I’ve collected stuff my whole life, including RPGs — but although I bought my first gaming product, Avalon Hill’s Lords of Creation box set, at age ten, I didn’t have my first “I’m going to try to track down all of these” moment until I picked up FR 9: The Bloodstone Lands in high school. Ever since, going after segments of game lines, as well as entire game lines, in print, has been a part of how I approach collecting RPGs. Right now, I’m working on four lines: RuneQuest: Roleplaying in Glorantha, Dune: Adventures in the Imperium, Delta Green, and Ars Magica 5th Edition.
I’ve just spent three hours rearranging the RPG shelves on two floors of our place, partly to put more stuff I actually use, or want to use, on the less-cluttered upstairs shelves. In my office, shelves become thoroughly encrusted with joyous chaos: dice, action figures, tchotchkes, and all sorts of stuff. Extracting books from that chaos is an exercise in frustration.
But the main reason I did the full, tiring reorg (lots of hauling stacks of books up and down stairs!) was to clear shelf space for these ongoing collections. My PDF collection for each of these lines is comprehensive, or close to it, but for games I like enough to collect in full I want them in print, too. Even though my gaming library has transitioned away from print over the past decade, almost every game I run in person (and even some I run online) benefits from having print copies of the books to share at the table.
RuneQuest and Dune are straightforward: I’m caught up, and their release schedules are manageable. Delta Green is expanding slowly. I’m currently running a DG campaign, so I’ve been focused on buying books I actually need rather than trying to complete my collection. (Too many books all at once for a game I’m running sometimes overwhelms me, and the campaign is the usual casualty.)
And Ars Magica 5e stands at…one book out of forty-three, by my count. However long it takes, the journey will be enjoyable!