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Subject: Boardgames and Living with Less rss

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Michael R.
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In the last couple of years or so, my wife and I have made a conscious effort to approach life in terms of simple living. I'm not talking about extreme minimalism or having almost no possessions, it's more that we've tried to eliminate the things that appear to be unnecessary, distracting and which prevent us from really getting on with the things that we most enjoy and want to achieve in life. Many books, video games, movies, clothes and other odds and ends have left the house this year and for the most part that has been tremendously liberating.

But...board games...while I absolutely love them, I have to admit that they take up a huge amount of space (both mental and physical) and it's just so easy to buy more and more and more. Collecting more and more stuff is the opposite of how I'm trying to live (not that I'm being preachy, other people can live however they want).

For years I've been a fully paid up member of the cult of the new. For me, at the start of the year I made a promise to myself that I wouldn't buy any new games and that I'd really try to play far more of my unplayed and underplayed games.

Six months later, things haven't really worked out like that. Instead, what I seem to have done is pruned my collection again and again. Perhaps 50 games have gone out, and only 2 or 3 new ones have been added.

It has been a painful process at times, but I have to say that once what I thought were much cherished games left my shelf, I really haven't looked back or regretted getting rid of a single one. How much I paid, or how good they were supposed to be hasn't mattered at all in the end. I'm down to owning approximately 54 games (not including expansions) and really feel like I'm getting to the point where I own my games rather than them owning me. My games are now an expression of the types of games I find interesting, rather than a huge collection of the latest and greatest.

At my peak I must have owned 150+ games and while there were a lot of great games and potential good times on the shelf, most of this potential was left unrealised for years. A good game on the shelf, if unplayed, is really just a box full of cardboard.

I really had to shake my head when I finally donated Race for the Galaxy, with all expansions, unplayed, to the local charity shop. I must have been mad to buy a game, all its expansions and still not play it! shake

If it failed the test 'Is this is a good that gets played' then it has left the building.

Anyway, after all this rambling, I guess I wondering how other people feel about their boardgame collection. Do you have too much, too little, just the right amount, too many unplayed games, too many games that you've played too much? Are you looking to slim down or are you really happy with what you have right now? Do you find it easy to let things go or once it's yours, is it yours forever?
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Dallas Tucker
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My personality is to play a game lots of times to explore it more. This, combined with a limited budget, have caused me to really think about my game purchases. After wasting money a few times buying games which are in the same niche as another game I have, and won't get played as much as the other (or at all), I think that I am pretty happy with the collection I have. I have a few games I can bring out with non-gamers, a few for bigger game nights, and a few heavier 2 player ones that I enjoy the most. I have a few other types of games (like the co-op Death Angel) to round it out. Anything I get from here on out has to be good enough to see table time - so it has to replace a game or find/create a space that I don't have covered well.
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Daniel J Isom
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I recently got into board gaming again after a long hiatus. Game design is what sparked my interest in gaming again and thrifting has changed my ability to get new games. While my collection is nearing 100 once again after knocking it down to 80, I'm trying to get my collection to be better overall and not be full of Monopoly, Trivial Pursuit, Scene It?, etc.

I definitely have too many games that are unplayed but I think 100 is the limit to the amount of games I want to have. I'd like to get it down to 50 games that I truly enjoy but there are some obstacles in my way:

1) We just had a baby and I want her to grow up in front of a board or deck of cards rather than the TV so I've been buying more kids games from the thrift stores for when she is old enough to play.

2) I have a ton of "little" games like Scrabble Slam, Fluxx, No Thanks!, etc. that I just won't get rid of because they go in a small plastic tote that takes up little room. Since I have so many small games it really inflates my totals.

3) Another space problem on the other side is that I have a love for game I grew up playing as a kid and most of them come in large boxes. Forbidden Bridge, Go, Carrom, Nok-Hockey, etc. all take up a lot of space.

I would LOVE, LOVE, LOVE to reduce our collections of a lot of things *cough*Hundreds of books and CDs along with over 700 DVDs*cough* Yea we have a problem collecting "stuff".
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Sky Zero
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Race for the Galaxy is an excellent solo game. How could you have not at least tried it? I think you need to go back and repurchase the base game + The Gathering Storm!
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Michael R.
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skyzero wrote:
Race for the Galaxy is an excellent solo game. How could you have not at least tried it? I think you need to go back and repurchase the base game + The Gathering Storm!


The big problem I had with RFTG was that I just couldn't understand the rules very well. I looked up Youtube videos and other explanations and in the end I concluded that the amount of effort required was more than I was willing to make. That and the fact that I enjoy San Juan, which is somewhat similar to RFTG.

RFTG is a classic example of a good game that I really wanted to like and make work but it just wasn't happening. So in the end I let it go and after it was gone I felt pretty good about it.
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Michael R.
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disom wrote:
I recently got into board gaming again after a long hiatus. Game design is what sparked my interest in gaming again and thrifting has changed my ability to get new games. While my collection is nearing 100 once again after knocking it down to 80, I'm trying to get my collection to be better overall and not be full of Monopoly, Trivial Pursuit, Scene It?, etc.

...snipped...

I would LOVE, LOVE, LOVE to reduce our collections of a lot of things *cough*Hundreds of books and CDs along with over 700 DVDs*cough* Yea we have a problem collecting "stuff".


Getting rid of books is really difficult and can be quite emotional. Been there, done that. I think over 200 books have left the house in the past 2 or 3 years. Right now, I'm down to owning books that I consider indispensable classics, books that I absolutely still want to read, and a few reference books. I still own quite a lot of books but now I can look at them and think to myself that they all mean something to me and will all be read or referred to. It's difficult to be honest with yourself and admit that, while you may have an interest in book x, you probably will never get around to reading it. Sometimes I think books represents our hopes and dreams more than anything else. It's hard to let that go.
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Daniel J Isom
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mjrobertson wrote:

Getting rid of books is really difficult and can be quite emotional. Been there, done that. I think over 200 books have left the house in the past 2 or 3 years. Right now, I'm down to owning books that I consider indispensable classics, books that I absolutely still want to read, and a few reference books. I still own quite a lot of books but now I can look at them and think to myself that they all mean something to me and will all be read or referred to. It's difficult to be honest with yourself and admit that, while you may have an interest in book x, you probably will never get around to reading it. Sometimes I think books represents our hopes and dreams more than anything else. It's hard to let that go.


I 100% agree with you. You can only imagine how much harder it is for my wife than it is for me with her being an English teacher, writer, and lover of languages. It took me YEARS to get her to get rid of college text books in Chemistry and Biology that she'd never use. After moving boxes of unneeded books multiple times, the final straw was when we moved from NY to Delaware. She finally agreed to get rid of them but she won't let me donate any books that I have already read and don't need to keep. She says she could read them in the future of use it for her classroom library. She's never gotten on the ebook bandwagon and I doubt she ever will.
 
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Can't post...need to get to charity shop in Falkirk...
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Michael R.
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I can totally understand this but I would try to make the point that books (and board games, even) only have a finite life, both physically and in terms of still being relevant. It's much better for a book to be donated and used and read immediately, possibly multiple times, by many people, rather than sit unused and unloved on a shelf for many years in preparation for something that may never even be appreciated by those whose use they are intended for (e.g. classroom library). Passing on stuff to other people extends the joy in my mind, keeping them at home for yourself just leads to a big pile of dusty rubbish building up.

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mjrobertson wrote:
I can totally understand this but I would try to make the point that books (and board games, even) only have a finite life, both physically and in terms of still being relevant. It's much better for a book to be donated and used and read immediately, possibly multiple times, by many people, rather than sit unused and unloved on a shelf for many years in preparation for something that may never even be appreciated by those whose use they are intended for (e.g. classroom library). Passing on stuff to other people extends the joy in my mind, keeping them at home for yourself just leads to a big pile of dusty rubbish building up.



I'm not sure if I agree with that. Especially the last sentence: "Passing on stuff to other people extends the joy in my mind, keeping them at home for yourself just leads to a big pile of dusty rubbish building up."
What you describe here is the hobby of collecting specific things. Calling that "dusty rubbish" is kind of inappropriate. Some people collect DVDs, others books, stamps or even board games. In my opinion, there is nothing bad about having games that are not played, because there is something else to games than just the gaming part, as there is to books than just the reading part, if you are a collector. You had a huge board game collection, so you know what thats about.

However, I personally also tend to find a balance in my collection between sentimental value and playing value. I try not to get too easily excited by games and try to buy games that fill a spot in my collection. Just like Whoshim said, I want to have a decent choice of heavy strategy board games for longer nights, short filler games, gateway games for newcomers, some communicational "party" games like Dixit. Also I want to be able to play a worker placement game, if I want to. Or a fantasy area control game. Or a short euro-game. But always having the newest stuff is not for me.
If there comes out a new game and I think, "well, this is kind of the same thing as the game I already have..." then I stick with my game. However, if this old game was not played for a long time, then it has to be reconsidered if it isn't better to give it away.

Some call this the 1-year or 2-year test...
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Michael R.
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Yes, I understand that some people are collectors and that's totally fine. I'm not a collector and don't aspire to be, which is why I view it a little negatively as I was previously not able to control my buying impulses. Having too many games and not enough time to enjoy them wasn't working for me. I guess I have many interests and hobbies and have finally decided to cut them down so that I can focus deeply on just a few.

If I was able to be an active, focused and very discerning collector then that kind of thing might work for me. And if people can get a lot out of owning and building up a collection, despite not necessarily playing them all, then more power to them. It's just not for me, I tried and failed very badly at that
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I have too many board games if I'm really honest.

I already have a lot of unplayed games and there is a strong likelihood a new game would only add to my unplayed pile.
I have stopped buying new games unless I have played the game before and know for a fact that I enjoy it.

But that is a big part of the rub, it matters little how much I like a board game, what is more important is how much the people I board game with like a game. And to a lesser extent whether I can convince them to try something new.
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Derek H
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Quote:
A good game on the shelf, if unplayed, is really just a box full of cardboard, waiting to be played.

FTFY.

And every single game you own falls into that category...
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I am a natural minimalist when it comes to almost everything.
I tried a car for a year, and it hurt my psyche more than
the semi-weekly hour and half walks through the desert (each way) do.

But games? I definitely draw the line there. About the only
thing I've consistently indulged myself in. I can remember hunting
down recycling bottles all over campus, so I could come up with
the few dollars to buy some very cheap Talisman stuff (great deal, even if
I don't like the game) when I couldn't afford food.
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Enrico Viglino
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Joey Sabin wrote:
Anything produced by SPI I sold or gave away and anything (with rare exception) from any wargame company that went out of business I also sold or gave away..


I'd be left without all my favorites if I did this.

That's not to say there isn't good stuff still around,
but the games I treasure most are almost all by out of business
companies.
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mjrobertson wrote:
disom wrote:
I recently got into board gaming again after a long hiatus. Game design is what sparked my interest in gaming again and thrifting has changed my ability to get new games. While my collection is nearing 100 once again after knocking it down to 80, I'm trying to get my collection to be better overall and not be full of Monopoly, Trivial Pursuit, Scene It?, etc.

...snipped...

I would LOVE, LOVE, LOVE to reduce our collections of a lot of things *cough*Hundreds of books and CDs along with over 700 DVDs*cough* Yea we have a problem collecting "stuff".


Getting rid of books is really difficult and can be quite emotional. Been there, done that. I think over 200 books have left the house in the past 2 or 3 years. Right now, I'm down to owning books that I consider indispensable classics, books that I absolutely still want to read, and a few reference books. I still own quite a lot of books but now I can look at them and think to myself that they all mean something to me and will all be read or referred to. It's difficult to be honest with yourself and admit that, while you may have an interest in book x, you probably will never get around to reading it. Sometimes I think books represents our hopes and dreams more than anything else. It's hard to let that go.


I have loads of books, I don't want to get rid of them, although I have read most. I also have quite a few videos, fewer CDs and a small number of video games. My games collection is quite modest, I think, at 15 (and no expansions yet!). I think hard before I buy a new game, space and money are an issue. I have five games out of 23 I really want on my wishlist, the rest have slowly faded from my initial enthusiasm to buy them. I love the games I have and bought all of them for a reason, and have played all but one, which I am hoping will get played soon at a games night.

I am fortunate that my gaming buddies have quite a lot of games, so I have played much more than I own. I have also played other games at my local board game club. I have only bought one game that I played first before I bought it, that was Stone Age, because my partner is a non-gamer essentially and I wanted something we would play with my son that was non-coop, as we play Pandemic too.

If I had more space, and my partner played more games, would I buy a lot more?

Yes, but only to play them and love them. I don't want to 'collect' games. Although my partner would probably disagree, I don't keep things that are not important and useful to me in some way. Maybe I think I can do more than I am able to, so perhaps they do represent hopes and dreams as you said.

(You can see my collection and comments if you wish, they are all under my profile.)



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I have the the crowding book issue. The way I am solving it is one getting a bigger house to house more books , when I start reading a book that doesn't interest me I put it in the donate pile, I've also started not buying books that have great potential if I have read a book in that series or I don't know the author. I have a 100 book backlist. The last one is I look at my set of books and decide which ones to donate to the library.

The games I only have 25+ so the pile is not so bad, but kickstarter is convincing me to add more. shake
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Mark Synowiec
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After having some really awkward video game and 40k collections I've taken to having a strict buying policy, where I research the tar out of everything I can if I'm even remotely considering it for purchase. I'm considering buying starter decks for LOTR TCG and having a hard time starting that at a total cost of $2.12. Under $3 and I'd rather be safe then sorry. I've recently asked a number of topics in the recommendation forum and that was at the tail end of things, plus when I found out that one game was done by another part of my collection better I chose to walk away from making that purchase. I've become a lot more picky about things lately. I live in a family with a tight budget so my gaming purchases aren't often and I research them greatly before I make them. Granted I can buy books/comics/music more often, but those are easier to justify purchases in my house.
 
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I was paying attention, but then you said you gave away Race for the Galaxy, and here's what the article turned into for me:

Blah blah blah

I gave away Race for the Galaxy.

blah.

You're telling me you couldn't find someone that would have at least given you $10 for it?
 
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Bravo Michael.

It takes much willpower and a singular focus to do what you have. At almost 650 games/expansions my collection is a juggernaut that is out of control.

I desperately want to get rid of many games but I cannot part with any until I have at least played them...even just once.

For me the joy is in experiencing a game's design...good or bad. So time is my main adversary in getting to learn those rule sets and play them.
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Neil Thomson wrote:
Bravo Michael.

It takes much willpower and a singular focus to do what you have. At almost 650 games/expansions my collection is a juggernaut that is out of control.

I desperately want to get rid of many games but I cannot part with any until I have at least played them...even just once.

For me the joy is in experiencing a game's design...good or bad. So time is my main adversary in getting to learn those rule sets and play them.


OP i agree with you. and you can have only 10 boardgames and still enjoy the session more than if you have 10000 boargames that never get on the table. if you are content with what you have then everything is good, if you are not satisfied with yourself then no amount of boardgames will satisfy your lust..
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dprijadi wrote:
Neil Thomson wrote:
Bravo Michael.

It takes much willpower and a singular focus to do what you have. At almost 650 games/expansions my collection is a juggernaut that is out of control.

I desperately want to get rid of many games but I cannot part with any until I have at least played them...even just once.

For me the joy is in experiencing a game's design...good or bad. So time is my main adversary in getting to learn those rule sets and play them.


OP i agree with you. and you can have only 10 boardgames and still enjoy the session more than if you have 10000 boargames that never get on the table. if you are content with what you have then everything is good, if you are not satisfied with yourself then no amount of boardgames will satisfy your lust..


Indeed - I think I could live very happily with these 10 titles (and expansions to them where appropriate)...

Memoir '44
Summoner Wars
Tichu
Can't Stop
Revolver
Kingsburg
Runebound
History of the World
7 Wonders
Descent: Journeys in the Dark
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bippi wrote:
I was paying attention, but then you said you gave away Race for the Galaxy, and here's what the article turned into for me:

Blah blah blah

I gave away Race for the Galaxy.

blah.

You're telling me you couldn't find someone that would have at least given you $10 for it?


Sure, I could have made the effort to sell a lot of games but it's not about the monetary side of things. Whether they were sold/traded/given away etc. doesn't really matter to me.
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When our collection hit 400 I said it was getting too big; at 500 I knew it was, and when it went over 600 I was desperate to reduce it. I've been on that mission for just over a year now, and it's reduced somewhat - at least it hasn't increased. I play over 300 different games a year, so I think 400 is probably about right, but the rest are games that we bought, often cheap, and just haven't played - or that have been replaced by other games that are just better. I don't mind keeping old family games for nostalgia reasons, but other games that aren't getting played are just gathering dust for no reason.
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sa266 wrote:

When our collection hit 400 I said it was getting too big; at 500 I knew it was, and when it went over 600 I was desperate to reduce it. I've been on that mission for just over a year now, and it's reduced somewhat - at least it hasn't increased. I play over 300 different games a year, so I think 400 is probably about right, but the rest are games that we bought, often cheap, and just haven't played - or that have been replaced by other games that are just better. I don't mind keeping old family games for nostalgia reasons, but other games that aren't getting played are just gathering dust for no reason.


Hmm, I can only imagine, but I think that reducing a collection that big shouldn't be very difficult. It takes time but I would go through the whole collection and make for every game the 2 year test and ask myself if this game was, as you said, replaced by a better one or if I have at least an urge to play it in the next month or if it is just a sentimental game.
It's hard to give away presents but at the moment I'm looking at 6 different monopoly versions. I'm sure if I sort out games, at least 4 have to go. (and don't reply now saying all 6 have to go because it's monopoly )
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