By Kate Thompson
Is it too late to make a post about New Year’s resolutions? Maybe. But I’m doing it anyway!
As many people do, I started this new year by reflecting on the things I would like to improve in my life. Not all of my resolutions are gaming-related, but of course one of them is. When I make resolutions, I like to keep them modest. Setting yourself an unachievable goal only serves to set yourself up for failure.
This year I have decided that I will not purchase any board games for myself.
If that sounds to you like the opposite of modest, I don’t think you are alone. First, let me start by explaining the philosophy I have always had about purchasing board games for my own collection.
I have ready access to board games even before I purchase them. My passion for this hobby has naturally led to many friends who have their own massive collections of games. We are also very lucky to have a local board game cafe, The Board Room, where you can play any of the games in their varied collection. You can also eat and drink there!
Because I don’t need to BUY a game in order to play it most of the time, I have always tried to limit my game purchases to games that I love with such fervor that I cannot stand to not own them. When I constantly think about a game in the days after playing it, when I yearn to play again so frequently that I want a copy on hand at a moments notice -- THEN I buy the game. I certainly do not like to buy games that I have never played. I want to know that I will love the game in a lasting way before I add it to my personal collection.
Now, not every game I own has passed that test. There have been exceptions. I have backed a few Kickstarters despite this breaking my rule about playing a game before purchasing it. But the fact that this has always been the rule with some exceptions makes my resolution not to buy any games this year fairly reasonable.
So, this resolution should be feasible for me. But… why on earth would I make a resolution like this? A good resolution needs to be motivated by something meaningful. Games are, like, my favourite. Here is why:
I already own what I consider to be a lot of games. So, it feels like a waste of money to keep buying more. The fact is that I have student debt from many years of university. I have a mortgage to pay. I have decided that these things should come first.
Board games are amazing. I love them. They are also a luxury. And I don’t need more of them.
I already own what I consider to be a lot of games. I can only play so many games in the free time that I have. Every time I add a new game to my collection, the chances that any given game I own will get used decreases a bit. Board games are made of STUFF. Cardboard, paper… often a lot of plastic. For the past several years I have been making a concerted effort to reduce the waste that I produce. To me, this includes purchasing things that I won’t end up using.
Board games are amazing. I love them. But if I don’t use what I have, they are wasteful. And I don’t need more of them.
I already own what I consider to be a lot of games. Some games come in compact little packages that you could throw in your bag and carry with you. But that’s not the norm. Usually, board games are pretty big. They take up space in my home. I currently have three shelves that are storing board games. I’m not a strict minimalist, but I do believe in only keeping things that are truly useful, or that you truly love.
Board games are amazing. I love them. But not every game sparks joy. And I don’t need more of them.
The board gaming hobby attracts collectors. In recent years, the industry has exploded. This combination has lead to a community where it sometimes seems the focus is on acquiring as many games as possible. How many times have you seen someone’s shelfie on a board game group? I am certainly a collector, and I am not saying there is anything wrong with collections of things you love. I just believe that, at least for some people, purchasing new board games has become automatic and relatively thoughtless. Purchases are made based on the hype surrounding a game, rather than careful consideration of whether that game will be cherished and used.
I want to be mindful of what I bring into my life. And I want to make sure that I am prioritizing the things that matter. This year, I want to play so many games. I want to play my old favourites, and I want to learn as many new games as I can.
But I will not buy any of them. Not this year.
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