The gap between playing and collecting continues to widen. As prices have risen over the past handful of years, some sets have become quite expensive and scarce. Bidding wars on eBay over the past few years have been intense, with many items going for much more than their original MSRP. Even Ocean’s Edge has become more expensive.
On the other hand, playing the game has never been easier or more accessible. The VASSAL module allows anyone with an internet connection to play the game virtually, potentially connecting with dozens of fans through the years as I have done. There is no cost or barriers to entry for players, which is a beautiful thing. The rules and tutorials are available for anyone who’s new, who can then simply jump on VASSAL and start playing with no purchases required whatsoever. You can save hundreds or thousands by playing virtually, with the added benefit of being able to use things you don’t physically possess.
Of course there’s nothing like holding the physical models and playing the game with them. (someone was bound to respond with that retort 🙂 )
It will be interesting to see how it all plays out. Between VASSAL, Tabletop Simulator, and eventually AR/VR video gaming, playing could be cheap, accessible, and eventually more realistic or 3D. That being said, advancements and demonetization of 3D printing could fuel a phase where anyone can print their own ships and avoid buying scarce original product.
Feel free to leave your thoughts on these interesting topics, and how they might be affected in the future.