Collection Shaming

A while back, The Dice Tower put out a video of Jason Levine’s board game collection. Featuring thousands of board games, it might actually prove to be the largest personal board game collection in the world. While the video received a lot of praise, it also received criticism from those who took offense to him having a large stash of board games. It reminded me of a similar backlash that video game YouTuber 8-Bit Eric received for posting a video of his Nintendo Switch game collection. I get the sense that if I were to seek out people showing off their collections of anything, there’s going to be hate.

My big question is, “Why?”

Can’t speak for everyone, but I live in a capitalist society. I’m free to spend my money however I want. If that means I want to buy thousands of video games, board games, postage stamps, or two Starbucks frappes every day, that’s fine. Perceived social norms or whatever other criteria you want to place on someone be damned, people can spend their money freely. As long as it’s not negatively impacting their life or the lives of others, have fun! By all accounts, Jason seems to be well-off with a home and a job doing video production for Univision.

It angers me to see how much misguided negativity comes out when people want to share their collections. Much of it seems to come from jealousy, but also from people pushing their ideals of what a game collection should be onto him. I’ll pull in some example comment’s from the Jason Levine collection video to further this discussion.

 …Why not? Collecting board games makes him happy.

Double whammy of, “Anyone with money can have a collection like his,” followed up with, “My collection is better because I actually play my games.” To his first point, yes, it does take a lot to amass a collection that big. Tens of thousands of dollars, easily. If it was so easy, we would all have collections that big. And two, who is to say that one played copy of 7 Wonders is better than three unopened copies? While I personally prefer to collect games I would play, there’s no reason to demean or devalue someone who gets satisfaction from having the sealed copy on the shelf. There are no shortage of examples of people who like to collect things in mint condition and never use them for their intended purpose, and there’s nothing wrong with that. Why do you feel the need to shame Jason based on your criteria that may or may not line up with his?

Why not multiple copies? It’s his money, and if he’s happy with owning multiple copies of a game, then that’s great. He does not live in a communist society where commodities must be evenly split amongst the populace. Therefore, he has no obligation to limit his purchase of a specific game to just one copy. Using that same line of thinking, am I selfish when I buy three 24-packs of toilet paper when they’re on sale at Costco?

We’ve already covered the “shaming based on unplayed games” angle. This comment also has the, “At least my collection has quality and Jason’s has lots of crap!” comment. Why do we need to knock him down a peg because of the perceived quality of games in his collection? When did high Board Game Geek scores become a requirement to a good collection? Once again, if it makes him happy to own “bad” games, so be it. If it makes you happy to own “good” games, that’s great too. But why must he, or anyone for that matter, ascribe to your definition of what makes a great collection?

Have fun with whatever you collect, however you collect it. As long as it doesn’t bring you or others down along the way, you’re free to enjoy the spoils that come with owning a mass amount of board games, or the most valuable Pokemon Card Game collection, or the largest collection of belly button lint. There’s no “right” way to do it, and anyone that tells you otherwise is probably jealous, or they don’t understand the value you get from the collection you’re building, or they’re just a jerk. Keep on collecting!

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