Building a Board Game Collection
I will say that if you’re looking for a board game to buy, you can check out my articles (Part 1 and Part 2) because there will be some overlap, but in this case, I’m talking about building that collection when you want to play a lot of games with a lot of different people. For me there are three different groups of games to consider when building your collection, games that you love, games that you can introduce people to, and games that are good for a big group. I’ll go through all three of these and why I think they are important in most any collection.
But before that, let’s talk a little bit about why you build up a collection of board games. For me, clearly I love board games and having a variety of board games brings me joy. I like being able to pull out so many really different games and play them, but also to just look at them on my shelf, mess around with the pieces and learning the rules. It also gives me joy because I get to introduce other people to the board game hobby as well because I have so many games. I can pull out a game for any occasion, whether it was the board game club that I started just before Covid-19 hit so it’s been on hiatus, or if it’s playing with family, or introducing someone to gaming. Now, that’s why I have a diverse collection of games, but that also is something that won’t work for some people, some people simply do not want to play complex games or they don’t want to play party games, and therefore you might not have as much in your collection. So when building up your collection target games that you’ll love and games that you’ll enjoy that work for your group. If you only play with casual gamers, you’ll probably want to focus your collection more on games that’ll fit their play style. If everyone hates party games, no need to have one in your collection.
Let’s talk about the three different types of games that I think make a strong collection.
1 – Games You Love
This part is pretty obvious. Your collection should have a lot, probably the majority, of games that you like to play. This is whatever type of game you love, maybe you love heavy war games, or euro games, or ameritrash games, campaign games, dungeons crawls, sci-fi, deduction, trick taking, whatever it might be, most of the games in your collection should be games that you love. Most likely, if you love these games, you’re going to have a few people to play them with, as part of your gaming group. These are the games that I’m using, thus far, in the board game club, so not my campaign games that I love, though I do have a group for that, but stuff like Blood Rage, Lords of Hellas, Dead of Winter, Clank! In! Space!, bigger and a bit meatier games that we can sit down and just spend an evening playing those games. These won’t be the games that you play the most, most likely, but that’s fine, these are the games that you always want to play.
2 – Gateway Games
This is a pretty small part of your collection, these are games that you use to introduce people to hobby gaming. Best known are the Ticket to Rides, Dominion, Carcassone, Small World, and Catan. But find what works for you and the ones that you enjoy. Having a few of these slightly more complicated games than your typical mass market games will allow you to get more people into hobby gaming. You wouldn’t want to start someone off with Blood Rage if they don’t understand area control and card drafting strategies, but Small World and Sushi Go Party! and now they have a basis for potentially playing Blood Rage. Make sure that you do enjoy the ones that you have, you might be sitting for a while in this part of your collection with some gamers as they get to explore and discover new games and strategies as compared to the mass market games, and consider outside the normal games. Something like King of Tokyo is great that isn’t mentioned as often as the big five I mentioned above, but works well and is familiar in some ways to Yahtzee, or something like Century: Golem Edition is easy to teach and play and newer.
3 – Big Group Games
Now, with board game nights, there’s kind of a tipping point of around eight people to ten people where you can start to split into multiple groups. But even then, sometimes you want to play in a big group. I also like these bigger group games for kicking off or winding down a board game night as people start to leave and you go from a couple of groups into a single group. This category of games has stuff like Criss Cross, Welcome To…, Just One, Scattergories, Deception: Murder in Hong Kong, Sushi Go Party!, and more that can handle a pretty good size number, and they don’t take that long. They are almost filler games, but for a bigger group, and I could have probably put a fourth category of filler games, but I also like just using the higher player count games with lower player counts if I need a filler. These games are meant to get played quickly to start off a game night, played by people who don’t want to play a heavier game, or just played for the whole game night if that’s what everyone is feeling or you don’t have enough people to split into two groups easily.
Now, obviously, your group and your tastes will get different mileage out of the different types of games. You might just have it planned out that you don’t need filler games. When one game is full, the next person there just starts setting up the next game until more people show up. But that’s going to be up to you. If you know you need a more well rounded collection, those are the three categories that I would look at filling out your collection with. All this keeping in mind that your collection is to bring you joy, so with Gateway Games and Big Group Games, you can fill in a few that you like or can tolerate if you need them. If you hate all gateway games, don’t have any in your collection, that is okay, same with group/filler types of games, but think about the group that you play with, and make your decisions based off of that.
Do you have a mix of games in your collection? Is it only games that you like, do you find that you need group games or gateway games?
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