Curating a collection

Not my collection but that would be awesome.

I've been seriously into the board game hobby for a little over four years now, but have been playing board/card games in some fashion ever since I can remember. In the past four years, my collection has changed drastically from mostly the types of games everyone had (Monopoly, Risk, Phase 10, Yahtzee, etc.) to true hobby games like (7 Wonders, Splendor, Tikal, Biblios, etc.). Not only did it change, but it exploded in size. I always had around 50 - 75 games at any one time but at current count, I'm sitting on 156. I have friends whose collections dwarf mine but I've come to the realization that I want less than I have. I want to play the games I love more, rather than playing a bunch of new things once or twice. It's kind of sad seeing games sit for years....yes, years....going unplayed on a shelf. This happened more than I'd like to admit but up until last summer, my gaming opportunities were few and far between. Now that we have a regular game group that meets a couple times a month, my collection is seeing more play than ever. Even still, I've decided it's time to curate my collection instead of grow it.

Here are some numbers to put things into perspective:
Total games: 156
Expansions: 19
Children's games: 13
I'll subtract expansions and children's games. Expansions aren't games on their own so I don't count them toward the actual total. Also, the children's games in that 13 do not include games like Monopoly or 13 Dead End Drive, the 13 are games like Candy Land and Cranium Cariboo, games that barely count as games by my definition (there need to be actual decisions) or games that were specifically bought for the kids like Penguin Flip or Barrel of Monkeys (I don't consider them to be mine). I am including some kids games like Animal Upon Animal and Rhino Hero since they're games I'd actually play with other adults.

So my actual total: 124

But wait...
Preordered: 5 games + 2 expansions
I have a few Kickstarter games that I'm waiting on, a game coming from a friend, and a free expansion for Smash Up coming so I can't forget to add those to the total.

Actual total: 129

That number isn't bad at all but I know I can do better. It's very likely that I'll never play all 129 in a given year, or even a 5 year span. As I said before, I want to play the games I love more so the ones that I don't love need to go. However, I also need to get a sufficient number of plays of a game to make that decision. The good thing is that I can usually tell within a single play if a game is for me or not. I don't need 5 or 10 plays to know if I want to keep it for the long haul. If you read my Unpub7 Recap, you'll remember this:
We had barely ended the first round and I was already tweeting out about how much I LOVED this game. My exact words were "I would buy the shit out of @ChrisBryanGames's Favelas right now if I could." Seriously, it pushed all the brain buttons for me and I cannot wait for it to get published.
In other words, I know what I like and it's time to start finding the games that push those brain buttons for me. That's not to say I won't keep games that I know other people like, but there will be fewer and fewer of those going forward. There are games Christine, our game group, and family like that will make the cut but if interest wains, it'll be headed straight for the trade pile.

Speaking of the trade pile, I currently have 27 total games and expansions up for trade. I've been grinding trades hard this week and have only had one go through. I'm going to keep trying for another few days but I have a back up plan to just trade it all in one lot to a guy on BGG that runs a company taking in trades. The catch with that is he gives less value back. It sounds crazy to some but his point it that you get to trade in stuff you're not playing and getting back stuff that you actually might. I often struggle with giving up what I know the games are worth but it helped me this past Christmas when I traded with him to secure some older games that I gifted to my brother in law. So in my mind, it's totally worth it if I can't find trade partners. It's been suggested that I try and sell them or auction them off but that's a hassle and most of the stuff I have up for trade, nobody really wants; or they do want but shipping makes it prohibitive to buy.

Recently there was a thread create on BGG entitled "Simplifying a Collection" which really hit home. The topic creator speaks about ways to reduce his collection and how to best get enjoyment from it. He also asked others to share their solutions and from that somebody linked to this quote from a previous thread on the same topic:
"Think of game collecting as being like Haiku. The restriction is what makes it beautiful. A good collection is not about its size, it's about how beautiful it is. Set yourself the idea that beauty is the goal. Then your task is making a beautiful collection rather than a big one. Any idiot can put together a big game collection, but a beautiful one is a challenge and the mark of someone who truly appreciates the art of both gaming and collecting."
This really struck a cord and it has become my new goal. I want a beautiful collection by my standards, not just an expansive collection of "good" games. I'm still trying to decide if I want to cap my total at a certain number or make it more of a range. Some people believe an arbitrary cap doesn't make sense but I work better with definitive goals, even if they are just randomly decided upon. From that thread, there are many different ways to go about curating a collection like the "one in, one out" rule, setting limits by player count, or only having a game or two with similar mechanics. However I ultimately decide to go about this is still to be determined but I'm excited to get started with this project.


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