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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 involve requiring the players to arrange their inventory items within a limited space, or even 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. Another option is to make items disappear over a period of time to incentivize players to use them before they are gone.

Compare Anti-Grinding, measures similarly designed to prevent Level Grinding in a game, and Aggressive Play Incentive, intended to counteract defensive tactics.


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    Board Games 
  • In Arcadia Quest you can spend a lot of time killing enemies to build up your money. This can help you buy a lot of great items during the purchase phase, however once the purchase phase ends, you discard all money but 1 coin. As such, spending your time ignoring the missions in an effort to build of a reservoir of money early that can help you later is entirely pointless.
  • Everdell:
    • The game has a hand limit of 8 cards (though certain player powers increase it) to keep you from hoarding them. Particularly relevant because some effects let you discard cards for a bonus.
    • The Innkeeper and Crane can be discarded to play respectively a Critter or Construction at a discount. These cards are subject to a Uniqueness Rule to discourage you from playing one and sitting on it for too long — that means you won't be able to snag a second copy if one shows up in the Meadow. Another option is keeping the card in your hand, but then it'll count against your hand limit.
  • Mice and Mystics:
    • Each character can carry at most three items at a time, plus the items equipped in their inventory slots.
    • Each character can only take their starting equipment plus one item into the next chapter of the game. Extra items, cheese tokens, and the party inventory are lost.
  • 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.
    • This is common in many cooperative games; having players utilize their resources together and reduce wasted actions is an effective way of forcing players to work together.
  • In Salvage Hidden Treasures, one cannot just win by just hoarding all the treasure they can find; their boat have a capacity of 10 weight units, and since the treasures usually weigh at least 3 units, the ship's hold will end up full rather quickly. The players can, however, buy more boats to increase their hold capacity, for a maximum of 30 units.
  • 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 more than 7 cards (8 or more cards), you have to discard a full half of them(rounded down). 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.
  • The Tiny Epic series of games tend to involve resource tracks around player cards, with different tokens representing different resources. These tracks are all finite, usually in the range of 9 to 13 maximum, encouraging players to spend often, and to prevent them from putting all their stock into a single resource.

    Collectable Card Games 
  • In Illuminati: New World Order, while you can have as many Plot cards as you wish in your hand during your turn, at the end of your turn you have to reduce your hand down to five. There's precious few ways to expand this (one Illuminati, the Gnomes of Zurich, expand this to six, and one group, the Conspiracy Theorists, expand it by one extra) and even fewer ways to "stash" a card (Texas, Fidel Castro). Thankfully, unlike most games, you don't have to discard the excess; you can return them to your deck, and can even choose *where* in the deck you put it.

    Tabletop RPG 
  • Numenera: There is a soft cap on how many Cyphers a character can carry at once, with consequences if anyone goes above the cap varying from one of the Cyphers randomly deactivating to a hole getting ripped in reality and swallowing the hoarder up. Combined with the explicit instructions for the Game Master to be generous about Cyphers specifically, this is designed to try to counter the RPG player's default urge to hoard every resource they obtain indefinitely.
  • Heroine: There are only fourteen 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 higher 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.
    • Similarly, the spell slot system has a maximum number of spells you can cast (sans cantrips) per long rest, so you can't "hoard" spells by putting off casting them. They're use-it-or-lose it, with no compensation for unused slots.
  • Swashbucklers of the 7 Skies has two different forms of this trope 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 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.
  • The One Ring: Encumbrance is a major factor in how far the players can travel without giving in to fatigue, and treasure is heavy and difficult to transport long distances.
  • The Witcher Role Playing Game: All items have a weight. If you're carrying more inventory than your encumberance can handle, you'll be slowed to the point of uselessness. Getting a horse with saddlebags or a wagon can help lighten the load, but even then there's a limit, and you can't take those everywhere.

    Video Games 
  • In Heretic, each time you complete a level, you can only carry one of each inventory item you've collected into the next level (except the Wings of Wrath, which cannot be transferred at all), encouraging you to use as many items as you can before the end of the level.
  • With exception to the first, the Boktai series allows you to only carry a limited number of items in your inventory. In addition, these items can spoil, which causes them to restore only a smidgeon of health on top of poisoning the user. Lita, the shopkeeper, encourages Django to use items rather than hoard them, though she also has an ulterior motive of getting him to return to her shop more frequently. Of course, based on certain conditions, causing an item to spoil can actually be beneficial; for example, chocolate can melt onto the item beneath it, coating it in chocolate to preserve it, or it can melt onto another piece of chocolate to make a better item.
  • Chippy:
    • Most single-use attack and defense powerups are capped at 3 or 9, to prevent you from saving them all for blasting the last boss form's core, or spamming a forcefield around yourself.
    • Shield containers spawn less frequently if you have more Shields on you, making it inefficient to shy away from the boss to farm them.
  • In the expansions to Civilization VI, strategic resources accumulate, but have a hard storage cap. This means you are throttled when building any units that require said resource—Swordsmen, for example, require 20 Iron, and the default cap on a standard game is 50, so you can only build two Swordsmen until you accumulate enough Iron to build another. You can raise this cap by building the Encampment District (and subsequent buildings) and some Civs have special abilities that expand this further. Even if you find/conquer a ton of sources of a resource, the hard cap still forces you to wait.
  • Darkest Dungeon: Each expedition is limited to sixteen inventory slots. Some similar items can be "stacked" but even these have a hard limit. There's no way to expand these slots, although there's limited ways to increase the stacking (some Hamlet upgrades or the Antiquarian). The sequel, Darkest Dungeon 2, continues this, although it's much more forgiving as the stagecoach has a pretty large capacity, and you can expand it with upgrades.
  • Elsword: many items have different caps in your item storage. Like how you can only hold 100 Emergency Energy Tanks in one slot or 300 of 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.
  • 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. The game also discourages the hoarding of your ARMIES through its upkeep mechanic. Having too large an army imposed a percent reduction, up to 60%, on your resource gathering. Competitive play resolves around keeping an army just under the first threshold until you are ready to rocket to maximum army size for a full assault.
  • 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 incredibly 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. The same behavior is displayed in the 3DS remake of Shin Megami Tensei: Strange Journey to downplay the Item Caddy role of the protagonist.
  • 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.
  • In Let It Die, there are three currencies: Killcoins, SPLithium, and Death Metal. While Death Metals can't be stolen, the banks for Killcoins and SPLithium can be broken into when other players invade your Waiting room. While both banks can be upgraded to hold more of each, the more you have in your banks, the more an invader receives, causing most players to hold parcels of them in their reward box, which can only hold 50 before preventing more rewards from being received. Combined with a small storage box and inventory space, players are forced to decide what's worth keeping and trying to keep their currency banks low unless they're willing to risk losing it to invaders.
  • The Elder Scrolls:
    • Throughout the series, there is a limit on how much you can carry at one time based on item weight called "Encumbrance". If you pick up every single item you possibly can, you'll reach this limit very quickly, preventing you from moving (or causing you to move very slowly depending on the game) so the game encourages only taking items with the best value/weight ratio. You can get around this by putting items down, but risk them being de-spawned if the cell resets (which, in most games, will happen after 72 in-game hours). You can put them into a container, but these also sometimes reset and, if the container is tagged with a different "owner", may mark your legitimately acquired items as "stolen". Player owned houses, generally only available late in games at high cost, allow for much greater storage but by that point, you'll be much more selective about the items you choose to hoard anyway.
    • After an early mission of the main quest in Skyrim, Dragons will start randomly spawning all over Skyrim. They scale to your level and, though certainly threatening foes, follow an abusable battle pattern, meaning you'll be able to defeat scores of them with relative ease. They drop both bones and scales, which can be used to craft some of the best armor in the game...but not until you get your Smithing skill to 100 and take the associated perk. Until then, they are nothing more than valuable Shop Fodder...and also very heavy, discouraging you from hoarding them until you have a home to store them.
  • Rise of the Tomb Raider has a (increasable to a point) limit to how much salvage you can carry, which means that if you don't start using that stuff after a while, everything salvaged from kills and boxes will be wasted, as finding salvage when inventory is full causes the stuff to disappear.
  • Any recovery items you have in Illbleed will disappear from your inventory on completing a stage, making it pointless to buy far more than you think you'll need, and encouraging you to go ahead and use up any you find in a given level.
  • Hearts of Iron III had the problem of experienced players stockpiling huge amounts of important resources such as fuel before the outbreak of hostilities, making resource management during the actual war trivial. Its sequel, Hearts of Iron IV, took steps to avert this by not allowing stockpiling of raw materials at all, instead only using them directly in production of weapons and other equipment which could be stockpiled instead. This made pre-war buildup less flexible as you'd have to commit to certain types of equipment and couldn't just hoard raw materials to build whatever you happened to need down the line. The game also initially didn't have fuel as a resource at all, instead opting to use oil as a raw material in the production of vehicles and ships. It was eventually reintroduced to the franchise along with the release of the DLC Man the Guns, but the ability to stockpile it was made much more limited.
  • Victoria: An Empire Under The Sun:
    • The original Victoria game has the hard cap on the size of your stockpile, but supplemented this with fairly common random events that destroy a large proportion of your stockpile of a particular good.
    • Victoria 2 puts a hard cap on the amount of a given good you can stockpile at a time, to stop a top producer or #1 great power from hoarding most of the world's supply of important goods to themselves and starve the rest of the world, something which would otherwise be far too easy to do as for instance the United Kingdom.
  • Crusader Kings 2 and its sequel have a soft limit on the number of holdings the player can have. Exceeding this limit places harsh penalties on tax income and makes the player's feudal subjects dislike them more. Some players would circumvent this by holding every single title in their realm (AKA "North Korea mode") until Paradox implemented harsher tax and levy penalties on rulers who did so.
  • All equipment in Thief: The Dark Project and Thief II: The Metal Age (aside from your sword, blackjack and bow) disappears at the end of a mission, and all money disappears when you exit the shop screen at the start of a mission (though if a mission forgoes the shop screen and dumps you right into the action, any money you collected from the last mission carries over). This was done to prevent players from hoarding either and make good use of all their equipment and cash at the earliest opportunity.
  • The Tales Series games put the item cap at about 20 units instead of the usual 99 for JRPGs, encouraging players to use consumables so that any new ones they get don't go to waste.
  • Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night puts a hard limit on how many healing potions Miriam can carry, making it impossible to outlast bosses by simply healing again and again (there is no such limit on health-restoring crafted food, however, so there is a loophole). Also, while your shards gain extra power when you carry multiple copies of the same one, you cannot have more than nine copies at once: this encourages you to sell extra copies to Dominique for cash.
  • In M.U.L.E., Food and Energy (after usage) spoils at a rate of 50% and 25% per month rounded down, respectively, preventing players from hoarding them effectively. Smithore and Crystite have soft caps of 50 — anything left over post-auction will be lost, so it is best to sell any past that mark if you get the chance.
  • Panzer Paladin requires you to slot in a weapon to activate checkpoints. Each weapon you have in your inventory increases Spirit Burden, and too much of it and it will increase the number of enemies and the chance the Horseman appears to impede your progress.
  • Anti-Idle: The Game:
    • In Battle Arena, each tab of your inventory has 30 slots. Once you fill up a tab, excess items spill into a "Recently Deleted" tab, and while you can retrieve items from there, it costs Pixels to do so. You can store items you don't need at the moment in the Item Storage menu, but going to that menu will terminate your hit combo and cancel any raids in progress.
    • In TukkunFCG, you can only have up to 6 cards in your hand at any one time, and you draw one card per turn. If you are already at 6 cards when a new turn begins, you will take damage.
  • In Etrian Odyssey, you have a cap of 60 items. Note that if you have multiple instances of one item, each of them will count toward that limit (for example, if you have five Medicas, they will take up 5/60 slots, not be one slot with five Medicas). This inventory is also where the drops from monsters and gathering spots go, so it's best to use your items so that you can free up room for more of those valuable drops that can sell for a pretty penny and make new items.
  • In Bonfire, used items will grant you a bonus of 10 gold and 10 XP to the journey's end reward, encouraging you to use as many as possible. There is even an early-game quest cheekily called "Hoarder's Nightmare" that forces you to use several items to complete.
  • Devil May Cry 5: Nero can hold a maximum of eight Devil Breakers, and they are cheap and easily found as pickups. Switching Breakers requires Nero to destroy his current one (either by using Break Age/Break Away, or by getting hit whilst using them), however.
  • Equipment in Grow Castle is generated with random stats and abilities, meaning that it's very easy for a piece of equipment to fall into the category of, "Well, I don't want to equip this right now, but I can see how I'd want it in X situation, so I don't want to just throw it away." This is balanced out by basing the crafting system on stones obtained by recycling equipment, so you need to ruthlessly and regularly cull surplus gear in order to craft higher-tier pieces.
  • Mass Effect has a maximum number of weapons, armours and mods you can hold in your inventory, exceeding which will force you to turn any new loot into omni-gel until the total number drops to the limit. Thus you are encouraged to regularly sell or recycle weaker, outdated equipment.
  • Cthulhu Saves the World features stat-raising items that are applied immediately upon picking them up. The developer commentary specifically mentions they implemented them this way so players wouldn't hold onto them forever (and to avoid making a more complex inventory system).
  • In Rogue Legacy, entering the castle requires giving The Grim Reaper all the money you have on hand, forcing you to spend as much of your player character's inherited loot as possible on upgrading their estate and buying new equipment. One of the available estate upgrades allows haggling with the Reaper to only demand a percentage of money.
  • The argon crystals in Warframe are a resource found almost exclusively in the Void that on top of being rare are also transient; every 24 hours, each newly collected batch of crystals starts decaying at a half-life of 24 hours, so it's recommended not to search for them until you have a blueprint that requires them.
  • Mega Man 5: This is the game that introduces the M-Tank, an item that not only refills Mega Man’s health but all of his sub-weapon’s energy as well, making it very valuable. While it can be found in several stages, the game only lets you hold one at a time, so if the player has one in their inventory it won’t even appear.
  • World of Warcraft is constantly moving forward with successive expansions and patches. It is very common for a patch to introduce a currency that will only be useful in the current patch or possibly for the rest of the expansion, with no benefit to hoarding them for later. In some cases, a currency type will be re-used, but before the new planned period, all previous currency of that type will be converted to the more common copper/silver/gold currency at a very low rate.
  • In The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, all melee weapons, bows, and shields have a durability rating; after a certain number of uses, they will break. Even the Master Sword will "run out of energy" and require time to regenerate after enough hits. There is also a limited number of slots for carrying this equipment and expanding your "stash" takes significant time and effort. This forces the player to continuously replace their weapons, but also encourages them to try out different weapons on different enemies, throw them at opponents when appropriate, and seek out new and interesting equipment.
  • The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom takes this to another level with the Fuse system, which allows you combine random objects with your weapons, shields, and arrows and see what happens, further encouraging experimentation and burning through your inventory.
  • The Retreaux Japanese RPG Sea of Stars employs this trope this by replacing all items with Medicinal Cuisine and having your first Support Party Member, Garl the Warrior Cook, be a, uh, cook, sitting down at save points to transform ingredients collected in the wild into home-cooked meals. While you can find dishes hanging out in Inexplicable Treasure Chests that are currently Too Awesome to Use, they won't stay that way, as learning new recipes is one of the game's Collection Sidequests. Additionally, there's a hard cap of 10 cooked dishes in the party's inventory, encouraging everyone to eat their fill.
  • Unlike most JRPGs which give 99 cap of any type of item, The Legend of Dragoon only allows you to carry a maximum of 32 items total. Many monsters drop things such as healing potions upon defeat, so it encourages actually using them rather than hoarding.