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Subject: In pursuit of fewer games rss

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Christina Crouch
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I started board gaming in about 2008 when I joined our works club. Fast forward 5 years and I am now the club president and these days, chief games buyer and rules teacher as well.

I started to realise that I had more games than I could realistically teach and learn, and that actually owning a lot of games was becoming a chore. People also started to get burned out on learning a new game every week. I think I had 150 games at this point.

So I decided to lean my collection down. I started out by counting how many game plays I logged a year - about two a week of my own games. So I decided that 52 games was the maximum I should have. Of course this is a totally arbitrary figure. I sold what I didn't need on eBay at a rate of 5 a week, which paid for me to go to Essen, and while I bought a couple of new games there was a plan for which games they would replace and I bought expansions for games I have.

My games to learn list is down at 17, and the total collection size is at 60 (which is ok for after Essen, and I'll lean it down again after Xmas).

So my questions: have you been through a similar process? Have you leaned your collection down? How did you do it, and how many games do you now have? Pictures of your lean collection would be cool.

Here is mine:

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Jonathan Bailey-Jones
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Not leaned down my collection yet, probably have in excess of 900 games at the moment so looking forward to see how other people have done it.
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Corey Hamachek
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I need to do the same thing you did. I have somewhere in the neighborhood of 150 games. Out of those id say only 20ish are safe from the axe ever falling on them. Another 30-40 will stick around because they fit a need for any gaming situation i might come across. So that leaves me with 90 games that are in flux. 42 of those which have not been played.11 of which are still in the shrink wrap.So those are safe for now.


If i want to get my collection down to 50-75 games which i do that means ill have to get much more then 6 games on my trade/sell table. Only 3-4 of those of which im certain id get rid of. Its SO tough. I just need to start pulling the trigger and unloading them but i always get that little voice in the back of my head that says "are you sure you want to get rid of that? Alot of people really seem to enjoy that game in the online gaming community. Maybe you and your group are just missing something about it". I just have to stay strong and realize if its not getting played it has to go. Im not a collector so that helps a little with that.


On a positive note ive only bought somewhere around 10 games this year. Thats a far cry from the 100 or so i bought the two years prior to that. So at least im not compounding it that way. Wish me luck .
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Marc Lanctot
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I started in 2007, got heavily involved in 2008 - 2012, and moved to Europe (from Canada) last year. It just did not make sense to pay to move the games, of which I had 82.

I have slowly re-bought my favorites and the ones that I played most often, and got a few as gifts. I realized I didn't like many of the games I owned or didn't play them enough.

My lean collection now (minus the puzzle and motherboard box, and swap Blokus with Balloon Cup; Machiavelli is the Dutch version of Citadels):



The money from my old games went to fund the move, and since I moved only a few hours train from Essen, you could say I also partially funded my trip to Essen as well. meeple

There are a few things that I am doing differently post-leaning. I am definitely taking better care of my games in case we're moving again I will want to sell these too. I almost never buy a game unless I've tried it or it's heavily discounted. The predicted number of plays (depending on how well it works with different player numbers and how often we can get those numbers) influences the decision much more than before. And, we tend to want to replay games more often, too, because constantly learning new was tiring but also did not allow us to explore the depth of the others enough.
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Frank Gheysen
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We have similar game tastes, that for sure. My god.
But parting from my old games (even though not always fully played): naaahh!! Even held on to my MtG car collection; it's sad, I know.

Too difficult for me to say good bye to all those shiny boxes filled with gaming candy. My study's now being reconstructed and the board game-count was a factor in the design/plans. The architect gave me "the odd look"; but it remained a factor nonetheless.

But ultimately: you are right of course!
Got to admit that.
You've got a slim and nicely balanced collection.
Enjoy!
 
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Rick Noetzel
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I started in 1974 and my collection peaked last year at well over 500 games. The death of my primary gaming partner added his collection to mine and led me to look at the huge number of games that I would never play again. So I started selling things off.

400 games made the first cut of "keep, at least for a while" while the rest became my initial sell stack. I sold 10-15 a month since last October and those are almost gone.

I don't really have an collection size goal, just "smaller".
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Tim Koppang
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For me, one of the most difficult aspects of selling off parts of my collection is explaining to my friends why I decided to get rid of a game that they liked. When you play with a gaming group, your collection starts to take on a strange sense of joint ownership. Obviously, I sold the games anyway! But it was an unexpected phenomenon.
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Jake Smith
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I just rediscovered the hobby a year or two ago and am still in the process of building my collection, but this thread and others like it have been great in encouraging me to spread my purchases out as best I can and, when a game falls flat for us, to trade it off. I've got 50 games (plus their expansions) as the cap in my head.


tckoppang wrote:
For me, one of the most difficult aspects of selling off parts of my collection is explaining to my friends why I decided to get rid of a game that they liked. When you play with a gaming group, your collection starts to take on a strange sense of joint ownership. Obviously, I sold the games anyway! But it was an unexpected phenomenon.


This seems simple enough. Offer to sell it to them first. If they don't want to buy it, then they must not like it too much!
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Shane Hockin
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I'll never be in this position. When I first started collecting games about five years ago, I set a 100 game limit from the start (not including expansions). I figured that would cover all the different genres and allow me to have something for everyone. There just doesn't seem to be any point in owning more games than I'll ever get to play in a year. I still buy new games sometimes, but if one game comes in, another has to go!
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Michael F
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I reached this point a few months ago. It was due to a lot of things: Limited funds, low shelf space, realizing that video games could still provide me with experiences that I wanted out of board games, and a lot of things just weren't getting played as often as I wanted. To my own credit though, I've learned and played every game I've ever had before getting rid of it, so at least I'm getting (most of) my money's worth from the hobby.

At first I had an auction on here, which I'm not sure if I'll ever do again, just because the shipping was such a pain. Luckily my FLGS takes used games for credit. It's nothing amazing...maybe only 1/4-1/3 of the regular price...but at least that helps trim down my collection while getting the opportunity to get a couple of new ones in the process.

I'm pretty happy with the size of my collection now (~50-60 games), and I don't see it going much higher or lower. The games I have are keepers, and more often than not the new ones I play get turned over for others. If I find one that gets added in, great. But I think my collection is at a good amount right now where a lot of areas of gaming are covered, and I don't feel like anything is sitting there collecting dust either.
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Bryan Thunkd
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You can not "lean down" a collection. You could slim it down, pare it down, downsize it, retrench it, or reduce it, but "lean down" is not a thing.

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Joe Salamone
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I own more than 320 games and I can't imagine getting rid of any of them. Although, I believe I have reached the point where, instead of buying several games almost every month, I will probably cut down to purchasing 5 - 10 games per year. Even though some games may only get to the table once every year or two (or three), I am happy that I have a nice variety within reach at all times.
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David Janik-Jones
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I had more than 300 at one point, and now have wrangled that down to the 81 I think are some of the best of the genre and represent a wide variety of types (light fillers, strategic Euros, medium-weight quick-to-teach, my wargames). More importantly, these are ones I constantly play over any others, and a handful of them will take hundreds of plays to get good at (I've played between 1500-2000 games of Up Front and I can now only hold my own). So I'm pretty content. I just didn't see the point of having a game on the shelf if it sat for 3+ years unplayed, because there were others on my shelf that I much preferred playing. It takes one hell of an amazing game to get me to take notice anymore (having been wargaming alone for more than 40 years).

I went through the shelves last year and held up two games that I considered "somewhat similar" and asked myself, "If I can only play one of these, which one?" That got my collection down really fast because I realized how little I played even some of the highly rated games on my shelves. I don't really have a "collectors" bug.

After the holidays I'll probably be back up to 83 (one from a Secret Santa, and one from my wife/kids) but even then, there are still maybe half-a-dozen I could get rid of and not miss.
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Lori
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tckoppang wrote:
For me, one of the most difficult aspects of selling off parts of my collection is explaining to my friends why I decided to get rid of a game that they liked. When you play with a gaming group, your collection starts to take on a strange sense of joint ownership. Obviously, I sold the games anyway! But it was an unexpected phenomenon.


Did you offer them for sale to the members of your gaming group?
 
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Kirk Thomas
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At some point, I realized that a good strategy would be to keep only games that I would personally be thrilled to play, that if I was going to play games that I would like to play, I could get that experience with somebody else's copy. So, keeping a game just because I liked it, or it fills a niche, etc, wasn't enough any more.

And several other factors lead me to keep the collection trimmed:

1. Several moves
2. An overall downsizing of many things in life
3. Going to game gatherings / conventions and seeing so many games I don't own that I'd like to play - ie, I don't have to buy the game to play it sometime.
4. So many great games being available to play online
5. Doing the math and realizing that it would take literally thousands upon thousands of hours to play thru the 75 games I do own to the point that I'd really be through with them.
6. Having been active in the hobby for 15+ years, realizing that new stuff will constantly come out that I want to buy, and will inherently rise to the top of the playlist over other excellent games sitting on my shelf.
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CHAPEL
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I've been leaning my collection for many years now. Mostly trading and selling games at BGG.CON flea market. Trying to just keep the best of each area.

Funny, I look at the OP's collection, and think that there are a lot of newer mediocre games, but none of the real classics. If I were going to make a list of "must haves" you have about 15 years of games work with.

YMMV.
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Christina Crouch
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I tend to like to update my collection with new things from the year. I got rid of some older games because I felt they had been superceded.
E.g San Juan replaced Puerto Rico because it could be played in half the time.
Caverna replaced Agricola
Shadow hunters replaced Bang
Forbidden island and Defenders of the realm replaced pandemic
Trains (not pictured) replaces Dominion and Steam (which no one would ever play).
Airlines Europe replaced TTR Europe
Bruges replaced Glory to Rome, innovation, London, eminent domain
Dungeon petz replaced dungeon lords

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Maarten D. de Jong
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malibu_babe_28 wrote:
So my questions: have you been through a similar process? Have you leaned your collection down? How did you do it, and how many games do you now have? Pictures of your lean collection would be cool.

Yes, I have been doing this since three years now. First all games got a chance to prove themselves: this took care of the immediately obvious weaklings which were nearly all sold off. I'm now in a second stage of thinning down the collection, which is selling off games which on their own are certainly not bad, possibly even have a few strong and interesting features, but which for some reason or another simply don't get played sufficiently often. They are pre-empted by other titles, their optimum player count is off, you've had your fill for a year or so once the game has been on the table, the rules are too finicky for casual play, and so forth. 50 titles have already gone in the first stage; this second stage will see the departure of another 50 to 70, depending on where my partner and I draw the line. We'll be left with about 150 titles including expansions, which is a nice amount. Still too big for the amount of casual play we put in, but at least all supporting many repeat plays, or part of a hard-to-obtain sequence which would be stupid to break up.

I do NOT believe in arbitrary caps or schemes which seek to unite the 'best of the genre': in fact I think you're bloody stupid to go about doing it that way. The point is simply that you should own what appeals to you: forcing to make a selection between equally appreciated titles just because some number is surpassed is bonkers. The same goes for the demarcations of genre or theme or mechanisms or whatever: not only can you not make this distinction in advance, but there will always be games which straddle several genres and do so in a way which warrants their own inclusion in a collection. There should be room for 'fringe titles', in other words, titles which do not fit neatly in a catalogue scheme.
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meepleonboard
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Yes, I have been through a similar process, though your target (52) was my high point. I acquired 31 new games in 2012, and realised that I was not exploring any of them in depth, also that new-rule-fatigue was actually putting my other half (my gaming partner) off the hobby. Something needed to be done before it got out of control.

My aim in 2013 was to get my collection down to a more reasonable number for me - 38 turned out to be that number (for many reasons, all of them dull) and, as of yesterday, I am there. This year I have sold/traded/given away 15 games, but only 5 have entered my collection and a mere two are unplayed. I'm pretty happy with that. I got rid of games which simply weren't "different" enough to earn a slot, also some which were too long or too complex for us. Lastly, games which hadn't been played for a year were ideal candidates for the chop and needed a good reason to hang around.

This year I have managed to explore some games in real depth (50 plays of Dominion+Dominion: Prosperity in May), and am enjoying getting to grips with The Lord of the Rings: The Card Game (28 plays in less than a month). There are others whose surfaces I have barely scratched (Core Worlds and Prêt-à-Porter, for example), and I really want to do that rather than skitter over the latest Essen hotness.

Of course, some people like to acquire while some people prefer to explore in depth, and part of the whole process is about finding what works for you and keeps the mind from fretting. In 2014 I'd like to find space in my collection for maybe 4 new games (I already have them earmarked after much research), and, if they are good enough, will probably jettison one has-been for each to-be. Otherwise it will be about expansions for what I already have, as some of my games have just had shiny trinkets released in Essen.

Best of all, the culling of my collection has meant that my gaming hobby has, in 2013, been entirely self-financing, and that can't be bad. In fact, I'm about £12 up!

Happy gaming!
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Garcian Smith
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The way I see it is that your games should be the ones that you get played. While we all want to have any game for any occasion... if it doesn't get played, it's just sitting there. This hobby has become more of a shopping spree than one about mastery. I guess I'm a type of gamer that doesn't need 100 different games; I just need to focus on the few that are the very best. In order to cull your collection down, you need to have the mindset that if a game is just better than another, you can get rid of the poorer one.

Because I focus on the best games for myself, I naturally want to play these over playing everything new that comes out. So for instance, I'd be happy just playing Netrunner day after day, but the people around me do not do this.

While people focus on the game itself as the basis of purchasing it or not, that's really not the limiting factor. They will foam at the mouth for what a game has... ooh pretty artwork? lots of little miniatures? based on a tv series? The X factor is if they actually have people that are willing to play the game they buy. As I focused more on that principle, my game purchasing habits weaned and I stuck with what I had.



Each of these games has its purpose to me. Samarkand: Routes to Riches is the game I'll play when I want to play an easy to learn game that plays fast that I can enjoy with either new or veteran gamers from 2-5 players. The Resistance is a game that just puts everybody in the mood with people screaming and yelling for 5-10. Battlestar Galactica is an amazing game that combines that sabotage aspect of games with an actual strategic game in there for 5-6 players. Arkham Horror is known to be a slog in rules and game length for many players, but I sort of GM the game whenever I play and I help people think about what to do faster... we lost an 8 player game yesterday in about 1.5 hours; we were able to fit 3 turns actually. Android: Netrunner is one of my newest favorites right now, but it only fits 2, the strategy is pretty complex and I'm not into deckbuilding quite yet. Race for the Galaxy is probably my favorite Euro because it plays absolutely differently each game and it does so in about 20 to 30 minutes. Magic... is definitely an infamous game... but the main criticism I see is the cost to play, not the gameplay. I make my own decks using no rares or mythic rares, which makes me make a deck in $7 or less. Playing it is pretty easy and fun and it's simple to add more players.
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Ik ben een kleine boefje
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Uhm, yes I had the same situation. Started playing boradgames back in 2007. In 2010 I had as much as 120 games including expansions. Then , one day, I realized I had most of them unplayed and of many of them I even did not know the rules. I decided to cut my collection down, way down. Now I have only sixteen games, it was hard to sell some of the games I had but I am really happy know because:

a) I had serious room troubles with so many games in my living room (i live in a small appartment).
b) I never played most of my games, since I prefer other I also had.
c) I have a big gaming group that already own most of the game I sold, so I want to play them in any given moment I can use their copies or borrow them.
d) I consider that the wiser solution if you are not a collector and you have a group of friends that own a big number of games is to keep just the ones you really like or the ones that are very special for you.
e) Collecting games is a nice thing and won't harm you. if you have space and don't need the money sell only the ones you don't like or need any more or you will regret it, but if you really wnat to sell a game just do it.

All in all, it is a matter of keeping only what you really want to keep, most normally the ones you play oftenly and the ones you REALLY like or are special for some reason (sentimental, for instance).
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I collected video games, which is in my opinion completely analogous to board game collecting. They start to pile up on the shelves just because I want to have them for some reason (cool game, good gameplay, rarity, obscurity, etc). I even want to play them, at least on theoretical level, but in the end of the day I'm no going to play (most of) them which is what matters. They sit on the shelves, taking space, wasting money, stressing me out.

My rather extreme solution to this was to sell pretty much everything, which took some time, but was worth it and now I'm much more happier with the situation. Though in my case the whole hobby died down, so it doesn't necessarily count. I still play video games from time to time, there's couple handheld systems around to toy around with, and something on PC when I feel like for something deeper. Will never ever have shelves full of games, not even board games, which I've now fairly recently become interested in. Learned my lesson. There's currently 5 board games on my shelf, of which 3 are games that I have bought over couple years from flee market (I bought about 2 or 3 more, but have put those away). 2 of the 5 are my recent purchases of which the other I'm contemplating on selling. I'm am contemplating on buying one game now to expand to different sort genre.

This is how strict I have to keep things, and I don't 'have to', I love to keep it simple. Games have one purpose and that is to be played.
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Bruno Pigeon
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For me, 15 games is the maximum number of games. 10 games are what really gets played often. The other are good but don't see much playtime.

Here is how I decide to keep a game:
Do I like it and do my group like it? If yes, then it can stay in my collection. If I don't like it, I sell it. If I love it, but my group don't then I sell it also. What's the point of keeping a good game if you never play it?

Do I have games that a similar? If so, then I keep the one that me a my group prefer, and get rid of the other. And I won't buy a new game that is similar to one I already own. For example, I have Descent 2.0. And we like it. Now there is Zombicide that look really good, even better than Descent IMHO, but I won't buy it. Both are tactical skirmish games. They are too similar to each other to own both. Maybe I am missing on a great game. Maybe not. I will never know for certain.

Does the game cost more than 40$? If yes, then I need to come up with a pretty good justification to spend that much on a game. I'll do a lot of research, try to play it at least a few times.

And how long have the game been on my shelf without being played. I have Battlelore, which me and my girlfriend really enjoy. But haven't played it for over 3 years now. And never played more than the first 3 scenarios. Yes it's a good game, but it's worthless sitting on the shelf and not getting played.

And finally, last month, 1 person in my group actually said "please guys, stop buying new games, it's not fun to learn new games every time we play."

Last purchase was Flashpoint. I don't plan to buy anything else.
 
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You just realized that you're a gamer, not a collector. That's all. For me and I think for you, the joy derived from the practicality and 'efficiency' (for lack of a better term) in having a shelf full of games you know and enjoy far outweighs whatever pride of ownership might be felt at having a whole wall or room full of games, no matter if they're played or enjoyed or even opened.

Some folks just like to collect. Some folks just like to play. Most are somewhere in the middle.

I just started selling and gifting stuff to friends who I knew enjoyed/wanted/liked the game better than I did. From there I moved to trading (which was GREAT for trying games I had been eyeballing for a while!) and giving stuff up to the games for geekgold and all that. I've got tons of room to cut more if I want or need to, but I've struck a nice balance and I feel no rush to aggressively trim the last extra bits of fat.
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Steve Duff
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I would hate to have such a tiny amount of games. For me, one of the big pleasures on game night is standing in front of my shelves for half an hour, looking at all the boxes and deciding how I feel that night. Am I feeling light, dicey, heavy, serious, quick, etc. I think about previous plays, components, how the game looks on the table. Each game offers something different, and what do I want tonight?

I really don't care that some games go a year or more in between plays. I will own these games for decades. I don't need to get a lifetime's worth of plays in in just a year.
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