Game Curation

I was having a conversation with my brother-in-law recently, when he said that he enjoyed the way that I curate my games collection, and it got me thinking about the way we collect and play games.
See I’m not flush with cash, I can’t just buy every new hotness that comes my way and so it is that I keep my games collection small, selling what doesn’t gel with my group, and trying not to overlap too much between games. I believe thoroughly that games should be bought to be played, not just collected so you can say you have the new hotness. As such I might have a game in my collection for years that fills a particular gap, only replacing it when I am sure that we have something new to fill the space it will leave. 
My modest collection, for now at least!
I am extremely lucky to have a group of friends I have played games with for years. Over that time I have come to know what they like in a game, what mechanics they will gel with, what they will reject, what will bring a smile to their face and what will leave them frustrated and bored. I curate my collection for these people, not because I let them dictate my choices but because I love playing games with them and the better I do this the more I will get them round a table: going on adventures down dungeons, fighting me for control of moon colonies or figuring out if I am about to betray them or not (hint: I probably am)
My group tends towards the thematic in games and as such there is little room in my collection for the more Euro style games. Saying that my wife prefers games that involve the building of things and not as much direct conflict as the group likes and so I also buy games that I hope I can get to the table with her.
My current collection can be judged over on Boardgamegeek here.
My point here is that games should never be considered in isolation from the environment they will be played in. is a game that sits on your shelf for years really part of your collection? If you rarely or never get a game to the table, why is it in your collection? Don’t back that kickstarter just to sell it on, back it because you love the thought of getting that game round the table with friends. Maybe it won’t gel, maybe it will but either way give it the respect of hitting your table at least once.

Iain McAllister

Tabletop games reviewer and podcaster based in Dalkeith, Scotland.

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