Bears. You’ll attract more flies with honey than with vinegar. Board games bring out my best side and this makes it easier to attract followers.
Then one day, Neil Roberts (@pottedmeat) adds you to the Board Game Community on Twitter, and you’ve got a whole host of new people to follow and who will also follow you.
Where else to connect?
We all have our media preferences. I’ve done fairly well on Twitter, I think, but I’ve stated that for whatever reason, I don’t really get into Instagram.
Instagram: If you’re deciding between Twitter and Instagram, I’d probably do Instagram. I feel like it’s even bigger than Twitter, and easier to pick up followers.
Facebook: I consider FB to be a critical channel for board game enthusiasts and even more so for board game designers and board game publishers. I’ve mentioned above some of the communities I’ve joined. Facebook and its prevalence is also why I’m forced to use my real name, John, instead of Roman. I think this is probably a good thing since it drives more accountability.
Boardgamegeek: Oh yeah, good ol’ BGG has tons of forums where you can connect with fellow gamers. I’ve done some posting in the game design forums but I find the quick-hit nature of Twitter far more appealing.
Discord: Discord is a communication platform for gamers. I’m only a member of 2 channels, the Pangea Games channel and a separate channel for our D&D 5e group.
Reddit: There’s a sizable board game community on Reddit, but it’s a platform that I personally have never really accessed. Still, millions of people are on reddit so if you’re one of them, explore the board game community there.
Epic Duels Wiki: If you’re reading this blog as an Epic Dueler, you’re always welcome to engage at the Wiki.
Board game blogs: There are just a ton of blogs out there, and to add to it, many bloggers recommend to fledgling game designers that they start their own blogs. I personally wouldn’t offer the same advice. A blog costs money, can be hard work, and there’s no assurance that you’ll get any traction with it. I am lucky enough to have a built-in blog audience due to my leadership of the Epic Duels community and reputation for that content, but even with hundreds of blog visitors every month, hardly anyone reads posts like this one.
Some of my favorite blogs include:
These should get you started in addition, of course, to Geektopia Games! This is a legitimate board game blog, with hundreds of visitors every month. I’m a legitimate member of the board game community, a designer and publisher who attends conventions and is friends with many other designers and publishers including Restoration Games (Unmatched) and Stronghold Games (Terraforming Mars). By following me, you are connected to the larger community. Post a comment anywhere on this site and I’ll respond (sometimes it takes a while, but I will). Let me know you’re following because of Epic Duels and I’ll do my best to connect you to others and promote what you’re doing.