No, Pricy First Editions Are Not Destroying the Game

by Kirk Bushell 11th March 2021 2 : 00

As Monarch crawls closer to its release with every passing day, many have surmised that the game is doomed. The reason for this perspective: 1st Edition (1E) pre-orders are sold out everywhere, with Unlimited (UNL) following close behind. However, the claim that the increased cost of 1E is ruining the game could not be further from the truth.

Many (myself included) have been concerned with the fact that box preorders are selling out as fast as they become available. Many retailers have profited from this fact- Channel Fireball stands as an extreme example- and this has led to many retailers selling 1E booster boxes for no less than $200 (USD), with many well above. With increased prices, surely this is going to mean that many aren't able to source product for their games?

In short: Well, yes, but with a more nuanced view, no.

Legend Story Studios last year set a precedent by unofficially labelling 1E "collector's boxes", with Unlimited (UNL) boxes remaining widely available for the broader player base. 1E is the only way you can pull the coveted cold foil cards (outside of promos), and it is for this very reason that collectors and investors are chasing them like crazy. With approximately 1 cold foil equipment per box, they are both rare and- let's be honest- gorgeous! But retailers catching onto their value and increasing the cost does not in any way kill the game. Why? Because UNL is available.

Now, there is a fair argument to be made about UNL not being available at the same time as 1st Edition. This means that many draft events will need to wait approximately 3 weeks after Monarch releases for Unlimited boosters to supply those events- or use 1st Edition boosters, if they had the foresight to keep them but the community-mindedness to open them. Some savvy owners are doing this, which undoubtedly will lead to a lot of excitement locally around those events.

I must admit that I was initially both concerned and flustered with shops selling 1E for substantially more than the recommended retail price (RRP). However, after my interview with Saint Hung, my position on this has done a complete 180.

See the Interview with Saint Hung.

The approach that LSS has taken stands to directly support local game stores. By providing highly desirable 1st Edition product to stores at a reasonable price, these small businesses stand to profit immensely off their support of the game. And when stores sell boxes at prices that reflect the demand, they get to see some of the profits that Flesh and Blood investors have been enjoying these past 6 months. So you really have to ask yourself: would you rather provide your hard-earned cash to the thousands of stores that have struggled through the COVID-19 pandemic, or an online investor who is looking to flip the product?

I know who I'd choose.

Kirk Bushell

Kirk is the sole developer of both FaB DB and The Rathe Times, proving an obsession with the game of Flesh & Blood and supporting its communities. Additionally, he loves writing articles, the game, and the general hobby of collecting cards.

Discussion (3)

William Plumb
1 year ago

I personally agree with this (having been a shop owner) and it is the primary reason I elected to start playing FaB. The availability of cards in Unlimited releases makes it playable for the non-investor. BUT that only works if you can get Unlimited product at a reasonable price, and in a reasonable timeframe; which has become an issue and looks like it will also be a problem with Monarch. With rumors of hoarding by distributors and the hoarding of product by larger sellers and LGSs, smaller stores are having to make serious choices about how much money they can put into the game at this point and time. It is tough all around, but for me, I have to ask myself, how often can I take the financial hit of overblown prices for Unlimited packs and singles (6.00 to 8.00 U.S. for packs in many cases) and can my local LGS take that hit as well? As players who want to play, and be competitive, it can be a tough choice. Again, that is just one opinion, and there are many in this discussion. But for me, a lack of access and rising prices of 1 Ed, preorders/boxes/packs/singles/etc... for the average player only works if there is a consistent and timely flow of reasonably priced Unlimited product into players hands. At the moment, this is not the case for many folks in the U.S. market due to many various factors.

Kirk Bushell
1 year ago

Agreed, William - it has to be met with good unlimited supply. If not, then it is certainly a bigger problem.

David Christensen
11 months ago

I wonder how long the wait will be between Tales of Aria 1st edition and unlimited. I know that I really appreciate the few LGS that sell their 1st edition product at MSRP to the local players. It shows that they are vested in growing the community.

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