Less Buying, More Playing

Re-evaluating most aspects of my life continues. Over the past two and a half years, I’ve changed my mind on a great many things and learned a great deal. The biggest issue in my hobby has been the tendency to buy new books – rules, settings, supplements – and then see them pile up largely unused. Today I decided that I truly do want to change this behaviour.

Buying fewer books and playing with the games that I enjoy is the goal. There’s a tendency, at least in my mind, to project forward and think, “Wow, this is a cool new thing! It’ll be great to get that to the table!” But the reality is that most of the shopping is impulsive and very little of it gets used. If a new book does get beyond the reading-through stage, it’s likely that it won’t get played for long because something new will supplant it.

I’d rather master a few games I know that I enjoy. My goal is to play for longer with rules, methods, and worlds that matter to me and which I hope will appeal to my friends. The market exists to persuade us to buy new things but the market is not necessarily helping me run great games for people I care about. I am seeking to create communities of discovery where people can feel accepted, not buy more products to fill up my house and distract me from what’s important.

I’ve accelerated the downsizing and decluttering of my hobby. The money has been spent, the hours of enjoyment have been gained, but many great books would be better off released into the hands of other avid gamers than gathering dust in our spare room. Some collections are precious to me but many were simply never going to get used. I am finding a sense of release in letting go. It’s as if the huge piles of books had become a weight on my mind.

Some folk will probably think I am crazy, others wasteful, or even foolish. The decision about what to keep and what to let go is a personal one. You don’t have the same emotional and intellectual priorities as me, and I am similarly different to you. One of the biggest factors is that reducing the range of choices helps me to combat the ADHD. For example, there are quite enough choices in using GURPS as my go-to core rules system, what with all those world books and supplements, without further muddying the waters with alternative systems.

But let’s be clear: I will still have a wide range of games on the shelves: GURPS, certainly, but also BRP, Alternity, Call of Cthulhu, Cypher System, Rolemaster, D&D B/X + BECMI + 1e + 2e (in spite of what I said yesterday), and several more. But if I want to play Star Trek (or even my Dark Trek idea), I can do that with something that’s not 2d20 System. I can play post-apocalyptic games without breaking into Mutant: Year Zero.

It’s a re-evaluation of what’s important. I am choosing what I enjoy and what interests me over the treadmill of endlessly buying new games I’ll rarely bring to the table. It’s not easy, it’s never simple, but it is going to help me shift into a more focused way of playing.

Game on!

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