There’s this perception among gamers when you purchase a game you will own it forever. Unlike a video game which may become more and more difficult to play as systems get replaced, this physical box will be forever around to be played and played until the end of time.
But as the old adage goes, “nothing lasts forever.”
So lets talk about this. Let’s clarify what’s an acceptable amount of time for a board game to last.
In Australia, your average big box game (your Arkham Horror’s, Lords of Waterdeep, Five Tribes or Sentinels of the Multiverse) will cost you between $80 – $100. Something smaller (Coup, Cards Against Humanity, Exploding Kittens) is likely to cost you between $40 – $60. On the outset, this seems like a fair amount of money. If you’re used to computer games, you know Steam Sales can get you some good games for the $20 – $40 mark depending (and often even cheaper). If you go to the movies in Australia as an adult, you’re looking at about $20 a ticket. Renting a film is around the $10 mark on most non-subscription streaming services, going to Ten Pin will cost you about $20. Admittedly I’m not talking about food or drinks here either (it’s a bit of a larger variable, plus we eat while we play board games).
So in terms of entertainment, you’re going to want a lot out of the $100 board game investment.
The thing we forget with board games, is per person for an average four player game you’re looking at $25 each. One game alone is the same costing as most of the above mentioned entertainment, which then really just comes down to a preference. If you play your new game three or four times in the first couple of weeks you get it, you’re already putting the entertainment cost down to around the $6 – $8 each per game, or $20 – $35 per gaming session. Over the course of the year you might play it ten times which works out at $10 per game, or $2.50 per player. Which is getting to the point where you’ve really gotten some good value out of it.
Games can’t last forever. They’re not designed to. They’re cardboard and plastic. But if you get ten uses out of it, I’d call it a win. It doesn’t sound like a whole lot, and the likelihood is if you like the game, you’re going to play it even more. There’s no limit to the amount of times you’re “allowed” to play the game, but when you consider the value of the entertainment you’re getting, the nights of friends around a table sharing the inevitable laughter and good vibes, these are the reasons to purchase games. So few forms of entertainment give us that suspension of the world around us as we escape to universes filled with adventure, fantasy and wonder. I’d happily pay my $2.50.
If you’re looking for ways to extend the life of your game. Here are a couple of tips I use:
- Put the game away properly each time.
Anyone who’s played a game with me knows I’m OCD about the care of my games. You don’t have to take it to my extremes – cards being the right way up, tokens not getting mixed together. But by ensuring the game is packed up neatly, not left out overnight if you have kids or pets, not squishing the game in by pushing down on the lid just to get the damn thing away; it will last longer. Turns out there was something behind my parents telling me to pack up my toys before I play with the next one (just don’t tell them).
- Coin bags are your best friend.
Not sure if my local bank is going to be happy with me after I spill the beans on this secret, but I go in and ask for coin bags in order to protect my game pieces (I may leave the last bit out). Especially smaller cards and tokens. It keeps them nicely together and in some games we don’t take all the tokens out, we just play with them using the bags as the general “bank”…not sure the branch managers would appreciate the irony.
- Don’t band your cards.
But since you’re going to ignore that anyway…
We’ve all done it. Rookie mistake. Using rubber bands around cards bends them. And since apparently Australia is located next door to the sun, the rubber bands have a nasty habit of melting onto the cards and causing issues. But if you live in a place where “sweat” isn’t an acceptable response to how your day is going, at least band the cards loosely vertically so the amount of bend is reduced, especially around a small pile of cards.
As a side note here, card sleeves are not as pointless as they first appear when you get into gaming. They’re not overly expensive, and you don’t need to sleeve every game. But if you’re going to be pulling a game out at least once a month, and you have kids or you’re playing with people who may not take as much care of your game as you do, they’re well worth the investment.
- Keep food and drink off the game table.
I’m not saying don’t snack when you game. I’m not a monster. Just keep them off the game table. Have a coffee table nearby, use water bottles, and for the love of all things, keep something for people to wipe their hands. It avoids spillage, and doesn’t get grease or gunk on your game pieces.
- Try to store your games in a cool, dark place. Luckily most of us gamers are vampires.
It’s a pretty good piece of advice. Look what happened to my Firefly ships, and all because it gets hot in the shed where they were stored.
Metal warps (making your gaming tins even more useless. I hate tins. It’s a known fact about me by now yeah?) and moisture destroys cardboard. So if you’re going to display your games, maybe don’t display them over a water feature in direct sunlight.
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