I’ve stated in my previous post regarding GenCon that I like to hang out at the Auction a lot…possibly to an unhealthy degree. Let’s face it, I like, have liked and will like collecting gaming books as long as there are good quality books to collect. What I’d like to discuss with those out there who have begun the process or who are thinking about it is the proper care and feeding of this rather addictive habit. I’d like to start this series with a discussion of the mindset to be an RPG collector.

First, you have to be the sort who likes to have lots of books. Sounds simple doesn’t it? You’d be surprised. Not everyone can tolerate the space requirements and monetary demands necessary to be a bibliophile. It requires that you be a little bit of a pack rat. I certainly fit that category. Allow me to explain.

See, in my fun filled youth, I grew up pretty poor. Not shack in Alabamy poor, but hard to replace toys and support hobbies poor. The family was more concerned with keeping the rent paid and dinner on the table than they were on feeding any of their children’s odd habits. I was encouraged with most things to use them up and wear them out. That mentality is one that is quite conducive to becoming a packrat, because a rational (or irrational depending on how you want to look at it) mind can find a use for just about anything in time.

About the time of the acquisition of my first D&D set at age 12, I had just lost most of my prized Star Wars figures (this was ’83 mind you, Jedi was out and the last of the figures were hitting the shelves) to my very little and very destructive brother. Stormtroopers, Luke Skywalkers, and even Boba Fett himself could not survive my brother’s destructive treatment of action figures.

This left me with no real collections or toys, just my small library of encyclopedias, Harvard Classics and two D&D sets (the Mentzer Basic and the older style Expert). These became my focus and from here my collection grew, slowly at first, but significantly.

Watershed events like this may help let you know if collecting RPG’s is something you would like to or already have to some degree managed to do. Being a real collector of role playing games is a bit of an obsession, but it’s also fun. Otherwise, it’d just be another insanity. 🙂

I think it’s important to really be a lover of books as well. You have to really want them in your living space and you have to want to take care of them to a certain degree. Entropy eventually screws with us all and with everything we own. Books are no exception. They can only stay at least the same quality in our care, but usually (sometimes through no fault of our own (SJG you b*st*rds…GURPS Vampire Companion’s binding glue was practically non-existent) they can and often do deteriorate to some degree. By the way, they had the temerity to sell that crappy copy out of their own stock and for full price. I might have had better luck on ebay…

But I digress. The idea I’m trying to get across is, you have to make a commitment early on to at least trying to preserve the books’ quality for as long as possible. This necessitates some special considerations for care that I’ll discuss in the upcoming posts in this series.

Lastly, how can you be sure that you’re a bibliophile for RPG’s and ready to collect? Well, the easiest way to know is to look at your gaming book collections as they now stand. Do you have or have you in the past had certain books in a series that you didn’t have, but searched any chance you got for? If you were online, you might check ebay or you’d always check the used bin at the local gaming store or perhaps even spend hours picking through the GenCon Auction store over the course of the convention (raises hand…)?

Do you feel a little empty space in your thoughts when that collection isn’t as complete as you’d like it to be, and do you feel a certain fulfillment when you finally get those books and complete that collection?

Answering affirmatively to any or all of those questions almost guarantees you have what it takes to be an RPG collector. Maybe you already do collect books. Maybe you’ve thought about it, but weren’t sure where to begin.

Are there others like you out there? Is there a way to know what to look for, judge quality through and be reasonably assured that you’ll get what you need to satisfy that compulsive desire? 🙂 The answers to all these particular questions are yes there are others out there and there are tools that can help you. We’ll explore those in greater depth down the thread train.

Till then, collect your books, plastic bags, and a nice sipping drink for the next session. We’ll continue our talk on collecting.