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Subject: Collecting games as part of the hobby rss

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Benny
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I am leaving for grad school in May (Seminary actually), and I just made my last significant game purchase for a long time as money and time will both be tight.

I'm not sure how I feel about this. Buying games is part of the way I enjoy the hobby and I will miss that. On the other hand, I have a ton of game and many have never been played. I don't think I will actually be wanting for an interesting game to play over the next four years. On the whole I'm pretty okay with how things are working out. I assume anything worth buying will still be around in four years, and I'm sure I'll be able to sneak a purchase here or there (I'm looking at you Steam).

However, I am curious about what many of you think about having a game collection. I would like to know how you see owning games contributes (if it does at all) to your enjoyment of the hobby.

I for one like owning the games and intend to keep them around, but I do not see them as an investment. I just like to have lots of options. I also don't freak out if a game gets damaged as long as it doesn't alter game play. I have a couple of split boxes and at least one partially torn board and I am okay with that. I kind of have to be because I have a very inquisitive and energetic three-year-old son.

One of the people in my group has over 3000 games, but most of those he has no intention of playing. Others in my group are active traders and only keep a game if it is worthy. Where do you fit on the spectrum and why do you think you fall there?
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Benjro wrote:
..
One of the people in my group has over 3000 games, but most of those he has no intention of playing. Others in my group are active traders and only keep a game if it is worthy. Where do you fit on the spectrum and why do you think you fall there?


I only collect games that I know will get to the table.

In the past, I'd bought games simply because they looked cool. I spent thousands, and they never saw any play time. Those games are gone now.

Should have saved the money.

I learned my lesson.



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Mark Crane
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I am just learning this lesson, and wish I had the $400+ I had spent on games I am not playing, as there are a lot of cool toys one could purchase for $400 that would actually get used weekly, if not daily.
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It is of two extremes for me. I probably have 100 games that I picked up from thrift stores just because they piqued my interest somehow. A mix of abstracts, card games and kids games. Most haven't been played at all yet, but because I spent $4 or less per game, I don't feel like I am out all that much money. Most of these I had no interest until I found them for cheap. But there have been a handful of surprising gems among these bargain basement deals that do get played often.

At the other end of the scale are the games I spent $30-40 brand new. These games do get played frequently. These are games I had knowledge about before going into the store. I knew what I wanted and knew that they were suitable for me and my primary gaming partner. I would say there are only about ten titles at this end of the spectrum.
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I think I am addicted to trying new games but don't general feel a need to buy a game unless I really liked it.

I try to only buy games I have already tried but if there is one that looks like I will like it and I don't know anyone who owns it I will gladly buy it. I have not got into trading games yet but I tell myself that would be a good idea, some day.
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I think that the board gaming hobby is always evolving. Games that were great when they came out get replaced by games that do the same thing a little better or in combination with something else. A growing collection is, in some ways, inevitable.

At this point, I have almost 200 games/expansions and am starting to feel like I need to do some culling/replacing to get the collection that I want. Some were early purchases that I didn't research. Others are games that just don't ever get played. I'll be keeping many that I love but don't play because most of my gaming is with 2 players now. I think my goal is to have a tightly culled collection of around 250 games as I can't imagine storing more than that without major shelving projects.
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I used to buy a lot of games that I didn't have much chance of playing (mostly because I didn't get an opportunity to play very often).

Now, I have a regular games night, and I tend to be more careful about buying games we'll actually play (preferably more than once). I tend to be a bit of a sucker for expansions for games I already have, but I'm getting to have a bit more discretion about that. I'm even looking at trading some of the games we don't play!
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Cracking a new game open and SMELLING and BAGGING the bits is about 25% of the fun for me, another 25% is whether the game looks cool or not (which is why for a very long time prior to playing I never looked in Power Grid's direction, it just looked blah - after playing though it is now in my collection and my copy has never been played yet.), finally the remaining 50% is playing the game or at least trying to get it on the table ie taking it to my game night every damn session (can't fault me for trying).

I do have games that I have not played, so it is sort of just a collection thing for me but on the other hand I do have every intention to play every game that I've purchased at least once before I die.
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I do some collecting, some own-to-play. I collect gamer-y Knizia games, whether I plan to play them soon or not. Other than those games, though, I only buy if I'm pretty sure it will get play, and if I don't like them...on to the trade pile they go!

My total collection is about 170 games, but about 40 of those are expansions (blue moon decks, for example), and another 30 or so are kids games, so I probably have just under 100 "adult" base games. I've played all but about 10 of those.
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Benjro wrote:
I am curious about what many of you think about having a game collection. I would like to know how you see owning games contributes (if it does at all) to your enjoyment of the hobby.


I'm torn (like you and many others, I guess).

Only a couple times in my life have I consciously set out to collect games. But I've filled my closet and emptied it several times.

Every time I end up with a collection, whether it was intentional or not, I eventually start seeing it as useless clutter. And that's when I do a purge, by selling or giving away most of my games.

Some game fanatics have a big dream--maybe of owning all the games in the world or something, or all games of a particular kind. My dream has always been just the opposite of that. I wish I could find the one game that suits me best and stick with it exclusively forevermore.

For instance, if I could completely fall in love with chess, I'd buy a nice chess set, get rid of all my other games, and spend the rest of my life enjoying "my game."

The main reason I periodically end up with another closet full of games is that I've been sampling games, hoping to stumble upon the perfect match for myself. But I've found shortcomings in every game I've tried (or maybe they're shortcomings in my ability to appreciate the game). So I keep looking.

I really do not enjoy collecting for the sake of collecting, though. I don't have any practical use for more than two or three games.

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Benny
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There is a redundancy issue for me too. Some games that I have recently played, I have still never played using my copy (Princes of Florence and Reef Encounter fit into this category). Of course right now, we don't have people over much, so if I want a game to be played I have to haul it around to a game day.

Still very little of my collection is unique to my game group and the games that are unique are dexterity games (Tier auf Tier) or light card games (Great Chili Cookoff). I consider those categories my niche in a way though my favorite games are typical Euro fare, and at least two people in my group own each Euro I own. Still I love owning them.

Don't even get me started on war games. I have a small collection that would all be, in one way or another, considered CDG. Oh how I long to explore the strategic depths of Paths of Glory or make deals in Here I Stand. My war games are definitely my biggest pipe dream as far as playing goes, but I love owning them...hoping against hope that I will be able to play them.
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You'll keep meeting new people, and the opportunity to just show them that there are more games on your shelves than they have ever heard of is of genuine value. Your copy of Reef Encounter may not be opened yet. Just having it sat there for your non-gamers to see is one way to bring more people in. It is not wasted money.
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I personally do not have an overly large collection but I do think of it as a collection. I don't buy games without the intention of playing them. But I do seek out games that are uncommon, old or of interest to me. I am not a binge and purge collector and I do not think of my collection as an investment at all. If it hits my shelf, it is going to stay there. JaHaar and I tend to think of our games collectively but he is the one who will buy backup copies of games and keep them sealed. We have about 300 games between us and continue to seek out old games and play them as well. When we hit upon a real stinker (I'm looking at you Dungeonquest and City of Chaos...)we will actually leave ourselves a note in the box to not bother to play again in ten years when we forget how bad a game is. These days we are both buying new games, and looking at the back catalog and playing those that haven't seen the table in a few years.

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My collection is reasonably large 400+ and I do have a tendency to buy games even though I haven't played all the games I already have. I really enjoy the researching and buying of games. I enjoy owning games and may play some of the lesser used games in years to come.

I do not get bothered by the fact that a game doesn't see table time according to the norm. I suppose the fact that I do refer to them as my "collection" has something to do with my mind set on this subject. I sometimes go to my games room and stand and stare at my games, lining the shelves, and admire the collection. Weird? yes, but I wouldn't have it any other way.
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True wrote:
I personally do not have an overly large collection but I do think of it as a collection. I don't buy games without the intention of playing them. But I do seek out games that are uncommon, old or of interest to me. I am not a binge and purge collector and I do not think of my collection as an investment at all. If it hits my shelf, it is going to stay there. JaHaar and I tend to think of our games collectively but he is the one who will buy backup copies of games and keep them sealed. We have about 300 games between us and continue to seek out old games and play them as well. When we hit upon a real stinker (I'm looking at you Dungeonquest and City of Chaos...)we will actually leave ourselves a note in the box to not bother to play again in ten years when we forget how bad a game is. These days we are both buying new games, and looking at the back catalog and playing those that haven't seen the table in a few years.

True


You lost credibility when you said DungeonQuest was a stinker

However, I am sure that it would exact its revenge if you ever decide to play it again -- Dragonfire Castle is a harsh mistress.
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For me, it's a hobby (as in the collection) that I can also play... Have over 300+ games by now. However in recent times, I only buy newer releases that are really good.

There are still a couple of good old ones such as 1830 that I'm hoping to add to my collection.

As to playing all of them, yeah does look a big challenge doing so but that never bothered me. As long as I get to play a fair share of the games weekly (at our Fri Boardgamecafe meetup) I'm contend.

I also do not think of my collection as an investment. It's just a collection of stuff I like. I do however seek out oldies and goldies like Space Hulk, Dune, Sherlock Holmes, etc.
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While my collection is rather small and old (I haven't bought a new game for myself since 1994 and stopped buying used stuff from E-Bay in 2001) it's not going to grow any time soon due to my employment situation. Oh, if I happen to see something at a flea market or thrift shop I might pick it up but I'm not going out of my way to add to my collection.

I still haven't played a lot of my games and that is what I want to do now, especially since my two sons are coming of serious gaming age and have expressed a desire to play some of them.

I don't look at my collection as an investment - I bought each and every game with the intention of playing them. The fact that almost all of them are now out of print hardly crosses my mind.

Maybe someday after things change I'll look into buying a new game, as there are a couple I've seen here that I would like to try. But for now I'm satisfied with the collection I have.
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I never set out to be a game collector and still am not sure if I really am. Mostly, I just like games and seem to keep buying them. I have always had the tendency to "collect" things more sub-consciously. I tend to find things which I like and just seem to gather them over the years. It really isn't a conscious thought as an investment or anything. Periodically, I do a clear out of stuff and make room for other things. On the flip-side of collecting stuff, I hate clutter! Go figure!

I can't even imagine having 3,000 games and where I would store them! I have a hard enough time finding space for our 80+ games. How many games classify you as a collector anyway? How many means you have a problem?

I'm also one of those people that buys games with more than one thought process. There are games which I have played, which I will go out and specifically buy. The ones that run 30-40 bucks or so. The list of those is more limited usually and those games get a lot of table time usually. Those are probably the ones that I really collect, I guess. Then, I quite often want all of them in the series.

Then, there are those games I buy with others in mind. Besides our gaming friends, we have family members that often come over which are not real gamers. They are not the most adventurous of spirits and want to play something that they know or recognize. So, we have some games which fall into that category as well. The only table time they get is when those family members come over. I've tried to limit the number of these which I buy though to a few favorites which appeal to them. We like to have people come over and then I like to have options of entertainment as well on hand.

We also have games specifically for kids as well. While we don't have children of our own, we have many children coming to visit. Either our niece, or the kids of friends. Then, it is nice to have something which they can play as well. Again, those only get table time when they are here. It is definitely a limited number of these sorts of games which I buy.

Then, there are those games that we keep/buy for some nostalgic reason. Games that we grew up with and that reminds us of a particular time, etc. This is a very limited number of games. Quite often, the games are not nearly as fun to play now as they were then.

Finally, I do tend to be bad about buying games which look appealing and which are cheap. It is really hard to pass up what looks like a bargain. Also, I figure that I haven't lost much if they turn out to be a Dud! Occassionally, I find a real gem which I had never heard of as well. I read the backs of the boxes and look to see if it is appealing. Quite often, I will bring it home. It is a lot of fun to bring it home, read through it, look at all the bits, and then give it a go.

I'm definitely one of those people that like to own a game which I like. Then, I can play it whenever I like. We love to try new games that friends have all the time. Normally, if we like it after playing, we will look for our own copy. Those usually get a lot of table time.

For those games which I actively look for, the search is part of the fun! I also agree with those that enjoy actually opening the new box. One of the things that I enjoy is punching out the bits! I have no idea why, but I love to do that. It is very satisfying for some reason.

I'm sure that there are shrinks which could have a field day analyzing most of us gamers! shake

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pooterbug wrote:
Then, there are those games that we keep/buy for some nostalgic reason. Games that we grew up with and that reminds us of a particular time, etc. This is a very limited number of games. Quite often, the games are not nearly as fun to play now as they were then.


I second this... how I wished I'd kept my copy of Buccaneer, Totopoly, Formula One etc in good condition, now I can only think back of those good old days.
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I created a geeklist recently of games I will buy but not play. The games and reasons varied.

Ghost Castle (Which Witch) - a childhood memory.
Xena - I'm a fan of the Xena.TV series.
Twilight Imperium - not got anyone to play this game with.

Sure, I'd love to play all my games a lot more regular, but it just doesn't happen. And when I look at my shelf I see games I've not played for years (Buck Rogers and the Star Wars interactive games) and some never (a recent Dr Who boardgame, Horrorclix, Warhammer).

Looking at my games shelf knowing I've got no chance of playing half of those games again makes me sad cry
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I expect those of YOU that find out when 'moi "passed on" can gain some or another from these, while I am constantly "amazed" with some of the ones that I find! They're from ALL over the "Gaming World" and 'spectrum' for plenty to boot.
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I find collecting as much fun as playing. I've got many games that I've never played. Most I do want to play but we never seem to get to them. Sometimes becuase they take way too long, or too complex, or don't fit with my gaming group. Some I eventually sell off at one of the local cons but I do have some I keep even though I'll probably never play them. I still keep my Catan since I feel like I must own it though probably never play it again. I spent $50 for a mint copy of John Carter: Warlord of Mars just to own a cool but insanely complex game that was fun to read and had a wonderful reference book on the novels.

I think of boardgames sort of like books. I've got a good amount of them too and many I'll never read or only read once but keep them just to have them. I have over 700 CD's of soundtracks and many I've only listened to once but keep them just for the pleasure of having something obscure (many long out of print).
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ScottE wrote:
I find collecting as much fun as playing. I've got many games that I've never played. Most I do want to play but we never seem to get to them. Sometimes becuase they take way too long, or too complex, or don't fit with my gaming group. Some I eventually sell off at one of the local cons but I do have some I keep even though I'll probably never play them. I still keep my Catan since I feel like I must own it though probably never play it again. I spent $50 for a mint copy of John Carter: Warlord of Mars just to own a cool but insanely complex game that was fun to read and had a wonderful reference book on the novels.

I think of boardgames sort of like books. I've got a good amount of them too and many I'll never read or only read once but keep them just to have them. I have over 700 CD's of soundtracks and many I've only listened to once but keep them just for the pleasure of having something obscure (many long out of print).


You sound like us. We have so many books, cd, dvds, etc that we've had to start cataloging them all so we don't buy duplicates. Dvds we do manage to weed out on a regular basis, but my husband can't pass up a cheap dvd bin!

He is nuts about quite a few obscure groups and always trying to find the cds for them. He'll never get rid of any of those cds either and just loves having them. He certainly doesn't listen to them very often.

Books are the worst with us though! We are both avid readers and just keep books. I'm better at getting rid of ones I didn't like than he is. We have books everywhere in the house!

At least we aren't the only ones
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I've got 200+ games (including lots of expansions and a good number of kids games). I really like playing new games (average of 2 new/week for last 3 years), so I'll happily buy a game I'm interested in that no-one I know has. That's how the collection keeps growing.

Although I do really enjoy getting my hands on hard to find games, I don't feel the need to keep them around if I don't think they're that great.

I think of my collection as a set of games to play-- so I'm trying to keep only the ones I like the best, while maintaining a nice variety of mechanics, complexity, length, number of players, portability and so on.

These days I'm buying less, playing more, and selling or trading away games that I'm finished with, for one reason or another. I've traded some games I quite like because they (or at least my copy) doesn't hit the table enough. Ideally, I'll end up with about 60 or so, not counting kids games and expansions.

So although it is a "collection"; it's not a static thing, games leave as well as join.
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I just get the games to play them when I feel like it. Never have been much of collector, I hunt down games that are fun to play and give me a chance to demonstrate to non-gamers the fun of the hobby. Now if I find a game for super cheap, then yes I am going to snatch it up, but in order to trade for a board game I have been looking for.

Other than that, I am okay with some of my games being beat up or not in good shape. As long as I can pull them out anytime and get a game started, I am happy.
 
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