A Downsizing Challenge

Help! My collection is too big. I have too many games.

Yep, that looks bad. Doesn’t it?

I want to try and reduce the size of my collection back down to something that feels managable. My shelf of shame has grown to have almost 50 games on it.

My physical shelves are overflowing and my living room looks like a boardgame shop.

So here’s my attempt to get a grip on it:

  • No advent calendar peeking at that one shop in December. Buying games because they are cheap: not a good idea.
  • No “surfing what just got in” Closed all open tabs of online shops: buying games just because they are rarely available: terrible idea.
  • No expansions: I haven’t barely played the base games enough…
  • No small games “it’s so small” just doesn’t make the number of games I have any smaller.
  • No kickstarters, there are too many I am already waiting for. (this also means removing the app from my tablet I guess, that’s done.)
  • No more preorders for stuff that isn’t even out yet (glancing at LUNA Capital over on the couch waiting for a buyer)
  • No more “I need this because I don’t have one with that mechanic/theme/player count” (I have all of it by now)
  • No more “I want this b/c it’s a (Knizia) classic”
  • No more “But spacebiff/zee/SUSD/SVWAG/NPI liked this one”
  • And most important “It’s going out of print!” is no reason to buy a game.
  • No visits to FLGS… they will do fine without me for a few months.
  • And most difficult and most important: No game-buying-therapy. Buying games to soothe my emotions: the worst idea.

No new games:

  • until I have managed to squeeze the collection below 200 games again. (150 sounds even better but I have to set a somewhat realistic goal)
  • until I have managed to get the shelf of shame back to one of opportunity with just a couple games on it.

I am not sure that making a post about it here makes me stop. But the more games I buy because I can… the more they become a burden instead of a joy. And the bigger the collection gets the easier it is to buy “just one more”…

Any tips from anyone who has managed to stop their buying spree? Or their retail therapy tendencies? Or how to stop the FOMO? Because I could sure do with some ideas…

13 Likes

I’m at the point that I have more games than I really want, and I keep discovering new-to-me ones - not the KS and new-shiny so much as the “this has been out for a while, I didn’t get it at the time, but ooh it’s fun”. (Xia and A Touch of Evil for example, both in quite large boxes.) The acquisition rate isn’t too bad, I think, though there are big KS on the way, but the removal rate definitely needs to go up a bit.

Time to take a pass through my collection and think of each one in terms of “in what situation will I pull this off the shelf rather than something else”, and if I can’t imagine one it’ll be time for it to go.

3 Likes

Kinda like weight loss. Keeping a constant check of purchased and sold is a way for me to do it and see how it goes up and down. I am somewhat effective at this.

Set a goal. I have set X amount of heavies, Y for mid, Z for lights, A for party/social games. The reason why you guys see me whining here is that it’s my way of figuring out which ones to keep or not. It just then became a habit. Setup a notebook/write on bgg comments if you dont want those comments here.

Not visiting stores online or physical is a good shout. Although, I still browse an FB bargain group and BGG Market. And I do fail at this sometimes.

Cut down on bg media. I only listen to 2 podcast at the moment (SVWAG and Hidden Gems), so my exposure to them is very limited. Although I did end up buying Shaman because of one SUSD video. Turns out, I am becoming interested on modern trick taking.

Set priorities. Set some tiers. Get rid of the ones below Tier 1 shame pile. Why play a Tier 2 when you have Tier 1’s that you would rather play?

Do a reverse Kondo :wink: or a normal Kondo.

Be choosy. A friend couple of mine are choosier than me and they have a small collection. I got called a snob (which is fair) but Im decreasing and his collection is at 500+ unique titles.

Is anyone keen on a “downsize progress” thread?

7 Likes

I have a will, but I’m not committing to anything yet. My purchasing has been cut back drastically and, now, when I get new games in, they sort of just make me feel bad rather than holding the excitement they used to.

I’m stubborn, though, so I refuse to cull anything before playing it; so from now until my baby is born mid-Jan, I’m hoping to take some new looks at my solo-able games.

5 Likes

For downsizing I use a would I choose this over this approach.

So for instance in Kemet vs Inis, Kemet must go.

Both are good and in an ideal world I would keep both and play often enough to get both to the table but the reality is that when I do play I would always choose inis.

Using this approach the current cull pile is merv, Kemet, Cthulhu wars duel and king is dead.

5 Likes

Limited space is my main winner and a honest ‘who will I play this with’ followed by ‘do they own this’ coupled with ‘stop making up imaginary situations’

For example, I’ll play Power Grid with anyone reasonably interested in a mid-complexity game. Plenty of my group own it but I’ll play it with interested no gamers too.

As a counter example, I don’t need a 7 player worker placement game that lasts under one hour

4 Likes

One of my other things to do is a would you rather with cold hard cash.

I saw Lords of Vegas go for £55 today and now that’s tempting.

5 Likes

I’ve not bought a game this year. There have been a couple of cheats (my wife bought it!). I’ve had games as gifts and have done a couple of Maths Trades.

Once it had got past 6 months I found I’ve been a lot more picky when listening to podcasts. Previously I’d have got home and started looking at Boardgameprices a soon as something piqued my interest, but I think the only game that I’ve really had a strong desire to buy after hearing a review recently is Polynesia.

BGA and TTS have helped loads because I’ve played a lot of games without buying them and then realised I can do without them. I think what I’m saying is that @Whistle_Pig has got me through the year!!

Selling a load was pretty cathartic as well.

6 Likes

My acquisition rate has lowered a lot since I changed my approach to it, so I think it is good you are doing it too. And you should not worry too much to share your success and failures over here, I am pretty sure some of us (I will, for sure) find it helpful.

What helped me loads was stopping notifications from second hand Facebook pages. And KS, Patreon, etc away from my phone. I mainly watch anything to do with board games now only on weekends.

My only comment would be, with Christmas coming, perhaps tell your loved ones the unbelievable thing: “I don’t want board games this year”. For it is a bad time to downsize, right now, with all the mistletoe around…

4 Likes

This reminds me of our discussion back in 2020: Gaming Goals for 2021

I have not bought even one board game in 2021 though I asked for the Crew 2 as Christmas present.

So I will repeat the things which helped me and put them maybe in better words:

  • Don’t listen, read or watch (almost) any board game content. I rarely meet new games, I never have a feeling of missing out. The few new games I meet, I either don’t need in my life / collection or they are so good I buy them. But that is a ridiculous low number. 1 in 2021 (expecting my Christmas present).

  • Ignore Kickstarters completely. You are excited about a game, but till it arrives at your door step, there is a good chance your excitement isn’t as high anymore or you have a better game for that spot or your circumstances changed and you are not interested anymore. And even if all of that is not true, you will still be able to buy the game right when you want to play it.

  • Don’t get expansions. Like Admiral Ackbar likes to say “It’s a trap!”. There are very very few games for which it is worthwile to get expansions. There are two reasons in my opinion. First, we (owners of big collections) don’t play the base games often enough and second, we (owners of big collections) tend to introduce new people to board games and it is most of the times a bad idea to include expansions if someone is unfamiliar with the base game. A third reason just came to mind: New games are coming in, occupying our interest, so even expansions fail to keep up the interest for the old timers sometimes.

  • Just think about, how many of your games you have not played or only once. I am sure, for most of us this number is incredible high. Pile of shame is the right term for it and tbh I feel it for boardgames more than for pc games because they tend to be more expensive, take away more space and are harder to utilize.
    It helped me to just accept that I have a fine collection with a ton of games and enough of them we never played. No reason at all to get even more. (At least not in huge numbers). I know that’s easier said than done, but still. I reached the point where I just feel saturated. It is a nice place :slight_smile:

8 Likes

This has an extra bonus of the feeling of adding time to your day. I rarely consume video reviews because there is enough on Netflix to occupy that time.

6 Likes

To curb new acquisitions, you could set yourself a tough budget for the year. If you have financial constraints on what you can spend, you may be more critical on the purchase.

Plus you can then play around with little houserules by justify a budget increase by selling a game or two, which again will get you looking at what you already have with a more critical eye.

5 Likes

A few things I’ve found moderately effective in reducing the rate at which I buy games:

  • having a wishlist. I put things on my BGG wishlist when I’m tempted to buy them, and then forget about them. I realise that having a wishlist has the opposite effect for some people, so YMMV.

  • having a “hobbies” budget for games, plants, and art and craft supplies. I buy my convention tickets out of this budget too, so I have an incentive to not spend all of it every month.

  • doing my “play all the unplayed games” challenge and recording my progress here. I haven’t completely succeeded in not buying new games when I have unplayed ones, but I have reduced my pile of unplayed games to 9 from around 50

  • unsubscribing from mailing lists/notifications from game shops and Kickstarter

  • finding a game shop that does retail pledges for Kickstarters. I’m much less likely to impulsively back a Kickstarter if I have a good idea it’ll be available later. Putting things off is the key to success :wink:

I don’t know if you’ll find any of this will work for you. My brain is a combination of impulsive and extremely distractible, which is probably why the delaying tactics are effective!

7 Likes

I’m the opposite! I’ve not watched much on Netflix recently because I’ve got so much YouTube (or similar) content to watch.

5 Likes

Thanks everyone for your suggestions and ideas. I am definitely taking some of those.

As stated elsewhere I have already put a few games up for sale. First one is already sold (Loot for Lima—I‘d rather keep Cryptid & Treasure Island).

I am using geekgroup app to tag games with notes for selling or keeping.
There are about a dozen games marked as nostalgia that I am unable to let go of even though I anticipate I will not be playing them again.

I have also grouped games by weight and figured out that I have a larger share of light-weight and medium-light games than I would like to. So that‘s where some more of the cutting is going to happen.

It is not too hard to cull games—at the level I am at right now there are plenty of candidates.

The hardest part is not buying new games. I have hopes that once I have cut the thing down to size that it will make me dislike blowing it all up again—the weightloss comparison by @lalunaverde is not too far of the mark.

Limiting exposure to the latest games is not easy, I do not watch a lot of reviews besides SUSD & NPI and I only manage to listen to podcasts on occasion but I read too much. I have tagged all my games with „sources“ for a while now and I can easily find out where I should tread more carefully…

Budgeting is what I tried at the start of the year. Maybe a second attempt might get me there. And not a budget of 1 game but rather a monetary one.

Wishlist keeping usually only makes me buy more games. Maybe I should go the „fire and forget“ route. For a while I marked games I was interested in simply as „want to play“ where they stay out of sight for the most part.

5 Likes

On the budget side of things I find it helpful to keep my hobbies allowance in a separate bank account so I can easily see what’s left, and to make it harder to spend accidentally.

3 Likes

For any game you can’t get played, spend hundreds of hours implementing it digitally so you can play it, and thereby justify the purchase.

I know, that’s not exactly helpful advice, but it approximates the lens through which I view game purchases.

More generally, perhaps, I find that playing games online tends to eliminate my desire to buy the game. Recent-ish examples include Beyond the Sun, Antiquity, Lost ruins of Arnak… if you can get past the honeymoon phase and play a new game quite a lot, you may well find there’s no reason to own the physical object. I can also see this backfiring, but at the very least, having to find the time to play any potential purchase a half a dozen times will limit the rate of acquisition!

6 Likes

Having realised your on the secret Santa thread I now pity your poor Santa @yashima.

6 Likes

So by sources my games were recommended to my by

  • SPIEL (80+ I’ve been going regularly since the late 00s and pre 2018 it was my major source of new acquisitions)
  • SUSD (50+)
  • Crowdfunding (30+)
  • Spacebiff (20+)
  • FLGS (30+, over the years though and have a bad keeper quota)
  • „myself“
  • here—it is hard to pinpoint though exactly

For many recent purchases there are multiple sources. I first see a game on BGG, then hear about it on a podcast, somebody here plays it and then Spacebiff writes a review and NPI makes a video… and then game bought.

5 Likes

I usually ask myself “Why you want to buy this game?” no matter the answer, I ask myself: “Could another game I have fulfill the same purpose?” Mostly the answer is yes. So I either get rid of the the one I own first in order to buy the new game, or don’t buy it at all.

Reviews aren’t a problem, at this point they are more entertainment than anything else to me. Going into a shop without buying is harder for me.

Edit: One thing, that kinda helped me was the Friendless metric and the continious friendless metric, which is made to show you how good you use your collection:

From the website: War Table | Extended Stats

To calculate the Friendless metric, make a list of all of your games in descending order of how many times you’ve played them. Scrabble with 173 plays comes first, Triominos with 0 plays comes last. For each game at the beginning with 10 or more plays, we consider that game to have earned its keep. Even better, having played one game that many times, you’re forgiven one at the other end which you haven’t played so much. So for playing Scrabble so many times we’ll forgive you for never playing Triominos. People who play games tend to accumulate them, so we’ll assume that was a gift. Then, we look at how many times you’ve played the last game remaining on the list… and that’s your Friendless metric. The higher the better.

Most bggeeks have a value of zero, so I extended the definition to go into negatives. A value of -x tells you that to get to a Friendless metric of 1 you need to play x more of your games that you’ve never played.

4 Likes