One More Silly Thing About the Jones Theory…

 Chris and Cherilyn from and The State of Games podcast had this great need to be just like me and talk about the Jones Theory on their last podcast (and actually mentioned me and my prototype, Acute Care, quite a bit).  And while I was listening to them, one other flaw with the Jones Theory occurred to me…

So, once again quickly, the Jones Theory basically says that you sort of think about games in your collection as they fit into different “buckets”, which each relate to some particular itch that you want to get scratched by playing games.  So maybe it’s about a particular theme, a mechanic, or a specific play experience.  And then within each bucket, you basically pick the one game you like best to keep (and will theoretically always play in preference to the others) and eliminate the rest.

The thing, then, is what if you have a bucket with just one game in it, but it sucks

Chris and Cherilyn, for example, were talking about Test of Fire: Bull Run 1861 in their conversation.  The game didn’t do much for them, and it didn’t sound like they really ever cared to play it again.  But Chris doesn’t have many “war” games, and no other Civil War games at all.  But according to the Jones Theory, since there’s no game to otherwise scratch that itch, he should keep it.  And that’s just stupid.

How about this; I’m going to propose the Norwood Theory on managing your game collection!  Here it is…

Keep games that you want to keep, and get rid of those that you don’t.

Wow.  Words of wisdom for the ages, right?



  1. I like your theory Chris, but I’m mostly posting to recommend a different light wargame to Chris and Cherilyn – 1812: The Invasion of Canada. Chris (not this Chris, Chris K), next time you think you might head out to Hypermind, or the next time there’s a shindig at Tom’s, remind me and I’ll throw my copy in for you to test-drive.

  2. Kristian

    Then again, that’s not really what the Jones theory says either 🙂

    I recommend a quick listen to On Board Games episode 84, where Cody and John are resurrected to talk about just that. Everybody is talking about the Jones theory nowadays, but they seem to forget that the intention always was that you should keep games you enjoy, and rid yourself of the dust collectors.

    I don’t think I know anybody who buys a game just to have one for every category and mechanic.

  3. I like the Norton Theory, only keep the games Norwood doesn’t own because you can play his games.
    Seriously, I also like the Norwood Theory. Why get rid of games you like simply because you have others of the same type that you also like? Ok, you may like one a little bit better than the others. Just rotate for goodness sake. Besides, no two games are exactly alike. I get a different experience from every game. Shoot, I get different experiences FROM THE SAME GAME.
    I see why people like the Jones Theory. Especially if you have 400+ games and need to get rid of some for some reason.
    But for me, I’m a Norwood Theory gamer.

  4. Chris Norwood

    No, I think that there’s some revisionist history going on with the Jones Theory. I listened to OBG Ep 84 (in fact, after I heard it, I re-recorded episode 3 of my podcast to “respond” to it a little bit), and it seems to me that Cody and John are backing off a little bit on how “strict” they used to invoke it. I’m calling it the “kinder, gentler” Jones Theory.

    And I’ll grant that the “intention” was to keep games you enjoy and get rid of the dust collectors, but the application of the “Jones Theory” was the whole buckets and getting rid of similar games thing.  The Norwood Theory is exactly meeting that same intention, without laying some arbitrary construct on top of it.

    But, of course, most of this whole tirade and discussion is for fun anyway, because people can do whatever the heck they want with their game collections.

  5. Chris Norwood

    Yes!  A disciple!!!

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