Freelance Knight

A Peaceful Culling Of My Game Collection

A Peaceful Culling Of My Game Collection

A Peaceful Culling Of My Game Collection

I mentioned back in my 2019 Resolutions that I was going to be seeking peace, and one way of doing that was simplifying aspects of my life. Simplifying sounds simple enough, doesn’t it? Just do less things. Quit doing some things you do now. Say no to some new things. Find easier or more effective ways of doing things. Give up things you don’t need. Seems simple enough? Marie Kondo shows up in most searches now on decluttering, simplifying, finding joy in life, etc. I haven’t read her books nor seen any episodes of her show, but I have heard her concepts and see some value in them.

Yet, it can be so hard to quit doing things we have done for so long. Chicago said it so well with their lyrics “You’re a hard habit to break.” Not so easy to quit things we are doing. Easier not to start in the first place. And we, especially as geeks, tend to acquire/collect/horde things that have meaning or nostalgia to us. So giving up things we have worked so hard to acquire, saved up to purchase, or have owned for decades can be very hard to give up, no matter how much dust they are gathering.

So where does all this rambling bring me? Back to that search for peace through simplification. The recent extreme cold weather gave me lots of time at home to work on some hobbies and play games. Which also meant a lot of time to stare at shelves looking for things I wanted to do. I have come to realize, and accept the fact, that I have way more rpgs and tabletop games than I can ever play. I have been blessed to have a larger collection of games from purchases, gifts, trades, and complimentary copies of games I have worked on. Why do I keep all these games, many of which have only been played once or twice (sadly some never) and some haven’t been touched in years? While looking at these games during these long cold weekends, I actually became emotional and frustrated. There are games I really prefer to get to the table to play more, but I feel so obligated (and almost guilty) that I haven’t played other newer games from gifts, purchases, or trades. Where is the peace and joy in that?

I actually came to a point where I asked myself, “Why have so many games I never play and really don’t have an urge to play?” I didn’t have a good answer, which sort of startled me. As a gamer, why wouldn’t I want a large collection of games? I had been keeping some older classic games, thinking I would run community game days again, but that is not happening any more with our new rhythm in life and my caregiving duties. Some games I was keeping had entered my collection early on as I grew my hobby game collection, but I no longer play them, as I have other games I like better. Some games I kept when I was the main game collection in the area, but now most of my friends and family have game collections, and even our library has games. And with all that, my life has changed a lot in recent years with daughters off to college, meaning more responsibilities as a caregiver. I have less free time for gaming these days. I came to realize I was keeping so many games because I couldn’t bring myself to let them go, even though I do not have the time to play them. Yeah, I would cull the collection a few games every now and then, but those were mostly easy culls. Not sitting down and looking at every game in my collection to determine if I should keep it.

Why have so many games I never play and really don’t have an urge to play? I didn’t have a good answer, which sort of startled me. As a gamer, why wouldn’t I want a large collection of games? I had been keeping some older classic games, thinking I would run community game days again, but that is not happening any more with our new rhythm in life and my caregiving duties. Some games I was keeping as they had entered my collection early on as I grew my hobby game collection, but I no longer play them as I have other games I like better. Some games I kept when I was the main game collection in the area but now most of my friends and family have game collections, and even our library has games as well. And with all that my life has changed a lot in recent years with daughters off to college meaning more responsiblities as a caregiver. I have less free time for gaming these days. I came to realize I was keeping so many games because I couldn’t bring myself to let them go even though I do not have the time to play them. Yeah, I would cull the collection a few games every now and then, but those were mostly easy culls. Not sitting down and looking at every game in my collection to determine if I should keep it.

I had become comfortable owning a large game collection even though much of it was not being used or enjoyed by anyone. I also realized this was causing me stress when I looked at my shelves. Every time I went to pick a game to play, I felt obligated to grab an unplayed game rather than one I really had an urge to play, causing me a twinge of discomfort. When I would go to find a space on the shelf for a new game and struggle to find a place, forcing me to rearrange, I would get frusrated and wonder why I kept that game just gathering dust on the shelf. Or that nostalgic sigh when I would see or read about friends playing an older game I owned and loved but just didn’t get to the table anymore because I felt I needed to play my newer and unplayed games. Then those FOMO feelings when new games are released and I want them but have no capacity to play them, as I feel overwhelmed by all the games I have.

To be honest, this was a conflicted feeling. I enjoy the occasional new game. I get copies of games I worked on that I enjoy playing. I have older games I am passionate about and wish I played more. So what about all these great games on my shelf that I just don’t care to play nor have the time to play if I am going to play the ones I really want to get to the table? If I am not a collector of games, then why am I keeping all of these other games? This conflict was impacting the peace I have been pursuing this year. I had to accept that I have more games than I can enjoy, which means I need to determine what that means. Do I accept that fact, but keep the games as a collector? Do I accept that fact, and hold onto the games for future changes in my life? Or do I accept that fact, and seriously cull my collection more than I ever have?

After much discussion with my wife, and my daughters, we made the choice to cull the family game collection. The moment the decision was made, I felt at peace. So far, I have made the first pass of this culling and removed over 50 games from our collection. Some were really easy choices, but others took serious thought, as I really enjoyed the games. But I asked myself those hard questions: Would I (or my family) play it before other games? Does it have value for the classes I teach? Does it have nostalgic value? If I answered no to all of those questions quickly, then the game went on the cull pile. That was round one. Currently finding new homes for those games among friends and family, and donating the rest to the library and other orgs. Strange seeing so much room on my gaming shelves. Now I need to do some rearranging of my games.

I am actually excited about gaming again, which I did not expect after making this first cull. I now look at my collection and am eager to play the games still there. In a few months, I will look to make another cull once my mind and emotions are clear from this one. Have you ever taken a serious look at your growing game collection and made the decision to reduce the size of it by culling? Did you do it for storage reasons? Financial reasons? Or for emotional peace (like I am doing)?

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