I've been game trading since almost the point I started hanging out on the BGG. Initially, I made a few trade offers that were just poor offers. I may have shafted myself on a few trades. After I started getting a better feel for the value of offers, I started making better trades, which allowed me to move things I didn't value to get things I wanted. Then I discovered Math Trades. Essentially, a math trade is when a load of users offer up a game they are willing to trade. Once all the games are listed, each user person turns in a list of the games they are willing to accept for the game they are offering. A computer program then sorts through the want lists to try and find a result in which the most number of games will get traded. The reason math trades have become so popular is that they allow you to find a game you'd prefer for one you don't, but you don't have to find a direct match yourself.
When I first discovered math trades, they worked almost exactly like I just described. Then the bargain hunters started getting involved. Barnes and Noble, Tanga, Tuesday Morning, etc provided a number of users with cheap copies of games. Suddenly, the math trades turned into a place where 5-10 users were continually trying to dump games they had purchased for $15 for games that normally ran at least twice that. And that would be ok, accept that it made getting involved in the math trade less worthwhile. Why bother putting in a good game in the trade when the only choices where going to be 20 copies of the new Roborally, 20 copies of Who's the Boss, 20 Copies of Niagra, 20 copies of Nexus Ops, 20 copies of the Ravensburger version of Torres, etc? (Note - I also offered some of these games, but stopped when 10 other people would do the same). Which is not to say that having multiple copies of a game is a bad thing, but it does limit the possibility of attracting other good games. At any rate, my trading slowed down for a bit. I'm in a new math trade no - one that ended up with 921 entries. I put a few games that I've been trying to get rid of forever (Chizo Rising, Lord of the Rings, and Downtown), a Tanga extra I have (Vegas Showdown) as well as one special - my copy of Atolla Modulis I made. There were a number of good entries in this trade, and I hope that by putting in a premium item (I hope its one) I might get a valuable game. So, what am I hoping to get?
Here is a list of the games that will probably end up in my want lists (KEY - FT=Future Trade, K=Keeper, O=Other):
105 Epic Duels (FT)
225 Warcraft + exp (K)
232 Ark+ (K)
246 Formula De exp (FT)
271 Union Pacific (O)
287 Doom + Exp (K)
290 Diplomacy (K)
337 Atlantic Star (K)
359 Roborally (wizards of the coast) (FT)
369 Roborally (wizards of the coast) (FT)
384 Thurn + Exp (K)
387 Railroad Tycoon (FT)
395 Warcraft + exp (K)
444 Formula De exp (FT)
471 Dungeon Twister +4 exp (FT)
493 Rum and Pirates (K)
521 On the Underground (K)
535 Acquire (AH/ Hasbro) (FT)
642 Heroscape Flagbearer series (undecided)
764 War! + extras (K)
What I'm mostly looking at in this list are games that are expensive. (The few cheaper games are things that will end up on the LotR game list). Most of the items on the list are a minimum of $50 to try and get. Now of course, in these trades, most traders are trying to do like me - trade up. In some cases (like me), a trader is just trying to get rid of something they don't want to have anymore. I have a number of things listed that are definitely an upgrade, but which I have no desire to keep. The odd ball of the group is UP. This game is a bit unique for me in that I work for Union Pacific, so I'd likely acquire that as a gift. Some of these items are eBay sellers and I'd happily sell them on eBay and turn the money into games. Mostly, I'd like to turn all of my trades into something else - period. If I can get an $80+ game for Atolla, I certainly will take that and make myself a new copy. Heck, after posting that in the trade, I had an offer for a new C&C:Ancients (2nd ed) for a copy of Atolla (which I'm going to make).