Greed is Good – I Trade, Do You?

There is a perennial question amongst wargamers. What do you spend on your hobby? This question is always followed by discussions of discounts and savings, trading forums and eBay. How do you get your game fodder and DO YOU EVEN TRADE BRO!

I trade a lot, like seriously. It’s not like a problem. Like the other day I bought like a copy of Warhammer 40k:Deathstorm because I was like that’s a good deal and I can trade away the Tyranids to get some cash back. Maybe I should keep the Nids (My 17k of Eldar need someone to fight) and trade or sell the Blood Angels. So after I decided to start a new Blood Angels Army and a new Tyranids Army I really got to thinking about how much I trade and the time it takes for the end result. There’s a lot of taboo about wargames trading that I don’t see in other trading communities and I’ll talk about some of that too. People get salty about their man dollies.


I trade bro!

I would say that I would dedicate about 10 hours a week to my trading. It’s probably the largest portion of my hobby time. That may seem like a lot but it’s the easiest part of my hobby to do. I have a small child (he is mine) that chews up a lot of my recreational time and I work nights. I peruse eBay once a day and check out various buy-swap-sell forums, also daily.

In my experience it’s worth it. If you have a bit of control on your plasti-crack addiction and can wait for your next fix it’s a good way to game on a budget. I have picked up some very large lot buys that have resulted in some real gems, often resulting in free items when the smoke clears. That kind of trading allows me to spend cash on things like the BNIB Kal Jericho and Scabbs, that I have spent years looking for and finally acquired recently.

Lets talk about a few PRO-TIPS for trading:

  • Paypal, Paypal, Paypal. Yeah they take fees when you sell, but both the buyer and seller insurance is worth it. It’s fast and easy to use, and has a mobile app so you can pay for things on the go.
  • Don’t skimp and go for cheap postage. This goes for buyer and seller. Things go missing and get damaged. If you go cheap don’t expect to recoup any money if things go pear shaped.
  • Check out the person before buying or sending them that out of print Vostroyan Battleforce or having them come to you for pick-up. Internet goods trading is basically the Wild West still. There aren’t a lot of lawmen to help you if you get into grief.
  • Be Patient. There will be a lot of tire-kickers asking questions, they won’t always buy, but some will and getting a reputation for being a grumpy Gus won’t do you any good. People will also

    Half a denari for this. You must be mad. This is the finest Chronopia you can find.

    expect you to wait for payment from time to time. If you need a quick sale, be clear about it from the start.

  • Be Fair. To be fair there are a lot of things that people think you should and should not do when you trade. It is generally accepted that the first responder gets the item barring any unforeseen hiccups (I’ll get to those in a minute)
  • Haggling is fine. Don’t be butt-hurt if the seller rejects your offer. It’s their item, they can sell it how they like.
  • Not Everything out of print is rare. Some things sell in the millions. So bear this in mind when making your listing.

Those are the best tips I have for trading, beyond that I have yet to find any specific methods that increase your likelihood of finding that old school RPG supplement from the 80’s, or selling your brand-new-in-box out of print super rare Gamesday 1999 Space Marine Captain.

There are a number of divisive issues when it comes to trading. Lets wade into that right now!

How do you price your items? Is my paint job really pro? They’re out of print? Could you only get it during the Kickstarter? Is it still in the box? All these question and many more will be a factor. One of the better ways to check is to have a look at eBay and get a feel for the average price range. Just be careful because Buy It Now listings may have high prices, but they may not actually be selling.

Sorry Tiny Tim… I need this money for berserkers… Khorne Berserkers.

There’s an opinion amongst some in the trading community that whenever you sell something it should automatically be dirt cheap. This is a bogus concept pushed by misers. Market forces apply to second hand man dollies as much as they do for any product in demand. There is a price people are willing to pay. If you list at that price the item will sell. If your too high it will take a while or it won’t sell at all. If you’re too low folks will flood you with PM’s.  The best advice I can give here is to always go through with a deal once struck. You may have listed too low, but being wishy-washy or pulling out of deals will hurt future opportunities to trade.

After a while you will get a feel for the community you’re trading in, what sells and what doesn’t. It is generally accepted that you don’t call out people on their prices. Starting a bidding war or offering to sell the same item for cheaper in someone else’s sale is pretty low and will get you a swift banhammering.

Disbanded already, but Gulliman only just put us together.

Another problem you may well run into, as a buyer or a seller, is that buying and breaking up of boxed sets happens. I have personally done it with every major release GW has put out in the last two years, and with a number of Infinity releases to get the limited edition models. Sometimes people do it to get some of the models in a set and offload what they don’t like. Sometimes it is done to make a profit. I’ve done it both ways and I don’t see a problem with it. It doesn’t always work out, and often you can end up shelling out more cash than you would ordinarily.

Last year I bought a copy of The Hobbit Starter to sell the miniatures and keep the Goblin Town terrain. I still have Rhadaghast the Brown hanging around my neck. I could have just waited for some goblin town terrain to show up on eBay for much cheaper than it cost me.

That’s not too bad, I have bird poop all over me.

There is another opinion amongst the wargaming community that this kind of selling is a bit iffy or with some people plain wrong. There will always be a demand for parting out kits and the people buying are generally aware of what they are doing and happy to be able to do it. If it’s something you want to try, go ahead. The more chances for cheap models the better.

A subset of this type of selling is where you buy a huge second hand army and part it out for some of the models or for profit. I have also done this and do not see a problem with it. I do, however, agree with some of the sentiment amongst trading forums… buying an army just to relist the entire thing the following day for higher price is a pretty asshat thing to do. There’s a line for everything and that is mine.

Yet another subset of profit based selling is buying up limited editions, particularly of late DICE! Honestly, I have never tried buying tonnes of limited edition items. It seems far too perilous a prospect. You never know how many were produced or how popular they are amongst the gaming community. You may well be holding on to that 30th anniversary White Dwarf model until the 60th anniversary.

Bunnies and Ladders?

If you corner the market on Games Workshop’s new Blood Bowl dice and end up shilling them on eBay for up to three times the price you probably won’t make too many friends. Games Workshop has announced reprints of these as well, so beware your investment may crash.

Buying Kickstarter with the hopes of selling em’ for higher prices after the Kickstarter campaign ends is also risky. Do your research. Kickstarters can often become so popular now that they attract every person who was ever going to buy the game in one go. You don’t wanna have ten copies of Crosshares to try and sell.

There isn’t too much more you can say about Buying, Swapping and Selling other than be safe, be fair and haggle, haggle haggle!

If you see these guys, email me. I want them.


If you’re unsure what to buy, checkout this useful article.

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