Saturday, August 17, 2013

In Defense of: Waiting to Purchase

I thought it might be interesting to start a new article series titled In Defense of: ....
The goal of this series is to look at a given topic and give reasons why it is worth doing.  I'm not sure how many of these will come out, a lot depends on the reaction.

The first topic for this series is waiting to purchase games.  We live in a microwave society, and by that I mean that we want everything right now.  We also want the newest game that everyone seems to be talking about.  The problem with buying new games is multifold.  The most glaring hurdle is that no one really knows how replayable the game is.  I think it's safe to say that any good board game is replayable at least 10 times.  I'd say the best are replayable at least 30 times, but that's a topic for another day.  Many games are flashes in the proverbial pan.  They come out to a lot of fanfare and then very few people are playing them 6 months later.  Sure, these can still be good games, but are they really the best ones?  I'd argue that they're not.

A big issue with a lot of games these days is rule errors.  No product is ever perfect, no game is perfectly balanced with every single thing in the box being exactly right.  Still, many games receive a second edition which addresses a lot of these issues, and that makes it worth waiting on.  Furthermore, a lot of these second editions have improved components, revised card text as so on.  Now, I hear someone asking "What if the game goes out of print and never comes back?"  To that I say that the game probably wasn't all that good.  There are exceptions to that, but I'd argue that any game worth owning that has come out in the last 5 years is either in print right now or will be coming back very shortly.

The third reason why you should wait to buy a game is that you'll likely have a chance to play the game you're considering before you buy, and that lets you know if it really is something you'll want.  Experiencing a game for yourself is one of the best pieces of information you can use in deciding what to buy.  Even if you aren't able to play a game, you'll be able to read more reviews about a game, and maybe even watch videos of the game being played.  All of this leads to greater knowledge, which makes you a more informed consumer, and hopefully avoids games that may not be right for you.

These are the reasons why you should wait before buying the new "hotness"

  • Avoid flashes in the pans
  • Acquire games with enough replayability
  • Improved 2nd edition
  • More information available
I try to live by a 6 month rule.  Typically if a game is still being talked about 6 months later, it's worth getting.  Also by that time I have plenty of reviews to read and I may have even had a chance to play it.  I've broken my 6 month rule a fair number of times, but each of those times has involved significant research, perhaps even watching the game being played and having good confidence that I will enjoy it.  It's not a perfect rule, but I've avoided a lot of misses by waiting.

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