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When our family was going through the ugliest move in history, the wonderful women who were helping me pack up our things learned something new about me:
I am a board game ADDICT.
But, I’m sorry to say, I have had to stop buying them.
Before I get into the reasons why I’ve stopped fueling my addiction, I want to get one thing straight: Board games are still the bee’s knees. I think that there are many important social skills that kids can learn by playing games together. I also think that there is just something so special about gathering around the table for family game night. Some of my favorite memories are of these laid-back evenings spent with loved ones.
So why have I stopped buying board games?? There are actually a few reasons:
If you’ve been around for a while, you’ve probably noticed that I love a good sale. Board game sales are no exception. If you catch the right event, you can get brand new board games for pennies on the dollar!
But recently I’ve noticed a problem.
In order for the manufacturers to get our attention with low prices, they have cut down on the quality of the board games. I’m not even talking about the materials used (although, I could). I’m talking about the quality of the games themselves. A few years ago I found a killer deal on a Guess Who game (one of my favorites from childhood). We didn’t have a copy of it in my classroom, so I picked one up on my own dime (since it only cost a handful of dimes). When I opened the box, I didn’t find the awesome game of my childhood. Instead, I found a watered-down version that wasn’t nearly as fun.
And, I’m sorry….but Candyland with a SPINNER?! Part of the fun of Candyland is the anticipation of turning over the card in the hopes of finding Princess Frostine!
Another issue I’ve noticed is that if they aren’t watering down classic games, they are over-complicating them. One of my kids got Connect Four as a birthday gift, but when we opened the box, we were met with extra tokens, special stickers to put on the checkers, and little cardboard inserts to stick along the side of the game grid. Last time I checked, Connect Four is plenty fun with the original rules.
I’m all for changing things up for people who like a little more variety, but oftentimes we end up back at problem #1: These extra bits and pieces are often of questionable quality and get tossed out pretty quickly.
Card games are also notorious for this! I try to play a new card game, but by the time I read through all of the weird rules, I have a headache! So I end up pulling out good old Uno or Phase 10 instead.
Honestly, this is the main reason why I’ve stopped buying board games. I walk down the board game aisle to find something new for our family to play and I come face-to-face with this:
(As a sidenote: All of these pictures are links to the product on Amazon. Just in case you don’t believe that these are actual games – – or you really want to buy one of them — you can click on any picture to take a peek at the details…)
Okay, I love a good laugh as much as the next person (in fact, rounding these up on Amazon gave me quite a few). I’m not trying to bash these companies or their products. I’m just saying that these are not the types of games that I would find myself pulling out of the game cupboard on a quiet Friday night, so they don’t have me pulling out my wallet.
Has anyone played these games? Are they fun? I’m willing to give anything a try, but I definitely won’t be spending money on it! Which leads to my last point:
When it comes to spending my hard-earned money (well, actually, I chuckle to myself when I say my money is hard-earned…read about that here), I don’t feel like new board games are going to be a line item in my budget for a while. Especially because there are many ways that we can add to our board game collection without forking over good money for sub-par products.
- Thrift Stores/Garage Sales – Often times the boxes are only rubber-banded closed so that you can go through them and make sure the pieces are there.
- Library – Visit your local library. They might have a “library of things” where you can check out board games to give them a try before buying.
- Game Stores – Shop local! Oftentimes they have games already opened that you can take for a test-drive before purchasing. They might also host game nights where you can try new board games.
- Game Swap – Open up your game closet and find a few that you’d be willing to swap with friends.
- Buy Nothing Project – Your area might have a chapter of the Buy Nothing Project active on Facebook. Join up and then put out a request that you are looking for board games. I’m sure you will get some responses!
- Host a Huge Game Night – Our church recently had a big game night where they set up a bunch of tables and people brought their favorite board games. We were able to try out several games that we hadn’t seen before.
- Online Shopping – If what you’re really after are the quality, vintage games of your childhood, look no further than Amazon or eBay! I’m sure you’ll find what you’re after. Did you know that you can find used game sellers who fulfill their orders through Amazon? If you order through one of these merchants, you still have all of the perks and protections of Prime (including the perk of two-day shipping).
So, my friends…that is why I’m not buying board games anymore. In an effort to not sound like a Debbie Downer, I WILL say that there are a lot of fun new-ish games out there that are DEFINITELY worth the money. (By “new-ish” I mean that these aren’t the games of my childhood and you can still find them in the store.) But since we already own them, or someone in our family does, we are done buying games for now. If you’re looking for something AWESOME to put under the tree this year, consider some of these options:
I love strategy games and Blokus is a great one!
The Game of Things has been around a while, but it’s a blast!
So now I need to know….what do you think of board games these days? What is your favorite game to play? I’d love to hear from you in the comments below.
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