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Subject: Reprints of Board Games vs. Other Collectibles rss

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Stephen Hall
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In hobby/collector markets, it seems that reprints and new editions of things don't tend to devalue the original.

When Marvel Comics releases a volume of classic silver age back issues, collectors still will pay top dollar for the originals. When a vinyl record gets a new pressing, collectors still tend to want the old version. When Nintendo makes available old, rare games like Earthbound and Chrono Trigger via digital download, it doesn't seem to affect the market for the physical cartridges.

However, when a board game gets a new edition, it seems collectors often gravitate toward it. Why do you think this is? Are there exceptions? I understand that newer versions of games usually have nicer components, better art, etc. (like the 1999 version of Acquire), but that doesn't seem to matter in other collector markets. There is something about the felling of "authenticity" of old collectibles that doesn't seem to translate in board game collecting.
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Justin
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When a new pressing of an old record is released, they more often than not haven't changed anything about that record (with some exceptions of course). When new editions of games come out, a lot of times you get new artwork, new rule changes, published errata or changes to the mechanics of the game. So the new one is the desirable one to have.

On the point about video games, those digital releases do have an impact on old physical copies, but it's usually short lived. When Nintendo released Earthbound on the Wii U the physical copies on eBay stopped selling at those crazy prices. People were still trying to sell them for big bucks, but the auctions during that time tanked. The price on that one has never really recovered to what it was but it did eventually go back up. (Always search by items that have sold on eBay to get an idea as to the value of something. And even then, try to look at the auctions over the Buy it Now items. Nostalgia drives impulse buying.)

Time is another thing going on here. I think by the end of the next decade we will see board games as sought after collectables grow as a market. More often than not, nostalgia is the driving force behind collecting. Give it some time. Treat your games nice until then. :)
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Bryan Thunkd
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juggler5 wrote:
I understand that newer versions of games usually have nicer components, better art, etc. (like the 1999 version of Acquire), but that doesn't seem to matter in other collector markets.
But... the examples you cited in other collector markets are all examples where the reprint doesn't have nicer components, better art, etc.

juggler5 wrote:
When Marvel Comics releases a volume of classic silver age back issues, collectors still will pay top dollar for the originals. When a vinyl record gets a new pressing, collectors still tend to want the old version. When Nintendo makes available old, rare games like Earthbound and Chrono Trigger via digital download, it doesn't seem to affect the market for the physical cartridges.
In all those example, at least to my knowledge, the reprint is identical to the original. There's no reason to prefer the newer version to the older version. If a board game has newer art, net rules, better components, etc. it's hardly a surprise that someone would prefer the new version. I think you'd see people more interested in newer versions if Marvel Comics released a classic volume with new art, or a vinyl record is remastered for better sound or includes bonus tracks, or if Nintendo releases an older game with extra bonus levels. New content is of course going to make a rerelease more appealing.

Another consideration is scarcity. One reason that older version in other collector market's are valuable is that they are scarce. And generally when they get reprinted, the reprint is commonly available. But in the hobbyist game market print runs are much smaller. Of course there are exceptions like Dominion, Catan and other superstar games in the industry, but most games that get reprinted probably had an original run of 2 - 5 thousand copies, and about that many in the reprint. So the original isn't generally any more scarce than the reprinted copies.

Finally, and probably most importantly, board games are meant to be physically manipulated in a way that generates a lot of wear and tear on the game. They're also meant to be handled by a group of people, rather than just by the collector. Used copies are going to tend to be in worse shape than a new game, much more so than in those other industries. And as that wear impacts the game experience and the game longevity, it's much more likely that a gamer will want a new pristine copy than an original.
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Stephen Hall
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Thunkd wrote:
juggler5 wrote:
I understand that newer versions of games usually have nicer components, better art, etc. (like the 1999 version of Acquire), but that doesn't seem to matter in other collector markets.
But... the examples you cited in other collector markets are all examples where the reprint doesn't have nicer components, better art, etc.


But they often do. For example, a record with bonus material (a live version of a song, for example). Collected volumes of comics with a nice hardcover, extra art pages, etc. A new, leather bound copy of a famous book with notes on the author, story, etc. A lot times, these newer editions of things do indeed have extra goodies that would seem to make them more desirable.
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Jordan Fraser
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I think most people buy games with the intention to play them (even though many, including me, overestimate how much free time there is to play said games). If you're buying something to use it, it makes sense to have the version with the best components, best rules, etc.

However, collectors tend to buy things because they are rare. This explains why many of the old video games that are worth a lot are really crappy games. This also explains why the value (long term) of Earthbound dropped, but not completely. It's digital release meant that people who simply want to play the game are no longer in the market, but those who collect based on rarity would remain interested in owning the original version.
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David C
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I know with original records vs. new...

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Loudness_war
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Justin
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juggler5 wrote:
A lot times, these newer editions of things do indeed have extra goodies that would seem to make them more desirable.


You've still got the issue of time. Do people want to buy a new reissue of their childhood toy? No, they want one like the one they first had. If they started producing TMNT action figures that were identical to the ones I had as a child I might buy some, but having the one that was made back when I was a kid is better. Why? Because of that nostalgia I get holding the original one. The urge to take care of it now that it's in my possession.



 
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Traig Born
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The core of the other hobbies you mentioned are collectors. The majority of people interested in those activities prioritize the collecting aspect. So the original printing has an intrinsic value.

The core of the board game hobby are players. Their is a library building aspect, but even then I want the best version possible. The best version is usually the newer one.
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maf man
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well collecting games is quite a bit different than collecting nearly everything else. Most board game collectors intend for their games to be played so their value is commonly related to the game's quality rather than its rarity.
Sure some people are motivated by rarity but its usually more due to some other related reason like having an emotional connection to a specific version or feeling it has historical significance such as a prototype/kickstarter version.
When price is related to rarity for games its simply about getting the chance to play a good game, thats not really something comparable to collecting stamps. Even video games, if you missed a video game chances are you can play a game thats better as they build on one another. Board games are still small compared to that market. I can rattle off similar video games for every one I can think of, I can't do that for board games.
 
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I collect loads of different stuff and boardgames tend to be unique in that I'll actively look for the most recent editions and overlook 1sts eds where there is more than one version available.

There are always exceptions where the originals are just fine and reprints look ugly - the new look Colosseum for example - but by and large it often feels that 1st edition boardgames are becoming more like beta tests where mistakes get picked up and corrected for future editions.

Kickstarter might have something to do with this phenomenon, as larger publishing houses are getting bypassed and keen amateurs are rushing to meet deadlines...
 
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Nibble Wut?
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braderunnah wrote:
If they started producing TMNT action figures that were identical to the ones I had as a child I might buy some, but having the one that was made back when I was a kid is better. Why? Because of that nostalgia I get holding the original one. The urge to take care of it now that it's in my possession.


Slightly off topic, but I'm loving the way Gentle Giant and Matty Collector have been taking original 80's toys, digitally scanning them and scaling them up to 12" for "grown up" collectors.

The original toys just feel so tiny and puny, when stuff like He-Man and TMNT felt kinda chunky back then; holding the new giant sized toys in the retro packaging really felt like being a 10 year old again in the toy store, a feeling I never really got when finding an original figure in a goodwill store or collectibles market.
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B C Z
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Be sure to understand the difference between those who want to play the *content* of the game, regardless of edition, and those who want to *own* a specific implementation/printing.

Those in the second category may well want to own both the old and new.

Those in the first category are typically pleased to be able to pay less for the same content.
 
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Martin V
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I don't really dabble in collectibles, but with this thread, perhaps I can voice my own questions on which others may be a bit more knowledgeable.

Back in the day, I got into Magic:The Gathering...around "The Dark" and "Revised." As we all know, certain cards from the first couple sets shot up in value (Black Lotus and such). I wondered why those cards were not reprinted (even with different art or backgrounds to distinguish them from the originals). I've since gotten out of the game so now I really don't care, but back then, it would have been nice to try the game with those discontinued cards.

I know there's a whole world that revolves around MTG tournament play and such, and of course there's a collector's market. However, I wondered why they could not reprint those old cards to give people who just want to play casual a chance to do so. Would a modified reprint ruin the collector's market? Would there be a demand today for those old cards? What is stopping WOTC from doing a reprint? Thoughts?
 
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maf man
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Voice of Reason wrote:
I know there's a whole world that revolves around MTG tournament play and such, and of course there's a collector's market. However, I wondered why they could not reprint those old cards to give people who just want to play casual a chance to do so. Would a modified reprint ruin the collector's market? Would there be a demand today for those old cards? What is stopping WOTC from doing a reprint? Thoughts?

My tiring experience with MTG is leads me to believe its all about controlling the perceived value enough to maximize profit.
 
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Ken Lewis
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Voice of Reason wrote:
I don't really dabble in collectibles, but with this thread, perhaps I can voice my own questions on which others may be a bit more knowledgeable.

Back in the day, I got into Magic:The Gathering...around "The Dark" and "Revised." As we all know, certain cards from the first couple sets shot up in value (Black Lotus and such). I wondered why those cards were not reprinted (even with different art or backgrounds to distinguish them from the originals). I've since gotten out of the game so now I really don't care, but back then, it would have been nice to try the game with those discontinued cards.

I know there's a whole world that revolves around MTG tournament play and such, and of course there's a collector's market. However, I wondered why they could not reprint those old cards to give people who just want to play casual a chance to do so. Would a modified reprint ruin the collector's market? Would there be a demand today for those old cards? What is stopping WOTC from doing a reprint? Thoughts?


The reason the Mox gems and Black Lotus weren't reprinted was because of balance issues. You could play as many of them from your hand as you had because they had a 0 casting cost. That essentially allowed you to dominate the game and cast high mana costing spells in the first turn.
 
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Greg S
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mafman6 wrote:
My tiring experience with MTG is leads me to believe its all about controlling the perceived value enough to maximize profit.


Um, my college economics courses taught me that is true of "pricing", as a general concept applicable to anything and everything "sold".
 
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Jason
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There are a lot of comics and records that the originals are worth less than a hardback trade or new pressing. Generally, the value of originals is based on rarity and popularity. The Nintendo cartridges that really have any value are also the rare ones. Games that were available in mass quantities sell for less than their Virtual Console equivalent. It's also the reason why a Nintendo game with the instructions and box is worth more than one without. Boxes were often thrown away, which caused the box to add value.

With board games, I imagine there's less of a collector market and more of a gamer market. Collector's would probably want the original. Gamers want the best version (for their dollar).

People who purchase collected editions of comics or new pressings of records are essentially the gamers for those products. They want to consume the content. There's very little reason for consumers to track down and pay extra for originals.
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Derry Salewski
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OP: Because the majority of boardgames aren't bought by collectors. They're bought by players. And really it's not popular enough like legos or videogames to have an impactful subsection of collectors. Napoleon's triumph, antiquity, key market (to look at my shelf quickly) are sought after because they are kick ass games (key games ARE probably biting into collectible territory given how rare some of the early ones are. But if they sucked they wouldn't be.) At some point you'll see a little more of that. I mean, I have a first edition keyflower in shrink. I love having it as a collector's item! But I'm not really affecting the price of keymarket in general.

Magic: Reserved list. Back after they DID reprint a bunch of (crappy) cards in chronicles to test the waters, people freaked the fuck out. To stabilize their still young game, they made a solemn vow to NEVER reprint certain cards. They put a bunch of rare cards on the list from early sets, and then a bunch of random ones from later sets as they were released until about 1998 when they got rid of it as they realized what a dumb idea it was. BUT they are really intent on keeping their promise. EVERYONE knows it's bad, and the designers themselves snuck a reprint in a limited set once and corporate was basically like hell no, knock that off (I am dramatizing.)

Trends show them testing the waters for reprints of older cards. I expect a "responsible reevalutation and recuration" of the reserved list in the next few years. Yeah, black lotuses will be like 1/30 booster boxes of some limited set or something. I own basically any magic card you could want (okay, it's just every card I want, but it comes close to any card anyone could want, I don't play combo decks, for example, so don't have some of the rare tutors/LEDs/stuff for those) to play in a competitive vintage/legacy/modern event. Reprinting those cards just expands the player base who can play with me and like the OP said, the collector's value will not go down on the old cards if the new ones don't flood the market.
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Derry Salewski
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VaultBoy wrote:
It's also the reason why a Nintendo game with the instructions and box is worth more than one without. Boxes were often thrown away, which caused the box to add value.


There's a store with super street fighter turbo for snes sealed in the box near me . . . I kinda want it so bad. That was one of my first games, and one of my favorites!!
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Mark Helton
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juggler5 wrote:
When a vinyl record gets a new pressing, collectors still tend to want the old version.


Quite true. That is because any vinyl record originally made before the '80s was completely analog. Most of the records made now have some digital processing (some a lot, and some just a bit) during the pressing process.
(This is in addition to the the inherit "collectors" value in having an original pressing.)

While there is some collectors value to original albums made after the '80's, the reprint is usually close to the original, sonically, so it is not as big a deal. (And some albums, like The Smashing Pumpkins' "Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness", the reprint is actually much better, both sonically and in the packaging, than the original.)

Just thought I would give you a reason for the particular example you chose.

Good topic though nonetheless.
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Jason
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parp wrote:
Slightly off topic, but I'm loving the way Gentle Giant and Matty Collector have been taking original 80's toys, digitally scanning them and scaling them up to 12" for "grown up" collectors.

I didn't know about Gentle Giant or Matty Collector. Now I'm trying to resist purchasing He-Man and Skeletor. The idea of scaled up versions is really awesome.
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scifiantihero wrote:
Magic: Reserved list. Back after they DID reprint a bunch of (crappy) cards in chronicles to test the waters, people freaked the fuck out. To stabilize their still young game, they made a solemn vow to NEVER reprint certain cards. They put a bunch of rare cards on the list from early sets, and then a bunch of random ones from later sets as they were released until about 1998 when they got rid of it as they realized what a dumb idea it was. BUT they are really intent on keeping their promise. EVERYONE knows it's bad, and the designers themselves snuck a reprint in a limited set once and corporate was basically like hell no, knock that off (I am dramatizing.)

Trends show them testing the waters for reprints of older cards. I expect a "responsible reevalutation and recuration" of the reserved list in the next few years. Yeah, black lotuses will be like 1/30 booster boxes of some limited set or something. I own basically any magic card you could want (okay, it's just every card I want, but it comes close to any card anyone could want, I don't play combo decks, for example, so don't have some of the rare tutors/LEDs/stuff for those) to play in a competitive vintage/legacy/modern event. Reprinting those cards just expands the player base who can play with me and like the OP said, the collector's value will not go down on the old cards if the new ones don't flood the market.

I remember when Chronicles reprinted a bunch of cards. Devalued a few of my cards, but it also made a bunch of cards more easily available. While it would be cool to grab a Black Lotus or Mox reprint, there are a bunch of just cool, strange, and fun cards that only ever saw one printing. Cards that would probably work well in a Commander Deck format.
 
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Jason
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scifiantihero wrote:
VaultBoy wrote:
It's also the reason why a Nintendo game with the instructions and box is worth more than one without. Boxes were often thrown away, which caused the box to add value.

There's a store with super street fighter turbo for snes sealed in the box near me . . . I kinda want it so bad. That was one of my first games, and one of my favorites!!

That was one of the first games I saved up and purchased on release day. It's one of my favorites as well. My friends and I would put in the code so that you could crank the turbo up even faster. Great game and great port to the SNES.
 
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I never knew I needed a 12" Skeletor until now. Thanks!
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