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Sign of the times?
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Whill
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PostPosted: Fri May 08, 2015 9:00 pm    Post subject: Sign of the times? Reply with quote

I've seen three things recently that seem to suggest a disturbing trend for good ol' roleplaying games like Star Wars.

(1.) I visit one of my local Half-Price Books stores every month or two. Over the course of the past decade, I've picked up a handful of copies of R&E for only $14.98 each. And although these are technically used copies, they have all only been lightly worn at most. After a couple years without seeing any, I recently found one, and it was on sale for a whopping $50.00! I didn't buy it. Is demand lower for these nowadays so they raise the price?

(2.) I recently discovered there was a new FLGS on my side of town (NW Columbus OH) when looking into Free RPG Day for this year. I recently went to visit it, and the friendly owner had greeted me at the door. He informed me the store opened last year when I asked. He said that he was one of only two game stores in the entire state of Ohio that are participating in Free RPG Day this year, and the other is in Cincinnati. To my amazement, the store was huge, probably having almost as much retail floor space as the other four FLGSs in town combined. As I made my way around the store, it was board game after board game and the like. I finally made my way to the back corner that has a single self of RPGs. By the time I had been through the whole store and my son was yanking on my arm that he was bored and wanted to leave, the owner was busy with other customers so I didn't get to ask him about the utter lack of retail space devoted to RPGs.

(3.) Last weekend on Free Comic Book Day, I went to my comic shop that had expanded their store space and entered into the game business last year. I was dismayed to see that game side of the store had been completely reorganized, and almost all RPGs had removed. There was a little bit of D&D and Pathfinder, but that was about it. And of course, you guessed it, the new retail space was filled with more board games. I asked the owner about it and he said board games sell a whole lot more than RPGs, and his board game business is going very well. He said board games are a more family friendly option to video games. He said even the card games have waned in popularity but board games are going strong.

So, am I worried for nothing? I'm going to Origins next month and there are tons of RPG adventures being played, but do you think all these big convention players are largely composed of players that only or mostly only play RPGs at conventions? Nothing against board games, but they aren't nearly as fun as playing RPGs to me.
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Thx1138
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PostPosted: Fri May 08, 2015 10:09 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I have noticed this as well, especially with card games. When it comes to card games, only the big three really sell which are pokemon yu-gi-oh and Magic the gathering. New card games last only a few years and then die out. RPG's are dying out because of all the online options like world of Warcraft, Star Wars the old republic, lord of the rings online, really any online game. The sad thing about online RPG's is that you really follow a set storyline while in actual RPG's you create the story. I think the big problem is that many younger people who have never tried it think of pen and paper RPG's as nerdy and uncool, which is sad since they really can teach people a lot about numerous subjects such as teamwork, mathematics, and a little about ourselves as well. While there are a few online games I play, they just can never beat the feel of rolling those dice with your fingers crossed hoping for a good roll.
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Whill
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PostPosted: Fri May 08, 2015 11:27 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thx1138 wrote:
While there are a few online games I play, they just can never beat the feel of rolling those dice with your fingers crossed hoping for a good roll.

Amen brother. I don't have any experience with the online games but I feel the same way about RPGs.

So, due to online games, the end is nigh for pen & paper tabletop RPGs then. Depressing.
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CRMcNeill
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PostPosted: Fri May 08, 2015 11:35 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Perhaps it would be more accurate to say that the end is nigh for gaming as we know it. I think Thx is on point regarding the limitations of on-line games; you are limited to the stories set up by the game's designers. Even in a massive sandbox environment, there is only so much you can do. Tabletop gaming doesn't have that restriction, and the only limitation is the imagination of the players. So yes, things will change, the number of people involved in gaming may dwindle, but there will still be a percentage who are attracted to it. New members are still signing up to Pit, as well as the G+ community, so its not as if interest in gaming is dying out...
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evilnerf
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PostPosted: Fri May 08, 2015 11:36 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I don't think they are so much as "Dying out" as they are moving away from physical retail.

This is a trend true in every printing industry. Newspapers are closing like crazy. Magazines are a joke. And everyone knows the future of book puplishing is in e-books.

I don't think think that this phenomena is particularly unique or indicative for just the RPG industry.
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jawa1138
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PostPosted: Fri May 08, 2015 11:41 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Whill, I think you are spot on with the gaming trends today. Being in the middle of nowhere Ohio I have to leave town to find games. Toledo used to be a great city for games but there is really only one shop left and they cater to mostly miniature and board games, but they usually have a decent supply of out of print rpgs still.

Columbus I know of three game stores I think and to be honest I find a better selection of rpgs at Half Price Books.

I don't make my way to Cleveland much anymore but my son is switching doctors which will take us to Akron so I will begin the Cleveland game store circuit again in the next few months.

As to the R&E being 50, I definately do not think it's due to lack of demand. I have been shopping ebay a lot lately and I am constantly getting outbid by someone willing to pay more than I for d6 Star Wars books.

You might try Big Fun on High Street. They mostly deal with action figures and toys but they do have a small selection of rpgs. Although the last time I was there I didn't see any Star Wars rpg books.
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cynanbloodbane
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PostPosted: Fri May 08, 2015 11:48 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I think we are also seeing a shift in how pen and paper RPGs are being sold. Almost all of the Retro clones are sold Print On Demand, Most small press P&P RPG producers use Kick starter or other preorder system. Almost all are available as PDF at the company online store. Amazon and other online stores (including Walmart) have greatly reduced prices for new printed RPG material, 20%-40% over the retail price an FLGS can sell it for. The trend is also spilling over into War Gaming. I have said for years, the only way for FLGS to thrive today is to develop an online side of the store. those that don't will fold unless it is truly a labor of love. Board Games are still too big and bulky for most retailers to have a huge selection and too small of print runs for Amazon and other online retailers.
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cynanbloodbane
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PostPosted: Sat May 09, 2015 12:06 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

jawa1138 wrote:
Whill, I think you are spot on with the gaming trends today. Being in the middle of nowhere Ohio I have to leave town to find games. Toledo used to be a great city for games but there is really only one shop left and they cater to mostly miniature and board games, but they usually have a decent supply of out of print rpgs still.

Columbus I know of three game stores I think and to be honest I find a better selection of rpgs at Half Price Books.

I don't make my way to Cleveland much anymore but my son is switching doctors which will take us to Akron so I will begin the Cleveland game store circuit again in the next few months.

As to the R&E being 50, I definately do not think it's due to lack of demand. I have been shopping ebay a lot lately and I am constantly getting outbid by someone willing to pay more than I for d6 Star Wars books.

You might try Big Fun on High Street. They mostly deal with action figures and toys but they do have a small selection of rpgs. Although the last time I was there I didn't see any Star Wars rpg books.


jawa1138, if you are coming through the Cleveland area check out the Warzone Matrix just off I480 near the airport.
http://www.warzonematrix.com/
I haven't been there in a couple years, but it was a great hole in the wall game store jam packed with goodness.
Next up, Gamers Haven Not too far south of I480
http://geekcle.com/cleveland/game-shops/gamers-haven/
Small selection of RPGs, but the owner is nice and always willing to chat.
Finally, make sure and at least stop in to The Side Quest in Lakewood, it is an honest to God Gamer Bar. Near I90
http://www.thesidequestbar.com/INTRO.html

Happy Hunting!
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jawa1138
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PostPosted: Sat May 09, 2015 12:13 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I've heard of the Side Quest. Lakewood is a long ride home after a few hours of drinking.
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garhkal
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PostPosted: Sat May 09, 2015 12:16 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

From my experience, the price for 1/2e SW books is higher cause of them being out of print, not the rarity/demand for them.
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cynanbloodbane
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PostPosted: Sat May 09, 2015 12:17 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Agreed, but worth the stop if you can swing it.
Let me know if you are stopping, I'll meet up with you for a beer if I am free that night.
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jawa1138
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PostPosted: Sat May 09, 2015 1:00 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

garhkal wrote:
From my experience, the price for 1/2e SW books is higher cause of them being out of print, not the rarity/demand for them.


Oh they definataley price due to out of print. Sometimes it feels like they look it up on amazon then take the highest price listed. But I have also scored some really good deals. I can't remember which store I was at but I scored an unpunched unused Darkstryder campaign for 30 which at the time was over 80 on ebay.

I also got a brand new 2e revised gm screen for something like 18.

Perhaps it just depends on whos working the price tag gun on any given day.
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cheshire
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PostPosted: Sat May 09, 2015 9:07 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

garhkal wrote:
From my experience, the price for 1/2e SW books is higher cause of them being out of print, not the rarity/demand for them.


I've noticed a perception among used book dealers that says:
1. The book it Star Wars.
2. Star Wars items are collectible.
3. Collectible items are worth more once out of print.
----------------------------------------
Therefore, this item must have high market demand.

Sit and watch ebay for a LONG while. Gundark's Fantastic Technology will get a starting price between $25-$60. Sometimes some poor schlep will pick it up for that since there's nothing else available. But once there is someone with a $1 starting bid, the item only attracts enough attention to garner $10-$15 in actual bidders.

I would think that eBay would be a more accurate reflection of the fair market value of an item as the consumers get to define what value is in a competitive sphere. When the price exceeds their perceived value, then they stop bidding.

If my assumption is correct, then folks like us just don't value the items the way that the collectors and used book dealers think we should.
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Whill
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PostPosted: Sat May 09, 2015 12:20 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks everyone. Thanks jawa for the heads up on Big Fun on High. I've never heard of it and it sounds cool. And the three game stores in Columbus are now five (that I know of), but the two newest ones have very little RPGs anymore. Thanks cynanbloodbane for the breakdown on Cleveland game stores. I don't make it up there too often but one of my best friends lives there so I may want to check them out some time (and that gamer bar in Lakewood).

I get that sales of everything are moving online. I buy from Amazon often. But I would think that board games would equally be sold online, so part of my point is the trend of new RPGs disappearing off the retail shelves to be replaced by more and more board games. A lot of those board games are high priced like some RPGs, so it can't just be that RPGs cost so much more that buyers have to buy online to get the 20-40% off while they can afford to keep getting board games at retail. Boards games are selling a lot better than RPGs at retail, but it didn't always used to be that way. So my issue was with the proportion between retail space for board games and RPGs changing drastically.

As far as copies of R&E at Half-Price, yes I am experiencing sticker shock from the usual price going from 50% of the original retail price to 167%. But it has been out-of-print since the 90s and it was consistently only $15 for a decade until recently with the sudden price hike to $50.

I have the entire WEG Star Wars RPG 2e line (and all 1e products not reproduced for 2e), but I've picked up a handful of cheap extra copies of R&E over the years for convenience (to have one on all three levels of my home), and to give copies away as gifts. I'm not actually in the market for R&E or any WEG SW RPG products, but just out of curiousity I looked online. With three variously worded searches, I found the price range from $40.00 or best offer (+ $10.80 shipping) to $124.99 (+$4.00 shipping) with a six month payment plan option! Amazon Marketplace has them from $59.95 to $185.78 (all with $3.99 shipping)!

I think maybe someone at Half-Price might have looked online and realized half-price was way under market so jacked it up to $50. If demand isn't lower, maybe it is higher due to the new trilogy coming out that is sequel to the trilogy the WEG game is based on? Maybe they even have a general policy pricing all Star Wars stuff higher due to a perceived or actual higher demand?
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jawa1138
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PostPosted: Sat May 09, 2015 7:14 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

When I am in the market to buy new books, which is most of the time as my collection is yet to be complete. I always do an advanced search on ebay and see what the item really sold for over the past few months to best guage the value.

Amazon listing prices are so far out of whack that I never use them to judge what I should be paying. I am not sure if there is a way to only check amazon sales that were actually bought.
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