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Subject: A Guide to Game Collecting - One Guy's Thoughts rss

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Joe Slack
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Do you have a bunch of board games on your shelf that you never play?

Have you bought games in the past that were a lot of fun at first, but now their only purpose is to prop up that wobbly table?

******************

Just like when you download a new game or app, or buy the latest tech gadget, when you pick up a new board game it is exciting at first, but the novelty may wear off quickly, leaving you wanting a new game, another thing to dust, or worse, buyer’s remorse. This guide, based on my 30+ years of board gaming, will show you how to build your game collection in a way to provide you with years of fun and social interaction.

Try Before You Buy

- Look for print & play trial versions, meet-ups (such as http://www.meetup.com/topics/board-games/), board game cafés, game stores, or try out that new game your friend just picked up before you buy it yourself.

- Rent games for trial at Board Game Exchange (https://boardgameexchange.com/) or other local establishments.

- If you can’t get your hands on a version to try yourself, then

□ Check out online reviewers and gameplay videos

□ Look at ratings on websites like www.Amazon.com
(Bonus tip: Look at what some of the one, two and three star reviews say. The lower ones may be all complaints but may give you an idea of some of the issues, while the three star reviews may have a good balance of pros and cons - These may help you avoid making a regretful purchase)

□ View the ratings and comments on Board Game Geek (www.boardgamegeek.com) – a fantastic resource - or post questions in a gaming forum

□ Go by word of mouth (friends, co-workers, game store staff that you trust)

What to Look For

- Here is a checklist you may want to consider:

□ Fun Factor – Above all else, is it fun to play? If not, no need to move on!

□ High Replayability – Is there enough content, challenge and variation in the game to make you want to play it over and over again, or will it get repetitive quickly?

□ Creativity – Is there a level of creativity to the game, or is everything spoon-fed to you?

□ Challenge – Is it easy to play but tough to master? Will the challenge keep you coming back for more or is it the same thing over and over again?

□ Variety – Is there enough variety in the game to keep you interested? Variations of gameplay? House rules that you could implement to keep it fresh?

Instant Replay

- So you’ve tried a game and you love it. Play it again. Play it with different people or at a different venue. Play it again in a few weeks if you can. Has it been calling out to you? Is it just as much fun as the first time you played it? If so, you might have a winner!

Variety is the Spice of Life

- Make sure your collection has a variety of games of different types that you enjoy, which will allow you to play with large groups, small groups, and with one other player.

- Having games on your shelf (or shelves or entire garage) that include family-friendly, party games, simple game, and more complex ones will come in handy.

- You probably have certain game types or themes that you like better than others. It’s fine to focus on these, but you may want to try others outside these genres. Who knows, you might just find something that becomes your new fave!

Less is More

- Sure, it’s great to own 200 games. But if you only play the same three over and over, the rest are just taking up space. It’s better to own 10-20 games you love than 100 that you don’t.

- Focus on the games you really like and consider selling or trading the others.

- Rule of thumb – If you haven’t picked up a game in over a year other than to move it out of the way to grab another one you really wanted to play, it may be time to set it free. You can set your own rule, but make sure you’re playing the games you own – that’s what they’re there for!

If You Got ‘Em, Swap ‘Em!

- Do you have other friends who are into board games? Ask if you can borrow one of theirs for a while and offer up whatever game of yours they have had an eye on in return.

- Check out game events, gaming conventions, join or create a local board game Facebook Swap Group.

- Post and/or look for ads on Craigslist, Kijiji, and elsewhere. You may be able find others to swap games with or pick up some good deals!

Use the above tips as guidelines and we’re sure you’ll have a kick-butt board game collection in no time!

What suggestions do you have for someone looking to build their game collection?

Cheers,
Joe

www.crazylikeabox.com
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Ken Lewis
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I think the last four items on your list of "Try Before You Buy" can sometimes do more harm than good since many of those things can make a game seem like it is a perfect fit for your collection by how enthusiastic the reviews/videos are.

I would ad the caveat that if you cannot try a game, and decide you want the game after reading reviews and watching videos about it, that you give yourself a "cooling off" period before purchasing it to make sure that you haven't over-hyped the game to yourself. Sometimes when you go back through those reviews and videos, the game might not seem as great as it did the first time you watched.
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George Louie
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aren't replayability, challenge and/or variety the same thing? or at least have a lot of overlap.

Highly recommend going to local conventions to participate in Math Trades. not only are they a great way to get games you want for games you aren't, but the process of waiting for the trade results to be posted is really exciting! I didn't realize how much excited anticipation I was going have while waiting to see the results. I think its because in some cases, you're literally trading trash (games you don't want and probably won't play) for treasures (games you've been wanting to play)...

I don't agree with your "rule of thumb" of getting rid of games that you haven't played for over a year.. People, places, social environments, amount of time available, etc.. all change... Just because today I don't have the time, or know anybody who's interested in playing my favorite game, doesn't mean I won't tomorrow or next year.. While I highly recommend you look for ways to get rid of games that you know you don't enjoy or won't play in the future, I think its equally important to keep games that you love to play and enjoy for the future. That's what having a game collection is about...
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kevin halloran
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Joe, an interesting read and some useful tips. I don't however feel the content, good though it is, matches the title of your post. Much of it seems about how NOT to collect but perhaps I'm reading it wrong.
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Jim Carvin
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Giant_Monster wrote:
I think the last four items on your list of "Try Before You Buy" can sometimes do more harm than good since many of those things can make a game seem like it is a perfect fit for your collection by how enthusiastic the reviews/videos are.

...if you cannot try a game, and decide you want the game after reading reviews and watching videos about it, that you give yourself a "cooling off" period before purchasing it to make sure that you haven't over-hyped the game to yourself...


I agree, however, the high BGG ratings or the "Hotness" often put a game on my radar that I otherwise wasn't aware of. If it passes the sniff test (friends that like it, good reviews, sounds great, etc) then if I can, I'll watch a game play through (usually Rhado if he's done it) or maybe even read the rules. The "cooling off" period is very important. The other pitfall of only considering games rated high on BGG is that you may miss out on games that aren't ranked high for the masses but would be LOVED by you. I have lots of favorites not even in the top 500.

There was a time (when I was a single man) when I bought EVERTHING new, I had a bad case of cult-of-the-new (though luckily that was 10 years ago when there were far fewer new games released). I was able to eventually sell off the stinkers. I learned that harsh lesson of choosing my purchases MUCH more carefully. Back then I was the main purchaser of games but that's changed and nowadays I'm able to try a lot of games that others have purchased.
 
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Jim Carvin
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One other point... If you give in to the new hotness, you'll be fine as long as you play it quickly after you get it and decide it's not for you. You can often sell or trade it here on BGG for a relatively good price. If I buy a game for $45 and resell it for $35 a month later, to me that's just a rental fee. The important thing is to sell it quickly while it's still hot, don't stick it up on the shelf and forget about it because you still need to pay that credit card bill at the of the month!
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Joe Slack
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Very true, Ken. Thanks for adding this.

Definitely better if you can try for yourself or if you have friends who can recommend a game who have a similar taste to yours.

There are certainly some games out there that get over-hyped and don't live up to expectations. I agree that if you can hold off buying something to see if people (and yourself) still think it is that great after some time you'll be better off. I tend to do this with most purchases (gaming and otherwise).
 
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Joe Slack
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Yes, there can definitely be some overlap, but not in all cases. It really depends on the game. Some you can have fun playing over and over without them being the most challenging games as long as you find them fun.

Great recommendation for Math Trades! I haven't had a chance to attend one myself but they do sound like a great experience.

Good point about choosing when to get rid of games. I just finished reading Marie Kondo's book on the magic of tidying up and she suggested rather than getting rid of things based on how long ago you used them, a better strategy is to pick up and look at each item and say to yourself "does this bring me joy?". If not, it's time to take it to a Math Trade
 
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Joe Slack
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Hey Kevin,

I didn't intend it to read that way. I was aiming to give some suggestions on how to build your collection. Glad there were a few useful tips!
 
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Joe Slack
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Great points to keep in mind Jim! It's not always best to follow the masses as we all have our own tastes. Thanks for adding this!
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