Sunday, July 29, 2012

Boardgamely shows promise

As my board game collection expanded, I began trading on BoardGameGeek.  Trading games is great, except when it's not:
1. People care a lot about game condition, perhaps too much. It's common on BGG for people to post pictures of the slightest flaws.
2. You need an exact match of your stuff vs. their stuff.  Getting an exact value can be frustrating and subjective.
3. Even if your mutual trade lists overlap, they may not feel like trading... or may not feel like trading with you!  Earlier this week, I deeply regretted sending a game to Canada, to the tune of $32 in postage.
4. Until you make a trade, your game sits on the shelf, taking up space. Unless you trade 2-for-1, you'll never get to reduce your collection or upgrade much at a time.

Boardgamely is a newer board game site that adds much-needed liquidity to the trading scene.  In essence, you're converting your games to a token economy in "silvers", then trading silvers (and $3) for new games.  It's a really neat idea, and one I hope gains traction.  While it won't solve the cost of shipping to Canada (which for now, isn't available for the US-only site), Boardgamely does approximately solve all four problems.  There are only three condition categories, for which you receive tiered levels of silver trade tokens. If a game's in excellent condition, you might get 10 silvers, while a slightly-used copy earns you 8, and a very-used copy 6. The game must be in playable condition. Smaller, cheaper games are worth fewer tokens, and there's also an "Elite" class of games that tries to account for the most desirable games, to keep people from raiding all the copies of the New Hotness.

As of this writing, I've earned a few silvers by listing several games, and earned a few silvers by having one of the games I listed be requested. I shipped it out to the recipient, and I now have 20 silvers, enough for most likely 2 good games, maybe 3 or even 4 if I choose smaller games that are well-used.  The list of games is now fairly decent, and I look forward to seeing even more titles make an appearance briefly, before being snapped up. Twitter followers rejoice, as new Boardgamely acquisitions are announced there as well. I have a second round of games to post, and see if they get requested soon.

The UI is still in active development, and Adam Thorsen, the maintainer, has promised a new appearance and more sorting soon.  Adam is responsive to questions, and overall, I have a good feeling about Boardgamely.  While not all the games I'm looking to send out are yet available with full listings, I'm looking forward to sending and receiving more games from Boardgamely.


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