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BoardGameGeek » Forums » Gaming Related » Trades
A Guide to Ultimate Trade Lists
It’s been about a year since I started the first Ultimate Trade List, and over the last year I’ve seen a lot of people confused about what they are and how to participate. Hopefully this Guide will help.

What is an Ultimate Trade List?:

An Ultimate Trade List (UT) is a trade chain using GeekLists in order to quickly and efficiently facilitate multiple game trades at once.

The basic format is that the list originator will post a game that they have for trade. Someone who wants that game will then post a game that they have for trade. People will keep adding games in this manner until the list originator sees something that they would like. The list ends at this point with everyone sending their game to the person below them in the chain, and the last person sending their game to the list originator. Here’s an example:

- John has a copy of St. Petersburg that he would like to trade, so he starts a UT list with it.
- Mary would like St. Petersburg and adds her copy of Clans to the list.
- Sal would like Clans and adds his copy of Monopoly to the list.
- John would like Monopoly and ends the list at this point. (Nobody said John was smart)

John send St. Pete to Mary / Mary sends Clans to Sal / Sal sends Monopoly to John

Everyone gets a game that they want without having to search the database for people to trade with and send multiple trade offers (usually without response).

Forks: You may see a UT list that says “Forks Allowed”. At this point most, if not all, UT list allow Forks. Forks are a way to make the lists less likely to lock-up with unwanted games, and to give more options to everyone involved. Basically, they allow you to offer your game for any game currently on the UT list. Back to our previous example:

Let’s say that John didn’t actually want Monopoly, so the list currently looks like this:

John – Saint Petersburg
Mary – Clans
Sal – Monopoly (Alf edition)

Aldie comes along and really wants Clans. He adds Rumis to the list and states that he is adding it for Clans. In his post he will show the entire chain, like so:
St. Petersburg -> Clans -> Rumis.
This avoids confusion and makes it clear to anyone who comes along exactly what is going on.

So, let’s say John (the list starter) wants Rumis. He would end the list here and it would look like this:

John sends St. Pete to Mary / Mary sends Clans to Aldie / Aldie sends Rumis to John

As you can see, even though Sal was on the list, he was not guaranteed a spot in the Trade Chain. For this reason, although you can add any game you want, you really should try to add games that people want and are of the same value as the other games being offered.

Starting an Ultimate Trade List:

Starting an Ultimate Trade List is just like starting any other GeekList (Click “Create” in the GeekList header). The only difference is that you will need to click the box that says “Trade List” on the creation page.

The title of your GeekList should state that it is an Ultimate Trade List and what game it is that you are starting the list with.

Example: “UT – Saint Petersburg”

As the list progresses and games are added to the list, it can be a good idea to edit the title and include the games that are currently on the list; especially big name games (you can leave Monopoly off the list). “UT – St. Pete / Clans / Rumis”. This will draw attention to your list for people who might be looking for some of those other games.

The first (and when you start the list, only) item in the list will be the game that you are starting the list with. Include a nice fancy picture and information about your game (see below).

Information to include in your List Description:

This part is really up to you, but it can be helpful to have good information in your list description.

Forks Allowed: At this point it’s pretty much a given that Forks are allowed, but you can always state it at the top to avoid questions about it later.

Who can join?: This is completely up to the list starter, but you should always state your restrictions on who can join the list at the top. Some people only want people from their own country to join (to avoid high shipping costs), some people only want people with an avatar or a high number of site contributions. It’s really up to you how you want to run your list, but make sure to include any restrictions in your header. It will avoid problems as you run the list, and it lets people decide if they want to join the list or not. (Someone might not want to join a worldwide UT list if it means they might end up having to send a package out of the country.)

If you are allowing people from multiple countries to join, state who will be responsible for the extra shipping costs.

What do you want?: Your list will usually be more successful if you give it some direction. Just starting a list with no idea what you want in return will work sometimes, but usually it is a good idea to know what you want ahead of time and to let people know what those games are that you're looking for. A simple list of games you want in the heading gives people an idea of what things they might add to close the list out and guarantee themselves a trade. Listing games that you want doesn't lock you in to only being able to accept those games, it just gives the list a little more direction and usually a quicker and more productive outcome.

Price Range: A lot of people on BGG know the relative values of the games, but a lot of them don’t. It can be helpful to state the relative value of the game you are adding (most go by online price, but you can state retail price if you make it clear that’s what you’re doing). Not all games added to the list will be the exact same price, but they should be in the general vicinity. If the list is currently Railroad Tycoon, Stephensons Rocket, and Taj Mahal, don’t add Fluxx.

Time Limit: Some UT lists have a set date that they will end, some don’t. If you are going to end your list on a certain day, say so. If you don’t have a time limit set, make sure that your list isn’t sitting dormant for too long. A lot of the people who join the UT lists are active traders and don’t want their games tied up on a dead list for weeks at a time. If the list is sitting dead for a couple of days, post a message asking the participants if they want to continue or if they want to back out.

Joining an Ultimate Trade List:

Joining an already running Ultimate Trade List is easy. Simply click on “Add Item” and add the game you wish to trade. Always state the game you would like and the complete chain that you are forming.

Railroad Tycoon -> Stephensons Rocket -> Taj Mahal -> Fluxx

Information about your game:

In the description of your game you should always state the condition of the game and the box. Also state the edition that you are trading.

Clans – Very good condition – opened and played a few times – box shows slight wear on the edges – Rio Grande English Edition

Backing Out:

For the most part, backing out of a UT list that you’ve joined is not a good idea. If you MUST (somebody just offered you $2,000 for your copy of Fluxx) then you should Geek Mail the list originator immediately so that he/she can delete your game. Also post a message under your game on the list stating that the game is no longer offered. This avoids any problems that might arise before the game is deleted.

Realize that by joining a UT list and then backing out of it, you are affecting other people involved. This is especially true if there are others below you in the chain who were hoping to get your game and others below it.

Multiple offers:

Unless you have multiple copies of the same game to trade, you should never add a game to a UT list that you have up for trade elsewhere. Once a game is added to a UT list you should expect that it will stay there until the list is complete and then it will be traded away. Never add the game to multiple lists expecting only one of them to go through. If someone sends you a trade offer for a game you have on a UT list, just respond saying that the game is currently in a UT list and you’ll get back to them when the list is complete. Or, do what I do, and invite them to join the list.

Trade Manager:

Once the list is complete (the list originator chooses a game and ends the chain) everyone involved should send an official trade offer through the Trade Manager. You should offer the game you are trading to the person below you in the chain and ask for nothing in return. This serves two purposes: it adds the trade to your Trade Rating, and it allows the participants to easily swap addresses for shipping.

Shipping:

Games traded through a UT list should be shipped as fast as possible; usually within 1 to 2 days. Make sure the box is packed well with plenty of packing material to avoid damage to the game. It is recommended that you get some kind of tracking number (or delivery confirmation number if USPS) and send that number to the recipient.

Let the recipient know when you’ve shipped their game and when they can expect it to arrive. Also, when you receive your game, let the person above you in the chain know that you got it and that (hopefully) everything looks good.

Feedback:

There is a Feedback system in the Trade Manager. When you receive your game be sure to leave Feedback for the person that sent it to you. I also like to leave Feedback for the person I sent my game to.

Enjoy:

Hopefully you have fun participating in Ultimate Trade Lists and get some new games to enjoy. Have fun!
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Sterling Babcock
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A wonderful article!

If I could offer a suggestion, one thing that I have a hard time finding is: What game will close the list! Since the list author has the ultimate control (no pun intended) they get to direct when it will end. If a trader wants it to end successfully in their favor, they would like to add something the owner of the list wants. I would suggest:

When you create an UT list, make sure you clearly specify some games that are likely to end the list, and put them in bold, using [ b ] Game Names [ / b ]
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Kane Klenko
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Ah yes. I actually had a heading for that when I was outlining what I wanted to add, but somehow it got skipped. I'll add it in. Thanks.
 
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How's that? ("What do you want?" under "Items to include in your list description")
 
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Favre4MVP wrote:
How's that? ("What do you want?" under "Items to include in your list description")


I would recommend you mentioning making the wants in BOLD. For quick determination of where he specifies the wants.

The reason is, the fact that it is an UT tells me 90 % of what I want to know.

An UT? (90%) Available game of interest? (95%) Do I have something he wants? (100%)

Much quicker to determine if it is of interest. Then I can read the header in detail.
 
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Tim K.
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Thanks for posting this meeple
 
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Jon David Faeth
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Thank you so much for posting this, because ever since I started trading I've been really wondering what UT was.
 
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Kane Klenko
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Does anyone think this is worth having pinned at the top of the trade forums or the trade geeklists? I don't think it will be all that helpful if it isn't visible.
 
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Lindsey Dubb
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Quote:
Does anyone think this is worth having pinned at the top of the trade forums or the trade geeklists?

I think it is, now. It doesn’t show up at the top of the main page’s list of trades or trade geeklists, but does come up at the top of the forum.
 
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Kane Klenko
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And so it is. I usually don't actually go in through the forums, I just have everything on my homepage and jump between active and recent. I didn't realize things were pinned separately in the actual forum section.

 
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Mike Romigh
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Very helpful. Thanks for passing along the know-how!
 
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Chad Winter
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Okay, I need help locating the trade lists. I used to could find them, but with all the recent changes, I can't find them anymore! Help a fellow, would ya?
 
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Chad Winter
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Doh. Nevermind, I found them. I just had to take off the blinders.
 
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So as the person running the UT, I could end it whenever I saw a chain that I liked?
 
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Kane Klenko
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stormseeker75 wrote:
So as the person running the UT, I could end it whenever I saw a chain that I liked?


Correct. The list ends whenever the list-runner sees something they want and closes the loop.
 
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Thanks Kane. I think I may try running one of these things now.
 
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Tony Ackroyd
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Subscribe to the following thread to find out about new ultimate trades
Ultimate Trades Announcements & Subscription Thread
 
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Favre4MVP wrote:
stormseeker75 wrote:
So as the person running the UT, I could end it whenever I saw a chain that I liked?


Correct. The list ends whenever the list-runner sees something they want and closes the loop.


I'm thinking about starting one of these ultimate trade lists, but I'm wondering about one thing. What happens if I set an end date and I haven't seen anything I like before that? Do I have to choose one of the chains or can I close the whole thing without doing any trades?

 
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Kane Klenko
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JockiB wrote:
Favre4MVP wrote:
stormseeker75 wrote:
So as the person running the UT, I could end it whenever I saw a chain that I liked?


Correct. The list ends whenever the list-runner sees something they want and closes the loop.


I'm thinking about starting one of these ultimate trade lists, but I'm wondering about one thing. What happens if I set an end date and I haven't seen anything I like before that? Do I have to choose one of the chains or can I close the whole thing without doing any trades?



You can close without doing any trades. You are never obligated to do any trading.

Or, if things are going well and you just haven't gotten the right offer yet, you could always extend the end date. Usually if I do that I allow people to pull any offers that they've made if they want to.
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Favre4MVP wrote:
JockiB wrote:
I'm thinking about starting one of these ultimate trade lists, but I'm wondering about one thing. What happens if I set an end date and I haven't seen anything I like before that? Do I have to choose one of the chains or can I close the whole thing without doing any trades?



You can close without doing any trades. You are never obligated to do any trading.

Or, if things are going well and you just haven't gotten the right offer yet, you could always extend the end date. Usually if I do that I allow people to pull any offers that they've made if they want to.


OK, thank you for this answer!
 
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Andrew Nichols
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I've observed a few of these over the past few weeks, thinking it might be a good way to trade some of the games I'm trying to offload, but I haven't noticed very many successes. Is that normal? Are the people I've seen opening UT just too stingy/picky/offering unwanted games?

I suppose the beauty of an UT for the list originator is that there really is no risk. If it doesn't work, then it doesn't work. I'm just unsure if I as a new trader show even bother attempting one of these. Any thoughts/advice?
 
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I have a question regarding forks. In your example, the second-last item is 'given another offer', which makes sense as maybe monopoly isn't something anyone actually wants. But a subsequent sentence suggests that you could fork for anything in the list above - potentially even offering something different for the original item!

So, theoretically, where the letters are games being offered, you could have
A>B>C>D and then someone comes with E, wanting B, making it (after a while) A>B>E>F>G

Is that correct?

I've never taken part in a UT, but the idea that you can fork at any point seems prone to problems with maybe 10 different people offering 10 different things for one game.

Although, I suppose, you're unlikely to have that many folk taking part...
 
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Kane Klenko
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Bezman wrote:
I have a question regarding forks. In your example, the second-last item is 'given another offer', which makes sense as maybe monopoly isn't something anyone actually wants. But a subsequent sentence suggests that you could fork for anything in the list above - potentially even offering something different for the original item!

So, theoretically, where the letters are games being offered, you could have
A>B>C>D and then someone comes with E, wanting B, making it (after a while) A>B>E>F>G

Is that correct?

I've never taken part in a UT, but the idea that you can fork at any point seems prone to problems with maybe 10 different people offering 10 different things for one game.

Although, I suppose, you're unlikely to have that many folk taking part...


That is exactly how it works. There's potential to have multiple forks in all different spots of the list. You could have:
A>B>C>E>F>O
A>B>C>D>M>T

Or whatever....and really it's not confusing at all. There could be 10 different forks and they could all be branching off of different games. But really it doesn't matter. When you go to an Ultimate Trade list, or when you're running one, you don't need to even look at what the chains are. You just look to see if there's a game you want. If there is, then you copy the Chain text from that item and add your game to the end. As long as everyone in the list shows what chain they are in, there is no confusion. Again, looking at the chains is unnecessary....just look to see if there's a game you want.

When the list starter sees something they want to end the list on, they look at that chain and the trade is done.
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Behrooz Shahriari
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Thanks for the elaboration.
 
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