What No One Tells You About Collectible Gaming

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Collectible gaming–buying plastic figures and/or cards to play in games with others–is a fun pastime for quite a lot of people, myself included. But there are a few things about the hobby that I didn’t quite understand before I got into it:

You will end up with “extras” that you can’t sell for any money, period.

No matter how seldom you buy stuff for the game, no matter how much you try to sell instead of trade, you will ALWAYS end up with extra figures or cards that nobody seems to want, not even on eBay or gaming-specific trading/selling sites. There are two ways to deal with un-sellable extras: set aside a box in your closet for them and forget about them, or give them away to new players who need to build up their collections. (I’d personally recommend the second way, given that nice veteran players gave me a lot of extras when I first started playing Magic and HeroClix, and I’ve kept some of those cards and figures to this day.)

Storing your collection so that it won’t get damaged will become somewhat of an obsession in itself.

Take it from me: once you’ve spent actual money on your collection and/or acquire something you REALLY want, you’ll be invested in taking care of it. This often means buying special padded miniatures boxes to keep your figures from getting damaged, card sleeves and/or toploaders for valuable cards, etc. Not only that, you have to be concerned with keeping your collection away from sunlight (fades everything), water, dust, and excessive heat (the latter especially with plastic/rubber figures, which can and will begin to soften in hot cars). (As OCD as all this might sound, it’s worth it if you ever want to sell or trade these items later–Near-Mint and Mint condition items sell or trade best!)

You will never be “done” collecting unless you cut yourself off cold turkey.

Admittedly, this is how collectible games stay alive–always creating new stuff for us to collect. There’s always one more figure to complete a set, one more card we don’t have. But this can be quite a strain on the wallet…and on the arms and back as you struggle to move your collection! Once you start collecting, if you’re deeply involved in it, you won’t ever be quite done fleshing out your selection of figures and/or cards, unless you set goals of routinely upgrading and cleaning out your collection to only keep the stuff you play and enjoy. Which leads me to my last point…

Your collection can reach ridiculous sizes in a very short time.

Without regular pruning (and heck, sometimes even WITH regular pruning), your gaming collection can swell to fill a room corner, a closet, a room, or even your whole house (I’ve seen it happen!). Even if you’re trying not to buy new stuff, purely trading out old for new, your collection can take over your living spaces quite easily. (See: my “gaming shelf” in my closet, which is so shamefully overflowing that I’m not even taking a picture of it, LOL) If you want your collections to be enjoyable yet contained, you have to be really proactive about containing them!

What Do You Think?

Have I accurately described a collectible gamer’s life? Let me know in the comments!

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