This year has been very different in almost every way imaginable. For me personally, the lack of board game conventions has been a big one. I’ve attended Origins and Gen Con regularly. The occasional BGG.CON and G2S. I love the atmosphere. Seeing old friends and meeting new ones. Playing games with people I just met, and people I only get to play games with a couple of times a year.
The other part of conventions is, of course, the shopping. And I’ve done my fair share of that too. But as I sit here and look at my board game collection I haven’t really missed that part of the conventions. Of course, I still have purchased my fair share of games this year. And am lucky enough to get a review copy for some of the new releases so we can share our thoughts, but I’ve historically still spent a lot of money at conventions buying stuff.
So today I thought it would be fun to look at my haul photos from previous years. See if any of these games are still in my collection and just a few thoughts about my previous purchases. Convention purchases can be a bit spur of the moment, often pressed by a FOMO if you don’t stand in line and snatch things up. So let’s all enjoy my past mistakes together, shall we?
Gen Con 2014
Still in the collection: Hearts of Attraction, Five Tribes, Sheriff of Nottingham
I can’t even identify all of these games (was this camera phone quality in 2014?). Doomtown was my first attempt at LCGs and I think I played it once before I let it go. I waited in line day after day to get one of the few copies of King of New York, only to finally get it on Sunday. Come to find out it wasn’t nearly as good as King of Tokyo. Five Tribes is the standout winner here though, still in my Top 10 ever, maybe top five. Side note: Sheriff of Nottingham is still my step-daughter’s favorite game and the reason that now, as a teenager, she cannot be trusted. Be careful about encouraging your children to lie to you.
Still in the collection: Time’s Up.
Apparently, this was party game time. I still own and play Time’s Up pretty regularly. However, Dark Moon is very underappreciated and is a great hidden traitor type game. Not sure why I bought most of these. I even eventually sold the game I bought the insert for, Dead of Winter.
Gen Con 2015
This is where my acquisition disorder was getting a bit out of control. I believe there are 20 items in this picture. Some real duds like Rattle Battle and Junta. Ashes I thought could potentially replace MTG for me, but never got the support it needed from organized play. Nothing jumps out at me as an absurd purchase, but definitely not the wisest money I’ve ever spent.
Still in the collection: Codename Pictures.
I spent the first two hours on Thursday standing in line to pay $100 for Mansions of Madness: Second Edition. I think I played it once and gave up on it. Even having been in the board game hobby for a few years at this point, I was still clearly trying to find exactly what kind of games worked for me. Sakura Arms, by the way, is getting reprinted with all the expansions by Level 99 games and I couldn’t be more excited. The pictured version is the Japanese edition with English paste-ups. The translations weren’t great and we didn’t have any expansions, so I eventually sold it. But looking forward to jumping back in because it’s a great 2 player dueling game.
Still in my collection: Time’s Up expansions. That’s it.
I love Vital Lacerda. Kanban is still my favorite game. I just realized at some point last year I didn’t need to own all his games. I obviously still have Kanban. I kept the Gallerist too. But there just aren’t that many opportunities to play 3-hour euros that I needed to keep my 3rd and 4th favorite Lacerda games around.
Tramways I enjoyed, but my group hated it and I eventually passed it on because I could never get it to the table. All the others here were just mistakes. Fields of Green is an average drafting game. Flipships is an average dexterity game. And Sluff Off an average trick-taking game. There just isn’t room in a collection for average games when there are thousands of new games each year. It’s easy to be the best game at a convention but harder to really have staying power once you get home and have all your games to choose from.
Gen Con 2017
Still in the collection: Tulip Bubble.
Along with Tulip Bubble, Mini Rails and The Climbers are both very good games. The latter two just left my collection after getting played a reasonable amount and just needing to make space. That Scott Pilgrim deck builder has a special place in my heart for how bad it was. I love the movie. The comic book art is great. But the game took forever and, unsurprisingly, I never heard of anyone playing it after Gen Con.
Still in the collection: Monza, High Society.
High Society is one of my favorite small box games. Great auction mechanisms and the Osprey Games reprint had wonderful art nouveau artwork. I’m not sure why there are multiple copies of Welcome To, I assume I bought some for others. My son really loves Monza, but didn’t end up enjoying Dragon’s Breath as much.
Oh, and Lightseekers. That company really put on a show at Origins. They had a huge presence and coupons for a lot of free packs. The game was pretty fun, but, like most CCGs, eventually died. I still have some cards in my closet if anyone needs them…
Gen Con 2018
Still in the collection: Brass, Piepmatz, Illusion, Gizmos
A much smaller, better haul. Brass is probably a Top 5 game for me now. Piepmatz is one of my favorite small box games, and probably in my top 20 overall. Don’t sleep on it. Even the ones I don’t have anymore still were interesting in their own way. Yellow & Yangtze turned out just to be a worse Tigiris & Euphrates and Pikoko was prettier than it was fun, but it’s almost like I started to be downright reasonable in my purchases.
This haul was a little different as we started picking up more review copies at conventions and I was the only BGQ’er in attendance. So these aren’t necessarily my purchases. And most were distributed among your other favorite BGQ reviewers. However, I did purchase Pipeline and Dilluvia Project. Pipeline possibly my favorite game of 2019. From the review copies, Shobu has been a huge hit, is still in my collection, and is the abstract game I play the most without a doubt.
Gen Con 2019
Just when it seemed like I learned my lesson! Now at least most of these are still in the collection, but recency has a lot to do with that. But I almost definitely bought too much. Troyes is by far the best pickup here and it was a used copy I purchased from a BGG user. Watergate is probably in second place here as I still play it frequently and love the constant struggle between the Post and the Nixon player. The others, while still in my collection, may not be the types of games that survive the next purge.
So is there a lesson to be learned here? Probably not. I tend to buy a lot, play them a few times, keep what I love and sell or give away a lot of games. Almost certainly not typical behavior but even if a game isn’t perfect I find a lot of fun in just trying new games and figuring them out. Without convention season to blow a bunch of money on this year I’ve been doing a bit less of that. And honestly, not missing it too much. I do, however, miss the people. Hopefully, when we get back to conventions I’ll get some quality time in with my fellow gamers and remember not to buy so much!