As Patrick O’Keefe will tell you, forums work.
The majority of successful online communities are hosted on forums. They’re an efficient means of communications which all your potential members will understand.
Sure, there is some benefit to using something unique. You can customize a few things. You can get things exactly the way you want. Some game mechanic elements are missing from many forum pcakages.
But you will pay a heavy price for that. Most people have little time to learn a new technology. You will repel a lot of people. If you were to keep a rough tally of successful communities using a free/white label forum software vs. a customized platform – it wouldn’t even be close. Forums would win handedly.
Keep the communication platform simple. Unless you have a major reason not to use a forum, then use it.