Tuesday, 25 September 2007

The Vault...

Lets face it, if you read this blog, and or familiar with the boardgamegeek, or comsimworld websites then chances are you are probably certifiable when it comes to buying and well hoarding games. Now if you are single and live on your own you can allow these prized collections to just sit about on whatever horizontal surface will support them. However, if you somehow like me managed convince a member of the opposite sex to marry you, then your ability to use boardgames as home decor are probably limited. Not to mention that if you somehow managed to spawn with the aforementioned member of the opposite sex then you have to consider the destructive properties of your litter when storing games.

Now I consider myself lucky, my wife is somewhat reasonable. She granted me sole possession of a small room 10' x 10' or so in the basement. complete with a lockable door. (If you look closely you may be able to see the infamous crotch jewelry)


I am in complete control of what goes on inside what I refer to, in my best Dr. Evil Voice, as "my lair'. A place my wife convinces herself doesn't exist on the same plain of existence as she does, and a place my children believe holds within all the wonders their little heads can imagine.

The cold Truth is that my obsession hardly fits inside these walls. Between my many hobbies, yes board games are but one of too many distractions, I have filled this space nearly to the point where it ceases to be useful.

Big Gun RC Warship Combat is cool, but requires space.

My problem is that I am not content to just store the games in a safe fashion. They must be displayed in a way that is both useful for finding, and aesthetically pleasing to me. (Perhaps also to a few of you. ) Lets face facts here, regardless of how much one loves and plays any one game, these objects of our obsession spend the vast majority of their lives sitting on a shelf. My thoughts are that they should be a site for all to see, unfortunately aside from a select few games that are for some reason interesting enough to be kept on the family room built-ins, my spouse disagrees. But I am not so easily defeated, even though the lions share of my collection is kept in its own secluded sanctuary, I strive to make the place impressive to even the most uninitiated bloke who wanders in.

This is the main set of shelves

Now I know that my collection is modest (about 200 games) by some peoples standards, but even at this number I have more things than I really can ever play on a regular basis. I have these dreams of my kids getting older and wanting to play Europe Engulfed or War of the Ring... but more on that later. Still there is an overflow section.

Overflow

So thats the state of my game room. I have designs on expanding to the entire basement. These have actually started in that I have furnished the "Play Room" with plenty of shelves. What would we gamers do without IKEA? Currently games nights are allowed upstairs, mostly due to their relative infrequency, we enjoy playing games in light and open spaces like my sunroom. If they ever become more regular then my guess is we will be banished to the darker, damper recesses of my home. When that happens I will have to expand "my lair".

Feel free to post comments about how it is you like to store games, or the negotiations required to get that closet under the steps away from your spouse's wicker basket collection.

Until next time... have some fun gaming, drink some good beer and enjoy life.

-M



44 comments:

Ken B. said...

I totally need a bookshelf like that.

Joel A. said...

My own collections span three interests: books, board games, and electronic keyboards.

I used to be an avid book buyer, and after a while I realized that much of my book buying was simply as an ego boost or as a way of gaining self-esteem. I loved to watch other people gawk at how many books I owned. I recently culled the collection and took hundreds of books to local used book stores to trade in and discovered that most of the books I owned were there only for show, for the wow factor.

Now I have a fairly large game collection, and I'm finding the same thing. I like it because it's impressive. I like it when people come over and gasp at the sheer number of game boxes I've accumulated and display on my shelves.

Same thing goes for keyboards. I have far more keyboards than I have hands and fingers to play them. But I like having them because in some small way that I don't really want to admit, I get a big charge out of owning all that stuff.

Pat H said...

My collection is spread around the house and in a non impressive fashion. Rediscovering my board gaming hobby has had me open several boxes that no one in my family had any idea what was contained therein (I lugged these around before I met my wife and ever since - 6 big boxes of figs and games). I have a couple of shelves on a bookcase in a hallway upstairs which have a few bookcase games, books and models I began painting. Most of the games I am currently playing are scattered around a mess of open boxes and floor space begging for organization. I am sure my game collection feels like the dirty dozen - a rag tag group of once were's and has beens forgotten for years and now being pressed into service again with high hopes and a slim budget to outfit them properly.

I look forward to the day when I can gradually shuffle everyone else's shit out of one area that I can commandeer in a daring night raid. For the time being my wife does not see this plan materializing as the games are spread out to give the impression of disorganization and small numbers. All of the new purchases I have made are stacked in a forgotten corner of the basement awaiting the order to "go over the top".

Once I sneak in the shelving (along with some crap that the wife also covets - a diversion if you will) and some grab bags for the kids, I can put this plan into motion.

Until then I can only marvel at everyone's photo's of game organization and coherence.

Malloc said...

I did not mention my collection of musical instruments.... the wife is cool with that and so they live in the living room.

-M

Ken B. said...

Oh yeah, when you combine the fact that I collect both boardgames AND videogames, it's a nightmare. Stuff is literally in all different locations of the house.

The primary location is the top shelf of our bedroom closet, where I'd say probably 35-40 of my games are there, the stuff that I really want to be able to get at quickly. Up there you'll find AGoT + expansion, Doom + expansion, Queen's Gambit, Nexus Ops, LOTR + expansions, Marvel Heroes, War of the Ring, all the stuff that I want to be able to get to without looking for them.

The rest? In plastic tubs stored in a few different closets. Oh, and about 16 that I keep on shelves in my office at work, for 2p lunch games and our semi-weekly bigger game sessions.


Ditto for video games. We've got six consoles hooked up--four in my son's room, one in the guest room, and one in the living room. The games? Stashed in a entertainment center...or what will fit of them, of course. I guess there's about 60 games from the different systems in there. The rest? The ubiquitous storage containers. I had them labeled at one point but after several game system juggles, they no longer match.

Storage has gotten to be a big issue with me getting more games. I literally have nowhere to put them right now.

I totally need to look into having a custom set of shelves made. Right now, with twin toddlers who like to get into everything, such a thing would be disaster, but in a year or two that would be the perfect solution.

Pat H said...

My PC area is another story... I have two PC game rigs each with their own desk and multitude of paraphernalia - 22 inch monitors, surround speakers and shitloads of cd spindles and carry cases stuffed to the brim with games, films and tunes. Any flat surface is piled with gadgets, discs, cables, rulebooks, tiger tanks. Thank the gods for facebook, now my wife and teenage daughter see a use for this space which has replaced any idea of a dinning room. They fight over the "b" PC and leave my electronics fetish alone. The endless complaining about my PC space and time consumption have all but stopped. If anything I spend less time in that area and more time setting up maps of TOI in the living room for solo games(?).

My next house will have a bigger basement so I can begin to set up the ping pong sized table for miniature gaming and the beer fridge.

ironcates said...

I noticed it's near impossible for Malloc to pull Puerto Rico et al off the shelf with the lip of the cabinet coming down. Was that on purpose?

Malloc said...


I noticed it's near impossible for Malloc to pull Puerto Rico et al off the shelf with the lip of the cabinet coming down. Was that on purpose?


Wow good eyes, yes they are there on purpose since the see very little play these days, that lip pulls off however, so getting to them is not a big deal, I would take it off the shelf, but it adds to the structural integrity of the bookcase so I leave it on there.

-M

Michael Barnes said...

Screw the games, there's a Commodore 64 in there! Hell yeah!

Malloc said...

Heh!

The c64 box is used to hold 40k Epic (spacemarine actually) figures.

I do have the C64, however, it is in another room.

-M

Ken B. said...

I had a Commodore 128. Which had the primary talent of running in 64 mode.

Grainy, tiny, black and white pr0n FTW

Dan Daly said...

Very cool lair. I used to have a an awesome lair till we sold our house and moved for my new job. Apartments don't have too much lair space. You failed to mention one of the primary benefits of the lair. Not only does it allow you to display your games in an awe inspiring manner, it lets you leave a game setup for days, weeks, etc if you want to play something over multiple sessions. A good wife is ok with orcs and space marines and panzers getting set up on the dining room table, but they better all be back in the box by the end of the night! Long live the lair!

rooboy666 said...

I'm totally jealous. I keep trying to talk my wife into converting our garage (in Texas we're not so big on basements, apparently) so I can give up this office at the front of the house and move my stuff into a room in the garage.

I dream of the day when I can leave a game of Twilight Imperium 3 set up to play overnight.

Mr Skeletor said...

Spend 2 weeks writing a review and in the end people were more inspired by a 5 second photo of my shelves! Typical!

Is the crotch jewelry that stuff hanging on the right?

Anyway nice collection, puts mine to shame. Do you play it all, is is it actually a 'collection' as in you buy stuff to have rather than play?

ubarose said...

Mr Skeletor said...

Spend 2 weeks writing a review and in the end people were more inspired by a 5 second photo of my shelves! Typical!


Actually, I would take that as a compliment. It's an indication that your review was so thorough that people didn't have much to add, ask or argue about.

mtlawson said...

My advice to a single boardgamer: marry a packrat. I did, and my collection looks paltry next to my wife's stuff.

--Mike L.

Jack Hill said...

Marrying a packrat didn't help. Sewing fabric all fits in a closet. 3000 games takes up a massive room.

Malloc. Can you be banned from here for owning Hansa? Or does the two copies of Gammarauders balance that?

And...why two...so that two people could play giant laser eye firing penguins?

ubarose said...

I keep our games in the dining room. It makes sense because that's where the table is. They are in the sideboard, a ceder chest, and an antique ship captain's wardrobe.

I don't get the "display your games" thing. I find shelves full of stuff visually displeasing - too many clashing colors, too busy and visually distracting.

adrianbolt said...

I'm impressed by the minimal amount of empty shelf space.

Is the crotch jewelry that tree on top of the cabinet?

Rliyen said...

Malloc. Can you be banned from here for owning Hansa? Or does the two copies of Gammarauders balance that?

And...why two...so that two people could play giant laser eye firing penguins?


Same reason why I have two copies of Dune. One has the complete pieces, the other one doesn't. So, I have two.

Malloc said...



Is the crotch jewelry that stuff hanging on the right?


the very stuff legends are made of.

-M

Malloc said...


Anyway nice collection, puts mine to shame. Do you play it all, is is it actually a 'collection' as in you buy stuff to have rather than play?


It is a collection only in I never have the time to play as many things as I would like to. I do not buy games to sit them on a shelf, and have slowed down my pace in an effort to try and keep up.

when I 1st got back into board games I was buying euro's at an alarming rate. Thats how things like hansa ended p in the mix. Also I got hansa at a FLGS sale for 60% off, it is good trade bait in that it is unpunched.

-M


-M

Malloc said...



I don't get the "display your games" thing. I find shelves full of stuff visually displeasing - too many clashing colors, too busy and visually distracting.


this type of display is one for the guys and is out of site unless specifically sought after. I did have some games on a shelf in the family room, but there were not packed in like this. It was things like for the People and Wilderness War, things that maybe people would ask about from a historical perspective.

Also the Alea games can be attractive on a shelf from a hey look at that fancy book point of view.

-M

Malloc said...



Same reason why I have two copies of Dune. One has the complete pieces, the other one doesn't. So, I have two.


This is 100% correct. I got one copy on ebay for 6 bucks, it was missing a few pieces so I got an unpunched copy and the expansion for about $15 bucks. Everyone should pick up this game at those prices.

-M

Pat H said...

Yes Jon, pack up the train set and break out the pastel paints.

Pat H said...

?? ....

Anyways, further to Uba's point I understand the disdain for the colorful stacks against a nicely decorated living space. However fopr the most part we are talking about guys that like to show other guys their colorful stacks while quaffing back some hooch away from the common space used by the other members of the family.

This is the gamers equivelent of the garage with the classic auto in it - a place seldom ventured into by the spouse. It is in here that all of the plans for drinking sessions, all nite games, and excuses for attending sporting events or concerts are hatched.

Rliyen said...

This is the gamers equivelent of the garage with the classic auto in it - a place seldom ventured into by the spouse. It is in here that all of the plans for drinking sessions, all nite games, and excuses for attending sporting events or concerts are hatched.


Ahhh yes. This is what I have: a two car garage that is now the repository of most of my games. I also scratch built a 4x8 table for the RPG/40k/board game table, which has yet to be used. =o(

I need more friends who live closer than 45 minutes....

Shellhead said...

I struggle under the burden of multiple collections: games, books, comics, and those damned CCGs.

The comics take up the most space, but I have them neatly stacked against one wall in the spare bedroom, in about two dozen short boxes. Actually some of those short boxes are magazine-sized and contain a bunch of rpg rulebooks and modules.

Then there are the books. The best take up two bookcases in the living room, while the rest are crammed into a variety of cardboard boxes that don't look nearly as organized as the comic boxes. Same with my CCGs... cards packed in CCG boxes which are then stored in larger cardboard boxes.

But the games are sort of a problem, because of the variation in size and shape. I have a stack of milkcrates that neatly hold most of my favorites. That's the perfect size container for games like Arkham Horror, Prince of the City and Mall of Horror. Other games are packed in a variety of boxes and then I've got a couple of large tupperware things holding some coffin box games under my bed, along with some loose mini-games and an awkwardly-sized Yaquinto album game. Bookshelves aren't a workable solution, as I lack available wall space now.

Ken B. said...

I think we could start a series of "show us your AT bookcases/pile-ups". Just for laughs. I think I'll make that the blogpost for tomorrow. EMAIL US YER SHELVES!

vandemonium said...


Malloc said...

I did not mention my collection of musical instruments.... the wife is cool with that and so they live in the living room.

-M


My guitars, amps, comics, toys, reading chair, dvds, part of my cd collection and most of my books and of course, my games are all down in my "man cave." Same basic idea s Malloc's except I don't have a locking door.

I just can't understand how the wife does not appreciate these things the way I do ;)

I'll have to try and get a picture. I don't have nice shelves tho, just crummy ones I have snatched from here or there for free. They do the job for now. I would love to Ikea my basement but I just found out I get to buy a new furnace instead. Yippie!

Tom Hazlett (Southernman) said...

That depresses me soooo much. Over here in the UK houses are about 2/3 to half the size of similar homes in New Zealand (or Aussie or the US) so my games are just scattered in any spare shelf, wardrobe, or piece of floor I have.

And then there's my graphic novels (mainly 2000AD dudes from the 80s) which increase in a stop/start fashion, and finally books & vids & dvds of New Zealand rugby history and highlights.

I do have a garage, but once again about 2/3 the size of a normal one so you can't park a car in there .... 'a-ha' I hear everyone scream ,ideal to turn into a games room - except my 8yr old lad got there first and has commandeered it for a clubhouse for him and his mates ... may have to practice my negotiation skills.

ubarose said...

Pat H said...
Anyways, further to Uba's point I understand the disdain for the colorful stacks against a nicely decorated living space. However for the most part we are talking about guys that like to show other guys their colorful stacks while quaffing back some hooch away from the common space used by the other members of the family.


I guess that would be my husband's "band room." The band boys come over once a week to "rehearse" down there, but mostly they just drink, smoke, play foos ball, and forget to turn their mics off when they talk about their wives.

Malloc said...


I guess that would be my husband's "band room." The band boys come over once a week to "rehearse" down there, but mostly they just drink, smoke, play foos ball, and forget to turn their mics off when they talk about their wives.


Do i hear plans in the making for an impromptu take over of the bar at the Lancaster hosts hotel in aug 08'? I can bring a few acoustic guitars a Dobro and even a double bass (except thats gonna cut into my game haul and space in the room)

On a side not those half-assed acoustic bass guitar things suck, they really don't work without an amp. Even the really nice one Taylor made a while back is only ok.

-M

Shellhead said...

Most women are domestic imperialists.

When the woman first starts spending the night at the guy's place, there might some clothes and a spare toothbrush left behind.

Time passes, and suddenly the poor guy realizes that, after they moved into the new place, most of his possessions are crammed into the coldest, darkest, most distant room of the house. The rest of the place has become her domain, and she marks her territory by decorating it with flowery themes or cow decorations or plaid or wicker objects.

ubarose said...

Shellhead said...
Time passes, and suddenly the poor guy realizes that, after they moved into the new place, most of his possessions are crammed into the coldest, darkest, most distant room of the house. The rest of the place has become her domain, and she marks her territory by decorating it with flowery themes or cow decorations or plaid or wicker objects.


Well, I think that is a very sad state of affairs. Flowers, cows, plaid and wicker?? I hope that's not your place. It sounds like hell.

In my experience I have found that most guys simply don't voice any opinion about the aesthetics of their living space. I feel fortunate that I have a man that actually has some opinions. We have spent the last several years restoring a 1891 Victorian, room by room. We've had more discussions about color, finishes, fabrics, and furnishings then most men would ever care to admit to. The only thing we haven't been able to reach an agreement on is the height of the dining room light fixture. I think it is too high and doesn't give us enough light when we play, but he won't lower it because he is afraid he will bang his head on it (he's a foot taller than I am).

I'm also as brutal with my own crap as I am with his. I got the attic and he got the basement. That was a completely practical decision. It was easier to carry the foos ball table down one flight of steps, than up three flights.

gary sax said...

Malloc--

Nice, a copy of Space Marine. What a badass GW system.

Also, how's Pax Romana treating you? I just saw that it sold through so Pax Romana is getting moved up in my "want to buy" list so I don't have to wait a million years for GMT to reprint it...

Malloc said...

Pax is cool, but it is not something I can get the game group to do so for me it will be a con/cyberbox game. I bought the game for that map and thats why it is on the wall.

I have a love hate/relation ship with space marine. I really do like epic rules better but SM was one of the 1st games I ever paid my own money for, sometime int he 80's and man it seem like a lot of money for that beast.

-M

Anonymous said...

Jason W. Said:

My ultimate advise when it comes to wives and storing games is to get one that loves to play the board games as much as you do =).

While I don't have a wife just yet, my g/f loves the board games and video games as much as I do. I also have no doubt that we will be certain to make space for them all and in some ubercool fashion that is yet to be determined (if only because we have yet to buy a house :P ). Til then, we'd love to get any ideas that anyone has on this.

While it's not exactly space saving a couple guys I know happen to store their Epic set of Battlelore in an old looking treasure chest sort of thing. It definitely evokes feelings of envy whenever they drag it down the basement of the local gaming/comic shop =).

Malloc said...


my g/f loves the board games and video games as much as I do.

Ahh... I love hearing from the naive youth gamers on this topic.

Want to make her stop.... put a ring on her finger. To really seal the deal; knock her up.

:)

-M

Shellhead said...

Ubarose,

I may eventually become one of those guys who surrenders and retreats to the cave/basement/garage/attic. But that imperialism that I described is what I have seen happen to my married friends.

For now, my girlfriend and I are compromising on the use of space. I do get to display my five foot tall inflated sarcophagus in the living room, but she hung up a large painting of two drab yellow and red flowers.

The sarcophagus:

www.metmuseum.org/store/images/Z.kd.m7041.L.jpg

ubarose said...

Shellhead said...

For now, my girlfriend and I are compromising on the use of space. I do get to display my five foot tall inflated sarcophagus in the living room, but she hung up a large painting of two drab yellow and red flowers.


That's very promising. She probably didn't hang the painting because she likes flowers. She probably hung it because it repeats the gold, red & green in your sarcophagus, tying the room together and creating a visual whole.

ubarose said...

Malloc said...

Do i hear plans in the making for an impromptu take over of the bar at the Lancaster hosts hotel in aug 08'?


At the very least, Al will have his mandolin. It was with us on the last trip. I watched him try to fit the guitar in the car, but he changed his mind and left it behind.

KingPut said...

I definitely have game shelf envy. But I definitely don't have crotch jewelry envy.

Malloc said...


I definitely have game shelf envy. But I definitely don't have crotch jewelry envy.


careful or i will start wearing it on wed nights.

-M