What if you had to cut your board game collection right back to the essentials? What if you could only keep one of each type of game? How would you split your games and what would make the final list?
The Jones theory is an approach to board gaming where you should never have more than one game that fills a roll in your board game collection. For example if you have Thunderstone as a deck builder, then you don’t also need Star Realms. If you have Lords of Waterdeep as a worker placement game then you should get rid of Stone age. Of course you can keep whichever game you prefer.
I’ve seen multiple ways of creating a list, some base them on complexity, some split them by mechanic, others by style or theme. There are pros and cons for all the different ways. I first heard about the Jones Theory recently when listening to The State of Games podcast episode when they split their games by mechanic and style. Inspired by their idea I decided to have a go.
Obviously the main issue with this method of employing the theory is that it is very forgiving, there are hundreds of mechanics and most games employ multiple. So if one game I’ve got doesn’t make the cut for a set collection game then it may survive as a worker placement. Here I will try to keep to only considering major mechanics or styles and use the ones they used in the State of Games podcast.
For each mechanic I will give the definition as described by BoardGameGeek.com, then give my choice from my own collection and briefly why I’d keep it over all others, my second choice which narrowly missed out on the top spot, and finally a game which I do not own or have not played but think it may be the one I would keep if I did own it. To learn more about each game, click on the links provided. Let’s go: (more…)