Saturday, November 21, 2015

Less is More: Purging the Libray

So, as many of my G+ friends know, I did a massive cleaning out of my gaming book library. This is because the room where the books were being kept had become known as the "Spare Room." It wasn't a library. It was a room where we stufed things to ignore them - and I don't buy gaming books to ignore them.

I'd love to be a collector. I'd love to have a copy of every OSR product out there, simply to support the creators. But that's not a realistic expectation for me. My life, at the moment, doesn't accomidate that kind of luxury. At first, I was bitter about this. Angry, even. Then my wife looked at me and said, "When was the last time you played or referenced any of the books you own? What's the point in owning it if a book just sits on a shelf?"

Well clearly she just didn't "get it," right? Then I caught a post from +D.j. Chadwick discussing his own book purge:
It is the most freeing thing I have done since discovering the OSR. I'm actually focusing on my current campaign and creating new stuff for my players. I work with what I have and don't really worry about anything else. 
I was reluctant to believe it. But ya know what? D.J. was right. I went through my book collection and if I hadn't played or run it in the past year and I wasn't either writing for it as a self-publisher or freelancer I put it on the potential chopping block. The only books that went outside those rules were Changeling: The Dreaming becuse my wife and I bonded over that game and Star Wars, because the d6 incarnation is my first game and has deep sentimental value. Everything else went to the chopping block. So I sold about 75% of my gaming collection at ridiculous prices.

All said and done the survivors were: Labyrinth Lord, Swords & Wizardry (Complete and White Box), Adventures Dark & Deep, AD&D (1st Edition), Dungeon Crawl Classics, Star Wars (d6 and Fantasy Flight Games), The One Ring, Rocket Age, Call of Cthulhu, Changeling: The Lost and Changeling: The Dreaming. Everything else went out the door. Eighty pounds of AD&D (2nd Edition) and almost two hundred pounds of other games went.

Suddenly, I'm free. I'm not second guessing the games I want to run because those are the only ones I kept. Well, what if I want to run Cyberpunk 2020? Mage: The Ascension? Well, I barely play physically these days, and the PDF market means books are available on tap for a few bucks. Along side that, if I do get a chance to play at a table and I need a copy of something, between Ebay and OneBookShelf, I can repurchase damn-near anything. But as it stands right now I can't get cornered into running something I'm only vaguely interested in, because I don't own anything that falls into that category.

It's a pretty awesome feeling. I went from 3 floor-to-ceiling bookshelves, to 3 1/2 shelves on one bookshelf. But these are all games I'm really excited to play - and that's a feeling I've missed for a long, long time.


  1. Good on you! Some survivors of my own purge: Changeling the Dreaming, Changeling the Lost, TMNT, Gamma World (3rd), Star Trek (FASA), Shadowrun (1-3), James Bond, Earthdawn, Star Wars (FASA)...mostly just nostalgia games that I'm unlikely to play.

  2. I hate reading on, as my wife calls it, the "glowy screen". I get eye strain easily and I find digital indexing methods annoying. So for me, I shall continue to accumulate a physical collection.


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