What is your game buying philosophy?

I am finding myself getting stuck in this place where there are games I am super interested in, but my main group of gamers either are not interested in them or they are too heavy. 

The main example of this right now is Lisboa. I am definitely becoming more interested in it. It seems like a heavy beast that the more you play, the more layers are revealed, which I love in games, plus it is gorgeous. My friends are not light gamers either, we play Gaia Project, Agricola, Terraforming Mars all with no problem (I mean our faces melt off every time we play Gaia Project but it is worth it). 

Here is my main question, do you only buy games that will get to the table? Or do you buy games that interest you (with a solo variant) and hope they make it to the table?

5 points by nealkfrank - updated 30 days ago | 26 comments | report

omeletterice 33 days ago | 1 point

The ability to get it to the table is certainly a big factor for me. I'll probably get games that I'm really interested in even if I'm doubtful that it will ever be played in my game group. They just get pushed down on my priority list. 

Skurvy5 31 days ago | 1 point

The number one consideration for me is that the game has to make it to the table. If I don’t play it my wife will absolutely let me hear about it. If I can’t imagine my kids playing it with me or my game group playing it then I really can’t justify the purchase, no matter how good the game is.

My second consideration is the type of game and the role that game will play in my collection. Yes that new game looks cool, but do I have a similar game already in the collection that I could play instead? Or will this new game add an option that I don’t have yet?

My third consideration is the cost of the game. If a game is too expensive, then it won’t fit into the budget, and that’s that.

sdirrane 33 days ago | 1 point

I would say I follow a couple of steps.

1. Is it likely to make to the table with a gaming group.  If not I will most likely skip it. (This is why I never purchased Rising Sun)

2. Does it have a well reviewed solo mode if I don't think it'll get to the table with my gaming group often.

3. Do I already own a game with many of the same mechanics that already scratch the itch the "new" game I'm looking at would scratch.

This is all said from the stand point of a dad of 4 who really needs to budget out what he gets.  If I had all the money in the world I'd probably take risks on more games that don't use that criteria.

trentellingsen 34 days ago | 1 point

I basically just get games that look fun to me and assume I’ll get them to the table eventually since I’m the only one in our group bringing the games.

I certainly have a shelf of shame with some games I haven’t played since I bought them a few months ago but I still have hope 😉

Skyw3rd 34 days ago | 1 point

When I started in this hobby in earnest, I bought many games on the hope of getting them played. I've since sold all of those games. 

Now, the games ability to get to the table is VERY important to me. I'm interested in loads of games but I know I won't buy them because I know I'll never actually play them. Even if they have a solo variant I won't buy them if I don't think I can play them with others on at least a semi-regular basis. Keeping my collection free from bloat is extremely important to me.

Skurvy5 31 days ago | 1 point

That’s a good attitude to take. We only have so much time to game and if you can’t see yourself playing it then why make the purchase?

Also if I’m going to game solo then I might as well just pick up a video game. I have a hard time gaming board games solo. 

Skyw3rd 30 days ago | 1 point

I've had some good times with Viticulture and Architects solo. My best experience has been playing The Lord of the Rings: Journeys in Middle-earth solo though. To be fair, it's kind of half of a video game.

BenjaminK 34 days ago | 1 point

It's a mix of what will get to the table combined with player count. There are some brilliant 3+ player games out there, but a lot of the time it's just my wife and me, so those games that don't support 2 players don't get as much love. But, if it's got a good solo variant, then the lack of a 2-player count isn't as bad. Still, I'd prefer to play with others, so it's kind of dependent on the game. If it's a game I really want or like, then all bets are out the window...for the most part. (I still don't feel like getting Captain Sonar would be worth the money...haha)

Skurvy5 31 days ago | 1 point

I wish I could get my wife to try more games with me. I know she would like them but she just isn’t interested in even trying. 

BenjaminK 31 days ago | 1 point

I'm fortunate that her family is kind of into games (Dominion, King of Tokyo, Niagara...that kind of stuff), so it was easier to lull her further down the slippery slope. She's still far from my interest level, but at least she's willing to try most games. What you need to do is keep making bets with her that if you win, she plays a game with you (then keep making those bets until you actually win one haha). I believe there are games for everyone, so maybe if you can somehow trick her into playing (birthday present? That's about the only time I get to play X-Wing anymore haha), she'll find something she likes. :) 

Skurvy5 30 days ago | 1 point

Back before children we would play games fairly regularly. Of course back then we really only knew about Catan and Bananagrams. 

BenjaminK 30 days ago | 1 point

I hear ya. Now we can only play after the kids are in bed (else risk them destroying the game or some other part of the house haha), but when they're in bed it's time to take care of what we couldn't do while they were up. It's a constant battle, and one day we shall prevail!

Skurvy5 30 days ago | 1 point

Exactly! Some days you are so exhausted after work, evening activities, and getting the children to bed that all you can do is just sit in front of a TV show or something. How many kids do you have? I’ve got 3 girls. As of today the youngest is officially out of diapers! 

BenjaminK 30 days ago | 1 point

Two boys, who seem to never lack for energy. The oldest is 4, and we've started playing basic games with him, like My First Castle Panic and Yummy Yummy Pancake. He loooooves games, and will always try and play with us, which usually ends poorly, especially with games with lots of components haha 

Congrats on getting your youngest out of diapers! That's quite the milestone haha We'll get our youngest one there yet...

nealkfrank 30 days ago | 1 point

So what I have taken from this thread is that if I want to continue having solid boardgame evenings...don't have kids lol

BenjaminK 30 days ago | 1 point

Well...kind of haha But it's also fun to play their own games with them. And, once they're older, I'm hoping they'll grow up to play X-Wing and other games with me that I can't seem to find anyone to play with. It's all about making your own game group. Unfortunately, it takes a while to cultivate them to that phase haha

philryuh 34 days ago | 1 point

Interesting question! Of course, they need to interesting to me, but I put a LOT of consideration into looking out for games that I know will get played and enjoyed by my spouse and with friends/family. I'm not a solo gamer so that's part of the reason, but it mostly has to do with how I have fun. I like sharing great games and great experience with other people. I got into the hobby pretty recently and it's been an eye opener to see the value of modern board games in terms of the level of fun, interaction with others, quality production, immersiveness, the art, and many other elements, and being able to share this as often as I can and in the best way possible (catering to their level of expertise/exposure and preferences) is what I like to do.

nealkfrank 34 days ago | 1 point

I totally feel that, one of my main goals of gaming is building a community and having a shared experience with people, another side of it is to get my brain going. I am totally a thinker and love structure (boardgames are basically like building a large structure in my mind), so I like the solo variants for this reason. I guess I am looking at a gray question for me in black and white! I have a good selection of games for lighter side of things, I have a couple heavier games that my friends enjoy, it may be ok if I indulge in a game that I solely enjoy at some point!

philryuh 34 days ago | 1 point

I love it when I get to see everyone just having a great time with a game that I've been looking out for! But I also enjoy strategically deep games where it basically becomes a challenge for myself to figure out different play styles and executing them, and not so much about making sure that I win. Winning is the strawberry on top for me haha (losing streaks are never fun though). I get to enjoy this part with a friend who is competitive.

But yeah, my purchases are almost always geared toward getting it to the table for my wife and my family, where I think of things like:

  • Complexity - starting with gateways for the moment and slowly exposing them to heavier games (current at games like Azul, Railroad Ink, Santorini, etc.)
  • Mechanics - my wife hasn't played worker placement games before so I'm looking out for a light/ligh-medium worker placement. I think my dad enjoys use of dice, or games that have some bluffing involved, etc. My mom seems to like tile placement or grid patterned games (she seems to enjoy Azul quite a bit)

Skyw3rd 33 days ago | 1 point

I'll always recommend Raiders of the North Sea for worker placement. It's not standard place a worker, do a thing worker placement but it's twist is why I find it engaging. I'm kind of a broken record when it comes to Raiders.

nealkfrank 34 days ago | 1 point

I am at the same spot with my wife lol. Azul, Dragon Castle and the like. I should try Railroad Ink or Welcome to... to see if that would be a good genre to break into!

philryuh 34 days ago | 1 point

Light games with quick gameplay and little setup has been the way to go ever since having a baby (now 14 months)! She likes Azul and I've also introduced Railroad Ink to her. But after playing Welcome To... over at a friend's, she's mentioned a few times that she prefers Welcome To..., and I 100% agree.

Skyw3rd 33 days ago | 2 points

Lighter games are finding a lot more traction for me as they're easier to play in quick bursts and they get the kids involved more (10 and 7 years).

sdirrane 33 days ago | 1 point

One of my goals with introducing my kids to lighter games is to get them interested in gaming and eventually get them into more complex games and build my own homegrown gaming group. 

nealkfrank 34 days ago | 1 point

Congrats on the baby! 

Ya Welcome To... seems more dynamic? More playful even? 

philryuh 33 days ago | 1 point

Thank you! Sure keeps me preoccupied these days xD

I'd say so. I do like the part of drawing the rails and I like how relaxing it is. But Welcome To... manages to keep a lot of the good elements of Railroad Ink while keeping it more fun--colorful, relatable theme, multiple strategy routes, and the fun of everyone getting excited/disappointed by one of the "rolls". From personal experience, I've seen that Welcome To... also opens itself to more conversations, while Railroad Ink tends to have the players spending most of their time looking down on the board, decision-making, and backchecking whether they assigned all of the results of the dice or not.