When Games Have a Monopoly on Shelf Space

I love games, but my wife, Mandy, hates the clutter. The other day, I spent a half-hour rearranging the shelves to find room for a recent addition to my board game collection. Over the years, I have accumulated almost 150 games, several of which are still shamefully unopened. The only downside to my collection is the space that it fills. I have piles of games in, on top of, and around the heavy wooden shelves we use to store them.

I love the fact that I have a game for everyone. Do you like interpreting art? Let’s try Dixit. Want to play giant monster beat-em-up games with our children? King of Tokyo. Are you a die-hard science fiction fanatic? Let’s play Terraforming Mars. Do you prefer tactical games with amazing miniatures and have a couple hours to kill? It’s time to break out Scythe.

As a member of the Games team at The New York Times, I put a high value on making sure everyone is included in the fun.

The Japanese word “tsundoku” refers to acquiring books without reading them. I’ve often wondered if there is an equivalent term for acquired but unplayed board games. My wife isn’t so much concerned about their cost — and my latest purchase, Frosthaven, cost $145 — as she enjoys playing them as much as I do. She just hates the chaos. When I get Frosthaven, my newest legacy game (legacy means that the game permanently changes every time you play), I’ll have to make more room for it on a tsundoku shelf.

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