Monday, March 23, 2015

Seller's Remorse

If it says 4E or Eberron, its gone...

Losing Your Treasures by Choice

Recently I’ve been thinking of all the role-playing games I’ve sold over the years and how I occasionally regret these exchanges months or years down the road.  But despite my tendency to kick myself for letting go, I still find myself repeating the same process over and over again.  As with most gaming collectors, I purchase far more products than I could ever possibly read or use, and while there are many that I would never give up, even if I were never to play them, whenever there is an edition change, or a new and improved update, I get the itch…

… because there is always some other product out there that I need to get my fingers on, and spare cash can be hard to come by!

I can still remember the first time I sold off part of my gaming collection.  It was at Lehigh University’s EPIC Convention in the spring of 1996.  I was sixteen years old, and showed up to the convention with my entire collection of Magic the Gathering cards.  I cannot recall why I had the cards with me, as I had no intention of playing Magic the Gathering while at the convention.  I signed up to run two RPG events, and play in another three or four, and that left precious little time for anything else.  But I had recently purchased West End Games’ Star Wars Role-Playing Game, and on a break between sessions I found myself in the dealers’ hall staring at a bunch of sourcebooks that I needed to purchase.  

Since I was in high school and didn’t have a job, money was pretty tight.  I was about to walk away when the guy behind the counter asked if I had anything I wanted to trade.  

Trade?  Really?  I could do that?

I wasn’t actively playing Magic the Gathering at the time, so I showed the gentleman my deck and we worked out a price.  An hour later I was admiring the new books I acquired.  Two years later I was lamenting my lack of an awesome White/Green deck.  

The process would repeat itself year after year all through college.  I’d buy a bunch of books, maybe play with half, and sell a few off to fund my next purchase.  For example I sold my original Planescape 2nd Edition books to pay for Wraith the Oblivion stuff which I sold a year later for the Mordheim miniatures game and some extra figures.  In an interesting and costly merry-go-round fashion, I sold a lot of my AD&D 2nd Edition books when 3rd Edition came out, and then ditched most of my 3rd and 3.5 Edition books for 4th Edition.  But when I got tired of 4th Edition I decided that I wanted to boost my collection of “old-school” products, and went back and re-purchased many of the AD&D 2nd Edition stuff I ditched in the first place!

I hope I’m not the only gamer out there that treat’s their collection like a used car lot!  

Judging by eBay,, and Half Priced Books, I know that there is strong market for used gaming materials, and I’m grateful to have the opportunity to correct some of my bad decisions as a younger gamer.  I’ve been fortunate to re-collect all of the 2nd Edition Planescape, Dragonlance, and Spelljammer books that I ditched in the early 2000’s.  Some of the products I’ve sold over the years, like Wraith the Oblivion, I don’t exactly “miss”, but in hindsight I wish I would’ve kept because they were an interesting read, even if I had no intention to run the game again.

The reason I thought about writing this post stems from that very first trade: the “1996 Magic the Gathering for d6 Star Wars deal.”  I ended up amassing a huge d6 Star Wars  collection, only to partition it off when Wizards of the Coast released the Revised Edition and then the Saga Edition.  Those books that I didn’t sell, I gave away, figuring I’d be playing the new game, and would be completely content.  But I miss those old books.  I miss the basic rules, even the clunky parts that I mistakenly believed I had to “fix.”  I miss the Millennium Falcon screaming across the cover, and the old black-and-white sourcebooks created back when the expanded universe was still precious and the prequels were far, far away.  

I can’t say for certain that I’m completely finished trading in older books and older editions.  But I hope that “future Jim” will be more careful before letting go of tried-and-true games he grows tired of, in favor of something new and shiny.  Sometimes an old favorite doesn’t need to be replaced.  It just needs to spend some quality time on a shelf or in storage, so that it can be rediscovered like buried treasure a few years down the road.  

So am I alone?  Does anyone else buy/play/trade/and sell their books and games constantly?  If so what sales do you still regret?

Let us know, we’d love to hear from you!

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