Monday, January 31, 2011

Timely Topics: What Kind of Game Buyer are YOU?

Ok, the word 'buy' also relates to trading, but you get the idea.

I was thinking about how I buy games now and how that compares to how my attitudes were when I first  started acquiring games them in the past. It also made me start thinking of the different ways I see game acquisitions occuring for other people I know or observe online. When I was first getting into gaming, I was a Frantic Newbie - everything looked awesome and I had to have it all! I went on buying binges and quickly accumulated a lot of games.

Here are the terms and definitions I have invented and then included some additional details about my attitudes now and in the past. Later, you can take the POLL at BGG to see how you stack up to other gamers and their acquisition habits...

Frantic Newbie - Found an interesting game in the store (maybe thrifted, maybe new) and bought it on impulse, or was introduced to a terrific game and 'had' to have it. Did a web search for more information and discovered an overwhelming selection available that they didn't know existed. They start buying furiously to 'catch up'

When I was a board game newbie I couldn't stop reading BGG and learning about all these 'new' and exciting games I'd never heard of. I would spend HOURS and HOURS reading the information and reviews. Many games went onto my 'wishlish' and I soon started buying a lot of games. LOTS of games! Unfortunately, my wishlist hasn't stopped shrinking.....

Cautious Newbie -  Found an interesting game in the store (maybe thrifted, maybe new) and bought it on impulse, or was introduced to a terrific game and 'had' to have it. Did a web search for more information and discovered an overwhelming selection available that they didn't know existed. They have no idea what to buy and maybe buy a new game here or there to try out with family or friends.

I was NOT a cautious newbie, although I probably should have been. Well, I guess I was somewhat particular as I tended towards higher-rated games and/or games I'd tried out with other people. Still, I was more frantic than not.

Family buyer - Buys games to play with their children, typically younger children in this case.

I have always bought games for my kids. Some of them are actual kids games, some are less demanding adult games that I thought my kids would enjoy. Buying games 'for the kids' is (almost) always a good way to get permission from the wife to buy another game...

Traditionalist - "Classic" games buyer that picks up common games, new or thrifted, to play with family and friends. Sometimes this is to try out a game they never got to try as a kid, or to maybe show their kids/family games they remember playing in the past. Also buys some of the more 'mainstream' games available in Wal-Mart, Toys-r-us, etc.

I recently found Risk/Castle Risk, Clue, Monopoly and other similar games at the local Goodwill that I have ended up buying. I also look for games like Scotland Yard that I've heard of but never even saw when I was growing up and want to give them a go now.

'Cult of the New' buyer - Loves to buy the latest and greatest, watches the Essen lists closely and buys whatever looks bright, shiny and/or interesting.

I'm somewhat in this range - although less so them some friends that I know and are unashamedly in this 'CULT'

Thrifter - Buys whatever is available at thrift stores. Might be buying to give away, for parts, for family, and is always looking for a treasure or 'grail' game that they keep or resell.

Yes, I thrift. Some people are fanatical about it - I am NOT. I seem to need at least a monthly fix now, but it's not something that drives me. I also look for boxes and small dishes I can use to store bits or keep them organized on the table.

Tanga Junkie - Someone that always or frequently buys games from (at least if they are actually good games @ good prices). Typically buys games in multiple quantities if available to save on shipping and then trades or sells the other copies. Related to Opportunist and Accumulator.

A friend introduced me to early on in my addiction. They used to run it so that new stuff could come up any time of the day or night. I couldn't stop watching it and looking for good deals. Ironically, I bought some games this way, but not a ton. But, I couldn't help watching because THAT ONE really good deal would surely go by me if I wasn't paying attention. I have since broken myself of this habit, especially after they went to 'once per day' @ 7pm for listing the new deals. Phew!

Professional Game reviewer - They might get games for free from publishers to be able to try out and review, or they might purchase games strictly to publish a review or other information about them.

This would be a really NICE reason to get games, but I'm not there. Maybe some day.

Collector - On the prowl for hard to find games. Lets the thrifters do the dirty work then pays handsomely to get their hands on it. Also looks for deals on several such games and gets them all in one go.

I must admit I like to pick up games for the collector's value - games that are hard to get and that people will say "Ooooh, you have THAT game? Niiiiice!". However, I always open them up and am willing to play them. I know some people that buy nice collectible games IN SHRINK and NEVER open them up, hoping someday to make a million bucks on it in the future. Seriously, it's a board game -- very few get into the stratosphere. BUT, a collection of many good games is definitely worth something if you are careful about what you pick up.

Connoisseur - Extremely picky, likely won't buy a game or even play certain games based on status, hotness, etc. Won't consider buying a game unless it's rated in maybe the 7-9 range and rarely, if ever, rates a game a 10. (Examples: Winsome gamer, Age of Steam expansion map gamer, Been-playing-and-rating-games-for-6+years gamer)

I'm a tiny bit picky, but I haven't been buying games for long enough I think. According to some gamers, once you hit the 6+ range of years in gaming, you tend to get pickier because you have seen everything and only the REALLY GOOD games tend to stand out to you. Well, I'm not there yet. I can feel myself pulling in that direction, but no, not yet.....  (BTW, sorry to you Winsome and AoS games - I'm not being mean by singling you out, but you ARE pretty picky about your games. Come on, admit it, you really are)

Impatient buyer - If they see it and they want it, they buy it. They may be fairly picky about the games they select, but once they decide they don't bother shopping around or waiting for a good deal, they just buy it, open it immediately upon arrival, and play it incessently from then on. Rarely pre-orders a game unless they MUST have it first. (SEE ALSO: Pre-Order Junkie)

I'm not too impatient. I can hold back and not hit the 'Complete Transaction' button and go check out some other sites for better prices. Yes, some games if I see it I'll buy it and not worry about the price or a deal on shipping, but I'm pretty good about being patient. Even more so since I have Amazon Prime (i.e. free) shipping on many more common items if I'm REALLY in a hurry.

Pre-Order junkie - Pre-orders games before anyone even knows anything about them. Wants the hottest games out and has to have it played before anyone else.

I have not really been into the whole pre-order business. It seems people wait and wait and wait to get their games, then, once it starts shipping, they still get it AFTER everyone else. I will say I did pre-orders on 2 different occasions: 

1. for Mayday games Crokinole boards. It was a sweet deal and, even though the quality wasn't quite up to what it should have been, I was happy to wait and happy with my investment.

2. for Key Market. I wrote about it before so won't go into that again other than to say "Glad I did!" because with only 900+ copies being made, it sold out quickly and likely won't be printed again. SCORE!

Churner - Constantly buys and resells or trades games. Plays games to death, OR never gets them played, or simply decides they don't want to play it. Gets rid of most games within a month or 2 after acquiring them regardless of how many plays.

I don't churn. I cannot get rid of games. Refuse. However, I have friends that do this and I get the 'why'. I just can't do it..... nope.

Trader - Buys games strictly to trade them for other games. Likely will trade them away for something else brighter and shinier (which may then also get traded for something ELSE that looks even more interesting). Often buys multiple copies (either cheaply or due to rarity) for this reason. May not ever really play many of the games - just sees them as trade-bait.

I've been known to do this, especially for Math Trades (i.e. where a computer figures out the best trade options between a large set of gamers), but ultimately I've been disappointed and annoyed for having kept around games and had to store them. Others LOVE doing this and trying to get a better deal out of their cheap purchases. I have only been moderately successful at best and have grown tired of it now.

Hoarder - Buys anything and everything, even if they already have 10 copies of the same game. Never re-sells them, never trades them, never parts them out. Probably never plays most of them as well.

I am ALMOST a hoarder, but I don't buy multiple copies of games. I, however, won't sell or trade them.Well, I DID trade away all 3 copies of Battlestar Galactica that I bought off of Tanga without having ever played or punched any of them.

Opportunist - Looks for good deals/lots and buys them primarily for themselves but then sells or trades away extra copies. Always buys enough to get free shipping or to make shipping extremely low. Hits all the auctions, especially no minimum bid items and bids the lowest possible and rarely bids up when outbid. Gets the dregs but at awesome prices and is able to then trade those away or re-sell for a nice profit which is then invested in buying more games in the same manner. Also, loves the Christmas specials and buys tons of games during this period of time. Related to Tanga Junkie.

I almost always go for free shipping and I do look for good deals. I sometimes will low bid on several auction items (to save on shipping if I win them all) and will bid them up somewhat, but usually I'm looking for a good deal so won't bid up too high. I've fallen victim to the 'holiday' sales rush and, of course, Tanga deals. However, I have tended to get away from buying extra copies just to make a profit on them, but if it fits into what I'm buying, I might just do it.

Accumulator - Is somewhat picky (but not necessarily), although is not as picky as a Connoisseur. Doesn't stop buying games even though they say they will. Trolls BGG for anything interesting, then puts it on the wishlist and may go shopping immediately for a good deal (or any deal if they really want it). Finds auction items that look interesting that they've never seen, does some research, and then HAS to bid. Related to Tanga Junkie.

My wishlist is large. I don't get rid of games and I keep buying more, even when I know I should slow down or stop. Sorry. I'm only a geek and cannot help myself.

How do you fit in? Take the POLL on Board Game Geek to see!

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