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Subject: Rules of acquisition for boardgames: what should I buy? rss

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Nikosu Oyama
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Because I am a student and I have fairly low income it's essential for me that my hobbies don't eat all my money. I have to stay alive too you know. So I decided to make rules of acquisition for games. I'll make a geeklist of the games that I think I should get based on these rules.

The Rules of Acquisition:
Acquire if and only if:
-The game can't be played for free (besides internet, bsw etc.) (it's not owned by anyone you know or that the game isn't available in cafes, clubs, pubs etc.)
-There is no optional game that is better or has got a better price/value-relation
-Best game (7 and up in BGG) in it's category:
-divided by:
-duration: (less than) 15,45,90,180 minutes
-difficulty: difficult (3.5-5), average (2-3.5), easy (1-2)
-number of players: (more than) 3,5,7 players
-there isn't a game in your collection that has similar mechanics
-the game has to have a specific purpose why it's bought (that you know people who are willing to play it or you can use it to get to know people you don't know etc.)
-maximum number of games 10, including games that have a higher real value than 5 euros (the amount of money you'll get if you sell it, but atleast 50% of the amount it costs)

This is a very strict list of rules. But I want to make certain that my money is well spent and also that the amount spend to boardgames has to have a limit.

If you have any suggestions conserning the rules, please tell me! Although this list is based on my specific needs, I think that everyone can use it to limit the number of games in their collection if they modify it. Maybe someone has other set of rules of acquisition?

Games I own divided into categories. There are some games that aren't actually the best in the given category but close enough.
http://www.boardgamegeek.com/geeklist/20509/item/400049#item...
 
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William Hostman
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My rules of acuisition:

BGG rating at least a 6 *
Game has a good theme
Game has nice bits, even if they are cardboard
Expected Value: Total player-hours expected is more than price in US$
Game has replayability
Theme is not pasted on in too obvious a way.
My friends will play it.

* unless it's being picked up for study of the mechanics
 
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Walt
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Don't buy a game unless you've played it at least once. Usually, someone else will buy any game I am interested in. If they do not, it is a sign the game is bad.

Don't buy a game unless you believe you will continue to play it for a long time. Don't buy it for just a few plays.

Don't pay to import a game. If it doesn't get imported, it is a sign the game is not as good as it seems.

Among similar games, try to buy only the best or most comprehensive game. For example, Tabla Rasa and Hungry; Korsar, Pirat, and Loot; and Great Wall of China are all similar. I think the last is the best game.

Make a game list and wait until you get free shipping.

I also agree with your rules. But, I sometimes break these rules because I help organize a group and people are interested in new games.
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Andrew H
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Import rule from an American does't mean much to most of the rest of us.
In Australia if we didn't buy any games that were imported (by us directly or by an Australian estore which is often MORE expensive) we wouldn't get to play euros.

I don't aim to buy games someone in my games group already has. It helps that a have a big games collector in my group - thanks John.

I have three plastic crates and until I sell / trade away a game to make space, I don't get any new games. This is working pretty well for me so far.

I am not spending money on games either. Any money I use to buy games comes directly from selling others. Or I trade. This will eventually stop working but selling my Talisman expansions to Aldie helped a lot. And a few other old GW games traded well.
 
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brian
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Since it sounds like you won't buy a game that someone else in your group has, it is going to be hard for you to playtest games before you buy.

Though I don't always follow this rule, I usually read the rules to the game before I purchase it. This is why I like Days of Wonders, Fantasy Flight, and GMT games. Almost all of their rulesets are posted online. I shudder when a game is produced by Rio Grande because I know I am not getting any rules or very much info in English.

Reading the rules showed me that Here I Stand, a game I really wanted, is a bit too complex for my group at this point. On the flip side, it showed that Twilight Struggle was very easy to grasp.

I also comb eBay and stay patient. Most games go for the typical low cost of online retailers, but everyonce in a while, you cen get a great deal. Or save up and buy a few games at once to save on shipping or get a discount.
 
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Justin Heimburger
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I do my expected value a bit differently than aramis. (Mine is more forgiving, and it makes it easier to justify game purchases...) I base it off of movie ticket prices, using that metrci to measure the relative value of one hour of entertainment. Here's how it goes:

Movies cost about $10 in the theater. That works out to about $5 per hour (That makes extra long movies in the theater of greater potential value, since you pay less per hour), what means that if I think I'll get cost/5 hours of play from a game, it's a decent value.

As an example, I just got Nexus Ops last week for $28 and change, including shipping, from Toys r Us. So let's round that up to $30 for simplicity. That means that, in order to get a fair value for the game, it would need to get 6 hours of play time. I played with a friend over the last weekend, and the game took about an hour. But, since there were two of us playing, we actually burned two of the required 6 hours. so two more two-player games, or one 4-player game, and I've gotten my money's worth from the game.

Or, if it's a requirement that I log the required hours myself, then I need to play 5 more games to get full value from the purchase. In the case of Nexus Ops, I don't forsee any problem in my reaching the cost/value threshold.
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robin h.
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juheimbu wrote:
I do my expected value a bit differently than aramis. (Mine is more forgiving, and it makes it easier to justify game purchases...) I base it off of movie ticket prices, using that metrci to measure the relative value of one hour of entertainment. Here's how it goes:

Movies cost about $10 in the theater. That works out to about $5 per hour (That makes extra long movies in the theater of greater potential value, since you pay less per hour), what means that if I think I'll get cost/5 hours of play from a game, it's a decent value.



I do this too. For me, I have two small kids. If my husband and I go out to the movies, it's going to be 2.5-3 hours for the babysitter at 10$ an hour (we live 20 minutes from the theatre), plus the cost of tix and snacks or coffee. So, we're at about 50-60$. Dinner not included.

For the same $$, I can buy 2 medium price boardgames (or one boardgame plus the DVD when it comes out). Even if we only play them once and trade them, I'm ahead.

The leader board for purchased games would have to be Settlers, Carcassonne, and Niagara, with Ticket to Ride a trailing contender, only because it was more expensive from the outset. (I have heavier and longer games, they just don't hit the table as often -- it's the family thing)

To be honest, the game I own with the least $ per hour rating is a copy of Amazeing Labyrinth which I bought at a thrift sale. We're talking less than a nickle per play, and dropping...
 
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Michael Berg
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My cost-per-hour winner is Pente. Picked up the old mailing-tube-esq version for $1 at a garage sale, and I've played it a dozen or so times.

My most played game is Carcassonne, and that would very well be the winner if I didn't just go pick up the bix box version, as well as a few of the smaller expansions.
 
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Nikosu Oyama
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Comparing the price to other pastime activities is a good way to measure the value of a game. But if you compare to the movies I think that besides the used time you should also compare the enjoyment level. I'd say that playing a great game for two hours is more enjoyable than watching an average movie. However watching a great movie for two hours is maybe twice as enjoyable as playing an average game. So maybe you should have:

time*enjoyment=value.
 
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Nikosu Oyama
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BrianMola wrote:
Since it sounds like you won't buy a game that someone else in your group has, it is going to be hard for you to playtest games before you buy.

Though I don't always follow this rule, I usually read the rules to the game before I purchase it.


Well I am a member of boardgame club Tyrmä (it means jail) in the university. I can borrow games from there. But usually I don't buy these games. If it's a great game that I'd like to play all the time I'll buy it. Now I bought LOTR although it's owned by Tyrmä. Because of my strict policy I have to give it as a present to my friend. Well my friend likes it more than I do so I'd probably give it even without my 'governing principles'.

Reading rules before buying is probably good. But I don't know how much information do you get of the quality of the game by reading the rules?
 
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Jared Heath
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Tall_Walt wrote:
Don't pay to import a game. If it doesn't get imported, it is a sign the game is not as good as it seems.


Strict observance of this would have prevented me from having die Macher 5 years ago and enjoying it, or having a copy of many excellent Euros that have never been imported to the USA (Top Race, Ausgebremst, Um Reif, etc)

I suspect you mean don't pay to import recent games...which I agree with...
 
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Adam Skinner
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Pack some punch:
Tichu
Battleground
Nexus Ops ($11 bucks at eToys atm)

Card games, obviously, are going to be cheaper than other games.

Citadels plays well for 2+.

Consider picking up travel editions of games, too.

Try hitting thrift stores.

You might even pick up a game like Hordes or Blood Bowl: Living Rulebook. Of course, it's more fun to play with the minis, but they're expensive and you can substitute other things for them (maybe Zendo pieces). You could totally have fun like that. Chrome is nice, but we don't play games because of the chrome - we play them because the gameplay rocks.

I wouldn't discount games that you can play online, either. Online is different from in person. I've got a totally pimp computer at home and a very expensive video card, and a bunch of computer games, and while I enjoy playing games online, it's different than playing in person with your friends.
 
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Charles Vycichl
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I read your rules and I like to give some advice as you asked for it. I enjoyed games, mainly wargames since my childhood and collect them since approx. 30 years.

Those who have many games play very often a few games and rarely most of the others.

I believe that the sole and real purpose is to enjoy yourself with games, so I would start thinking first what type of game you like in general as a sole criteria and to forget all other criteria for the time being and not try to make too much theory about all these criteria which you list but to go with your feelings. (Would you set criteria like this for finding a girlfriend? I guess not)

Then as a second to try to get for free or for little money what you want in this category, preferably after having seen and tried the game with other gamers before acquiring, do you like luck do you like, chess, go, monopoly, strategy, abstract games or games with themes, or wargames or you like more civilisation type games, etc...

Example: - if you like wargame as I do, I would suggest which type of mechanisme you like, area, hexes and counters etc...
- then I would see which period you like, antiquity, world war 2 or whatever else or a mixture of these.
- If you like world war 2 I would then narrow this to strategic or operational games or tactical, then I would chose whihc form you like Afrika, east front etc.. then when you have a relatively determined range of games but still a lot of games.
- Then I would try to test these game with other gamers
- and only then try to get them for free because they are free or for little money, maybe with people who want to get rid of a game or on ebay.

As a final remark, I believe that it is much better to spend a bit more money on a single game that you like very much even if it is a short time sacrifice, to play it often and have many hours of fun (which will then be cheap on an hourly basis), than to buy more game for the same money and not enjoy them as much and not play them.

I hope this helps.
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Andrew C
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Well, I guess there is one thing in the plus column for middle age. When I see a game that might interest me, I don't worry about the cost, I buy it
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J C Lawrence
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hobitti wrote:
Because I am a student and I have fairly low income it's essential for me that my hobbies don't eat all my money. I have to stay alive too you know. So I decided to make rules of acquisition for games. I'll make a geeklist of the games that I think I should get based on these rules.


My buying rules are fairly simple:

1) Do I expect to play the game at least 10 times in the next year? If so, think about buying it.

2) Do I expect to play the game at least 25 times in the next 5 years? If so, think about buying it.

3) Will other people I expect to regularly play with during that time also have it with them when we play? If so, don't buy it.


None of the above rules are absolute, but they add heavy weights to one side or the other, especially the third rule. Critical to the ruleset is that I never impulse buy. I keep a list of games I'm potentially interested in and only buy games after they've surivived continuous research on the list for 6 months or have survived playing and a month or three of focused research. At the same time I formed this new buying pattern I also changed my playing pattern. I had been a member of the Cult of the New and would eagerly play any new game in place of a familiar favourite. I deliberately changed that preference to:

Only play a new game if there is strong reason to think it may be better than the familiar game that would otherwise be played.

This change in play style greatly reduced the number of different games I'd play. Where I was running several hundred new games a year, that collapsed to only a handful of new games per year and a relatively very high rate of play of favoured games. This in turn impacted my buying decisions under the above rules.

To give a brief example: Stephenson's Rocket was on my buy list for roughly 23 months (unusually long for me). I finally bought a copy from a local friend who wasn't so impressed with it. In the first week we played Stephenson's Rocket 5 times, with four more games over the the next three weeks. I wouldn't be surprised if it breaks 20 plays this year and should retain a fairly steady rate of play from there out.
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J C Lawrence
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Tall_Walt wrote:
Don't pay to import a game. If it doesn't get imported, it is a sign the game is not as good as it seems.


I import roughly a third of my games directly from the publisher, and about another third are imported from foreign retailers. If I stuck with your rule there wouldn't be enough interesting to keep me in the hobby. In part this is driven by my interest in niche games with print runs under 2,000 copies from small publishers. Examples: KaiVai (utterly brilliant game), Franjos' edition of Billabong, the fish-flipping version of Kanaloa (also amazing), Kogge (excellent game), a variety of 18XX games like 1860 and 1861 from JKLM and other publishers, Neuland (best game printed that year), Bus, City&Guilds, Die Dolmengotter and many others.
 
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