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Rahdo Runs Through» Forums » General

Subject: Math Trades rss

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Richard Ham
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Hey everybody. The other day, I decided to try making a runthrough video outlining how to participate in a math trade. I figured it'd be easy peasy, but I think I might have let it get away from me. It's LOOOONG (though very very thorough). I'll be shocked if anyone watches the whole thing, but what the heck. Learning experience, I suppose - maybe I should stick to gameplay runthroughs though
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Alvaro BF
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Thanks a lot, I've never participated in a Math Trade in the BGG fearing the expensive shipping costs for big, heavy games.

However, I am very excited for the no-ship Essen Math Trade, so thanks for another extremely helpful video!
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Christopher Incao
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You are really working hard these days Richard... Even more justification to being nominated GOTW.
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Michael King
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Thanks so much for making this. I've always wondered how these work. I'm looking forward to watching the video and then hopefully participating in one of these mysterious things.
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Kevin B. Smith
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After you have added an item to the list, feel free to edit it to clarify, or to make it better (such as adding a sweetener). But don't edit the item in a way that would make it less desirable (such as by removing a sweetener, or if you realized that your original description didn't mention some damage or other problems. Folks might have already added your item to their want lists, and might not notice later that you made the item worse. If you need to update an item to make it worse, blank out the original item you added, and add a new geeklist item with the full new description.

As a side note, most US trades disallow cash entries. Gift Certificates are typically permitted, however.

This video should help folks, but I it probably could have been tighter, since adding items is the easier part of math trading. The OLWLG is where things get really interesting. Oh, and you don't have to wait until the submission window is closed before you go into the OLWLG. I always start building my want lists immediately, so I have as much time as possible. Sometimes I even start building my want list before I have submitted my own items.
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Richard Ham
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peakhope wrote:
After you have added an item to the list, feel free to edit it to clarify, or to make it better (such as adding a sweetener). But don't edit the item in a way that would make it less desirable (such as by removing a sweetener, or if you realized that your original description didn't mention some damage or other problems. Folks might have already added your item to their want lists, and might not notice later that you made the item worse. If you need to update an item to make it worse, blank out the original item you added, and add a new geeklist item with the full new description.

I've seen this happen before and you're right, it can lead to confusion, though in all honestly, it's only because people add things to the OLWLG lists before the geeklist closes. Myself, I'd rather the OLWLG just stay locked and nothing can be added to it until the geeklist is locked, but that's just me.

And your suggested solution could still be problematic, as people who build their WL before the GL is closed might not notice that they're trading for a blank item, or might think the item was removed from the trade altogether instead of being re-added in a slightly different form later.

Myself, I think it makes more sense to follow the caveat emptor model, and it's on the person adding the item to the OLWLG to check to be sure they're getting what they think they're getting. ESPECIALLY since it's so easy to do. Once the geeklist closes, go to the OLWLG, hit the button that shows you an easy to read list of everything you've added to your WL so far (with descriptions), and check to see if anything has changed. That seems to be the smarter way to go... the OLWLG makes it SOOO easy to avoid problems like this after all

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As a side note, most US trades disallow cash entries. Gift Certificates are typically permitted, however.

Interesting. How come? Obviously, I've never been in a US MT

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This video should help folks, but I it probably could have been tighter,

You think? Yeah, I was really disappointed with myself on this vid. Recording without any sort of timer on screen is bad for me... I *completely* lose track of time. I thought I was maybe 10 minutes long on my first vid and maybe 20 min on my second vid - and of course they were both twice as long. I think I remember that you yourself mentioned on my very first video ever (Helvetia) that I tended to ramble, and it's true. And it's worse without a clock! I seriously considered not posting the vids at all, TBH...

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since adding items is the easier part of math trading. The OLWLG is where things get really interesting. Oh, and you don't have to wait until the submission window is closed before you go into the OLWLG. I always start building my want lists immediately, so I have as much time as possible. Sometimes I even start building my want list before I have submitted my own items.

As I said above, I think that's a very bad idea, especially for newbies, to build wantlists before the geeklist is locked, since it can lead to all kinds of problems, which is why I very clearly presented the ideal process as:

1) add your stuff to the geeklist
2) walk away until the geeklist is locked
3) THEN go to OLWLG

Then it doesn't matter how people might edit entries, etc. As I said, I see no good reason to use the OLWLG before locking the geeklist, but a lot of bad reasons. Maybe if you're in a MT that only has a 24 hour period where wantlists can be built, but does that happen? The shortest I've ever seen is 3 or 4 days, which is plenty of time to make want lists, since it really only takes an hour or two at the most (if you use the 'wishlist' tools and sorting and stuff...
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Richard Ham
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Actually, Kevin, the whole 'adding things to the OLWLG before the GL is closed' is such a big deal, i should have covered it in the vid, so at the risk of making it even longer, I'm going to add a 4th (hopefully short) vid talking about 'advanced techniques'
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David Harding
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Thank you thank you! These things have seemed so confusing. Will definitely watch!
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Submitting wants before the GL is locked is just asking for trouble. It is just so much easier to wait until everything is added and the mod locks it.

Also, one should be able to edit their item's description as they wish, before the list is locked. Trying to judge if it is "better" or has been "improved" before allowing a change or forcing them to post it anew is both highly subjective and unenforceable.

I have done both, depending on the time that I have available, and depending on how "marketable" the items were.
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Kevin B. Smith
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rahdo wrote:
As I said, I see no good reason to use the OLWLG before locking the geeklist, but a lot of bad reasons.

In a big US-centric trade, where there are almost 4000 items, it can be difficult to get through the list during the window. You can limit your research to games already on your wishlist (as you suggest), but that takes a lot of the fun out of math trades (learning about games you have never heard of before). But for first-timers, I get your argument.

However, for first-timers, there is also a drawback to waiting. The earlier you start to play with the grid, the earlier you will have questions about it. So getting an early start can give you the necessary time to get the answers you need. I have seen first-timers wait until the day the trade closes, and then get so confused by the OLWLG that they have not been able to get their questions answered in time, and have missed out on the trade. Not the end of the world, but disappointing.

More importantly, it depends on the rules of the trade. Most of the trades I have been in have specifically prohibited doing so. Glancing at a couple of the smaller/local trades (including your UK sample), I don't see any rules one way or the other.

rahdo wrote:
And your suggested solution could still be problematic, as people who build their WL before the GL is closed might not notice that they're trading for a blank item, or might think the item was removed from the trade altogether instead of being re-added in a slightly different form later.

You don't have to literally "blank" out the old item. You can edit it to something like "Item removed because the original condition was not described accurately. It has been reposted as #753."

rahdo wrote:
peakhope wrote:
As a side note, most US trades disallow cash entries. Gift Certificates are typically permitted, however.

Interesting. How come? Obviously, I've never been in a US MT

I'll explain thinking behind the policy, even though I don't entirely agree with it: Allowing cash changes it from "trading" to "selling", and items sold that way bypass the BGG marketplace, denying BGG their 3% commission. Gift Certificates, for whatever reason, are seen as being just different enough from cash to be acceptable.


(EDITS to fix typos)
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Kevin B. Smith
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I forgot to mention that I always recommend that first-timers only list ONE item. That way they can avoid having to learn about duplicate protection right away.

Another good rule of thumb for first-timers is not to list any "precious" items. It is possible that you might accidentally agree to trade your $500 item for a $5 promo. By listing only "expendable" items (or only ONE expendable item, as I suggest above), you eliminate that risk.
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Richard Ham
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peakhope wrote:
rahdo wrote:
As I said, I see no good reason to use the OLWLG before locking the geeklist, but a lot of bad reasons.

In a big US-centric trade, where there are almost 4000 items, it can be difficult to get through the list during the window. You can limit your research to games already on your wishlist (as you suggest), but that takes a lot of the fun out of math trades (learning about games you have never heard of before). But for first-timers, I get your argument.

Wow, with upwards of 4000 entries, I would say that's all the more reason to wait until everything is locked down, as that's 4000 things that might change, and how can you possibly keep track of it all! And if you're not going to wait, all the more reason to (once the GL is locked) use the OLWLG shortcut to quickly and easily spot-check whether something has changed unexpectedly. Even if you've got 200 wants or more, it's not going to be tough to skim them really quick after the GL locks... 10 minutes maybe? That still seems like the much safer and less mistake-prone approach, rather than relying on hundreds of individuals to follow a "gentleman's agreement" to never significantly alter their entry

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However, for first-timers, there is also a drawback to waiting. The earlier you start to play with the grid, the earlier you will have questions about it. So getting an early start can give you the necessary time to get the answers you need. I have seen first-timers wait until the day the trade closes, and then get so confused by the OLWLG that they have not been able to get their questions answered in time, and have missed out on the trade. Not the end of the world, but disappointing.

Yup, but out of curiosity, in these 4000 item mega trades, how much time is the OLWLG left open? Surely at least a week? Isn't that plenty of time?

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More importantly, it depends on the rules of the trade. Most of the trades I have been in have specifically prohibited doing so. Glancing at a couple of the smaller/local trades (including your UK sample), I don't see any rules one way or the other.

Well I agree with following the rules, which is why I stressed that as the very first thing in my video: check the rules and follow them. There's all kinds of variants

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rahdo wrote:
And your suggested solution could still be problematic, as people who build their WL before the GL is closed might not notice that they're trading for a blank item, or might think the item was removed from the trade altogether instead of being re-added in a slightly different form later.

You don't have to literally "blank" out the old item. You can edit it to something like "Item removed because the original condition was not described accurately. It has been reposted as #753."

Yeah, but again, if you're in a 4000 item maths trade, and you've already added 200 wants to your list, when someone changes Thundarr the Game to "item removed", you're still going to have to scan your list of wants youve already made, and track down the changes, and adjust your OLWLG accordingly. So once again, it's an argument for simply using the OLWLG shortcut and checking everything. And if you check everything in 10 minutes with the fancy tool, then there surely shouldn't be any worry about whether someone changed sweetener X to Y?

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rahdo wrote:
peakhope wrote:
As a side note, most US trades disallow cash entries. Gift Certificates are typically permitted, however.

Interesting. How come? Obviously, I've never been in a US MT

I'll explain thinking behind the policy, even though I don't entirely agree with it: Allowing cash changes it from "trading" to "selling", and items sold that way bypass the BGG marketplace, denying BGG their 3% commission. Gift Certificates, for whatever reason, are seen as being just different enough from cash to be acceptable.

Hmm, that seems silly to me. $50 in credit at Cool Stuff Inc seems like a pretty sneaky way to avoid giving BGG their cut. Don't know if I buy that. Not that you're advocating it, of course, just answering my question. Still, weird!

At least that explains why there's that 'gift certificate search' shortcut in the OLWLG

peakhope wrote:
I forgot to mention that I always recommend that first-timers only list ONE item. That way they can avoid having to learn about duplicate protection right away.

Another good rule of thumb for first-timers is not to list any "precious" items. It is possible that you might accidentally agree to trade your $500 item for a $5 promo. By listing only "expendable" items (or only ONE expendable item, as I suggest above), you eliminate that risk.

That is some good advice, I reckon
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Kevin B. Smith
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rahdo wrote:
Wow, with upwards of 4000 entries, I would say that's all the more reason to wait until everything is locked down, as that's 4000 things that might change, and how can you possibly keep track of it all!

In trades where I can (more or less) trust that listings haven't been made worse, I don't have to keep track. I might submit wants for a blanked item, but that doesn't matter. I would have picked up the new listing automatically anyway. The OLWLG feature to view your wants in step-3 format also helps.

But it's really a preference thing. I like to get a jump on the grid so I have more time to mull things over, and so I'm not faced with a wall of 3000 games to deal with all at once. If trades I participated in allowed items to be freely modified, I would adapt.

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Yup, but out of curiosity, in these 4000 item mega trades, how much time is the OLWLG left open? Surely at least a week? Isn't that plenty of time?

The last big trade ("'Murica") had 2543 items. The item submission window closed at 10pm Sunday, and the want list submission window closed at 10pm on Tuesday. Exactly 48 hours later, and not including much weekend time.

Oh, I just thought of another reason to start adding wants earlier: You might have questions about the items themselves. Once the list is locked down, if you have a question about an item, you either have to geekmail the owner, or post a game-specific message in the discussion list. Sure, either way works, but it's both easier and more beneficial for everyone else if you can just post your comment in the game item itself, and get an answer there (which will show up in the OLWLG).
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Richard Ham
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Your US based maths trade revelations continue to astound!!!!

peakhope wrote:
rahdo wrote:
Wow, with upwards of 4000 entries, I would say that's all the more reason to wait until everything is locked down, as that's 4000 things that might change, and how can you possibly keep track of it all!

In trades where I can (more or less) trust that listings haven't been made worse, I don't have to keep track. I might submit wants for a blanked item, but that doesn't matter. I would have picked up the new listing automatically anyway. The OLWLG feature to view your wants in step-3 format also helps.


Right that's the 'shortcut' I'm talking about. If you're going to add anything to the OLWLG before the GL locks, I would say it's practically required to scan the list via that feature, after it locks. And if you do, you'll immediately notice any changes, like a sweetner got dropped or what have you, and can respond accordingly. Why take the chance that someone else followed the gentleman's agreement when it's so easy to spotcheck yourself? Surely that should be the first line of defence, and where the ultimate responsibility lies, to avoid problems?

Quote:
But it's really a preference thing. I like to get a jump on the grid so I have more time to mull things over, and so I'm not faced with a wall of 3000 games to deal with all at once. If trades I participated in allowed items to be freely modified, I would adapt.

Oh, so there are actual rules against editing your GL entries? Wow, I'm shocked the US is so much more stringent and 'nanny-state' than EU based math trades!

Quote:
Quote:
Yup, but out of curiosity, in these 4000 item mega trades, how much time is the OLWLG left open? Surely at least a week? Isn't that plenty of time?

The last big trade ("'Murica") had 2543 items. The item submission window closed at 10pm Sunday, and the want list submission window closed at 10pm on Tuesday. Exactly 48 hours later, and not including much weekend time

Madness! Sheer lunacy! I certainly see where you're coming from. It seems like the way they're run over there is designed for conflict and fails arising from human error!!! surprise

Quote:
Oh, I just thought of another reason to start adding wants earlier: You might have questions about the items themselves. Once the list is locked down, if you have a question about an item, you either have to geekmail the owner, or post a game-specific message in the discussion list. Sure, either way works, but it's both easier and more beneficial for everyone else if you can just post your comment in the game item itself, and get an answer there (which will show up in the OLWLG).

Well, you can still add comments to a geeklist after it's locked, so you can still ask the questions in a public forum, though you're right, they don't appear in the OLWLG.

But I never recommended to anyone to not read the GL. Of course, it's fun to check it in my subscription page, spot all the new things that have been added, and ask questions, while things are still 'live'. To me, during that first half, the MT "lives" on BGG, and being active just makes sense, like any other geeklist I subscribe to. Once the GL locks, that's when the MT "moves" over to the OLWLG, and the "real work" begins.

At least, that seems like the most sensible thing to me...
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rahdo wrote:
Well, you can still add comments to a geeklist after it's locked, so you can still ask the questions in a public forum, though you're right, they don't appear in the OLWLG.

Oh, you Europeans. Over here in 'murica we lock our geeklists down tighter than a ____'s _____. (Fill in you own colorful metaphor there). Once the item submission deadline closes, we prevent adding comments to the geeklist.

Yes, the astounding revelations about US math trades continue.
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rahdo wrote:
Oh, so there are actual rules against editing your GL entries? Wow, I'm shocked the US is so much more stringent and 'nanny-state' than EU based math trades! :)


I would guess the "nanny-state" nature of US math trades is partly due to their size. Based on a quick look at the active and recent math trades listed in the OLWLG, US ones tend to be quite a bit bigger than European ones. Also, I would wager that for ever "nanny-state" rule, there was at least one situation that prompted it. After the last shipping trade, there were multiple people frustrated with the condition their games arrived in. Some were justified (e.g., missing components), and others were a bit nit picky, IMO (like removing an insert to include an expansion in the base game box). So, there was a huge discussion about whether math trade listings needed to specifically mention if an insert was included or not.
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