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The Board Game Grind - Cephus' Corner

The Board Game Grind

August 17th, 2014

Pile of Board GamesOn a recent episode of The Dice Tower podcast, Tom Vasel was answering a listener question about paring down one’s board game collection and he said that he had a huge problem getting rid of games.  Now granted, he’s a special case because he is a professional board game reviewer, he continually gets new games, usually review copies given to him by manufacturers, but I see the same thing going on in discussions on Google+ and other forums.  I have a solution to this problem though…

STOP BUYING SO MANY GAMES!

Seriously, this isn’t Pokemon, you don’t have to catch ’em all.  I know I’ve talked about this before, this Cult of the New and acquisition disorder nonsense, where people have to keep buying because they think that’s how the hobby works.  It’s not.  Board gaming, as a hobby, simply means sitting down and playing a board game on a reasonably regular basis.  It doesn’t mean having to buy every single new game that come out, it doesn’t mean having to throw money on every single Kickstarter that  goes by.  It doesn’t mean that you own so many games that you’re lucky if you play a game once or twice before it ends up on the shelf gathering dust.  If that’s something you honestly have a problem with, you need to seek out professional help, you’ve got impulse control issues.

I really think that’s a big issue in the hobby board gaming community, I see it constantly, people who spend a significant portion of their income on an endless array of new games and expansions, to the point that they have to struggle to make ends meet the rest of the month.  Then they show up on the forum or community and complain they have no more room for games, they post pictures of stacks of games on every flat surface in their house and therefore they have to keep dumping games to make room for the new games that keep coming through the door.  There’s a solution for that.  Stop getting so many new games.  Play the ones you have!

Getting back to the podcast, the listener said he and his wife were playing through all of their games and found that there were games that they didn’t like.  Okay, get rid of those.  You need someone else to tell you that?  Don’t buy games like that any more. You live and learn.  If you’re out of room, stop getting new games, or at least be very selective.  It sounds like the listener had the problem I talked about above, they just want all the new games, even the ones they hate playing, just because they don’t know how to control themselves.

This whole thing is sad and when you point out to people that they need some self-control, they get mad.  How dare you suggest that they’re doing anything wrong, as the mounds of board games collapse on them, burying them in a heap of cardboard and meeples!

Some people just have no clue or common sense.

Comments

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  • yangtzemusic says on: February 28, 2016 at 12:44 am

     

    I think much of what you say has truth about it Cephus, though you are saying it somewhat unkindly. If someone genuinely has a problem with addiction they need our empathy, support, and kind good advice to help them fight it, not denigration and denunciation. At least it isn’t an addiction to something immediately physically harmful like drugs, and their purchases will likely retain their value, or often increase in value over time, which is good news if they ever have to sell.

    However, they have a lot of board games and are continually buying new ones it doesn’t necessarily mean they have a problem, there could be other good reasons.

    For instance, there’s an excellent Geeklist on BGG called “Games That Fired Other Games”. I have a collection of nearly 200 games acquired over 35 years of serious gaming, and I use that Geeklist amongst other things to continually fine tune my collection. For instance, having recently played Lords of Waterdeep I am about to sell on Caylus Magna Carta, because LoW fits what I’m loping for in terms of fun and theme better. So that’s continuous acquisition in order to get better versions of the same type of game.

    I think the complaining you are complaining about isn’t always genuinely complaining anyway. It’s fun to ask one’s fellow Geeks if they think you should sell game A or game B. It’s a nice problem to have. Maybe their comments will crystallise your thinking about the value each game has to you. For instance, it may be pointed out that one may play quicker and have fewer rules, and therefore be easier to introduce to noobies, and that may sway your decision-making.

    My mother used to say to me, “what have you bought another game? You don’t NEED any more.” Well of course I don’t need any more, but every game is a work of art in an of itself, and every game plays differently (apart from the ones that have been fired by others, and even they may still have their fans). I collect them like someone else might collect art, or china, or shoes, the difference being I have the opportunity to immersively interact with them with other likeminded souls on a regular basis, and the ratio of potential utility to price for any given game is arguably greater than any other purchase you can make.

    • Cephus says on: February 28, 2016 at 4:34 pm

       

      I don’t really care if something is unkind if it is true. Some of these people need help. They are showing sure signs of addiction, but instead of saying “you’re buying too many games”, the whole of the modern board gaming hobby is based around buying as many games as you possibly can. This isn’t Pokemon. You don’t have to get them all.

      But even on the most recent episode of The Dice Tower, episode 446 I think but I don’t feel like looking it up right now, they had a segment on board game addiction and even Eric Summerer said that if he can’t go to the weekly gaming session, he feels nervous. That’s not a good sign. The whole industry caters to addictive personalities. And it isn’t just people getting better games to replace other games that aren’t as good, it’s people who have run out of room in their houses to actually store all of the games they get. If you can’t even store them all, how can you possibly play them all? How can you possibly play more than a tiny percentage of them? Even if board gaming is the only thing that you do in your life, which is rather sad, there are only so many hours in the day.

      The only people who really win in this hobby are the manufacturers. They get to sell the next “big” thing, which will be replaced by the next “big” thing the next week, ad nauseum. But unlike “collectible” fandoms, where you’re out to accumulate things, boardgaming is supposed to be about playing. It’s supposed to be about interacting with other people. Board games are not supposed to be instantly disposable. If you make intelligent choices in the games that you buy, you won’t have to constantly worry about replacing them with something new and shiny that just came out. That’s what leads to acquisition disorder, the feeling that you have to keep buying or you’ll somehow fall behind. It leads to addiction and addiction, no matter how you spin it, is bad.

      • yangtzemusic says on: February 28, 2016 at 11:39 pm

         

        I’m no fan of the profit motive either, Cephus. I hope with your views of manufacturers, which apply to every sector, that you have a socialist philosophy? Regardless, your anger should not be directed against board games, or their creators, or their collectors, but only against the manufacturers that, as you point out out, are the only ones generally that make profit from the process.

        I completely disagree that addiction is uniformly a bad thing. Just one example, extreme, and amongst many: people addicted to exercise can go on to become Olympic champions, or at least very fit. Addiction is only a problem if it causes harm to you or those around you.

        • Cephus says on: February 29, 2016 at 6:58 am

           

          I never said that profit was bad, I just said the manufacturers were the only real winners. They’ve essentially been handed a goldmine, a group of people hungry to buy anything they put out, just because it’s new. Companies in other sectors would kill for a chance at that. I’m not angry about that, I just think that it takes away any real impetus to make really good games because they know that even if they put out crap, it’ll sell. The cult of the new sells anything, just because it’s new and once they sell out of their initial print run, everyone has moved on anyhow so there’s no reason to worry about quality.

          And no, there is a difference between addiction and dedication. Addiction is unhealthy. There are plenty of people out there who spend so much money buying games that they can hardly afford to eat. This is an problem when people become so focused on one and only one thing that everything else in their lives suffer. They are not well-rounded people. They have only a single interest. I’ve seen people lose jobs over gaming. I’ve seen people lose family over gaming. It isn’t just gaming, of course, but anything that someone follows to the exclusion of all else is problematic. That’s what addiction is.

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Cephus' Corner

A Place to Share my Geeky Side With the World. Comics, movies, TV, collecting, you name it, I indulge in it.