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Gathering of Engineers

Ludographic considerations from the Silicon Forest

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

You'll Pay How Much???

I've been culling my collection of games recently, and I'm discovering that a few of the titles I have are worth what seems to me to be an unholy amount of money. An excellent example is Leading Edge's Aliens boardgame, put out in the 80's. Pretty rough components (the figures you move around the board are very roughly perforated light cardboard in plastic stands), and gameplay that encouraged me to put the box in the closet and not even notice it again until it was time to clean things out. I'm seeing prices into three figures US$, even for a "punched" copy.

Eagle Game's Napoleon in Europe struck me as an improvement over some of their other early titles, but that's like saying the Miami Dolphins are almost at the top of their division at 3-6. It's true, but you're not going far in the playoffs. Perhaps it works well as a 2-player game, and while I'm a sucker for plastic I just can't see this one pulling in $150 on E-Bay.

Wiz War has been republished numerous times, and I have a Chessex Fifth Edition copy. I played it once, it seemed to be arbitrary and somewhat repetitive, and evidently worth at least $50 (E-Bay did not have a record of this particular edition, the 7th sold for this amount).

Friedmann Friese's early effort Frischfleish, admittedly interesting in that the theme is cannibalism, is also not seen on E-Bay, although a few entrepenuers on the 'Geek are asking 120 Euros, which I guess is pretty close to $150 depending upon how crazy our president seems that week to the world market.

I'm sure there are one or two other minature gold mines floating around in my collection, although none of them seems to have the insane value of some early Magic: the Gathering cards that my friend Matt sold that allowed him to buy a functioning car, a bike, and about 30 other things.

I'm not even getting into the wargames, which can be very valuable, even games published in the last ten years. Because wargame publishers tend to produce at best a few thousand copies, once they are gone the value shoots up quite a bit. However, I seem to have a bit more of a sentimental attachment to the wargames, so none of them are on the block this time around.

I've also discovered that a few of the RPG Playstation games I have, including a first edition Xenogears in great shape, are also worth 2-3x their original price. A copy of Persona 1 that I bought used for $20 is probably worth at least $50-60 now. Even some of the late-life-cycle RPGS like Vagrant Story are selling for at least original retail.

As some of you know, I'm not hurting for money, but it's very difficult for me to turn down this kind of cash. I'm not terribly excited about the prospect of poachers winning a bid on E-Bay and me having to go after them for what is not too far off from discretionary income for me. In fact, two of the people in my group have asked what I would sell Frischfliesch for, and I can't even start to give a price, even though when all is said and done I'd much rather see the game in their hands.

I've mentioned that I can't wait to get a game out of shrinkwrap, and I don't understand why anyone would buy a game for investment purposes - games are meant to be played and loved, not hoarded like some sort of commodity. Of course, there are those who are willing to pay ridiculous sums for games that I don't think are that great. Perhaps there's some sort of nostalgia factor involved, or the buyers are trying to fill a void of some sort (I know that when I personally am buying games, that this is a primary motivator, so I'm not pointing fingers). I just don't see the point in spending $150 for one expansion set for the old Eon edition of Cosmic Encounter (#8) that a mint copy went for recently, especially when the game was so broken at that point as to be laughable (not to mention essentially purchaseable in the Mayfair editions).

I suppose one day I'll have to go through this exercise with my comic books, although I do admit to having bagged and boxed all of them. Funny how games don't affect me in the same way.


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