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Subject: How to purge a game collection? rss

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Eric Pietrocupo
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It's a bit the Anti-thesis of this web site which is about collecting board games, but I know many people have to sometimes get rid of games to have space for new games, or simply get rid of all their games and leave the hobby.

I know that in the near future, I intend to get rid of most of my board games, and keep at most 20-30 games. Instead of doing it all at once, I thought I could stretch the process and slowly start to get rid of games. There are various reasons including few opportunities to play, space requirements, related works (plastification, variants, etc) and a few others.

Now the big question is:

Which game should I keep?

The obvious answer is:

The best, or most fun games.

But the problem is that the "best" or "fun" game is actually hard to determine because one thing I discovered recently is that board game experience are directly influenced by the players you play with.

So an awesome game could be ruined, as a bad game could end up giving an awesome experience depending on which player you play with. There are games that I bought because I had a good experience with it when I played in college. But when I played with other people, I could never get that experience back. So it's unfortunate that games cannot come packed with the right people inside the box to play the game with the mention "People Included" shake.

Another alternative, could be to select games that are fun and good with almost any kind of players. For example, there are very few people that hates Catan and the game is very accessible, so I am likely to find good players who ever I play with.

Else there the size of the game could influence the choice as a small game that gives mostly bad experience will have little space cost, so it won't be a waste. I also like deep and small games, which could be another factor. But it might be more an acquisition criteria once the collection will be purged.

If there are digital version available, it would make me save space and allow playing solo. But I will not be able to use variants.

Else I know people don't like playing with variants, so keeping the less modified games could also be a criteria.

Any other suggestion on how to determine which game to keep and discard?
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Jędrzej Jarocki
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Start logging your plays. After some time you will see which games get played and you should keep these. That's a slow method
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Chris Mcpherson
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Quick answer: cut everything ranked over 1000 - that is 33 games

29 of your OWNED Games seem to be expansions or unranked games

That leaves you with 25 games, problem solved.
 
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Jessica Eccles
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You touched on the main point, that the games you should keep depend on what works well with the people you play with.

So, who do you normally play with? Also, how do you feel about solo gaming?

However I endorse keeping a couple of your favourites, even if they don't work with the people you normally play with, so that you have them in case the right players happen to cross your path.
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Eric, you have 87 games. I purged down to 80-something after hitting just over 1,100. However, as someone who has done some pretty decent purging in the past I'd offer this advice ...

Keep the ones you love. The ones that you really want to play if someone asks to play a game at your house.

Basically what I did was this: picked up two games of similar theme/mechanic/genre/weight, one into each hand. I asked myself, "If someone asked me to play one of these games, which would I pick?" I made sure to answer myself honestly and then tossed the unpicked one into the trade/sell pile. Do that 40 times and your problem is solved*.

Other gamers around you will pick up the slack and have the newest or faves (which will be good games, and different than yours) stuff out on game nights, let them spend and you play.

*BTW, if you do make a mistake and in six months regret getting rid of a title, sell the other one and buy that one back. I can think of perhaps one or two in purging 900+ games that I regretted later (ask me about buying and selling Fields of Fire four times).
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Put what you're considering selling off away for 6+ months, if you can. Somewhere not too easy to access that you won't see day-to-day. At the end of that term, you'll likely know if you are missing those games or if you'd be fine letting them go to find new homes.
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Eric Pietrocupo
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Quote:
Start logging your plays. After some time you will see which games get played and you should keep these. That's a slow method


I play so little right now to do so. In fact it's one of the reason I want to purge a part of the collection.

Quote:
Quick answer: cut everything ranked over 1000 - that is 33 games

29 of your OWNED Games seem to be expansions or unranked games

That leaves you with 25 games, problem solved.


HaHaHa!, I like the mathematical approach. Do you consider ranking more accurate than rating, or vice versa?

First I was going to say that the taste of others does not matter much, but then again, if I want a good experience with almost any player, the taste of others should matter. Worth taking the value into the evaluation. Maybe I could make some evaluation grid and ponderate each criteria.

Quote:
You touched on the main point, that the games you should keep depend on what works well with the people you play with.

So, who do you normally play with? Also, how do you feel about solo gaming?


I don't have steady groups of players, so I cannot judge based on that. Sometimes players don't like games I own, or only want to play new games (cult of the new). So my games rarely hit the table.

I tried to focus on games with low amount of players (2+) or solo play. But it seems solo play is much more boring than I thought. I prefer playing a video game instead, or a digital version of a board game (ex: elder sign), much less setup time, does not require table space, faster to play, less bookeeping. The drawback is that I cannot use variants, but it seems to matter a bit less due to the speed of the game, unless the game is very unbalanced.

Quote:

Keep the ones you love. The ones that you really want to play if someone asks to play a game at your house.


Well, I'll sure keep some classics like Catan and Puerto Rico which are games that I played more than 20 times, so I can have a good idea of if I like the game or not.

On the other hand, I have unplayed games, or games I played 1-2 times, which makes it hard to average out all the experiences I had with that game.

Quote:

Basically what I did was this: picked up two games of similar theme/mechanic/genre/weight, one into each hand.


This is something I tried to do during acquisition, like hold only 1-2 deck building game. Try to have a diversified library for various kind of people and occasion. For example, I have 2 party games, in case I end up in a party. I have some kids games, Deck build, euro games, conflict games, adventure games, etc.

Maybe grouping by categories, theme or mechanics, could be another idea, or have it's weight in the evaluation.
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Ryan Keane
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Don't use BGG ranking - useless. Use your own personal rating. I would focus on keeping the games you love the most (e.g. rate 8+, or at least 7+), and then considering removing copies of similar games that you love but don't really need both (e.g. 2 different versions of Carcassonne). Yes, you might lose some games that you don't love but are perfect to play with someone that visits you, but unless that is happening a lot, it's not worth keeping games for that reason, and anyway you have plenty of good gateway/filler games you rate very highly.

Remember you don't need to leave the hobby if you get rid of all or most of your games. You can still be an avid gamer playing other people's games. Having the money and space to buy and own a lot of games is nothing compared to having the time to play a lot of games with friends.

I plan to purge my collection (which I don't consider that big) down to about 20 games over the next 5 years or so. That's as part of an overall major purge of all my personal belongings to a more minimalist lifestyle.
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Games I can get played (e.g. Settlers Of Catan) vs. games I'd want to play (Battlestar Galactica).... draw a mental graph in your head, and where the curved lines intersect are the games I'd keep. In both the examples above, I have no desire to play Settlers Catan again. Plus, everyone else already has it, so I'll just play their copy. BSG is a no-go with my local group, but I can't really sell it anyways since it's not with me (across the country), and that's one of the few games I'll keep as a collectors item (OOP soblue cry )

If you've played games where dilemmas aplenty, then I reckon this should be surprisingly not much different than those... you'd like to do 20 different things, but can only do 5. You can only narrow your choices down to 9 or 10 since you can't really account for some variables [shrug]
 
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Eric Pietrocupo
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Quote:
considering removing copies of similar games that you love but don't really need both (e.g. 2 different versions of Carcassonne)


Well in the case of carcassonne, they all fit in the same big box, so purging side games would not reduce the consumed space unless I rebox everything, or get rid of all carcassonne together.

Quote:
I plan to purge my collection (which I don't consider that big) down to about 20 games over the next 5 years or so. That's as part of an overall major purge of all my personal belongings to a more minimalist lifestyle.


I don't buy a lot of stuff, when I was with my parent, it did not consider space usage that much. Now larger apartment harder to find or very expensive, which make me reconsider each inch of space I use. Sometimes I envy my friend where his whole apartment (or almost) fit in his car. Allowing him to relocate himself very easily.

Digitalization sure help in saving space. There is a math trade/flea market going on in Montreal, so I'll see if I could Identify the "worst" games to get rid of.

------------------------------------------------------------------
A few a few hard decisions:

Hero quest:Sometimes it's hard because it's an emotional attachment. For example, I have hero quest since I was a kid. I know I will not play that game again, but I love the look of the game, and it bring back lot of memories, even if most games I played were 2 player only. I could enjoy just opening the box and looking at the pieces (there is something special about it). I tried to find alternative use, like solo play. But still, there is probably much better games out there in that genre, if I want to play.

Battle Master is another game in that same family, that I could possibly play, but takes a huge amount of space making it very hard to find a place to play. But I really like how this game looks when deployed. you really feel like you are commanding an army. We were using sticks to push units. At least I know that this game can be played.

Mah-Jong: By looking in my closet, I have a set of mahjong, I always wanted a game and found one at an affordable price in the chinese market. I bought a book about it to learn how to play. Still the scoring mechanism is very complex, and I am not sure if I can people to play this. It's playable solo, but it's better to play the digital version, easier to setup. That's another hard choice.

Duel Master: The only collectible game I have left. I love this game, it surpasses Magic the gathering on my point of view. Still, with ccg, very hard to find players. Also hard to invite friends to make decks and then play. There is a digital version on GBA, played a lot but never finished the game. Even got the real cartridge, not sure I have a working console left to play it. I thought of making my own design using similar mechanics. Got some core mechanics working, but still lot of work to do.

Dungeon Quest: is one of those games I played in college that was huge fun. When a new print was released, I quickly acquired the game. But other sessions played were not as much fun. That game is very group specific. You almost need to joke around the game to make it fun due the the level of randomness. So the game itself is not that good (have a few variant to fix that), but it could potentially generate a good experience with the right players.

Anyways, I'll stop for now. It's just to give an idea of dilemma.
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Wilbert Kiemeneij
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larienna wrote:
Mah-Jong: By looking in my closet, I have a set of mahjong, I always wanted a game and found one at an affordable price in the chinese market. I bought a book about it to learn how to play. Still the scoring mechanism is very complex, and I am not sure if I can people to play this. It's playable solo, but it's better to play the digital version, easier to setup. That's another hard choice.

Look into Zung Jung. That's a recent variant of Mahjong with super easy rules and scoring. New players can learn it in a couple minutes. It's used in the World Series of Mahjong. If you need the rules, I found the ones on the WSOM site easy to use. You can also find easy to use player aids for it if you want. You can message me if you need more info.
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Kyle
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When's the last time it was played? How did you feel about it?

Mediocre isn't good enough, and played out happens. As such it leaves the shelf. My collection has not grown in some time, the previously owned is climbing steadily though.
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Ian Williams
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My advice whenever my fiancé wants to purge her belongings and feels overwhelmed by the task is to not do it all at once. Start simple. If you have 50 games to cull, start with 10. Or 5. Choose your 5 least favourite, least played games, that you wouldn't miss, and start from there.
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Sam R
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I would take them all and make a list separating them into categories.
Maybe by mechanisms? Or themes? Or maybe even designer? All depending on your personal tastes.

Then Pick the best ones from those categories. I think you would wanna try and keep 1 (maybe 2?) or a certain category.

For example:
Deck building category, if I own dominion and clank! I would keep clank and get rid of dominion because I feel clank! Is a more enjoyable game for my game group and I see myself taking that game out to play more than dominion. Unless you have an undying love for dominion then you’d want to keep dominion.

Or like I said you could separate them into themes, fantasy, Schience fiction, etc...
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Daniel
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I would only keep ones that I'm excited to play, even if some wouldn't get played often. (And a couple of my family's and non-gamer friends' favorites.)

(Like Sam) I would probably break down my collection into my favorite categories and choose my top favorites of each. Maybe:

3 Party games
3 Light euros
4 Medium/Heavy euros
3 Abstracts
2 Epic space games
3 Card games
3 Economic games
2 Dudes-on-a-map
1 Dominion (my wife's favorite)

I'd also go for variety of player counts, durations, and complexity.
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Sentimental favorites like childhood games deserve a picture with a few words about when you played the game, or who you played it with. Keep one special piece from the game on your desk. Let the rest of the game go.

Take everything else off the shelf. Put back only the number you want to keep. Do this quickly, one game at a time, starting with the one you want most and moving to the one you want least until your ideal number is reached.

You can only keep games for you. Other folks will keep their favorite games for them.

Sell, donate, harvest for parts, or recycle the rest. Good luck.
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I find the easiest way is to give them to BG.EXE.

Edit: as a more serious answer OP this tool may help - http://www.pubmeeple.com/board-game-ranking-engine/

You don’t have so many games that actually ranking them all will take any chunk of time. Then you could remove every game below a threshold on your output list.
 
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I have come to the realization that I am a collector (or hoarder) and won't be diluting my collection, ever.

That said I have made it a point now to NOT impulse buy and to play games before I buy them (so no KS backing for me, yay!).

The last time I bought an impulse game it was Mountains of Madness, ugh, mistake, but I am keeping it.

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Karsten Engelmann
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Hero Quest
KEEP THE HERO QUEST.

One day, you will have own kid(s), and likely you will not be able to get it again. I have lots of fun playing the bad guys, while the little kids (six and up) play the adventures.
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Gianluca Casu
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Re4isnumber1 wrote:
Quick answer: cut everything ranked over 1000 - that is 33 games

29 of your OWNED Games seem to be expansions or unranked games

That leaves you with 25 games, problem solved.


Seriously? This is how you choose your games?
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C&H Schmidt
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Re4isnumber1 wrote:
Quick answer: cut everything ranked over 1000 - that is 33 games

29 of your OWNED Games seem to be expansions or unranked games

That leaves you with 25 games, problem solved.
Bad advice. Go with what you like, not with what the rest of BGG likes/ has rated highly.
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Mlsgeek wrote:

You can only keep games for you. Other folks will keep their favorite games for them.


Unfortunately, that is only true if those people will keep games. Often enough, either you keep the game or no one will.

I will keep games that someone else likes a lot, if I want to play that game with them. Even if it is not my favourite.
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Bryan
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I get rid of what I can't get played, even if I really like the game. There's no point in keeping it if I can't play it. Mage wars was one of my favorite games, but the reality is that I'll NEVER play it.
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Forgot something: If other people around you do have games and you want to play those games with those people, there is zero reason for you to own those games too.

Catan, for example, is so common, that you probably do not need it.

However, by that very logic, I ended up with a bunch of obscure games...

Another point:
Expansions that fit into the original box are a non-problem (unless you find it psychologically taxing to know that you have one more expansion in there). And very small games also do not take up a relevant ammount of space (unless you have loads of them). Much can be achieved by storing games in smaller boxes.
My collection looks huge on BGG, in fact it fits into a relatively small storing area (about the size of a wardrobe, I would say).
But it is still a good idea to try to not let the game collection size get out of hand.
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Chris Mcpherson
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capricorn_tm wrote:
Re4isnumber1 wrote:
Quick answer: cut everything ranked over 1000 - that is 33 games

29 of your OWNED Games seem to be expansions or unranked games

That leaves you with 25 games, problem solved.


Seriously? This is how you choose your games?


This is not a way to choose games, it's a way to purge games.

Also, it was a joke.

In all honesty, it is pretty accurate for me though. If you looked at my collection, and the way the games have been rated by me, only three games over the 1000 rank or lower have a favorable rating. Avenue, Subdivision, and Frank's Zoo. If I was forced to purge I would %100 cut out everything above 778 (elfenland) and be fine with that, except for Avenue. I find it funny how people think the rankings are so useless when they are what they are and that is quite useful. Just because you might not like a game in the top 100 or 1000 doesn't mean it doesn't deserve to be there. Enough people thought highly of it compared to lower ranked games which did not give enough people that same feeling. To me, that is enough for me to at least want to try games out, as long as they fit some other general criteria in regards to the types of games I like. Does this mean some good games might not crack the top 1000 due to availability or poor sales or whatever. Maybe. Is that a big deal when there is 1000 other games to rifle through and find some winners, no. I've never bought a game because it was ranked highly but I def have combed through the top 1000 in search of games that fit my families gaming taste and find no need to look further, for the most part.
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