5 tips for starting a boardgame collection

The explosion of interest in modern board games has naturally given rise to lots of dedicated board game media. Reviews, run throughs, and critiques are easy to source these days. So there’s a lot of information available now to help you decide if a given game is a glorious gaming thoroughbred or a donkey of a dice-fest.

But what about advice on starting a well rounded collection? Well we’re on hand here at WicklowMeeples.com to list five quick things to keep in mind as you get started. Rather than listing out specific games you should buy, this article is designed to make you think about the sort of games you enjoy, what suits you and your gaming group best and therefore would be worthy addition to your collection. Most of us have limited budgets and indeed shelf space, use both of them wisely!

Player Count

Player Count

Lets start with Player Count. The number of people you regularly game with should be front and centre in your mind before you consider whether to purchase a game. Having a load of party style multiplayer games is great, if you run or attend board game evenings with a large group, or you are entertaining family and friends on a regular basis. If you mainly play games with one or two other people, then the party games will spend most of the year sitting on the shelf. In this case the wisest course is to go for smaller player counts or at least go for games that play well at a wide range of player counts.

Game Themes

Player Count

A lot of the time, who you are going to play games with will make a big difference to the theme of game you might want to go for. Not everyone is going to super excited about “Generic Fantasy Adventure Quest part IV”, though some people will love that. Getting a game with a theme you enjoy and that your regular gaming buddies relish is quite important. But if you only stick to one theme you may be narrowing your gaming circle/opportunities. Add some diversity in there and your collection will be all the better for it, and chances are you’ll get to the gaming table more often.

Game Length

Player Count

Where does the time go? I used to have hours of free time in my day, but between home life and work life I seem to have less and less of it these days. So personally I appreciate games that I can play for 30-60mins and manage that gaming fix in a small time window. Don’t get me wrong, a 3 hour Fury of Dracula can be great fun, but I don’t have that sort of time that often anymore. But however much time you have to sink into this cardboard hobby, a mixture of game lengths is always a decent idea.

Game Mechanics

Player Count

Boardgame designers constantly play games and often ‘borrow’ new mechanics from other established titles, for their own games. The result is that there are quite a few games that have a similar feel to them, sure they aren’t identical but they scratch the same gaming itch so to speak. So something else to question is “Do I need another bluffing/hidden movement/deck building game in my collection”. Variety is the spice of life, apparently.


Player Count

People’s budgets will obviously vary, but I’m sure we could all do with spending less than we do on games. I like to think that if a game costs €40 and I play it a few times with some friends or family, then it has already paid for itself in entertainment terms. There are however some games on my shelf that have only had a single playthrough or worse, have never been played at all. So the price/play ratio and subsequent value is something to think about.

However, there are quite a few avenues you can go down to try and keep a rein on your gaming expenditure. There’s a lot of Print and Play games available for free and with a standard deck of cards or a bag of dice there’s a load of gaming combinations possible. You could do much worse that checking out this excellent article about gaming for $10, from the fine folks (..and indeed community) over at “Shut Up and Sit Down”.

So there you go, just 5 brief tips to keep in mind when starting a board game collection. Hopefully it will be of some use to you as you succumb to this cardboard addiction. If you want to try out some different game types, genres, mechanics, why not bring a friend or two down to our next game night and play something from our collection.

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