Trawl the haul (Topic Discussion) Games News

Posted on 16 Aug 2022

It has been a long-standing tradition in the board game hobby to show off your lovely collection to others. People love to post pictures of their board game shelves. This is really no surprise. People are proud of their sport. Some games in your collection will be rare, they may be out of print, maybe you have games signed by a designer or you just love the latest and greatest. In a similar vein there are so-called “haul photos” that show games you managed to get your hands on at a convention. In this article, I want to look at the latter in more detail.

I very well understand the enthusiasm of people after attending a convention. Many of us like to be around other like-minded people. We like to share our hobbies with others. Conventions often allow us to meet friends we wouldn’t be able to see otherwise. There are a lot of positive emotions and we are all on a high.

I am no different. i loved going UK Games Expo this year. It’s great to see people I really only know through social media. It was great talking to the publishers and trying out their latest games. I’ve come to a real high and am really looking forward to going again next year.

So it’s no surprise when people post pictures of thieves and what they are doing. It’s also no surprise that people post pictures of games and other items they found at the convention. People are excited and want to share their experiences. They are happy with the games they have got and want to share their enthusiasm with others.

tote photos

It’s no surprise that people put all the games, promos, minis, books and other bits and pieces they bought at the event in one big pile and take a picture of it too. Of course in today’s connected world these pictures are shared on social media. It’s a way to share excitement and joy.

How you feel about these so-called “haul photos” will of course depend. I totally understand that some people don’t like them. To them, they add “fear of missing out”. However, I think a lot of people love looking at these tote photos. It’s like looking at other photos of the event they were unable to attend. Tote photos and all other photos taken during a show allow others to feel what it was like and share, at least a small amount, in the joy and excitement that everyone present there felt.

Personally, I don’t mind when people want to show off everything they have and that they worked hard to be able to afford. As we all know, our hobby is not cheap. So if someone was able to get a deal or finally save up for that mega game they’ve long wanted, it makes sense that they would share this feeling of joy with others by posting a tote photo. want to share.

Free Games

However, there are other types of tote photos – those from reviewers, previewers, and other board game press people. I’m one of them and now I’m in the lucky position that publishers at board game conventions are often happy to give me a free copy or two of a game.

A shrink-wrapped copy of Sagrada on top of the decorum

Now, before anyone complains, let me point out that “free” in this context means that I didn’t pay any money for the game. It was given to me without paying over the counter. Of course, the game I was given isn’t really free to me. By accepting a review copy, I basically promise that I will play the game and then write about it in due course and within a reasonable amount of time. For other press people, it might be a promise to make a video about it or talk about it in your podcast, but the principle is the same. This is an unwritten contract, but I take it very seriously. That’s why I pay for the game with my own time and effort. This is a one-way payment in principle.

However, as a board game reviewer, it’s a lot easier for me to come away from a convention with a pile of games than it is for someone who needs to pull out their credit card and tap a machine to pay. . those games. I basically get the game as credit and I pay it back later as my review and time. Others will have to pay for it in advance, all at once. (I understand paying by credit card means you can spread the cost, but you get what I mean.)


That’s why I’m sharing a picture of my board game on social media, a very different thing than sharing my own picture of someone else’s game for which they had to pay in hard cash (or credit card). So I think at least I need to be transparent about my race. I need to clarify that the photo shows many games or other items that were given to me “free”, in the sense I mentioned above. If I were to say, for example, half the game review copies in the photo were, I think that’s fair.

I know some of you somehow don’t care if I declare how many game review copies there are. You’re just curious to see what games I found. You want to see if any of them are for you. You also get a brief preview of the reviews you might see in the coming weeks or months.

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However, I also know that some people feel real pressure when they see the pile of games in the photo. It’s a feeling of being lost again. Seeing the latest games near someone they want even more. I don’t want to add to that pressure. That’s why I don’t share my board games on social media.

one game at a time

Instead what you might have seen me doing is that whenever I find pictures of one or two sports, books or other hobby-related items, I post them. I always say whether I paid for them myself or were given review copies. This eases the pressure of FOMO. Plus, it’s also a more personal way of thanking the publisher for trusting me with a “free” copy of their game.

A game about filling balloons as a team without talking
A game about filling balloons as a team without talking

It also allows the publisher to share my photos with their followers. Instead of sharing a picture of a stack of games from other publishers, they’ve been able to re-share my post. I think this is a great way to do it.

What do you think?

I know that my article does not cover the topic of tote photos completely. There’s a lot to discuss here. Maybe I’ll do it in another post. In the meantime, I’d love to hear what you think. Do you like to see tote photos? Maybe you post them yourself? Do you pay for games or are you lucky enough to get reviews or media copies? Do you feel pressure when you see pictures of huge piles of board games? Please share your thoughts and experiences in the comments below.

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