This week we tried out a new feature that we hope will become a regular monthly thing around here, Knight’s Forum. I introduced it in The Village Square and asked you, our readers, to weigh in on the topic in a community discussion. We’ll be working on improving our format but were very happy with the reception for our first go at it. For those that missed the introduction I’ll try to catch you up to speed and share what people had to say. Make sure to check out the great thought provoking responses. It’s also not too late to write an article of your own or join in the discussion here in the comments and on Twitter using #KnightsForum!
Topic: Board Game Potential
Each topic is specifically chosen so that it can be discussed by board gamers and designers alike. There will be questions to help get you thinking but don’t feel obligated to stick to them, explore the topic in any way that you see fit.
February’s topic will be about Board game collections and game potential
I once heard someone talk about their game collection in terms of potential and it intrigued me. Each game you own represents a potential to have and enjoy an experience. Whether you realize that potential or not is all about actually getting those games played. Large collections and aging games both compete with the latest games and often sit on the shelf unplayed. But unplayed games stay in collections in part because of this potential. You want to have that experience at some point in the future so you buy or hold on to games in hopes of attaining it.
Discussion From Gamers
1. Do you have any games collecting dust that don’t seem to hit the table often but you just can’t get rid of? Why are you holding on to them? Would you sell your favorite game if you knew you would never get to play it again? Would you rather sell/trade an unplayed game and acquire it at a later point if you find a group to play it with or simply hold on to it and wait for that possibility?
2. Consider your favorite games. How old are those games and how often do they get played? Are they your favorites because you play them a lot, have previously played them a lot, or they have some unique qualities that set them apart?
3. How do your friends’ collections affect yours? Do you share games with your group or do you like having your own copy? Do you have a lot of overlap with your friends’ collections? Are you less likely to acquire a game if you know someone that owns it? Would you be willing to have a shared library if it was practical?
What Games Would You Keep? (Clever Move)[fifth width=”80px”]–[/fifth][three_quarters][plain]Up until now, storing my board games has come with a negligible cost. This has allowed me to keep games for a variety of reasons. We play Terra Mystica often. I keep my completed copy of Risk: Legacy for nostalgia. I keep other games for the potential that I might play them at some point in the future. I recently opened a copy of Risk 2210 I’ve had for roughly a decade only to realize that I had never even punched out the game’s cardboard pieces.[/plain][/three_quarters][fifth width=”10px”]–[/fifth][fifth width=”50px”][/fifth][full][/full]
Board Game Potential (Theology of Games)[fifth width=”80px”]–[/fifth][three_quarters][plain]But when I look at my personal Top 10 games, almost all of them are over 5 years old–and almost all of them haven’t been played in a long time. That’s a weird thing to consider. I play at least one new game practically every week, but none of them are good enough to supplant anything on my Top 10. But I almost never stop and say, “Hey, does anyone want to play Princes of Florence? Remember how guaranteed-awesome that game is?!”
I miss playing my favorite games. I know their potential, and the potential is just sitting there on a shelf right now.[/plain][/three_quarters][fifth width=”10px”]–[/fifth][fifth width=”50px”][/fifth][full][/full]
Your Gaming Collection (The Politcal Gamer)[fifth width=”80px”]–[/fifth][three_quarters][plain]Interestingly, people who like board games tend to define themselves as gamers, though many of them, yours truly included, are much better described as collectors. I can remember the moment I transformed from a gamer to a collector. Or to be more precise, the cocooning period where I huddled around myself like a little zergling morphing into a rolling baneling. And it’s not that you really stop being a gamer – I still love playing games, and that’s the driving force behind it all. Once you start collecting games, your attitude towards them changes. The way you look at them, the way you research them and even the way you play them – everything changes. You are not only thinking to yourself ‘is this fun’ or ‘what is my next move’ but suddenly there is this whole other question – do I need this game in my collection? Do I need it? Oh my, I really need it![/plain][/three_quarters][fifth width=”10px”]–[/fifth][fifth width=”50px”][/fifth][full][/full]
Board Games are Meant to be Played (Cephalofair Games)[fifth width=”80px”]–[/fifth][three_quarters][plain]I see all these challenges on BoardGameGeek about playing every game in your collection or playing 10 games 10 times in a year. These are definitely noble goals, as more board gaming in general is always a good thing, but they always seem to come from a mentality of, “Crap, I have so many games in my collection, and I need to play them more.” But I don’t think we should ever get to that place. The goal shouldn’t be, “Play all the games in your collection,” but rather, “Only add games to your collection that you will play.”[/plain][/three_quarters][fifth width=”10px”]–[/fifth][fifth width=”50px”][/fifth][full][/full]
Discussion From Designers
1. Would you rather design a game that gets played more frequently or is more highly regarded but played less? Would you be proud to know that someone is keeping your game in their collection despite not playing it often? Is how someone feels about your game regardless of how much they play it important?
2. Is it disappointing when some trades or sells your game? Should it be a goal for your game to stick in people’s collections (assuming it’s a good fit for that person)? Should designers try to create games that will “stand the test of time” or are simply enjoyable experiences?
Board Game Collections (TGIK Games)[fifth width=”80px”]–[/fifth][three_quarters][plain]I would be very proud to have someone hang on to our game even if they thought they would not get to play it that often. That tells me that we had a fan that wanted to share our games with another person at some point in the future. I want to create a community of fans that wanted to spread the word about how great games are, and if they liked our games enough to keep them in their collection and show them to other people, even if that was only once or twice a year, I would be very proud of that.[/plain][/three_quarters][fifth width=”10px”]–[/fifth][fifth width=”50px”][/fifth][full][/full]
Knighthood (3DTotal Games)[fifth width=”80px”]–[/fifth][three_quarters][plain]I don’t think it’s the goal of a designer to have their game stick in a players collection anymore than it’s the goal of a chef to have their food enter the sanitation system, but it’ll often be a side effect of doing the job well. I think the goal of a designer is to create experiences that people are glad that they had, generally fun, but there are other options. More plays generally means more great experiences and so designing a game that’s great and doesn’t lose anything on replays leads to it sticking around in peoples collections – but that’s a side effect – not the goal itself.[/plain][/three_quarters][fifth width=”10px”]–[/fifth][fifth width=”50px”][/fifth][full][/full]
We’d like to say a huge thank you to everyone that contributed with articles, comments, tweets, and encouragement! We have some changes in store for next month but would appreciate feedback on what you liked, didn’t like, and ways we could improve. Our goal is to create a meaningful community discussion which can prove quite difficult without gathering in one place like Twitter or BGG for that conversation.