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Why Do We Buy Board Games?
Head in the Clouds
Updated: Sunday, Feb 1, 2015
Chaz Marler from Pair Of Dice Paradise, and I’m joined today by a portion of the not-yet-played games in my collection. As my game collection has slowly grown, I didn’t really notice just how many of them have yet to hit the table, until I recently paused to take note of it.

And while the percentage of games in my collection that I need to catch up on may be higher than the average player, at least I’m not alone.

A recent unscientific poll I conducted suggests that the average gamer that responds to unscientific online polls has an average of 105 board games in their collection, and, on average, 18 of them are unplayed, or 15%. (158 responses)

So, with so much untouched cardboard accumulating, why do we continue acquiring games, continually increasing this pile of play potential?

Some may suggest that we buy games for their components or miniatures, or because it fills a gap for a game with a certain mechanism that’s missing from a collection, or simply because it’s on sale. But no. No, no, no, no (well, maybe that’s a little bit of it), but no. Those analytical reasons aren’t why people buy games. That’s not why people buy anything.

Every game in my collection was purchased for the same reason; one reason. Because a little thought bubble appeared in my mind, picturing someone I know enjoying it. (Oh, my best friend would love this! My game group would think this is hilarious! Oh, my wife would actually play this with me! My daughter and I would have a great time sharing this together!)

That’s why, even with an embarrassing abundance of unplayed games already in my collection, if a new game that triggers a thought bubble of a friend and I exclaiming, “this is awesome!”, then, inevitably, (cha-ching) out comes the wallet. Because the urge to buy something emotionally fulfilling is stronger than the logical rationalization not to.

So how do we prevent ourselves from purchasing a board game before we’ve played all the ones already in our collection? It’s simple: we don’t. In my opinion, if it’s within someone’s budget, and it will give them enjoyment, then go for it.

The thing to be aware of is that the joy that I’m anticipating this game will give is just a shadow of its potential until it’s played. Transforming that imagined gratification into actual experiences, by sharing these games with the people in my thought bubbles, is the step that shouldn’t be neglected. And, based on the size of these piles, it looks like I need to make some phone calls and set up some game time. I hope others with games yet unplayed can find time to do the same.
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