Tuesday, September 29, 2009

1.13: What is this Gaming Thing? Part 4 - The Cost of Gaming

Ah-ha, I lied!  You thought the topic was going to be "Where did I go wrong?"  Well, after writing that up, I felt it'd probably be better nearer the end of this series.  That's right, it's done, and you can't read it.  Neener -neener.  This also means that sometime in the future I'm actually ahead of schedule.  Just not right now. 

This is part 4 of the ongoing series, "What is this gaming thing?"  Click here for parts One, Two, and Three.

Gaming is my primary hobby.  Some people go skiing, skating, skydiving.  Some people watch sports, buy tickets to games, buy their team's jerseys.  Obviously a good portion of my "entertainment" budget goes into purchasing boardgames and related accessories, though there isn't anything as silly as boardgamer clothing (ahem).  I also have a celebrity toenail clipping collection, but the cost of that hobby is negligible (before people start wondering, that's totally made up).

So what does this hobby cost?  That, of course, is going to vary with your tastes--tthe cost of card games can be as low as $10, but the majority are probably in the $18-20 range.  The average boardgame is probably in the $35-50 range, but can be higher for some of the really big games, such as Descent or Twilight Imperium.  For reference, these two games come in boxes that are about 18 inches wide, three feet long, and six inches deep.  Gauge that with your hands.  Yeah, big.

That seems expensive, but is it really?  As far as entertainment goes, gaming is actually pretty affordable.  Let's take some loose averages and figure this out.

"Let's go see a movie."  Sorry, I have to use something I'm familiar with--I could have gone with Bowling or competitive pie-making, but I'm not familiar with the cost of those activities.  Anyway, cost of a movie, around $9 out here for a matinee.  Since Jackie and I usually game with another couple, let's look at a family of four going to a movie--that comes out to $36 for four people to attend a matinee, about 90 minutes of entertainment, and that's without popcorn or drinks.  I'll let you figure that out for yourself; don't try lying, I used to work at a theater, and watched as the concession prices raised a quarter, fifty-cents or more every year.  One trip to the movies with no snacks, 90 minutes of entertainment, about $9 a person. 

Now, gaming.  An average big box game, no, instead let's use Small World or Ticket to Ride, both excellent quality games with gorgeous components, and a slightly higher than average cost.  Both of these games support play for 2-5 players, take around 90 minutes to play, and cost $45 retail.  When Jackie and I play, we usually have another couple playing with us, so we'll divide this cost by four.  This comes out to 90 minutes of entertainment for $11.25 each.  But that's more!  But, when you're done playing a game, you can set it back up and play again.  As often as you want.  Once you've purchased the game, there is no additional cost to playing that game.  Even if you threw the game on a shelf after the first play, it can always be pulled down months later, and each time you play it you reduce the cost of each hour of play per person.

Additionally, and one of the key benefits of playing boardgames, is that it's a social activity; friendly competition, problem solving for a little self-challenge, and a forum for interacting with your friends--and if you're hanging out with the guys and have the desire to beat the feces out of each other, there are games that fit that bill also.


Well, that's it for this segment, come back in the future when the topic will be...something else.  I've also considered covering types of games; I'll probably start this off with either Dexterity games or Party games, so expect these topics to come up soon.  If anyone has any questions or suggestions, especially suggestions for further topics, by all means post a comment here.  I can read your mind, but my mother taught me that it's rude, so I don't do it often.

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