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Subject: Why is there so much obsession about the size of one's collection? rss

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Anthony Simons
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travvller wrote:
There are many discussion topics that get repeated over and over.

One of them is the concern about the size of one's collection. There are basically two camps. One is the group that impulsively buys more games and posts about their addictive behavior. The other group talks about how they really want to trim their collection down to a specific number.

I talk about both.

travvller wrote:
What I don't understand is, why is this even a topic of debate?

It's a valid topic, especially over here where the vast majority of people live in houses with extremely limited storage space.

travvller wrote:
Does a wine connoisseur look at their collection and think, "Hmm, I've got too many bottles. I need to drink these up or sell them off because I have too many"?

No, because a wine connoisseur a t this level will probably be buying wines more expensive than the storage space to hold them.

travvller wrote:
Does a book collector look at their shelves and think, "Too many books. I'll never read these. And I've got so many I've already read and I'll probably never get back to them so it's pointless to keep them"?

Quite possibly; but that depends on the collector's motives.

travvller wrote:
So why is it such an issue here other than perhaps those who need to explain their collection to non-gamers, especially spouses/significant others?

I would have to explain a book or wine collection too; I suppose their view is one that games are frivolous.

travvller wrote:
One of the reasons I don't understand is because board games are actually better than both wine and books in terms of long term social value. Games can be played unlimited times and are shared to a far greater degree than either books or wines. But gamers fret over the size of their collection while book and wine collectors do not. And that just seems bizarre to me.

I think wine and book collectors do fret over the size of their collection. The main difference as I see it is that most gamers believe games are to be played, not just collected. If a boardgame enthusiast finds one or more titles gathering dust, he'll likely question its presence in his collection.

It's similar, I suppose, to deciding when to drink what wine in a wine collection; some games simply won't get played until the right conditions appear; others will be played constantly. The difference is, most gamers value a game more if it's going to get played.
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Pete Lane
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I guess I rarely notice these threads, but I wonder if it has to do with the sheer amount of space these things take up. 300 bottles of wine fit into a closet... 300 board games take up a room and become a much faster point of debate with spouses.
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Lee Fisher
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I think Wine or Book HOBBYists would have the same discussion.

If someone is PURELY collecting books, games, wine, cars, etc., then they won't care. Only the quantity matters.

But if someone is also enjoying and practical regarding said wine, books, cars, boardgames, it is natural to have these feelings and discussions.
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travvller wrote:


Is it just because the idea having a board game collection is just too fringe while book or wine collecting is considered mainstream? If so, then I would propose that the best way to claim our place is stop fretting over our collections and just enjoy what we do and allow others with different desires (small vs. large collections) to go on their way without our judgment.


Well one difference may be that your example states "collector", and some of us don't consider ourselves "collectors", but "players". Then the distinction becomes more useful for people who wish to trim their collection of games they won't "play".
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Mike Jones
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MWChapel wrote:
travvller wrote:


Is it just because the idea having a board game collection is just too fringe while book or wine collecting is considered mainstream? If so, then I would propose that the best way to claim our place is stop fretting over our collections and just enjoy what we do and allow others with different desires (small vs. large collections) to go on their way without our judgment.


Well one difference may be that your example states "collector", and some of us don't consider ourselves "collectors", but "players". Then the distinction becomes more useful for people who wish to trim their collection of games they won't "play".


Yeah, I'm a player and not a collector.
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What difference does it make what people talk about? Half the conversations here anyway are noise. Talking about games in any way is fun. Endless small talk is diverting. The same topics come up because different people participate and the topics are stated in slightly different ways.

I suppose you've got a point though, what a bunch of geeks here! And they're totally geeky for board games! Whoda thunk it, eh?
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It also might be that some people put a lot into what they display and how they display it. For instance, I have two large bookshelves in my apartment, one in the living room and one in the spare bedroom. I like to have all my favorite books in the living room, not just for easier access, but also because those are the books I want people to see. In a sense, they define the reader aspect of my persona. Occasionally, I'll move books around as a result of re-reading or after buying new books. And on rarer occasions, I'll decide it's time to just get rid of a bunch because, let's be honest, books take up a lot of space and they're damn heavy. My wife and I make long distance moves every few years and cleaning out the chaff can actually be somewhat liberating.

And I find myself doing the same thing with my boardgame collection. We keep our collection in the living room and I, more so than my wife, consider that display as a reflection of the gamer in me. Consequently, when I rearrange or get a new addition to the collection, I sometimes decide it's time to let one go. For example, I played Balderdash a lot with my family when I was younger and enjoyed it, but when I found Wise and Otherwise, which I much prefer, I decided to just get rid of Balderdash.
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Eric Johnson
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BGG member opinions on this subject do not matter in the slightest.

I look to BGG members for their expertise on games and game play.

My wife, my wallet, and my shelf space decide how large my collection will be, in that order. Shelf space should come second, as my wife reminds me incessantly.

blush
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Joseph Gesumaria
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See if I run out of space I'll move to a bigger apt!!!!! haha. Just kidding.

I buy new games because no one in my area does. I want to play the new titles and I love learning new games and seeing how they work. Over time if I notice 1 specific game that I either didn't like after a bunch of plays or it's just not getting to the table enough. I'll store it or I'll sell it.

I could care less how big or small my collection is. I buy new games because I'd like to play them. Unlike wine Boardgames are meant to be played. Not stored in a moderatley tempatured room to age or mature. I buy one and you better believe it's opened before I even leave the store.
 
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stagger lee wrote:
I guess I rarely notice these threads, but I wonder if it has to do with the sheer amount of space these things take up. 300 bottles of wine fit into a closet... 300 board games take up a room and become a much faster point of debate with spouses.


Valid point about the space. However, 300 bottles of wine would require a rather expensive climate controlled storage area. Combine the cost of the wine and the storage, I would venture that the cost of the wine would be far greater than the games.
 
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Michael Hovan
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Cause size matters!!!!!! blush
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Trevor Long
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I prefer to talk about the breadth of mine since that seems to be a bigger seller over the size in most instances.
 
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Mike Jones
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Because you can only talk about food and drink on the table or not so often.
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travvller wrote:
What I don't understand is, why is this even a topic of debate?

Mostly because people like yourself start these threads.
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Patrick C.
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MWChapel wrote:
travvller wrote:


Is it just because the idea having a board game collection is just too fringe while book or wine collecting is considered mainstream? If so, then I would propose that the best way to claim our place is stop fretting over our collections and just enjoy what we do and allow others with different desires (small vs. large collections) to go on their way without our judgment.


Well one difference may be that your example states "collector", and some of us don't consider ourselves "collectors", but "players". Then the distinction becomes more useful for people who wish to trim their collection of games they won't "play".


Multiple people have stated this position so I'll take this head on with your post.

Everyone seems to be assuming that these positions are mutually exclusive. That is, you either play or you "collect" if you're not playing.

Does someone who has a library not consider themselves a reader? Of course they do. They're just not reading everything all at once.

As someone who allegedly "collects," I'm not doing it to merely collect. I intend to actually play these games. However, I recognize the fact that some games won't get played soon due to my current social circle.

I'm a member of a game group that typically consists of six people. Sometimes we only have four, but only rarely. There's a member of the group who shows up 90% of the time who hates co-ops. When he shows up no co-ops are played.

Any and all of these variables could change. And I'm dating a woman with young children who will obviously get older. And those kids might have friends. Or my nieces and nephews. Or I might hold a party. Or I might make new friends with different interests. The possible social changes are countless.

The argument that "players" use to dismiss the supposed motivations and actions of "collectors" is inaccurate. It's certainly inaccurate in my case.

A wine drinker/collector would never think they have to consume all their wine. They may sit on a bottle of wine for years or even decades for that "right occasion." Because they do this are they any less of a wine consumer just because they waited two years to drink that bottle vs. a friend who consumes all wine within a week of purchasing?

What I see in the characterization of allged "collectors" is a value judgment by alleged "players."

I have an opinion about all the threads here about agonizing over what games to get rid of when one has restricted themselves to, say, 50 games. It's anal. However, I've never posted that opinion until now. And I have no intention of posting it again. Because it's rude.

My judgment on my collection is very simple: Do I like the game? If I'm not ecstatic about the game does it fill another need - theme for time of year (e.g. Halloween), loved by someone close to me, or something I can easily use as a teaching tool to get someone to play a more difficult game that I like more?

The space issue is another matter. I can easily have 300 games without a big problem. Above that, I'd have to cull. And if I moved to a place with less space I'd have to be more aggressive in my judgment. But I can't see myself agonizing over this. I'd just do it. And I certainly wouldn't post something here about it. What other people think of my games is irrelevant. They're my games.

So I go back to my initial position: I don't understand most of the issues raised about collection size - the criticism of those who "collect" or the agonizing done by those who don't. Just do your thing. Opinions by others aren't really necessary in most cases. And stating one's opinion - me calling "players" anal or "players" falsely telling me I'm just collecting - is just rude.

As someone who has been a bibliophile (a collector AND a reader), I'd venture that both book and wine enthusiasts would find debates here about one's game collection to be rather silly - with the exception of the space issue which I have acknowledged is real and valid. Anyone with a large collection of books does have to cull from time to time. I know because I've done it. Many many times. I'm also a full time book dealer.
 
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Remember, its not the size of your collection that matters, but how you play with it.
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Umm, there are wine collector's that discuss how many bottles they have, if they need to trim (drink or gift or sell) bottles to make room for new ones...AND...book collectors who talk about selling books to make room for new ones.

I collect books, separated into two sections...one is the general side and I have a small bookcase for my first/limited/collector's edition prints. I am constantly culling these books and thinking to myself, "I can replace this collector's with the limited edition one" or "These books don't appeal to me much, maybe I can sell them?".
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David van Damme
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Is there? It's just one more thing to talk about when discussing boardgames I think.
 
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Quote:
Does a book collector look at their shelves and think, "Too many books. I'll never read these. And I've got so many I've already read and I'll probably never get back to them so it's pointless to keep them"?


Yes, or pretty close. I'm a book collector too, I've got hundreds of 'em if not into the thousands. And I do think I have too many at this point and need to read more of the ones I own and stop buying new ones.
And I can't wait for bookwormgeek so that I can start cataloging my collection and see exactly how many I DO have!

As for boardgames, I see myself as both a player and a collector. And considering there are database options to log your collection, it's natural people will look at that, think about it and talk about it. It was fun for me to hit 100 games recently, and I did a BGG poll recruiting BGGers to help pick the 100th. Was that wrong? Should I not have done that? I'm sorry, I'm gonna have to plead ignorance on this thing, because if I had known that sort of thing was frowned upon...
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Robert Wesley
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Re: Why is there so much obsession about obsession with the size of one's collection?
I'm NOT! whistle
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I think the reason this is different from wine or, maybe, books is because it's seen as an unhealthy behavior. If a person collected McDonalds plastic cups, they'd probably do so in secret. They wouldn't necessarily broadcast it. Same with games. If I said to a stranger, "I have 1000 boardgames, do you think that's cool?" I'd expect them to slide away from me quickly. So we keep it in the closet.

And like with any hoarding obsession, we feel guilty about it and want to trim it down, knowing that it likely won't happen.

Then there's the economics side of things. We've spent a fortune on the games and are they earning their keep? Probably not all of them. So we figure that if we sell them off we could recoup some of that not-yet-sunk cost. But the window of opportunity is small. We need to sell when the game is still collectible to others and before it gets reprinted. It's a stressful game, there.

In short, we talk about adding and removing because it's a vicious cycle. We either want confirmation that it's OK to buy more or we need appreciation of the fact that we are working to end our sickness. And we're a community, so that we can all help one another in these regards. :)
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People obsess for a few different reasons, same as why they do any other non-autonomous function:

1) They like to.
2) They are required to.
3) The voices in their head tell them to.

I think you'll find that most people fall into category 1 with respect to obsessing about collection size. Some like the validation of their peers ("No, 3,279 games is not too many"), some like to get opinions from their peers ("I would keep game X but lose game Y"), some try to inspire jealousy ("I just ordered everything that Boards and Bits sells"), some like to feel superior, some like to feel inferior, etc., etc., and so on. I think you'll find it's much the same with the reasons anyone does anything, including complaining about other people's threads. So tell us, caller, which category do you feel you fall into for posting your thread? Feel free to explain in depth, and remember, just because I only dove into a few examples for category 1, there are many different "sub-reasons" within each category. I posted this because I am required to share my insight into the human psyche with others who are curious in order to make myself seem intellectual and gain the adoration of my peers.

This is message board psychology with Solid. We'll be back with our caller's response after a short message from our sponsor:
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David C
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While the term is mostly correct at this point for me, I take offense to being called 'a collector'
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Daniel Cassar
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travvller wrote:
stagger lee wrote:
I guess I rarely notice these threads, but I wonder if it has to do with the sheer amount of space these things take up. 300 bottles of wine fit into a closet... 300 board games take up a room and become a much faster point of debate with spouses.


Valid point about the space. However, 300 bottles of wine would require a rather expensive climate controlled storage area. Combine the cost of the wine and the storage, I would venture that the cost of the wine would be far greater than the games.


Are you honestly telling us that wine collecters wouldn't ask the exact same questions... is it worth it? should I buy more? should I get rid of any?

I certainly think their spouse would have something to say about it as well.

If someone was into cycling I would expect them to ask another cyclist enthusiest what they think of the idea of buying a third $10,000 bike rather than asking their extended family their opinion.

It is the same with board gamers, if you live with people who are not interested in board games, it can make your hobby/obsession appear unusual, but asking people on here who have similar interests helps put things in better perspective.
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Bottom line is you have just given me
justification to buy more games.
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