Comprehensive Feature List for BGE
Supports Windows 98/ME/2000/XP, and Mac OS X 10.1.5 or better. Sorry, no Unix/Linux version. Buy the program once and use it on any supported platform - no need to buy the Mac and Windows versions separately. Interface elements (such as buttons, sliders, popup menus, etc.) look native to the OS it's running on, even if you are using a custom desktop theme.
EASY TO LEARN & USE: (Top)
There's no steep learning curve, as you might find in some competing products. There are no arcane, indecipherable icons in the user interface. All controls are intuitive, consistent, logically laid out, and clearly labeled. If you know how to push a button, use a popup menu and press a hotkey, you know how to use this program. You can literally be playing within minutes of installing the application.
IMMERSIVE PRESENTATION: (Top)
BGE can run in full-screen mode, if desired, so that there are no distracting toolbars and screen real-estate is maximized. The user interface (UI) stays out of your way until you need it, so there is no screen clutter. This, in turn, makes the game session more immersive. It also makes BGE ideal for use with a multimedia projector, or even a large-screen HDTV, if your hardware supports output to these devices.
Supports playing practically any game, even using house rules. Use BGE to play boardgames, wargames, card games, or dice games (but not roleplaying games; for that, there's BRPG).
GORGEOUS GRAPHICS: (Top)
Supports PNG files, a graphics file format which can include transparency and shadows. BGE can be used with "photorealistic" game boards and digital minis.
DICE ROLLER: (Top)
What would most games be without dice? In BGE, the "virtual dice" are photorealistic (actual photographs of dice, not 3D renders). You can even hear them shake and rattle when they roll! (the sound effects are optional, of course.) Dice rolls may be transmitted to everyone, or kept private. Die roll results appear in their own window (this can be disabled, if you prefer) and the roll results are also reported in the Chat window.
BUILT-IN TEXT CHAT SYSTEM: (Top)
The Chat window is used to communicate in online games. It allows for private messaging, and messages are color-coded for easy reference. The chat window is also the place where you are notified of system events, such as a player logging on or off. A chat log can be exported to an external text file at any time.
CHAT MACRO SUPPORT: (Top)
BGE also supports Chat Macros. These are prewritten snippets of dialogue that can be quickly invoked to save typing time during the game session. As soon as a chat macro is invoked, its associated text is automatically inserted in the input field of the chat window, at which point the user can chose to send it "as is", or customize it prior to sending.
ZOOM IN/OUT: (Top)
BGE lets you zoom in on the game table up to 200%, and zoom out to 20%. Zooming is also very useful for those who use BGE to play in face-to-face games with a projector and real miniatures, since you get more control over the grid size when projected on the playing table.
INFINITELY EXPANDABLE: (Top)
Adding new game boards, digital minis, and digital game components to BGE is a breeze. Just drag a JPG or PNG graphic into the appropriate folder. New sounds can be added to the game in the same manner. A wealth of free, quality artwork is available (see the Links & Resources page), and more is posted every day. Of course, the graphically inclined can make their own custom artwork using any graphics application.
HIGHLY CUSTOMIZABLE: (Top)
BGE's Preferences screen lets you tailor the gaming experience to suit your needs. Turn features like Snap-to-Grid, Tooltips, and facing indicators on miniatures on or off. Choose your grid type (hexes or squares), grid color, and grid opacity. Or chose to hide the overlay grid altogether. Change the sound effects used for die rolls, or turn them off completely. Create your own custom Chat Macros, and much more. Gamers shouldn't need to know XML or HTML to customize the software. With BGE, they don't.
LIVE SYNCING: (Top)
If the host of a game session decides to use a sound, a game component, or a mini that isn't already stored locally on the players' PCs, the software will automatically send them the needed file. This happens transparently and quickly, without any action required on part of the users.
TIME-SAVING IMAGING TOOLS: (Top)
Imaging tools in BGE let you customize how the program will use any graphics you add to the program. For each new image you import, you will be prompted to supply scaling, rotation, and alignment information. A real-time preview of your settings is shown on the game table, so you can get things just the way you want them. This only needs to be done once for each asset, since the program will save the information you entered. All of this makes it remarkably easy to add new minis and game components to your games from graphics you find on the internet, and saves you from having to edit them in a graphics application beforehand.
Automatically snaps all your digital minis and game components to the center of a hex or grid square. This feature may be disabled, enforced, or left up to each client, from the Board Settings panel.
HELPFUL USER MANUAL: (Top)
BGE is very easy to use, but if you should ever need help in figuring out how to do something in the program, a thorough User Manual is provided as a hyperlinked PDF. Periodic updates to this manual will be made available for download on this site as they become available. And if you are evaluating BGE for possible purchase, we recommend that you download the free User Manual to help you in reaching a decision.
WORKS OFFLINE OR ON A LAN: (Top)
With the Gamer Client, you can create digital game conversions evn if you''re not connected to the internet. You can also use it to run a face-to-face game session in a room where internet access is not available. The ability to work offline or on a LAN also means you don't have to rely on some central game server being operational just to play your game.
LARGE GAME TABLE: (Top)
Game boards in BGE can be as large as 40 x 40 grid squares (or 40 x 46 hexes), but if you don't need the Grid Overlay, the game table itself is boundless. Scrolling the game table is done by moving the mouse to the edge of the screen, by right-clicking-and-dragging the game table itself, or by using the arrow keys on your keyboard. There are also tools for centering the game table on any given mini or game component.
QUICK REFERENCE: (Top)
Reference your cheat sheets, game rules, charts and tables from within the program. A wealth of useful information can be at your fingertips, hidden away until you need it.
Game hosts and players alike have access to a notepad, on which they can jot down important game-related information. The notepad can be accessed at any time with a hotkey.
TURN SEQUENCER: (Top)
The Turn Sequencer keeps track of the current game turn/round, and which player's turn it is. Minis on the game table are highlighted automatically when their turn comes around.
A Sideboard feature lets you store minis and game components in an off-board "holding area" until they are needed on the game table. This is useful for storing things like scenario-defined reinforcements.
IN-GAME HELP SCREEN: (Top)
If you need a quick reminder of what hotkey does what, a helpful overlay can be popped up at any time by pressing the "?" key. But you probably won't need to refer to it much, since all commands are very intuitive (eg, press "L" to load a Game File, press "R" to roll the dice, and so on). The Help Screen also contains some basic operating instructions, if you're new to BGE.
FORCE PLAYER VIEW: (Top)
The game host can make sure the players are looking where he/she wants them to on the game table, by centering their game table on what the host is viewing and matching the players' zoom level to the host's. This command can be sent to every player at once, or just to an individual player. It can be especially useful while teaching others how to play a particular game.
TRY BEFORE YOU BUY: (Top)
We strongly recommend that you download and try out the free Demo version before purchasing BGE. Explore the program's features, make sure it does what you want and that it works on your particular computer configuration. Try the online features with your players to ensure that you can use the software even if you have firewalls, routers, proxy servers, etc. in place. The Demo version is nearly as full-featured as the full version. The only major differences are that in the free Demo, saving and loading of Game Files is limited to 12 units max on the game table, loading of Deployments is disabled, and the software times out after 45 minutes.
FREE DIGITAL GAME CONVERSIONS: (Top)
Many free game conversions are already available for BGE on the Downloads page, featuring both solitaire and multi-player games which highlight the various features of the software. Use them to learn the program's features, preferably with your players, so that they learn along with you. Third-party game conversions for BGE may also be available in the near future, produced both by professional game publishers and by hobbyist game designers who want to share their creations.
ARTPACK SUPPORT: (Top)
Professional-quality content is available for BGE in the form of free and commercial artpacks, which function as plug-ins. Each artpack provides you with quick and easy access to a media library from within BGE, which can include game boards, mini art, game component art, portrait art, audio clips, and even charts & tables. The media found in these artpacks is often not available elsewhere. Several new artpacks are released every year.
OTHER FEATURES: (Top)
Units can have portraits and/or audio clips attached to them.
Game Media bundles can be created by a user for easy distribution of a digital game conversion.
When a unit is moved by a remote player, it gently slides (animates) on your screen from its point of origin to its destination.
The host can load game boards from a server, if desired.
Send visual aids and sound files (music or sound effects). These can also be sent privately to an individual player.
The game engine is not Java-based, so you never need to worry about having the right version of Java installed on your computer, or that installing a new version of Java might "break" the application. Installation of BGE is hassle-free; just unzip the downloaded file and you are ready to go.
Every token on the game table has "permissions" assigned to it, so that unruly players can't affect units that have not been assigned to them.
Players can privately communicate with other players.
Miniature facing is supported, if it's relevant in your game's rules.
Game Files can be saved at any time (and reloaded, of course). This is useful not only for saving the current game state between gaming sessions, but also to have a backup in the event of a computer crash. This also allows for instant game/scenario setup so you can get right to playing.
Any item deployed on the game table can have short notes attached to it, which are viewable in a ToolTip when you roll your cursor over the item (but only if the item is visible). You're only limited by your imagination in how you can use these notes.
Dice Macros can be configured for complex rolls. Many dice mechanics are supported, such as open-ended rolls, evaluating each die for success, calculating the margin of success or failure for the roll, and even cross-referencing die roll results with a table. Dice Macros can be global in nature, or they may be attached to specific minis or game components on the game table.
A browsable Dice Roll History tracks all rolls made in the current game session.
Export screenshots, for illustrating play-by-post forum-based games, to use as a game-teaching aid, or just for posterity.
Built-in drawing tools allow you to improvise quick-and-dirty game boards or game components. Items drawn with these tools may later be independently moved, resized, rotated, etc.
Dynamically-generated Text labels with a plethora of formating styles and options.
Automatic updating of Game Files and Deployment files that were created in older versions of BGE or BRPG.
Card deck support, which includes everything from simply drawing cards at random, to playing full-fledged card games. You can even hear the cards being shuffled, drawn, played, or flipped over.
With a licensed Gamer Client you can create your own custom card decks.
The ability to quickly and easily swap token art on a unit. This is great for changing token state, flipping virtual cards or counters, etc.
A powerful Turn Sequencer, featuring automatic sorting, value tracking for every unit, support for turn phases, and much more.
Support for artpacks (both free and commercial).
Anchor or Group units on the game table so that they move and rotate together.
Chat with other BGE and BRPG users using the new chat Lobby; great for finding open games and additional players/opponents.
Roll dice and flip coins right on the game table window, complete with sound effects.
"Views": Bookmark spots on the game table to easily jump back and forth between up to 10 locations. Each View can have a descriptive name and a custom zoom level.
If you've made it this far, then you can see that BGE is a powerful tool that is packed with useful features to make gameplay (and game creation) fast, intuitive, and above all FUN.
Want to test-drive BGE for yourself? Download the free, full-featured Demo, which is available on the Downloads page.
Oh, and be sure to tell all your gamer friends about BGE (more users equals more open games, opponents, and digital game conversions for everyone).