Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Time To Thin The Herd

My game room has gotten out of control recently, to the point where I'm running out of good places to keep games. It's bad enough that the only real choice I'd have is to start putting games in bins and storing them in the (unheated/uncooled) attic. As such, I've had to make yet another hard decision and get rid of some games.

So how to go about this? It's a bit of a tough call in some instances. I *really* hate to get rid of the vast majority of my wargames - they tend to hold value well, and most of them are things that I'd love to get on the table at some point (as seen by my efforts this year to get the "dusty" games out). As such, with a few exceptions (such as The Kaiser's Pirates, which shouldn't even qualify as a wargame) I am going to hang onto the ones I have. That may change at some time, but not this pass.

That leaves a lot of Euros. In fact, part of what is spurring this effort is that games have taken over my "long" tables under the window in my game room. Any long-term game I'm playing will have to be set up there, which means the dusty games. The reason most of them are dusty, btw, is because they have multiple maps and really need a place they can stay set up for more than a month or so. One mappers can go in the poster frames and then in the art slots, but the bigger games need the tables. As such, my first pass is to clear up enough space on the shelves.

Which I did today, putting the "going away" games on the table for now for organizing. And I was brutal with these games. My friend Mike recently went through a similar process with a similar result, selling tons of games that my group simply doesn't play. I took a slightly different tack - I kept games that I thought my granddaughter or great nieces/nephews might be interested in as time goes on (and I tend to give them my copy if they really liked it, with the caveat that they give it to another cousin when they get bored of it). A lot of games that didn't get a fair shake are going into the pile, including Vino, Hacienda, and Tower of Babel (a game I never did "get").

So how to get these games off my shelves/tables and into the greater world? Money isn't a huge factor for me, although some of the games that seem to draw large amounts will go onto either BGG's or ConSimWorld's marketplaces, such as Atlantic Storm. The cutoff line here will be if it seems to draw $50 or more then I'll sell it.

Tonight, since my birthday is coming up, I decided to try to draw people from my group out to the Deep South of Wilsonville by "reverse gifting" some of the games. Only three people showed up, but they walked off with six games that I no longer need to worry about, and were all thrilled to do so. I think I will also offer to do the same with my game-store owning friend. The rest I will offer to the Rip City Gamer population at fairly low prices, perhaps 50% of going rate.

Once this particular population has gotten a chance to thin this particular herd, then I'll have some hard decisions. One is to participate in one of the local game "auctions" which seem to be drying up. In fact, the big one in the area is now associated with a convention I have little interest in attending, and the last one was truly a buyer's market. A second option is to gift some of the games to GameStorm as volunteer swag, which has the possible benefit of being tax deductible, although that would net me around 40 cents on the dollar and require a lot of work. I could also gift them to Goodwill or some similar charitable organization, although I suspect most of these won't really go to good homes. However, that would be a very *quick* option, and one that might be the easiest to do if I tire of these games sitting on my shelf.

Let's say that I *do* get rid of all of these games. The problem is that I am *still* at capacity if I want to keep the tables cleared off. That's a Bad Thing, as new wargames are coming in all the time - two are being shipped by a single company in the next week or so! And the wargames aren't leaving anytime soon. The result is that I'm pretty much back where I started and I'll need to think carefully about what new euros I buy in the future. Sadly, there are a *lot* of new Euros I'm interested in, although so far I've chosen not to buy RuneWars (which will help some).

Perhaps a good choice is to put the games that will be popular (maybe) with the younger generation in my family into storage for now. This means games like Sphinx, Luxor, WoW the Adventure Game, things like that. I may also need to decide if I really need three editions of History of the World or Cosmic Encounters or two editions of Formula De when all I really wanted from the recent reprint was the dashboards. The party games may all go out to the family vacation house as well, as they are very rarely played at my house (partly because we live in The Bushes, something that will change in the relatively near future).

Like I say, some tough calls to make. Considering that the *tops* of my bookshelves are full, not just the shelves themselves, and I've preordered what will probably be something like 20-30 new wargames coming out *just* this year, perhaps I need to really examine what's important and what's not. Because storage is an option that just means I have a bunch of games that I don't play sitting in boxes somewhere, and there's really no point in that. Games are supposed to be played, and my main goal is to get these games to good homes where they will be appreciated.

As always, I welcome suggestions. Aside from the obvious "give them all to me". ;-)

I have far too many expensive hobbies.


Greg W said...

I'd suggest you cut back on collecting and that you purge old games whenever you buy new games. The more games you have the less likely you are to play any given game. The point is to play games, not posses them, right? I'm assuming that you're not going to continue to increase the amount of time you spend playing proportional to the size of your collection.

There's no game that's worth owning if you're never going to play it! And I'd even argue that there's no game worth owning that you're not going to play repeatedly. Not only do you get more out of the game, everyone you're playing with does. Not to mention the added benefit of not having to learn yet another rule-set for variation N on theme X.

I fell into the trap of buying games for "groups" of people that I wanted to play things with. Family, gamers that I see occasionally, etc. I realized that in most cases the number of games I was buying for those groups per unit time played was way out of wack.

Anyway, hopefully I don't come off as a raving lunatic. Even after my recent purges I still have 280+ games (counting expansions)...

Dug said...

Greg, as you know, for me it's really less "collecting" and more "amassing". I'm aware that there's a compulsive element to my game collection, an attempt to control my environment by possessing these games. I see it in other elements of my life as well, which is why I was up to over 1000 music CDs before I went digital.

You'll be happy to know that I seem to have found a method by which I'm winnowing down the game collection, even extending into wargames. The metagame goes like this:

1) Rearrange games on shelves according to type and/or box size (for efficient shelf use).

2) In this process, games are put on my main gaming table. As I look at these games, I decide that some of them are very obviously things I'm not going to play again. They go on the sell pile.

3) Rinse, lather, repeat.

While I had pulled what was for me a very large number of games from my collection, I found that there were a good number of wargames that I really had no interest in playing, usually older games such as Phase Line Smash, a solitaire game with 40 pages of very dense rules covering the 1991 invasion of Iraq. No way I'm playing this, and no reason for me to keep it. I found about 10 other wargames that I felt the same way about, again mostly smaller companies like West End Games, 3W, and Clash of Arms.

The bad part is that a few of these were "victims" of my mid-90's effort to laminate all of my game maps, and so their sale value will suffer accordingly, although that's not a motivator for me at all.

I am getting closer and closer to having more and more games on the bookshelves as opposed to above them, which is a very good thing. However, I don't believe I'll be at a point where I feel I can lose a game for every game I get any time soon. One step at a time for now.

As for "games for groups" I know that I have young relatives who will be interested in these games, it's already happening. My granddaughter is a good four or five (or six) years away from being able to play many of these, although given that her father was watching Nova at age 3 I suspect it will be sooner rather than later (and how lucky I am to have a son-in-law who values learning as much as I do). For now, those games may go into storage, or perhaps I will "loan" them to the age-appropriate children's families, although there's a definite risk involved.

However, I am done with the idea of having a good library for people to choose from when they come over to play games. That goal was accomplished long ago, and I've been moving away from it steadily.

The next trick will be to curb impulse buying, as that has been a regular problem, if you could call it that, over the years. This past year has seen me drop the number of impulse buys I make dramatically, and I plan to continue that strategy.

Someday, I will learn to purge as I go, although that's going to have to be a long-term goal for now.

Jon said...

Have you thought about putting up a list on BGG for gamers who come to Gamestorm? They're doing the flea market again this year.

MichaelM said...

Doug, you haven't forgotten the victory conditions have you?

He who dies with the most toys wins?