Friday, May 6, 2016

Buying and Playing


Over the past couple of years, a lot of things influenced my board game purchases. Video reviews, blogs, podcasts, price points, gameplay, solo modes, themes, number of players, time length, rulebooks, component quality...many of which I've touched upon in some form or another here. But lately, the one thing that's dictating whether I purchase a game or not is one thing: whether or not it will be played at all?

I know it's a silly question. I mean, why would I buy a board game if I wasn't going to play it? Then I look over my shelves of wedged games collecting dust, and then the question seems less silly. The reasons for not playing are plentiful and not worth repeating. Frankly, I'm just tired of making excuses; they're not being played, and that's a terrible shame.

What does this all have to do with buying new board games? Well, for starters, the mentality is changed. At this moment in time, I have no time to gather friends and set up game nights, nor can I rely on family to play games with. Not even the tried-and-true "If there's a solo variant, I'll get it" approach to purchases. No, the main point that must be addressed before ANY of that is this: Will it get played?

It's so easy to get caught up buying whatever the latest new game is, but without the proper environment to play it in, what's the rush? And, if you're like me with very limited time, you'll want to make smart purchases for games you KNOW you'll play sooner rather than later. Buying a game because it has solo mode? Rather pointless if I don't have the time to set it up properly. Oh, this one's quick with its dice rolling! But can't quite play it during lunch at work, lest I make a LOT of noise. And how will these play in public, when table space may be an issue?

All of a sudden, a simple board game purchase becomes an important lifestyle decision. For many who can properly set aside time to play with the same consistent amount of people on a timely basis, purchases are a "what's new to play" option. For others, like myself, it's a "do you absolutely need this at this very moment and do you have time to play" choice each time, every time. No matter what, there's that extra voice in my head with its disapproving tone, muttering to himself that all new purchases will be forgotten like the rest. And he's half-right.

So, if you ever hear me complain about buying games, understand that I go through all the motions; who will I play it with, where can I play it, WHEN can I play it, will I play it more than once, CAN I get others to play it? I hope one day I can just buy a board game because I want to play it.
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