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Gathering of Engineers

Ludographic considerations from the Silicon Forest

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

That Old Game Stench

Before I start, I will mention that while it's great that people put in links to various things in their posts, I just can't summon up the gumption to go quite that far. I figure if you are interested in something, you'll do the legwork to learn more about it. However, I have included a link to KC and Chris' new game company site Sunriver Games (in context, you'll have to read the column to get to it) as I think it is well worth your attention. In general, I will limit links to things that I feel are particularly worthy and less well known, so take the time to click on the link when you see it. Now on to the show.

Last week I talked about how much I like the acquisition part of gaming, from the purchase to the point where the game actually gets played (or not). However, there is a dark side to this rush, and that's when you realize that you have to put the damned thing somewhere and you are about out of shelf space.

Everyone has their neuroses, and I've got more than my share. Of course, it has been said that your neuroses tend to block your psychoses, so I tend to embrace them if they aren't too onerous. Sadly, one of those neuroses is my unwillingness to give things up once I have them. Yup, I'm a packrat. Not with everything, I manage to give books away all of the time now (especially paperbacks), but I still have software that I bought for my Mac c. 1997 that is unlikely to run on a modern OS and it is tough to give it up.

The worst for me, though, is games. Outside of the commercial stuff (largely dreck) that I had in gradeschool, I've saved almost all of the games I've ever bought. A few exceptions: when I got out of college I traded a lot of the old AH chestnuts such as Blitzkrieg and Battle of the Bulge to a comic book store, which was my drug of choice at the time. I did the same with a lot of the not-so-great stuff I had from high school (John Carter of Mars, for example - great in concept, but every battle felt exactly the same with the weak graphics). Since then, I've reaquired most of the AH titles via e-Bay, especially when AH went out of business in 1998. It was pretty obvious to me that I was going to be hanging on to most of my games after that. I'll note that the first wargame I bought (Panzer Leader, way over the head of this 12 year old) is still in my collection, and always will be.

Until now, when I have filled the second bedroom closet with games that are at best about 50% hits. I understand that I need to get rid of some of them, but it is very hard for me to do. Mike and KC have generously offered assistance, as both of them have been very active buying and selling things on e-Bay and other channels. Still, every warning bell in my head goes off when I think of divesting.

Maybe part of it has to do with my mother forcing me to get rid of my comic book collection when I was 13. Including, I might add, a Giant-Sized X-Men #1 and an Uncanny X-Men #94 (the first regular one with the "modern" lineup). While part of my disappointment in getting rid of these is that they are now worth quite a bit of money, I have to admit that I would almost certainly not have sold them. When I started collecting again in my early 20's (and continuing into my early 30's), I've bagged and boxed everything I got, even the dross. Ten long boxes share space with my games, with no sign of movement (although to be fair, these will be much more valuable in about 20 years).

Giving up a game feels like giving up on an investment in some ways. I bought the damned thing, so it should be worth keeping. If not, I made a poor decision originally, and I hate doing that. Also, there is something about a whole closet full of games that feels somewhat comforting in a world where our leaders have abandoned all pretense of caring about anything but votes and money.

Still, it's time for a good chunk of these long-time friends to hit the road and find new homes. I'm sure, as my father would have said, that it will build my character (although at 42, I suspect it will be more like new linoleum on the floor of my id, but Lord knows it needs it). So once KC gets back from Essen and showing off his great new game Havoc, I guess I'm going to start getting rid of games for the first time in about 20 years.

I hope it feels better when it's over.


  • At 10:46 AM, Blogger Mike said…

    Do it man, just do it! Think of all the shiny new toys you can get to replace those old ones you never use.

  • At 10:58 AM, Blogger Eric said…

    I'm at a similar point with my miniatures. When I first got interested in the hobby, I had a bit too much discretionary income.

    I now estimate I've got in the neighborhood of 9000 15mm figures that I'll likely never paint. I've had a hard time moving from "I need to sell these as I'll never paint them" to getting them put on the market. There's always that "but there's a new set of Crusades rules coming out and I can finally use those Seljuq Turks I've got" slowing me down.

    I've just got to do it. I know once I start, I won't stop. Divesting is definitely a high inertia activity.

  • At 8:31 PM, Blogger Dug said…

    I still have a ton of Warhammer stuff from when I should have been on anti-depressants but wasn't. Those are definitely going to go, even the stuff I've painted. Worst part - most are from GW's less-well-regarded Warhammer Epic line (smaller scale than 40k).


  • At 10:37 PM, Blogger Eric said…

    Actually, Epic has quite a cult following - you might actually get relatively better money for Epic figs than the standard WHFB stuff.

  • At 7:53 PM, Blogger Matthew Gagan said…

    I've never heard that quote about your neuroses blocking your psychoses. I like it. I sometimes think of my geekish neuroses (socially fringe hobbies like boardgames, sci-fi, fantasy, rpg'ing, etc.) as hedges against all the broader psychoses that are clearly evident in modern culture.

    I'm alternately a packrat and an "Oh my gawd, I'm such a materialist, I've got to cleanse!" guy. As meager as my boardgaming collection is relative to most of the RCG'ers, I could (and probably should) sell a third of my games at a third of their retail. I've done it before, and I have no real block preventing me from doing it again (other than being a sloth).

    Just as a side note - there are a number of *amazing* comics that have come out in recent years, and I've started "collecting" again - mostly trades rather than monthlies. I'll do my best to refrain from sharing this new enthusiasm with you, Doug. I'll likely sell them all off in a few years when I move to Iceland/Canada/New Zealand/Spain. ;) With few regrets...

  • At 7:55 PM, Blogger Matthew Gagan said…

    Oh yeah - re: X-men #94. There are no words. Ouch.

  • At 9:04 PM, Blogger dave said…


    Try the next Rainy Day Games auction. The perfect answer for lazy people like me who won't bother with eBay, plus the prices I got were generally better than 1/3 MSRP. The payoff is in store credit, but I could buy that off of you (is that ethical?).


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