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A Look at the Jones' Theory

Jason Moslander
United States
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Back in 2009, Cody Jones from the Game On! podcast suggested a theory for game collecting. The theory has gained steam amongst the gaming community, and many gamers have adopted some form of the theory. In principal, the main concept of the theory is that you should never have more of one game of a single type. For example, you only want one deck building game in your collection; you don't need Dominion and Thunderstone--just one of them. The idea is that when it comes to playing games, most of the time you are going to pick the game that you like more, especially if they are very similar games. This can be applied to many different aspects of games, from mechanisms/mechanics, theme, game length, complexity, components, etc. The great thing about the Jones Theory is that you can apply it in whatever way you like. That being said, here is how I look at the Jones Theory, and apply it to my collection.

Personally, I do not have a lot of space for games. I have room for maybe 100 games, if I organize them like a master Tetris player. Therefore, I am constantly selling, trading, and auctioning my games off to make room for new ones. I am picky on what stays in my collection and what comes in. The first thing I look at when adding a game is does this fill a spot in my collection that I don't already have filled? Do I have an epic 3-6 hour game that I am only going to break out a couple times of year? Do I have a game that uses mechanic x in a similar way? Is it a theme that I enjoy? How many players does the game play? Is it a game that other people are actually going to play with me? If the game makes it through this line up of questions, it goes onto the Amazon wishlist. Once it goes on the wishlist, I debate if it's something that I truly want. Is it a game that I am still wanting a week, a month, or six months down the road? If so, I will eventually purchase the game.

The Jones Theory has prevented me from some impulse buys, and has allowed me to easily cull my collection down to a reasonable size and keep it there. I realize that this theory does not work for everyone and is not necessary for everyone. Some people enjoy the collecting aspect of gaming, and like to have 100, 200, 1000 games in their collections. Others like to keep their collections under 10 games. These people may take the Jones Theory to the extreme, in essence. They have a board game, dice game, and card game. That's all you need right? To paraphase Scott Nicholson, there is a game for every situation. I personally like to have a couple games for each situation that arises, and I think this is the main way that I organize my collection. I try to have variety that will be enjoyable to most people while still maintaining a smaller collection.

Therefore, if you are needing to make your collection smaller, or you want to keep your collection small, or you are just starting a collection; you should seriously consider the Jones Theory. Doing so will guarantee that you have a diverse collection without breaking the bank or your shelves.

Do you follow the Jones Theory? If so, what games are you needing to get rid of to become Jones Theory compliant?

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