Top Ten Reasons To Cull A Game from your Collection

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The Secret Shame of Culling

My secret shame is that there’s another major criteria I had for culling, and that was ‘I’d never played the game and didn’t really plan to’. Certainly when I began building up my collection I fell into excess. If a game was available on a cheap deal, I’d definitely buy it. ‘I’ll get around to it’, I’d tell myself. ‘It’s future review material’, I’d say. And yeah, kind of – but I already have more games to play than I have time to play them. In the period between buying and selling, a number of these games went out of print or were replaced by new editions. In both cases, they essentially dropped off my todo list because they were no longer valid candidates for review. I can’t do an accessibility teardown of an edition nobody can buy. I can’t review a game that’s no longer for sale. I mean, I have made exceptions for that in the past but for obvious and largely self-indulgent reasons.

A lot of games in the cull had never been opened. For some, I hadn’t even removed the shrink wrap. Of the eighty-four games I brought to the TTS Bring and Buy, I hadn’t played 28 of them. At their lowest current retail price, that’s a total of about £700 to buy. Not all sold – some were donated to the convention for them to do with what they will. I got around £270 back. I basically paid £430 for games to come into my house, sit on my shelf, and leave. I could have given that money to a food bank and I would have been no worse off at all. In fact, I’d have been better off because I wouldn’t have damaged my back carting them off into the Dewar Centre. What a waste of time, money and effort. I could have fed some hungry families rather than essentially paying for games to take up space in my house. I genuinely feel bad about that. My shelf of shame is literally a shelf of shame.

There are still unplayed games on my shelves, but they’re all games that I am fully intending to review for the site. They were bought not as nebulous ‘future research material’ but specific games that fully meet the site’s focus. They’re either interesting from an accessibility perspective, or healthily within the top 500 of BGG.

That’s for me one of the best things to come from doing a cull – it’s moved me from a philosophical sense of ‘I shouldn’t have bought all of those games’ to a visceral ‘Wow, I really shouldn’t have bought all those games’. I intend to feel a lot less shame about my collection going forward, and a more mindful approach to curating, and culling, will be a big part of that.

Those Reasons in Full

10Your tastes moved on
9It Needs You to Git Gud
8You’re Not Excited to Play It
7It’d be better if someone else owned it
6It Just Won’t Get Played
5You Own Newer, Better Iterations on the Game
4It Needs You to Git Rich
3It Doesn’t Have A Compelling, Unique Pitch
2The App is Just Better
1It’s Dragging Down the Quality of your Collection


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  4 comments for “Top Ten Reasons To Cull A Game from your Collection

  1. Anitra Smith
    18/09/2019 at 5:32 am

    We talked about this a while ago, too ( ). Our considerations were a little different, since we have 5 game players in our house… but at core, it’s the same problem.

    The “I bought this game and never played it, and I probably never will” HURTS. In one case, we realized that we bought the game because it’s great… but we ALWAYS play it with friends who have their own well-organized copy with several expansions. So there was no reason for us to have our own: it sat on the shelf, still in the shrink-wrap, for over a year.

    Our other realization was that some games existed on our shelves that one person loves (or wants to love) but no one else will ever play. Unless you’re going to get a new game group together, that game isn’t going to get played, no matter how “great” it is.

    • 18/09/2019 at 5:33 am

      Five players is such an unfortunate number for board games – I’m glad that more games seem to be including five players as the top end, but the number of games that top out at four is extraordinary. It’s like a lot of designers haven’t quite realised yet that families are a massive audience for games.

      Someone a while ago said ‘Buying a game isn’t the same thing as buying the time to play it’, and it also doesn’t come with the people you need to play it. I have a number of games I have only ever played solo because I know that it’ll never appeal to anyone I play with (and if it did, I probably don’t really want to teach it). I sometimes buy games as if I had the group to play them all set up, and it stings a little to remember I often don’t.

  2. Lilin
    18/09/2019 at 5:32 am

    “The Game of Thrones card game got culled because I couldn’t justify investing the time. The Arkham Horror Card Game got culled because I couldn’t justify feeling like I was a sheep being shorn every time I picked up a new pack.”

    That’s actually quite interesting since they have the same exact release cycle (“deluxe” 30£ box, six 12£ packs, repeat), so it comes down to one being a story and the other one just being new cards I assume.

    • 18/09/2019 at 5:33 am

      Yeah, that’s exactly what it is for me. I think AHCG works really well as a game, but given how story driven the scenarios are (and how much it benefits from not knowing what the progress is going to be) I think you lose a massive amount when playing through the scenarios again and again. Game of Thrones on the other hand is a fully contained game that gets better the more you play through the same cards.

      Other people have gotten more fun out of replaying AHCG scenarios than I have, but it’s the reason I didn’t want to keep on with it. 🙂

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