How do we evaluate games? – Collection Value

Written by Alex Harkey

This month we started a discussion on how we find value in games by talking about monetary value, a review of some relative valuations board games can bring in comparison to alternative sources of entertainment.


Image courtesy of BGG User Tiggers

This week we’ll look at a combination of ideas we’ll call “collection value“. How do you decide which games would benefit your collection the most?

Progression Value:

For many in the board game hobby, a journey begins with a gateway game. It might have been Carcassonne or King of Tokyo or maybe you were blindsided by something else entirely, but with it you began a voyage, steadily progressing to heavier games and expanding your collection. Back in December, Matt talked about classifications of games and specifically game weight. How do you select the next game for you?

King of Tokyo

  • How do you determine when you or your group is ready for more complexity or higher level of game weight?
  • How big of a role do lighter games play in your collection?
Game Night value:

For those that host game nights, there is often an itch to diversify your collection when adding something new. If you have an several drafting and worker placement games you look for a deck builder next time. If you have negotiation and auction mechanics in your collection you may wish to try a pick-up and deliver or an area control game in your next purchase.

In addition to adding new themes and mechanics you may be looking to increase the flexibility of your collection to cover different player counts or add in some short filler games to manage those late arrival situations in your group. In February we covered utility in games and how that may be a success factor.

  • Do you seek games with similar mechanics or themes to one you already enjoy?
  • What gaps (player counts/certain mechanics/game lengths) in your collection are difficult to fill?
Image courtesy of Carlos Couto

Image courtesy of Carlos Couto

Collection Value:

Our final perspective might come from gaming completionists. Perhaps you follow a game designer closely and enjoy each one so much that the next one announced is an automatic buy. Maybe you have a compulsion to continue a series or line-up of games on your shelf and skipping a number in the middle isn’t an option.

Pandemic Old

PandemicWhat happens when publisher releases a new edition of a favorite game? Changes to component quality, new artwork or rulebook corrections are often the biggest changes between reprints of games, but these changes target new buyers. What type of changes would entire you to switch from old to new editions?

Some expansions seem to become a necessary purchase while others can be ignored. Publishers will always consider releasing expansions to successful games, so what should they try to do? Including additional gameplay features, or the ability to support more players are useful, but do they justify an additional cost to you?

  • Do you look to expand your collection with another title by a favorite game designer? Or collect an entire line-up from a publisher?
  • What benefits are necessary to upgrade your first edition of a game to the revised second edition?
  • What do you look for in an expansion that entices you to expand a base game?
    • How many games in your collection would you consider buying a hypothetical and reasonably priced expansion for?

Let us hear your thoughts in the comments section below.


3 comments on “How do we evaluate games? – Collection Value

  1. drillvoice

    I find “games night value” important. I like hosting game events but often with different people: so sometimes I want a long strategy game for five people, other times a shorter party game for 3. I try to have diversity in my collection so that there’s always something appropriate available to play.

  2. Christos Kolokotronis

    I guess I am in the completionist category and tend to follow a few designers and specific games with their expansions. I have set some rules for my collection because it is already big enough though….

    1. Alex Harkey

      You’re not alone Chris, there are many of us battling the same cardboard affliction. Thanks for your comment!

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