In this hobby, a wish list can quickly morph from a single game to an entire armada desperate to blast their way into your life and onto your table, bringing with them fun, laughter and maybe even a deliciously burnt brain. It can take you by surprise how strong the urge is to add to your collection, but boy does it feel good when you give in to that urge and welcome a new game into your loving arms.
I have given in to this urge on so many occasions and it's a trend I know will not hit the brakes anytime soon. However, over time, I have started to wonder if I actually need to own all of the games I have on my ever growing wish list. Do I really need a game that I have been close to buying on several occasions only for another game to take my fancy and find its way into my basket instead? Or do I need to own the game that only just came into my consciousness without really considering whether or not it will fit into my board gaming life?
I am a little (or very) embarrassed to admit that, on a couple of occasions now, I have bought a game that had been sitting on my wish list for a very long time because a friend had said they wanted to buy it (Colt Express and Fog of Love). Childish, I know, though I hope I am not alone in this...
Like I mentioned, the urge to be the one to have the game in their collection was overwhelming and I have since been wondering why this overpowered and took control of rational thought. This is not the person I usually am.
In reality, I don't think there is any good reason for this behaviour. But the main thing I came up with was that owning a game means I can take the game with me wherever I go if I so choose. One of the things I love most about modern gaming is introducing other people to them and this may be taken away if I don't own the game as I'd have to ask whoever does if I could borrow it or only play that game with them.
Now, playing a single game with only one group isn't the end of the world, but I really do want to share the experience with other friends and family members if I can. On the flip-side, I should be asking myself whether other friends and family would actually enjoy the game. For example, Scythe has held a place on my wish list for a while now and a friend owns a copy. In reality, he and the rest of the group I play it with are most likely the only people I would actually play it with, so do I really need it in my collection? The answer to that question (at least for now) is no, but it will remain on my wish list.
In the past, I would have just gone for it anyway because then I could place it on my shelves so that it could look pretty and I'd have complete ownership of it. If I only played it with myself, then so be it.
But I'm growing and starting to see the flaws in this approach. For example, if I have all the games, then I am the one taking a very heavy blow to my finances. This is not a cheap hobby and if the weight of the cost could be split among friends then that means I will have the funds to add games to my collection that I know will work for me rather than sometimes being blindsided by another that I may enjoy less in the long run.
Another flaw is that it is hard to get games to the table regularly if I there is a near constant stream of new games clogging up my collection. What's the use in owning a game that only gets played once or twice because other games have bulldozed it out of my or my gaming group's consciousness?
I feel like I am finally emerging from the fog and seeing things clearly for the first time. My collection is wonderful and I know that I will be adding some more fantastic games to it, but from now on I will go with a greater balance between head and heart when making my future purchases. I will no longer go with quantity or worry if a friend has a game I'd love to own myself.
I wonder if any of you out there have a similar experience, or if you are currently attempting to navigate your way through the fog, or if you left it a long time ago? No matter what, I want to encourage you to take a look at your wish list and see if you can afford to cut one or two off because it's so easy to lose sight when there are so many great choices out there and so easy to make the wrong choice at the wrong time, or for the wrong reasons.