So far we have covered many aspects of geek economy, but we had not discussed the elephant in the room which: board games. They are a double edge sword. They take space, time, lots of money, and usually they require other people to play with. You do not want to go wasting any of your resources on any kind of board game to end up with a bad outcome. I know lots of people who are put off-board games because the invested wrongly their time/money/space into them and they got so annoyed with the subject they just left it all together. We obviously do not want this to happen to you, so here are some things you can do to ensure you are building your games collection in a wise way. And the first point to begin with is being up to date and in tune with the current times. Technology, sociocultural changes and economy are actually making gaming life easier, and this is having a positive effect for those wanting to hoard cardboard boxes full of fun and joy.
As usual I would say the golden rule of board games is do some research: there is literally a game for everyone, about anything. The possibilities are truly endless. Diversity of player number, genre, game purpose and dynamic, game time, etc. Even if you think board games aren’t for you, I assure you there is one with your name out there. But you need to give them a chance. The best way to approach the subject is thinking what do you want from the game, do some little research, read about the game, find some reviews, and then you will be in a much better position to decide whether it is for you or not. Do NOT make the mistake of just looking at the box and thinking “this looks cool”. I mean, you can, and I am sure everyone has done that once in a while, but boxing is just another aspect of marketing, and I have played some pretty terrible and dull games that had some awesome packaging. Now, if you have decided you want a game, you may encounter the problem many of us have: games can cost a lot of money! And if you want to have a few for a games evening, you could easily spend a minimum of 20-50 pounds (I know, that can be A LOT of comics…and MTG boosters, and…). So here are some tips as to how to game wisely, and spend your money in the games you want with a bit of logic:
-Print and play: in this day and age, every game that has made big bucks is available through print and play. All you need is an account, a printer, paper, perhaps glue or cellotape, but most importantly a lot of time and patience. It does not require a terrible amount of skill to just make the basic components of a game as they usually come designed for you, but you will have to either print them, build them, or both, and that can be an arduous task. But it could save you a lot of money if you are up for the challenge. This also gives you the perfect opportunity to try games you are not sure if you wanna buy or not. Then you can see if you like them, or if they are worth the monetary investment. One of my friends is very good with this p&p business, and that is how I have played Puerto Rico (which is an awesome game, btw), as well as a few expansions for other games such as Seven Wonders or Colt Express.
-Tabletop Simulator: we live in the age of technology. Not only wonderful companies such as Days of Wonder have online versions of their tabletop games that you can play for free, but there are video games that have been designed to enable you to play tabletop games. Tabletop simulator is truly handy for this: not only you have access to several thousands of mods that allow you to play the same game you would on a table but on your computer, they also allow you to play with friends how may be far away. This way you can run proper and thorough game tests, and then this will allow you to decide if you want to buy the actual game because, let’s face it, as lovely as it is to not spend money, it’s not the same placing cards on a table or physically moving meeples than clicking on things. And some games are just great because of how tactile they are.
-Board game cafes: these are becoming more and more popular, so it is likely there is one near you. Their collections are usually varied, so for the price of a drink or maybe some food, you could try few games in a social environment. It is also a great way of finding people to play with if you feel stuck or your group of friends do not share your interest in board games. I have been to few, particularly Draughts (London) and Board In the City (Southampton) and found them nice places where to spend a good evening. The staff is always friendly – they have to be gamers too in order to show you how to play! Just don’t be shy.
-Buy & Sell groups: got a game you didn’t like? or you got a game you didn’t get to use or you do not play any more and need to make some space? Why not sell it as a second-hand game? By getting the same game, but used and a better price you will be making another gamer happy, the game will be recycled, and you will get part of your investment back and some space to fill in with, obviously, more games. Many independent local stores will have their own buy & sell events, so go ask. Otherwise, there is plenty of forums and Facebook groups as well as places such as eBay and Gumtree where you can sort out these kind of transaction.
-Group game wisely by performing team effort: if you have a group of friends with whom you game frequently, you could all pitch in for games to make the expenditure affordable. Or you can take turns: there’s no point 4 people having the same game if they play it together all the time (unless you all really like it I guess). Perhaps friend#1 can buy one game, and friend #2 another, etc, and when you all get together you have a plethora of games to choose from without you all spending a fortune on them or having to carry thousands of boxes to your gaming den all at the same time. The gamers that stick and stay together, play forever. Keep this in mind.
Hopefully this has given you a few ideas as to how to make your board and card game collection more manageable without wasting many resources, and making sure you do things with precision and through calculated decision-making for the sake of your wallet and your gaming experience.