A Quick Guide to Cataloging Your Board Game Collection

Collection Strategy Saturday

The first step in successfully curating a board game collection is cataloging the titles that you’ve already acquired.

I started building my board game collection in 2009. The first game in my collection was Smallworld. I was living in the residence hall during my undergraduate studies and I am pretty sure I played that game one to two times every day for the first month I had it.

Since 2009, my collection has grown and shrank as I have purchased and culled games. Right now, it sits at a lean 175 games, not including expansions or the dozens of games that my archive considers “previously owned.” I love having all of my board game collection cataloged in one place. There are so many benefits. Here are just a few:

  • You can create a shareable link to show your friends the games in your collection.
  • There is a lot of information that you can include like logging plays, adding games to your wishlist, adding your personal thoughts, and rating it.
  • There are many mobile and web apps that can be linked with your collection to allow you to do cool things. My personal favorite is Cardboard Butler.
  • Finally, God forbid that you have a disaster in your home, but if you do, having a definitive list of games that were destroyed can save you a massive headache.

I am so glad I started keeping a record of my games when I did. I can’t imagine having to input the 175 games I currently have into a new database. Not only would it take hours, but I probably wouldn’t be able to remember all of the games that I have had in the past and don’t have anymore.

Regardless of whether your collection is just getting started or if you’ve been amassing quite the library, there is no better time then right now to start cataloging your game collection. It might take a bit of work, but I promise you, it is so worthwhile!

Below is a concise guide to using Board Game Geek (BGG) to catalog your growing board game collection:

Step 1: Create a Board Game Geek Account

Board Game Geek, www.boardgamegeek.com, is the number one centralized location for board game-related information. If you don’t already have a user account, the time has come. I’ll be writing a feature guide for Board Game Geek next week, but in the meantime, it’s going to provide you with the easiest and most streamlined way to catalog your collection.

Step 2: Navigate to your “Collection”

The first thing you need to do once you have logged in to your account is to navigate to the collection page. You can do this by clicking on your user name in the upper right of the screen and then selecting “Collection.”

Step 3: Customize Your Columns

Once you’ve navigated to the collection, I recommend that you take a moment to customize the columns that are showing on your catalog screen. To do this, select the “columns” button, a bit to the left of center near the top of your screen. I recommend checking the box for:

  • Title
  • Status
  • Acquisition Date
  • Rating
  • Geek Rating
  • Plays
  • Comments

After you are done, don’t forget to click “done.”

Step 4: Add Game

Here’s the part that you are here for and the reason that we are using BGG in the first place is that it is just so easy. Click the green plus sign “Add a Game” button. Start typing the title and then select the game from the dropdown list below. Make sure the “mark owned?” box is checked and then click “add.”

Step 5: Advanced Data (Optional)

Once the game has been added to your collection, you can click on any of the columns to the right of the title to edit the information, except for the Geek Rating that’s out of our hands. I include this as an optional step for two reasons:

  • First, if you select the “status” box, you have a couple of cool options. One is that you can add whether or not you preordered the game. I use this status to keep track of games I have purchased but not received, namely my Kickstarter games. You can also select the “want to play” option and the filter for this when you are trying to figure out what game to play on game night.
  • Second, the acquisition date allows you to record when/when-ish you picked up a game. I only recently started recording this information and in retrospect, I wish I had a record of this on all my titles. This comes in really handy when it’s time to cull—get rid of some games.

Step 6: Rinse and Repeat

Well, you’ve successfully added your first game, keep going until you’ve cataloged all of your games.


Now that you’ve catalogued your collection. Here’s how you share it with a friend.

  • Go up to the top of the page and click not the “Filters” button.
  • Set the “own” filter to yes
  • If you don’t want to show expansion, set the “exclude” filter to Board Game Expansions.
  • Press “Apply Filters”.
  • Then on the right-hand side of the screen, above the column headers, you will see a hyperlink button that reads “Permalink” click on that and you will see the URL change to include all of your filter preferences. That’s the link you want to share.

If you found this post helpful, share it with someone you know would like it too!


99 Days of Blogging Challenge

I’m trying to get my blogging legs under me, so I’ve taken up the challenge to blog every day until the end of 2020. Just one of the ways I’m keeping my sanity in the midst of the dumpster fire this year has been. If you liked this content and you are interested in following along, sign-up below to suggest topics and vote on content.

If you can’t see the form, click here to sign up

Blogging Schedule

  • Mechanics Monday
  • Trains Tuesday
  • Wired Wednesday
  • Top-20 Thursday
  • Freeform Friday
  • Collection Strategy Saturday
  • What I’ve Been Playing Sunday

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