It’s no secret that I have far too many roleplaying games in my collection. I have no shelf space and the books I use most are stacked two rows deep in our shared rat / hobby room. For the longest time, this was an ever-growing collection of games that I would flip through, sometimes read, and rarely play.
It’s also true to say that I have long been an advocate of resisting the temptation to sell off or give away your hobby. On the macro-scale, I stand by that: too many people clear out their hobby when life gets too busy.
We all have those periods in life when personal circumstances, careers, businesses we’re building, families, and a myriad other things crop up and become bigger priorities. Yet we should resist the anti-play, if you’re not productive you’re a loser mentality. The unfortunate truth is that the opposite of play is depression. We need play as human beings.
That being said, my collecting is unhealthy. It’s natural that I would do this – given my brain – but it hasn’t always proven helpful. In fact, in recent months the scale of the stacks has caused me far more angst than joy. That’s why I began the process of downsizing the collection, of slowing my buying, and working towards finding the games that really do bring me joy.
Letting go of really good games is hard. There are memories attached to some of them – real nostalgia – and others are so highly regarded that you’d surely never consider giving them away. But the question I have confronted myself with is simple: which do you really want to play?
These game books are sunk costs. They are a gift to myself from the past. The question is whether I want to accept that gift given my circumstances today? When we consider the limited discretional time we have, which things am I really going to focus on enjoying?
Honestly, some of these books are simply there because I got curious. Others were collected because I got excited about a system and then never got it to the table. Only a handful are games that I can honestly see me playing with or running. Of the remainder, some are genuine articles of my personal collection – games I would always want on the shelf because of what they mean to me. But few indeed are the games I would genuinely enjoy playing.
And so I have begun to downsize the collection. Slowly, methodically, thoughtfully. At the risk of sounding all Marie Condo, there is much to be said for tackling the stacks slowly and with mindfulness. What is this book for? Why do I have it? Do I want to accept the gift to myself?
I am focusing on what enjoyment and excitement a game can bring. If it’s not adding to the experience of hanging out with my friends, then why are we bothering with it? We could just hang out instead. For me, a game that is going to get played and become a part of my collection long-term is a game that adds something more than mere curiosity.