Your shelves are full, your pockets empty and yet you still have the urge to click the order button on that next game you are excited about. You know the one. It is the hotness on BGG or Kickstarter, every podcast is talking about it, and it is burning its way through all the board game sites and Twitter feeds.
Admittedly, I know this article will be anathema to many in my target audience. Slow or Stop buying board games? Really? From a board game website? But the cold, hard facts are, not everyone who is buying board games wants or needs to continue on as they are. Perhaps you want to slow down or just pause your purchases to catch your breath and play the games already sitting on your shelves. I am not suggesting stopping completely (although there may be some people who need this – anything can become an addiction which isn’t healthy). This is just a pause. A break. An ebb. Everything in life comes in ebbs and flows. If something is a constant flow it can become all consuming and, ultimately, exhausting. I don’t want my hobby to become exhausting.
Everything in life comes in ebbs and flows. If something is a constant flow it can become all consuming and, ultimately, exhausting.
The “how” is actually quite simple, but not necessarily easy. It was hinted at in the first paragraph. See, the reason we feel that we must buy that game is all the frenzy around it from outside sources. Consuming all of the media surrounding a game will create in us the “need” to buy it. We feel like we need to keep up. Cutting off all of that media, or at least slowing it, is the key. Get off the hype and information train.
Around the middle of last year I made a conscious effort to unplug from board game media. That doesn’t mean I quit listening to podcasts or reading stuff online. I just shifted my focus to something other than board games. I’ve been listening to other podcasts (The History of Rome, Myths and Legends, Writing Excuses, Freakonomics Radio) for the last couple months. I’ve read more books (Oathbringer, Dark Matter, The Riyria Revelation Series). I’ve stayed off of BGG (mostly). I stopped interacting on Twitter and Facebook groups. I don’t look at the latest Kickstarter games. I stopped watching (most) board game videos. And you know what happened? My desire to purchase games has diminished. I proved to myself that board games are indeed secondary – I can walk away for a time and my world keeps on turning.
Buying and owning lots of board games doesn’t make you a board gamer in the same way that owning lots of running shoes doesn’t make you a runner. If anything makes you “more of a gamer” it is simply enjoying games. Until you play a game it is simply cardboard, plastic, and paper in a cardboard box. It is potential fun. It is a firework that hasn’t been shot yet.
The games you end up buying will be the ones you are truly most interested in.
Now, I get enjoying the hobby in different ways and for some that is getting a new game in the mail, punching all the bits, and organizing them. I enjoy that too. But if buying more games than I can realistically play frustrates me then I need to slow that buying down. I need a pause in my buying. And to get that pause I need to consume less board game media. Slow down. Enjoy reading/listening/watching something else for a while. Stop trying to keep up with what everyone else is doing. The plays you get will still be great. And the games you end up buying will be the ones you are truly most interested in.