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Greetings again from Behind the Board. Here's some feedback from the last blog post, thanks to Jone!

"Interesting overview of small games! I raise my hand that I don't have much time or energy for gaming under the pressures of daily life. And if I do, arranging a game partner is its own task, let alone for multiple people. I've tested 7 Wonders and Summoner Wars in their original versions, and especially 7 Wonders Duel sounded like a must-buy based on this introduction! That should make it easy to transition to Res Arcana..."

It's nice that you've stumbled upon my musings from behind the board and beyond. And a huge thank you to all who sent us email! 

Shelves are overflowing with playable games, plastic spills out from doors and windows, and the game mats could cover the floors of every room. The environment certainly doesn't thank board game enthusiasts, as cargo ships carry individually bagged component debris and expansion boxes from the other side of the world to players' tables. In the worst case, they may even be left to gather dust on shelves.

Undoubtedly one of the biggest changes in board game culture in the last decade has been crowdfunding for games, such as Kickstarter and, more recently, Awaken Realms' own Gamefound and Backerkit, which previously only handled post-crowdfunding campaign logistics. Crowdfunding has made it possible for almost anyone to publish a board game, resulting in an explosive growth in supply and temporary availability of smaller games. At the same time, the early adopter model, well-known in the technology industry, has taken over the hobby. Currently, there are over 15,000 crowdfunded board game projects listed, with new campaigns starting weekly. The legendary BGG Top 100 list currently includes 32 games that originated from crowdfunding, and we probably wouldn't have had the chance to play any of them without the support of the board game community. 

With crowdfunding, the fear of missing out (FOMO) has become a strong phenomenon in board game culture in addition to the early adopter model. Larger campaigns inflate their games by adding both gamified content and merchandise often exclusively for crowdfunding backers, at least in theory. In many cases, many of these extras end up for sale or eventually turn out to be so weak that separate retail release is no longer possible. At the same time, smaller campaigns stumble into this trap by promising more than they know or are able to deliver - at least on the stated schedule. Social media builds hype in paid previews and in small print, it is mentioned that the preview copy may not match the final product.

Whenever money is a big part of things, it brings its own problems. Ultimately, all of this is just business for many. Crowdfunding is a funding model that is nearly perfect for companies because it is easy to get debt-free and interest-free capital, predict demand, and control the release process all the way to almost the player's doorstep. So is it right that companies that raise many millions of dollars annually are still dominating crowdfunding, leveraging FOMO and players' desire to be among the first to touch their products? Unfortunately, quantity has begun to replace quality both in content and offerings.

But who would intervene in this, as every successful campaign generates, for example, 10% of the funds raised to the Kickstarter platform. This means that the representatives of the platform have limited desire to control the publishers' actions. Big dollars go ahead of consumers. There have already been several examples of how large companies finance the production of their past campaigns by starting new ones. Consumer funds are fiercely contested: crowdfunding campaigns try to increase "sales" to break intermediary ties and maximize profits. Everything must be bigger, including the price tags on the games.

Consumer rights are non-existent as crowdfunding is still a very gray area in terms of consumer protection. After all, it is not a marketplace despite the movement of money, and there is little legal protection. Many game designers and companies have already left the crowdfunding world due to its toxic environment and questionable tactics. Some still remain using other platforms instead of Kickstarter. This way they ensure that players get the same package from their own board game store without losing anything.


Collecting and growing a game collection through crowdfunding is a significant part of the current board game culture. Social media is full of shelf pictures, and #shelfie is a well-known tag. However, shame shelves can accommodate games that have not even been played or opened before the next purchase arrives to expand the collection. Crowdfunded games fueled by FOMO overflow with additional content right from the initial release, and few even get to play them. I am not a collector; I am a player, so why do I have more games than I have time to play? Why do I continue to acquire more, even though there may be gems in my collection whose brilliance I have yet to experience or discover their innermost workings? Why do I want additional content that I will likely never need? And why am I willing to pay more for it, even after shipping and taxes, than I would for the base game from my local game store (if the game is even good enough to make it to retail)? The retail version or possible second edition usually includes possible fixes and improvements, even if it comes with less gold and plastic figurines. What the hell are we thinking?

I have been contemplating these things for the past year and now I am looking at my collection with new awareness. I no longer want to keep games on my shelf that I may play someday. I don't want to buy new games if I have unplayed ones on my shelf. I don't want to expand any game mechanic genre unless I am willing to let go of some old game with the same mechanics. And I definitely don't want to buy tons of stuff out of fear of missing out, stuff that I may never play or need: hastily put together expansions, campaigns, and fillers – no thanks. My choices certainly won't save our planet, but at least I can think about where I spend my time and money on games and what kind of consumer culture I support.

Having participated in over a hundred crowdfunding campaigns, only a few have been complete failures; getting the game home has been a laborious and painful process or the game has been mechanically almost useless despite its production value. Less than a third of these games remain in my collection. However, they have received multiple playthroughs. Part of the reason for disappointment is surely the change in my own preferences while waiting for the game, as delivery times change from months to years. On the other hand, the reason may also lie in bad choices, but in many cases, I have succumbed to supporting the campaign with a FOMO ticket, riding the hype train.

So how to proceed then? The shelves are full, the square footage is running out, and games continue to evolve as the hobby grows, while we live in the golden age of board gaming. At the same time, our taste develops and we keep finished games on the shelves. However, the saying "there's something for everyone" still holds true for board games, and every game will likely find a home somewhere. The same applies to all those impulse purchases made in the FOMO and early adopter frenzy that didn't end up belonging on our shelves, even though we thought so in the consumerist frenzy. Board games are perfect for reselling, as long as we take care of them. At the same time, financing our hobby becomes much easier when we put games into circulation and don't accumulate a collection beyond our needs.

The internet offers many opportunities to circulate games, but visibility and accessibility are what they are. Haggling, making deals, packing games, and mailing them, all come at a high price. If selling privately on forums and marketplaces doesn't appeal to us or if deals don't come through, there is another solution.

I had been waiting for someone to take the first step in selling used board games for a long time. The practice has been familiar in the video game world: a company takes responsibility for sales, and the individual can easily get rid of their game. There are often claims that companies exploit the sale of used games: price tags are high, and trade-in values are minimal in comparison. This is not entirely true. Of course, trade-in values are lower: the company has to pay rent, salaries, and other expenses, and take the risk that the purchase won't sell - shelf space is not free for companies either. At the same time, the company reaches a lot more buyers than an individual. That means more opportunities to find new homes for games and greater chances that they will continue to be played. The selection improves even further, and players' opportunities to find rarer games at reasonable prices increase.

If I can get one-third of the price back myself, I am very happy, as I am only giving the game forward for compensation. The more I have played the game, the better the deal is for me. The compensation received can also be seen as a discount on the next game purchase. It is nicer to pay less for a new game. At the same time, I am supporting my local board game store, which will surely do everything to ensure that the deal is as fair as possible for both parties. If I can give up three games and buy a new game without paying a single euro in between, I think I have taken a step in the right direction: I get new playable material for myself and offer new gaming opportunities to others. At the same time, I have fine-tuned my shelf space to better suit my current taste. Although I have halved my collection in a year, my shame list still includes nearly twenty games. There is still work to be done, but there is already light at the end of the tunnel. And it's not the headlight of the hype train.

Finally, a little thought we talked about just now at the gaming table: even if I own a hundred games, I still won't have time to play them all even three times a year. If it's a game I really like and play less than three times a year, how could I ever learn its secrets and understand its true gameplay value? So take a moment, look at your shelf, and think: do you own games that you could actually give up? Thank you for your time.

Poromagia's selection of used board games has just had its first permanent price reduction. Check out the games here. You can get more space on your shelf by crediting your used board games with the code LAUDANTAKAA04 on your credit list. For all credits accepted and delivered in April, you will receive 10 extra porocredits for your used board games (once per customer)! Instructions can be found here.

Next time, we will have an interview with Pete McPherson (Tiny Towns, Wormholes, Fit to Print). What would you like to ask Pete?

Send your questions by email to by April 23rd, and I will select the ten best questions to include. You will receive 5 poro credits per question asked.

Tapio Laudan Takaa