Most people reading this blog probably have a game acquisition problem, in that they’re really good at acquiring new games. Board games can get to be an expensive hobby, but each individual purchase seems very affordable. We’ve talked in the past about the addicting nature of collecting new games and the pressure to keep up with the cult of the new. It’s enough to lead you to be drowning in games if you’re not careful.
We wanted to take a look at a few questions you can ask yourself the next time the impulse to buy hits you.
Do I know anyone who has it?
If there is a game that your best buddy has that you always find yourself wanting to play when you get together, you may be tempted to add that game to your collection. That’s understandable, since you’re not going to spend all of you time with that same person, and you can only borrow the game so often before they tell you to get your own copy. However, it can be prudent to consider how many extra plays you’d get out of the purchase. Couple that with any other friends that might own the game and all of a sudden, the need might seem a bit less. Sometimes, not owning a game will raise its esteem in our own minds. We’ll cherish the opportunities to play it, but not overexpose ourselves to it, as we might if we had our own copy. Absence makes the heart grow fonder.
Will I get to play it?
Sometimes games just click for us. They are the perfect blend of theme, mechanics, and components that scratch us right where we itch. However, before we plop down $15-$120, we have to consider, whom amongst the people that I know will also have their itches scratched by this game? Unless it has a solo option, the answer better be some or many of the people you regularly game with. Otherwise, might be better to pass. It can be tough to let a game like that go, but if it just sits on your shelf collecting dust, it’s not much good to you. Curate your collection of games to suit not only your own taste, but those of the people you play with. You’ll get a lot more use out of the purchases you make.
How replayable is it?
I mean obviously don’t include legacy or consumable games in this equation. Games that are played for the experience and then you’re done with them have their own draw to them. But, for most games, you want to consider how many plays you’re going to get out of it. If you consider the one-time cost of the game, divided by the number of plays, it can give you a better sense of the value of adding it to your collection. Some games, you play so much, whatever their cost originally was, it’s reduced to just about zero when spread over that many sessions. You can’t expect that from every game, but when one is a hit, boy howdy, it’s great!
Can I get it later?
We acquire games in a lot of different ways, like our FLGS, Amazon, Ebay, or other online retailers, Kickstarter, secondhand stores, flea markets, and I could go on. Where we get it can go a long way to determining if we should get it now. For example, Kickstarter is its own beast, with exclusives and stretch goals that make buying the game very attractive. There’s a built in pressure to get on board as the clock on the campaign ticks down, you risk losing that opportunity forever. Coming across vintage or grail games in flea markets or garage sales can be one-in-a-lifetime opportunities. You need to snatch them up then and there, cause you don’t know when another chance like that will come along. On the other hand, if six copies of a game have been sitting on the shelf of your FLGS for six months, chances are you can get it at a later date. You have to assess the rarity of the opportunity before you make a move.
Is it good value for the money?
This is a matter of opinion really. There can be very expensive games that are worth every penny to you, due to the amazing components, brilliant design, immersive art, or whatever other factor that draws you into a game. At the same time, a very inexpensive title might be that way for good reason. If a publisher does not invest in quality components, or the time to properly playtest a game, then it really doesn’t matter how inexpensive it is, it’s not good values for your money. As I said, this evaluation will be different for different people, but the value you’re getting should be taken into account.
Can I try it First?
We live in a golden age of gaming, and there are many different ways to try out games before you buy them. Borrow it from a friend, visit a board game cafe, or try out an open gaming night at an FLGS. The truth is, there’s really no reason to buy a game on blind faith these days, or simply on the advice of your favourite DWP reviewer. Even if you only get to try it once, you’ll get a sense of whether it’s for you or not.
Do I want it anyway?
After thinking about all of the above factors, the final thing to consider is, do you want it anyway? Maybe it’s a bit more expensive than it’s worth, maybe your friend already owns it, heck, maybe you won’t play it once. At the end of the day, you’re an adult. Spend your money how you want and don’t apologize for it. Buying stuff we don’t necessarily need is a proud tradition, and if you want it, go out there and get it!