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"The Piper Principle" Topic

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robert piepenbrink Supporting Member of TMP12 Feb 2019 6:22 a.m. PST

OK, Double G and I were having our usual argument: he was calling bad news for the flea markets good news overall, and I was explaining that I had a ton of stuff which won't go away otherwise, and had to be got rid of. His reply?

"As far as being overbought; who's not? The next person I meet at a wargaming show who tells me he's all caught up and all of his figures are painted will be the first one.

But truth be told, isn't that half the fun; ie, all the projects people have planned that they want/hope to get to."

Good answer, as far as it goes. BUT
We're not going to be wargaming forever. If we're lucky, we'll die pretty much slumped over our tables, if not, we'll be handed over to the "caring professions." Either way, someone will have to clean up the mess. Hence the title. When the SF writer H. Beam Piper committed suicide, he put down tarps before shooting himself, and left a note of apology for the mess. How many of us are going to leave some horrendous mess to our children without the apology?

Thirty years ago, when one of the local CLS group died, the widow only had to make one phone call. One of the rest of us came by, wrote a check and sold off the collection in pieces. Those guys are now mostly dead or dispersed. What one phone call will my son make to deal with my hobby? The dealers in painted armies are gone. Do your children live in town? Can they spare a month to sell your stuff on e-bay, or do they have lives of their own? Yeah. That's about what I thought.

So my plan is that by my early 70's I'll be down to an amount of lead and plastic which could go in a van in one trip--still a lot of periods and scales, but nothing the kid can't take back to Nebraska and sell off at his leisure, or even convince the local game shop to take, and no need to drop armies in the nearest dumpster so he can sell the house.

What's YOUR plan?

79thPA Supporting Member of TMP12 Feb 2019 6:45 a.m. PST

My brother and I had to sell dad's collections (an entire house and two garages packed full of stuff) in order to pay his bills, in spite of him refusing to sell anything. It was overwhelming. I don't intend to do that to my kids. Like you, at a certain age I intend to sell a lot of my miniatures and books. What I don't sell, I will make sure the kids know what it is, what it is conservatively worth, and how to sell it.

Personal logo etotheipi Sponsoring Member of TMP12 Feb 2019 7:10 a.m. PST

Both my kids play, paint and convert. As far as planning goes, I don't plan to die.

My real concern is how do I downsize if I end up actually being able to retire to a little island in the Aegean to drink ouzo and fish.

If I end up in an assisted facility, my plan is to ask the attendant to bring me over my 16th Century Swiss Landsknechts and then no matter what they bring, to chastise them because those are my 15th Century Burgundian Landsknechts. The important this is I currently don't have any or any plans for any Landsknechts.

skipper John Supporting Member of TMP12 Feb 2019 7:23 a.m. PST

What? I'm not concerned at all! I fully intend to be that… "SOB that left us with this wargaming mess!"

mad monkey 112 Feb 2019 7:25 a.m. PST

Have all my minis and rulebooks put in a boat(reinforced, naturedly)towed out to the middle of a lake, then set on fire. Have some explosives deep down in the bottom to blow up and spread me and my stuff all over…'s a dream I have. Sigh.

Wackmole9 Supporting Member of TMP12 Feb 2019 7:50 a.m. PST


I have finished a massive concrete tomb. Includes traps and snakes. I and MY "toys" will enjoy a fun filled afterlife. Plus I get to watch all the "Adventurers" die horribly trying to take my stuff. Note final trap flood the tomb with red hot lava, So I can get the smart ones.

TheWhiteDog12 Feb 2019 8:20 a.m. PST

My stuff is all boxed by subject, and there are instructions to contact Noble Knight Games should something happen to me. I have a typed list of all my "potential" projects, to make sorting easier.

Same goes for my rather extensive firearm collection. I have a typed list, which includes all relevant info, and which safe they are located in. There are instructions for 3 different people to contact, to get a range of prices.

I'm only 33, so I doubt the preparations will be used anytime soon, but it's good to have a plan!

skedaddle Supporting Member of TMP12 Feb 2019 8:33 a.m. PST

Is there a link to the discussion on flea markets? I'd be interested in reading that.

I'm in the process of downsizing now as we're planning to move in the next couple of months. I've rented a storage room temporarily to hold everything, and I'm tired of moving stuff, so the motivation is high at this point to move stuff to another owner.

I still need to continue the cull, though, to get things to a manageable level.

Shagnasty Supporting Member of TMP12 Feb 2019 9:02 a.m. PST

I have always ricocheted between "I don't give a ---- 'cause I'll be dead." and " I don't want my wife to worry about it."

She frequently asks me about it so it is obviously on her mind. Recently I have been sporadically counting and noting basic prices for figs and have had some vague conversations with friends about dealing with them. A good friend has recently been custodian of a fellow's vast collection who should have prepared better and it has been a hassle for him. It is very hard to turn loose of stuff whilst still functioning. Ah, just to live well forever!

Oppiedog12 Feb 2019 9:41 a.m. PST

I figure they'll find my body with footprints all over it and an empty room.

OldGrenadier at work12 Feb 2019 11:09 a.m. PST

My wife has been pushing at me to start liquidating some of my gaming materials. Her argument is that I pretty much play on the computer anymore and it's taking up space. she's not wrong, but I just can't bring myself to do it.

Aethelflaeda was framed12 Feb 2019 11:40 a.m. PST

Get rid of the computer first.

ZULUPAUL Supporting Member of TMP12 Feb 2019 11:49 a.m. PST

I'm downsizing now. Very few purchases & selling a lot at convention flea markets & TMP. Sadly my painted stuff totals 10K figures or so in various levels of painting skills from true crap to table usable.

surdu200512 Feb 2019 1:01 p.m. PST

I try to keep my unpainted lead collection under 300 figures. Usually I try to paint what I got at one convention before buying more at the last convention. The number gets a little fuzzy at times, as I consider a five-figure strip of 10mm Old Glory figures 1 figure for this purpose. I am under 300 today, but I just ordered some figures from Eureka that will throw me over the top again.

As for what I plan to do with my collection, sadly, neither of my kids are interested in gaming or will likely want more than one or two pieces from my collection for sentimental reasons. They enjoyed gaming when they were younger, but a couple of older gamers really turned them off to the hobby in a big way. I am on the lookout for someone starting in the hobby who has a lot of enthusiasm and little cash. I plan to give away my 20mm WWII collection, for instance, if I find the right home for them. I have converted to 28mm (although I didn't set out to do that), so the 20mm figures are lonely. I am not going to give them or sell them to a seasoned gamer. I want them to go to someone who will appreciate them. Ideally it would be someone local.

Anyway, that's my plan. It wasn't meant as an advertisement.

Hamilton12 Feb 2019 2:11 p.m. PST

Buck, I think that's a great way to pass on the hobby to new gamers.

Yellow Admiral12 Feb 2019 2:54 p.m. PST

As my forties drew to a close, I noted that my most of my gaming circle was already over 70, and nearly all of it was over 50. Attrition has so far been blessedly slow, but I fully expect to have only a tiny gaming circle when I'm 60, and almost nobody to game with when I'm 70. Younger gamers come and go, but most of the "younger" 40-to-50-something crowd live in other urban areas or other states; people tend to move out of my area because it's too expensive to stay. I'll probably have to do the same when I retire. I began consolidating before I even turned 50.

I'm almost done getting rid of projects I was clearly never going to resume. Now I'm getting around to reviewing the projects I still vaguely hoped to ramp up some day, so the decisions are getting tougher. It's especially hard to let go of collections I spent a lot of time and effort building by my own hand, but just don't game with anymore.

I've also spent a lot of time over the last couple years making sure each collection is consolidated in one place and the containers are clearly labeled. That's partly for my own sanity, but would help others part it all out to interested parties in the event a pterodactyl carries me off unexpectedly.

I have made it clear all my gaming stuff can go straight in the garbage if nobody left behind wants to deal with the burden of selling and giving it away. It would probably take two or three big dump runs right now; I intend to reduce the volume until it would only take one. (As an aside, my container collection might actually be valuable to a non-gamer if they dumped out all the miniatures and terrain. There are some expensive boxes and cases in there.)

- Ix

Sgt Slag12 Feb 2019 2:57 p.m. PST

Good reminder, Gents. Been traveling this thought path for a while, now, off and on. Discussed it with my wife a few times. She thinks our sons will be interested, but I doubt it.

I have a sizable collection of Army Men figures mounted on bases, terrain, and such. My nephew, and my middle son, are very much into gaming with these figures, so I don't worry about them.

I have a sizable collection of D&D fantasy figures, for both RPG's and mass battles. I have a fair collection of terrain, for these, as well. These are what I wonder about. I know a number of fellow gamers who would love to receive them, but they're the same age as me! Not worried about money: they're painted to a GEtGW (Good Enough to Game With) standard, which most would not pay even pennies on the dollar for. I do not view them as an "investment", but as a source of joy for me, and me alone. Well, my gamer friends enjoy playing with them, when I run a game, so not just me, I guess.

I'll continue to chew on this issue for a while. No real answers yet, but your posts made me smile, and I'm good with that. Cheers!

Yellow Admiral12 Feb 2019 3:28 p.m. PST

A reminder: also think about your library.

Rulebooks and scenario guides are generally garbage to non-gamers, but most of us have a ton of books, and in any sizeable library there is a good chance some books have become valuable.

One of the best gifts I ever received was to have my book collection cataloged on All I've had to do since then is copy/paste the ISBN number into the "add new book" screen to add books as I acquire them. (Theoretically I should also be taking out books I got rid of, but first I would have to get rid of a book… grin)

This has been most useful to help me avoid duplicate purchases, but it will also help a lot in the event I shuffle off the library with the rest of my mortal coil. My catalog is free, but there are pay services that can be tacked on, one of which is to convert my catalog into a storefront, or into a library with checkin/checkout tracking. Libib is a very useful service for people like us.

- Ix

FusilierDan12 Feb 2019 6:22 p.m. PST

I sold off a bunch of stuff a few years back in the Flea Market at Cold Wars.

Since then I've started to catalogue my figures by period and scale. I've tried to add manufacturer product number, price (raw lead) per unit and weather it's painted or not. I've yet to label the boxes they're in. It's a massive undertaking.

If my wife or kids had to get rid of these it would be a major hassle. I'd hate to see it all go in the trash so I'll have to work out instructions for what can be done to sell it or pass it on.

Yellow Admiral, thanks for that link.

von Schwartz12 Feb 2019 7:38 p.m. PST

Hopefully I'll be able to get one of the grandkids into the hobby, three of them are still too and the forth is too female. Not that girls can't be gamers it's just that they usually aren't.

Covert Walrus Supporting Member of TMP27 Apr 2019 3:11 a.m. PST

I have a lists of armies and such, so my two adopted sisters can organise it for sale to members of gaming groups around the place; Same as with my books which are quite a collection if I may say so.
Oh, though one particular section will be treated differentyl; All my Dystopian wars stuff, since Warcradle has abandoned and/or modified the IP so much to fit into WWX they aren't useful, will be smashed with hammers and tipped into the recycling bin, with a note as to why sent to enquiries from people in those social network groups who would be interested in buying it. My last protest as it were.

Legion 430 Apr 2019 9:00 a.m. PST

I plan on being buried with all my minis, wargames, etc., in a tomb like an ancient Egyptian Pharaoh.

That is if I do die … however I'm hoping for aliens to land and they put my consciousness in an android body. And I can continue to paint and play with my toys indefinitely.

Borderguy19019 May 2019 3:47 a.m. PST

I have no plan as I have no intention on dying.

Legion 419 May 2019 7:56 a.m. PST

Well that is another option … thumbs up

UshCha01 Jun 2019 12:28 p.m. PST

My minis get played with. They are toys, they cost a minimal amount, took a minimal time to paint and hopefully will be worthless as I have had my fun and worn the paint off and wear an tear will have taken their toll on the weapons. If they are not then they were useless because I never played with them seriously so were a waste of money. They will take minimal time to dump in the dumpster when I am gone.

Old Contemptible01 Jun 2019 5:15 p.m. PST

One thing we can't do much about is all the experience and expertise we have acquired through the years. I feel I am near my peak as far as hobby skills are concern. Writing scenarios, painting, collecting, research and being GMS. My games are continuing to improve.

I have been considering a way to pass on our collective wisdom. One way of doing that is online. Forums such as TMP and Lead Adventures etc. have sort of been doing that. All the advice we have given on these forums are digitally recorded, so to speak. It is accessible by fellow hobbyist everywhere.

I know fourms my not last forever. But generally anything that is on internet lasts a long time. If we had a place to record all our collective wisdom in one place. Where it would searchable. TMP is the closest I can think of.

Having said all of this I think of the old web service, MagWeb. That was a great loss as it was the repository of a great deal of searchable knowledge that just vanished into the ether. But there is Youtube and countless blogs. Blogs are great in this regard as they serve as a journal of that person's acquired knowledge.

I really am depressed discussing this as I feel I am really coming into my own as far as the hobby is concern. I wish this would have happen when I was much younger. Someone once said youth is wasted on the young.

HarmonWard13 Aug 2019 8:57 p.m. PST

Out here in the PSW we lost a seasoned veteran of many a tabletop campaign. I spent and hour talking to his widow about the process of selling off his collection. She mentioned that all of us should have an index card with the manufacturers name, year they were bought, unit name and historical period, scale and base price written legibly on it.
she was more savvy than most but it was darn near impossible for her to get the best price because he wasn't around with that information.

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