My First Math Trade

I recently participated in my very first math trade. If you don’t know what that is, you’re in good company – it’s still a pretty new concept to me as well. Basically, it’s a trade where you’re not necessarily making 1:1 trades, you’re offering up several titles, then choosing what you want from what has been offered by others. This information is all fed into a computer which uses some kind of algorithm to determine who gets what.

An example: I could offer up game A, and really want game B. The owner of game B doesn’t particularly want game A, but is quite interested in game C. Game C’s owner has her sights set on game D, and game D’s owner is interested in games A, B, and C. The computer looks at all this data, determines that I get game B, game C goes to owner B, game D goes to owner C, and my game goes to owner D. Everyone is happy.

The math trade I participated in was a no-ship math trade. This means it comprises local people who can just hand you the games you got. It was organized through a local game store, and a couple of the games I got were from their used inventory. There are math trades that go on for people around the world, and you just ship off your games to the people who get them. I don’t know if I’m brave enough to try a worldwide one yet, but the no-ship version worked pretty well.

I had several games that were sitting around that I never play, and ended up offering them up. I had 8 lots up for trade, and ended up trading for four new games. Well, used, though not heavily used. Here’s what I ended up getting:

image by BGG user W Eric Martin

Dragonwood is a 2015 game from designer Darren Kisgen, published by Gamewright. It’s an adventure card game where you’re going out and killing all kinds of bad monsters in the forest. This is done by playing cards in sets, then rolling dice based on the number of cards you played. It looks like a fairly light game, but it’s a cool looking game and I’m looking forward to trying it out. This was a sweetener, which is an extra game that people can use to make a lot more valuable or appealing.

image by BGG user W Eric Martin

Photosynthesis came out in 2017, designed by Hjalmar Hach and published by Blue Orange. It’s a game about planting trees and trying to position them well enough that they can get the most benefit from the sun. It’s a very pretty game that I’ve had my eye on for a while. It seems very abstract, but with a beautiful table presence that I know will appeal to my wife and daughter, so I’m looking forward to introducing it to them.

image by BGG user Cosmik42

Jetpack Joyride came out in 2019, designed by Michał Gołebliowski and published by Lucky Duck Games. It’s based on a mobile app that has you just trying to travel as far as you can in a variety of jetpacks. This game is a real-time puzzle game where you’re placing plastic polyomino pieces to try to navigate down a course without crashing. It looks like some dumb fun, and as a former player of the app, I look forward to comparing the games.

image by BGG user Stephanie Hurrican

Nagaraja is another 2019 game, this one by Bruno Cathala and Théo Riviere and published by Hurrican. It’s a two-player only game where you’re bidding to get a temple tile and trying to connect treasures in order to win. Bidding is done by gathering four-sided dice (sticks) and rolling them to try to get the high number. It’s a very cool game, and the only one on this list I’ve played before. I’m excited to have my own copy – I lamented in my new-to-me post last year that I didn’t play it enough for it to make my best of year, but it probably would have.

image by BGG user W Eric Martin

Mansions of Madness Second Edition is a 2016 game by Nikki Valens and Fantasy Flight Games. It reimplements the 2011 game by Corey Konieczka that I have played, and didn’t like very much. However, this version is app-based, and by all accounts improves every aspect of the original. It’s a Lovecraftian game where you’re trying to face a rising evil force, as most of them are. I was kind of surprised to get this one in the trade. It’s not one I would ever buy for myself, and I look forward to trying it out.

And that’s really what I’m taking away from this math trade – it’s an opportunity to try out some games I wouldn’t ordinarily play. It adds a bit of a spark into my collection by getting some new stuff in exchange for getting rid of some old games I’m not playing. I’m looking forward to digging into all four of these, and if they aren’t a hit with me, they may find their way into future math trades.

So, would I recommend math trades? If there’s a local, no-ship math trade in your area, then yes, get involved. It’s kind of exciting, not knowing what you’ll be getting but knowing you’ll hopefully be getting rid of some other stuff. And if you enjoy it, and want to put up the shipping costs, you may have even more luck with wider scale math trades. I’ll probably stick with locals, or possibly con-based math trades for now, but it’s something I wouldn’t mind doing again.

That’s it for today. Stay safe out there, and thanks for reading!

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