Wednesday, July 22, 2015

The Cost of Waiting

There's no doubt that accruing a board game collection is costly, with some board games almost as high as $100 for just the base set, not to mention any expansions that come afterwards. But the satisfaction that comes from acquiring a game you've wanted ever since it's been announced is unparalleled; it's a rush that is both gratifying and fleeting at once. And whatever price you're willing to purchase the game, you know it's money worth spent.

Materialistically, this is sound. A proper exchange of monetary units for a desired good is straight-forward, that very moment. But what of the time before then? How long did you wait to purchase the game? Did you buy it the same day it was released, or did you wait a week? Two? Three weeks? Three months? Did you still even WANT the game still, after all that time?

The Waiting Game

Unless you pre-ordered or plan to buy a board game the day of release, most likely you will make the purchase after a set period of time. Now's not a good time, you decide. You have too many unplayed games in your queue; you haven't gotten paid yet; you won't have a game night for a while; you want to read other people's experiences with the games first; you want to wait for a sale. Whatever the reasons, you're not purchasing it now, and that's mentally costing you.

"I'm still going to get the game," you say. "I still want it," you persist. I believe you, and I know you'll eventually get it. But between now and then, your stance may change. You may see other people play the game, liking certain things, not liking others. You may come across bad reviews of the game, see a random comment on component quality. You may even see good reviews of the game, and everyone jumping in quickly, while you're sitting out. This - THIS - is the cost of waiting.

The Value of Time

In this day and age of social media, it's hard NOT to hear others enjoying/hating a game you still pine to purchase The more we observe this, the more our preservation of the board game in our heads erode. What if the game is terrible? What if people played it once, never to play it again? What if people can't stop playing it? What if people played it out so much that the strategy is figured out and lost? What if the components are poor? What if they're great? What if they're so awesome that every copy is bought out and suddenly the game is out of stock because you waited too long to buy it?

No matter what the reason, you're waiting, already missing out on what everyone else is already playing. Sometimes the wait pays off, and you narrowly miss on making an impulse buy on something that would not play well with you and your group. Other times, you helplessly watch as others are enjoying the game to no end, leaving you out of the loop. In the extreme worst case, if you waited to long for something like NetRunner, you have a hell of a way to climb and be helplessly behind for some time.

Other times, if you wait so far that a board game completely drops off the radar, you may forget about it entirely. But in that absence comes the preservation derived from neglect; a pure want, frozen in time, of your desire. Should your yearning for it be revived somehow, a sudden rush of OHMYGODWANT will envelop you, charging your fingers into a flurry as you Google search your forgotten love. The re-discovery of Clue: The Great Museum Caper brought back a lot of fond memories, despite how old the game was or how there are other games that play better than it.

Losing ROI

Even after owning the game, there's a cost associated with the length of time it spends on your shelf before you play it. Maybe you don't have enough players, maybe your group is not the type of group to enjoy a heavy euro, maybe you're too busy this week to go to or organize a game night. Suddenly, your purchased games have a shelf life; the freshness seal has been broken, and it's up to you to get it out to the table as many times as you can.

Sure, you may think there's no rush since you own the game now. You have plenty of time to enjoy it. But what if a game is released later that's similar to that one, but better? What if expansions are released for that game, expansions you can't enjoy yet until you play the base game? Or worse...what if you finally take out the game, only to find out that all your other friends have played it many times on other occasions and have grown very tired of it?

The Solution Is (Wait for It)...

...not simple. When it comes to purchasing games, everyone has their own agenda, their own limits. If you're comfortable waiting for these purchases, then wait. If you're one of those who demands the latest and greatest at all times, then jump on that urge. To either scenario, though, I would recommend to exercise caution. Waiting too long will risk you being behind on the trend, while jumping too fast can burn you financially.

If, however, you HAVE the game, then the solution is easy: enjoy your game, whenever possible. Games are meant to be on the table, not on the shelf. If you don't have a gaming group, organize one yourself! Can't gather people? Empty the box and teach yourself the rules! It does no good waiting for the right time, when ANY time is the right time for board games!

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