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Thinking Out Loud

Monday, August 29, 2005

The End of Impulse Game Shopping?

I was recently asked about whether or not there are enough gamers in the gaming hobby to support the sheer number of new games being published. It was an interesting question that I had to mull over for a while.

There really is no single definitive answer -- at least not from me. For one, I'm an avid collector and gamer, so from one perspective, there can never be too many games. But that got me thinking, that over the past year or so, I've actually made some significant changes in my purchasing patterns. Overall, there are fewer "bad" games in my collection.

Why is that the case? Are there fewer bad games being published? Certainly not... :)

So it must be a change in my behavior, decision making and valuation of quality. Or something like that.

I do think there are enough gamers with enough disposable income to support more and more game titles, but I think gamers are also becoming much more savvy about investing in games. With so much information available at their finger tips (via sites like BoardGameGeek), consumers are exposed to far less risk than they once were -- you can research a new game, read reviews, download rules and be so much better informed that I think it's easier now to filter through available games and find ones that are more likely to be popular with the buyer. Fewer duds, happier gamers, more money left to spend on other games that interest them.

My purchase behavior has changed substantially over the last few years due to the information available online. While I used to wander into a hobby store and buy games based almost solely on the information on the gamebox, I am far less likely to purchase games on a whim now. Just a few years ago, probably a good 2/3rds of my gaming purchases were based strictly on whim, whereas now I probably only purchase about 10% of my games without doing substantial research, visiting publisher websites, or looking for information on BoardGameGeek.com.

In fact, I'm pretty sure the last 4 games I purchased solely on a whim are among the 4 games I've rated lowest in my collection (rather than just playing another person's copy) over the same time span, starting with War of the Ring (not my cup of tea, as well chronicled in my recent review), GreedQuest (gimmick-driven Steve Jackson game), Kung Fu Fighting (a better version of Munchkin, which may not be saying much) and Marco Polo Expedition (got suckered in seeing it was a Reiner Knizia game).

On the other hand, games I spent time researching, reading reviews for, seeing feedback from fellow geeks, downloading the rules for prior to purchase or otherwise investigating before investing... well, let's just say my success rate has been much, much better.


  • This blog is awesome. I was just surfing through and saw all those annoying spam comments. Perhaps you could link to my blog at "Take this spam and shove it.com"

    Want to know how to get rid of the spammers. (Thanks to Yehuda Berlinger) I now know how.

    Go to "Settings", then "Comments" then click yes on "Word Verification".

    By Blogger Coldfoot, at 4:26 PM  

  • Ahem. For clarification:

    There were 6 spam comments on this blog when I posted my comments. All of them stated "this blog is great, please link to my blog".

    By Blogger Coldfoot, at 4:39 PM  

  • Thanks for the tip, Coldfoot!! I had to purge a dozen or so comments earlier today that were all spam. Unfortunate.

    But now I know, and as I learned from watching GI Joe, knowing is half the battle!

    Yo, Joe!

    By Blogger Jason Little, at 9:05 PM  

  • Jason -- I am really enjoying your blog and check it often.

    Your thoughts about game purchasing is right on target for me. With BGG available, and the ability to ask and receive lots of comments directly from people who have played a game I am considering, I should be able to make much better decisions when buying games. And, it seems to be working. Except for Silverton, which I bought just for myself because of the theme, all the recent games I have purchased have been enjoyed by our family game group. I attribute that to my research on BGG, entirely.

    Keep up the interesting writing; I look forward to more from you.

    By Blogger gamesgrandpa, at 10:37 PM  

  • Thanks for the kind comments, Gerald! Glad to hear you've enjoyed my ramblings. And it's interesting to hear how other gamers' habits have changed due to sites like BoardGameGeek.

    I'll try to jot down my thoughts regularly so it's worth coming back regularly! :)

    By Blogger Jason Little, at 7:45 AM  

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