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From ‘Apples to Apples’ to ‘Risk,’ a Manitoban is selling off his massive board game collection

A Manitoba teacher is selling off his colossal board game collection that he’s amassed through more than a decade of scouring thrift stores, pawn shops and garage sales.

Matthew Bencharski has over 800 board games in his collection, featuring classics like “Risk” and “Apples to Apples” to more obscure finds like “Trump: The Game.”

He started casually collecting over 10 years ago, picking up games he thought looked fun or retro at second-hand shops for a couple of bucks.

“One shelf of games leads to two shelves and three, then four and before you know it, you have a room full of board games.”

Now, the time has come for Bencharski to pare down his collection that’s overtaking a spare room at his Stonewall, Man. home.

He posted a photo of his collection to Facebook Marketplace, inviting folks to message him if they are after a specific title and propose a price.

A small portion of Matthew Bencharski’s board game collection, featuring classic and obscure releases, is shown in an April 18, 2024 image. (Matthew Bencharski)

Four days later, he has received over a thousand messages from board game buffs. Some of the most sought-after games in his inbox – “Hamburger,” “Moolah” and “Mall Madness.”

Bencharski is keeping a few dozen games he’s not able to part with, like “The Omega Virus.” The Milton Bradley game from the ‘90s calls on players or “heroes of the planet Earth” to save the BattleSat1 space station from an evil virus.

Another favourite – “Dream Phone,” a beloved artifact among the Lisa Frank-era of girls, tweens and teens alike. Players have a secret admirer. To find out who, they must call up boys whose mushroom-cut headshots adorn a deck of cards one by one, seeking out clues.

Despite multiple requests for it, Bencharski says his copy is not for sale.

“It’s actually a really fun game. My wife and I have had like friends over and we’ve played it. It’s so cheesy and corny, but it’s funny at the same time.”

He’s already sold off a number of games. So far, Bencharski says he’s had zero sellers’ remorse. It’s a sign, he says, he’s doing the right thing by scaling back.

Besides working out a fair price, it’s important to him that each game is going to someone who will appreciate it.

“I met this person yesterday to sell “Heartthrob.” Her face just lit up when she saw it,” he said. “I’m glad they’re going to a good home.”

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