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Subject: Math Trades - are they worth it? rss

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"L'état, c'est moi."
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I have started receiving the games from the latest math trade I participated in, and while I'm happy with what I got (and happy to see the games I've sent off get good homes), I'm wondering if it's really worth it.

On the plus side of course is that I get games I don't have but want; also other people are getting things from my collection that they might not otherwise be able to get.

But when I look at the shipping, $65 to mail out my items for instance, I get to wondering about what I could have bought off my wish/wanted list from my FLGS (or FOGS - favorite online game store).

I like the lottery aspect of math trades, so maybe it's my inner gambler that compels me to participate. arrrh
 
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Jonathan Takagi
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Were you shipping to the US? I know that some people restrict their shipping preferences to save money on shipping, resulting in many US traders that will only trade within the US.
 
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I think math trades are worth it for hard to get games. But not so much for run-of-the-mill or readily available ones.

Even if you buy something via Tanga, after reshipping you're paying close to what you'd pay for something directly.
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J C Lawrence
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leroy43 wrote:
But when I look at the shipping, $65 to mail out my items for instance, I get to wondering about what I could have bought off my wish/wanted list from my FLGS (or FOGS - favorite online game store).


This is why I only do local trades (math or otherwise).
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Tim K.
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Are Trades Worth It?
http://www.boardgamegeek.com/thread/289775
 
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Yeah, shipping is why I'd usually rather sell than trade. If I sell my unwanted games, I get compensated for shipping. Once I sell enough games, I have enough cash to put in a large enough order for free shipping from an online retailer.
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EvilTimmy wrote:


That's about 1 to 1 trades, which is different from a math trade. A math trade has a certain amount of uncertainty attached to it (depending on how you structure your want lists of course).
 
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jtakagi wrote:
Were you shipping to the US? I know that some people restrict their shipping preferences to save money on shipping, resulting in many US traders that will only trade within the US.


In this case all the shipping was to the US, but honestly, it would have cost about the same to ship it to Canadian destinations.

I do harbour a little bit of pique at "will only ship to US destinations" folks, mostly because what I want in math trades more often than not comes from US-based BGGers. Unless you have a sweet arrangement where your office shipping room deals with sending your stuff out and so it has to be domestic, the amount of effort to ship internationally isn't really that much harder than domestic.
 
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There are three very different sorts of things offered in math trades:

1. Games that someone has gotten tired of. For the cost of postage, you get to check a new game out of the BGG rotating trade library. This is generally a good deal.

2. Games that someone bought with the intent of trading. This can be Tanga bargains, thrift store finds, etc. Generally, this class of games will only trade if the trade-up delta is bigger than the cost of postage, or if traded at least even in local trades.

3. Cash equivalents such as gift certificates, GG, cash in local trades that allow it, etc. Obviously there's no shipping charge here.

(There are some intermediate cases, like a game I bought off eBay that arrived smelling so strongly of cigarette smoke that I didn't want to even try to salvage it.)
 
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Tim K.
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leroy43 wrote:
EvilTimmy wrote:


That's about 1 to 1 trades, which is different from a math trade. A math trade has a certain amount of uncertainty attached to it (depending on how you structure your want lists of course).

Yup, and most of your inquiry is about general qualities of trading.

leroy43 wrote:
I like the lottery aspect of math trades, so maybe it's my inner gambler that compels me to participate. arrrh

Where's the gamble? You only put games you want on your want list in a math trade.
Don't want anything that's been offered in the math trade? Then don't submit a want list. It's as simple as that
 
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Rik Van Horn
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I pretty much factor shipping costs into what I put on my want lists. So generally I've managed to at least break even on my trades. But often I've done even better.

But all that aside, if the mailing expense bothers you, consider this:
I point to a game you care nothing for and will never play again.
For $10, you can magically turn this into a game you might enjoy.
Would it be worth doing in that instance?
If the answer is yes, you should be math trading.
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leroy43 wrote:
I do harbour a little bit of pique at "will only ship to US destinations" folks, mostly because what I want in math trades more often than not comes from US-based BGGers. Unless you have a sweet arrangement where your office shipping room deals with sending your stuff out and so it has to be domestic, the amount of effort to ship internationally isn't really that much harder than domestic.


But it is more expensive, sometimes much more expensive. If the average price to mail a game within the US is $10 but $25 to ship to Canada, well, it's pretty easy to see why people would restrict their trades to the US.
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EvilTimmy wrote:
leroy43 wrote:
I like the lottery aspect of math trades, so maybe it's my inner gambler that compels me to participate. arrrh

Where's the gamble? You only put games you want on your want list in a math trade.
Don't want anything that's been offered in the math trade? Then don't submit a want list. It's as simple as that


I don't know if you've participated in a math trade, but there is a bit of a lottery quality to it.

Are you gonna get the first game you've listed or the second. Is that game you really really want going to even be available, because if that person doesn't find anything they want, then their item won't be available in the available pool. And even if it is, did someone want your item so that you even have a chance at it.

There's a lot of fun and anticipation associated with math trades. And some uncertainty. That's part of what makes it fun.

 
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greg wrote:
leroy43 wrote:
I do harbour a little bit of pique at "will only ship to US destinations" folks, mostly because what I want in math trades more often than not comes from US-based BGGers. Unless you have a sweet arrangement where your office shipping room deals with sending your stuff out and so it has to be domestic, the amount of effort to ship internationally isn't really that much harder than domestic.


But it is more expensive, sometimes much more expensive. If the average price to mail a game within the US is $10 but $25 to ship to Canada, well, it's pretty easy to see why people would restrict their trades to the US.


Yes, but there's nothing that says a math trader has to bear the cost - many folks simply stipulate "I'll pay the first $10", which is perfectly fine. If it's something I really want, I'm happy to pay the extra shipping.
 
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leroy43 wrote:
Yes, but there's nothing that says a math trader has to bear the cost - many folks simply stipulate "I'll pay the first $10", which is perfectly fine. If it's something I really want, I'm happy to pay the extra shipping.

Yes, in those cases I agree with your annoyance at US-only trades. (Actually, I do very little trading -- but if I know that someone will only sell games to those in the US [even though the buyer is covering all the shipping charges], I refuse to sell to them myself.)
 
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SouthernMan wrote:
will mirror ship (I'll post free if the game I get is posted free)


The usual definition of mirror shipping is "I will ship to you under the policy you are sending your item out with." That eliminates all the uncertainty for the person putting the item on their list.

Your definition goes the other way and leaves a lot of uncertainty in the equation for the recipient.
 
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SouthernMan wrote:
it's not rocket science. You know what the game cost, you know what it will cost to ship, you know what the value of the games on your want list for it are ....


All commerce is based on the fact that the same item has different value to different people.

The same game in the same condition sells for different prices at different times.

People value the time and hassle of shipping things differently.

How much will you "overpay" for an item to get it now as opposed to waiting to pay a "fairer" price for it later?

It's not at all an exact science, as we're not trading interchangeable commodities available in infinite supply.

 
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Yes.
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Math trades are wonderful - the only way you'll get burned is if you don't pay attention to international shipping.

I inadvertently ended up with a game coming from Germany once. This was a large game that would have killed my budget in shipping. Luckily, the Geek I was trading withy was ubercool and he let me off the hook by sending me a few $$ instead of the game.

After that near disaster, I've payed much closer attention.

Call this time a learning experience and pay attention next time. Math trades are far too cool (and can have much better returns) to not participate in...
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1) I started off w/ some 30 year old Avalon Hill "classics" and traded them for games that I will now play-so 'old games for new' works here

2) Tanga-rarely worthwhile-figure that cost plus S&H from Tanga + cost to ship out is about 15-25 bucks total. That said, Tanga games DO trade-to those who don't have time to wait for the 'deal' to come up and are traded by folks who just want to get a different game for cost. YMMV

oh, and you meet some GREAT people on the math trades, who become GeekBuddies etc. so it's the social/part of the group aspect as the regulars convene (and initiate the newbies) to once again, swap, haggle, argue, converse over GAMES!
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Twinge wrote:
Yes.


...and, when is the next one?
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SouthernMan wrote:
will mirror ship (I'll post free if the game I get is posted free)


[Personal Opinion]
Folks that do this kind of shipping policy will not have their items added to my want lists...ever. Nothing makes shipping a bigger nightmare or hassel than "Mirror Shipping". Please make it easier on everyone and just state simply where you'll ship.
[/Personal Opinion]

leroy43 wrote:
I like the lottery aspect of math trades, so maybe it's my inner gambler that compels me to participate.


Yes, it seems to awake the inner compulsive gambler in quite a few of us, me included.
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Morganza wrote:
(There are some intermediate cases, like a game I bought off eBay that arrived smelling so strongly of cigarette smoke that I didn't want to even try to salvage it.)


And I must thank you again for Civilization. I aired it out for a few days, and it's barely noticeable now.
 
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Money-wise, it's not a real discount to do math trades even for things you buy cheap, usually. You get a game for 50-75% off, but then you ship it off and spend more on shipping than the game itself. You end up with a game for around the same price you could have had it if you just bought it new if you combined shipping from an online retailer. No money lost if you bought the games you traded cheap, but not much of a deal, either - usually.

But it's great if you happen to have a game you don't want anymore. Plus, the lottery-feel of the whole thing is pretty fun.
 
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Drew1365 wrote:
leroy43 wrote:
Unless you have a sweet arrangement where your office shipping room deals with sending your stuff out and so it has to be domestic, the amount of effort to ship internationally isn't really that much harder than domestic.


It actually is. I can walk into nearly any grocery store and ship boxes. But for international shipping I have to go down to the main P.O. and wait in an enormously long line (depending on the time of day).

But as others have said, often the cost of shipping internationally is greater than the price of a brand new game. So . . .

What is it like to ship in other countries? I can have the post office send me boxes for free. I pack my items into those boxes and can print postage from my computer. I can then either put those items in my mailbox for the post office to automatically pick up daily or I can go online and schedule them to come to pickup at my front door for free. A package will arrive nearly anywhere within the US in 3 days.

If I ship international I have to go down to the post office and wait in line. There are forms to fill out, people want me to lie so they don't have to pay customs fee's. Tracking and insurance is not available for a lot of destinations. The package may take weeks to get there even when going by very expensive airmail. Send it by ship and it can months. Going to the post office is going to cost me at least an hour if they are not busy plus what it costs me to drive there. Combine that with the fact that they are only open while I'm at work means I have to take time off from work or go there on a Saturday.

International shipping is a huge hassle and a risk because you can't track or insure packages to many other countries. I send packages to Australia a few times a year to friends there and a few of them haven't made it. One took 6 months for the top of the box to get returned to me with a note saying they were sorry my package was damaged in transit and the remains were shipped to some storage facility and were never returned to me or to my intended recipient.

I'm sorry if people are ticked off that I don't ship international but that's why.
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