Deciding on Buying a Game – Crystal Palace

One of the things about us gamers are that, yes I know it may sound strange to you, we all like to buy games.

Some much more than others!  But even those who are successful in curbing their game buying (or acquiring them in some other manner) still like to buy them. I’m sure they do get at least a little bit of a thrill when they pick up a new game, undo the shrinkwrap, open it (and sniff that new game freshness!!!!), and start punching counters.

I’ve gone through long periods where I’ve successfully fought that urge, and then some periods like recently where I totally succumbed.

Something I’ve never really thought deeply about, though, is how we make these game-buying decisions. It’s not always just a basic “oh, that game looks cool” or “I’ve played this before and want it in my collection” thought process.

Sometimes it’s back and forth like a point in a Bianca Andreescu tennis match (and welcome to all of you who came here after Googling her name! Stay for the boardgame content, please! We have cookies.)

I recently received a newsletter email from Capstone Games, and in it was mentioned a new game coming out in November called Crystal Palace.


It’s a game designed by Carsten Lauber about the World’s Fair in 1851 London.

And it sounded kind of intriguing. Dice placement as workers to do various things, dice that you don’t roll but instead choose what face they have, but you have to pay for each pip on the dice so you have decisions to make!

I wasn’t quite sure from the description, but then I saw that Heavy Cardboard had done a playthrough of this back in August.

I can blame Edward and company for a lot, so why not one more?

I watched a fair bit of it, and then watched the discussion afterward.

Edward’s teach made this sound amazing! I actually almost went to Capstone’s site and bought it right there. It was actually in my cart.

But then cooler heads prevailed and I thought “I should watch more of this first, see how it works in action.”

As the game wore on, as I saw Jess’ reaction to certain actions that screwed her over, and saw how easy it can be to do that in this game (intentionally, unintentionally, or whatever), I started getting second thoughts.

Then, after watching the discussion, Jess hit on exactly what the issue with the game would be, for me but also especially for my game group.

A lot of the “take that” elements in the game almost seem like a social deduction game, in the sense that you have to try and figure out what your opponents are planning and make sure that what they’re planning won’t mess you up for the entire game. If they will, you have to make sure you get there first (which will, in turn, mess them up possibly)

Games where you can screw yourself in the first turn are fine. Games where you can be screwed by somebody else in the first turn…not so much. Especially for a 2-3 hour game.

After watching the video, I checked with a friend of mine from our group, asking if he was going to be getting it (something I should do anyway because if he is getting a game, I really don’t need to get it myself unless it’s something I will play with others). He said he might be, and I told him that I really wanted to play it.

That’s where things like cost and the like come into the picture.

It looks like an amazing game!

But it’s $60 US on pre-order right now. The Canadian exchange rate sucks ass. You’re looking at $80-90 for this game (though thankfully I have a box in the States, so I do qualify for the free shipping).

That’s a lot for a game that my game group is very possibly not going to like. (the entire panel seemed to agree that you really have to be aware of who you’re playing this game with).

I do have some people there who really like heavy games, but I’m not sure if this level of “take that” would be acceptable to them or not.

It might get played once, just to try it? Would it get played more than that?

I’m not sure.

And for $80-90, is that a bet I can make?

It would make a beautiful addition to the collection.

But you have to decide if it’s really worth it if it’s not going to get played much.

So in the span of 3 hours or so, I went from “yeah maybe” to “GET IT NOW!!!!” to “oh, wait, uhhhh….I’d better think about this” and finally to “nah, at least not yet.”

Sorry, Capstone Games. I really want this game to do well for you. I really hope my friend gets it so I can try it.

I hope it’s a smashing success.

But I can’t justify it for myself.

What is your process for thinking about buying a game? Do you buy them on impulse at all?

I have done it a few times, but I’ve always regretted it. I have to do at least a little bit of research first.

Of course, that research might take all of 15 minutes, but it’s there.

I’d love to know what you think in the comments below.

(and maybe my next opinion post might be inspired by somebody else other than Edward?)

8 Comments on “Deciding on Buying a Game – Crystal Palace

  1. I used to be terrible. Especially with Kickstarter. See a game and buy it!!! Now that I’m out of space I’m much more considered in my approach. I won’t buy a game unless I at least watch someone else play it.

    Then I’ll spend more than a bit of time reading reviews, and opinions.

    I still buy a lot, but I’m also in the habit of selling a lot as well. My habit has changed from being a collector to being a curator.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Definitely good ideas there, and I’m glad you’ve mellowed!

      I have for the same reason: space. Now that I have a bunch of games coming, I can clear out some that are more dead weight.

      And no more spur-of-the-moment bargain bin buys from web sites (I’ve been burned too many times on those…oh, that’s why this is 75% off!”)


  2. Very thoughtful post on a very important topic!
    I try to buy very mindfully. This year, I have bought one game, last year, two (and I got two more as gifts). But I’m not all that excited about buying and unboxing and learning new rules – I just like playing the game and talking about it, and that works just as well (or even better) with a game my friends and I already know.
    If you want a detailed account of my stance, there’s an old blog post of mine:

    Liked by 1 person

    • I know that this post kind of is the opposite of my birthday post. LOL But yeah, sometimes deciding is tough. I don’t think I could get down to your level (1-2 a year? Harumph!), but it’s admirable that you can.

      I’ll check that post out (I already may have).

      And thank you for passing this one along! I really appreciate it.

      Liked by 1 person

      • If I played games more often, maybe I would also buy more of them 😉
        And a lot of the games I play are on the longer side, so one game already constitutes the entirety of game night. I would guess that therefore the games that I buy are fewer than other people’s, but on average more expensive.

        Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks for stopping by, Carsten! I do wish you the very best with this game. I hope it’s a smash.

      I may get it at some point, but I think I’m going to need to play it first before I can make a final decision.


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