As a reviewer, my collection has quite a large turnover. After all, I need to play at least 52 new-to-me games every year, one for each week, to have enough material to write about. I regularly buy new games and I also get a fair amount of review copies. Review copies usually go back to the publisher or are sent to the next reviewer. The games I buy don’t always stay in my collection though. I do regularly prune it and get rid of games that I no longer want to keep. However, some games are evergreens for me. They stay in my collection, because I know I’ll play them at least ever so often.
Many people in the hobby just keep getting new games. They have rows upon rows of Kallaxes for their games. They happily pose in front of them and proudly show off their shelfies. It’s wonderful to see people being so happy about their board game collection, but not everyone can afford to buy new games all the time, without trading or selling other games in their collection.
For me, there are a number of reasons why I get rid of games. Some of it is about getting some money back to spend on new games. Even though I get a fair few free review copies these days and my friends also buy new games that I can play and review, I still buy quite a few myself. My 2022 review article lists how much I spent on games last year – and it’s quite scary. So it’s critical that I sell games I no longer play.
However, there is actually a bigger reason for me to cull my collection and that is space. I have intentionally limited myself to a couple of large shelves above my desk. Sure, sometimes games spill over into other places, like under our bed or in another cupboard. On the whole, though, these two large shelves are as much as I allow myself. I don’t have dozens of Kallaxes, let alone a dedicated games room.
So when I start to run out of space, I donate some games to charity or give them to friends, especially if they were review copies that the publisher didn’t want to be returned. Other games I sell on Board Game Geek Marketplace or eBay, but that still leaves a fair few games in my collection and only some of the remaining games I would consider evergreens.
I think two of the games that are clear evergreen games for me are Wingspan and Quacks of Quedlinburg.
The former we played dozens up dozens of times, even though it hasn’t actually come out in a couple of years now. Even so, I know we’ll definitely play it again at some point, possibly over the holidays. After all, we’ve got two of the expansions that create a great variety in the game. We’re clearly heavily invested in this game, which shows how much we have enjoyed it.
Quacks, on the other hand, is a game that doesn’t come out a lot, but it does get played regularly. We know it so well that setting it up, playing it and putting it away is pretty quick, meaning we can get a game in after dinner and before watching television together. Both are ideal games for people new to the hobby as well and cater for a wide age range. So both will definitely stay in my collection.
Above and Below is another family favourite. It might take a little bit longer to explain, but there aren’t actually too many rules. If people are happy to just start playing and try things out, it’ll all become clear. I think the attraction of Above and Below is the story-telling element. Sure, if you play the game a lot, you will start to remember certain events and know what to choose, but put the game away for a few months and your next game will feel fresh and exciting.
Tapestry is another evergreen in my collection. It scratches quite a different itch. Tapestry is actually quite a weird type of game. I mean, the illustrations on the cards are gorgeous. Andrew Bosley did an amazing job. However, it’s actually quite an abstract engine-building sort of game. There is so much to do and so much to focus on. There are plenty of different civilizations to play with and the tapestry and technology cards are also plentiful. No two games are likely to feel the same, even though every game will feel very familiar at the same time. It takes a fair amount of time to set up and play. It can also take a while to teach, unless you just stick to the basics and get people to just start playing, while you explain more rules as you go along. It’s definitely a game that will come out ever so often.
A game, that’s probably more of a classic than an evergreen as such, is Brass: Birmingham. I absolutely adore this game, after having first played it online. The physical deluxe version of this game is just gorgeous, especially the heavy clay poker chips. I accept that it’s a bit fiddly to set up and might take a little while to explain and for players to get into a rhythm, but after your first game, everything will make sense and you probably can’t wait to play Brass: Birmingham again. It’s really addictive and in that sense certainly an evergreen title. It will come out regularly and is a game that I’m always happy to play.
Clans of Caledonia is the last game on my evergreen list for today. There is a lot of nostalgia linked to this game. It was probably the first heavier game that our daughter really loved playing. It also is, in my view at least, a better version of Terra Mystica, at least because the rules are more closely linked to the theme making the game much easier to learn. I haven’t actually played this game about Scottish clans in quite a while in its physical form at least, so I have decided to play it online. It’s such a great mix between randomness and strategy, as well as player interaction. Just wonderful.
There are a couple more evergreen games in my collection, but I think what I have listed so far is probably enough for this article. I do have a fair few small box games that I know I’ll keep: Mint Tin Mini Skulduggery, Deep Sea Adventure, Town 66, Scout and many others. They all have a special place in my collection and coming in such small boxes, don’t take up a lot of room either.
What About You?
So how about you? What games do you have in your collection that are evergreens? Why will you always keep them? What makes them so special? Are there other games you think are evergreens, that you might want to add to your collection? As always, please share your thoughts in the comments below. It would be great to collect a long list of evergreens together.
Intro Music: Bomber (Sting) by Riot (https://www.
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