Thursday, 24 December 2009

buying games

Self-control when buying games is a recurring theme at my blog. I keep telling myself about this, and despite some successes in curbing my buying habit, I still feel I could have done better. Now that the year end is approaching, I start looking at all the stats about my boardgame hobby that I have been meticulously recording. I had set a loose target of buying no more than 20 games a year. I am at 19 now (not counting 2 self-made games), so I'll meet this target if I can hold off buying any more games until end of this month. I do have some games on my definite-buy list now, e.g. Agricola: Farmers of the Moor, Axis & Allies Pacific 1940, but I can hold off for a while.

Here's a list of things I need to remind myself of. Maybe this will be helpful to you too.

  1. You don't need to own every game that you like. If a friend has it, play his/her copy, or borrow it if you really feel like playing the game. I am working on convincing myself I don't need to buy Dungeon Lords ...
  2. You don't need to play every good game. So what if you don't have the opportunity to play one particular game that you think you will love? Don't you already have lots of other games that you love that you're not playing much? So...
  3. You need to play more of the good games that you own. For me, games like Die Macher, Power Grid.
  4. Wait until your interest wanes. Procrastinate. When you hear of a certain new game, you can get very excited about it. Put it on your watchlist. Let it cool for 6 months. If 6 months later you still feel hot for it, then go for it. The wait will also allow you to read more reviews. Early reviews tend to be positive.
  5. Don't impulse buy. "Don't marry a person you can live with. Marry a person you can't live without". Something like that.

Here are my 2009 purchases and what I feel about them:

  1. Le Havre - (11 plays) I like it a lot, almost as much as Agricola. I wonder why I haven't played this more. Somehow it didn't have an addiction period or hot game period like Agricola did. Maybe it's the number of cards in Agricola.
  2. Axis & Allies anniversary edition - (2 plays, but both PBEM games and not using my physical copy of the game) I have a soft spot for the Axis & Allies family. That all I need to justify this purchase.
  3. Automobile - (8 plays)
  4. Civilization - (2 plays before I bought this on eBay, 0 after) Need to find the right group and a right time (i.e. long enough). Kind of like Die Macher. This doesn't work with 2P.
  5. Keltis - (20 plays)
  6. Wasabi - (17 plays)
  7. Space Alert - (3 plays) Need to play more to have a more solid opinion. I can't even beat the Level 2 (of 3) tutorials yet. This one also needs a right group. My wife doesn't like it.
  8. Indonesia - (1 play) Want to play more. This probably needs 4 players. And 4 hours.
  9. Pandemic: On the Brink - (11 plays) Excellent value for money.
  10. Galaxy Trucker Big Expansion - (1 play before I decided to buy it, 2 after I had it) After many games of Galaxy Trucker, this expansion becomes necessary to keep the game challenging and brutal.
  11. Race for the Galaxy: Rebel vs Imperium - (18 plays) Buying this is as natural as eating rice (to a Malaysian).
  1. Mystery Rummy: Bonnie & Clyde - (21 plays) I didn't realise I have played this many times. Good game and good addition to the Mystery Rummy family. But I don't seem to play it much now. Our default card game is Race for the Galaxy. Used to be Mystery Rummy: Jack the Ripper.
  2. Metropolys - (1 play before buying it, 6 plays after) It's quite unique. Haven't played much recently though. Well, at least it passed the 5-plays-in-1st-year-of-purchase mark.
  3. Barbarossa - (1 before, 0 after) Bought a used copy. Anticipating playing with my children when they are older.
  4. Um Reifenbreite - (1 before, 3 after) Chong Sean gave me an offer I couldn't resist. I think this is the only race game in my collection. I don't fancy race games. One good thing is I have played this (albeit with much simplified rules) with my 4-year-old daughter.
  5. Kakerlaken Poker - (1 before, 1 after, and both being 2P games, the "least good" way of playing I think) I intended to buy this piggy-backing on Chong Sean's game order, but afterwards he declined my payment and gave it to me as a gift. This is a game good for bigger groups and for non-gamers. I don't have such occasions often, so this becomes kind of an on-standby game.
  6. Rabbit Hunt - (1 before, 2 after) Interesting first game. So-so second game. Need to play more.
  1. Monopoly Deal - (4 plays) Impulse buy. I bought it using a gift voucher, which I should have spent on something else. The game is not bad, but nothing really draws me.
  2. A Game of Thrones LCG - (4 plays) One I wanted to like, because I love the books. I haven't given up on it yet. I don't think 4 plays is enough to confirm I don't like it.

I feel a bit better after writing this down. It seems I didn't do too bad in 2009. Hopefully in 2010 I have more in the Happy list and less in the Unsure and Unhappy lists.

My current watchlist. Not the full list, just the higher ranked ones. Darn... that's already 17 out of 20 slots for 2010. Trim trim trim.

  1. Agricola: Farmers of the Moor (buy)
  2. Axis & Allies Pacific: 1940 edition (buy)
  3. Axis & Allies Europe: 1940 edition (not out yet) (buy)
  4. Race for the Galaxy: Brink of War (not out yet) (buy)
  5. Power Grid - Factory Manager
  6. At the Gates of Loyang
  7. Campaign Manager 2008 (not out yet, I think)
  8. Dominion: Seaside (I don't have Dominion: Intrigue though)
  9. Times Square
  10. Greed, Incorporated
  11. Hansa Teutonica
  12. Twilight Struggle
  13. Homesteaders
  14. Dungeon Lords
  15. Warriors of God
  16. Carson City
  17. Power Struggle / Machtspiele

Already ordered. Oops... I'm actually already over 20.

  1. Funny Friends
  2. Planet Steam
  3. Keltis - Die Erweiterung
  4. Tales of the Arabian Nights


nijoos said...

Interestingly, I bought both the games under your 'Unhappy' list and found myself highly satisfied with them.

Admittedly, Monopoly deal is too light for my tastes but I've found it as my best current option when gaming with non-gamers. In fact, it keeps you on your toes even far more than well rated fillers like No Thanks! The theme further increases its accessibility.

As for AGoT LCG, it has rocketed up my preferred games list. However, you do need a regular group playing it for it to shine. It probably plays best with 3 since it incorporates the multiplayer titles yet lessening the playtime as compared to 4. As a multiplayer CCG-like game, it shines though the amount of text makes it intimidating for newbies minus those experienced with such games.

Hiew Chok Sien said...

Indeed Monopoly Deal would be suitable to play with non-gamers because of the branding. Actually that was what tempted me to buy it. The nostalgia factor of having played some Monopoly with my wife (then girlfriend) when we first dated each other.

I haven't given up on AGOT LCG yet. One thing that put me off is the complexity - so many different powers and so much text. I don't feel I have a good grasp of it yet, so I really shouldn't write it off yet. It's on my unhappy list for now. Let's see whether this'll change after I get to play it more and know it better. Not sure when though.

Frank Conradie said...

You inspired me to check my own records for the past year, and I was shocked to see I bought 59 games/expansions in 2009! Admittedly I am still in the early "acquisition phase" of the hobby, and now that my collection is over 100 I am hoping to slow down on the purchasing side.

I think I will follow your method of limiting myself to a fixed maximum number of buys next year, although 20 will be way too low for me :)

Hiew Chok Sien said...

Hi Frank,

I have about 180 games in my collection now, which is probably already more than I need. There are many games that I very rarely play. There are some games that I would sell if I weren't so lazy to go about doing it.

Now that you mentioned the "acquiring phase", I checked my earlier stats, and found these:

2003 - 8 games acquired
2004 - 36
2005 - 17 (slightly distorted because I had some very late purchases in 2004, and some very early purchases in 2006)
2006 - 27
2007 - 37 (slightly distorted by 7 Blue Moon expansions)
2008 - 24

Taking out 2003, since I got into the hobby in a serious way only around end of 2003, the average is 27 games bought from 2004 to 2008.

So I guess 20 is a good target for me.

Wan Kong Yew said...

Personally I've given up on buying games that won't work for just two people. It's ok if it really needs more to shine, but it must still play decently for two.

I guess living in KK and being close to CarcaSean spoils me because Chong Sean has so many games I doubt I'll ever get around to playing them all.

benjamin said...

a couple years ago (2007, i think) i decided to limit my yearly game purchases exactly because my then gf challenged me to guess how many games i'd bought that year. i guessed 40, and then started counting-- found myself at 68. but i argued for building a collection too, and have since cut down to 15-20/year.

and i agree about 2-player games-- that's part of the leeway i get between 15 and 20...some have to be fun for both of us.

coquerevegan said...

I really love board games! It's just to not easy to find some to play with 2 or 3 people that are not time consuming. I don't live in the fast lane but I don't see to have the time. I live with with my husband and of all my family only my little brother would play, so it's hard. Of all our board games we just play "Would You Rather..??" and this way nobody gets all crazy competitive, it's just fun dialogue