Faith Morante is a Senior Software Engineer who's been with X-Team for over three years. She is passionate about board games and runs a board game community called Ain't Board. In this interview, we discuss how she came up with the idea, how Ain't Board works, and what its plans for the future are.
Tell me about Ain't Board. How did you come up with the idea?
I've always liked playing games. At my previous job, around 2017, I was introduced to Quadropolis, a board game that was different from Monopoly or chess. I was amazed. I loved the components, the strategy, and the bond it created playing with friends and colleagues. So I began buying my own board games, from classics like Codenames to hardcore ones like Brass: Lancashire.
When the pandemic hit around 2021, I couldn't find anyone to play with anymore. I also wanted to know how other people played certain board games. So I created Ain't Board, a board game community website.
What's your favorite board game today? Is it still Quadropolis or has another taken its place?
It's definitely Brass: Lancashire. It's like Monopoly, but a thousand times better. I love the theme, too. I'd like to try Brass: Birmingham too, which is its sequel that has a top 10 ranking on BoardGameGeek (a site I frequent to find new board games).
How does Ain't Board work? What functionality is currently available?
Right now, we have Reviews and Strategies, which can be both editorial (me) or user-generated. Anyone can write a review of a board game if they want to. And we have Challenges. Anyone can post a Challenge like, for example, "Get 100 points in Brass: Lancashire."
Then others can complete the challenge to receive PowerUps, which get you special avatars. In the future, PowerUps will get you free board games, collectibles, cafe passes, et cetera. The X-Team Bounties and its Vault actually inspired the idea of Challenges and PowerUps. I love the idea of friendly competition with incentives.
How do you plan to grow or expand Ain't Board in the future? What features are in the pipeline?
I have so many features in mind, but I need to find market-fit first. So far, we're hitting our target of ten plus users a day. But we have to optimize our SEO and improve the UX. Other than that, upcoming features include:
- Game Night Matcher. Think Tinder, but for board game meetups.
- Challenge Leaderboards. To see who has completed the most Challenges.
- Board Game Leaderboards. Like the rankings in chess.com but for games.
- Board Game Recommendations. Recs from users or from me.
Right now, I'm partnering with Turqoise Goat Cafe in Vancouver to do the Game Night Matcher. And we're running a giveaway with Doomlings so you can get their card game for free by following a few easy steps.
Sounds awesome! About the website. How did you build it?
Because I work full-time for X-Team, I had to find an efficient way to create Ain't Board. I hired some junior developers to help me. Supervising them and providing guidance helped improve my leadership skills quite a bit.
In terms of tech, the Ain't Board website runs on Next.js for both front-end and back-end. Our database is MongoDB. Currently we only have to pay for domain hosting.
How has X-Team supported in your entrepreneurial venture?
Well, the gracious compensation from X-Team helped me worry a lot less about how I spend my money. Plus, the flexibility and not having to commute means I have more freedom in my calendar. The client I work for also runs a big editorial for cars, which gave me plenty of ideas for how to run a board game community website with Ain't Board.
Do you want to join a community full of passionate people like Faith? You can! X-Team is always looking for experienced software engineers. Create your candidate profile today.