A Knockdown and Rebuild of My Game Collection

S Updated
Down sizing a board game collection

This Summer I moved for the first time in 22 years.  That's a long time, especially when the house you're moving from has ample storage.  I don't recommend houses with ample storage, as it's likely you'll use it, and that's not doing you any favors.  This is particularly true when your hobby requires big clunky boxes of different sizes to be kept over extended periods of time.

 

As you have probably deduced, the process of moving needed me to pull out all of my games from the old house and transport them to the new. Now, unlike all of you "game collectors" that have half a dozen Kalax units to store your titles in, my old house had two old bookshelves that I had pressed into the task. They were serviceable and nice pieces of furniture. Other games were kept in overflow locations due to insufficient space, odd shapes or the like. So when it came time to unload all my games (about 125 including the bits and pieces), move them, and then organize them in the new house it became apparent that I had a problem on my hands -- a lot of games that I have outgrown, games that have become redundant with my buddies' hoards, and games that just weren't good purchases in the first place. It also became apparent that I have had a lot of back-pressure to buying new titles because I'm out of storage. The first question I had to tackle whenever I saw something interesting was “where am I going to put it?” That’s no good. Some big changes needed to happen, and they did. The bloat needed to be managed.

The first challenge is that my game storage location in the new house is front and center in the family room, and the gaudy colors that publishers put on their boxes to catch your attention at the store were an eyesore in such a public space. A long rack of cheap shelving units that we had picked up from Target years ago became my new storage option and there is a fair bit of room in them that nicely accommodates the size of hobby game boxes. But there was a need to hide them, as most evenings members of my family would be sitting on a couch facing that heap to watch the TV perched on top of them. Games boxes is ugly boys and girls. So back to Target I went, to purchase square canvas buckets to drop the games into. The shelving units are cheap, the buckets are not, and a need to purchase ten more than we already had set me back $90. But the buckets are blissfully mild in color, and have provided me with an incentive to group like-games together as I can’t simply stand there and scan an entire wall looking for something in particular or look for something to catch my interest. If I’m looking for an engine-builder now I’m going to go to the upper left corner cubbies to pull a title because that’s where they are. To date I’ve only gone through looking for a particular game once. It worked fine with a few tugs on buckets until I found it. But I’ll be honest, the calm in the room with the visual glare of the game boxes hidden away is refreshing.

Resized 20181027 150723

The new shelving solution midway through completion.  Uncovered boxes on the right throw huge amounts of visual noise while games dropped in canvass "buckets" do not.  Not the cheapest solution out there, but upon completion all games will be organized, clean in appearance, and readily available for a quick grab on the way out the door.

 

The second change that needed to happen was a lightening of the load. I want to fit in this space. My goal was to identify 20-30 titles that would go, and the local game shop offers cash for used games. My first pass was remarkably fruitful, identifying games with little angst that I could offer to my gaming buddies first and then move on for sale at the local place. I put them into two big stacks and sent a photos via email to the usual suspects, telling them to make claims on anything they wanted. Short deadline, dynamite prices. One of the games will be offered in exchange for a session of Angels 20 in an upcoming gaming night, another for $10. Four will deliver this evening, my first trip out to game night in months.

20181026 19431820181026 194307The first pass of the Great Unburdening.  More will follow as I become more comfortable with the weight loss.  Each has a reason for going, though there's a few I wouldn't mind seeing stay within my local group.  Truth be told, if a buddy grabs one of them there will be two of us looking to justify the purchase, increasing the likelihood of it getting played.



A few of the games are still in their shrink wrap, games that I purchased with the best of intentions but have never been able to generate any interest in. Oh, and yeah, a cherry Dungeons and Dragons flat box from 1975 is on the top of the pile on the right. Got that one just a couple of years back.  That was an impulse buy because it was the package that introduced me to role playing. Even has the original dice in it. I bought it because . . . uh . . . yeah.  Can't justify that one at all.

I still have overflow because of games that are not the correct size or shape for my “storage solution”. (As an aside, it’s simply remarkable how hokey some of the terminology us gamers use. Anyone else would have said “shelves”.) So the top of one closet in the new house holds the monster flat box that is my copy of The Game of Life as well as PitchCar boxes, El Grande, Mechs & Minions, etc. Not too many and some were actually able to come out of there now that cubbies have freed up due to the sell-off. But all in all, I have enough space for all of my games in the cubicles I currently own, with a bit of room to buy new. SpaceCorp is inbound, but that’s all I have on the wish list to date and I find myself in a position to buy without feeling like I’m just adding onto the bloat for the first time in a few years. That’s a nice feeling, as I’ve let things coast by because I just felt like I was buying for the sake of buying. I feel like I can get excited about a game I haven’t played again. That part of the hobby is coming back to me with this revision in ownership, storage, and outlook.


I know people have talked about the optimal number of games in the past here, but for me I think I’m going to let the physical space call the tune. If it fits I can buy it, if not something needs to squirt out the other side.


There were games that I was on the fence with that could still go and likely will, and games that I have an emotional attachment for. They’re really serving no other purpose. My kids are grown so any game that they were enamored with as a kid that but don’t care about anymore really should go, especially ones that are easily replaceable. Memoir ’44 can go but I haven’t put it on the pile yet. Shadows Over Camelot can go. Carcassonne The City is an example of a game that I think is much superior to its namesake but it’s never played, so should go even though I’d like to have it out once or twice a year. It gets steamrolled by Scythe and Rising Sun and Terraforming Mars and other Bigs that more or less run the gaming sessions that I try to get to once a week. So there’s fodder for continued removal, giving me opportunity to acquire new games as my tastes change or something just happens to catch my eye. And with a calmer, more aesthetically pleasing storage location I don’t have to hide things in the basement anymore. All in all, I’ve brought a solid dose of ease to how I approach one of my main hobbies. A very fruitful transition for the soul.

There Will Be Games Down sizing a board game collection
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WadeMonnig's Avatar
WadeMonnig replied the topic: #285266 05 Nov 2018 02:48
Thurn and taxis AND an expansion? *whispered* Do the other members know?
I totally want shadows over Camelot though ;) why does no one in my area ever sell that for a decent price?
Sevej's Avatar
Sevej replied the topic: #285267 05 Nov 2018 04:32
Yeah, the wife insisted that we put board games inside canvas buckets.
GorillaGrody's Avatar
GorillaGrody replied the topic: #285269 05 Nov 2018 08:08
Yeah, I've been going through this process, too. It's complicated, because I've got a few titles that are half-painted but unplayed, like a Battleore 1st edition with Call to Arms, etc. It would have fetched more if I had just not started the painting process at all.

In all, so far I've brought my collection from about 150 games down to around 60. Hoping to make the final push on a few last titles. It's hard. I feel like I'm getting into the cream of my collection.
Jackwraith's Avatar
Jackwraith replied the topic: #285272 05 Nov 2018 08:20
Yep. Started this process a couple years ago (hey, it's a long, sometimes agonizing process...) when I kinda needed the money and realized that the bulk of my collection pretty much stayed in the spare bedroom downstairs and never saw the light of day. I made some good money on sales and then we moved to a much larger space and suddenly I had room again... but didn't really have the impulse to buy. We have some Ikea shelves that occupy the opposite corner from the TV in the family room, so I don't have the visual noise problem that you do. They're noisy, but they're in a back corner, so no one cares. Plus, the shelf system had a cool cabinet attachment (Don't all things IKEA have cabinets attached?) that we use to store the chicken stuff, since they're right out the back door in that room.

Of course, recently, I've been getting back into "regular play" mode and I've been picking up a few new things or trading instead of selling, which means that the shelves have gotten more crowded (My girlfriend had a half-dozen or so that she brought with her, like Samurai and Pharaoh and Power Grid, too.) But then I realized that a couple significant space takers (Descent 1st Ed, Arkham Horror, etc.) are stuff that I've had on the sale/trade list for years. Since they're never going to get played and we now have a basement, I made some space by shuffling them down there.

Man, I'd love to still have a copy of Robo Rally...
Vysetron's Avatar
Vysetron replied the topic: #285273 05 Nov 2018 08:50
We're in the process of culling over half of our games. I say process because the cuts are going to a sale next weekend, then we're likely donating/giving away the rest. Looking at what we're going to be left with, I'll be much happier to have a shelf where nearly every game is "oh hell yeah let's play THAT".
drewcula's Avatar
drewcula replied the topic: #285274 05 Nov 2018 08:53
You are an inspiration.
Sagrilarus's Avatar
Sagrilarus replied the topic: #285301 05 Nov 2018 11:31

WadeMonnig wrote: Thurn and taxis AND an expansion? *whispered* Do the other members know?
I totally want shadows over Camelot though ;) why does no one in my area ever sell that for a decent price?


I'm an omnigamer, and I'll tell you what, Thurns & Taxis may be the prettiest game you'll ever see on the table. I got it for play with my family (and my buddy sold me the expansion for a couple of bucks) but it didn't stick.

So yeah, but that's kind of the point of the article. This is stuff taking up space, that's providing no value-add.

There's a guy on the Internet saying "don't buy any games in 2019, focus on what you already have" which of course will be ignored, because buying games IS the hobby. As it stands I don't think there will be a contraction until the economy turns.

Frankly, at my house I'm putting myself into a position to buy again, by making space. I'll be choosy, but at least I won't come to the web page or the game store and sigh, where the minute I feel interest in a game my first instinct is to internally ask myself where the hell I'm going to put it.

S.
mezike's Avatar
mezike replied the topic: #285302 05 Nov 2018 11:48
I took the hatchet to my pile of games a few years back and it was such a wonderful release from the bad habits I had picked from fellow ‘hobbyists’ Then I tried to make a rule of selling before buying but the reality is that if there is a game I really want to get then I’m not going to stop myself. So instead I just make sure that I regularly cull what we have and make a determined effort to play some stuff intensively in order to move it on when it’s done. For example we recently buckled down to finish off Mechs v Minions, which we enjoyed but not enough to go all the way through a second time. But making the effort to get through the last couple of scenarios meant that I could then chuck it on eBay to get another box out of the house.
I have two shelves with games and I do love to see the boxes on there, ugly or not. It’s my hobby and part of my identity so I flaunt it.
Legomancer's Avatar
Legomancer replied the topic: #285305 05 Nov 2018 11:53
I think the only advantage to limiting your owned games by a hard number is that it gives you less wiggle room. If 150 or whatever is your number, and you hit it, it's a lot harder to figure out ways that the thing you want doesn't count. Same with space. It either fits or it doesn't, and you can't really say, "okay but this one KIND of fits in this shelf".

I'm with you on the visual clutter. Anyone here remember CDs? We have two bookcases full of CDS in our TV room and it drives me up the fucking wall. I want those things out of there so bad, but my wife isn't up for it. My games are up on shelves in my office, out of sight, which is fine by me.
the_jake_1973's Avatar
the_jake_1973 replied the topic: #285310 05 Nov 2018 12:18
I'd make you an offer for Thurn & Taxis, but it won't get any play at home. My wife saw me playing it on Yucata and her eyes glazed over before my game explanation was complete.
SuperflyTNT's Avatar
SuperflyTNT replied the topic: #285312 05 Nov 2018 12:23
I have all of my games in a closet, guarded by a mirrored door. In front of that mirrored door is my guitar studio area. So, it's basically like My Bodyguard...a cool kid guarding the nerds.
Gary Sax's Avatar
Gary Sax replied the topic: #285314 05 Nov 2018 12:34
Haha, that's very good Superfly.
Michael Barnes's Avatar
Michael Barnes replied the topic: #285335 05 Nov 2018 14:47
Man, the visual noise bugs me. I love my games, but I don’t love my living space looking like a free for all bachelor pad or hoarder nest and piles of games have that look. I am 100 percent a kid at heart but I like for my living spaces to look stylish and adult.

One of the best things I’ve done in terms of storage lately is to get the big Sterlite drawers and put them on my main shelf. All my Warhammer goes into them, and they are big enough to hold large models and terrain pieces. This, along with getting the small stacking drawers for painting and modeling stuff, has tremendously reduces the look of hobby clutter. For years I didn’t get it, but now I see why my wife was always pushing for closed storage.

The absolute biggest game collectors I’ve ever met- we are talking thousands of games between them- both had designated areas in their houses where games were allowed and they were forbidden elsewhere.

I would really like to get down to 25 games not including miniatures stuff. I’m at like 50 and most of the cuts are pretty deep now.
Space Ghost's Avatar
Space Ghost replied the topic: #285339 05 Nov 2018 15:07
I'm with the "super collectors" opinion. I don't have thousands -- probably a couple of hundred accrued over 35 years, but that is because everything is stored in an unfinished area of the house (an excavated spot under the garage) where the hot water heater and the furnace live. Right now there is room for storage; however, I have little to zero desire to have games out in the actual part of the house where I would be looking at them.

And some culling is getting ready to happen -- probably a few AH titles and some other bullshit that pains me to know that it is in my house.

As for the OP, I hate Thurn and Taxis so much, I want to go buy it just so I can cull it.
Erik Twice's Avatar
Erik Twice replied the topic: #285343 05 Nov 2018 15:19

Michael Barnes wrote: Man, the visual noise bugs me. I love my games, but I don’t love my living space looking like a free for all bachelor pad or hoarder nest and piles of games have that look. I am 100 percent a kid at heart but I like for my living spaces to look stylish and adult.

I can see where you come from, but I don't think games look poor on shelves. Of course, I'm also like ten years younger than you and my room looks like a NASA launch site with all the screens I have lying around.
Sagrilarus's Avatar
Sagrilarus replied the topic: #285347 05 Nov 2018 15:43

Erik Twice wrote:

Michael Barnes wrote: Man, the visual noise bugs me. I love my games, but I don’t love my living space looking like a free for all bachelor pad or hoarder nest and piles of games have that look. I am 100 percent a kid at heart but I like for my living spaces to look stylish and adult.

I can see where you come from, but I don't think games look poor on shelves. Of course, I'm also like ten years younger than you and my room looks like a NASA launch site with all the screens I have lying around.


Game boxes are garish on purpose, in order to catch your attention in a store. They're the shape they are for a reason as well, because when they're a thick square instead of a flat rectangle they get displayed standing up on a wall or aisle unit of some sort. There's a whole science to this. Packages are made to sell, the fact that you need to store them afterwards isn't part of the equation because the publisher really doesn't care what you do with them once the check clears.

I would always store vertically end-on because it eliminates most of the package. But some still remains and with each game presenting a different color palette and generally screaming for you to look at it it can become overwhelming. Granted, I'm 54 and I'm looking for a more pastoral existence at this stage of life. This enclosed solution really looks erudite and calming.

I've always joked that if I ever get to be on one of those boardgaming videos where you stand in front of your shelves and talk that I was going to remove every single game except Nexus Ops. While everyone else is trying to impress you with who they are by how many games they can have in the shot (and damn, nearly every frikkin' video has that wall of games behind it) I'd rather just have an empty background with one game that I think really makes a statement. Someone might actually spend the time listening to me instead of scanning the screen for titles the whole time.
Space Ghost's Avatar
Space Ghost replied the topic: #285350 05 Nov 2018 16:19
You could always display them with the blending ombre color effect, like people do with bookcases



www.theforestfeast.com/blog/2018/5/11/co...avorite-spring-dress
the_jake_1973's Avatar
the_jake_1973 replied the topic: #285352 05 Nov 2018 16:32
We are lucky enough to have a closet in the library where the games are stored away from view. My old AH bookcase games are the only ones I would consider putting on the library shelves.
Space Ghost's Avatar
Space Ghost replied the topic: #285356 05 Nov 2018 16:44
If we ever move, and I am forced to have games not in a pseudo-storage area, there will be a massive reduction. Growing up, we always stored our games under the bed, in a trunk, and in the back of the closet (I had a closet under the stairs, so that was where the big MB games were). I probably had 20 or 30 games under my bed (Clue, etc.) -- would have to shimmy under there and dig everything out to get to what I was looking for (and where the hell else were you supposed to store Battle Masters?). My bookshelves had some D&D modules, Feudal, and Wizard's Quest on it -- the rest were books.

If I had them in a living area, then I would either go with Sag's solution, which is nice or I would go with cabinets with doors on them (excepting some bookcase like games -- like the old AH or 3M titles).
san il defanso's Avatar
san il defanso replied the topic: #285362 05 Nov 2018 17:28
I actually keep ours in the master bedroom, which my wife is very understanding about. They are there mostly because we run an air conditioner in there every night and it keeps the tropical humidity from molding everything.

I cut my collection down a lot before moving to the Philippines, and it felt good. You do, however, hit the point where you just don't want to cut anymore. I thought about this the other day, about selling off stuff like Merchants and Marauders (its been well over 2 years since I've played). But games like that represent a connection to a time before culture shock, and I don't want to let that go.
repoman's Avatar
repoman replied the topic: #285366 05 Nov 2018 17:45

WadeMonnig wrote: Thurn and taxis AND an expansion? *whispered* Do the other members know?
I totally want shadows over Camelot though ;) why does no one in my area ever sell that for a decent price?


If you seriously want it, Wade. I'll send you my copy. PM me your address.
Jackwraith's Avatar
Jackwraith replied the topic: #285367 05 Nov 2018 17:47

Space Ghost wrote: You could always display them with the blending ombre color effect, like people do with bookcases


Ha. A friend of mine made that comment when he and his wife moved into their house, as it had been built with embedded bookcases all around the living room. She, of course, took up his pseudo-dare and did sort their considerable library by color. He still has trouble finding things.
Space Ghost's Avatar
Space Ghost replied the topic: #285369 05 Nov 2018 17:50

Jackwraith wrote:

Space Ghost wrote: You could always display them with the blending ombre color effect, like people do with bookcases


Ha. A friend of mine made that comment when he and his wife moved into their house, as it had been built with embedded bookcases all around the living room. She, of course, took up his pseudo-dare and did sort their considerable library by color. He still has trouble finding things.


That would drive me nuts. Our bookcases are divided by topic and then alphabetized — searching by color would be exhausting
Shellhead's Avatar
Shellhead replied the topic: #285370 05 Nov 2018 18:01
My gaming area is the basement. Dark wood paneling and carpeting in the finished section. Long Ikea table selected for the ability to hold Arkham Horror plus all expansions for eight players. I paid an electrician to upgrade the light fixture above the table and use daylight-type flourescent tubes. Even there, the games on display are in shelving units over in the corner of the L-shaped finished area. Then I have probably three large storage totes of games that I should probably sell off some day.
ubarose's Avatar
ubarose replied the topic: #285375 05 Nov 2018 20:01
Meh. The garishness of the boxes is the least of my worries. It's all the empty bottles that are the eyesore.

Collections just expand to fit whatever space you have. Having overflow space makes it worse. I really have to go do battle with our storage, but I'm just not up to it.
dysjunct's Avatar
dysjunct replied the topic: #285382 05 Nov 2018 22:08
The one time I played Thurn & Taxis, a friend’s girlfriend was teaching it to everyone and she was super excited because she’d just discovered nerd games. She mentioned that this line of cards was called the Route Row, and I immediately (and thoughtlessly/reflexively) said “rooh row!” like Scooby Doo. Everyone laughed and she was deflated but continued teaching it. I felt like an ass and I still came in second.
CranBerries's Avatar
CranBerries replied the topic: #285775 09 Nov 2018 10:22

Space Ghost wrote:

Jackwraith wrote:

Space Ghost wrote: You could always display them with the blending ombre color effect, like people do with bookcases


Ha. A friend of mine made that comment when he and his wife moved into their house, as it had been built with embedded bookcases all around the living room. She, of course, took up his pseudo-dare and did sort their considerable library by color. He still has trouble finding things.


That would drive me nuts. Our bookcases are divided by topic and then alphabetized — searching by color would be exhausting


You would want to put a book scanning app on your phone, scan each book and tag it with a color and approximate location.
Space Ghost's Avatar
Space Ghost replied the topic: #285787 09 Nov 2018 11:23

CranBerries wrote:

Space Ghost wrote:

Jackwraith wrote:

Space Ghost wrote: You could always display them with the blending ombre color effect, like people do with bookcases


Ha. A friend of mine made that comment when he and his wife moved into their house, as it had been built with embedded bookcases all around the living room. She, of course, took up his pseudo-dare and did sort their considerable library by color. He still has trouble finding things.


That would drive me nuts. Our bookcases are divided by topic and then alphabetized — searching by color would be exhausting


You would want to put a book scanning app on your phone, scan each book and tag it with a color and approximate location.


We have now officially identified the limits to my OCD regarding books.
Pat II's Avatar
Pat II replied the topic: #285867 10 Nov 2018 14:55
I'm down to maybe 30 plus miniature games. Started selling on Facebook and they flew at good prices. If I can't have a game behind a cupboard door I don't need it. It's amazing every week we realize we're never going to play the games we have and yet more are bought. I've given up on that. Sell sell sell and seriously limit new stuff. Money is better spent elsewhere than on a shrink wrapped door stopper.