So, you’ve been gaming for some time now, long enough to know that it is a hobby worth exploring. You’ve bought your first few games, you’re slowly becoming the board gaming go to gal or guy of your group, and you are thinking about creating a slightly bigger and more wholesome collection of games. Well, you’ve come to the right place.
The Gamer Types
The first thing we need to do is diagnose what type of a board gamer you are. If you’re reading these words (as in: you’ve got that far), you are most probably not the Totally Casual player – a person who enjoys games, but always in moderation, and never enough to ever buy more than one or two boxes (Catan, Ticket to Ride or – gulp! – Munchkin). So, you probably belong to one of three other groups: the On/Off Gamer, the Hoarder, or the Reasonable Gamer.
If you are the On/Off Gamer, it means you switch from wanting and not wanting to be a gamer in relatively short intervals. This leads to you buying new games, and then selling your collection (or most of it) the moment you stop playing on a very regular basis, just to buy some games again in a short while when you change your mind. Your game collection will probably never reach more than 10 boxes, and will almost certainly fit on top of a bookshelf or in your closet, so you really don’t have to worry about thinking its contents through.
The whole matter is both more complicated and simpler when you’re the Hoarder (and, by the way, I’ve totally been a Hoarder for many a years – and partly still am), as you simply buy all the games that tickle your fancy, rarely sell them or trade them away, and simply collect both the useful and the useless gaming items. It does get somewhat sticky when you (inevitably) run out of space. So as long as you’re a hoarder with extra space, you may skip the rest of this article. Or don’t skip it – read it now to be ready for some difficult decisions in the future.
Finally, if you already are or simply aspire to be (by buying new games or by culling your already overgrown collection) the Reasonable Gamer, you are definitely the person that needs to plan your collection the right way, especially if you don’t want to join the Hoarder ranks. So, what is the number of games you should have, and what types should your collection consist of?
The answer to the first question is extremely simple: as many as you feel comfortable having, and as many as you can comfortably play within a span of a few months. Naturally, how much space you devote to your gaming collection will heavily influence the number of games you can comfortably store, so to give you something concrete, I’ll provide you with one simple rule of thumb: if you fear some of the games might fall out and get damaged (or even worse: damage you), than you should get rid of at least some of them.
The answer to the second question is far more difficult, as there are different ways games can be categorized – and even when we agree upon a specific way of categorizing them, it is not necessarily certain that each gamer needs to have a game from each of the categories. For example, I purged most of the lightest Eurogames from our collection, as we very rarely introduce new people to gaming these days, and having just a few of the simpler games (we ourselves usually do not play) is still more than enough.
Your Personal Preference
A lot of seasoned gamers with sizeable collection will probably claim, that it’s a good idea sell off or trade away some of the games that belong to the same genre or, more generally, “do the same thing”. Having too many of them simpl means they’d be gathering dust most of the time.
But how many is too many? Again, it’s a matter of personal preference. Some might want to put a very restrictive boundary here, while others might just decide that some categories (like Worker Placement) are so much more fun to them, that they will allow some latitude.
As much as some discipline is needed when building your own collection (lest you become a Hoarder), you should also remember that it’s something you’re doing as part of one of your favourite pastime, and as such should not lead to making decisions that are unpleasantly difficult.