When I started using this forum I had not found a way to follow a new topic without viewing it and selecting "" check-box. It turns out that a solution is hiding in plain sight. At the bottom of the message board's list of topics are two links:
atom news feeds for new and existing topics. The first link is a feed comprised only of the initial topics and the second link includes replies to topics as they come in. I added a subscription in Google Reader using one of these links as an easy way to follow new messages (and replies) in real time.