I have a fairly extensive collection of boardgames, many of them from the 1970’s and some, especially the ones published by Avalon Hill, are somewhat valuable (Titan, for example, regularly sells for over $100 on ebay and I’ve seen it go for over $200). It’s an impractical hobby in that boardgames take up quite a lot of space, and in fact until last weekend it had been over two years since I had seen most of them, because ever since I moved to Saratoga they had been sitting in boxes, first in the attic of a barn in Greenfield and then more recently in a spare room in my current house.
When I visited family over Thanksgiving holiday we went to Ikea and I bought dressers, which allowed me to disassemble the ramshackle milk crate and board shelving system I had been using for my clothes. I transferred this to the spare room, unpacked all the games, fawning over some of them as one might fawn over long absent treasures, then closed up the spare room. I’m not heating it this winter to save on the heating bill.
Yesterday I went into the spare room to retrieve one of the games and discovered the whole assemblage had collapsed for reasons unknown. Things could have been much much worse than they ended up being but still, games and parts of games were scattered everywhere. Most of the 1970’s era games, with their hundreds of cardboard chits, survived intact and boxes closed, but some of them vomited forth a stream of cardboard bits it will take me a month to sort. At first I thought to take a picture of the carnage but the whole thing was so depressing I couldn’t bring myself to do it – in fact, after gathering together the still closed games and stacking them together I fled the room and left the mess intact, to be dealt with another day.
The best thing I can say about it all is that most of the really valuable games seem to have survived, boxes uncrushed. The whole episode has tempted me to sell off the majority of the collection. It’s a bit of a burden to keep around and though I do get to drag out some of the games several times a year for play, the vast majority are neither valuable nor ones I would play. They are individually notable for their rule system, or the designer, or their heritage, or their theme, but in aggregate they’re a great bulk of relatively delicate historical gamestuff that would be better stored in a collector more inclined to make use of them than I am.