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Wesley R
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So I am just starting out in life by having a job and living on my own and I do not have the most money.

This is also the time where my girlfriend and I are entering the board game hobby which is a bit more expensive than I thought it would be.

We put together a list of what games we wanted to start off a collection (the ones everyone likes, essentials, etc) and told people to give us them for the holidays, however there are a LOT of games out there and I feel like it'll take a long time to get a decent-seized collection. Not to mention the current list of 24 games in itself is almost $1,000 off of Amazon.

Thus, if you were to start your collection over and had a small budget but had all the knowledge you do now what games would top your list? Where should I look for games to get them the cheapest? What order would you get your games in as far as enjoyment or number of plays left in them?

If you were going to start a collection, how would you do it? Obviously I will be taking notes and appreciate any help.
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Pasi Ojala
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Get the Imperial Assault Campaign module for Vassal from http://www.vassalengine.org/wiki/Module:Star_Wars:_Imperial_Assault
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Do not start with 'essentials', don't start a collection. Find games that you love to play!

Try to find out what kind of games you like, and more importantly, what features in a game you don't like. Armed with that information you can ask for suggestions. The more information about these things you have, the better you can find games that you will like without spending money on duds.

Also, keep in mind the group you play with. They matter. You are buying games to be played, not tried once, but getting repeated plays. If someone in the group does not like something in a game, it is not going to get played.

More generally:
1. How many players? Is it always a fixed number, what is the range?
2. Play time? Is longer time acceptable if you are immersed the whole time?
3. Do you prefer some specific setting/theme? What are the interests of you and the other players?
4. Are you timid about confrontation? Any bad winners or losers in the group? Do you like to explore and be surprised about what a game has to offer, or do you want to read the rulebook and be prepared for everything?
5. What have you played already? Any specific likes and dislikes? Was there something that did not quite work in your group?

(When you know at least some of the answers, go to Recommendations and receive an abundance of good suggestions that you can research further.)
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Paul DeStefano
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#1: $250 on crokinole.
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J.R. Shoenberger
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First off, identify games that you like. Only buy your favorites - games that you want to play a lot. If you played a game once and thought it was 'okay', don't buy it.

Buy different types of games first. If you're going to start with five games, for instance, buy five games in different genres (card game, 2-player games, economic, auction, tile laying, trading, etc.). Don't start with a bunch of similar games, because often some will take the backseat quickly.

Also, look at reviews and rankings here. Not that rankings should be the end all, be all, but there's usually a reason a game is widely liked. Especially with games that are a few years old. I usually don't like to buy games right after they come out, because they often fade into obsurity quickly. I'd rather buy games that stand the test of time.
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Rick Noetzel
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Be patient and shop around. I have bought from Amazon, Cool Stuff, and a dozen other places. I've picked up tons of used games off ebay and (knock on wood) been pleased with the condition of all the purchases.

I started collecting in the early 70's, so everything came from the local game store. For years, the content of my collection was based on the prices and selection of The Games Store in 100 Oaks Mall, Nashville, TN.

Today you have so many options and, if you're willing to wait for the deals, can get some decent prices. Have several items on your list (like you do) and watch a few different places for good prices. Don't be shy about buying used, but be prepared for a game from a smoker (for example) that needs some airing out.
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Pasi Ojala
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Get the Imperial Assault Campaign module for Vassal from http://www.vassalengine.org/wiki/Module:Star_Wars:_Imperial_Assault
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Another note about the range of players.

You are going to need games for different player counts and different situations. There are very few games that work well with 2 players as well as 5 players, or at the least they will have different feel to them. Most games also only support 2-4 players, so you need different games for 5+ players.

Also, start slow. Do not buy more than a couple of unplayed games. Your knowledge about games grow with each game you try.
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Dan King
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Thrift stores are an excellent place to look for games. I have bought some somewhat rare titles for as low as $.50. For example, a couple of months ago, I bought a never punched, 20th anniversary copy of Scotland Yard for $2.00.
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Wesley R
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Hmmm... It seems I have a lot to think about. I think I will narrow my essentials in order to just get an overview of game types and styles to get an idea of what my girlfriend and I like.

Then I will focus more on finding a quality game group where we can pass around games and thus make the games we have more fun with fun people and make it so we try more games.

I have been checking thrift stores when I go, but I haven't found anything yet.

Thanks for the help, it has been quite clarifying.
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Kevin Ice
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Amazon will occasionally be the right place to get a game, but the vast majority of the time you're better off shopping elsewhere. I prefer Coolstuffinc, although they aren't necessarily the cheapest anymore. www.boardgameprices.com will give you a good idea about what olgs options there are.

Starting a collection based on all the consensus choices seems like a recipe for needing to do alot of trading in the future, but if thats the way you're wanting to dive in I say do it. When I found the hobby I needed to try all the well rated games, and only now that I to a large extent have I realized that a good third of my slightly over 100 game collection can go.

As far as which games are concerned I suggest not ignoring the older classics for the new stuff, play Agricola, Puerto Rico, and El Grande for example.

Another thing I suggest is not to buy games for other people. I wasted alot of energy and money with "gateway" games that I never really liked. Find your local gamers and start gaming with them.
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Dale Thomson
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+1 to thrifting. It is a bit of a hobby in itself, I have found some great games on the cheap (Ra for a buck last week), and I have discovered some games that I never would have bought otherwise.

Be patient, thrifting will yield results eventually
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a1bert wrote:
Do not start with 'essentials', don't start a collection. Find games that you love to play!


This is absolutely the best piece of advice. If you're going to be spending your money, get the most out of it. Buy games you want to play.

For me, essentials include things like Core Worlds, Mage Knight Board Game, The Resistance: Avalon, and Macao. But if you don't like them and would never play them, then there is no reason to buy them.

The best thing to do is find and purchase games you like. Even if you want variety, it's better to have a two player game (for example) you like rather than one you dislike but is highly ranked.

What games have you played and enjoyed? That might give us a sense of where you are in the hobby and what games might be good to check out.
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TJ
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If you're gaming on a budget, I'd actually suggest looking at games that offer a lot of replayability (either because of depth and/or variability), so you get a lot of bang for your buck. It's better to buy a single $50 game that you could play endlessly than two cheaper titles that you get sick of after a couple plays.

Also take into consideration who you're going to play games with, and what kind of games they're going to want to play. If it's just you and your girlfriend, look for games that really shine as a 2-player game. Also think about if you and your girlfriend want to play more confrontational games (war games, for example), play more strategic games where you're just trying to play the most optimally to get the most points (aka Euro-style games), and/or play co-operatively.

One trap a lot of people can fall into is to buy a collection of games that they don't have the right group to play with, because they think theoretically one day they will. There's no need to buy party games if you have no intention of hosting parties where you play these games (and even in the off chance you do, there's plenty of free games you can play with a deck of playing cards). There's no need to buy a heavy economic strategy game that takes 4 hours to play if you're never going to have the time to play it (and even in the case you do have that time, just play 2 2-hour games). There's no need to buy a game set in 14th century Europe if your friends will only play games that involve dragons and aliens.
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Derek Rowe
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Welcome to this wonderful hobby. My advice is to start slow, try not to get in the trap of buying 10 games then play 1 then buy 10 more again. This hobby can be expensive only if you make it so. If you find a game you like stick with it and enjoy the time you play with it.

To find something you like sit down with your girlfriend and do some research find one that sounds interesting to both of you. It is easy to get stuck in the cult of the new trap and buy everything that is coming out. I used to do it and I have been stung a few times where I like it but cannot get anyone else to play it.

Remember to buy something on a topic YOU find interesting.
Ask the store owner if he has played the game and what his/her thoughts are.
Research the game here on BGG to see if it is a good fit for 2,3 or 4 players.
Have Fun buying and playing these games with those around you.
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Christian Gienger
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Like already said, go for games you really like and want to play more often, but look for the player count as well. If you are almost exclusively playing with your girlfriend, buy games that are good with 2 players. Try to play games before buying them. If you don't have a shop, club or similar to test-play games try online versions like Brettspielwelt, Boardgamearena or Yucata.
And everyone has his own favourites, so there aren't must haves. There's not even a must have game for someone liking worker placement games.
 
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Mr. Blue
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Another suggestion: if you have identified games that you think you will enjoy, spend some time looking at Geeklist auctions or the Marketplace here on BGG. I have obtained some games for ridiculously low prices that way, even with paying shipping costs. Buying used games in good condition is a great way to build up your stockpile of games.
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tim thorson
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I would look in the marketplace or auctions. I've sold and bought games for next to nothing.
 
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Wesley R
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MyParadox wrote:
a1bert wrote:
Do not start with 'essentials', don't start a collection. Find games that you love to play!


What games have you played and enjoyed? That might give us a sense of where you are in the hobby and what games might be good to check out.


I agree it was great advice and somewhat shocked me that I wasn't thinking along those lines before. However, I will have to go in blind in a couple areas as I do not have exposure to enough games to know what I like and what I do not. Thus, a few high rated ones in those areas may be in order to try them out. However, I very much like the idea of finding people with games and go get plays in first.

We both very much enjoy Dominion and am planning on getting a few expansions.

I enjoy some abstract strategy games on opinion like Othello or Chess.

My girlfriend likes word games and we will be getting a Scrabble-type game sometime soon.

I have enjoyed most party games that I have played, but am rarely in a situation to play them anymore.

We both liked Carcassonne and Catan.

Finally, we both enjoy area control games like risk.

We have just contacted a bunch of our friends to see who might want to play board games with us and may be able to build a group of existing friends. However, we want a decent stock of good two-player games to play with just us at least until we have a group established (or need to go find people to play with).
 
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The Tak
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Only buy what you like.

Only buy what you like.

Again, most importantly, only buy what you like.

Don't pay ANY attention to BGG ratings. Nuts to them. If something looks interesting to you, find a way to play it or trade for it or get it 2nd hand and play it and learn (both about the game and yourselves as gamers!) and move on from there to the next title that looks absolutely must-have.

And remember, only buy what you like!
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Thrift stores are a good suggestion. Bargains can also be found on auctions here on BGG, or Games for Geekgold

http://boardgamegeek.com/geeklist/66420/metalist-for-geeklis...

http://boardgamegeek.com/geeklist/164134/games-for-geekgold-...

There are lots of games available on ArtsCow

http://boardgamegeek.com/geeklist/40596/arts-cow-card-sets-d...

(and right now they're having a 25% off and free shipping sale)

There are lots of Print-and-Play games

http://www.boardgamegeek.com/geeklist/34664/print-n-play-gam...


Also, I agree with what was said about getting one $50 game that you'll play a lot over two $25 games you'll play once or twice. Agricola, at almost 100 plays, is one of the best bargains in our collection. But we've also played Utopian Rummy and Magnate over 100 times each, and they were ArtsCow decks for less than $10.

If you want to see what people are getting to the table, this series of geeklists is a good one to follow:

http://www.boardgamegeek.com/geeklist/164803/your-most-playe...
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Isaac Finkelstein
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I would pick yourselves up and hit local meetups / game groups. Play games that other people own, which is free. See which games you then really want. Buy them.

Buy nothing you haven't already played. The fact that a game conceptually sounds good doesn't mean you won't hate it.

The cheapest way would be through Barnes & Noble & Target clearances & thrifts. Obviously you are restricted to what they happen to have, but you'll mind that less as you grab things for 70% or 75% off or for $2.
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Rick Weckermann
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For $10 get some Geek Gold and go to http://www.boardgamegeek.com/geeklist/149343/games-for-geekg...
If your lucky you can win a nice game for $10
 
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I would pay closer attention to who I am going to play with. I love Arkham Horror and Battlestar Galactica but the never get played, the people I play with either don't want to spend three hours on a game or are not ready for that type of game.

I wouldn't fall for the hype. I love the Geek but the rating system is a little wonky. I have bought a few games that were the current hotness and were okay games but because of the hype generated I was prepared for this end all be all game and it fell short.

I would be weary of those evil reviewers. Ok they are not evil. I do love to watch the reviews given by these guys but they make you want to run out and buy fifty games.

Finally I would not buy as many as I did at one time. While I like every game I own now, I traded or sold the ones I did not like, in the beginning I would buy three or more at one time. In doing this I was unable to enjoy the games as much as I could have if I only bought one and played it several times instead of playing a game once or twice then moving on to the next one.

Good luck and welcome to the hobby.
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I think variety is very important, and this applies to theme, mechanics, and complexity.

Theme diversity is probably the least important, as there are a lot of people out there who really love certain themes and will happily play them all day. Also, there are some gamers who really don't care much about theme and are willing the play games back-to-back with similar themes if the game itself is different enough.

Diversity in mechanics is important, but you should still just stick to what you enjoy. Maybe you find that you really, really like deck-building games. This does not mean that you need to go out and buy lots of deck-building games. Start with 1, and think about getting more only when your collection grows. If your friends say "I'm tired of Dominion," you want to have another game to pull out that isn't just Dominion with super heroes.

Diverse levels of complexity is often overlooked. Even gamers that are into very complex games often like to start off on something simple or quick. These are also great to fill gaps - maybe you are waiting for somebody to show up, or someone has to make a call in between games. Size and weight of the game are worth considering if you usually bring your games to meetups elsewhere. I have a large bin I take with me that can fit about 8 large games, but also fits dozens of smaller games along the sides of the box. People appreciate having a lot of choices in the games I bring, and I appreciate that my collection weighs half as much as it would have if I were bringing the same number of heavier games.
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Pasi Ojala
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MasterDinadan wrote:
If your friends say "I'm tired of Dominion," you want to have another game to pull out that isn't just Dominion with super heroes.


Core Worlds was already mentioned (1/3 deckbuilding, 1/3 managing energy and actions, 1/3 reading your opponents).
 
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