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Subject: TACTICAL purchasing of wargames rss

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A boy named Sioux
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I am relatively new to wargames and I've found that many of the games that I'm after are out of print. For example, I recently bought Command & Colors Ancients which I love and would like to buy expansions but those available require earlier expansions. So do I buy those now to save for later in the year when I can get those earlier expansions or does it make sense to just wait for the next cycle?

So for those veterans, what tactics do you employ to work around the short print runs and what knowledge can you share about the print cycles of wargames? My gut instinct is to buy, buy, buy but really, I'd rather not have a game on my shelf that I can't play until I get the needed expansions that work with them.

EDIT: This has been the most useful response for me so far...

dogmatix wrote:
To the original question, the short print runs really can be a pain in the ass. I ignored The Gamers/MMP OCS series thanks to my initial exposure via Hube's Pocket, which was just too huge and too slow for my taste. It wasn't until much later that I discovered (via OCS Burma) that the smaller games in the series were a real treat to play. Of course, the 2 games with the right combination of scale and scope, Korea and Sicily, were *long* OOP and selling for $250+. That experience certainly reinforced the "if interested, buy now and get to it later" impulse.

That said, if you're just starting to look into wargaming, one thing that helps is to get a sense of a game's importance (not quite the right word) to the publisher, as well as how they handle reprints. Twilight Struggle and the C&C and Combat Commander lines have been cash cows for GMT. They've gone through multiple re-prints and revisions to keep them on the shelves. Those games might sit a bit while awaiting a reprint, but it's unlikely it will be too terribly long (err...by wargame standards: under 2 years ).

If you're drawn to a game based on the gameplay or the subject specifically, it's usually quite easy to find a variety of games with similar gameplay to what you were looking for. Can't find Hammer of the Scots? Let me introduce you to Crusader Rex. Twilight Struggle between print runs? There's always 1989.

As far as subject matter goes, this can be a bit trickier if you're not talking about Napoleon, certain US Civil War battles, or WWII East Front gaming (among a other wargaming behemoths). If you're really interested in gaming, oh I dunno, WWI in Africa, you'll probably need to snap up or pre-order any title you see immediately simply because there aren't many games on the topic and a fairly small market for more.

Ultimately, though, it's hard to argue with decisions driven by the basic constraints of time, money, and space: Can I afford it; where will I put it; and when will I get to play it? (And storage really can become a far more critical factor than cost at a certain point. I consolidate linked series games into blank 4" boxes to cut down on space required.)
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K G
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I`m not all that certain you will receive sound advice here regarding the purchasing of games. That is, puchasing games in general.

The likely advice will be: When in doubt, buy it. You may, however, want to send your children to college. And if you have a daughter, don`t forget wedding expenses.
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Chad
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The biggest thing to think about - when would you get to play these games? Use that as your guide IMO - and is definitely a personal decision.

In my experience, games that are purchased "just in case" end up sitting on your shelf never played (I am looking at you Patton in Flames and America in Flames).

Whereas games that I really want to play get to the table immediately and played often.
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Jeff Perrella
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Kluvon wrote:

The likely advice will be: When in doubt, buy it.


Sad, but true.

Although, this doesn't necessarily apply to brand new games as much. You should have a window of opportunity large enough to at least read a few reviews.

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michael connor
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Just keep in mind that p500 games have limited print runs, and if there is something there you really want, get it! No fun waiting 8 tears for a reprint or paying $250- on eBay.
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Matt
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If you go to the GMT site and pick C&CA from the games page you'll see expansion 1 is on P500 for a reprint, as is a combo pack of expansions 2&3.

In other words, I think the best advice is simply to keep researching and keep your eyes open. There may be copies of other things you want for sale here, eBay, Noble Knight Games in the US, Second Chance Games in the UK. Or a reprint in the works.
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Chad
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Also, don't get completely wrapped around a specific game - look for either an alternative game that addresses the conflict - or if it is a system, look for a different battle in that series.

Finally, I personally have a metric on whether something is worth it and it is based off of the cost of a movie.

Movies are about $10 for 2 hours or $5 of entertainment cost. So, if a game will deliver less than $5/hour cost - I am MUCH more inclined to get it. If it cost more...less so.

YMMV of course.

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Kyle Seely
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Also, the C&C Ancients reprints of expansions 1, 2 and 3 will most likely be reprinted this year, so I wouldn't drop the major cash those are going for right now. Just wait and you can get them at the normal discount off retail when they're reprinted.
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Roger Hobden
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Even if you never play ASL nor OCS, buy everything as they come out and sell them for double the amount on the marketplace when they go out of print.
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My game-buying policy is more conservative than most. I'm not a collector, I don't have a huge amount of space for storage, and I have even less money. For me, the rule is "Don't buy it if you won't actually play it."

Now that seems kind of obvious, but when you factor in the limited time I have for playing, it gets more difficult. *Wanting* to play a game isn't the same as actually planning to play it and knowing when and with whom.

I find myself enjoying a lot of games vicariously. I read session reports and download living rules. This is how I decide whether I really will play the game. I no longer allow myself to make impulse purchases.

This reply isn't exactly about the problem of games going in and out of print. It's more general than that. But this does help me decide whether to invest in something that may be scarce pretty soon: am I buying the game because I don't want to miss out, or will I really play it?
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Enrico Viglino
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If you want something, you can probably find it used for less (with some
exceptions).

I only buy new games, if I particularly want the game ASAP, rather
than hunting for bargains. My collection is large enough that that
simply wouldn't be an issue outside of trying to get a video on the
game in a fashion which will be helpful to those considering buying
it new.

Anyhow, the point is, if you want the expansions, buy the game, and
start hunting for them.
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Utrecht wrote:
when would you get to play these games?


This has become my mantra. I still ignore it on occasion but I always consider it. The answer all too often is "never" and I save some money.
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Warren Bruhn
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Collecting and playing are two different things. Collecting can really just be a shopping addiction glorified with the "hobby" moniker. Unless one is a solitaire or pbem gamer, it's important to consider what the other gamers in the area like to play. Otherwise the game collection is only that, a collection.

After spending some time in the miniatures community, it strikes me how restricted cardboard gamers are to published products. There is so much less of a "do it yourself" ethos to creating playing surfaces, playing pieces, and rules. Maybe Calandale is right that these are really different hobbies.
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Steve Sallot
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I roll a die and let Fate decide

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big_ragu wrote:
Kluvon wrote:

The likely advice will be: When in doubt, buy it.


Sad, but true.

Although, this doesn't necessarily apply to brand new games as much. You should have a window of opportunity large enough to at least read a few reviews.



If it is East Front Russia - this rule works very, very well.

====I got something unexpected that I wanted and had no idea how close it was at hand - OCS - Hube's Pocket.============

Seems a friend had it rotting on his shelves - unloved, unplayed, un punched.

I traded away two games he wanted that were long OOP and never coming back.

An UNP Hube's will cost you about 200-250 bucks. My unused PRESTAGS and GDW Road to the Rhine add up to about the same.

When it comes to OCS - I buy without hesitation when they arrive new - gosh knows I can get rid of them later at a fair trade.
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Justin Hoffman
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badinfo wrote:
Utrecht wrote:
when would you get to play these games?


This has become my mantra. I still ignore it on occasion but I always consider it. The answer all too often is "never" and I save some money.


And that's how Vassal and Cyberboard blew up my wallet. It's made playing a lot of games a hell of a lot easier for me than the pre-PBEM days. I'm one of those folks who expects a wargame publisher to provide some sort of Vassal/Cyberboard support for games; in return, I totally respect publishers' expectations to get some of my money in return.

So, nowadays, I don't buy any "boardgames"; instead, I've put up new shelves to house my rather substantial collection of "cardboard licenses." Strangely, my wife claims the words "distinction without difference" spring instantly to her mind whenever she sees my office.

To the original question, the short print runs really can be a pain in the ass. I ignored The Gamers/MMP OCS series thanks to my initial exposure via Hube's Pocket, which was just too huge and too slow for my taste. It wasn't until much later that I discovered (via OCS Burma) that the smaller games in the series were a real treat to play. Of course, the 2 games with the right combination of scale and scope, Korea and Sicily, were *long* OOP and selling for $250+. That experience certainly reinforced the "if interested, buy now and get to it later" impulse.

That said, if you're just starting to look into wargaming, one thing that helps is to get a sense of a game's importance (not quite the right word) to the publisher, as well as how they handle reprints. Twilight Struggle and the C&C and Combat Commander lines have been cash cows for GMT. They've gone through multiple re-prints and revisions to keep them on the shelves. Those games might sit a bit while awaiting a reprint, but it's unlikely it will be too terribly long (err...by wargame standards: under 2 years ).

If you're drawn to a game based on the gameplay or the subject specifically, it's usually quite easy to find a variety of games with similar gameplay to what you were looking for. Can't find Hammer of the Scots? Let me introduce you to Crusader Rex. Twilight Struggle between print runs? There's always 1989.

As far as subject matter goes, this can be a bit trickier if you're not talking about Napoleon, certain US Civil War battles, or WWII East Front gaming (among a other wargaming behemoths). If you're really interested in gaming, oh I dunno, WWI in Africa, you'll probably need to snap up or pre-order any title you see immediately simply because there aren't many games on the topic and a fairly small market for more.

Ultimately, though, it's hard to argue with decisions driven by the basic constraints of time, money, and space: Can I afford it; where will I put it; and when will I get to play it? (And storage really can become a far more critical factor than cost at a certain point. I consolidate linked series games into blank 4" boxes to cut down on space required.)
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Val Ruza
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The correct answer is to purchase at least 2 copies of any game you want and know you will play often. Mind you 3 is better...
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Follow your desire. Sounds like tripe, but I truly believe it's what we all do. What is that game that you just have to have?
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Joe Thompson
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dogmatix wrote:
So, nowadays, I don't buy any "boardgames"; instead, I've put up new shelves to house my rather substantial collection of "cardboard licenses."


Yes! I too think of some games as a chunky license agreements. Now the thing that's been bothering me is; should I open the box to activate the license? Not opening the box means I can sell on the game later, even though I've played it to bits on vassal. Should I punch it too? Crumple the rules?
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Mike Haverty
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I'm not sure if this is a good tactic or not, but something I've been doing lately (for any games, not just wargames) is look at how many people have it listed for trade, and how often it shows up in math trades. For example, I see A Few Acres of Snow and the Conflict of Heroes games in about every math trade I participate in, so (in my mind) I feel like those will remain relatively easy to obtain in the future if they go out of print.
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