Games often involve resource management of some kind, and resources are meant to be used. However, some of them may be considered Too Awesome to Use, or the player's strategy may involve saving up for a particularly expensive upgrade or starving out the others of a specific resource—either way, they begin hoarding said resource, denying it its original purpose. The anti-hoarding mechanics are there to nip that in the bud.

The simplest anti-hoarding mechanic is a hard Cap or a gentler Critical Encumbrance Failure on how many of each resource a player can hold. More advanced (and more fun) mechanics may allow the players to hold as many resources as they want, but take away a chunk of them if a certain, often randomized, event occurs in-game.

Compare Anti-Grinding, measures similarly designed to prevent Level Grinding in a game.


    open/close all folders 

    Board Games 
  • In Settlers of Catan, you can hold as many resource cards as you want in your hand, but if anyone at the table rolls a 7 (which is the single most likely roll on a 2d6) when you have at least seven cards, you have to discard half of themnote . This encourages the players to spend their resources on buildings quickly, or to trade them for others they need. The Cities & Knights expansion allows building ramparts around up to three cities, each adding 2 cards to the maximum. Given the greater number of different resources in this game, building at least one is indispensable.
  • Pandemic limits the number of city cards a player can hold in their hand to seven, forcing you to discard excess cards unless expended or given to another player before the end of your turn. This puts the players into a crisis mindset that the game is predicated upon.

    Tabletop RPG 
  • In Numenera, there is a hard cap on how many Ciphers (basically one-shot magical effects) a character can carry at once. Combined with the explicit instructions for the Game Master to be generous about Ciphers specifically, this is designed to counter the RPG player's default urge to hoard every resource they obtain indefinitely.
  • In Heroine, there are only 14 Drama Points in the entire game. If there are no more "in the bank" and a player does something that should give them one, they instead take a Drama Point from the player who has the most of them at the table. Also, the player with the least Drama Points after the final scene gets to narrate the epilogue.
  • Dungeons & Dragons has encumbrance determined by a character's strength score. Obviously, the high said strength score, the more they can carry. Certain factors such as size and form altered this number. Then, when the character exceeded this encumbrance, they start suffering penalties the more they carried over the limit. Eventually, if the total weight they're carrying got too high, they wouldn't even be able to lift it. Then again, D&D basically invented the Bag of Holding trope.
  • Swashbucklers of the 7 Skies has two different forms of Anti-Hoarding for limited-use bonuses (Style Dice) or treasures:
    • Players can spend Style Dice for bonuses on their rolls or as an extra cost to do unusual things with their Fortes. Each player starts with a couple and the GM has a pool to hand out for impressive deeds. Spent ones go back to the GM's pool. Players are encouraged to spend them since they go away at the end of a game session (and get reset at the default amount next time, so leftovers are just wasted), and are really easy to get back - just add some extra detail to your next action and try to impress or amuse the other players.
    • Treasures like money or special items are granted as Temporary Fortes - temporary skills. Unless the player spends Training Points to make them regular Fortes, they will go away and soon. It's up to the player to find some way to spend them usefully, or at least in an entertaining manner - at the least, you can explain how you blew your share of the treasure on getting half the town rip-roaring drunk, in exchange for an extra Style Die or two next time you play.

    Video Games 
  • Various Survival Sandbox games (like Don't Starve or Subnautica or ARK: Survival Evolved, to give examples) include a mechanic where any kind of food on the player's possession will eventually go bad and lose any benefits from being consumed (and maybe even provide harmful effects instead if consumed), which forces a player to not go overboard with hoarding said food and keeping his character from being unfed for too long (even if the player doesn't deems it necessary at the time).
  • Elsword: many items have different caps in your item storage. Like how you can only hold 100 Emergency Energy Tank in one slot or 300 a certain crafting item in a slot. If you don't expand your item slots, managing your items will be harder.
    • There are also the "temporary" items (most notably the promotional costumes) that you can only hold for a certain amount of time, ranging from a day to a month.
  • Pharaoh
    • Strongly averted, as keeping at least one stockyard full of whatever your city produces (that's one stockyard per resource) is very much a necessity, in order to respond to the increasingly unreasonable requests made by other cities. It helps that resources stored this way don't spoil despite being left out in the Egyptian sun for years.
    • Hoarding is even encouraged through the salary mechanic: by paying yourself a small salary every month (the game informs you that taking money from the city and into your family's coffers is embezzlement), you can accumulate money that can be used in later levels in an emergency or bribe your way to a higher Kingdom rating, although the price of the bribes doubles every time. The only steps taken to prevent this are to reduce your salary to zero once you've completed all mission objectives, and making the Kingdom rating collapse if you give yourself a higher salary than your rank allows.
  • Warcraft III: Heroes have an inventory capacity for six items, and at most three heroes per game. The expansion's orc campaign gives you a persistent six-item stash.
  • S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: You have a weight limit that's not particularly generous, and everything you can carry has an assigned weight, even ammunition. Going one gram over the limit makes your Sprint Meter deplete insanely fast.
  • In Shin Megami Tensei IV, each item has its own inventory cap, and the better items tend to have lower caps to encourage you to actually use them. The lowly Life Stone (small HP restore) has a cap of 50, while the amazing Summon Stone (revive with full HP and summon into battle with one action) has a cap of 5. The only exception to that pattern is the Rare Candy items, which invariably have a cap of 99.
  • An NPC in MOTHER 3 encourages you to use your items as needed and to not hoard everything. The game has a pretty small inventory limit per character in order to make you use common items more frequently.
  • Let It Die is a Free To Play game that unless you're willing to pay real money is hard to hoard. The currency to buy weapons or upgrade them are easy to come by and to upgrade the stash but every players past the first mid-boss are potential raid target for every other player in their category. You can invest in gears which can't be taken but the storage is small and asks for Death Metal, a rare currency in-game unless you Pay To Win, to enlarge and the gears can be broken quick. Of course the Death Metals can't be stolen either and there is a few of them that are freely given but they have many other use