How I became a board game collector - please share your experience(s)

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Joined: January 1st, 2014, 3:04 pm

September 17th, 2017, 2:15 pm #1

Hi everyone
Since I'm not buying right now and everything is boarded up and buckled tight; I'm not doing much 
with my games right now - that will change in the near future tho.

I thought I'd share my thoughts on the hobby of collecting board games and how it all started.
In 1985, I told my wife I needed a hobby.
I'm a natural born collector/pack rat - so the "genetic" urge was palpable.
It took me some time, but I settled on baseball cards but my career put it on hold for a few years.
When my son was old enough to really appreciate them - it was "off to the races!"
So, I can say that I've been collecting for almost 30 years.

However, in 1996, I was at a small show and I saw someone with a few games.
The graphics were incredible - not sure what the game was now?  But, I would say it was 
some kind of "peg" baseball game.
The vendor wanted over 100 bucks - I passed.

Still collecting cards and other stuff, the fortunes of war would drastically changed with the 
advent of eBay.
I started to look at games for sale on eBay and then found our forum which has been immensely 
helpful; a source of expertise and like minded people collaborating on something far more enjoyable 
and interesting than pieces of cardboard sentenced to an entombed lifetime sandwiched between 
2 "sonically" sealed slices of polycarbonate - then again - that's just my take.

One of my first classic games was Parker Brothers Peg Baseball - 1908.  Later I was to realize 
there's variations - and being the OCD nutbag that I am?  Why not 2 or 3?

And like our good buddies in the front office - and on the other side - Dave e.g. (be well buddy!) - 
there's always investigations of copyrights, patents, etc. to keep ya busy if you're so inclined.
AND, I am!

So, that's how it started - and I've been busy - I've amassed quite a collection over the past few years 
- I think I didn't start buying on eBay until Dec. 2003, so I was a late comer.  Probably due to my aversion 
to wanting to spend evening hours at a computer after staring at one all day long at the office!

So, what's "your" story? 

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Joined: January 1st, 2014, 3:04 pm

September 18th, 2017, 11:22 pm #2

Thought I'd add something I wrote a long time ago about games - it's kind of hokey - like I was back in high school - but I'll stick with the basic premise.
What is a vintage game?  Its a reflection of a child’s play from a bygone era – it’s not changed by time – it’s immutable – a portal to the past – and that collectible brings it to life – it’s a tangible and real way to hold something in ones hand and relive that moment in time.
The games I collect reflect our history – our childhood and some instances also adulthood.   Reading about our past from an historical perspective is quite rewarding and enlightening – but taking one of the games and playing it – is a real and concrete way to relive that time – long gone but not forgotten – as long as we continue to be the custodians.
Last – when I look at a certain game – I can’t help but think what it was like back then – to even think what it was like in the 50s when I was a kid.  One is tempted to imagine – perhaps - that was a better time – a simpler and more enjoyable period in our development.  In fact – every era – as Iview the evolution of the games is not better but just different  - and, in a larger sense – the same – the enjoyment and laughter of children doesn’t know time – it’s just that – pure and simple happiness.  As collectors - that’s what we all strive for – happiness.  And, we are the custodians.  It’s our privilege to share that history with others – and – for many of us – a disappointment if there were no one to do it with.

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Joined: January 3rd, 2014, 12:50 am

September 20th, 2017, 11:27 pm #3

Hi guys!

Like Mike, I'm also a collector/pack rat. I've always collected one or more genre of items at any given time ever since 
I was a toddler. Toy cars, Hanna Barbera cartoon related Little Golden Books and toys, comic books, sports games, 
sports cards, sports magazines, Starting Lineup figures, music, DVDs, etc.. When I get into something, I really 
get into it. Thankfully, I tend to focus on one or two things and not everything at once.

My first sports game was a table hockey game my older cousin handed down to me sometime in the mid to late 60s. 
It was an Eagle game from around 1957 where the players (all six teams!) spun but didn't slide up and down the "ice". 
I got a Munro game for Christmas 1969 with all 12 teams but not in official uniforms. I received a Coleco CFL Electric 
Football game in 1970 and in 1971 a Coleco Montreal Expos Control Action game that I told you guys about when I 
purchased a replacement on eBay several years ago. I think you still have pics of it in your files. Fyi, I just picked up 
a Coleco Pro Stars Baseball game a couple of weeks ago, also on eBay. The Coleco baseball games sure don't 
come up for sale very often.

My first actual sports board game was a Milton Bradley Canadian Pro Football game that we played the heck out of 
when I was a youngster. My first baseball game was the Avalon Hill Statis Pro Baseball game with the 1978 season 
cards. I didn't get that one until I was 20 but I had been playing football and hockey stat based board games since 
I was 13.

My collection of stat based sports games is much bigger than it needs to be, especially since I haven't played a game 
in months, but I keep adding to it in dribs and drabs because I still have a fascination for them. Two of my latest additions 
are John Swistak's Baseball Manager and a fairly obscure game from 1990 called Winning Inning by Solitaire Tabletop 
Games in Minneapolis. I actually have a brochure for Winning Inning that I sent away for in 1990. It only took me 
a little over a quarter century to finally purchase it.


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Joined: January 1st, 2014, 3:04 pm

September 21st, 2017, 2:06 pm #4

Well, time to add a bit on the "why."

I like BB cards, ad pieces, vending machines etc. 
But, there was something about the "graphics" on board games that I couldn't get out of my head. 
Then the multitude of sizes, mechanisms of play, oddities, multitudes of manufacturers... 
what's there not to like?

The only thing that's - now - holding me back is the lack of storage space in a climate controlled area - 
so I'll probably have to stop collecting larger games and concentrate on smaller (handheld/travel) games 
going forward.

On the pinball arena - if I had the "room and money?"  No doubt - would like a Williams BB pinball machine 
- the one that has the area on top with players than "run" bases and there's the capability of shooting that 
large pinball into an "upper deck!" 

And last - sometimes there's the name of the owner in the game - and ya wonder if they're still alive?  
The fun they had when playing - where/when they played it.

For us - let's say 7 to 10 yrs of age - a rainy Saturday - too cold and wet to do anything but sit in 
someone's living room - bottle of RC cola and moon pies all around. 

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Joined: October 25th, 2013, 6:10 am

October 3rd, 2017, 5:43 pm #5

Great idea for a topic, Mike, and thanks to you and John for sharing some insights!  
We were hopeful that this thread would gain some more replies, but like so many 
discussion-worthy topics in here, the rank-&-file membership remains silent...  

Having grown up together, your three front-office nitwits have basically the same story 
to tell in answer to your questions...  and we're fairly sure no one on board cares to 
hear tales of childhood psychological trauma that turned us all into OCD-ridden 
packrats!  All we'll relate is that we had Ed-U-Cards' Baseball Card Game when 
we were little kids and spent untold hours playing it on our grandparents' porch 
(hours that should have been better spent actually talking to and listening to our 
grandparents, alas -- their stories are long gone, now).  Somehow, despite our 
love for baseball and reading, we never got wind of other tabletop baseball games 
through our childhood, other than an occasional wordy ad in a magazine for APBA 
or Strat-O-Matic, both of which struck us as too complicated and too expensive.  

The rest we think we've mentioned before -- still pre-adolescents and immersed 
in comic books, we discovered a notebook full of scoresheets in a pile of comics 
left to us by another cousin, and those held the tantalizing mystery of fictional 
players in their handwritten line-ups.  Our dads recognized them as showing the 
results of a basic dice baseball game and taught us how to play it.  And we've 
been playing it, off-&-on, in one revised form or another, ever since.  

As for the antique collecting aspect, we've all enjoyed boardgames of most any 
sort since we were little, and acquired an appreciation for most things antique by 
the time we were in college.  A visit to Cooperstown in the 1980s was an epiphany 
for us, as we wandered into the now-extinct National Pastime store a block from 
the Hall of Fame.  Dozens of antique tabletop baseball games, a revelation for us, 
were on display -- and for sale, at insanely exorbitant prices, although we didn't 
know then how crazy those prices proved to be.  At about the same time, one of us 
made the acquaintance, through work, of a wonderfully nice guy who was already 
deeply into collecting antique baseball games.  He was a huge factor in getting us 
up to speed on the history of tabletop baseball.  That guy is now a good friend to 
all of us here, and is occasionally referred to here in the Forum as our downstate 
branch manager.  

And so we began collecting, buying and researching what we could.  Mark Cooper's 
book was a big help in letting us know about many unsuspected games somewhere 
out there, and the advent of eBay later in the '90s brought even more games to light 
and of course made them far more available.  And so it goes...  

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October 3rd, 2017, 6:26 pm #6

Hi everyone
First - John - thanx for sharing buddy!  I missed your post first time around and posted 
on top of your response with no comment. 
I apologize.
Then, I forgot to get back.  So let's compound the faux pas! 
I enjoyed reading your post - wish more would chime in.

Now to the boys in the front office. 
Thanx for your response(s).  I must have missed that you guys grew up together. 

That's so quaint - it borders on cliche.  Seriously?  Very nice to hear; I had 2 buddies in 
grade/middle school - Jeff and John - we used to play games together; wish I could 
say hi to them today!

Since I'm still waiting for the floor to be done - I've pretty much got everything on hold. 
I have so much organizing and cataloging to do - and will be working on proper storage 
of my games that I wouldn't touch or play. 

More of that to come - the process of shrink wrapping and more importantly - learning to 
repair some of these games.
I was watching the Antique Roadshow and noticed one of the contributors - Bruce Shackelford 
has an appraisal service in San Antonio.  Thought I'd call him about what "restoration" services 
are available in our city and where I can learn to do some of it myself.  Tall order?  I know. 

Looking forward to more comments.