I use the same principle as most things in my house. Set time aside every now, look around and rummage through my possessions and think:
- Have I used this in the last year?
- Is there a contingency that it exists for?
Then depending on the item:
3a. Is it beautiful?
3b. Will it fetch a surprisingly high amount on ebay?
It’s a variation on the Williams Morris line: “Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful”, but it keeps me from hanging on to stuff I don’t use.
If a game falls flat with my partner/friends/family - it’s gone.
If a game never sees the light of day because we always want to play something else that fits a similar itch - it’s gone.
If it’s out of print, going for a big price on ebay, and I can stand to wait for a reprint - it’s gone.
So, in the spirit of things, some games that left the collection that I always expected I’d keep:
Mysterium - A family game that half my family liked, and the other half didn’t. Unsuprisingly it never sees the table. Only by playing it with non-boardgamers did I realise how flawed it is thematically. Why would a ghost be giving people dreams that point to 4 different suspects/locations/weapons? Surely they’d want everyone to be looking for the killer/location/weapon.
Two Rooms and a Boom - It’s a party game unlike any other, but I haven’t played it in a few years and I don’t see any circumstance in which I will feel I must play it.
Ticket to Ride - It’s a fine enough game. But when someone offers you 6 times as much as you paid for the 10th anniversary edition, you send it on its way and wait to pick up a standard second hand copy for a pittance.
The other thing that’s useful to use as a limiting factor is space. I have two shelves in a narrow bookcase for the prettier games, a drawer in the coffee table for small games, and a small cabinet for everything else. It’s a lot easier to be disciplined when you’ve no idea where to put anything.
And then there’s one game that i know I should get rid of but can’t bring myself to do it:
Letter from Whitechapel - Why keep it? Whitehall Mystery is half the rules, a quarter of the playtime, and a sixth of the setup. It provides me with 95% of what Letters does, and it comes in a delightfully sensible box. Why have I not sold it yet? Tell me!