TeamUp

Board Game Meetups App

My roles Research Design Animation

UX/UI Case Study

Board games make many of us think of childhood—playing simple games with our families and friends, rolling dice or solving puzzles. That face-to-face quality time engaged in a fun activity feels nostalgic and special.

However, board gaming is not only still alive and well, it’s rapidly growing, with all kinds of gaming styles that appeal to a wide variety of people. There’s something for everyone in the modern board gaming hobby, and people are always looking for more people to play with and more opportunities to sit down and play some games.

Many board game players spend 3-20 hours a week or more on their hobby. Buying new games and learning the rules is a big part of their fun, but they also want the opportunity to really sit down and play with others. Planning and attending events that can last hours or even all day provides board gamers with a social experience as well as an intellectual one, and gaming meetups are an important part of this unique hobby.

It can be overwhelming for new players going into this hobby. It takes time to find out what kinds of games you like, since there are so many genres of board games out there. If you’re willing to give a variety of games a try, you can find out which mechanisms you enjoy and what kind of play style you prefer.

One of the biggest friction points for people, especially when they’re just starting to get into board games, is finding people to play with. It can be hard to find new board game friends, and starting up your own event can be even harder.

It’s easy to find online communities centered aroung board games. They’re on Reddit, Facebook, Discord, and any other social platform. And while there are also online solutions for playing virtual versions of games, part of the joy of board games is their physicality and the in-person social interaction they generate.

Creating a social event like a board game meetup should be easy and fun, while still being taken seriously. It’s important to have a safe, friendly environment for everyone—a place where the most seasoned gamers and newcomers alike can feel welcome in the board game scene.

My goal is to help board game enthusiasts create these events and find other people to share in their hobby.

An Opportunity

0 B$
Board game industry market size for 2019
0 B$
Board game industry market size expectancy for 2025
0 M users
on r/boardgames on Reddit
999 games
released in 2017

The Board Game Market Facts

Board games are becoming ever so popular. Let’s unbox some of the facts:

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There were 3,500 new board games released in 2017 alone. The board game market is about $8.5 billion, which seems quite large, but it’s still dwarfed by its big sister, the video game market, which is over $100 billion. The forecast for the board game market shows steady growth, with an expected increase of about 10% a year in the upcoming years.

The COVID-19 pandemic spurred a boost in the popularity of board games, as people were staying home and needed ways to stay engaged with their families during lockdowns. In the US, jigsaw puzzles saw an increase in sales of 228% in the week ending March 21, 2020.

North America

North America is the world’s largest market for board games, making up about $4.4 billion USD, with a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 10 percent. The United States is the dominant market within the North American region. The popularity of board games may be attributed to television series such as The Big Bang Theory or Game of Thrones (which has its own board game adaptations). Strategy games that were first popularized in Europe, particularly Germany, are also becoming quite popular, with the term “eurogame” used to describe these strategy games.

Europe

The European market for board games is the second-largest, with a CAGR of around 6 percent for 2017-2023. The market is expected to reach $4 billion USD in 2023.

Alternatives

Here’s a quick overview of the different players in this market.

Competitor
Main function
Target Market
Features
Gaps
Tabletop.events
Registration platform
Boardgame convention organizers
Manage tabletop exhibitions
Only for conventions
Meetup
Registration platform
Sport, Health, Professional, Causes, Hobbies
Find and build local communities
Creating a group is a payed feature
Eventbrite
Registration platform
Entertainment, Health, Technology,
Find and buy tickets to events
Creating an event is only for selling tickets for a specific date and time.
Facebook events
Social platform
35 or older
Create groups, events and get personal recommendations
Truely “public” events on facebook raise concern with trust. Smaller groups solve this partially
LinkedIn
Social platform
Professional / Industry
Create and join professional meetups and workshops
Only professional
Discord
Social platform
Gaming / Technology
Join/Create private channels for chat, media sharing
No specific features for real life events
WhatsApp
Private messages and group chat
Everyone
Real time media message\groups
No event registration feature
Hobiz
Social platform
Sports and Art Coaches
Find new groups and events for hobbies on a map, create events and get payed
Hard to use and lacks customization for games
Tokyn
Social/registration platform
Boardgame players
Organize and join board game meet ups
Currently offline
GameFor
Social/registration platform
Board game players and stores
Find board game events, players and stores
Currently Offline

Meeting the Challenge

The average board game player spends between 3 and 10 hours a week playing

Among the top reasons people play board games is socialization

There are about 75% male players, most between 25 and 45 years of age

70% of players feel they want to play more than they’re currently playing

User Research

My user research sought to determine what board gamers need out of a product designed to help them create and find meetups. I was able to identify four points of friction for a typical board game player when trying to build a group event, and these points include logicstical, technical, and psychological/social issues.

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I set out to answer the following:
  • Have you ever planned a group meetup for board gaming?
  • What bothers you when you’re creating an event?
  • What are the pain points, problems or frustration that you experience?
Global Pain Points in Creating Events
Timing

Getting even just a few people in the same room at the same time can be quite difficult to arrange, what to speak of larger gatherings. Many gaming groups are close friends who meet at irregular times, making arragements each time through a group chat or other means. But arranging a larger group, and especially setting something up for a wider circle of friends or aquaintences or even strangers, is a different challenge.

Logistics

Determining where to hold a meetup, confirming attendance through RSVPs, and getting input about the event’s agenda (what games do people want to play, does someone need to bring games from their own collection, will there be beverages/food, etc.) are all logistics issues that need to be solved in order to create a successful board gaming event.

Pain Points in Creating Board Game Meetups
Participant Chemistry

A gaming meetup that is simply an existing group of friends won’t be likely to have issues here. But organizing a board game event isn’t the same as simply hosting a party. If a game the group wants to play requires a certain number of players and someone drops out, that can cause issues. If guests like different kinds of games, conflicts can arise that make a game night less harmonious.

Confort and Trust

One of the things that helps a game night go smoothly is when everyone has the same expectations. No one likes to feel excluded or demeaned because they don’t already know the rules to a game, but it’s also reasonable to not want to spend a long time teaching a new, complex game, so making sure everyone is on the same page is important.

User Personas

In order to create a good product experience, it’s important to understand the product’s intended users, and this is the purpose of user personas. By compiling information from my user research, I created two user personas that will serve as guides when developing features for this product.

Alex

VENTRINARY @ STUDENT

SINGLE, 27

Competitiveness (vs Social)
less competitive 30%
Scheduled (vs Spontaneous)
(spontaneous) 40%

websites and apps she use

WhatsApp

Instagram

Facebook

Alex’s story

Alex is fairly new to the boardgame scene. She has a few games of her own and occasionally plays them with her close friends, with whom she gets together regularly. She’s outgoing and enjoys meeting new people.

Goals

  • Increasing her circle of friends
  • Interacting with more people
  • Exploring new board games

Motivation

Alex’s key motivator is socializing. She wants to meet new people, including a long-term partner. She likes to hang out with others on weekends rather than being alone, and she finds gaming and the social aspects around it to be fulfilling. She likes learning new games and meeting people through these interactions.

Pains Points

  • Finding people to invite to a game night
  • Fearing disappointing people who can’t attend
  • Fearing not “clicking” with guests
  • Accessing new games

Game preferences

    Favorite Games

  • Munchkin (2001)
  • Fluxx (1997)
  • Catan (1995)
  • Ticket to Ride
  • Dixit
  • Villainous

    Favorite Play Style

  • Not Competitive
  • Good Vibes
  • Short Games

    Favorite Genres

  • Party
  • Card Games
  • Voting
  • Hand Management

Daniel

AUTOMATION @ STARTUP

Married, 35

Competitiveness (vs Social)
(competitive) 84%
Scheduled (vs Spontaneous)
(organized) 70%

websites and apps he use

Telegram

Discord

Board Game Geek

Clepsydris

Daniel’s story

Daniel has been into boardgames for a while and owns a large collection of over 100 games. He likes wargames and other competitive strategy games, as well as other genres including co-operative games, but prefers games with higher levels of complexity. He likes to have long gaming sessions with people who are as into the games themselves as he is.

Goals

  • Playing with other experienced board gamers
  • Playing through the many games in his collection
  • Recording scores and wins

Motivation

Daniel wants to dig deep into strategy games and solve their analytical problems. He likes a challenge and wants to improve his skills.

Pain Points

  • Finding people who share his taste in games
  • Having to travel to play with a group
  • Ending up playing with people who don’t share his play style preferences

Game preferences

    Favorite Games

  • Mage Wars Arena (2012)
  • Glory to Rome (2005)
  • Assault of the Giants (2017)
  • Arcadia Quest (2014)
  • Photosynthesis (2017)

    Favorite Play Style

  • Competitive
  • Long Gameplay
  • High Complexity

    Favorite Genres

  • Fantasy
  • Fighting
  • Wargame
  • Strategy
  • Card Game
  • Economic

App Design

The challenges of this design

There are 3 user flows in this design

  1. Voting for the first time– the onboarding 
  2. Creating event – shows the logic of Teams and how they offer extra motivation for users to join them 
  3. Joining an event The concept of voting puts into action 

The challenges of this design

The approach I was trying to take in this design was trying to provide an engaging and novel experience. The design intended to give both entry-level players and pro gamers a way to share their passion of playing. I also wanted to add an extra layer of exploration, and of enjoyment. To do this  I needed to find an interaction mechanic that will allow the two user types to interact in safe environment, and to allow room for exploration, for trust and for chemistry to build up.

Voting for the first time - Onboarding

TeamUp’s UX concept starts from the first interaction.

Voting adds extra layer of communication. It an interaction designed to communicate what you love.

User Journey Map 1
Create event
Creating an event on the platform for the first time: Daniel would like to invite people to play.
User Journey2
Join an Event
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Alex wants to meet new people, play new games and have fun. She opens the app and explores until she finds a game title she knows. She then enters the event page to learn more, decide to join the event or not.

Going into an event page, she asks:
  • Where is this?
  • Whos hosting?
  • Do I know anyone?
Going into an event page, he quetions:
  • What are we playing?
  • What’s their level of experience with these games?
1. Event Page

The event page features a clean front for the event. It needs to establish seriousness and communicate a consensus. 

2. Players list

Going into the players list will try to answer most of the questions regarding “Who?”

Who are the players?

What’s their playing experience with these games?

The sort features let users sort participants based on their individual experience with suggested games.

3. Voting Page

Now deciding the event is she taps Join
Here’s the TeamUp Experience Concept:
users who want to join events need to confirm there are rules, preferences, and themes that are set by the host. But what if this is a two way process? What if hosts allow guests to pick what activity do they prefer?

4. Voting Page

Swiping right to show “Ticket to Ride”. This seams interesting. Alex is interested. It’s a game she heard about, but never played. She can see more details about the game by tapping the right arrow.

5. Game Details

This is the game details. Now they can see more images, links, videos, and vote for it. Let’s tap the yellow button with the vote count.

7. Game Voted

Now they’re back in the voting screen, and just 1 more vote left.

8. One more vote

Alex is defenitely not hard core player. She doesn’ want any hard-tryers in her game night. She taps, Swipes right to join.

Your vote has been sent to the host!You’ll get a notification when the host approves your request to join the event.

Join an Event

TeamUp’s UX concept is about making serious decisions fun and intuitive.

Voting adds extra layer of confidence. When you join an event , you sent your vote. This a way of confirming you agree with the event’s theme.

The vision- a Gamified system for games

To design a system for real life games that is motivating and rewarding. To make it fun, intuitive, and engaging.

Gamification means incorporating challenges and rewards into a system designed to make the activity in question more fun. Player-centered design is a framework for designing interactive experiences and products. It differs from user-centered design in that it focuses on monitoring and managing the mechanics of the system in order to provide users with a sense of accomplishment as they achieve their goals.

If you ever plan to add the concept of gamification to your project, please understand two things first:

Gamification isn’t a magic spell

Gamification isn’t a magical solution to fix a bad user experience. Only by first designing a good UX can gamification be implemented successfully. It requires a thorough understanding of what pain points and needs the user has, and what they will find rewarding. Once this picture is clear, then the user experience can be managed and adjusted to provide a more ongoing sense of challenge, progress, accomplishment, and reward for the user.

Look and Feel #1

Variation #1

Look and Feel #2

Variation #2

Design System

The UX concept I propose is trying to answer the bigger picture questions regarding the ecosystem of a community. 

  1. What are the fundamentals building blocks of a board game’s community?
  2. How do I build a platform based on these building blocks? 
  3. How does the user’s motivation can drive this system?
Explore the buliding blocks
  • Tag
  • Player
  • Event
  • Team

Tags

Tags are used to store Game Titles, Game Style, and Genres/Mechanics

Tags describe Events, Players, and Teams.

Tags used as metadata.

Tag Title

  • Game Title
  • Game Style
  • Genre/Mechanics

Information

  • Pictures
  • Texts
  • Links

Player

In TeamUp's UI language users are reffered to as players

When a player is on a team, he is referred to as Team Member

Players' motivation in TeamUp is to gain Experience and GG's.

Elements

  • Name
  • Picture
  • Male/Female/Other
  • Age

KPI's as a player

  • Tags (Experience)
  • GG's from hosts
  • Teams
  • Personal Badges

KPI's as a host

  • Hosted events
  • GG's from guests
  • Completed Events
  • Host Badges

Event

An Event always has a creator

An Event always has a hosting details

The hosting details can either be from the creator or from a different host

An event can either have or not have a specific date and time

An event can be public or private

An event becomes inactive for users to join after two weeks from creation or at the date and time of the event

Data Points

  • Date
  • Time
  • Saved seats
  • Tags

Inherited

  • Hosting Player
  • Minimum Players
  • Maximum Players
  • Confirmed Players

Teams

If an event is hosted on a Team, the team’s members can auto-join this event.

Every team member can host an event on the team.

The Team creator can accept new members to the team. This user can also grant permission to let users accept and invite new members for the team

Data Points

  • Name
  • Location
  • Description
  • Cover Image
  • Tags

Inherited

  • Tags
  • Players
  • Events

KPI's

  • Number of players
  • Active Events
  • Completed Events

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