Friday, 29 April 2011

buying habits

I set myself a quota of gaining no more than 20 games every year. "Gaining" includes buying, receiving games as gifts, home-manufacturing games. I don't remember when I came up with this quota, maybe about 2 - 3 years ago, but I know I have not met my target for the past three years. However having a target does help to keep me in check somewhat.

Let's go through again the list of mantras that I came up with to dissuade myself from buying games:

  1. You don't need to own every game that you like.
  2. You don't need to play every good game.
  3. You need to play more of the good games that you own.
  4. Wait until your interest wanes.
  5. Don't impulse buy.
  6. Will you play the game more than 5 (or 10) times?

So far in 2011, I have been a good boy and have only bought 2 new games, A la Carte and Endeavor. I know I will definitely buy the upcoming Race for the Galaxy Alien Artifact expansion. That makes 3. So I think I will finally achieve my goal this year. In fact I think I was close last year. Quite a number of games were bought for my children, some that could already be played, some to be played when they are older - Viva Topo!, 10 Days in Asia, FITS, Ubongo. ColorMonster was a review copy. Wizard was a gift because I helped with the rules translation to Malay. Funny Friends and Planet Steam were rewards for translation work. There weren't many games in my friend's inventory that I was interested in, so I picked these two which I had some mild interest in. I probably wouldn't have bought these two games myself.

A la Carte

I play most frequently with Han and Allen, both of whom also buy games. We still have a long list of games not yet played, so there is no shortage of new games to play. We have also been doing some repeat plays, which promoted longevity of games, and also let us enjoy and appreciate these games more (this is the Game of the Month concept). E.g. 4 plays of Sid Meier's Civilization, 3 plays of Merchants and Marauders, 2 plays of Liberte. Our tastes in games overlap, so sometimes they buy games that I am interested in, and I try-before-buy, and buy only if I really like them that much that I feel the need to own a copy.

Allen and Han. We were playing Wars of the Roses: Lancaster vs York.

With a long list of new games waiting to be played, I feel no urgency to buy games. Also, I find that it is harder and harder to come across new games that captivate me. Not that there are no or few good games among them, just that I feel quite contented with games I own and games I have access to. At the moment I'm just keen to try 7 Wonders and Dominant Species (and Allen has already ordered the latter).

I have enjoyed the recent repeat plays of games. They allowed us to explore the games in depth. Familiarity with the games also meant we could play very quickly. The games were intense, because the decisions to time ratio was high.

Sometimes I have less urge to try new games, and I yearn to bring out some older games (Samurai Swords anyone?). I still have not learnt the strategies in Euphrates and Tigris.

So I tell myself it's OK to miss some good, or even excellent games. Antiquity is a game that I think I will like a lot. But it's very expensive. But then there are just too many good games out there, and one should not try to own or even play all of them.

I am also cutting down on buying expansions to games that I like, because I don't play the base games or expansions that I already own that much. E.g. Grand Hameau expansion to Le Havre, Gamers' Deck expansion to Agricola, the many Power Grid expansions, Age of Steam expansions, Innovation expansion. The base games plus expansions that I already own are already more than enough for me, based on the frequency that I'm playing these games.

Power Grid, a game a like a lot but have not played for soooo long. The recent tournament organised by Jeff ( made me itch to play again. I'm not a tournament person, so despite following the session reports loyally I didn't sign-up for any of the qualifiers.

One game that I have some interest in but will likely not buy is The Resistance. It's a Werewolf-like game, with undercover traitors among the players attempting to secretly sabotage the group's missions. One important difference is noone gets eliminated during the game. This game is only suitable for a big group, and I rarely have that.

I consider myself a lucky gamer. I have regular game sessions. I don't lack games that I'm keen to play. I don't really need to buy many new games, so I shall be very selective and limit myself to buying those that, as a figure of speech, I feel I can't live without.


Dave said...

I think games are kind of like friends: it's more satisfying to have a few close friends than a bunch of acquaintances. But it's nice to meet new people, too. :-)

Hiew Chok Sien 邱卓成 said...

that's a very good analogy! indeed it should be quality over quantity.

i think of it like this: although there surely will be many other people whom you don't know yet who will click very well with you, you shouldn't be spending too much time trying to find and meet them. you should be spending time building the relationships with the good friends you already have.