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Evolution of a Board Game Collection

One of the topics I’ve been talking about a lot as of late is how people often grow and change as board gamers. You start out playing a board game that is pretty simple, maybe a classic, you move onto the modern classics and then progress into the world of hobby board games. At least that is the journey for a lot of people. But there is an evolution and growth to how people collect/buy board games as well.

I think that most board gamers start out going wide with their collection and then eventually move more towards going deep. But we should probably start off with what wide and deep mean.

A Wide Collection

A wide collection is when you have a wide variety of games. The collection doesn’t have to be huge, but it is all over the map because you are learning what you like to play. This means that you have party games, story games, gateway games, classic games, euro games, and amerithrash games. And really, you have everything in between as well.

When you go out to buy a board game, you don’t think so much about how much you’ll like the game versus how cool a game looks. Now, those two might be the same thing, but with looking at a box cover, you’re less likely to know how a game will paly as you start your collection. So you look at games that look different from what you have.

A Deep Collection

Dominion Cards
Image Source: Board Game Geek

A deep collection is when you know what you like in a board game. And you buy fewer random games, but are more apt to pick up an expansion for something you have. You look at the back of a box and you know how a game plays. And you know if that game is for you or not. So a deep collection might be deep in the euro games that it has, or amerithrash games.

What it won’t have is the variety of different genres of games. It might have some, just so you can play a party game with a non-gamer, or a really nice looking euro game in your amerithrash collection. But more likely it’ll have a lot of games of similar types and expansions for those games. So more of what you already like.

Why Does It Change?

Well, it changes because I know what I like And you will grow to know what you like as well, if you’re early in the hobby. And that is a good thing. Why, it means that you tend to buy less duds. Some games just won’t work for you. And that is true for every gamer. There are going to be people who like those games and some who don’t, and just because people do doesn’t mean you will.

For me, something like Brass: Birmingham. That is a heavy euro game, maybe not the heaviest, but heavier. With my taste in games, I know I wouldn’t buy it. It isn’t that I wouldn’t play it, but as a type of game, it isn’t going to fit in my collection. I look at my collection and there are other games I’d play before it, all the time. Why, because I’m not a big euro gamer, I know that about myself.

But, there are people who are big euro game fans. So they probably wouldn’t put something like Reichbusters in their collection. So while Reichbusters is a solid investment for me, it isn’t for them. And I also know that with Aeon’s End, for example, I like it enough that I want expansions for it. So I have all of it. It means my collection could be more diverse and have more games, but I know I like what I have.

Image Source: Fantasy Flight Games

Is Either Better?

I think some would argue for both. A wide collection means you have more variety of games to play with more people. However, if you don’t love those games, do you really want to play them? It’s a bit of a pickle that you can get stuck in, having games to have the variety but never playing those outside of what you really like. On the flip side, if you only have what you really like, you need to have a group that likes the same things. It limits who you can play a game with.

I also think that it’s important to go through the stages. If you are just getting into the hobby and find that you like deck building games, let’s say Dominion in particular. You could go deep, you could get everything for Dominion, and there’s a lot to get. That would be a deep Dominion collection. But it is also not aiding you in if you like more or other types of games. Now, maybe you have a game store that you can play other games at, so you get exposure that way. But for a lot of people they don’t have that option and they are the supplier of games for their group.

Final Thoughts

Two things for final thoughts, one, is that it’s fine to spend as much or as little time as you need in both areas. Because I think that you do bounce back and forth over time some. But don’t feel like you need to rush to figure out what you love. That could take months or years to get that figured out.

Secondly, if you know what you like, don’t use that to limit what you’ll try. I think there are times gamers get into a gaming rut. All amerithrash games are bad, all euro games have no theme, if a game have take that at all in it are trash. Most might not be your type of game, but because a game looks one way doesn’t mean that it is.

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