Gaming Garage Sale

Held Action‘s followers may have noticed a locked post last week, Role-playing and Board Game Garage Sale. It was protected from general consumption at that time because I wanted to give friends the opportunity to claim any titles they wanted, partly because they’re my friends and partly because it would save a couple trips to the post office. 😉

They’ve had their say, so the post is now open to the general public. Check it out and see if there’s anything you’d like to buy. Make an offer! And please note the shipping and payment stipulations; they’re not negotiable.

Selling Things Always Has That Pang of Time and Money Wasted

I’ve participated in this tabletop hobby in some form or another for just shy of ten years. That’s not a long time in many gamers’ estimation, I suspect. But I seem to have made up for that brevity by diving whole-hog into the ancient art of accumulating too much damn stuff to do with the hobby.

The time has come for a reckoning. I’m going to start a roleplaying and board game garage sale in the coming weeks. Preparatory to that, I went through my shelves to note everything of which I wish to be rid. I surprised myself at the things I suddenly decided that I no longer wanted to stare at.

Last week, I woke up one morning knowing I didn’t really care if I owned the full line of Unknown Armies. As I rifled through my shelves, I realized that yeah, I have no use for the Changeling: the Dreaming books scavenged from eBay and used book stores.

I have no idea if anyone else has any use for these books and games, but it seems more productive to at least put them out in the world, rather than hang on to them and become increasingly depressed by the physical ties and impediment they constitute.

Soon the time will come to put up the list and notifications in various places this stuff is up for grabs. Not right now, but soon.

Loot Addendum

Following up from yesterday’s post on Loot, proprietor Ed Healy has set up a coupon code for readers of Held Action. From now until April 30th, plug AAB211 into the coupon code field when buying something from Loot to take 10% off the price.

That code is good for any and all purchases from now until April 30th, so make hay while the sun shines.


Daily deal sites have become more than a bit of a thing lately. Woot! is probably the best-known of them, selling just one item per day until their supplies run out or the day is over. I particularly like the one-off T-shirt sites, if only for the variety of designs that go through their RSS feeds.

Boardgamegeek visitors are probably already familiar with Tanga, which often has board games and other geeky products at pretty good clear-out prices. Now Ed Healy has opened up Loot, a daily deal storefront focusing exclusively on games, and maybe an emphasis on role-playing games, which I appreciate. In the last week or two, Loot has offered a Dying Earth three pack and a bundle of Dungeon Crawl Classics from Goodman Games, among other things.

Being a frugal gamer, I’m always on the look-out for a deal. Daily deal sites usually have some random stuff, but it never hurts to drop their feed in your reader of choice. It takes a second to skim past. Some day, you’ll see something there you’ll find useful.

April 7th, 2011 Update: Proprietor Ed Healy has set up a coupon code for readers of Held Action. From now until April 30th, plug AAB211 into the coupon code field when buying something from Loot to take 10% off the price.

That code is good for any and all purchases from now until April 30th, so make hay while the sun shines.

Unboxing Betrayal at House on the Hill, Held Action Edition

Deciding to try my own hand at documenting the unboxing of an eagerly anticipated game, I present the story of my thoughts as I cracked open the second edition of Betrayal at House on the Hill, as record last Wednesday, no more than an hour after acquiring the game. Check out the pictures behind the jump.

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The Waiting is the Hardest Part


This copy? Not damaged. Not real, either, but still.

Quarterstaff actually received the new edition of Betrayal at House on the Hill this week, but both copies were damaged beyond saleability. Curses!

Waiting for this game has become such delicious torment. Next week, I have to skip Tuesday night board games, so I won’t even get the chance to play it for two more weeks, unless we convene an emergency game session before then. Which I may just do, quite frankly. It’s October. Horror games must be played.

The Waiting is the Hardest Part

Some people scoff at brick and mortar game stores. “Why pay retail when I can get it cheaper from an online retailer?” I’ll tell you why: instant gratification.

There is no greater pleasure than being able to stroll into the store, grab that game you’ve eyed for months now and start unwrapping it before the clerk’s even finished swiping your card. With an in-store game night, you can be playing the game — because certainly you wouldn’t buy a game you haven’t already tested and know you’ll like, just as I wouldn’t — in minutes, as sometimes happens at Tuesday night board games.

Unless, of course, the store doesn’t have the game in stock. Then the whole thing falls down. That’s where I found myself last week. I finally decided to throw down for Dominion: Intrigue, only to find Quarterstaff Games was out of stock. Not only were they, but so was the distributor. Intrigue seems to be out of print for the moment. The only copies to be had are those already in the supply chain, which probably aren’t all that few, given the line’s surging popularity.

With instant gratification out of the way, I found myself with two options: wait for the store to get the game in stock or buy it online. Either way, I’d have to wait. Buying online seemed like the quicker option. So that’s why I find myself drumming my fingers tonight, because a silly eBay seller couldn’t mention the fact they ship via FedEx, a service which does not play nice with my current abode. If I’d known, I’d’ve shipped the package elsewhere, but here we are.

Later today, I’ll head out to the FedEx station to pick up Intrigue after what seems like much too long a wait, when really it’s only been about seven or eight calendar days. That’s quicker than waiting for the local game store to restock, but being thwarted by FedEx has still made me cranky about online retail in general.

For Sale: Slightly Used Turtles

A copy clearly used, but not necessarily well loved.

Monday evening, I found myself browsing through Crow Bookshop on Church St. As part of my used book browsing routine, I always hit the science fiction and fantasy section, as well as the game shelf. I don’t often find anything, but it’s a habit that’s paid off in the past. This time, I found a very nice copy of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles & Other Strangeness, the game lovingly spoken of by so many role-players. I’m not usually one to play the “it was so cheap, I couldn’t pass it up” card, but I gave away my TMNT books a couple years back — which I had bought as part of my “buy everything that someone, anyone ever may have recommended” phase, which thankfully ended quickly — and frankly, came to regret doing so. I’m a hoarder, I know, but they’re books, damnit.

So for seven bucks, I bought Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles & Other Strangeness. This copy even has a character sheet in the back, making it a sort of upgrade from the last copy I owned. Now, will I use this copy? If I take my own medicine, then yes, I should. The members of my role-playing group — currently stalled on Broken Spokes for scheduling reasons, surprise, surprise — are Palladium players from back in the day, so I think they would take to a Ninja Turtles game readily. In fact, I can imagine a proposed one-shot spinning out from there, but that wouldn’t stop the endemic scheduling issues.

A lot of my role-playing library came from used book stores or online equivalents like eBay. There’s a Barnes & Noble over in South Burlington with a used books section that, for whatever reason, was a veritable spring of role-playing material. I picked up a lot of Mage: the Ascension and other White Wolf titles there for cheap. I discovered Changeling: the Dreaming because its brightly colored spine caught my eye from the bottom shelf.

Maybe it has to do with being near the local university, pulling in students looking to dump a load of books for quick cash. Whatever the reason, that place was a gold mine, once this discerning shopper realized the trick was to comb through the over-sized shelf in the science fiction and fantasy section, where all the graphic novels, trade paperbacks and role-playing books were tossed together. Often there would be caches of books from a particular game line, as though someone chose to wash their hands completely of In Nomine or whatever.

I don’t cruise the used book stores as I once did. Part of that is portion of the book-selling industry largely shifted online in the last ten years. The local shop with stacks of battered paperbacks have a hard time competing with online sellers for all the usual reasons: overhead costs, variety of inventory and so on.

My buying habits changed, too. Two years or so into the role-playing hobby, I realized I was buying a lot of books, reading them once and then shelving them. I didn’t have a role-playing group at the time and was feeding my desire for hobby-related stimulus by amassing a frankly useless library of role-playing material. I mean “useless” in the sense I couldn’t possibly utilize all the material in a meaningful fashion, beyond superficially skimming plot seeds and character ideas for use in whatever game I happened to run, which I wasn’t even doing at the time.

I’m a lot pickier these days. I still try to buy used when I can, though. A couple months after a book’s release, the odds are some unhappy role-player’s going to offload it on eBay,’s trade and sales forum or some other similar venue. As long as I’m patient, and I typically am because I’ve played the “gotta have it now!” role enough to know it’s not worth the fleeting glow of getting something on the first day of release, then I can let other people find out what the game’s really like and then make a more informed decision.

Of course, there are still the times when I impulsively buy Teenage Mutants Ninja Turtles & Other Strangeness because it’s on the shelf and I let the book hoarding tendency override my sensible consumer tendency. It’s an on-going struggle.