Vasel’s Law was first stated half-jokingly a few years ago. Apart from a few exceptions noted here and there, it is reasonably accurate. It is mostly useful as an advice for buying games.
After ten months or ten years, out of print, high quality games will return to the market:
- Republished by their original publisher or a different one (1960: The Making of the President, Christian Leonhard, Jason Matthews, by Z-Man Games in 2007 and by GMT Games in 2017; Brass, Martin Wallace, by Warfrog in 2007 and Roxley in 2017). As straight reprints or a new editions.
- Under their original title or a different one (We the People, by Mark Herman, 1994, became Washington’s War in 2010). This is often the case with redesigns.
- Based on their original theme or a different one (Die Speicherstadt par Stefan Feld, 2010 became Jórvík, in 2016), in which case it is called a retheme.
- Developed by their original designer or a different one (Merchant of Venus, Richard Hamblen, 1988, Robert A. Kouba, 2012). Also called a redesign or a reimplementation.
Two important corollaries ensue from Vasel’s Law.
- If an out of print game never gets reprinted, it might just be not worth it. Of course there always will be occasional forgotten treasures. And some good games remain unavailable due to legal constraints. But otherwise, the fact that no publisher, in a booming market, would pick up a game for a reprint might indicate that there is something no so great with the game.
- There is no point spending tons of money on games that are or are about to go out of print. This is the main point behind the “law”: the decision to buy a game should not be based on the fear that it might become and remain unavailable. One can always wait for the reprint. Easier said then done, I know.
Because the wait can be long. But hey, it’s not like there aren’t thousands of other games to alleviate it.
References and Further Browsing
- Vasel’s Law stated by Tom Vasel
- Vasel’s Law explained by Tom Vasel
- BackTalk 11: Vasel’s Law
- It appears that Vasel’s law has proved true once again, on Boardgamegeek
- Games that satisfy Vasel’s Law, on Boardgamegeek
- Games that defy Vasel’s Law, on Boardgamegeek