As someone who has a slightly addictive character, collecting pretty much anything comes quite easy to me. "You never know when you might need it again," is what I tend to say. The same is true for board games, of course. "We might play this again at some point," is how I justify not letting a board game go that I haven't played in months. So, in this article, I want to talk about how I overcome my own excuses to keep my board game collection to a manageable size.
For me, the biggest driving force behind getting rid of board games is space. I have intentionally limited myself to only a certain amount of shelf space. It's a physical limit to how much volume of board games I can store. It also means that I have quite a large collection of small box games, mint tin games, mini mint tin games and wallet games. So even though I have quite a lot of games, many of them are small.
Yet, there are also a good few games that come in bigger boxes. No, not Gloomhaven size, but what others would probably call standard size. Think Wingspan, Quacks of Quedlinburg or even Brass: Birmingham. To me, these boxes are still large and there is probably only room for about 15 of them on my games shelf.
So you'd think it would be easy to just sell a game when I run out of shelf space, but of course, I've got another trick up my sleeve so that I can keep more games. I also have some "overflow" storage: under the bed and at the bottom of the cupboard. It's not a huge amount of volume, but enough to store a few extra standard-sized boxes.
I even have put some games into the loft, but these are games that have a certain nostalgic value to me, even if I'm unlikely to play them again any time soon. For example, On the Underground London/Berlin is close to my heart and so is The Cost. These will stay in the loft nice and clean in a plastic box and may come out again on special occasions.
So, as you can see, I'm making it hard for myself to keep my collection at a manageable size. Even setting physical limits of how many games I can keep doesn't quite work.
Yet, I have given some of my games to friends, some to charity shops and others have been passed on to other people. I know, now you wonder how I managed to let go of these games. Well, if you've learned anything from this article at all, then you'll realize that these games weren't actually my games - they were review copies I was sent by a publisher.
Sometimes publishers tell you that you can keep the review copy they sent you. In those cases, I tend to give the game to a friend or to a charity shop, at least once I've played it often enough to write my review. There are occasions, where I do keep the review copies though, but only if I know for certain that they will get played.
When publishers don't want you to keep the game, which is usually when they are prototypes or there is a crowd-funding campaign involved, then I will send the review copy to the next person or back to the publisher. That's actually what I always offer to do anyway. I never expect to be able to keep the games publishers send me for review, but some of the bigger publishers are happy for you to keep the game.
Anyway, sending a game to the next reviewer or back to the publisher is, by far, the strongest reason for me to keep my collection at a manageable size. After all, I have no choice in the matter.
There is another motivator for me to sell games though and it's not so much space, even though that plays a part. I still buy a fair few games myself, so that I don't completely rely on review copies from publishers. I do have wonderful Patreon supporters and Ko-Fi contributors, but the money I receive that way only just about covers my hosting and other running costs. So by selling games from my collection, I can offset the cost of new ones, at least to some degree.
Even though it's tough to do, it does feel quite cathartic and satisfying when I do finally sell a game, box it up and post it off. I never sell games that we still actively play, of course, but as you probably know yourself, once your collection grows, you end up having several games that do something very similar. So you can just keep the game that works best for you and the people you play with and get rid of the others.
Also, some games rarely see the day of light, so I tend to earmark anything that hasn't made it to the board game table in a year. These are likely to be put up for sale, except those that have some sort of nostalgic value, of course, as mentioned above.
I try and buy deluxe editions of games, when I can afford to, because these often keep their value better than standard versions of games. That means, when I do finally decide to sell these games, I'm more likely to get my money back, or as close to as possible. That's not always possible, but something I try to do.
That's about it for me. As you can tell, I find it hard to keep my collection at a reasonable size, but I think I still have way fewer games than many in our hobby.
So how about you? How do you keep your board game collection in control? Do you do a regular spring clean and get rid of games? Do you maybe trade to ensure that you keep the number of games you own roughly the same? Please share your experiences and suggestions in the comments below. Maybe there are some tips I can learn from for myself.