Board Game Addiction: Why You Have It And What To Do About It

You Have A Board Game Addiction. It's A Problem.

Board game collections: we're as proud of them as we are of our own kids.

Board game collections: we're as proud of them as we are of our own kids.

In your quest to have a complete collection of board games, you are on a constant search for the newest tabletop trends, for the obscure, the out of print, and the best from overseas. But why do you have to have them all? Isn’t it good enough to have a handful of favorites to meet your various board gaming needs? Really, who had the time and money to own and play all the games? And you’d need Mister Burns’ mansion to have enough space to hold them all.

Even so, when the next new game comes out, you have no choice but to do what every avid tabletop player does. You scour the internet and FLGS until you find it! What a relief! You haven’t been this excited since, well, last week. When you got the other must-have game. And a week before that you had gone on a bit of a spree and bought four games. But now you are good. You can resist another purchase for a while. Or can you?

You started this hobby for the joy of gathering with friends, families, acquaintances, etc. and sharing some laughs. You suffered through Monopoly and Sorry! as a kid because it wasn’t about the game. Sure you loved to kick your cousin’s ass at Monopoly, but it wasn’t just that. It was the hours of jokes, teasing, and fun with another person.

This is no game of  Monopoly .

This is no game of Monopoly.

Then you were exposed to your first Eurostyle game and learned that games can be more than just rolling the dice. Maybe it was Ticket to Ride or Catan that started you down the path. THIS! This is what you’ve been missing. Now it isn’t just about the other people. It’s the game that’s fun! If these are fun, let’s check out some other games. Power Grid! Carcassone! Castles of Burgandy!

And there are other types of games! What is this “Dominion”. Where’s the board? Where are the dice? It doesn’t matter! It’s amazing!! Maybe you’ll even try some of the cooperative games you keep hearing about. You try Pandemic… and, even though you don't have opponents to crush, you and your team of friends do manage to save the world from deadly diseases. 

The passion accelerates. Friends who roll their eyes at your new hobby have taken a backburner to your new obsession. You’ve joined the Facebook groups, followed the Instagram and Twitter accounts. You can relate to Wesley Crusher, I mean, Wil Wheaton on a new level. You could pretty much join his group of friends. You’re the same type of cool, after all. You just want to absorb ALL THE GAMES! Mage Knight? Come at me bro! There’s nothing we can’t handle! (Or so you thought. But, damn. That one is intense.) You’ve learned to balance supporting your FLGS with supporting your dwindling bank account by bargain shopping Amazon. You do what it takes. Screw Pokémon. Board games! You’ve gotta have them all!

Symptoms of Board Game Addiction:

Withdrawal When Going too Long without a Tabletop Session

You haven't played Secret Hitler in a few days. You're home alone. You need at least five people to play, but you could just assume all of the roles and play against yourself, right? When your spouse comes home and catches you accusing yourself of being a fascist, it might be a sign to seek help.

Irritability When Forced to do Non-Gaming Activities Such as Work, Chores or Even Television

Your boss asked you to file some papers, you screamed "I'm not the one with a problem, you're the ones with the problem!" As you packed your box and left, you couldn't help but look at the brightside of unemployment: more time to play board games.

Inability to Stop Thinking about Board Games

Your spouse got a promotion at work. Your kid got an A+ on a math test. You were thinking about optimum strategies for winning at Catan.

Your Bookshelves no Longer Hold Books

Book burning is usually reserved for totalitarian and puritanical societies. You do it to make room for the newest Dominion expansion. You tell yourself that reading cards still counts as reading. You are one closet shelf away from resorting to floor space and becoming a full-on hoarder.

Depleted Bank Account due to Excessive Spending on Board Games

Money to pay the bills? You mean that stuff that buys more board games? I'll play my new copy of Scythe by candlelight, thank you very much!

Involuntary Dice Rolling

What? It's not neurotic behavior. Just because there isn't a game going on doesn't mean I can't pretend there is. Two words: fidget spinners.

Social Withdrawal from Friends who are not into Tabletop

Sheena wanted to go to the park. The sun is so overrated. Let's play Splendor!

Weight Gain

Excessive sedentary activity and heavy food and beverage consumption never did anyone's waistline a favor. 

Causes of Board Game Addiction:

You’re A Completionist

Once you realize there are different categories of games, it somehow unlocks your dormant collector gene. Before you know it, you need to own all the games. As popularity in Tabletop gaming has taken off, this is a task that has become more and more unrealistic. A person can’t own all the books or movies, and we certainly can’t own all the games.

Kid doesn't share the same love of board games as her parents? Better buy all the kid games until you find one she likes!

Kid doesn't share the same love of board games as her parents? Better buy all the kid games until you find one she likes!


The fear of missing out. That’s only a millennial thing. And you’re not a millennial. (Or maybe you are. Or is it Xinneal?) Surely you don't suffer from this. Although, it is true. You don’t want to miss out on any of the games. The next box you open could be your new favorite!!

Social Media Influence

Yes, your steadily decreasing vacation fund begs you to lay off the tabletop purchases. (Hush, little fund. Iceland isn’t going anywhere.) Yet, there is something so satisfying about opening your newest acquire, camera in hand, ready to post it online for all your followers to enjoy, maybe even “like”, or make a comment. Sure, you’re spending the money on a game. But every “like” you get from posting about it gives you an extra little dose of happy endorphins. It’s basically like therapy.

Support For The Arts

The games coming out now are just so pretty! Genuine artists pour out their souls to make the most beautiful games they can. It’s not big, faceless corporations reskinning cardboard into something “new”. It’s you and me out there. It’s local Joes out there creating these magnificent new games, coming up with an idea and turning that idea into reality. Reality with amazing artwork. Of course you’re going to buy the game to support those artists!

Even without filters,   Sagrada   is a work of art.

Even without filters, Sagrada is a work of art.

You're A Shopaholic

You just love to click “buy”. You’ve almost bought all of Amazon. They make it so easy. Just submit the order and two days later you get that wonderful brown box in the mail. It’s like it’s your birthday every week. And there’s always a bit of a surprise. The game that online looked huge turned out to be almost purse sized. (Jaipur, anyone? I mean, I know it’s most just a deck of cards, but it just looked so much bigger in the pictures.) You love walking into your local game store. Breathe in that wonderful smell of cardboard and plastic. Chat with the employees (who are basically your new friends at this point). They know about all the best games. Shopping is FUN! Games are FUN! It’s just the best!

Impulsive Behavior

Oops. The intention was just to do a little window shopping. On the bright side, you now have three new games to play!

It Could Go Out Of Print

If you miss out on it now, it could be gone forever. GET IT!!

Do you really want to miss out on all of these guys? Get the game. NOW! There may never be another opportunity for a  Mario -themed game.

Do you really want to miss out on all of these guys? Get the game. NOW! There may never be another opportunity for a Mario-themed game.

Now That You've Accepted That You're Addicted To Buying Board Games, What Can You Do About It?

Options are available to tourniquet your bleeding wallet. Talk to your tabletop friends and discuss trading or borrowing games. You probably play most of your games together anyway. And we all know that your new and exciting game is only new and exciting until you get your next one. (Speaking of which, have you checked the mail today?) Visit your local library. Some offer board games you can check out for free. Breweries and restaurants are jumping on the tabletop trend and keeping a few games on hand, even hosting board game nights. A few lucky bastards even manage to find some insanely great buys at thrift shops. (Seriously. Battlestar Galactica for $.54???? Dude. That was a steal!) Check your local game store. Some offer rentals or games to play for free in the store.

And then the owner said, "You can play all the games here in the store for  free ." 

And then the owner said, "You can play all the games here in the store for free." 

But that’s not an option for everyone. And you won’t find all the games via those routes. So, here’s what happens: we hear about a cool game, and we buy it. Why? Because we are board game addicts!

This article was written by May Begamer, who is super excited to play the six new games that arrived during the writing of this piece.

Why do you buy? Have you discovered any other options to obtaining/playing games for cheap/free? What were your Gateway Games? Let us know in the comments below! And be sure to check out our articles on The 10 People Who Ruin Game Night and why There Are No Spouses in Board Games