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Subject: radically thinning a collection--how to start? rss

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Guy Riessen
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This is something I've been thinking about for some time--thinning out the ol' collection by a large amount, say 60-70% (and it probably should be more). As you can imagine, from the number of years I've been frequenting BGG as evidenced by the load of yearly-supporter icons, and being a cult-of-the-new devotee, I've got a lot of games. Games filling bookshelves, cupboards and closets. In fact there's probably a quarter more on the shelves than I even have listed here on BGG. So far, I've been pretty good about auctioning off or selling off games that we found to be either, not for us, or too similar to other games that "did it better." But over the last year, I've been questioning why I even keep most of the games I have.

Now a number of the games do make an annual or bi-annual appearance on the game table...but is that enough to warrant the space they take up the rest of the year? I dunno--I keep waffling on it. The collector in me wants to keep them all--but the rest of me wants to reclaim some space as well as recycle some of the money invested.

I'm wondering what others have done, since I know there's gamers out there who've excised much of their collection. Did you really take a hard look at what was played vs. what you may like but isn't played? How did you go about making the determination for what to keep and what to sell?

I was thinking maybe I should sort of clear the shelves in waves, starting from least dear and auctioning those off, then a few weeks later making another pass through the collection? But I'm not sure, and it's very hard to get started...yet on the other hand it just seems kind of ridiculous at this point to have so very many games. So, it's probably mostly that I'm just trying to get the internal dialogue started, and I'm looking for anyone else who might have anything to share who has been through the same thing.
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Chad
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It sounds like you've got the right idea, I say go for it. I've yet to acquire enough board games to need to start trimming down, but in the last few years I've made similar cullings of books, CDs, movies, and video games. I wouldn't consider myself a collector of any of that stuff but over time it just starts to pile up. It's a nice cathartic exercise, IMHO.

Now if I can just get around to clearing out the comic books...
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David Boeren
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I'd start by going through and making a list of games you are OK with getting rid of and marking them all available for trade. It's a lot easier to "let go" of a game if you can swap it for something else you've been interested in.
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Shanthi Gonzales
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Maybe you should set a yearly financial goal (ie, vacation fund, a nice piece of jewelry for a loved one, your favorite charity) and sell enough games to meet that goal? Or make a plan for what you will do with the space you free up. Either of these things will help you to envision the benefits of said collection thinning.

Alternatively, why not just sell anything you've played and rated less than 8? The way I see it, people benefit the gaming community as much as themselves when they sell games, especially if they are rare or out of print. I probably bought half of my collection used here on the geek.

Good luck!



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jflartner
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Something I do on a almost monthly basis is compare games that fill similar niches in my collection.

I look at my coop games, shorter games, longer games, and say, "Will I ever play this one over that one?" If the answer is no, then out the door it goes.
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Joe Huber

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Sprydle wrote:
Now a number of the games do make an annual or bi-annual appearance on the game table...but is that enough to warrant the space they take up the rest of the year? I dunno--I keep waffling on it. The collector in me wants to keep them all--but the rest of me wants to reclaim some space as well as recycle some of the money invested.

I'm wondering what others have done, since I know there's gamers out there who've excised much of their collection. Did you really take a hard look at what was played vs. what you may like but isn't played? How did you go about making the determination for what to keep and what to sell?


For me, one key point was when I realized that enjoying a game wasn't, on its own, a sufficient reason to keep a game. Another was when I realized that nearly any game I get rid of can be re-acquired if need be. (And my record for games I've let go, and later re-acquired, suggests that I almost never need to re-acquire a game.)

I'm not convinced the frequency of play need be a big factor in the decision, however. I own a few games - Ironman Football and Collegiate Crew stand out - that I really enjoy playing, even though it's on a rare basis. I recently played Mare Mediterraneum, and realized that it's better once a year or even longer.

One key, for me, is that I've had an effectively fixed space available for games for more than a decade now. The cuts hurt more now than they once did - but they're also usually pretty clear. When I recently looked through the list of games I own but haven't played this year, most of the titles made me want to play the game. Those that didn't hit the trade pile.

Now if I can just figure out how to lessen my silly obsession with emergency backup copies of games...
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Guy Riessen
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jazgonz wrote:
Maybe you should set a yearly financial goal (ie, vacation fund, a nice piece of jewelry for a loved one, your favorite charity) and sell enough games to meet that goal? Or make a plan for what you will do with the space you free up. Either of these things will help you to envision the benefits of said collection thinning.


This is a nice idea thanks!

huber wrote:
Now if I can just figure out how to lessen my silly obsession with emergency backup copies of games...


Thank goodness I don't collect backup copies too!
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Ted Groth
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huber wrote:
Now if I can just figure out how to lessen my silly obsession with emergency backup copies of games...

I have a suggestion on that one! laugh Just look at your earlier statement:
huber wrote:
Another [key point] was when I realized that nearly any game ... can be re-acquired if need be.
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Mark Ramsey
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Well you could start by writing down my mailing address...

arrrh
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Matt Riddle
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unless you are out of space, what is the point?
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Damo
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Don't get rid of any game that you will wish you hadn't and then and buy again.
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Pater Absurdus
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1. Wait till you can get your "Gold" board game collector badge...

2. Every time you buy a new game get rid of 2. Keep doing this until you reach your goal game ownership level. This breaks the decision down into lots of tiny increments.

3. As has been stated: don't worry about having to repurchase a game. You can do that if needed...
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Guy Riessen
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Redward wrote:
1. Wait till you can get your "Gold" board game collector badge...

2. Every time you buy a new game get rid of 2. Keep doing this until you reach your goal game ownership level. This breaks the decision down into lots of tiny increments.

3. As has been stated: don't worry about having to repurchase a game. You can do that if needed...


1. The scary part is, if I went through and entered every game on these shelves, and in these closets, I probably would easily reach gold collector status. Maybe over the holiday I'll enter everything and then I can "retire" from collector status without remorse laugh

2. This would be an awesome idea but for the fact that I don't buy games that frequently anymore, so I think the attrition rate would be unsatisfying. I wish I'd started a process like buy one sell two, two years ago when I was still acquiring at a decent pace.

3. Yep this is key. And while I understand it, I think what's held me back in the past is the entirely unrealistic thought of, what if I want to play Game X TONGIHT but I sold it last week!? I've got to get over that--it doesn't make any sense. Obviously we could just play something else, and if the desire to play Game X remains for awhile, then and only then should I attempt to re-acquire it.


ridden wrote:
unless you are out of space, what is the point?


Lol, once you've got 500 games clogging your house, you'll understand that even if you still have a few slots on the shelf open, thinking about the situation leads to feeling it's a bit ridiculous!
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chuck dunn
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Simple really you'd have to keep the collection at at least 301 so as to have a second page in your listing so that leaves you 114 to send off to a better home ... no way that a local group can't absorb some into a library ? Which then could be accessed by members and reclaim some money from membership fees to get it started ? selling/auctioning seems like a weak way to cull really. setting up the game group and donating 104 games for there use seems stronger by far. Figure out the members that would be needed to reclaim that money and see if it would be possible .
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Jones Theory the f**kers. Check out the Game On with Cody and John podcast/guild for more info ninja
 
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Pater Absurdus
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D6Frog wrote:
Is the game Ameritrash? If yes keep it. If no throw it into the burn pile.

Does the Eurogame at least have a cool theme...like sacrificing humans to Mayan gods? If yes, play at least once before throwing into the burn pile.

Then take these steps to better your life/collection...

-Take gasoline and pour it over the burn pile.
-Light a match.
-Toss said lit match onto the burn pile.
-Dance around like an idiot proclaiming..."That is what you get when you mess with Fortress America!!!" while listening to the Team America soundtrack of course!


Wow! That is a pretty inflammatory statement...
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Just list every game you want to get rid of onto a geeklist, and then have a massive Christmas giveaway contest!
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Jim
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I went through this moving back to the states from D-land; and on several PCS moves since that time. Like anything else, if you haven't used it for over six months, you probably don't need/play it anymore. I would try for 20-30%, concentrating on games you have that seem to have a market; you can research here or at sites like Ebay to see what the going rates are. Something else to keep in mind is just because something you have means a lot to YOU and/or is old DOES NOT mean it's valuable to someone else.
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Jon Cormier
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Do it like clearing out your wardrobe. You start by slowly sorting everything into 3 piles. One pile are the definite keeps, one pile for the definite sells and the third pile is the one you're just not sure about.

Move all the keeps back onto the shelves, move all the sells to wherever you want to keep them and try to sort through the last pile into keeps and sells again. If you're just not sure, then keep it for now. It's less stressful, and it gives you the opportunity to take time to decide on whether you want to keep it or not.

Don't worry about your deciding factors, whatever works for you, like if you haven't played it in a few years, it goes. Or if it's one that is near and dear to your heart but you don't play it and don't know if you want to keep it or not, just keep it.
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John Farrell
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Sprydle, this might help:

http://friendless.servegame.org/dynamic/result/Sprydle
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"Boutique Stupidity"
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These days I have very little disposable income. I decided earlier in the year that if I want to buy more stuff first of all I need to get rid of the stuff I haven't done anything with in a while. Most folk will have a number of games which they brought, played once, thought "meh" and then never went back to. These are taking up valued space- sell them, give them to charity stores, give them to local gaming groups. Get rid of them!

I went through and made sure I had every one of my games rated and listed here on the Geek (BGG works as a handy inventory list). Then look at your ratings for each game- get rid of ones that fall below a certain rating. This will be very much down to individual taste. For example, I count pretty much anything I rated as 5 or less open for selling off. Games with a 6 I evaluated individually- some I will "play sporadically when the mood takes me", others I was less bothered about; they went too.

I didn't have many to start with, but I've culled about 35 of 140 games and expansions. I use the money I make as a gaming fund to buy new games with. It's worked well so far. Maybe it will work for you too. Good luck! goo
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Brian Schroth
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1. Get a large shipping box.
2. Put my address on it.
3. Dump in games until it is full.
4. Mail it.
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EuroPeon
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Redward wrote:
D6Frog wrote:
Is the game Ameritrash? If yes keep it. If no throw it into the burn pile.

Does the Eurogame at least have a cool theme...like sacrificing humans to Mayan gods? If yes, play at least once before throwing into the burn pile.

Then take these steps to better your life/collection...

-Take gasoline and pour it over the burn pile.
-Light a match.
-Toss said lit match onto the burn pile.
-Dance around like an idiot proclaiming..."That is what you get when you mess with Fortress America!!!" while listening to the Team America soundtrack of course!


Wow! That is a pretty inflammatory statement...
Gasoline isn't flammable, it's combustible. whistle
 
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Neil Carr
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Over many years I've been thinning out my collection. I was well over 300 games at one point and now I'm down to... I don't know... it can all fit into a closet now. I haven't synced up my BGG collection what I actually have in quite awhile.

Putting aside choosing what to get rid of is unfortunately the rather grueling task of getting rid of it. Buying a game is very easy. You just pay for it in a store and walk away/or click on the mouse, type a few things and acquire it online, meanwhile infused with a hit of dopamine in your brain to give you warm fuzzies over the acquisition. Selling a game however requires a lot more steps, not of which are particularly fun and you have to do this again and again and again. So prepared yourself for work.

So you need to get into the swing of things, figuring out how you want to dispense with games. BGG sales are fine, but they can happen out of the blue and so you have to stop what you're doing in life and get the game packed up and mailed. My preference is to do them in batches so I can get rid of 10-20 games all at once and just spend the time processing all of the shipping in one chunk of time. That way I can schedule my ebay time into my life.

Ebay itself is a learning experience when you're dealing with lots of stuff to sell. There are more steps involved with international buyers, but they tend to pay more for games, so there is value in selling to them. However the downside is that they want to buy everything in a big batch to save on shipping, but even then there is an optimal zone where weight and package size are met. People can get hit with shipping sticker shock if they buy too much from you at once.

With boardgames, a lot of people are rather... particular... and so it's better to be as upfront about the condition of things as possible to avoid lots of persnickity questions. I always add in a disclaimer that while I've always treated my games well, they are still being sold "as is." There are only so many hours in the day to count out every last bit. Some games it is worth making sure are complete, such as grail games, but for others you just glance to make sure everything seems in order and then move on. You're time is valuable and you're unlikely to make back enough to justify exacting assessments. For every really anal buyer there is likely to be someone else who's willing to pay a similar price and not be overly concerned about minor issues.

For the most part I start everything at 99 cents. Let the market do what it does and you'll get a decent price. If you're dealing with a large volume of games then trying to minmax the price on everything just isn't worth your time.

If you are dealing with a large number of games then it is worthwhile to go buy one of the digital scales from the post office. They cost $40-50, but are essential in processing a lot of material accurately. Nothing is worse than having to add more steps to the process, and needing to put more postage onto a package just sucks out another 10-20 minutes of your life.

Another thing to consider that might help get the juices flowing with this endeavor is to get a larger uhaul box, grab out a lot of titles from your collection that are dross in your estimate, mix in a few 5 or 6 rating titles, package them all up and then sell it as one big box 'o games. This can often end up costing more for the buyer in shipping than what they pay for the games, but it does help clear out a decent amount of space in one go.

I could babble on about this for awhile, but life calls. Just dive in, grab a bunch of stuff that you don't see you realistically playing with any real frequency and then start learning how to process those sales. The emotional hurdle of what to let go of eventually is overtaken with the emotional hurdle of all the work you have to do to just get rid of the games.
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Don Schiewer
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I really like the idea of donating (as many as you can - understand if you need to recoup some of the money) - We are currently trying to create an opportunity for underprivileged families to have access to boardgames and space to play them.

We'll do this through donated space (a local church) and set-up times that families can come and learn/play games with each other. Anywhere from yahtzee to agricola!

You should see if there is anyone in your community doing something similar. It is an amazing gift to give out of our surplus. The kids/families will be grateful!

Just my $.02

don
 
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