Freelance Knight

Shelf of Shame (or Opportunity?)

Shelf of Shame (or Opportunity?)

Shelf of Shame (or Opportunity?)

As the end of the year quickly approaches, the gaming convention season draws to a close with BGGcon this week and Dragonmeet early next month. Christmas is coming upon us quickly as well. Through all these conventions, purchases, trades, and upcoming Christmas gifts…many of us have amassed quite a pile of new to us games on our shelves. In fact, if you are passionate about the gaming hobby, you likely have been acquiring games for years.

If you are like me and limited in your free time for gaming, you are currently shelving games faster than you can get then to the table to play. This leads to something commonly called by those in the hobby, the “Shelf of Shame.” You know what I am talking about. That pile of games you haven’t had a chance to play since you acquired them. Some of them might even still be in shrink wrap. Some might even have been there for months…a year…years?

This topic came up on quite a few gaming podcasts and blogs this week, as it often does around this time of year. Game industry personalities are winding down the year, making their Top games of the year lists, and lamenting about all the games they brought back from Gen Con, Essen, BGGcon, Dragonmeet, <insert con name here> that they still need to play before the end of the year.

You know what, I have determined I don’t like the “Shelf of Shame” concept. “Shelf of Shame” has a negative vibe which is not necessary. Gaming is fun. Playing games with friends is even more fun. These aren’t games to be ashamed of. These games are an opportunity! How are they an opportunity?

  • First, I have a pile of new to me games I get to play soon. It is SO much fun to learn new games and see what they are like. Just look at your unplayed games. You acquired them for a reason. Remember what that reason was and build the anticipation to play them. My plan is to schedule some “New To You Game” nights with my friends and family. We can share the joy of learning the new game together and seeing what it is like.
  • Second, I have potential gifts for others to enjoy my gaming hobby. How are these potential gifts? Well, as I play these new games I will decide one of two things. I enjoy the game or I don’t. If I enjoy it, that likely means there is an older game in my collection I don’t like as much, and and this one will replace it. I am not collecting games, so I try to keep my collection focused on games I enjoy and will play. If I didn’t enjoy it, that is disappointing to me since I acquired it, but could be happy for someone else. Whether I liked the new game or not, I likely now have a game I can give away or trade in my gaming group to spread the joy of the hobby.

So, as you look at the growing pile of new to you games that are unplayed, don’t get frustrated, depressed, or ashamed by it. Get excited about it! See your Shelf of Opportunity as untapped potential to bring you and your gaming group happiness in the near future!

For those of you curious what is on my Shelf of Opportunity at this time…

Tabletop Games
1st & Goal
Compounded: Geiger Expansion
Cowboys: The Way of the Gun
Fire & Axe: A Viking Saga
Firefly: The Game – Pirates & Bounty Hunters
Justice League Strategy Game
King Chocolate
Legendary: Big Trouble in Little China
My Village
Noble Treachery: The Last Alliance
Robotech RPG Tactics
Sentinels of the Multiverse: Villains of the Multiverse
Sentinels of the Multiverse: Wrath of the Cosmos
The Shadow Over Westminster
Space Cadets: Away Missions

Adventures in Middle-earth
The Dark Eye
Mutant: Year Zero


2 thoughts on “Shelf of Shame (or Opportunity?)

  1. Daniel Taylor

    My shelf of opportunity is huge. The rest of my family has generally lost interest in playing board games, so I don’t get much table time with board games these days. A few of the big things on my list to get to the table:
    Mechs vs Minions
    The Big Book of Madness
    Legacy: The Testament of Duke de Crecy
    X-Men: Mutant Revolution

    I’m hopefully going to get some board gaming in while we’re visiting family over the holidays, but I don’t think any of these are going to make it to the table then.