Monday, February 17, 2014

On Collecting Boardgames

I realized that my board game collection hit a stopping point when I ran out of space in the hall closet to store them. (No, devoting more space to board games is not an option.) The rate that I've been acquiring board games has slowed from the frenetic pace of a couple of years ago. I no longer pick up a new board game every month, but one every few months or so. Maybe. If it's on sale. In any case, a new game has to fill a new niche in the collection to justify the purchase. If a game does something that one I already own does better, why bother? This reasoning has slowed the growth of my collection, since it already covers a variety of niches.

Below is my current "working" collection of board games. It does not count games packed away in storage or miniature wargames.

  • 7 Wonders
  • 7 Wonders: Cities
  • 7 Wonders: Leaders
  • Arkham Horror
  • Battlestar Galactica
  • Bohnanza
  • Nexus Ops
  • Pandemic
  • Pandemic: On the Brink
  • The Resistance
  • Small World
  • Survive: Escape from Atlantis!

It is a relatively small collection, but it covers a range of game mechanics and themes.

There are some specific things I tend to look for in board games. How well a game does in these areas tends to outweigh all other considerations except for price. I have not yet broken the $100 mark when purchasing a board game and that is not likely to change.

Engaging game play. A new game has to present an interesting and novel challenge. 7 Wonders offers deck building with a civilization building theme. It does those things well enough for me not to go looking for another game to fill those roles.

Play time. My group typically plays on week nights. We also like to finish games. A game that can be completed in 1 - 2 hours or less will get played more than a 4+ hour marathon game that we might have to abandon midway through. In other words, Bohnanza and The Resistance hit the table more often than Battlestar Galactica.

Theme. I would have rated this much higher at one point, but the tastes of my group are a more flexible than I once thought. There is still a preference for games with a strong tactical, sci-fi, or fantasy theme. However, Bohnanza won everyone over with its simple rules, trading mechanic, quick play time, and competitive play. Introducing Arkham Horror to a group with no other Lovecraft fans was risky, but the games sold itself on its own merits during the times we played it. The length of Arkham Horror has placed it firmly in the "special occasions" category, though.

Looking at the hall closet, I think I can squeeze in a couple more games if I rearrange things. The last game I got was Nexus Ops, which filled the Risk / Axis & Allies combat game niche. I guess I'll have to go over some reviews to figure out what to get next. Been hearing good things about King of Toyko and Flashpoint: Fire Rescue...

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