Monday, July 14, 2008

The Great Sort-Out

So, while Janice was away a few days last week in Sequim (wh. it turns out is pronounced 'skwim', rhyming with 'swim') on business, I got busy and emptied ten more boxes in the Box Room, their contents now sorted, filed, shelved, consolidated, or thrown away. Four more boxes worth of books, rpgs, boardgames, cards, cassettes & cds, et al from other parts in the Box Room were also set aside to give away. The Pendragon gamers on Friday night got first crack and lightened the load a bit (goodbye HeroQuest, Axis & Allies: D-Day, Vampire The Masquerade boxed sets), while I dropped off the remaining boardgames at the Children's Hospital Store in downtown Kent today (my first visit there; nice place). Tomorrow or the next day I make a run to Half-Price Books with a boxful of rpgs (goodbye Amber, 7 Seas, In Nomine, Buffy, Hunter The Reckoning, &c.) and a half-box of books (goodbye complete Cordwainer Smith, &c.). All in all I got rid of about a third of one major stack of boxes and almost a quarter of the contents of some game bins, which feels like real progress.

The next stage hinged on a discovery on Thursday. I'd been looking since I started preparing my talk for MERPcon for my binder with the Middle-Earth: The Wizards ('METW') cards in it and not having any luck. Turns out the reason why is I was convinced it was in the upstairs closet off my office, where I keep it, while it had actually been boxed up and moved downstairs, probably three or four years ago. argh. Now that I have it again, and could see what cards I was missing, I took out the unopened booster packs a friend at Wizards had given me two or three years back when he was clearing out his closet and opened them all. While sorting through them was a good way to re-familiarize myself with the cards, the results were a bit disappointing: out of about twenty boosters, plus an unopened box with thirty-six more booster (about 540 cards in all), I got only six of the twenty-seven I'd been missing. So now I'm only twenty-one cards shy of a full set (of the original set; I didn't follow the later releases, of which there were many), but trying to fill the gaps wd be prohibitively expensive, not to mention time consuming. But, just in case anyone has some spares they're interested in parting with to a good (or at least appreciative) home, here are the lacuna in my collection:

CHARACTERS: Arwen, Frodo [2]
RESOURCES: Clear Skies, Dwarven Ring of Bavor's Tribe, Favor of the Valor, The Morannan, Sacrifice of Form, Shadowfax [6]
SITES: Minas Morgul [1]
HAZARDS: Khamul the Second Nazgul, The Fourth Nazgul, The Seventh Nazgul, the Ninth Nazgul; Agburanar, Assassin, Fell Beast, Lost in Dark-domains, Morgul-horse, Silent Watcher, Thief, Traitor. [4 nazgul + 8 others]

And now back to the current task. Years ago I got a boxful of BLOOD WARS cards that were being thrown out at the old TSR, meaning to sort through them and get rid of the duplicates. After two abortive tries in the last few years, I'm now in the midst of it: cards scattered everywhere, spread out to take up the whole of the dining room table. I don't know how many cards there are in all, but the box I've been keeping them in has eight long black trays, each a foot long, and each filled with cards, so all told piled end on end they'd make a stack eight feet tall. In short, a lot of cards.

The sorting is now almost halfway through, and when it's done I'll have a huge pile to go into recycling (where the first lot have already gone) and perhaps one trayful to keep, mainly for the DiTerlizzi art. It's hard not to ruminate on the chances of fate: BLOOD WARS by Steven Schend was TSR's second collectable card game, after SPELLFIRE, and it completely failed to find an audience, despite being a much, much better game. Had BLOOD WARS, a sophisticated game more like WotC's JYHAD (which came out about the same time), been TSR's entry effort into the field I think TSR would have gotten a lot more respect from the gaming community and made deeper in-roads into the burgeoning ccg market. Alas for might-have-beens, now marked by a box full of old cards. At least they'll make beautiful bookmarks . . .



Vinny said...

I remember playing Axis & Allies!

Steve said...

I can make some scans of those MECCG cards, if you like.

John D. Rateliff said...

Hi Steve
Yes, scans of the missing cards would be nice. Many thanks.

Unknown said...

Hi John. Thanks for the shout-out. It's appreciated.

Blood Wars did shortly find a market in its initial print run, which quickly sold out as my memory serves. Alas, because of both costs and foot-dragging by management in terms of reprint decisions, the 2nd and 3rd printings (done almost simultaneously) got done long after the wave had crested and the demand had vanished. By that time later in 1992, there were other CCGs out there to soak up the demand.

who's still a tad grumpy that management blamed the game design for the lack of consumer demand, not the weeks-long-delay in fulfilling orders