Welcome back to Dice and Cardboard! I'm your host, Blaze Firestar, and this week we're going to be playing The Price is Right! Let's take a look at the item:
Now, you could guess $300, $700, $1500, or $1 and you'd be right at some point in time. This is a case of exclusivity driving the market, and based on the number of available units the price has changed tons over time. There is always an aspect of collecting when looking at a miniatures game, but today we're going to be taking a deep dive at what things are market constants, how to collect well, and whether or not you should collect. Let's dive right in!
As we all know one of the easiest ways to get Legion product is through your local game store. Expansions are sold there, tournaments hosted there, and (if you're lucky) sales happen every once in a while. I am thankful for the local stores in my area carrying a consistent stock, and I hope to get tournaments started up again soon, but sometimes list price is tough to justify. When buying in bulk or looking for more expensive units, sometimes I'll look at a few other places.
eBay can be a good place to find units, but oftentimes they are around list price. MiniatureMarket or other online shops have sales but they can be inconsistent and not have sales on the units you want most. Facebook Marketplace varies based on location, but it can be a good place to find units for cheap. When looking for expansions though, I typically find that my FLGS is the place to go.
Promo items are a totally different story though.
Because my store doesn't run tournaments, and because the nearest store that does is an hour and a half away and only does one every other month (and even then incentivizes store credit), there aren't tons of opportunities for me to get promos. This is where secondhand markets like Facebook Marketplace and eBay come in handy.
I've run an eBay shop for years now and so I enjoy watching prices of cards and figuring out their value. Recently, the wave of Adepticon promos has gone onto eBay and they have sold for a lot, way more than I ever would've expected. This brings in the question of scalping, and I'm going to give my own personal philosophy on it, so take it or leave it.
Scalping (or reselling won promos) is good for the game as a whole. Scalping expansions is not.
Well ladies and gentlemen, I did it. Greed is no more! In all honesty though I think that selling promos is good because they are purely cosmetic, and so if someone wants to have an alt art squad, be my guest! The problem is when it is tough to find expansions and people scalp those, but at the end of the day I have no control over that. What were we talking about? Oh yeah, collecting...
My problem is that I love painting units, so even if they won't see the table I want to slap some paint on then and let them be shelf candy. I love that! My wallet does not. Over the course of a few years I've bought into all four factions, and I am excited for Shadow Collective, but I don't always purchase every new expansion that comes out. If you can, more power to you! I just have a tough time justifying spending that much three or four times a year. Here is my strategy for buying, which I am officially dubbing
Dice and Cardboard's Official Buying Guide to Rule All Other Buying Guides and Make You a Top Tier Player Guaranteed
- Units that are fun
- Units that are cool to paint
- Units that do well
- Everything else
Turns out, just like everything else I promote, fun is number one in a hobby! If you want to run double bounty and have Bossk and Boba tear up the battlefield go for it! If you want to paint a squad of clones like every canon color scheme do it (and show me the results)! I am an advocate for coolness, and so I like grabbing units that I find fun first and foremost. This means I'm typically getting one or two units with each wave, rather than buying three Spider Droids and three Fluttercraft and everything else.
That buying guide can lead to an empty wallet quickly though, so in between each layer I typically think "Where is this going?" and if the answer is straight to my shelf, with no chance of being painted or played, then I hold off. I find it helpful to think through what I know I'll be doing the next time I pick up the hobby, and if I have a squad that I haven't finished painting or a list I know I'm going to run, I try not to get any more units (despite the coolness of running 6 B2s with Tac Droids and Rocket Arms).
Should You Collect
I've been hinting at it all article, but the real driving force behind this is my own personal struggle with wanting to collect everything but knowing its best not to. My rule of cool reigning supreme means I partake in the buying of promos at times, I get units just to paint, and my shelf fodder is growing exponentially.
This can be an expensive hobby, so buying and selling promos in order to fund the hobby is something that I do as a way to make income from it. I can pay for going to the few tournaments I do go to by knowing that, if I do well, I have store credit for the expansion that I've been eyeing for a few months, or I have promos to sell that will cover my gas. I don't always do well at following my own rules (looking at you new Skirmish League promos) but I do think that having a baseline helps me not blow all of my money on Legion and justify it by eating ramen for three months.
If you're looking for someone to tell you whether or not you should collect, then the answer is based on one thing: do you have the income to? A less lighthearted topic in some ways, but an important one. A great way to know if you should is through a high value piece, like the core set or a multi-faction expansion. You get a lot of mileage out of those things, so those things are a bit easier to justify. Another great way to do things is to play the game on Tabletop Simulator and just buy models you want to paint and collect, rather than buying entire squads.
There isn't a hard and fast answer to this question, but hopefully what little insight I have to offer helps shed some light on one hobbyist's approach to a rapidly growing addiction.
Collecting is tons of fun, and it scratches an itch that many of us have, but it can be a slippery slope. Be ready to budget and have good self control when it comes to collecting, unless you just won the lottery, in which case I hope you share. Let me know what your personal philosophy on collecting is in the comments below, and (hopefully) we'll be back to normal articles again next week.