Math Trade Walkthrough/FAQ for newbies
Nathan Bergom
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Math trades are a fantastic way to do some trading without the hassle of finding trade partners and haggling. They do come with their own set of hassles, though. This guide is meant for someone completely new to math trading. If you're experienced and looking at this list for kicks, please keep that in mind.

This guide is meant to walk a newbie through their very first math trade. It's written in FAQ format because I've found that to be a better format for referencing when one needs a specific piece of information, or a particular aspect explained.

NOTE: Always read the rules for the math trade in which you are participating! If something in the rules contradicts the information in this list, the rules take precedence.

I've disabled public additions. I've just found in the past that when anyone can make additions, contradictory and inconsistent information shows up and muddies the waters. I plan to keep editing this list over time, but I really think it needs to stay consistent. If you have a suggestion for a change, please do post a comment, and if I agree that it will improve the list, I'll implement the change.

My thanks to aksosa for allowing me to list fake items in a math trade of his so I could get the screenshots.

What's a Math Trade?
How many games will I get for my games, and how can I make sure I'll get what I want?
How do I know when math trades are happening?
What terminology do I need to know?
What's a math trade, and how does it work? (Extended barrel and convention hall analogy edition)
How do I list my game?
How do I add Sweeteners and other extras?
How do I get into the OLWLG?
Why is the math trade not showing up in the OLWLG, or showing up as a no-ship math trade?
I submitted a game to the trade list; why isn't it showing up in the OLWLG?
How do I get geekmail notifications when the OLWLG is synced with the trade list, and when the results are posted?
How do I add an unusual item, like a gift certificate, a "Pick X" entry, or something that isn't a game, to the trade list?
How do I remove an item I submitted to the tradelist?
How do I add items to my wantlist?
How do I sync my BGG Collection with the OLWLG, and Why would I want to?
Why is only one item showing up in the OLWLG?
How do I remove something from my wantlist?
What is duplicate protection?
How do I use Duplicate Protection in the OLWLG?
How do I use manual Duplicate Protection in the OLWLG?
How do I make my wantlist in Step 4 of the OLWLG?
How do I sort the games I want in Step 4?
How do I tell the OLWLG that while I'm willing to trade Game A for either Game X or Game Y, I'd much prefer Game X?
What do the red and yellow boxes in Step 4 mean?
How do I submit my wantlist?
How do I know if I got any trades?
I got trades! What do I do now?
I got no trades. What do I do now?
How long do I wait for my shippers to send me trade proposals and my games?
I got a trade, but I don't want it! What do I do now?
What's the timing in a math trade? (When can I submit games/make a wantlist/use duplicate protection?)
How should I ship my games?
How Do I Handle the Finished Trades, Including Feedback?
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26. Board Game: Made for Trade [Average Rating:4.92 Overall Rank:16669]
Nathan Bergom
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How do I know if I got any trades?

After the deadline is over, log into the OLWLG, and in the first screen, you'll find this section:



Click on the "Results Summary," and you'll be taken directly to your own name with your trades. (If you don't see your name, they're alphabetical, just scroll)

You may have gotten trades (woohoo!):



Or maybe not (sad trombone):

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27. Board Game: Trade [Average Rating:6.82 Overall Rank:11064]
Nathan Bergom
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I got trades! What do I do now?



You got a trade! Hooray! Katore is sending you Space Alert: the New Frontier, and you'll send Dungeon Roll off to jharus.

Let's take care of our sending obligation first. If you click directly on the username of your recipient:



It will take you directly to a BGG trade proposal page between the two of you.



Select the game you're sending off, and hit "Preview:"



Yes, it's a one-sided trade, but it's supposed to be. Go ahead and submit the proposal.

On the other side of things, you could submit one-sided trade requests to the people shipping games to you. However, it does come across as rude to some (including me personally). My personal recommendation is to let them send you the one-sided trade proposal.
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28. Board Game: Tough Luck! [Average Rating:4.24 Unranked]
Nathan Bergom
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I got no trades. What do I do now?

First of all, it's better to get no trades than to get a trade with which you're unhappy. You don't want to be the person feeling upset when you pack up your game because you don't feel that you're getting something worthwhile for it.

There will be another math trade, and you can always resubmit your items. Eventually your games will trade, or you'll realize that there isn't enough interest in them to make any trades worthwhile for you.

What you can do right now, though, is go back to the first screen in the OLWLG and find the trade again:



Click on "Who wanted mine," and it will take you to a page that looks like this:



This is from an old trade, but it illustrates my points better. It shows who had your items on their wantlists, and what they were willing to trade. This time around, nobody wanted Complete Hero: Immortal King. Okay. Munchkin Pack didn't fare much better, but Rune Age has some demand.

Let's say I thought that trading my Rune Age for Panic Station (Item 3 in that list) would be a good trade. Well, gramaw had already offered Panic Station for Rune Age in the OLWLG, so it wouldn't be a bad idea to simply make a direct trade offer. They thought it was a good trade during wishlist submission, so there's a good shot of having a successful trade.

Just in case you're curious, both Complete Hero: Immortal King and Munchkin Pack did both eventually trade. Rune Age went into a later trade, where it had very little demand. You just never know with math trades. Keep trying, and don't settle for a trade that you don't like.
 
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29. Board Game: Just Wait [Average Rating:5.90 Unranked]
Nathan Bergom
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How long do I wait for my shippers to send me trade proposals and my games?

Oh boy. This one is tricky. I debated on whether to include it, because it's so subjective, but this question comes up nearly every single math trade.

Here's what's generally (not universally) accepted:

Give your shipper three days. Most people are pretty good about sending trade proposals out within a day of the results being declared official. If you don't hear anything after three days, send them a friendly geekmail as a reminder. Friendly, not demanding. There are enough stories out there of people tearing into shippers only to find out there had been a death in the family, or an auto accident, or some other tragedy that takes precedence over a game.

If you still don't hear anything after another 3-4 days, then it's time to send a geekmail to the moderator in which you explain the situation in a polite, civil manner. The moderator will tell you how they want to run things. It will get taken care of.

As far as waiting for the games themselves goes, be patient. Some people will ship games the day after the math trade results are posted. Some people have to take their packages to the post offices, and their work schedule means they can do that only on Saturdays, and this Saturday they'll be on a family vacation, so will next week Saturday be okay? Yes, yes it will be.

The important thing is communication. If you get delayed sending games, send out some geekmails saying so. I have yet to find someone who gets mad when I clearly communicate a delay. People would rather know that it's going to be a week and a half before something gets shipped than to be kept in the dark, wondering if anything's going to come at all.
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30. Board Game: Find the Mistakes [Average Rating:5.00 Unranked]
Nathan Bergom
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I got a trade, but I don't want it! What do I do now?

Hoo boy. Okay, you've made a mistake. And there's really no unmaking it. You checked the box that said that if you can get a copy of Pandemic, you'll send off a copy of Carcassonne. The OLWLG found a chain for Penny in Pennsylvania to send you a copy of Pandemic, and in exchange, you'll send your copy of Carcassonne to Carl in California.

You agreed to it in advance, so now you owe Carl in California a copy of Carcassonne. Send it off, enjoy your copy of Pandemic, and if you really miss Carcassonne, you can always try to trade for it in a future trade, or you can save your pennies and buy a replacement copy for yourself.

If you just can't bear the thought of parting with your game, then understand that people will know. You're a bad trader. It may go as far as your account being banned from any future trades, math trades or otherwise.

The one thing you can try is this: geekmail the moderator right away. Plead your case. The moderator may take pity on you, but don't count on it (and if you're obnoxious about it, don't count on participating in any more math trades). There may be a solution, but be prepared to send that game off. After all, you agreed to the trade when you checked that box.
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31. Board Game: Perfect Timing! [Average Rating:4.65 Unranked]
Nathan Bergom
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What's the timing in a math trade? (When can I submit games/make a wantlist/use duplicate protection?)

A math trade has three phases:

1) Game submissions

This is when the moderator creates the trade list and submits the trade to the OLWLG. This is when you can post the games you are offering.

You can start generating your wantlist and use duplicate protection, but you cannot submit your wantlist during this period.

This is also the only time when you can edit trade list items or comment on them. If someone asks a question about your item, you can reply only during this period!

2) Wantlist submissions

The moderator closes the trade list, and opens the wantlist submission window in the OLWLG. Now's the time to put together your wantlist (using duplicate protection if need be) and submit it.

You cannot edit trade list items or post comments in the trade list. If someone has asked a question about one of your items, the only thing you can do is geekmail the asker, and possibly also post an answer in the discussion thread.

Note: This is the only time you can submit wantlists! Once the window closes, if you haven't submitted your wantlist, you won't be participating in the trade. Make sure you've gotten your geekmail from JeffyJeff confirming your submission:



3a) Results (unofficial)

The moderator runs the math trade software, and the results are posted automatically in the OLWLG. However, it is important that during this time, you do nothing as far as trades are concerned. Don't send out trade requests yet.

3b) Results (official)

After the moderator looks over the results and makes sure that everything looks okay, they will post that the results are official. Now you can go nuts with trade requests. Be sure to ship your game(s) off in a timely manner!
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32. Board Game: Shipping [Average Rating:6.67 Unranked]
Nathan Bergom
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How should I ship my games?

People have many different opinions on this topic, from packing boxes to choice of carrier. Whichever carrier you use, just make sure that you're sending it properly. USPS does not consider Media Mail to be a valid shipping option for board games, and if they open it up, the game will be sent back to you.

As far as packaging goes, I'm going to try to stick to the basics that are pretty universally recognized as must-haves for shipping.

A lot of this can be summed up as, "This package is going to go through hell. How can I make sure the game is okay?"

First, use an adequately-sized box. You might think that that's self-evident. And you'd be wrong. So many people have horror stories of games shipped in boxes that are barely large enough to hold the game, with no packing material whatsoever.

You want a large enough box so you can use adequate packing material. That packing material doesn't just take up the excess space in the box; it provides padding. That box may end up going through the equivalent of a rock tumbler. Make sure that the game is protected with enough padding to withstand the jolts.

Finally, use some form of waterproofing. Sometimes packages get left outside in the rain. If the box gets soaked, that water will seep through to the game, and if the game is unprotected, much sadness will ensue. Some people use sealed plastic bags for smaller game components. Some people use cling wrap. I use old plastic grocery bags (making sure they do not have holes, of course).

Just remember that the person receiving your game is expecting a game in the same condition in which you described it. A damaged game isn't going to go over well, even if it left you in perfect shape.
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33. Board Game: Positive Negative [Average Rating:0.00 Unranked]
Nathan Bergom
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How Do I Handle the Finished Trades, Including Feedback?
If you've managed to successfully trade, you'll have two trades in your history: one for the game being shipped to you, and one for the game you're shipping out.

For the game you shipped out

Assuming you shipped your game out in a reasonable time frame and in the condition in which you said it would be, your recipient will leave you Positive feedback. You should reciprocate with Positive feedback, as well. Neutral feedback is often taken as an indicator of an issue of some sort that wasn't fully resolved to the trader's satisfaction. You can always leave a comment with the Positive feedback along the lines of, "Math Trade Cleanup," or you can simply leave the comment field blank.

For the game you received

You have nothing to ship out, but the trade system will still ask you to "ship" something. You can do this at any time, simply indicating that it's "Math Trade Cleanup." However, I personally recommend waiting until you receive the game from your sender. At that point, you can include a note with your "Shipping" notice that you've received the game. When you "Ship" in the system, both you and your trade partner will receive a geekmail, so your partner will receive a specific notification that you've gotten your game.

If all is well with the game, leave Positive feedback, of course! If there's an issue, the first thing to do is contact the shipper and give them a chance to address it. If they do not, then you can leave Neutral or Negative feedback.

The convention on BGG is that Neutral feedback is weakly negative. The game was not in as good a condition as promised (but still playable), or there was a large delay in shipping, or the game was not packaged well for shipping. Negative is reserved for issues that are more, "I'll never trade with this person again, and I'd warn anybody away from this person, as well."
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