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  • Writer's pictureJW

End Times 2021: The Art of Shopping

I like to play games that are new to me. I am not a chess player who gets his kick out of improving himself at a game. I absolutely suck at most games. But I like to suck at a new game every week. I wouldn't call myself an addict, but it will get me high.

As a solo player, joining a board game club isn’t going to help me here. I will have to score the drugs myself. The problem is, we don’t have a local board game store. Of course I could spend 10 euro on train and bus tickets to go to a store in Amsterdam, but they won’t always have what I want. Also, shipping a game is cheaper. So I do all my shopping online. This, dear readers, is a dangerous habit. But, over the years, through much training, I’ve turned it into an art.

Weather Machine
Image source: Weather Machine Kickstarter page

Money Machine

Unfortunately, I am not particularly rich. Some games are beautifully made and look absolutely fantastic to play. But sometimes it’s better not to buy them. For example: I really wanted to buy Weather Machine. Now a pledge would be $130 plus $30 for shipping/VAT, so probably around 140 euro. I considered this for an hour or so and decided against it. I had just made 140 euro in an hour!

Not buying Lacerda games is a great way to make money. Not buying Chip Theory Games could turn you into a millionaire in just a handful of years. My pro tip: consider carefully which games you don’t buy.

Now that I had made money, the time had come to spend it.


Last week I got notified that the Useful Box for Obsession was finally available in stores. It contains corrected cards and tiles, some new promos, but most interesting to me: it adds six new solo opponents plus a dynamic AI to make the solo opponents “smarter”. It’s a service release by an outstanding publisher, and as such just priced at 5 euro. But it’s not something I’ll be able to find in shops in a year or two I guess. So: either buy now, or forget about it.

I was able to find it in an online store, where they add 7 euro for shipping. Which is more than the price of the box, so it doesn’t make sense. It’s much better to order more games and spread out those 7 euro over all of them. One more game would add 3,50 euro to the price of the Useful Box. Two games would even bring it further down, to 2,33 euro. As you can see I am not an impulse buyer but a calculating consumer.

Free Shipping

And there’s more! Not only would a minimum of two more games bring down the added costs to a reasonable amount per game – if I made sure these games would be at least 35 euro each, I’d get free shipping. As any order over 75 euro will be sent for free. Now we’re talking. The Useful Box would suddenly just cost 5 euro like it’s supposed to be. I’d just have to spend 70 euro.

Of course, I’m always prepared for situations like this. I’ve got a huge wishlist on Board Game Geek, so I could start searching the inventory of the online shop and add something I’ve been wanting to buy anyway.

Bummer. They did not sell any of the 51 options on my list (28 games, 23 expansions).

Not ready for defeat just yet, I started browsing their sales section. It's always a good idea to buy something at a discount - that's another way to make your own money. Not much interesting for sale though. So I switched to their new releases section. Not every game will be available forever where I live. Browsing, browsing. Until I had two and could finally place my order.

One of the extra games was 10 euro more expensive than the 35 I wanted to spend, but if I hadn't bought it, the shipping costs would be back at 7 euro. So it was only 3 euro more than I had set out to spend, which isn't too bad.

The Art

Close to the end of the year I’ve added two more games to the shelf of shame. No idea when I’ll play them, as they weren't on my wishlist. But I’ve got my Useful Box! I’ll put the contents in the base game of Obsession - which is also to be found on the shelf of shame. Since, let’s see here, ehm… 2018?

I think I’ve proven to myself by now that I’m a master of shopping. After five years there’s hardly any challenge to be found in it. It will be utterly meaningless to show off my skills in '22. Also, I’ve got my own private library of 50 unplayed games, not counting expansions. I can retire.

But there will still be beauty to be found for me, even without shopping. Because now...

It’s all in the art

It’s all in the art

It’s all in the art

of stopping

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