Friday, 30 December 2016

What is a "collectible" anyway?

The other day we had a small discussion about "collectibles" in the gaming hobby. "Collectible" can have many different meanings:
  • Something that has widely accepted iconic value in the gaming hobby. E.g. an original D&D 1st print from 1974. Or an original copy of Little Wars. Or an Alpha Black Lotus. Such items often have real value associated to them, sometimes hundreds or even thousands of Euro/Dollars. If you buy them, you can be pretty sure you can resell them at a similar or higher price in the future.
  • Too often a collectible is only collectible in the eye of the beholder. A game we played in our youth, have fond memories about, and we absolutely want to keep that specific copy (or a re-acquired copy) in our collection. Mostly emotional value, not so much monetary. I have a few games and books like that, but in most cases, I am happy to look at images on to satisfy a bout of nostalgia coming up.
  • Perceived collectibles are things that are rare, but are not widely searched for, except by a very small niche within a niche of the gaming community. Owners often wrongly think these are worth huge amounts of money, but unless you find the right person at the right time and is willing to spend the cash, they are mostly worth nothing. As an owner, it is good practice to ask yourself: "What would *I* pay for this particular item?" The answer is a much better estimate of what you might get for your prized possession, rather than the amount of money you might get from an hypothetical collector and who is willing to take an additional mortgage on his house just to acquire the last missing piece in his collection.
Some of my own "collectibles".
One might wonder why people collect gaming stuff, or cling to perceived collectibles? Why would you keep a copy of an old 70s boardgame, knowing 100% sure  you will never ever play that game again, and also knowing it's not really worth anything? Games are mostly paper, cardboard, and plastic, so there's not even inherent value. And unlike books or paintings, the objects are often not beautiful or craftly made. A game will simply sit on your shelf for many years, gathering dust. To what purpose?

Collecting can be a goal in itself, and then the hunt is where the joy is. I can see the idea of someone wanting to collect all items ever published for a specific game system, or miniatures by a certain maker. For others, some of the joy is in simply possessing the object in question. Knowing that you are the owner of an original copy of a specific game might give people some satisfaction, although others might simply shrug when they see that particular item.

Anyway, some of these thoughts crossed my mind when I was re-assaembling some old (Dutch language) Heroquest expansions I had lying around. Last year I gave one of my nephews an original copy of Heroquest I bought for 5 Euro in a 2nd hand shop, in an attempt to lure them to gaming. And it worked! Last week, he and his brother complained they didn't have enough miniatures and quests, and wanted more.

I still have all the original expansions I bought (and played) back in the early nineties. So I decided to repackage them. I don't have the original boxes anymore, but still all the miniatures, cardboard counters, etc. So they will be getting those, and hopefully, they will use them! After all, they were collecting dust in my gaming closets, untouched for over 20 years. And aren't games meant to be played with after all?

The Dungeon Design Kit, Keller's Keep, Return of the Witch Lord, and Wizards of Morcar, all original Dutch versions.
Re-assembled and repackaged in transparant sleeves ...
A huge quest from the "Heroquest New Edition box", early nineties.
"But, you can get easily 100 Euro per expansion!" I hear some shout. Perhaps. A quick check on boardgamegeek indeed indicates that some people are asking that price. Which is still different from actually receiving that amount of money. And my copies weren't mint to begin with ...

I feel pretty ok about this. I freed up some space, hopefully my nephews will use these expansions, and so what about the perceived collectibility? It is only a game after all ...

Update: I got a few replies from people who said I was crazy giving away 500 Euro worth of stuff to a bunch of 10-12 year olds. And perhaps they are right. So maybe I should reconsider and try to sell them after all ...  And I'll give my nephews some miniatures from my Reaper Bones Kickstarters. Those things have been so mass-produced they'll never be worth much ... :-)

Thursday, 29 December 2016

Playtest of The Men Who Would Be Kings

Yesterday we gathered at JP's house and played a short Indian Mutiny game, using The Men Who Would Be Kings colonial rules. It was the first time we used these rules, and a few glitches came up. These have not so much to do with the rules themselves, but more with the scenario we used and the specific setup of terrain. After all, any ruleset implicitly assumes (often unwritten) some aspects about the scenarios: troop and terrain density, quality of opposing forces, etc. We felt that we still have to tune our scenario setups a bit to accommodate for these rules. Or to put it differently: troops that shoot the farthest prefer more open terrain, troops that rely on close combat prefer dense terrain ...
Phil (left) commanding the mutineers (Indians and Pathans) vs David (right) commanding the British regulars.
The battle in full swing. The ruined building in the middle left had to be held by the mutineers as long as possible.
More action! A bunch of Pathans suddenly popped out from behind the rocks at the bottom middle.

The mutineers held the village for 9 turns, but then got swiped away by the advancing British forces. Let's call it a draw! :-)

Tuesday, 27 December 2016

Xmas table setup

During the Christmas season, it's almost a certainty relatives are coming over for the traditional turkey Christmas dinner. Invariably, after a few glasses of wine, there's always a request to see my man cave.

Instead of having to explain that "normally, we play with toy soldiers here, but now, it's full of junk as you can see ... ", I always try to clean up and set out a visual attractive battlefield. It doesn't have to conform to any plausible plausible game setup. After all, they don't have a notion of rules, so better go for visual appeal rather than game appeal.

So, this year, I decided on an ACW setup. And yes, it got the "oohs" and "aahs" going, especially amongst the younger male crowd.

Sunday, 18 December 2016

Old minis still in bag

As part of a bunch of vintage figures, I also got a few minis still in their original packing. Always nice, but also always a dilemma. Should we remove them from the bag, or keep them in the original packaging as is?

Anyway, here they are:

First , a Citadel Samurai SAM2 from their old historical Samurai range.

Next, a Ral Partha Galactic Grenadier - goes well with the figures I reported on before.

And last but not least, two bags simple labeled Citadel, but which contain a cart with two horses. It took a while before I realized these might be historicals instead of fantasy, and I identified them as part of the Romans range (ARE2 - Cart with two Horses).


At Crisis last November I picked up a painted set of Heirosaurs from the Battlezone booth. They were used as display models, so I removed them from their bases and rebased them to match my own fantasy armies.

Nice critters to flesh out the Reptilian/Lizardmen armies.

Vintage fantasy figures

A wargaming friend of a wargaming friend was lucky enough to pick up a large number of vintage wargaming figures from the late seventies at a flea market. Since I'm always interested in acquiring "old stuff", I bought a number of fantasy and science fiction figures in bulk from him for a friendly price. I wasn't really aware of what was in the boxes, but that's part of the fun: trying to identity all those old figures, browsing through old catalogues and collector's websites.

A batch of SF figures was already identified in a previous post, so now it's time to take a closer look at some of the fantasy figures. Below are the (easier) ones I could identify so far.

Here's a batch of "Lesser Orcs of the Red Eye" from Custom Cast, dated 1975. The base actually says Custom Cast 1975 - so they are probably not later recasts by Heritage.

Next, there's a group of pre-slotta Citadel Goblins. More precisely, from the Fiend Factory range, and these are models FF20, FF22 and FF23. Various variants were made of these figures, but the Collecting Citadel Miniatures site was a great help in identifying these. These were later also part of the C13 Night Goblins range.

Last but not least, there's a group of Minifigs. These are:
  • First 3 figures are Goblins from the Minifigs D&D range (GOB1, GOB2, GOB5).
  • 4 "True Orc Archers" (Mythical Earth range, ME23)
  • Hobgoblin marching with banner (HBG 11)
  • 2 Hobgoblin Sergeatnt with military fork (damaged, HBG 1)
  • Gnoll Chieftain w Broadaxe (GNL1)
  • Knight of the Silver Rose (w Halberd, but damaged)
  • Dark Ages (marking on base DA 44) - Viking Bondi

Some Belgian wargaming history ...

Recently, I acquired a nice piece of Belgian wargaming history.

Two hobbit houses in 20/25mm scale, originally made by Gedemco (late seventies?). The history of Gedemco can be read here, on the pages of veteran wargamer Rudi Geudens.

An original image from the above site:

A nice addition for my fantasy collection!

Thursday, 15 December 2016

More vintage science fiction figures (2)

I managed to identify most of the figures mentioned in the last post. As suspected, most are Star Trek Citadel figures from the 70s, and a few Galactic Grenadiers from Ral Partha, also from the 70s.

All figure codes (ST for Star Trek, GG for Galactic Grenadiers) are shown in the image above.

One figure remains unidentified (bottom row), but he could as well be a modern soldier, not a science fiction figure.
Update: identified as Citadel Spacefarers S4 figure (see comments).

Thursday, 8 December 2016

More vintage science fiction figures

I recently acquired a batch of old SF miniatures, shown below.

I haven't managed to identify them all, but I've tracked some of them down to the Ral Partha Galactic Grenadier range, and some others to Citadel's Star Trek range. So that makes these late 70s figures.

In any case an interesting addition to my growing collection of vintage scifi figures (see here and here and here).

Saturday, 3 December 2016

Quick photo report: GNW reinforcements game

Last night we played a GNW Black Powder game. I'll post a more detailed report later, but here's the photos from that game:

The evening ended after five turns of the game, with lots of action in each one. The result was not quite clear enough to call the game, but the Russians had a slight advantage which might still be overturned.