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Saturday, July 13, 2024

Survey Results #4: Collections, Teaching, and Learning

by | published Friday, March 11, 2016

This week, we’re taking a look at game collections, as well as teaching and learning games. We take a look at the actual size of collections, we were curious about the sorts of games that primarily make up those collections. We were also curious about how much people borrow and lend games, or don’t – it seems like most don’t, likely just playing games they don’t own with friends that do (or perhaps taking advantage of game cafe collections, convention libraries?). While it’s nice to have a collection, we look at how much people get to actually play what’s in it, and if they don’t, why? Last of all we examine how people learn games, and how many people end up teaching games for their groups, and if they enjoy it overall.


Here is the breakdown of what is in the graphical representation above:

What is the size of your game collection? The scale we surveyed was from zero to 1000+ games. Not a bad curve, huh? There seems to be a peak in what might be folks into the hobby for a shorter time (a collection of 10-25 games made up 15% of respondents). While there’s a dip down in collections of around 40-55 games, it rises back up again for people with collections of 55-99 games (14.7%). Then a steady decline to 14% with 100-149 games, 11% with 150-249 games and 10% with 250-500 games. And a wee spike of really serious collectors with 1000+ games! (2%)

What primarily makes up your collection? So, out of the respondents’ collections what game types are represented most? 97.5% have boardgames, no surprises there! 47.6% of games are general card games, and following on from that, 25.8% have RPG games as their primary source of games.  

Now, it wasn’t a surprise that board games are the primary game in most respondents’ collections. What was cool to see that #2 and #3 were card and roleplaying games! What makes up the smaller segments are war games 16%, living card games (LCGs)  16%, collectible card games 12.5% and dexterity games 12%).

Interestingly, people seem more inclined to just play games with friends, rather than occasionally lend them out! Do you borrow games from friends? Yes, only on occasion (41.4%); No (53.8%). Do you lend games to friends? Yes, only on occasion (56.2%); No (34%).

On average, how often do you play games in your collection? There’s a slight clustering creating a bit of an average around 3/4/5 times. But then there’s a big spike where 14.5% of people play their games 10+ times!

Would you like to play games in your collection more? Overwhelmingly, yes. 88% yes!

If you’d like to get games to the table more for play and replay, what is holding you back? Time is a big factor, 77% of respondents mentioning that. Not being able to find people to play with makes getting games to the table tough for 45% of respondents. And having newer games to try means 35% of respondents aren’t getting games replayed enough. Interestingly, the factor of complexity of learning/teaching games is a relatively small factor in this, at 16.5%!

Most of the following results allowed for multiple answers, as we figured a lot of people wouldn’t just learn one way! It’s interesting to see what’s come out as more popular.

How do you usually learn a game? Although 91% of respondents read rules as part of learning a game, only 16.5% use the rules as their solo learning method! Many folks use a combination of these things. 55% of people have someone teach when they play; 56% watch a how to play video, and 47% watch a run through video.

How do you *prefer* to learn games? 38.5% of folks just rely on one of these methods, while the rest use a combination; many added playing a solo game or a first round open handed or playing a learning game to these methods. 42% watch a video, 47% listen to someone explain, 35% like seeing examples setup on the board, 55% read the rules thoroughly.

When you play a game that not everyone knows, are you usually the one who teaches? 46% are always the teacher, 48% are sometimes, and 6% don’t teach!

If you do teach games, do you enjoy it? Overall, most people (67%) do enjoy teaching games. 31% of people don’t really enjoy it, but will do it if needed, and 2% just don’t like it at all.

Edited to add: After a quick chat on Twitter about average plays in relation to collection size, we threw this summary together!

bonus-4-results (1)

To summarize the graphic, the most frequent average plays per game are:

Collection size of 1-5 games: 10+ plays
Collection size of 6-10: 10+ plays
Collection size of 10-25: 10+ plays
Collection size of 26-35: 5 plays
Collection size of 36-45: 5 plays
Collection size of 46-50: 3 and 5 plays
Collection size of 50-99: 5 plays
Collection size of 100-149: 5 plays
Collection size of 150-249: 3 plays
Collection size of 250-499: 3 plays
Collection size of 500-749: 3 plays
Collection size of 750-999: 3 plays
Collection size of 1000+: 1 play


  • Nicole H.

    Nicole had played a lot of backgammon, Life and Monopoly when younger. She started playing hobby games in University after trying out D&D 3rd edition, and then joining her University game club. After a while she gravitated towards board games as a casual gamer. After moving to Toronto in 2009 she started gaming more and met her (former) partner Adam through the hobby and hasn't turned back. It's hard for her to pick a favourite game, but if you really stared her down she might pick Castles of Burgundy. When not gaming, Nicole enjoys cooking/baking, reading comics, watching tv/movies and visiting museums! And cuddling every dog she can.

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