Rembert Parker of Reader Copies in Anderson, Indiana comments on Scott Thorne's recent column arguing that the Prisoner's Dilemma applies to the Planechase Anthology release (see "Rolling for Initiative--'Planechase Anthology' and The Prisoner's Dilemma").

There is no Prisoner's Dilemma with the Planechase Anthology, just the cold, hard equations of supply and demand.

If we look at some recent limited edition shipments from Wizards of the Coast, we see that some sell for more than retail price as soon as they ship (such as the Commander's Arsenal, the first Modern Masters boosters and most of the From the Vault products), some sell at about retail (such as From the Vault: Annihilation or the later Modern Masters boosters), while some sell at a significant discount (the Modern Event Decks come to mind, although prices have come up somewhat).

This pattern is easy to identify: if the demand for a limited item exceeds the supply, the prices will exceed retail, while if demand is less than the product, prices will drop down as retailers try to make at least some profit (and drop a lot as inventory starts to gather dust and retailers panic in hopes of at least getting some of their money back).

We had only one customer show any interest in the Planechase Anthology as it is of no value to Standard players and holds little (if any) value for Commander or Modern players.  While the product may hold some value for Planechase players, I haven't seen one of them since a week or two after the original Planechase came out.  So far all the current product has done is cost the store a bunch of money, and we can't even get that money back selling anthologies online at current prices (at least one closed under $100 with free shipping) due to the related costs of selling and shipping them to customers.  Expect to see the prices crumple even further.

Rather than search for a way to "force" minimum prices on retailers, WOTC would find it much easier to simply add value to the product so that players would want to buy it.  They could have added a fifth deck with a few new or in demand rares… or all they could have simply added a few full art foil lands to each of the four decks and the boxes would have sold out at retail in a weekend.

At least we can get about $25 for the dice set.

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