Samurai boxed set Avalon Hill
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Post Posted: Sat Feb 25, 2012 2:36 am 

jcp wrote:
Another personal observation but I disagree with this as well. I know of many people that collect boardgames, wargames, and Avalon Hill games in particular. It's a strong enough market that there are as many buyers in the wargame session of various convention auctions as the collectible/RPG sessions. See Gencon as a good example.

That's an interesting perspective. Thanks for sharing. I would just say a few things:

(1) Those who go to Gencon are likely a self-selected group, and not representative of the overall population [i.e., one would expect convention attenders to be disproportionately interested in collecting games]. So this doesn't strike me as very compelling evidence for a vibrant collectors market.

(2) Likewise, I don't think the Longest Day is a very good proxy for the state of the collectors market, either. The game sold for $85 when it first came out. The thing is huge. The Longest Day was four times more expensive than the other AH war games at the time. For comparison, Titan sold for 16 bucks and, just until a few years ago, commanded prices in excess of $100. So just presuming average appreciation for a modestly popular game puts it behind most of the highly played games out there. I mean, just based on inflation alone the price of the Longest Day is $235!

(3) One thing that would make your opinion stronger is addressing the empirical evidence that seemingly undermines it. Namely, that the price of Avalon Hill games have fallen dramatically - more than 75% in some cases - with recent reprints (see ROR, Titan, Britannia, 1830, etc). If, as you suggest, the market is largely driven by collectors and not gamers, this shouldn't happen, or to this extent.

(4) For another comparison, consider the top 25 rated Avalon Hill games on boardgamegeek:

Up Front
History of the World
Merchant of Venus
We the People
For the People
Titan the Arena
Empire in Arms
Magic Realm
Russia Campaign
Napoleon: Waterloo

With the exception of some of their earlier games - Go, Acquire, Diplomacy, which were "family" games - and Titan the Arena, this is a "who's who" of high priced Avalon Hill games. More than half this list has gone for $100 or more on eBay in recent years, some even in poor condition [i.e., not collector worthy, one would think].

It's fair to say that good quality games aren't the exclusive domain to gamers - it probably makes them more collectable too. But when you have few players, you really see just how weak the impact that collectors have on the market. You end up with Samurai going for $10.. and about a hundred other games.

I think if you could offer a reasonably long list of Avalon Hill games that aren't very good [or aren't played], yet draw high prices - much like what we see with many RPG products - then your perspective would be stronger.


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Post Posted: Sun Feb 26, 2012 11:39 am 

So your entire point seems to be that Avalon Hill games aren't as collectible or in demand because there aren't a huge number of high priced low quality games on the oop market? That doesn't seem to make a lot of sense. Many of the games listed in your BBG list still do sell for very high prices, ASL and Up Front being just two examples that routinely sell for over $100. ASL is an entire system and there are dozens of games under that line, most all of which sell for more than $100. I've seen a half dozen ASL collections sell for more than $1000, and some for over $2000. There are individual ASL game modules that by themselves sell for upwards of $400-$500.

And in reality you can't really talk about the market for Avalon Hill games as being highly collectible outside the scope of the entire collectible wargame market. Unlike RPG collecting, wargame collectors are almost never focused soley on one system or one specific publisher, SPI (publisher) and ASL (system) being rare but strong exceptions to that general rule. There are a huge number of wargame collectors, and nearly all of them tend to collect games from across multiple publishers and Avalon Hill games are very collectible within that larger spectrum of wargame companies. There are folks who attmept to collect one of every game published (hard to do when there are something like 10,000 wargames that have been published since the mid 1960s) but most tend to collect a range of games from across mutliple publishers representing the best, rarest, more obscure, most unique, and/or items of personal interest from varying companies and eras. Many Avalon Hill wargames would be included in any wargame collectors bucket list.

As for number of people present and bidding at Gencon during the wargame sessions, that is very much an indicator of the popularity of wargame collecting. There are sessions at Gencon that draw few or not as many bidders, but both RPGs and wargames tend to draw constant and very strong crowds. That is why both areas are strongly catered to at the auction. If there wasn't good interest there wouldn't be a large presence and strong bidding.

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