The Future of RPGs as a collectible?
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Poll: Will RPGs remain a popular collectible with the next generation?

It is generational and will probably decline in the future 71%       71%  [ 44 ]
It is a solid collectible that will hold its value and be popular with the next generation 16%       16%  [ 10 ]
Unsure or mixed feelings 13%       13%  [ 8 ]
Total votes : 62

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Post Posted: Tue Nov 28, 2006 12:20 am 
 

I read recently that 'collections' has been one of highest performing investments over the past fifteen years. In particular stamps, coins, wines, antiquarian books etc. It is easy to see how these well known collectibles hold their value, but what about RPGs? How do you see the future of collecting RPGs? I was wondering if my children would be interested in collecting these in the future or whether it is a generational thing and will pass eventually as a fad. So a simple three choice poll - I am curious as to your views.

1. Is it a generational thing. Most of us are collectors as we played when we were younger and now that we have the means we are revisiting a highly enjoyable part of our past. It will probably decline with the next generation.

2. It is a solid collectible that can only go up in value. Future generations will also collect.

3. Unsure / mixed feelings.

Please expound on your views.

  


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Post Posted: Tue Nov 28, 2006 12:24 am 
 

Generational. The guys starting with 3rd Edition these days aren't going to have the same kind of emotional attatchment to the old stuff. And collecting is all about that emotional attatchment.

I'm one of the younger guys here (25), and I never played 1st Edition. I started with 2nd Edition, so a lot of the old stuff doesn't really resonate with me.

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Post Posted: Tue Nov 28, 2006 12:26 am 
 

GraysonAC wrote:Generational. The guys starting with 3rd Edition these days aren't going to have the same kind of emotional attatchment to the old stuff. And collecting is all about that emotional attatchment.

I'm one of the younger guys here (25), and I never played 1st Edition. I started with 2nd Edition, so a lot of the old stuff doesn't really resonate with me.


That is becuase you are only 25 :D


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Post Posted: Tue Nov 28, 2006 1:13 am 
 

What prompted me to post this was my wife saying "When you're gone you're kids won't be interested in this stuff, they'll probably just throw it all away." and then something like "...with the amazing computer games they have these days, I am sure they won't be interested in dice and paper and your board games with hundreds of little cardboard squares!"

Anyway, that being said, my children are still young (the eldest is seven) and I will try my hardest to indoctrinate them into the beauty of dice, pencils and little bits of cardboard that ones sticks on hexes in the near future  :)

  

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Post Posted: Tue Nov 28, 2006 1:22 am 
 

While the hobby will not likely have a huge expansion I think RPGs, particularly Dungeons & Dragons will remain collectible for the foreseeable future. Too many items connected with popular culture such as novels, movies and computer games have a piece of D&D in their roots. I find myself collecting old wargames which were never a part of my early gaming experience but their strong connection to the history of RPGs creates an interest.

The Acaeum will be a great place to exam this question as we will be able to get an idea as time passes if new generations are embracing the hobby.

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Post Posted: Tue Nov 28, 2006 2:58 am 
 

Blackmoor wrote:
That is becuase you are only 25 :D


Yeah, but the guys that are 30+ are about the only ones that have that attachment to the 1st Edition stuff. After that, the books started to get really mass-produced, and I think collectibility is going to be pretty limited of that stuff.

I can't see 3rd Edition stuff ever being collectible, because of the scale of production.

The computer game comment is pretty dead on too. I'm glad that D&D is doing so well, but interest is inevitably going to wane as technology gets closer to replicating the D&D experience.

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Post Posted: Tue Nov 28, 2006 5:43 am 
 

I see a mix of both answers.  I believe that RPG's will go down in value and then go back up.  They are instant artifacts of an era...like pulp magazines, roller disco movies and art deco buildings.

I think I have mentioned before that I plan for my grandaughter to bring my collection onto the future, cybernetic version of Antiques Roadshow, where the expert will explain about Bob Bledsaw and Judges Guild and how they relate to TSR.  "I was so excited when I saw you bring in this copy of Verbosh!"

I believe that OD&D will always be more collectible than AD&D and AD&D will always be more collectible than D20 (what I call 3.0 or 3.5).  Only experts in the field will be able to explain what D&D was, or why it was considered a separate game.  God knows I don't know.

That said, the D20 items will be collectible and will be valuable to a certain type of collector.  However, as has been discussed on this web site, the old AD&D modules gave us all a shared experience...a common language.  "Oh yeah!  I remember how my group dealt with that....monster/ trap/ villain/ innocent (but rich) villager!"

D20 products will lack some of the common experiences that AD&D products enjoy, but people will collect certain publishers (I collect Troll Lord Games), certain authors and certain styles.

One has only to glance at Heroic Worlds, and the huge number of gaming products listed there...in a book that was printed over a decade ago...to realize that there were a buttload of AD&D-related products as well.  

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Post Posted: Tue Nov 28, 2006 8:32 am 
 

MShipley88 wrote:
I think I have mentioned before that I plan for my grandaughter to bring my collection onto the future, cybernetic version of Antiques Roadshow, where the expert will explain about Bob Bledsaw and Judges Guild and how they relate to TSR.  "I was so excited when I saw you bring in this copy of Verbosh!"

Mark   8)


Hey they better hire me for such evaluations :D

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Post Posted: Tue Nov 28, 2006 9:45 am 
 

I've expounded on this before, I tried to find my old long winded crap so I wouldn't have to say it again, but couldn't..oh well.
  I think this sort of collectible will always have a devoted core, but unfortunately this core will get older and older and collecting in this genre will decline.  There are lots of areas of collecting (notably stamps and coins) where the core has gotten older and older and new blood is hard to find. I'll never forget going to a coin collecting convention about 15 years ago....there was not a single person there except me younger than 30, and 90% of the people there were retirement age or older.  
  While it's nice to think future generations will be thrilled by the sight of a woodgrain box, orange B3 or Dwarven Glory, in reality as our society gets farther away from face to face P&P gaming and more interested in computer or video gaming interest will wane.  Most of the "Top Ten" of RPG items will continue to command high prices, but the more common items will  fall to the wayside.  You can already see a lot of this when you look at Ebay.  Prices on more common items have dropped way, way down in the last ten years, to the point where a collection of say "letter" series items could be assembled quite quickly, including some of the harder to find supermodules and even the R and RPGA series.  
    Like Mark says interest will probably wax and wane over the next few years.  It's just hard to see the base of the hobby going any lowerthan it is now; however 3rd edition should keep the base lower and healthier than a lot of other collectibles that fail to energize younger collectors.

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Post Posted: Tue Nov 28, 2006 5:55 pm 
 

Sorry to revisit an old topic. I did do a couple of searches prior to making this thread - but perhaps did not use the right keywords.

I do find the answers interesting. I must confess I thought more would vote for option two - that it would remain a strong collectible. With these online encyclopedia projects like Wikipedia hoping to become a repository for all the world's information and sites like Acaeum and books like Heroic Worlds, there is certainly going to be a solid record of all these items. As long as RPGs remain a past-time, people are going to look into where it all started and get hooked on trying to get the old stuff. Perhaps in the distant future, these collectibles will end up largely with antiquarian book handlers.

I hate to see knowledge or information of any kind pass. I was one of the last students at the Australian National University to study Icelandic before they cut the Department for more productive fields of enquiry. Unbeknownst to my Professor and I, the Uni threw away the Department's book collection. Perhaps a room full of old (and certainly in my mind valuable) books in Icelandic, Old Norwegian, Faroese etc. We were both devastated. But I wonder what I would have done, if I'd rescued the book collection. Where would I keep it? My Professor has two houses, both with book cellars with accordian shelves overflowing with books. Who is going to want them when he goes?

Perhaps one day I'll put my collection in a time capsule project - open in the year 8014!

  


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Post Posted: Tue Nov 28, 2006 7:08 pm 
 

Generational; no doubt.

There will always be certain "core" items that are exceptions, though (in our case, maybe woodies, etc.). However, most items — especially the more common ones — will not have that much appeal to the generations that grew up with 2e, 3e, 4e, 8e, or whatever.

I also think there's a lot of evidence that we collect what we grew up with. One quick example: I also collect comics, and I first "discovered" how much I liked them in about 1978. I'm pretty much fascinated by that era, I'm interested in stuff as far back as about 1973, and totally indifferent to anything before that. Intuitively, I know that Amazing Fantasy #15, Fantastic Four #1, etc., are considered holy grails, but I would never spend any money on them. I just really don't care about that era.

To put it into D&D terms, I think it's likely that a lot of 2e and 3e kids will grow up to not really care that much about our beloved 1e era.

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Post Posted: Tue Nov 28, 2006 7:15 pm 
 

Xaxaxe wrote:To put it into D&D terms, I think it's likely that a lot of 2e and 3e kids will grow up to not really care that much about our beloved 1e era.


3rd edition products like Return to the Temple of Elemental Evil will certainly encourage some kids to track down the "old school" version.  

Obviously the number of people collecting pencil and paper RPGs will decrease over time.  I'm guessing there may be a slight increase in ten to twenty years, as people who grew up with the games but abandoned them for the pressures of kids and careers find themselves with time and money to spare again.

The real question is will the number of people interested in collecting these items deteriorate faster or slower than the number of these items still in existence.


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Post Posted: Tue Nov 28, 2006 9:24 pm 
 

Xaxaxe wrote:Generational; no doubt.

I also think there's a lot of evidence that we collect what we grew up with.


This is my point exactly.  I believe that there will be a second wave of collector interest in RPG's, approximately 20 years in the future.


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Post Posted: Wed Nov 29, 2006 3:51 am 
 

NetRodent wrote:3rd edition products like Return to the Temple of Elemental Evil will certainly encourage some kids to track down the "old school" version.


That might be true in a handful of cases, but I don't think it's going to be signifigant. RTtTOEE has almost nothing in common with the original. There's the elemental nodes, Lareth, and a few other tie-ins, but it's got a very different feel to it.

I think Greyhawk will do ok, thanks to the RPGA sticking with Living Greyhawk. Personally, i wish the official D&D world had been Greyhawk or Forgotten Realms instead of Eberron.

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Post Posted: Wed Nov 29, 2006 4:34 am 
 

GraysonAC wrote:Generational. The guys starting with 3rd Edition these days aren't going to have the same kind of emotional attatchment to the old stuff. And collecting is all about that emotional attatchment.

I'm one of the younger guys here (25), and I never played 1st Edition. I started with 2nd Edition, so a lot of the old stuff doesn't really resonate with me.


Oh I don't know. I never played OD&D, yet I'd rip off an arm to get a hold of a OCE set now.


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Post Posted: Wed Nov 29, 2006 7:56 am 
 

I have to go against the common majority and say I believe we are holding solid investmets that may fluctuate from time to time, but will not depreciate.

There is a simplicity and eligence to Pre-2E D&D that has never been replicated, and much of the material written for it by most companies was taylored towards good DMs and good DMing practice.

You don't get that in any of the subsequent products, and good gameplayers and passionate enthusiasts, even the kid of today, will trace gaming back to its roots and its most simplest of forms.

D&D in one of its early forms will always be played and collected, like cards, chess, backgammon, Monopoly and Risk. Maybe not by the majority of folks, but I bet you there will be as many people in 2050 willing to spend the equivelant of today's $1000 on a D&D module as there are willing to spend that on a backgammon board or chess set.


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Post Posted: Wed Nov 29, 2006 8:29 am 
 

even if i hadnt yet voted (i'm not sure if i'm right in my thought), i'd say that this generation will be for sure the only one who can pay for smtg that appreciate regardless the pure economic and speculative side of the "business"...

i think that in the next future (let's say 10/20 years) the fair value of these items could have a downturn simply due to the lack of former player that eventually became collectors...

then i'm also convinced that in a long term horizon (more than 30 years), these items will preserve (maybe increase) their economic value simply because of the rarity and the possibility to earn out of this "business"...

in other words: there's a conflict based on the overall purpose that should push into collecting d&d... i personally collect simply for passion... in the future the very first gamers will be replaced by someone who is going to collect d&d like napoleonic weapons are collected today... the value of d&d stuff will be decided whether the mere economic purpose is stronger or not than the passion for d&d: based on demand (flexible)/supply (stable if not lower as time goes by) model prices could be higher or lower than now depending on the strenght of demand


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Post Posted: Wed Nov 29, 2006 11:50 am 
 

I think it's significant how strong the emotional pull of the game remains.

Most of the people on this strand voted that the items will go down in value, yet this is a gathering of the most avid collectors.

Clearly, the value of the publications is not the driving force for the game's most hard core collectors.

Given the millions upon millions of people who played the game in whatever form, it is likely that there will be more than one collecting wave in the future.

Mark   8)


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Post Posted: Thu Nov 30, 2006 3:01 pm 
 

I voted for the "mixed feelings" option. I'm unsure as to whether collecting RPGs will increase or decrease in popularity, which will in turn have the most impact on whether the value of an RPG collection will go up or down.

For me, determining the future of collecting RPGs is more about understanding why people collect things. The desire to collect anything probably comes down to the pleasure it brings. That pleasure can be derived from such things as using, making money from, or even just having the collected items. Having a personal connection to the material, like having played the RPGs you collect when you were younger, is one factor, but not the only one. Just take a look at other things that are collected.

Something as mainstream as coin collecting isn't all about collecting them so you can spend (use) them. Many collectors collect coins that they never could have used when they were younger (unless you believe in reincarnation). Many coin collectors do it partially because of the investment potential. Some just seem to do it to have a complete set and the intangible pleasure that brings. Others do it for the histroical connection, perhaps because they like reading about the US Mint.

My father collects railroad timetables. Much of his interest relates to him using them to write books on railroad history, but also because he worked for a railroad in the 1950s. Even so, he collects timetables from many railroads he has no real connection with, and from many years earlier than the 1950s. Many of them he has little specific use for, other than perhaps a quick read through when he first gets them. Spending money on them is less of a concern because they generally have increased in value, so he could part with his collection and not suffer a financial loss.

Why do people collect first edition books from hundreds of years ago? Most of those books you can buy as a paperback for just a few dollars. Why collect Roman Coins? Tiffany lamps? Art? Old wine that is probably undrinkable?

As long as people find having something pleasurable, and it is rare enough that supply can't keep up with demand, then it has a solid future as being collectable.

I don't know if in the future there will be more RPG collectors than the supply of old RPGs can satisfy. In some ways, not having something be popular for a while (or a long while) can help make it eventually be very collectable. One thing that RPGs have in their "collectability" favor is that they are fairly perishable. The number of originals of many early RPGs is still in decline.

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Post Posted: Thu Nov 30, 2006 3:09 pm 
 

I don't imagine it will persist into the next generation, i.e., people who are in their early twenties now.  

I think those of us who grew up with the game from its very beginning - or shortly thereafter - have the greatest interest in collecting and in the history of the game.  

So, I don't expect any return on the collection I've built if I decide to sell it all off in 10 - 20 years.  But I didn't build it with an eye on future monetary returns in the first place.   :D


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