148 – FOMO (Fear of Missing Out) – The Family Gamers Podcast

Episode 148: Fear of Missing Out (FOMO)

We all have experiences in life we don’t want to miss. FOMO, or fear of missing out, seems to hit particularly hard when it comes to hot new boardgames. Between Kickstarter and conventions constantly hyped on social media, how can we deal with this irrational response?

What We’ve Been Playing

Life has been really busy, but we’re finally making a bit of time to play games again.

Filler – mostly at 2 players and solo (which feels just like 2 players!)

Best Treehouse Ever: Forest of Fun – another great one from Green Couch Games. We feel it improves on the original without significantly changing it.

Dice Throne – we finally tried a 3-way free-for-all. Not thrilled about the very random “targeting roll”. We discuss why direct-combat games like this don’t seem as frustrating as “take-that” games. Theory: it doesn’t feel as vindictive when the stated goal is to take down your opponents.

Tiny Towns – you know we’re big fans.

Monopoly Junior

Kintsugi – one of our favorites from Button Shy. A perfect restaurant game for 2-3 players.

Gunkimono – seemed more complex than it was. Some area-control, some abstract tile laying, and balancing two different point tracks. Lay down domino-style tiles to create large groups of armies of the same color. Choose whether to score a contiguous section or go up on the “honor track”, which will give you bonus points and ways to permanently claim existing formations.

Yellow piece showing 3 and a red dot

SNAP Review: Shadows in Kyoto

Anitra and Andrew enjoy this strategic game of hidden identities, based on Japanese history.

Pictures and full text available in our SNAP reviews.

SNAP review music is Magellan, provided courtesy of You Bred Raptors?


We go to several conventions and events in our role as podcasters and reviewers, where there’s an expectation that other media types will go to every event. We’ve talked before about con planning and the importance of taking regular breaks to keep from burning out.

Kickstarter and deals

Kickstarter is a big driver of FOMO. You’ve only got a short window of time to commit your money towards a potentially really cool game. Generally speaking, our family tries to be realistic – is this the kind of game our family would really love? If not, let’s set a good example for our children by NOT buying it. We want them to think through how they spend their limited allowance money, and one of the ways they’ll learn that is by seeing us say “no” to our own desires.

Great deals can drive quick decision making, too. We’re still learning to not buy a cool game just because it’s a good deal. (See our stack of Mice & Mystics with all the expansions… we’ve only played about 4 chapters of the original game.)

We will still buy games that are “great deals”, as long as we know what’s going to happen with it – it’s actually more common for us to pick up Barnes & Noble deals as gifts for our friends.

Our focus here is gaming as a family. We hate to hear other gamers say “how can I explain this to my wife?” or “what am I going to say when the credit card bill comes in?” We ourselves try to make good purchasing decisions as a family. But that fear of missing out can be so hard to resist!

Anitra confesses that she’s made the hard decision not to back the Tussie Mussie Kickstarter; in part because “if it’s that awesome, Button Shy will keep it around. I’m not going to miss it.”


Many people post “con haul” pictures (“look at all this stuff I got”), which we find frankly amazing. But we rarely know the story behind the picture. Sometimes it’s a person’s entire gaming budget for the year.

Andrew struggles a lot with convention FOMO. He’s always excited to meet designers and publishers of games he loves (aren’t we all?) Back when he covered video games, he gravitated towards indie games because that gave him the opportunity to actually talk to the designers. Unfortunately, this can lead to running around like a maniac, trying to meet everyone.

Conventions are a great opportunity to meet people and play new games, but don’t let the adrenaline rush of all that fun stuff overpower your common sense. Take time out for self-care, including sleep, food, and showering.

Know your limits, and make a plan ahead of time. Remember that no one can do everything!

Being self-aware is the most important thing here. Set a good example for your kids! You don’t want your kids to be so swayed by FOMO that they make bad decisions.

You can’t give a game a fair shake if you’re only giving it 15 minutes of your time and then running off to the next thing.

FOMO runs contrary to the ethos of boardgaming.


Focus on spending time together! Don’t get your phone out to fill the gap waiting for your turn. Enjoy the moment instead of always looking forward to the next thing.

Our kids can teach us how to be better at this! We’ve found that when our kids find a game they really like, they are all in – even at a convention!

We suggest doing your research before going to a convention – even though this takes time ahead of a convention, it means you’re not making the decisions (“do I want to see this / buy this?”) in the moment!

Do you experience FOMO? Any coping strategies you’d like to share?

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The Family Gamers Podcast is sponsored by Breaking Games. Check out their games Order of Invention and The Stars Align.

Breaking Games: Order of Invention

This week’s opening and closing music is Orchid by You Bred Raptors?.