As board games became a larger part of the way I shape play in my life, I began to acquire more and more games. I found the collection growing a bit too large, so I wanted to develop a system to help me decide which to keep and which to pass on. The broad rule for keeping a game is that it must fit as a representative of a category from a limited group of game characteristics.
To operationalize this vision I use the following Workflowy document. The document has the categories and representative games. The following list includes the top level categories and corresponding limits. For a game to make it into a non-uncategorized category, it generally needs to have someone identifying it as one of their top 25% top ranked games. I use ratings on BoardGameGeek.com for this metric.
- uncategorized (10)
- historical (one per year)
- mechanisms (one per mechanism)
- categories (one per category)
- weight (3 per weight range)
- ages (3 per age group)
- length of playtime (3 per time range)
- number of players (one per player range)
- various stats (10 per top 100 of each subcategory)
I originally used a Microsoft Word document, then an Excel sheet, then an Access database, then back to an Excel sheet, and now I’m using an Workflowy document. One of the qualities I like about the Workflowy format is its ease of use (especially compared to maintaining the games in an Access database). I can quickly write new bullets with low friction. Compared to Excel, Workflowy is better at visualizing the relationships between categories and subcategories with its bulleted list format. Compared to Word, Workflowy enables greater modularity of the view with its easily collapsible and expandable bullets. Further, the tagging system enables me to quickly create a view of all the appearances of a particular game. The view created is cleaner than the list of search results in a Microsoft Word side search bar.
Another habit I maintain to keep my artifact collections to a manageable size is a 180/180 rule for my books and games. My 180/180 rule is an adaptation of The Minimalists’ 90/90 rule. For each game and book I keep I need to have either used it in the last 180 days or be planning to use it in the next 180 days. I track the uses with the tool I built at artifacts.stewardgoods.com. When I use or play a game I log a use in the database, and I check the report to find out the use by dates for the artifacts. For which game has it been nearly 360 days since I have played it?