David Tracy
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I know fellow geeks have posted in the past their strategies for paring down their game collection. My collection grows and shrinks, and now that I've been tidying up other things in the house, it's time to approach the games!

All of this is inspired by that damned Tidying Up book, which has been both a blessing and a curse. It worked like a dream for clothes, books, cds, dvds and kitchen stuff, but now we're getting to the tough stuff. (Actually books were kind of tough.)

A key aspect to the book is rather than getting rid of things you don't like or need any more, you look at every item and keep what it is you like. It has to "spark joy." This reframing was a refreshing approach for certain categories. Oh right. I forgot to mention that you tidy up by category, rather than by room.

Anyway, it's time for games. Here are just some road blocks:

- Haven't played it yet, but it's supposed to be great!
- Played it once and really liked it.
- It's rare, so it will be tougher to get in the future should I want to play it.
- I love it, but no one I play with likes it. Dang it!

What is your approach to paring down your games? And if there are articles or posts that I've missed that address this question well, please let me know. Lastly, how do you prevent yourself by continuing to purchase those fresh buzzy titles??



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Marco DeLaurentis
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gashlycrumb wrote:
I know fellow geeks have posted in the past their strategies for paring down their game collection. My collection grows and shrinks, and now that I've been tidying up other things in the house, it's time to approach the games!

All of this is inspired by that damned Tidying Up book, which has been both a blessing and a curse. It worked like a dream for clothes, books, cds, dvds and kitchen stuff, but now we're getting to the tough stuff. (Actually books were kind of tough.)

A key aspect to the book is rather than getting rid of things you don't like or need any more, you look at every item and keep what it is you like. It has to "spark joy." This reframing was a refreshing approach for certain categories. Oh right. I forgot to mention that you tidy up by category, rather than by room.

Anyway, it's time for games. Here are just some road blocks:

- Haven't played it yet, but it's supposed to be great!
- Played it once and really liked it.
- It's rare, so it will be tougher to get in the future should I want to play it.
- I love it, but no one I play with likes it. Dang it!

What is your approach to paring down your games? And if there are articles or posts that I've missed that address this question well, please let me know. Lastly, how do you prevent yourself by continuing to purchase those fresh buzzy titles??





For me it is even harder because I donate my games or use at a con every year, so I don't want to get rid of stuff they could use. It comes down to what could see play at the con as well as home.

How do I stop buying new games? I also colect pop vinyls, and that's expensive as well. So I have to go "Game or pop vinyl exclusive this time?"
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S Squidpigge
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I am following this to see what suggestions you get. I have that "collector" gene so it is hard for me to get rid of anything. I have started getting rid of things that I picked up thinking they might be worth a shot and then just sat there for years. I'm getting to the harder games now.

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Joe Huber

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gashlycrumb wrote:
What is your approach to paring down your games?


If I don't need, or no longer need, to control my ability to play a game, I let it go. Just that has been enough to keep my collection down to the space available for it for twenty years.

Quote:
Lastly, how do you prevent yourself by continuing to purchase those fresh buzzy titles??


I don't. I tend to think about it, but if I want to try a game and suspect it will be for me, I get it - and then let it go if it's not. Compared to some, I don't buy a huge number of games - but it's still a huge number as compared to your average consumer, likely in the 40-50 range. Most of them just don't stick around for long...
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J.S. Bridges
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Since I acquire most of my games for a good price (usually 50-90% off), I have made it a priority to do 2 for 1 trades on games that I really want and I can't find at a discount. This sometimes means I never play a shrink wrapped game, but most games I acquire are not that amazing anyway. This unsentimental feeling is just in me and I don't think collectors/hoarders can deal with the idea of buying something knowing they may never play it.
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maf man
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I think about what it would take to get a game to the table. If I can imagine getting the game out to a welcoming table within a year, I keep it. Theres a good amount of friends and family I see only once a year so theres a good amount of good games that dont get much action. If I can say something like "next time I see _______ theres a good chance that we will play ________" (while trying to be strict on myself) then I'll keep it.

But if I have a game that wouldn't be someones top 5 picks I seriously consider getting rid of it. Now my collection is currently under some amount of control so I give some lee way but I try to cut back to keep proud of my collection. I've only parted with a handful of worthwhile games so far.
 
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maf man
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josephsibleybridges wrote:
Since I acquire most of my games for a good price (usually 50-90% off)

and where do you shop?
 
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Chengkai Yang
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Well I got part 1 down, not so much on the buying new ones. The new ones though tend to replace older ones at this point and its more a matter of which one does it best. Worker placement and deck builders have the highest attrition with regards to this. CitOW is starting to feel the age but hasn't fallen yet. I still like it to Blood Rage, but Cthulhu Wars is rapidly pushing it out. The problem is games like Time Stories which don't have a direct analogue. Luckily I still have room around the house. I think the biggest limiting factor though has to be the size of my travel bag and acknowledging I can only take a few games each week to the meetup.
 
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Jeff Miller
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gashlycrumb wrote:
Lastly, how do you prevent yourself by continuing to purchase those fresh buzzy titles??

I just remind myself that in a couple years the vast majority of those games will be stale forgotton titles. The ones that aren't forgotton, go on my wishlist instead of whatever the new fresh buzzy titles might be (with the added bonus, that older games are generally fairly easy to trade for at that point, further eliminating acquisition in favor of collection rotation).
 
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Kyle
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I haven't bought a single game this year whistle

mildthrill wrote:
gashlycrumb wrote:
Lastly, how do you prevent yourself by continuing to purchase those fresh buzzy titles??

I just remind myself that in a couple years the vast majority of those games will be stale forgotton titles. The ones that aren't forgotton, go on my wishlist instead of whatever the new fresh buzzy titles might be (with the added bonus, that older games are generally fairly easy to trade for at that point, further eliminating acquisition in favor of collection rotation).


This method is one I like also. Math trades are awesome, especially.
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Alison Mandible
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So I'm curious... if you actually do the slightly goofy Tidying Up thing of holding the game in your hand and seeing whether it sparks joy... what results do you end up with?

I have the same roadblocks you mention, but the joy test still basically works. Of the games I haven't played, some still make me excited to think of playing eventually, while others bring me down. And likewise, some rare games excite me just to have, while others make me feel a little silly and yet scared to get rid of them. I flail about it, but if I'm honest with myself I know whether having a particular game is making me happier.

It feels pretty weird to consider getting rid of a game I've never played. But for some of these games, having it sitting on my shelf isn't making me any more likely to play it!

And then all the games that don't pass the joy test go and sit in a huge box because I want to trade them or give them to friends instead of just dropping them at Goodwill. So that's not perfect.
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bort
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You just have to be honest about the games that you havent played in a year (or more).

Are you *really* ever going to play it? And is it worth keeping for a single play every year or two?
 
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Brant Benoit
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I play the ones I have, and get rid of the ones I don't, or won't.

As far as new games go, I've managed to ignore the new hotness hype (and Kickstarter), and wait for some reviews. This isn't always the case, but I've been more scrutinizing with my purchases the past few years.

There will always be more games and plenty of time to buy them. Playing them all on the other hand, that's where time runs short.

Life is too short, play the games you enjoy most.

Let go of the rest.
 
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For me, I consider my pile of games a "library" and not a "collection." In other words, I tend not to "collect" games just so I can have fancy titles on the shelf (not that there's anything wrong with that). Instead, I try to have games that will actually get played. Admittedly, some are played more frequently than others, but if a game isn't going to be played, that's when its time to go. With that in mind:

gashlycrumb wrote:

- Haven't played it yet, but it's supposed to be great!

I generally keep these for a while. But eventually, if they never get played, they get traded. For instance, I acquired a copy of Madeira and it looks really fun. But so far, the group for it has just never materialized. And in the intervening months, other games have cropped up that are very enjoyable and I want to play more.

I'm giving it a little more time, but if another month or two passes, I'll probably add it to the next math trade.
Quote:

- Played it once and really liked it.

Howe often is this likely to be played? There are some games that I can only play very rarely. Longer games (like Dominant Species or War of the Ring) are often hard for me to get to the table. But if I like them enough, I don't mind going a year or two between plays. Other games I like, but not enough to keep the shelf space reserved. Often, I'll compare it to other games. There have been times when I never want to play one game (Bang!) because another game (Shadow Hunters) does the same thing in a better way. So the old game gets traded.
Quote:

- It's rare, so it will be tougher to get in the future should I want to play it.

Never factors into my thinking. I either like a game or I don't. Rarity doesn't increase my enjoyment - except that sometimes I can get a better trade from a rare game.
Quote:

- I love it, but no one I play with likes it. Dang it!


Most of these get traded. I recently had a blast with Tragedy Looper. My group, though, hated it. Even though I liked it, I recognized that it was never going to be played again. And it was traded.

If a game isn't going to be played, there's no joy to be had from it. It's just a thing. The promised experiences will never materialize. So if it is just a thing, and not something that will produce joy for you and your friends, then it needs to go.

At least, in my opinion.
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Jeromie Rand
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Here are some strategies I use, in no particular order. I've had to develop some strategies to keep my collection minimal because of space (and time) constraints. They won't work for everyone, but they've kept my collection under control (at least by my standards. :-) ):

- My games fit in a specific amount of space. Once that space is filled, if I want to purchase a new game something must go.
- I log all of my plays. If a game has gone unplayed for over a year (or sometimes two), I will get rid of the game even if I really like it. This allows me to apply data instead of nostalgia into ownership decisions.
- I try not to own games my friends own, at least if I commonly play the game with them. If I have a fixed amount of space (see item 1), I'd like it to go towards unique experiences.
- When I have two games that fit a particular niche, I keep the game that I would rather play. This ties into the "spark of joy" that Marie Kondo talks about: if I wish I was choosing a different game every time I pull a particular title off the shelf, it's not for me.
- I'm pretty honest with myself about how much time I actually have to play games and who I will be likely to play them with. I usually don't buy or keep games that will never see the table.

I think this is the core of how The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up applies to a game collection: if every game that is on your shelf is one of your favorites, then you don't need to regret the games you don't own. Every time you pull a game off the shelf, it will be in preparation for a play session that will excite and thrill you. (Well, if you've got the right folks to play with.)

As an addendum, I think a lot of the advice in that book is good. In particular, the idea of filling your home with things that bring you joy is a positive way to re-frame our relationship with possessions. But I still think Kondo has an unhealthy relationship with stuff: she's obsessed with NOT owning things. That still allows material goods to dominate her thoughts and experiences, at least as she portrays them in the book.

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Jeff
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I cull the herd, as I like to say, fairly often. I don't consider myself a collector per se, so doing this doesn't bother me at all. Basically, any game I've rated lower than an 8/10 is immediately on my short list for possible sell off, or donation. Sometimes if I look at a game and I just don't get a vibe that I'll play it again then it may go too, even if I appreciate it on some level.

As for not buying new games, I'm not as good with that. However, I'm trying to slow that down. One way is I use the "Want to buy", "wish list", and "want to play" lists as a way of ranking how desirous I am of getting a game. Where "want to play" is of least interest, and "want to buy" is most interest. This just helps me sort games out in my head.

Hope this helps.
 
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David Tracy
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Thank you all for the responses so far. One of the challenges for a large collection is the sheer number of games. I can only imagine what it would look like as a mountain in my living room. Maybe I can make it look like Devil's Tower.

My thought is maybe to break the collection down further and do it in pieces- either by mechanic or type. For example, I could start just with card games. The more you break it down, the more muddied it gets, but it might feel like less of a wall.

Then again, maybe it's better to build that tower of games and attack it head on.

Thoughts?

It's gratifying to know that I am not the only one in this conundrum, and I'm impressed with how well some of you handle it.
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Louise McCully
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You got me thinking today regarding what do you do with those you haven't played and don't know if it sparks joy or not.

I've got a bunch of games I can't remember why I got them originally so I think what needs to be done is to research each game as if I was to buy it.

That way I will find out if my gaming tastes have changed or not. Maybe that might work for you?
 
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CARL SKUTSCH
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I'm not good at getting rid of games, but I do do it from time to time (and I'm due to soon). Here, roughly, is my method.

First, focus on the play value. Is it fun to play. For you. For your gaming circle. FUN. Focus on the fun.

Obviously, if I don't like the game much, it goes. I don't care how rare or special it is, but if I don't enjoy playing it, why keep it? I got Sheriff of Nottingham a while back. Played it once. Didn't like it. Gave it to some friends (who loved it, win win!).

Next, can I play it with someone I know? Is it going to be popular in my gaming circle. This is vital, the key factor. This basically means my wife and kid or a few of my gaming buddies, or a few couples that we play gateway games with. This is my very small gaming circle. If none of them seem likely candidates, the game is going to go. For example: I got Evolution, seems like a nice enough game, but the wife wasn't thrilled. It's not my gaming buddy's style, it's a bit too much to be a gateway game, so it's probably going. Another example: Survive! I thought it was pretty cool. However, the wife hated, HATED it. I really got it for family/friend game nights, which the wife is always a part of, so if she doesn't like it, gone. In this general camp is Alhambra Big Box. Nice enough game, but kinda blah. Just doesn't excite me. Probably going to go to make room for better options.

Unless, unless, the game has a special place in my heart. I have a few war games that fall into this category. East Front II. Man I love that game. Nobody I know currently is into it, but I just can't let it go. Polis is another. Not the wife's style, or my main gaming buddy, but it's such a strange charming little game that I'm never going to dump it.

And then there are the games that seem pretty darn good so that, even though the wife doesn't like them, I keep them around just in case she changes her mind. Keyflower is one. I don't exactly love it but it seems pretty cool and I'd like to give it another shot. That may not last, so it may go in the end, but, for now, it's a keeper (although it should feel nervous).
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Mark Blasco

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Do you know a lot of people who play games? Even if it's only a few, take some of those games that you only get to play once a year or so, and see if one of your friends wants them. If they have it, and enjoy it, than they'll invite you to play it with them every now and again. You'll still get to play it on occasion, but they will get some joy out of it as well.

I have a limited space, and one of the things I did was to take a bunch of games out of their packaging, and throw the boxes away. Games like King of Tokyo, Pandemic, Ascension, Splendor, and others have huge boxes with tons of empty space. I ended up putting about 20 games inside one case which is slightly larger than a briefcase. You can find sites that help you to make your own small tuck boxes for cards and components. It was hard the first few times to flatten out the boxes, but it has saved me so much space, plus all of those games are in one case which is really easy to bring to a game night.

The other thing I did this year is to start tracking the number of times I play each game. At the end of the year, anything that hasn't been played is going to go, unless there is a very good reason to keep it. What's the purpose in keeping a game if it doesn't get played?

Lastly, in terms of keeping yourself from buying new games, that's pretty easy. Every time you want a new game, take that money and put it into a savings account. Wait until the game has been out for a while, isn't the current hotness, and the price has gone down. If you still really want it then, buy it. If not, take that money and put it towards something better, like a night out, or a new washing machine, or braces for the kids, or face painting lessons. Additionally, once you feel you have your game collection down to a manageable size, keep it at a certain number. Every time you buy a new game, you have to get rid of one. Buying that new game will be harder if you know you're going to have to pick something else to go.
 
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Michael R.
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By the end of today I will have sold 10 games, most of which, if you had previously asked me, I'd have said that I'd never sell. I think the trick is to realise that games are just boxes of cardboard and unless you play them their value is very low, and the mental and emotional costs and demands they may place on you can be rather wearing. If you can start to break your attachment to things and see them for what they really are it makes things much easier. You're not your stuff. It's straightforward and obvious but very difficult to see it so in our consumer driven society.
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It's hard when you don't really wanna get rid of games but sort of feel you have to.

For me right now, I don't have / want to use a lot of space for games. Which means that if Im not having fun with it or none I know wants to play it with me, well then it's out (Unless its in like top 10) - I just try to think that this will make room for new amazing games some day - almost as if some of my game Collection is in a constant state of being a rental

It's helped me a lot selling to people I know and might be able to play it with some day. Then you'll still have the option.

Haven't tried buying games I don't get to play.
 
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