I think one of you guys has my Summoner Wars Master Set. It’s not on the shelf. Do me a favor, play it, or return it. I don't much care which.
I used to have a game collection. Now I have games.
I used to keep track of what I owned and be able to speak to it with confidence. Now I have a pretty good idea of what’s in the basement, but if someone asks I always make it a point to check I still have it before I promise anything. “Through the Desert? Yeah, I think it’s still down there, but let me have a look. It may be out at a friend’s house. My games are in three piles now so it’s more confusing than it used to be.”
The resignation you’re head ring isn’t a bad thing; in fact it’s been a bit of a relief. I’ve finally entered the next stage of the hobby boardgamer lifecycle. I’m not sure exactly what the official name of it is, but for the moment I’m calling it “Stopped Giving A Damn” because it’s a simple synopsis of the feeling. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy gaming and these days with so much else going on it’s a real treat when I get to do it. But the inventory, the “collection” has become tedious to keep perfect track of, and I just don’t care. Games split into three categories – Have It, Had It, and May Still Have It. It’s kind of fun to stop home and . . . hey! I still have The Adventurers! I haven’t see that game in a couple of years! And what the hell is that? I have painted figures for it? When did I get those! Seriously, not keeping track can be a real treat some days, and it’s good prep for my older years.
So I hear a couple of guys talking about Summoner Wars and how much they enjoy it and how they’re chasing after all the booster packs in order to complete their set. The conversation is still rolling around in my head when I get home that same evening when I go to the game shelf to locate my copy, and it’s gone. Now, no one has thrown it away. We’re not throw-away people (a topic worthy of a far more depressing article all its own) and besides, I’m the guy that carts everything to Goodwill. I wouldn’t have sent it. So the overwhelming likelihood is that I lent the copy to somebody, likely a close friend in real life or online, and that they have the copy sitting on the shelf or in the trunk of the car taking up their space instead of mine. If I knew who they were that would be a solid turn of events. I’d forward them a few more of my bigger boxes because they don’t all fit on my shelves anymore.
In the past that would have distressed me. Summoner Wars cost me a few bucks and I could sell my copy, or trade it for another game that’s caught my eye. But I’ve gotten to the age where the money involved isn’t terribly critical, because a) I have enough to go buy a board game; and b) I just don’t often get interested enough in a game to actually do that. I like games, but I have about 100 on my shelf, and maybe as many as half of those haven’t been played in a couple of years. I don’t need to buy even one more game for the rest of my life if I don’t want to. My wife’s hobby – quilting – has the acronym “SABLE” to describe the endless boxes of fabric swaths they purchase through the years. SABLE stands for Stash Accumulation Beyond Life Expectancy, and it applies to our hobby as well. I’d love to punch out half a dozen plays of D-Day at Omaha Beach before my next birthday, but half a dozen before my last is likely a more reasonable goal. I’ll never give the games I already own the level of attention they deserve, and it’s likely I’ll pick up a few titles now and again in the coming years. In short, I have plenty of games.
So Summoner Wars is out there somewhere. And you know what? I don’t really give a damn. I’ll tell you what, if you have it or if you know who does, do me a favor – play it. Take the game out and give it a hell of a run and then let me know when you’re done with it. I sure won’t mind getting it back, but if you’re playing it you’re getting my value out of it more than if it was sitting on my shelf, and that’s a net win. At some point the kharma will come back to me. Just don’t let it sit on a shelf somewhere not being played. Heck, I could do that. Probably would have.