I’m in the middle of moving. I’ve moved a total of 17 times before this, with varying degrees of success. There are four things I fret about when I’m moving.
- My cat.
- My tech devices.
- My important papers/tax records/vital ID.
- My gaming books.
That’s a sort of roughly honest approximation, though everything after my cat occupies a similar tier of terror at the thought of any harm, damage or other form of loss happening to those things. The gaming books and associated gaming ephemera is a big deal to me because a massive amount of it has been out of print for years. Thanks to be to The Onyx Path, which is updating a number of books I own and love (oh, Hunter) but I have long-standing sentimental and fiscal attachment to these things. These books have survived multiple moves, break ups, crazy room-mates and nearly getting sent across international borders.
So how I protect this precious payload?
I found the answer a few years ago when I was desperate to finish moving. The liquor store was out of boxes, and I wasn’t willing to shell out for more plastic crates. Pro Tip: don’t put books in those things. Dropping them on yourself in a stairwell is a world of pain no one should explore. Great for board games, though.
I’m getting terribly off topic. So, the answer to my desperate quest to move.
Cardboard, easily labeled, punch it till it takes a square like shape file boxes. In the vast, weird mystery of my move from Seattle to more northern climes, I managed to lose half of mine to the dark nether realm of the basement at the house I’ve been rooming in. Recently preparing for moving back to Seattle necessitated me to spelunk the dark corners, feeling like I’d survived a dungeon crawl and leveled up when I found a box of pristine, unused file boxes. They’re labeled in a scrawl of signing pen Sharpies, which I ran dry. Then I started using a whiteboard pen, because it’s not like there’s a lot of difference once you apply it to cardboard.
I pack the gaming books about halfway through every move. I don’t have any active games right now, and I’m between actively writing on design assignments, so they’ve sat peacefully in their temporary cardboard home inside a bookshelf bolted into the wall. Packing them makes things feel real. Whether it’s my own gaming library—or the libraries of friends I’ve helped pack in the past—it’s strange to see shelves cleared out. The same well-worn spines I’d walk by daily, hidden away. I even have some dice bags from Lyndsay Peters, which have devoured my dice, tucked in the top of one of the boxes. Stray card games tucked into the sides of others, here and there.
Seattle wasn’t where I was born, but it’s where I really cut my teeth as a GM. I ran LARPs longer in Seattle than I did anywhere else in the country, ever. I hit my stride as a tabletop GM there, and I played in some of the games I treasure most there. Those memories are all tucked up in those boxes, in the pages of books I can’t wait to unpack.
I haven’t been home in a long time, or gamed outside a con, in a long time. I can’t wait to get back and play new games, and make new friends, and unpack my books.
To tell new stories.
I can’t tell you how much I can’t wait to go home.
Have a cherished memory of adventures you and your game books have taken? Feel free to tell me a story in the comments!