Here is what’s on the table: Starting Your Tabletop Collection
My love and passion for tabletop games did not become apparent until about three years ago when a friend bought me the Barnes and Noble Onyx Editions of Scrabble, Jenga, Stratego and Risk. Followed by that, my cousin gave me a Franklin Mint Edition Monopoly. As the following weeks progressed, constantly playing the usual classic board games, I recalled an old game that I used to love playing. Between my recollection and the last time I played this game, roughly about 10 years had passed. The game was called Talisman. Needless to say, I bought it. It is currently in its 4th Edition and published by Fantasy Flight Games and consists of 10 expansions.
Enough of walking down my memory lane. The real question is how do you start your collection? If you’re new to the tabletop world, you have to realize there are hundreds, possibly even thousands, of games out in the world and they consist of card games, board games, role-playing games, and miniatures games. The simple answer on how to start is to just start buying games. However, not everyone has an endless supply of money and tabletop games can be a costly hobby. My first suggestion to you is to start with your favorites. It could be the game you played with your family when you were growing up, the game you played with your friends on Fridays after school or during lunch. Start with the nostalgic games because those will be the foundation of your collection.
Once you have your favorites, start with either genre, universe, style, or popularity. Although tabletop gaming is still only just growing with the general population, there are some games that are bridging the gap. Some examples would be Settlers of Catan, any of the fantasy or sci-fi versions of Risk, video game themed games such as World of Warcraft or Gears of War. But if those don’t tickle your fancy, I would look at why you like the games you like. Is it the player vs player factor, the cooperative play style, strategerizing, random draws or luck factors. Whatever it is, use it to pick your next game. For example, if you like the uncontrolled randomization factor and strategerizing, I would suggest Small World. It very much resembles Risk in the sense of strategy and land control, but it also has a randomization factor that makes every game different. If you are a fan of H.P. Lovecraft (really I shouldn’t need to make suggestions to you if you are), but you could start with all the lovely C’thulhu themed games that exist.
Once you start buying you and playing more you will get a better feel for what you like and what you don’t. As I mentioned, tabletop games can be expensive. If you are tight on a budget and want to pick up a game, there are a few cons that happen every year and at a lot of these cons are flea markets and auctions. You can pick up a nice handful of games for half the cost, granted of course that they may be used and you would have to attend the con in order to access the auction. Another route, although not as glamorous, would be to shop on Amazon which generally has most games for about 20% off. Now here is my counter-argument for shopping on Amazon. Local board game shops depend on its loyal customers and tabletop gaming enthusiasts. Until tabletop gaming truly reaches the mainstream, your business is critical to their survival. A lot of these shops devote themselves to creating a welcoming environment for avid gamers like you and myself to go play. So my suggestion is, if you can, support them with your business.
My final suggestion for you, is that if you are a completionist like myself, choose wisely. Some games have an endless supply of expansions, and some games bridge to other games. Once you start, you have to have them all. Also keep in mind, you’re going to need a lot of shelf space to store all these games. If you need any ideas, feel free to check out my boardgamegeek collection. And if you have any questions, feel free to ask.
Until next time, roll straight, roll strong, roll precise, and always remember…heart of the cards.