Analyzing the collection… zzzz

According to BGG, I now own 397 games.  This is a fair amount of inflation, from the days when I was more actively chasing games out of the collection to keep the count down to 300 or so.

So why own so many games?  To play them?  Well, yes, that is usually the motivation.  But sometimes not.  This article will attempt to list some of the broader categories of complementary reasons for owning a game (besides playing it).

Historic Artifacts – Sometimes I like to own a game because the game itself is a piece of history.  A few examples:

Swastika – a game from 1907 that I found in a family cabin.  It has nothing to do with Nazism, but is used as an Indian symbol.  I just like having a game from the 1900’s, and I like that it shows the swastika was a valued symbol before the Nazi’s twisted it meaning.

Civil War by Avalon Hill – it gives me a window of how that historic company got started and what they thought might appeal to the adult game buying public of circa 1961.  This particular game pairs the use of simple plastic pawns with the famous Avalon Hill CRT chart.  It represents an evolutionary stub in conflict-simulation game development history.  As a bonus, the game is actually fun to play, if unbalanced.

Touring – I love the illustrations showing the cars of the 1920’s on my edition.  I also recall playing with these cards at my grandparents home.  So some good nostalgia value here.


Collectorism – I fall into this trap over and over.  Some examples:

Francis Tresham – I am a fan boy.  I like collecting his games.  I really do like playing his games.  But most of his games do not get played often.

franckh – I bought an entire collection of these pre-Kosmos games just because I wanted to explore a wing of eurogaming I had missed.  I then went on to scour the world to collect the few I didn’t initially get in the big purchase.  Years later and I still haven’t played many of these.  Collecting the set just to have the set seems to have been my main motivation.

Jean du Poel – I cannot seem to stop myself from buying any Historien Spiel Galerie game I find that is not in my collection.  I just love the handmade art he puts into his games.  We do play a few of them occasionally.  But owning a bunch of these games and being on the hunt for more is its own pursuit.

Microgames – I have every Metagaming microgame ever released.  I did enjoy playing some of these years ago.  But mostly they just are here as a memento of gaming done in the past.


Games that need some love – I am a contrarian.  When I see a game that I think has some merit, but others fail to see its value, I am sometimes even more inspired to own it, so I can advocate for it.  A couple of examples:

franckh – I got into collecting the set.  But I got into it largely because these games seemed largely reviled, yet quite a number were by Reinhold Wittig, who I am a fan of.  So I wanted to make my own assessment of this group of games.

Backpacks & Blisters – Alex brought this over recently, and it flat as a pancake.  yet I enjoyed the style of game play, and found myself thinking this game is misunderstood/under-appreciated.  Alex was kind enough to give a copy of the sequel game “More Backpacks and Blisters”.  I will proudly have it available on the game shelf.

Old “Grail” Games – I was so happy to lay hands on certain games in the past that were darn hard to track down.  To be sure (some of) these games have been played.  But the owning of them was its own reward.  A few examples:

  • 1829
  • 1853 (1st edition)
  • 6 Tage Rennen
  • Auf Fotosafari in Ombagassa
  • Ave Caesar (Ravensburger edition)
  • Big Boss
  • Broadsides & Boarding Parties
  • Extrablatt
  • Full Metal Planete
  • Global Air Race (the game you play on a Replogle globe)
  • McMulti
  • Supergang
  • Tante Tarantel

There are others.

If a fella isn’t careful he can fill his shelves with games that are there for reasons other than getting them played frequently.  My friend Joe, prides himself on playing every game in his collection within a 2-year period.  That is not me – I have games I have never played, and have never considered getting rid of.

I do see the merit in having a collection that is actively enjoyed on the game table.  But I am not prepared to cut away games that I value for reasons other than their viability as entertainment.

So if you are ever find yourself staring at my collection of nearly 400 games, and find yourself wondering why you don’t see a game you want to play… this blog may explain why I own the “wrong” games.





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