EXPOSED: Creating a Board Game Collection

Different people buy games for various reasons, and many of us will have amassed a small or not so small collection at home that we are proud of. Yet, sometimes we’re not sure how we got there or how we should continue going forward. 

So it’s often useful to re-evaluate the games we’ve got and think about why we have bought them. Then we can decide how we want to continue in the future.

This article will look at some of the reasons people buy games and curate their collections. 

EXPOSED: Creating a board game collection

6 Criteria With Which People Buy Board Games

1. Cost and Value

For many people, the decision as to what games they buy is down to budget. Very few people can afford to buy every game they want. However, cost alone isn’t the deciding factor. Not anybody buys every game they can find below a particular value or based on a specific price-to-value ratio, even though the cost will ultimately decide if you can afford to buy a game or not. Storage space also matters! Sometimes we can’t fit everything in our trusty shelves, so we have to aim for games that “fit” into space we allow them.

2. Fits my playgroup/playstyle

One approach for some people is always to buy the latest releases that are most talked about, the so-called “hotness.” Over 3,500 games are released each year so that nobody can buy them all, at least not realistically, but there are games everyone talks about, and those rise to the top of the hotness chart – and then people buy them or pre-order them in most cases.

In a similar vein are people who buy pretty much everything that’s released via Kickstarter. Again, nobody will be able to back every game that launches throughout the year, but using the hotness charts to narrow down the available choices, usually is a determining factor of which project reaches your wallet.

3. Rarity

Some people always look for rare or out-of-print games or editions of games in a sort of reverse way. It is more akin to antique collectors, who want to have something special and unique and not freely available. This is enhanced by KS Exclusive games, board games that you won’t find later through regular distribution and retail. 

The resulting collection will be somewhat eclectic, with no particular theme or topic tying the board games together. Many of the games will most likely be rather luxurious, and chances are they don’t reach the table as often to keep their condition as close to new as possible. Some games are simply oddities – not especially expensive, but they are weird enough to excite our interest.

EXPOSED: Creating a board game collection

4. Game Set Completion

Another way of deciding what games to buy can be about completing a set. Some publishers release games as a sort of series, which entices people to buy their games. These include games like The North Sea series or the West Kingdom Series by Garphill Games. Multiple expansions can also be a reason for completionists to decide they want to buy more and thus increase their collection. In our case, Reichbusters: Projekt Vril would fall under this category. 

Similarly, people might want to buy all small box games, whatever “small” means in this context, or all games with a specific mechanism or component, such as dice games. Even buying all games from a particular designer, artist, or publisher motivates some people. And once you find a publisher whose games you like, you will likely buy other games from them.

Creating a board game collection

5. Compatibility

Some people decide what games they buy based on who they’re going to play them with. For example, you always look for games that you know you will play with your spouse or children, and maybe a different genre of games for your dedicated gaming group. It is then about finding games that will fit specific tastes, other than your own, and not necessarily about buying new games.

The resulting collection may seem quite mixed, but what ties the games together is the people you play them with. There will be a particular set of mechanisms found in the games or experiences that these games create that may not be immediately clear, but that explains why they fit your friends or family’s tastes.

6. Familiarity and Similarity

Another criterion people buy a game is because it offers a familiar experience uniquely if you buy Super Fantasy Brawl, for example. After all, it offers more or less the same experience as a MOBA game, transferred to your table, and has a unique twist of scoring points by also completing challenges. Something familiar yet new.

Again, the end collection is somewhat mixed, but it’s still nice to have a new player experience by combining several genres of games, and more often than not, tend and make sure that these games will also suit your family or friends’ tastes.

EXPOSED: board game collection


Many people will curate their collection with a mix of all of the above criteria. And this will make every collection different and special, as it will reflect a small part of the collector’s personality.

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  1. Anonymous

    “Fits my playgroup/playstyle” is a section, but that section doesn’t describe that philosophy. It describes people that get games based on “BGG hotness”. The “Compatibility” description seems like a better description for the “fits my playgroup/playstyle” header.

    Personally, I like cooperative games as much as competitive games, but one of the members of my play group doesn’t like cooperative games, so I don’t buy many. That fit the name of this category, but not its description.

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