This article reprinted by kind permission of Ravage magazine.
I have too many games. Maybe you do too.
My study is one of the largest rooms in the house and yet I hardly have room to move. Games and games paraphernalia are piled everywhere. Despite my attempts to clear out some of the accumulated stuff of several decades’ gaming, I still have way too many games. But too many for what?
Too many for my wife, who looks in and shakes her head. Too many to have a clear painting space which might allow me at least the pretence of finding time to get some models painted. Too many to still fit a gaming table in (that has migrated downstairs). Too many to even get to some of them. Most importantly, I have too many games to let me buy more.
Let me Explain
It’s likely that I have this condition rather worse than most, but perhaps you recognise the symptoms. I actually have a lot of space to store my games, and that’s great. However, I have a lot of games to store. What I really need to do is to go through them and find a way of culling the least worthy so that I have room for new shoots to replace the tired old husks. Easier said than done, of course, for as soon as I start to sift through the boxes I have waves of nostalgia. These are old friends who shared my adventures and the moment I see them again it all comes flooding back. How can I discard them?
A cold (but practical) heart is the only way.
I have a Kickstarter’s worth of Sedition Wars on the way, Spartacus sounds fun and a friend is gently pushing me towards Dystopian Legions. Dropzone Commander looks very shiny and I’ve got a backlog of board games to catch up with. Where will they all go?
So, I have no choice. Some must die so that others may be saved.
I’ve tried asking for volunteers, but that didn’t work. So I’ve decided to work through the boxes with a simple set of rules. If you have similar afflictions, maybe following these steps will help you too.
1) Firstly we have the obvious keepers. These are games which you either play regularly now, or that you have played many times in the past. They are reliable old standbys, your “go to” games, and you know you will play them again. For me, this includes things like Lost Cities, Nuclear War and DBA.
2) Then we have the things that are plainly not needed. Anything that you don’t want or don’t like any more obviously goes in the Ebay/charity/bin pile. You may be surprised how much sits in here – tastes change and new (and better) replacements come out all the time. Something that may have been perfect “way back when” may not be worth keeping now.
3) Once you have siphoned off your current favourites and the utter rejects, you need to sort the remainder. Divide the rest of your collection into games you played in the last year, and games you haven’t played for longer than that. Note that the age of the game itself is irrelevant – it’s the time you last played it that matters.
4) If you played it in the last year and it is not either a keeper or a reject (step 1 or 2), make a death row pile. Their fate is as yet undecided (though it doesn’t look good). They get one more gaming session to either earn themselves a status of keeper, or a slot on Ebay.
5) Finally, dig out anything that you haven’t played in over a year. Ask yourself a hard question: “Am I really going to overcome whatever it is that is stopping me playing this in the next 3 months?” If the honest answer is “No”, then you should probably add this to the discard pile too. If you’re like me, stuff in this category was either bought on a whim, was part of a grand plan that never happened, or was bought because it was fashionable at the time (and now it’s not). Mostly this should be binned.
By the way…
If you could replace all your physical rulebooks with digital copies (saving loads of space) would you do so?
If your house was on fire and you could rescue only one game, which would it be? Why? Is this the same game you would have rescued five years ago? Ten?