I hit 100 PNPs recently. I started tracking builds on a spreadsheet back in May 2019 when I got a color printer. A lot of those early “builds” were basic roll-n-writes that I tried and tossed. The number of games I built that have real staying power is much lower than 100. I keep putting off making a Geeklist, but I think that will be the easiest way to stay organized.
I updated my PNP Games List to include the games that have enjoyed the most play and best reflect my current tastes. Card games with medium-sized decks (50 to 100 cards) that have good replay value and can be played in 30 minutes or less are the sweet spot for me right now. I’ve also found I tend to be over a game by about 10 plays, so it’s best to focus on a game, play it until I’m done, and then put it aside. There are always exceptions, of course, I’ve played Wipers Salient over 30 times, but generally around the 10th play mark I find I’ve had my fill and I won’t necessarily have a desire to return to it.
Based on this, I think PNP is the only way to eliminate acquisition stress and balance the realities of being a solo gamer with my brain’s need to play new things, but to also only own things I actually “use”. Most PNPs cost $2-3 to build, so if I build a game and don’t like it or only feel the urge to play a few times it’s no big deal, and the footprint is small so keeping it in storage until I can trade it or give it away doesn’t bother me. If I buy a retail game for $30 I feel like I have to get a certain amount of plays out of it and it stresses me out. I’ve come to view retail games as “a thing I will eventually need to sell to recoup my investment and free up space in the closet” so that aspect is always hanging over my head.
I have found I sometimes have an urge to build even when I’m not necessarily interested in playing. I don’t think building for the sake of building is necessarily a problem, it is comforting for me to do repetitive motions with my hands which is why I actually like things like dishwashing, but I’ve tried to be somewhat selective and embark on builds that have a reasonable chance of being played. I’ve also come to understand the urge to compulsively build usually means there’s an energy imbalance and I need to make sure I’m writing, exercising, playing games (board or video), tinkering, etc.–basically, just make sure I’m engaging in healthy hobbies and activities that help disperse that agitated/anxious mental energy that cyclically occurs.