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Gathering of Engineers

Ludographic considerations from the Silicon Forest

Thursday, September 15, 2005

Buy, buy! Sell, sell!

This week I'll follow on from my first post on my origin in gaming, with a nod in passing to Doug's discussion on disposing of games. As I mentioned in that first post, I was first introduced to figure wargaming from my interest in building plastic model kits. That was mostly WW2, with a little touch of Napoleonics which a friend insisted on and I was interested enough to humor him. (As this occurred in Scotland, should that be 'humour him'? Now that would be an interesting way to write, in the language/vernacular/spelling of the country or location you're writing about. OK, maybe not.) I did try to get people interested in American Civil War but didn't have any takers. This was all with 1/72 scale figures, although I did try to use some of my 1/35 figures and AFVs, but mater was most dischuffed to find I'd taken the legs off the dining room table to get more floorspace.

So, Mr. Napoleonics (he also features in my D&D story, but I'll keep that for another day) was the one who introduced S&T magazines, when he took out a subscription. His games were American Civil War, Tank!, Combined Arms, Wolfpack, Sixth Fleet and one other that escapes me at the moment. (Ah, my senior moment has passed, and I now recall that the sixth game was Operation Olympic.) When the new game arrived he'd read up the rules and I'd head out to his place to have a go at the new one. Sixth Fleet was my favorite of the bunch, and not only because I beat him handily the first time we played. (Sorry Doug, Cooley's Law hadn't been discovered at this point.) From there our gaming group pooled money and bought a subscription among us, which I then took over after a year, and continued for several more years.

During this time I went to college, graduated and started work, all the while buying more games. I had also graduated to Avalon Hill games as well during this time, Alexander being my very first AH purchase. I also bought quite a few games from other publishers as well as more SPI & AH/Victory games. This continued, although at a lesser speed, after getting married.

And so we moved. All the games were packed in boxes and eventually caught up with us a few months after we arrived. The boxed games made it to the shelf, but all the magazine and zip-loc games never even made it out of the boxes. None of them got played, however. I'd take one off the shelf now and again, flick through the rules, then put it away again. During this time I continued to buy more wargames, mostly off eBay, but some at the local gaming store.

Around this time I also started playing Euro games with the local group. These were hugely entertaining, thought provoking, but most of all, short. I started buying Euro games, and they took pride of place on the game shelves. As I acquired more, wargames were shunted off into the bedroom closet to create the space required for the Euros.

And then came 'the day'. I'm not exactly sure what the catalyst was, but I think it was a comment from Eric about how many of his wargames hadn't actually been played. I actually sat down and went through my wargames and was astounded to realize just how many of them had never been played. Sure they may have had a few counters punched out and pushed around the map while reading the rules, but they were never actually played. I think that was the moment that I decided I didn't want to be a game collector, but a game player. This was quite a momentous occassion, one that even just a single year previously I couldn't have contemplated being in my future. Selling some of my games? No, you must have the wrong guy.

That was my first forey into the land of eBay sales. I'd bought quite a lot of games from eBay sales, and had a fairly good experience. Selling didn't prove to be too troublesome, and I made a decent bit of cash that I immediately turned round into orders for Euro games.

More recently I decided it was time to clear out the closet of some of the boxes that had never been unpacked. Bye bye went all my old S&T magazine games, along with some other stuff. Heck, they hadn't even made it out of the shipping box in the almost 8 years we'd been here, they weren't likely to get played in the future. So off they went.

That's not to say that each one wasn't a little battle itself. Every time I came to list the details in the eBay auction I'd read the magazine, look back over the rules, remember when I got it and wonder about trying the game one (more) time. Some copies were quite hard to part with. It took quite a fair deal of resolve to fold the map back up, put the counters into a baggie and put it all back into the envelope and hit the button to submit the auction details. I'll even admit there were one or two items I almost cancelled auctions for.

The ASL was even harder to part with. It sat on the floor beside my desk for a good few weeks before I finally did it. The prices were just too ridiculous to ignore, and much as I enjoyed reading the ASL modules, the historical snippets, I knew that they would never see the table. In the end I made over $1k from the ASL, almost $2k from all the recent sales. That will pay for a whole bunch of other toys.

But the collector in me still misses them.


  • At 1:58 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Is "dischuffed" really a word?

  • At 2:09 PM, Blogger dave said…

    Ever hear of google.com? :-)


    "You can also get away with saying you are unchuffed or dischuffed if something gets your back up."

    Elsewhere, I read that it is believed to be of Scottish origin, which explains why Mike used it.

  • At 5:38 PM, Blogger Mike said…

    It also has my favorite:

    toe-rag n. Another rather antiquated word more likely to be found in Enid Blyton than Irvine Welsh, a "toe-rag" is someone worthy of contempt - scoundrel, rotter, that sort of thing


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