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I blame X-Wing for a lot of things. I blame it for making me read more than is decent about the expanding universe of Star Wars. I blame it for the gaping hole in my bank balance. Most of all, though, I blame it for turning me from a player into a collector.
For a while now I've boiled against nerds and their "collections". I know people with collections. I know how they work. Buying whatever is in front of you and then sticking it on a shelf isn't a collection, that's just buying shit and putting it on a shelf. I've certainly done that -- and worse. For a while I was buying the new Star Wars figures, but all I did was buy them, take em out of the package, put them in a case I kept them in, and that's it. When I move to MA I moved several such cases, which sat unopened for years, still packed for moving. What's even the point of that? (I also had ones that were still in the package, not to increase their "value" but because I didn't even care enough to do that.) I purged all of that junk a few years ago.
I have no problem with people buying whatever they want, even if that kind of consumption doesn't do much for me anymore. But don't try and present yourself as some kind of curator, putting together a finely honed collection. You're just buying shit and giving yourself excuses to buy more shit. We (many of us, at least) live in America, and you don't need to justify consumerism; it's what we're built solely for.
I think the real point of your post is really more about the collection of CMG stuff, though, and I'm not sure that they're much more than beanie babies. People buy 3x every pack to "have options" (read: feed into their need to consume, and not feel left out) just like I did with Heroscape. The intentions were noble, but in retrospect, it was driven by the fear that if I didn' t buy them at retail, I'd want them down the road and they'd be 10x the price on eBay. Part of that has been proven out because the Heroscape secondary market is fucking INSANE, and has been for years, but realistically, although I've played with all the models I've ever bought, human nature is such that I always gravitated toward a very small, non-representative sampling. It's always two kinds of army builds, ranged and melee, for me. And it's always the same kinds of models for me. The tournaments really helped market the shit very slyly, too - unsurprising as one of the designers and many of the playtesters on the Hasbro team were one in the same when putting together the tournament structures. They literally had so much variation in the tournament rules between the various and sundry tournaments at GenCon that you really kind of had to buy it all to be able to play in them all, which is what a lot of people did.
I get what you're saying, though, and I agree with the idea that consuming to consume is a disease of sorts. What I disagree with is the idea that our playing of games and their collecting of games, when viewed objectively, are two different animals and playing is superior. People do what they do for no apparent reason, and our enjoyment in playing may very well be just as rich and rewarding to us as collecting and just "looking at" is to them. Who's to say?