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Subject: Finding the root cause of my new found addiction - with graphs! rss

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Jon Peoble
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I am somewhat of a newcomer to the modern board gaming hobby. It wasn't until last year that I really started exploring the scene and started building a collection of my own. To my surprise, I noticed the other week that my collection now has over 100 games in it. Wow, how did that happen? Having my collection pass this milestone piqued my interest and motivated me to pull some data from BGG on my collection to see how it has grown. Below is the resulting chart. It shows how my collection grew from its meager start back in college to now.



Wow... That change in slope really caught me by surprise. I knew I had been buying a lot of games recently but for some reason, it didn't hit home how many I had actually been buying until I plotted it out.

So, as you can imagine, this piqued my interest even more. It was clear I had an addiction to board games but what was the root cause for this addiction? I investigated further by adding data points for some typical gateway games to the graph, from buying Risk way back in college up to finding Ticket to Ride on iOS and buying the physical boardgame. The below chart shows these data points:



Unfortunately, that didn't seem to answer the question. There was a good 2.5 year gap between buying Ticket to Ride and the explosion in purchases. So I zoomed in on that time period and looked a bit closer at what games I had been buying. Nothing seemed to make sense. Finally, I figured it out, as can be seen below in a zoomed-in graph of 2013 and 2014:



Yes, BGG, I am placing the blame for my addiction squarely onto your shoulders. A short two months after finding your site and creating an account, I started buying games at a rate of about 7 per month. The wealth of information you provided proved to be too alluring for me to resist. The new hotness, the old classics, the top 100! I had so much to learn and so many new games to explore and play.

So thank you BGG, you have cost me a pretty penny over the past year but I have no complaints. Yes, I probably have an addiction but now that I have a decent collection, perhaps my spending pattern will go down some. Although, I believe I have said this numerous times already... In any case, over the past year I have gotten to play a wealth of great games, meet some great people in my local community, and most importantly, spend a lot of evenings with my wife enjoying each others company over a friendly game of Agricola or Castles of Burgundy. In the scope of things, this isn't too bad of an addiction to have.
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Eric Johnson
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Awesome! I threw you some fake money to ease your pain.

shake
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Sam Phillips Beckerman
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I like how you think.
You'd probably be good at games! laugh
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Curt Carpenter
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peoblej wrote:
Yes, I probably have an addiction but now that I have a decent collection, perhaps my spending pattern will go down some.

Hah. Maybe in 5 years.

I'm just happy now that my "previously owned" count finally overtook my "owned" count. And should stay there for good (at least after each purge).
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Russ Williams
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"I used to think correlation implied causation."
https://xkcd.com/552/



(However in this case, you're probably right about the causation.)
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Bryan Carpenter
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That's a brilliant tale! There's far worse things to be addicted to, though!

Repeat after me:
"My name is Jon and I am a boardgame-aholic!"

BTW How did you get the date you added your games out of BoardGameGeek?
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Will

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ericbjohnson wrote:

Awesome! I threw you some fake money to ease your pain.

shake


Now, he has something else to graph. As he called it an addiction, that makes you an enabler.
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Jon Paul
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As a fellow Jon and an engineer I love your post and graphs. That said, let's not kid ourselves, you only own 78 games, which gives you plenty of justification to pick up at least 22 more before hitting that 100 game mental check.

I also wanted to say that I really like the variety in your collection and I could see myself owning a lot of the same games. This is rare for me to say of someones collection as I am pretty analytically specific in what I buy.
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Jon Peoble
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jobby wrote:

BTW How did you get the date you added your games out of BoardGameGeek?

There are two columns that you can view in your collection to get at this data, Date Added or Acquisition Date. Date Added is just that, the date you added that game to your collection. It is automatically populated for you. However, I didn't use this metric because it is populated whenever you first add a game to your collection, items on your wantlist included. This distorts the date in my opinion since many of my games first started out as being on my wantlist for several months. So I used the Acquisition Date instead. This field is located in your "private data" for games. It requires that you fill it out manually but if you do it every time you add a newly purchased game, it is not too much overhead.

Hope that helps!
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Bryan Carpenter
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I didn't realise that was hidden in there! Thanks for the info - I've tipped you a quarter
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Jon Peoble
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Chuckles21 wrote:
As a fellow Jon and an engineer I love your post and graphs. That said, let's not kid ourselves, you only own 78 games, which gives you plenty of justification to pick up at least 22 more before hitting that 100 game mental check.


Oh no, do expansions not count?! Looks I have some more games to buy then...

And thanks for the compliment on the collection. If you didn't live up in the frozen north, I would say we should get a couple plays in together. My desert blood can't handle that weather though!
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David G.
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Ooohhh! Fun! Hmmm... how do you make that cool graph? Maybe Excel makes it so easy I'll just figure it out.
 
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David G.
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peoblej wrote:
So I used the Acquisition Date instead. This field is located in your "private data" for games.


I can see how to display it, how do you enter it?

EDIT: Found it. You click on "Private Data" on the game page.
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Jon Peoble
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davebo wrote:
Ooohhh! Fun! Hmmm... how do you make that cool graph? Maybe Excel makes it so easy I'll just figure it out.


Yeah I just used Excel and made an XY Scatter Plot with the acquisition dates and a cumulative count of my games. It is a basic graph type in Excel, nothing too fancy.
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C. Rexford
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Interesting graphs...I am certain they would reflect a similar pattern in my BGG encounter as well.

Being 'bit' by the BGG bug can be identified by the following symptoms:

Stage I: Candy-Store
Like a kid in a candy store for the first time...there are so many different sorts to try...you will want to try them all!! You spend a goodly amount to aquire new games, so as not to miss out on anything spectacular...You subscribe to game reviews on Youtube and you drop reviewers/designer names as if they were the next oscar nominees.

Stage II: Choice Cuts
After some time, (and considerable amounts of money), you will start to play games that are similar to others, and you will notice that you don't really need to own them all to get the full range of gaming experiences.
You will discover that there are certain kinds of game mechanisms that you keep going back to. You are fine-tuning your tastes, and your spending will reflect that.

Stage III: Price of Peace
You will finally become 'comfortable' with your selection, you will see many 'new games' being released that you will easily bypass since you are well sated...and you will think that you will be able to save your money...

Stage IV: Reality Check
You will keep checking BGG, and eventually, you will see that there actually is a new game you 'must have'...and you will gladly shell out your retirement to get it. Then another, then another...

At this point you have accepted your diagnosis and you plan the rest of your life accordingly.
There is no cure, but treatment is available freely...that is to budget your income, and share the joy of gaming.



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Eelco van den Top
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Now I am only a member for one week here. But I can confirm that I am seeing exactly the same happening here. Over the course of the last few weeks me and my significant other have pretty much only talked about games and what we'd like to add to our collection.

She's began backing people on kickstarter and ordering out of print games...
Me I've added 4 games to my collection in two weeks time...

We all know what's going to happen from here!

The graphs are very telling. Brilliant! Both me and my girl had a good laugh about this. It is so true I cannot find enough thumbs to give to your post. Thank you for sharing, it brightened up the days of two people you've never met!
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Jon Peoble
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Glad you enjoyed it and welcome to the club! It is a great hobby to be involved in.
 
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David G.
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critically_hit wrote:
We all know what's going to happen from here!


Buying books would be a good thing if one could also buy the time to read them in. – Arthur Schopenhauer

When you buy a game, you also think you're buying the time to play them. - My friend Jonathan Degann

There's a frenzy to discovering this hobby, everyone goes through it. Just, temper your purchases.
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Mark Johnson
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Quote:

When you buy a game, you also think you're buying the time to play them. - My friend Jonathan Degann


Oh, he's so right.
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Will

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davebo wrote:

When you buy a game, you also think you're buying the time to play them. - My friend Jonathan Degann


Yes, but a proper graph would show that you are actually allowing yourself less time to play by working more hours to get the money for your games.
 
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Kristen Umansky
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Haha. This is funny. YouTube is what gets me. Although I have to admit I'm pretty good. I've been watching YouTube reviews for a few years even though I've just gotten into the hobby. I buy a book & a game for my nieces and nephews every Christmas to try and get them away from video games. So I've been watching tabletop & the dice tower for 2 years now.

Every now and then I'd get a game for my husband and I and we would enjoy it. Then this summer I started playing magic at a game store. Which leads to playing games there occasionally. My husband got me Descent for Christmas which then lead me to join an 8 week campaign at the store and now I'm just loving games. Got a bunch for my birthday this month and anyone who gave me money or a gift card it went to games. But YouTube is where I learn about games and I pretty much just put anything I think looks good on my amazon wish list. I imagine board games will be binge purchases for me. Buy a bunch at once and then nothing for several months.
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Chris
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I want to call you a loser and mock you for drawing graphs about this stuff... but... yeah I'm basically you it seems.

I had Carcassonne many many years ago, a few expansions and then happily played it occassionally for a few years then forgot about it for a while... bought Dominion for a friend as it was cheap and good apparently, then eventually got it for myself too and the seeds slowly started from there, especially when I managed to suss out how to navigate BGG... Now I mostly just feel like a fool for missing out all these years.

I get bored of things pretty easily, and since Novemberish games started taking over my aspergers tinged life. Now I think I'm mostly levelled out in my obsessions, not like I want to wake up and play a game in bed etc... and I've happily skipped a few meetups in favour of some gardening in the spring sunshine. But still... yeah I still want to buy most of the games.

As far as the quote about buying the time.... I'd say I also tend to think I'm buying the friends to play them with too, and that's an even bigger bump when you come down to land on that one!
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David G.
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BTW Jon,

Damn you.

That graph really sparked something in me. I, like you, probably thought "I bet those 'Date Added' dates will be sufficient", and I set out to make a graph using them.

I quickly saw that I needed to figure out some more realistic "Date Acquired" figures.

"How long can it take, maybe an hour?"

Problem is, I've been in the hobby for about 9 years now. Lots of purchases. Lots of cold trails figuring out when I got a game.

I'm now 10 hours of time spent gathering my dates (mostly while watching TV, so it's not like I've lost 'family time') and I only have about half of what I need.

But data Is Just TOO COOL! I NEED THAT GRAPH!

The ridiculous thing is I bet if I wrote my own graph based on my assumptions, and compared it to the actual graph, it'd probably be about the same.

But, that's not good enough.

So, now I'm gathering data. I searched through emails for things like "Thoughthammer", "Time well spent" and "Cool Stuff Inc". I also looked at games played to figure out which one of those plays was with 'my copy', to try to estimate a "Date Acquired".

It's embarrassing to say that it's kinda fun, unearthing these dates. Part of my satisfaction is knowing that once done, it'll be easy to maintain and it'll be cool data to have.
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Jon Peoble
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davebo wrote:

I'm now 10 hours of time spent gathering my dates (mostly while watching TV, so it's not like I've lost 'family time') and I only have about half of what I need.


Hah hah, sorry for that! That was exactly my process as well. I started with the date acquired data, quickly saw that it was insufficient, and then went back and added acquisition dates for everything. Luckily for me though, my collection was only 100 games! It took me about an hour. As you say though, it is pretty easy to maintain once you have your current collection up to date.
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I had one game, Catan, which I picked up from a garage sale last summer. I now own 32 other games (most of which I purchased since November) and I have 6 more games coming soon. Coincidently, I found this sight in November...
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