Also between print runs.
When a quality game is no longer available, Vasel’s Law recommends that we wait for it to be reprinted rather than buy a high priced copy.
Such advice might be less difficult to follow in the case of a game that is between prints (BP) than in the case of a game that is truly out of print (OOP). But not always. And the difference between the two is not that easy to see anyway.
The board game industry has unique characteristics compared to other cultural industries such as books.
Small print runs. It is not uncommon to see book print runs of several hundred thousands of copies. The average print run size for games is around 3,000 to 5,000 copies. Therefore they can be sold out quite rapidly.
Production delays. Board games are more complex and take longer to make. The many different components of a single game (boards, cards, wooden pawns and cubes, plastic miniatures, packaging) are often produced by different companies that can be located all over the globe.
Which means that a popular game, even after many reprints, might have been available for only a few weeks over several years.
What distinguishes a game that is between prints from an out of print game is not the length of the time period during which it’s unavailable. But rather the publisher’s intention or capability to reprint it.
Publishers are usually quick to signal their intention to reprint their sold out titles. Because, according to Stephen Buonocore, president of Stronghold Games, a game will fail or succeed commercially within the first three months following its release.
After which it could even be forgotten.
References and Further Browsing
- Print run numbers, on Boardgamegeek
- How often do games go out of print?, on Reddit
- Production Delays, Board Game Insider Podcast, episode 14
- Reprints, Board Game Insider Podcast, episode 25
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