LiQD is a new company dedicated to helping fellow board gamers fundamentally change the way they feel about, manage, and interact with their game collections.
But why did we decide to build LiQD? It started with me.
After discovering hobby board games by stumbling across Board Games with Scott and Tom Vasel’s Dice Tower videos on YouTube about 11 years ago, I am still to this day drawn to and amazed by the endless ingenuity, imagination, artisanship, and thoughtful aesthetic and mechanical design of modern board games.
But here’s the thing. My thirst for discovering all our hobby has to offer over the years has left me with:
· • An overgrown collection that has burst its seams.
· • No good way to get it back under control.
This is the problem that I
want need to solve.
So, after years of frustration and some not-so-subtle hints / threats from my wife, I decided to look at creating a solution. I talked to Martin, and I talked to Al. Martin is my fellow co-founder of our software consulting firm. Al is my gaming buddy and also a software engineer. He was also facing similar challenges with his game collection.
LiQD was born.
First, we started with a prototype to try to address Al’s and my love / hate relationships with our game collections. After that we did several demos with fellow gamers around the country to get feedback on and early validation of our idea. Then we ran some polls in Board Game Geek and started building.
1 1. A lot of us gamers feel we own too many games
We ran a poll on Board Game Geek to see how other gamers felt about the number of games they owned (poll). A majority (58%) of the 700 odd respondents (at the time of this writing) felt that they own too many games – irrespective of how many games were in their collections. I know this poll is far from scientific, but it does echo how Al and I feel about our game collections. And, while it’s hard to say how representative this poll is of all hobby board gamers, 58% was higher than we had expected. If any of these respondents are like Al and me, there are many gamers who own a lot of games that aren’t being played.
1 2. Most gamers only love a fraction of the games in their collections
We ran a second poll on Board Game Geek to see if Al and I were outliers with respect to the relatively small percentage of games in our collections that we truly love – between 15-20% (poll). We were surprised to find that 70% of the respondents said they love less than 50% of the games they own, and half of the respondents said they love less than 25% of the games they own. It appears Al and I are far from outliers.
We all buy games for different reasons: getting caught up in hype and the fear of missing out (FOMO), a reviewer’s enthusiasm and recommendation, a good deal, watching a play through, etc. Tastes are subjective, enthusiasm is infectious, and expectations are typically over-inflated. In my opinion, it’s no wonder that so many gamers love so few of the games they own.
The rest of the games in their collections are games that are just not for them. One thing is true, however. While not every game is for everyone, every game is for someone.
These first two reasons point out that there is an opportunity here to get the games that we own that aren’t right for us to fellow gamers for whom they are.
1 3. The industry continues to accelerate and encourage ever-new hotness, fueling FOMO
The board game industry continues to grow, and the variety of games produced and level of innovation is remarkable. There are thousands of new releases each year, and this number continues to rise -– along with retail prices. Each year, the quality of board game design, artwork, and components improves and the volume of media coverage, reviews, and hype increases. The excitement, allure, and fear of missing out on all of the amazing new experiences grows as well. So, it’s easy to get caught up in the frenzy and continue to add new games to our shelves that are already overflowing, because…
1 4. There’s no efficient way to regularly downsize, cull, and curate our collections
There are a variety of existing methods to move games out of our collections: Ebay, Facebook Sell Groups, Math Trades, BGG Marketplace and Auctions, local convention flea markets, etc. In my experience however, they all require excessive work and time –- even for a single sale, never mind selling several games at once. In addition, many of these methods suffer from being too fractured or local where the market demand is too small to support the supply or vice versa. I know fellow gamers’ mileage varies on this front. But for me, the work and time required by the existing methods has been too exhausting -- so much so that it has ended up being easier for me to buy a new shelf than to cull 5 games.
So, to summarize - for many of us gamers:
· • Our collections are too big.
· • We only love a fraction of what’s in them.
· • We continue to add new releases to our already overflowing game shelves.
· • There’s no easy and efficient way for us to downsize what we no longer play or love.
These are the reasons we decided to build LiQD. But how does LiQD address them? How does it solve the problem of an overgrown collection that has burst its seams and no good way to get it back under control?
Let’s start with our vision.
In designing our solution, we started with a vision of our ideal collection:
Our ideal collection is a relatively small “infinite” shelf of games (i.e. One Shelf, Thousands of Games). One that would:
· • Be a lean, nimble, and constantly rotating set of games, all of which we love and play often.
o When we’re done with a title, with a click we can get it to a new home where it will see continued play, and with a second click we can replace it with a game we’ve been dying to try – all before our next game night.
· • Contain a more permanent small set of sentimental favorites and/or collectibles that we don’t see culling.
· • Free us from the anxiety of FOMO because we know we can get virtually any game we want at a good price whenever we want it.
So, what are the key features that are necessary to deliver our vision? At a high level, we need a solution that:
· • Allows us to easily and quickly downsize what we own and buy new favorites with a couple of clicks on our phones (something that doesn’t exist today.).
· • Helps us improve the quality of the games we add to our collections and saves us time researching by offering intelligent recommendations.
· • Reduces FOMO and saves us money by increasing game availability (reducing scarcity) and actively leveraging wish lists to find great deals while we sleep.
So, how does our vision address the issues raised above?
1 1. Because downsizing is so easy, regularly culling dozens of games or more becomes a reality. This frees us gamers with larger-than-desired collections to shrink them to a more comfortable size, easing our feelings of owning too many games.
. 2. Having intelligent recommendations saves us time and improves the overall quality of the games we decide to add to our collections, the goal being to have a collection full of games we love.
3 3. The ability to easily and quickly refresh our collection with most any game we want to play when we want to play it while not increasing collection size is the antidote to FOMO.
Overflowing shelves of games that we no longer play will become a thing of the past. We will have the time to acquire, try and play the games we love. All while owning less.
Over the next several posts, we’ll dive into the One Shelf, Thousands of Games concept, what we need to get there, and how LiQD helps make it a reality. Until then, happy gaming!
What are some of the challenges you have with your game collection?
What are your thoughts on the One Shelf, Thousands of Games concept?
What kinds of collection management tools would you find helpful?
Tell us by tweeting us - we're on Twitter as @LiQDBoardGames