Sunday, September 21, 2008

The glory of the gaming auction

One of the coolest things about living in Chicago is the twice-annual Games Plus Gaming Auction, held by the good chaps at Games Plus in Mt. Prospect, IL. Throughout most of September, local gamers can drop off their unwanted gaming merchandise, which becomes part of a veritable mountain of loot that dominates the rear of the store. Daily visitors to the store, of course, watch this treasure heap grow over the course of the month, which serves only to enhance the sense of excitement and anticipation for the auction.

The auction itself spans a long weekend, with each day dedicated to a particular gaming category: Friday for the board games, Saturday for the RPGs and fantasy games, and Sunday for the miniatures. Make no mistake: these are long days. There’s no rhyme or reason to the auction; cartloads of material are wheeled up to the auctioneer’s table all day long and sold in the order they arrive. A barely-used copy of Zombies!!! might be auctioned off right after a much-loved edition of Keep on the Borderlands, for example.

What this means for customers is that you have to sit through the whole thing to make sure you won’t miss a particular item you spied in the treasure heap. There’s no way to be alerted when an item you want goes up for auction. The upshot of all this is that Games Plus is clogged with gaming geeks lounging on chairs, reading books or eating lunch pretty much all day long. As the day progresses, these folks are generally quite vocal, sending up a chorus of “ooooh!” whenever a particular gem commands a hefty price, or chuckling when another customer nabs an oddball item for cheap. In truth, it’s a fairly festive atmosphere, sort of a cross between Medieval Times and a football game.

Last year I snagged the Eberron core book ($5), Panty Explosion ($3) and Fluid Mechanics ($5, a supplement for Blue Planet). This year I’m hoping to attend both the RPG day and the miniatures day.

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