A short caveat before I begin: this post assumes you are buying games in a financial and relational responsible way. If you can’t pay for your food and shelter because of your game buying habits, you have a problem. If you have to hide your purchases from someone, that’s not healthy.

Raise your hand if you’ve ever looked at your game shelf and felt a bit of frustration or anxiety grip your chest as you see all those games you own but haven’t played in a long time, if ever. Go ahead, put those hands up. If you like to buy games and have any time constraints you’ve got your hand up. We buy games to play, right? And when they don’t get played we begin to feel like we have a problem. Too many games to play, too little time to play them. Those games sit there and silently mock you, and will continue to do so until you play them – or until you change your perspective.

Certainly, playing games is the most obvious form of enjoyment we can get from our games. But today I want to look past that at all the other ways we can enjoy our games while we wait to play them. Sometimes the best way to solve a problem is to change perspectives and see things from a different angle. With that in mind, let’s look at some other ways to enjoy those games on your shelf.

Enjoy the Hunt

I am picky when it comes to the games I buy. When I hear about a game that interests me it goes in a spreadsheet with a bunch of others. Before I make a purchase I reference this list to decide which one(s) I am most excited about. I do my research – all with the hopes of adding the perfect game to my library.

I have found this is a very fun process for me – a game in itself. How can I best use my time, money, and space? What game fits that best? And all of this happens before I even own the game.

Enjoy The Waiting and Receiving

After I hit the order button my anticipation kicks off. Anticipation can be a really fun thing. Don’t you remember waiting for Christmas as a child? Waiting for an order to arrive is like that for me. And then the package arrives.

Honestly, who doesn’t enjoy opening the door to find a box on your doorstep? There is excitement and anticipation as you open the box to find that game you so carefully hunted. And it’s here in glorious shrink wrap! Of course, the next thing to take that shrink off, crack it open and get to punching out all the bits. I have heard multiple people say that this is a big part of the fun they have with their games.

Enjoy the Organizing

Now you have all those bits scattered around the table, hopefully in some semblance of order. Getting it all packed back in that box in an organized way is very cathartic for me. I like the feeling of putting everything in its place and games allow for this on a small scale.

Enjoy the Learning

I realize this might not be for everyone, but it might be for you. For me, reading the rules is like seeing a puzzle come together, a piece at a time, one “ah ha!” moment after the next. I like to set up the game and move the pieces around as I read which can be very like playing the game.

Enjoy the Art

Many games can be appreciated and enjoyed simply for the way they are produced. The way the art, graphic design and components come together can be a thing of beauty – take some time to enjoy it.

Enjoy Enhancing Them

I don’t solo game very often. Instead, I like to spend time enhancing my favorite games. That means custom box inserts, upgrading components, or painting miniatures (I don’t do this yet but I really want to give it a whirl).

Watch your Kids Enjoy Them

My kids are young so I’m not going to be playing Scythe with them very soon. But I can watch the play (supervised of course) with the game bits. This is fun for me to get it out, to watch them enjoy it and to build a natural enjoyment of the hobby in the early. I get them to help me punch out the bits as often as I can.

And there you have it: lots of ways you can enjoy your games before or in between plays. What are some of the different ways you enjoy your games?