We were having a discussion in The Tavern Facebook Group about how we choose what games to purchase. Tabletop gaming has grown so much that there is an abundance of amazing games available. Classic games that I wish I had, a constant influx of wonderful new games by publishers I love, and new kickstarters each week that interest me for some reason. So many games that I just don’t have the finances to purchase or the time to play them all. As I am not a collector of games, I realized I needed to come up with some criteria to help me prioritize my tabletop game purchases. Have you done something similar and are willing to share?
I have developed five categories I evaluate before I purchase a board game or card game. [RPGs have a very different process to decide, so I might discuss that in a future post]
- The game comes highly recommend by friends, family, and/or people I respect. Relationships are very important to me and go a long way toward encouraging me to look at possible games that are recommended by those I trust.
- The game is by a designer or publisher that I really enjoy and want to support. Much like I seriously consider recommendations from those I trust, I also take a serious look at new games released by designers/publishers I have enjoyed games from in the past.
- The game is of a theme/genre that I really love. Game mechanics do interest me, but if the game has a theme I do not enjoy then it will be difficult to keep my interest.
- The game fits a niche in my collection that is currently empty. For example, I don’t need five zombie games, 4 city building games, or 3 pick up and deliver games with generic pasted-on themes. To have a duplicate or a theme or mechanic in my collection, it has to stand out. If every time I am going to want to play that theme or type of game, I am only going to pull out the game I already own…then why purchase another one similar to the game I already have?
- If it can be played in under sixty minutes. With family, caregiver, work, church, and freelancing duties, I do not have extensive game time. It is rare that I get to pull out my 3+ hour games to play, so I tend not to add to that collection unless the game is amazing. Hour or shorter games fit in lunch, between weekend events, and are great ways to relax in an evening after dinner.
Each new game I hear about, see at the shop, check out in a booth, or read about on Kickstarter, I compare to my categories.
- If it meets two, then I might pick it up if it is inexpensive, in trade, or I have had a chance to play it a few times to confirm my interest.
- If it meets three or more, it goes on my wishlist for future on sale purchase or trade.
- If it it meets all five, then it is a must-have purchase/trade as soon as possible.
Admittedly, there are times I might override that decision tree because of a sale table find, great price on a used copy, or to support a close friend’s booth/preorder/kickstarter. Those are special cases where I look at my gaming budget and decide if I can devote them to these unique cases. This is how I prioritize my purchases with limited funds, how do you? Do you have other categories? I would love to hear your thoughts and practices, perhaps even using some of your ideas in my decisions.