There Can Be Only Five - OnlyMostlyDead's Top Five Buylist Challenge (and List of Games Bought In 2015)
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TL;DR - In 2014, I bought way too many games. I'm more backlogged on my owned but unplayed games than I'm comfortable with, and have many others that have only gotten one or two tries. I'm going to try disciplining myself to actually think about the games I buy, without failing so heavily to impulse. I'll maintain a list of no more than five possible games I can buy at any given time (with a few exceptions), and I'll wait on buying them to decide if it's really worth it.

I'm making this effort a Geeklist because I'd love Community input on why games may or may not be worth such limited slots for my time and money.

---------------------------------------------

The Longer Version:


I really surprised myself when I was putting together a Wishlist in November 2014 for my first time doing BGG Secret Santa. At first, I feared I wouldn't give my Santa enough options, and he'd have to choose from only 5 or 10 games I really wanted...

...Then I got into the spirit of the Wishlist, and kept adding. Looked at wishlists of people who had similar tastes; stole some of their choices. Looked at Gen Con and Essen hotlists/geeklists/writeups; found more games. Watched Rahdo and wanted ALL THE GAMES. Researched what I didn't have from favorite designers (say, Feld) or consistently good publishers (lately TMG and Stronghold Games). Quickly brought that "only 5 or 10 games" up to over 50.

This year I truly want to make myself play more and buy less. I'll probably fail, but I'll give it an honest effort. I made a 10x10 Hardcore List to encourage me and my wife to get ten games we already own played more. I'm trying to get to more game nights and Meetups and cons to play new games without the need to buy them. I'll trade more freely with friends.

But I know I'll still buy. I have eight Kickstarter (KS) campaigns awaiting fulfillment, including one (as of 19 January) that hasn't closed yet. My FLGS is having their 15th Birthday celebration this weekend (January 2015), and I'm sure they'll put something (probably multiple somethings) I want on sale. Games I already own and love have expansions I want because they both add something to the game and scratch that completionist itch. There'll always be something around the corner that just catches my eye unexpectedly. Geekbay auctions will come up that are too good to be true.

I'm hoping this list curbs some of those impulsive purchases. Makes me want a game for better reasons than it looks pretty or I enjoyed one play of it at a con. Keeps my eyes on the games that will add something new or unique to my collection. Focuses the ones I can point to when somebody needs a gift idea or I go in with friends on a CSI order.


Finally, on to some Largely Arbitrary Rules!

1 Five spots on the list. I originally thought ten, then admitted to myself it restricted nothing except the most brazen impulse splurges; five will keep it tight but still somewhat flexible.

2 Four of those spots are for retail purchasable games.
-----2.1 Expansions count the same as full games. Generic accessories like dice or sleeves don't.
-----2.2 Before I buy one of those games, it must be on the list for at least one month.*
-----2.3 If I want to buy a game for my wife, it has to be on the list. But if she independently wants to buy a game for herself, this isn't her list and she's obviously free to. I won't try to influence her decision-making to circumvent my list restrictions.

3 The fifth spot is reserved for either another retail game or for backing a KS game.**
-----3.1 If all five spots are filled with retail games, I have to choose one to remove in order to add a KS game.
-----3.2 A KS game must be on this list for at least one week before the KS closes. If I discover it too late, too bad.
-----3.3 Never more than one KS game at a time, regardless of how many good ones might be running concurrently. The one-week rule in (4.2) still applies, so no cheating on two games that end within a week of one another.

4 I can buy games off Geekbay auctions (or similar) if the offer is just too good to pass up, but at a cost: For every game won, one of my "eligible" games of at least a month (or in the very rare event that I have no games eligible for purchase, the one closest to a month) gets reset back to zero.

5 I can remove a game at any time to make space for a new one, but if I remove then re-add it, the one-month timer starts over.

6 Things that don't count against the Five:
-----6.1 Android: Netrunner: I already budget the $15ish/mo for each Data Pack, and consider the purchase a recurring fee much like a subscription to Netflix or a gym membership, and they will never count against the five games on the list.
-----6.2 Trades: If I trade a game I own for a game somebody else owns, whether it's a friend and I finding new life for old games by swapping with one another or entering into a Math Trade at a con, etc., I'm counting it as no net change.
-----6.3 Gifts for others who aren't my wife. If I'm buying for my wife, I get the benefit of it being in our family collection; if I buy something for a friend's birthday or pick something up for somebody at a con or participate in BGG Secret Santa, etc., it's their game, not mine.
-----6.4 Giveaways/Prizes: If I receive a game without having to pay for it, no problem.
-----6.5 Black Friday: If I manage to keep the spirit of the list intact all the way to November, I'm not above splurging on whatever opportunistic Black Friday deals I can get in one glorious day of game-buying gluttony.


* Starting seed exception: I'll set two games when the list is first published that I could buy without waiting a month. Both will be games I've wanted, and have been available for purchase, since at least December 2014.
** I'll begin the list with my currently running KS backing, Orléans, filling this spot.
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1. Board Game: Castles of Mad King Ludwig [Average Rating:7.67 Overall Rank:82]
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Added on: 19 January 2015
Reset on: 7 February 2015
Reset again on: 23 February 2015
Available for purchase: Yes

Rationale: I heart Ted Alspach. This was one of two games that I was genuinely sad I didn't get at Christmas (the other, Keyflower, I managed to get soon after).

Reset because I bought myself three games at Unpub 5, a prototype gaming convention.

Reset the second time because I snatched the seemingly OOP Bruxelles 1893 off a discount table at my FLGS.
 
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2. Board Game: Keyflower: The Farmers [Average Rating:7.89 Unranked] [Average Rating:7.89 Unranked]
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Added on: 1 February 2015
Reset on: 7 February 2015

Reset again on: 10 March 2015
Available for Purchase: No

Rationale: Finally got a chance to play Keyflower, and it was even better than my high expectations. Because GameSalute games tend to be spotty on their availability, the sooner the better on Farmers (and we'll see about Merchants). And, unlike 7 Wonders, Keyflower will play well at two players; switching out Babel for this feels like an easy choice.

Reset because of the three games I bought at Unpub 5.

Reset the second time because I needed something to fill out a CoolStuff order, and they didn't have Keyflower Farmers because Game Salute stinks.
 
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3. Board Game: Euphoria: Build a Better Dystopia [Average Rating:7.31 Overall Rank:316]
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Added on: 28 February
Available for purchase: Yes

A game I've been quietly lusting after, but not at the after-market prices I've seen, ever since missing the Kickstarter campaign. With a new printing allegedly finding its way to shelves in March, I'm ready to jump on a copy.
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4. Board Game: Tzolk'in: The Mayan Calendar – Tribes & Prophecies [Average Rating:8.12 Unranked] [Average Rating:8.12 Unranked]
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Added on: 21 March 2015
Available for purchase: NO

Rationale: I now have three plays of the base Tzolk'in, and it's absolutely fantastic. Honestly, getting better with every play. But I can see where the strategies could start to get a little scripted. I want the expansion at the ready if/when that happens, or if I just want to add a little fresh air.
 
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5. Board Game: Lords of Vegas [Average Rating:7.32 Overall Rank:354]
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Added on: 21 March 2015
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Rationale: I have a very soft spot for Euro games that dare to be dice-heavy. Add in the fact I just don't have that many area majority games, and Lords of Vegas has been tempting for for a little while now.
 
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6. Board Game: Sold! [Average Rating:4.50 Unranked]
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Realized after my first purchase (rather, Kickstarter backing) that this list can serve double duty as all the games I bought in 2015. These are the games I succumbed to getting.
 
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7. Board Game: Orléans [Average Rating:8.08 Overall Rank:26]
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Added on: 19 January 2015
Available for purchase: YES - Kickstarter game (Seeding exemption, immediately available for purchase)
Purchased on: 29 January (Kickstarter closed)
-----Kickstarter fulfillment: Scheduled September 2015


Rationale: Rahdo made me do it.



Also includes Bottlecap Vikings in the same Kickstarter pledge. Hmm, didn't take that into consideration when making the rules...
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8. Board Game: Betrayal at House on the Hill [Average Rating:7.10 Overall Rank:423]
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Purchased on: 1 February 2015.

Won in a Geekbay auction for a very reasonable $30 with local pickup.
 
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9. Board Game: Machi Koro: Harbor [Average Rating:7.13 Unranked] [Average Rating:7.13 Unranked]
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Added on: 19 January 2015
Available for purchase: NO


Rationale: Machi Koro is one of the games on my 2015 10x10 list, and it's fun but threatening to wear a little thin without introducing more cards for a bit of variety in each game's strategies. Harbor will help me make it to ten plays more easily.

Purchased on: 7 February 2015

It was available with a respectable 20% discount at Unpub 5, a prototype/playtesting con. Broke my embargo by about a week and a half to buy it early. Cassie was more than fine with this purchase.
 
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10. Board Game: Kanban: Driver's Edition [Average Rating:7.77 Overall Rank:223]
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Obtained on: 7 February 2015

Not actually purchased for myself. Bought it so my parents could reimburse me and gift it for my birthday. So, even while I was otherwise weak with buying games at Unpub and pretty well wrecking the list, this one was not actually against my rules.

Very excited to see it hit the table.
 
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11. Board Game: Antike Duellum [Average Rating:7.17 Overall Rank:1019]
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Purchased on: 7 February 2015

Opportunistically bought at Unpub 5. I've been wanting a Mac Gerdts rondel game for a while, and even though Duellum's decently available online, it's not as easy to find at the price I got.
 
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12. Board Game: Le Havre: The Inland Port [Average Rating:6.97 Overall Rank:814]
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Purchased on: 7 February 2015

Bought in a moment of weakness at Unpub 5. My usual check of "what's it cost at CoolStuff" failed me, since CSI is out of stock, but apparently nobody else is. So I wrongly assumed it was OOP, or between printings. Still excited to have it, and I think it'll go over well with Cassie, so I don't regret it...too much.
 
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13. Board Game: Bruxelles 1893 [Average Rating:7.66 Overall Rank:249]
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Purchased on: 23 February 2015.

My FLGS had a table of games they were clearing out to make way for new stock. I'd been considering Bruxelles for a while, and had kind of written it off when online stores started going out-of-stock. I jumped at the sale with the threat of lost availability.

Dropped my Kickstarter pledge for Trickerion: Legends of Illusion to justify the price, and I'm still considering this an impulse purchase that resets another game on the list. Sorry (again), Castles of Mad King Ludwig.
 
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14. Board Game: Fields of Arle [Average Rating:8.17 Overall Rank:55]
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Purchased on: 10 March 2015.

Rationale: Most of my gaming is two-players with my wife. We've always loved Uwe Rosenberg's games, but don't have any in our collection because they all feel just a little bit flat at two players vs higher player counts. Fields of Arle sounds like the perfect answer.

Reset because I was weak and bought three games at Unpub 5.


First game I actually purchased after waiting the full month. Restock came in for all of three or four hours on Coolstuff, and I was able to wrangle up a $100 order when this one brought me $55 of the way there.
 
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15. Board Game: Friday [Average Rating:7.22 Overall Rank:305]
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Purchased on: 10 March 2015

Added to a CoolStuff order when Fields of Arle came back in stock in order to get myself to $100. Been looking at it a while, not buying precisely because it's a good "I need just a tiny bit more to reach free shipping" game.
 
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16. Board Game: Smash Up: Pretty Pretty Smash Up [Average Rating:7.39 Overall Rank:563] [Average Rating:7.39 Unranked]
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Purchased on: 10 March 2015

Also added to the Fields of Arle CSI order, but it doesn't count against my list, because my wife chose this 100% on her own (I'm still quite happy to have more Smash Up, though).
 
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17. Board Game: Katamino [Average Rating:6.31 Overall Rank:3524]
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Obtained on: 14 March 2015

Birthday gift from a friend. Already tried it as a solo puzzle game.
 
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18. Board Game: Between Two Cities [Average Rating:7.10 Overall Rank:475]
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Added on: 27 February
Available for purchase: YES - Kickstarter backed game

Purchased on: 16 March 2015 (Kickstarter closed)
-----Kickstarter fulfillment: Scheduled November 2015, but sounding like it'll arrive much sooner than that.

I'm excited for Between Two Cities. Got a chance to play it at Unpub 5, and had a great time. It's going to do a great job as an option to fill a unique little game night niche: A game to bring a lingering group together from two or three tables at the end of the night when a few people want just one last game before we wrap it up.
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19. Board Game: King of Tokyo [Average Rating:7.26 Overall Rank:228]
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Purchased on: 25 March 2015.

Bought for cheap from Target when it was on sale, plus 10% off toys, plus $10 off board game purchases of $30+. Came in at about $19, all told. Because I used a gift card I'd gotten for my birthday, it doesn't count as a "buy" for the sake of this list.
 
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20. Board Game: Hold Your Horses [Average Rating:5.00 Unranked]
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Games that were on the list, but have been bumped by other, newer choices.

Maybe they'll go back to the actual list later, maybe they'll just dejectedly sit here.
 
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21. Board Game: 7 Wonders: Babel [Average Rating:7.23 Unranked] [Average Rating:7.23 Unranked]
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Added on: 19 January 2015
Reset on: 7 February 2015
Available for purchase: NO

Rationale: 7 Wonders is one of my favorite games. Both Leaders and Cities have added to the depth and enjoyable of the gameplay, without simply throwing more complexity for its own sake (Leaders moreso than Cities). From reviews, this sounds like an even better "new life" expansion than Leaders. It just didn't make it into my Christmas pile.

On hold for now - Counter was bounced back to 0 by winning a Geekbay auction (for Betrayal at House on the Hill) per Rule 4. Then it was moved off the actively counting list in order to add the Farmers expansion for Keyflower, after my first play of Keyflower absolutely blew me (and the group I played with) away.

Back on the list after I weakly caved to buying some games at a con, including one that was on the current list of five, leaving a spot suddenly vacant.


On hold again - With the impending release of the new printing of Euphoria: Build a Better Dystopia, this is the weakest of my current choices for actually seeing gameplay anytime soon after buying it (vanilla 7 Wonders, or Leaders/Cities, are enough for most people I play with).
 
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22. Board Game: Trickerion: Legends of Illusion [Average Rating:7.82 Overall Rank:174]
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Added on 30 January 2015
Available for purchase: YES - Kickstarter game, closing on 28 February.
Cancelled pledge on 23 February.

Immediately turned around after the Kickstarter for Orléans closed and added this one. I've been stalking it since Essen, and even if the $59 pledge is a little more than I want to spend, it just looks so beautiful and so fun a Worker Placement that I couldn't stop myself.

The Kickstarter slot on this list may be its weak point, especially if such interesting games keep showing up there.
 
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