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Recently I've been thinking a lot about how a brand adds value to a product. As a shop worker this is very prominently at the forefront of my line of work as celebrity endorsement are plastered all over various Christmas gifts in a bid to boost sales of an otherwise fairly mediocre product. It often puts me off getting something but then I realise the hypocrisy of this with my choice of hobbies.
As an avid GW collector and Magic: the gathering player I am used to having to pay somewhat over the odds for a product. A Magic booster currently costs £3.49 in my local store. A good card can fetch £5-10 online. Some, like this one, can go for thousands! However every once in a while you read something that makes you realise quite what a markup these cards have:
I find this a brilliant anecdote, one that helps keep you grounded and remember that it really is only a game. It's something I'lll turn to when I think about splashing excessive amounts of money on a single "perfect card" for my collection.Six years later, I found myself hanging around a game designer and watching him create playtest cards out of foil rares. The rares were from a non-Magic card game that nonetheless had an active secondary market. My eyes were like saucers as he scribbled on gleaming card faces with a black Sharpie. "But that's a foil [insert valuable rare here]!" I said, incredulous, as if he was spray-painting an anarchy sign on a war memorial.
"You know they're all worthless, right?" he said.
He wasn't saying that cards are not worth owning, or games not worth playing. He was only trying to tell me that these cards cost fractions of a cent to print, and that I was working for a card company.
So why do I want to splash money on these products? I think a part of it is the excitement. When I buy a pack of cards most of my excitement comes from the anticipation of getting some cool new cards, stumbling across a new combo or finding that elusive card that was way overpriced online.
Warhammer has a similar attraction. It has a way of enticing you in to buy exciting figures in dramatic poses in a different way to Magic, you know what you're buying with warhammer for a start, but it still manages to create a thrill for me when I know I'm getting my hands on a fun new kit. Yes I pay more for these things than they're really worth, amd in my heart of hearts I know that, but it's the thrill and excitement and ujoy of the whole experience that makes me want to do it again and again.