The Epicurean

Posted on Dec 5 2012 by pomomojo in Backgammon, Chess, Poker

In another blog post I discussed the characteristics of “The Eclectic.” In the world of board game collecting, the Eclectic would be someone who focuses their collecting by not focusing much at all. In other words, the goal of the Eclectic is to gather together as many different games as possible and to take particular joy in those games that are very unusual either in their gameplay or aesthetics. Today I’d like to add a second category of collector – The Epicurean.

The basic definition of “epicurean” is the delight in sensual pleasures and luxury. How does this apply to board game collecting? The Epicurean collector, by my definition, would be one who takes great pride and pleasure in having the best possible gaming experience that money can buy. An Epicurean might focus on a single game or on several games, but for the Epicurean it is important to make each gaming experience as enjoyable and attractive as possible.

A good example is the game of Poker. Of course one can play a friendly game of Poker with a cheap deck of cards and plastic chips while sitting around your dining table. The Epicurean Poker player will seek to upgrade each of these features. The Epicurean might seek out a Poker set with very decorative or durable cards that won’t show wear and are easy to shuffle. The dealer button will be made of leather and blind buttons will be included as well. A special table will probably be purchased and added to the Poker room with authentic green felt to replicate the top casino tables. Most important, though, are the chips. Players handle these almost as much as the cards and there’s a huge difference between a set of plastic chips and heavy, clay chips. Once the top versions of all these components are acquired, the Epicurean can extend their hobby by using a Poker theme to decorate the room, adding overhead lighting, or picking out the ideal menu. The true fanatic might even hire a dealer for the night!

An Epicurean is less interested in design and history than other collectors. If a beautiful leather Backgammon set has inferior dice, the Epicurean will have no qualms about replacing them with precision dice whereas other collectors might see this breaking up of the original set as anathema. If the Epicurean finds the perfect Chess board with less than stellar pieces, he will seek out better pieces. The goal is clear throughout – the best of everything.

Some might see this all as unnecessary and showing off, but for most Epicureans it is done as much to make his guests happy as it is to make any sort of statement. They don’t spend money just to spend the money, but, rather, to improve their limited leisure time. Ultimately, there is at least some of this in us all. Most games could be played for little or no money, but most of us are willing to spend more to provide a richer experience that goes beyond just the basics.

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