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Subject: How do you figure out if a game is out of print? rss

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Xander --
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I don't see any such status, does BGG offer one?
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Nate Straight

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The only practical concern of your question is whether the game is generally available in retail stores.

The only practical way to tell that is to go to a bunch of retail stores / sites and search for the game.
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William Lindsey
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NateStraight wrote:
The only practical concern of your question is whether the game is generally available in retail stores.

The only practical way to tell that is to go to a bunch of retail stores / sites and search for the game.

A quick way to look at a bunch of retail stores is to use the site Board Game Prices. The out-of-stock data on this site is unreliable, but it gives you a quick way to go some of the major sites for a particular game.
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Xander --
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Well yes, but I don't want to know if I can buy it somewhere. I really just want to know if the manufacturer is no longer making the game.
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Todd Mulholland
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That's just it, though - usually if they are making the game, you can buy it through "standard" channels (i.e. other than just e-bay or trades). If you can't find it anywhere (e.g. if it's not available on Amazon or other places) then it's out of print, or between print runs.
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slipzer0 wrote:
I don't see any such status, does BGG offer one?
Are you suggesting that the BGG game database should have an entry for OOP?
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Nate Straight

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slipzer0 wrote:
Well yes, but I don't want to know if I can buy it somewhere. I really just want to know if the manufacturer is no longer making the game.

What does "is making" mean to you?

Board games are not continuously printed [what would be implied by the choice of present progressive tense], but printed in large one-off print runs and then sent out for sale.

Sometimes, companies intend to make further print runs if the call is made by retailers / distributors for more copies, but these intentions are rarely declared / often backed out of.

The only sure metric is availability.
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'Bernard Wingrave'
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Hungadunga wrote:
Are you suggesting that the BGG game database should have an entry for OOP?

Maybe not an entry, but a way of showing that a game is in this category.

We do have the OOP tag, but it doesn't appear to be that useful, since sorting by tags doesn't work so well.
 
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See What is OOP
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bwingrave wrote:
Hungadunga wrote:
Are you suggesting that the BGG game database should have an entry for OOP?

Maybe not an entry, but a way of showing that a game is in this category.

We do have the OOP tag, but it doesn't appear to be that useful, since sorting by tags doesn't work so well.

The issue I see with having OOP tag or an entry for OOP is that if it gets printed again and no one changes that information.Then its being labeled as OOP when it really isnt and the tag becomes useless
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'Bernard Wingrave'
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keebie wrote:
The issue I see with having OOP tag or an entry for OOP is that if it gets printed again and no one changes that information.Then its being labeled as OOP when it really isnt and the tag becomes useless
Good point. Tags can be updated without moderation, so having a modded field for availability status would be better.
 
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keebie wrote:
The issue I see with having OOP tag or an entry for OOP is that if it gets printed again and no one changes that information.Then its being labeled as OOP when it really isnt and the tag becomes useless
If the publishers are the least bit savvy, this is the first place they'll visit if they're issuing a reprint!
 
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bwingrave wrote:
keebie wrote:
The issue I see with having OOP tag or an entry for OOP is that if it gets printed again and no one changes that information.Then its being labeled as OOP when it really isnt and the tag becomes useless
Good point. Tags can be updated without moderation, so having a modded field for availability status would be better.

Even a moderated field wouldn't necessarily get up dated properly.

For instance, to me OOP means it 'out of print' and not going to be printed any time soon. Probably needed to find a new publisher and such. It denotes that not only is it currently hard to find, it's probably not going to get any better. Whereas I don't think of games that are between 'print runs' and the stock ran low quicker then expected is really OOP. It's misleading IMHO to call then 'out of print' as you will only have to wait a few months to get a new copy instead of scouring places for years or decades for a reasonable price on a hard to find used game.

For instance, I've been a fan of Nuclear War for decades. I've heard people refer to it as OOP even when it's officially waiting for a new print run. I've even heard people say it's OOP when you could still get copies from Flying Buffalo.

I recently heard some say that Arkham Horror is OOP. Yes, you can't currently get it in store (or it's hard to find). But, it's still 'in production' with every intention to get back on the shelves ASAP. By, calling it OOP just unnaturally inflates the perceived value of it.
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Abraham Drucker
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slipzer0 wrote:
I don't see any such status, does BGG offer one?

A very quick way to check availability is to log on to Amazon and check the price. If the game is readily available (i.e. not sold out at the publisher or distributer level), the price will be reasonable. Otherwise, it will be crazy expensive.

The question you want ansered is not if the game is in print, but rather if the game is in stock at the Publisher or Distributer level.

As stated above, game publishers print a ton of copies at once, and then either don't reprint again, or they wait till they sell out (or expect to sell out) and have another print run.

If you want to get fancy, you can contact Alliance Game Distributors whether the game is in-stock, but you have to join them for their online indicator.

http://www.alliance-games.com/

 
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Xander --
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Guantanamo wrote:
bwingrave wrote:
keebie wrote:
The issue I see with having OOP tag or an entry for OOP is that if it gets printed again and no one changes that information.Then its being labeled as OOP when it really isnt and the tag becomes useless
Good point. Tags can be updated without moderation, so having a modded field for availability status would be better.

Even a moderated field wouldn't necessarily get up dated properly.

For instance, to me OOP means it 'out of print' and not going to be printed any time soon. Probably needed to find a new publisher and such. It denotes that not only is it currently hard to find, it's probably not going to get any better. Whereas I don't think of games that are between 'print runs' and the stock ran low quicker then expected is really OOP. It's misleading IMHO to call then 'out of print' as you will only have to wait a few months to get a new copy instead of scouring places for years or decades for a reasonable price on a hard to find used game.

For instance, I've been a fan of Nuclear War for decades. I've heard people refer to it as OOP even when it's officially waiting for a new print run. I've even heard people say it's OOP when you could still get copies from Flying Buffalo.

I recently heard some say that Arkham Horror is OOP. Yes, you can't currently get it in store (or it's hard to find). But, it's still 'in production' with every intention to get back on the shelves ASAP. By, calling it OOP just unnaturally inflates the perceived value of it.

Well yes, I can see that but I think you're trying to mix two very different concepts.

First Out of Print, as in the publisher is no longer making them.
Second is Availability as in how easy it is to locate this game.
 
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slipzer0 wrote:
Guantanamo wrote:
bwingrave wrote:
keebie wrote:
The issue I see with having OOP tag or an entry for OOP is that if it gets printed again and no one changes that information.Then its being labeled as OOP when it really isnt and the tag becomes useless
Good point. Tags can be updated without moderation, so having a modded field for availability status would be better.

Even a moderated field wouldn't necessarily get up dated properly.

For instance, to me OOP means it 'out of print' and not going to be printed any time soon. Probably needed to find a new publisher and such. It denotes that not only is it currently hard to find, it's probably not going to get any better. Whereas I don't think of games that are between 'print runs' and the stock ran low quicker then expected is really OOP. It's misleading IMHO to call then 'out of print' as you will only have to wait a few months to get a new copy instead of scouring places for years or decades for a reasonable price on a hard to find used game.

For instance, I've been a fan of Nuclear War for decades. I've heard people refer to it as OOP even when it's officially waiting for a new print run. I've even heard people say it's OOP when you could still get copies from Flying Buffalo.

I recently heard some say that Arkham Horror is OOP. Yes, you can't currently get it in store (or it's hard to find). But, it's still 'in production' with every intention to get back on the shelves ASAP. By, calling it OOP just unnaturally inflates the perceived value of it.

Well yes, I can see that but I think you're trying to mix two very different concepts.

First Out of Print, as in the publisher is no longer making them.
Second is Availability as in how easy it is to locate this game.

I'm not trying to mix. I'm trying to separate and commenting that often hear them get mixed around here and other parts.

So, if you rely on tags or modded tags, you may get things that are between print runs labeled as OOP.
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Xander --
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Ah my apologies then.

IMHO the best way to do this is to have the following

Out of Print - The publisher is no longer making this game, this doesn't prevent another publisher from picking it up, nor does it hint whether it can be bought still. The valid values would be 'Yes', and 'No'

Then we have Availability which can have many other values such as 'Very Easy', 'Easy', 'Difficult', 'Hard', 'Awaiting Publishing Run' etc.
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slipzer0 wrote:
Ah my apologies then.

IMHO the best way to do this is to have the following

Out of Print - The publisher is no longer making this game, this doesn't prevent another publisher from picking it up, nor does it hint whether it can be bought still. The valid values would be 'Yes', and 'No'

Then we have Availability which can have many other values such as 'Very Easy', 'Easy', 'Difficult', 'Hard', 'Awaiting Publishing Run' etc.

The problem isn't so much of setting up a system but one of a system that will work over time. The situation with respect to many games is fluid and I don't think anyone believes that the status would be updated to keep up with the current situation.
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Gary Bacchus
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One never truly knows the ifs and whens for reprinting even very popular games. These games publishers are relatively small.

While most of them are probably not betting the farm on selling 100% of a given print run or runs to pay the bills, it probably gets tight if they've a bunch of inventory that won't move. So, it's probably better for them to be conservative and meet demand (or get a hair below) and make their bottom line happy rather than overload the market (and their warehouses) and eat the sunk cost of that inventory.
 
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kurmuzz wrote:
slipzer0 wrote:
Ah my apologies then.

IMHO the best way to do this is to have the following

Out of Print - The publisher is no longer making this game, this doesn't prevent another publisher from picking it up, nor does it hint whether it can be bought still. The valid values would be 'Yes', and 'No'

Then we have Availability which can have many other values such as 'Very Easy', 'Easy', 'Difficult', 'Hard', 'Awaiting Publishing Run' etc.

The problem isn't so much of setting up a system but one of a system that will work over time. The situation with respect to many games is fluid and I don't think anyone believes that the status would be updated to keep up with the current situation.

The best option is for BGG to see if they can get a feed from Alliance and possibly FRED on game availability status. It may only cover a small portion of the database, but would cover the bulk of games anyone on here is interested in looking up.

I doubt that Alliance would make that data available to BGG since they do not make it readily available now. Unless someone has an econimic incentive, that type of rapidly changing data will be impossible to track.
 
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OK, I dug a little deeper. Alliance makes some data available to consumers without registration:
http://www.alliance-games.com/publicaccess/

Their status codes are not defined, but I'm assuming that TOS means temporarily out of stock and LTD means limited. I'm also assuming that if there is no status, the game is available. Edit: There is also NYA - Not Yet Available and DIS - Discontinued.

BGG could screen scrape this page and get data on most popular games, RPGs and CCGs/LCGs.
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Alliance data only applies to Alliance. The smaller the publisher, the more unreliable the data becomes when used to determine if a game is still in print.

Also, publishers rarely tell the public that a game will not be reprinted. Such information tends to hurt the sales of existing copies that the company has left in the warehouse.
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ze_stom wrote:
OK, I dug a little deeper. Alliance makes some data available to consumers without registration:
http://www.alliance-games.com/publicaccess/

Their status codes are not defined, but I'm assuming that TOS means temporarily out of stock and LTD means limited. I'm also assuming that if there is no status, the game is available. Edit: There is also NYA - Not Yet Available and DIS - Discontinued.

BGG could screen scrape this page and get data on most popular games, RPGs and CCGs/LCGs.

Wow Dream Factory is already discontinued.

It interesting, but how to you approach imports. And then the follow up question, by saying 'imports' any already making it 'US centric'.

I just bought BITS from time well spent. It's been in and out of stock there for the past couple weeks. It's not even listed on alliance, because officially it's not available in the US.
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Let's take 7 Wonders as an example. Asmodee got the rights (I think from Repos Production). So, they had the right to print it, sometime last year. So you can buy it, right? No.

After probably months of calling for bids, making any changes they thought necessary, and waiting for the printer, insert-maker, and box-maker schedules to all open up, they printed it, and all the parts were assembled, shrink-wrapped, and put in cartons. So you can buy it, right? No.

Next it gets shipped from wherever printing and assembly took place to Asmodee. This can take weeks or months. Ships aren't fast, but they are cheap. (I believe one Chinese cargo ship, containing games, was diverted to evacuate Chinese from Libya--you can imagine the game company's reaction to that news!) Eventually the ship arrives! So you can buy it, right? No.

It has to get through customs. Inspections. Custom duties. And finally trucks roll to deliver it to Asmodee (maybe). So you can buy it, right? No, Asmodee doesn't do direct sales.

So, it now goes to distributors (if it didn't truck to them directly), who by definition don't do direct sales. They ship it to online and bricks&mortar retailers. Now you can buy it!

But, this is months after it was actually "in print". And since 7 Wonders jumped to the Hotness and up well into the BGG top 20, all the copies Asmodee printed are gone from Asmodee and probably gone from the distributors. So, in a sense, it's now out of print.

But stores still have copies for sale. The game is available.

And, Asmodee still has the rights to the game and can print more. Probably a reprint is somewhere in the months-long process above. But it is out of print.


Another case is Ogre. Steve Jackson of SJ Games or Steve Jackson Games owns the rights. It's out of print, and no plan to reprint it existed for years; but now there's a plan to print it. It's almost in print.

Still another case is Starfall once published by Yaquinto. Who knows who owns the rights now? Totally out of print. No prospect of printing.


A solution for printing status is in the works. Board Game News is now BoardGameGeek News. BGN used to have a feature called Gone Cardboard, which was a list of everything scheduled for print, until it was released. When GC is recreated, it should supply the information we need.
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NateStraight wrote:
slipzer0 wrote:
Well yes, but I don't want to know if I can buy it somewhere. I really just want to know if the manufacturer is no longer making the game.

What does "is making" mean to you?

Board games are not continuously printed [what would be implied by the choice of present progressive tense], but printed in large one-off print runs and then sent out for sale.

Sometimes, companies intend to make further print runs if the call is made by retailers / distributors for more copies, but these intentions are rarely declared / often backed out of.

The only sure metric is availability.



While I have indulged in threads on correct or proper or amusing language use and would normally love an answer like this for its author's effort to be pedantic--which any intelligent person knows is praise and not insult--the quoted reply leaves something to be desired.

Despite boardgames being given ISBNs they are not books and any game that includes plastic or wooden or glass pieces or the like is not printed but produced. Hence we really must, mustn't we, chastise the original poster for using the deplorable term "out of print" in reference to the class "game"--unless he was only interested in games that solely comprise printed matter--and we must question why this point wasn't previously questioned since we were already wasting time in stressing the continuous nature of the operation.

Next, factories and printing presses and packaging plants don't all operate 24-hours a day, 7-days a week, 52-and-1- or 2-sevenths-weeks a solar year. Even when in the midst of a production run plants and presses and factories may actually shut down overnight and on weekends or for stoppages for other reasons leading to an even more discontinuous production.

It is reasonable for us to deduce that even the most popular boardgames with the largest scheduled and effected production runs go out of production at about, say, 5 pm on the first day of production and routinely go out of production at least once a day thereafter. (Except that we know all the best games made in China where the production is always go-go-go to satisfy the never ending decadence of Western capitalists who throw the fruit of their money trees away on trivial pursuits.)

Goodness gracious, isn't this getting deliciously complicated?

But, as a book is out of print when all units in a print run have been sold by the publisher to booksellers (presupposing that any previous print runs have also all been sold), it is reasonable for us to state that--no matter the nature of their constituent parts being printed or otherwise produced--a board game goes out of production when all produced units have been sold by the publisher to boardgamesellers.

It is not necessary for the printing presses of a book publisher to be operating ceaselessly for a book to be in print and it is folly to insist that a similar condition be imposed upon boardgame production.

Incidentally, unless boardgames are different to books in this regard, boardgames wouldn't be "sent out for sale". Publishers, as a rule, sell to distributors, to retailers or to consumers and do not undertake the delivering of goods on consignment. Only once a contract of sale is established would the goods be sent.

The only metric, using an accurate definition of out of production such as I have provided, is to ask the publisher if they have any units available for sale. It's not "sure" as the person who answers may not actually know no matter how accurate he believes himself to be or may lie, but it's likely this is as accurate an answer as is available and I trust either a yes or no answer would be commonly accepted as satisfactorily answering the question: Is this game currently in production?

Wasn't this pedantry fun children?

(Incidentally, pointing out my own cleverness in that last sentence: the ped- in pedant may derive from the Greek for child--and I used the word children. Just thought I'd better blow my own trumpet there. Oh dear, an unintentional pun: pedant means "person who trumpets minor points of learning"--and children are minors! Oh, how great it is to be so bookishly clever. Oops, there I go again: pedants favour bookish learning--and I've been writing about books! And I wrote "oops" which is like OOP for out of production! Oh, the fun just never ends. This post, however, does. Now's the time to say "thank goodness".)
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