Sign up to swap games for free at the Gen Con "Math Trade"
Posted by samlamiam

Math what?

Why it's called a math trade is lost to history, but here's what happens:

  • Weeks before Gen Con, participants make a list of games they want to trade away.
  • After reviewing the thousands of games others want to give away, we each decide what we would be happy to receive in exchange for our games
  • For example, I'd trade Dominion for any of these other 37 games, I'd trade Gloomhaven for any of these other 3 games, etc.
  • The math trade moderator submits all these lists into a computer program with instructions to return a result with the most possible trades.
  • The math trade results are made final before Gen Con
  • We show up at the event Sunday morning and swap our games according to the math trade results - you usually receive games from different people than you give games to.
  • Everyone comes out ahead (because we all chose what we would trade for)

Participation requires a boardgamegeek account so we can create a "geeklist" with all the games and use a tool called the OLWLG (On-Line Want List Generator) that helps us submit a list of what we want to trade for.

To start, add your trade-away items to the geeklist:

There are links and tips in the geeklist and associated discussion thread to help people who have never done this before.
Get a free ticket here:

In 2017 we had 160 participants, over 2700 games listed, and over 700 trades.  I had to fill three suitcases with games to bring home - so good thing Southwest lets you check bags for free!

This is something you can do before Gen Con that makes Gen Con even more fun.

Posted by cinnibar

I'll add this in as VERY IMPORTANT for people wanting to try this Math Trade. 

Please check out Duplicate Protection, a way of ensuring you don't get multiples of the same game during the results.  The program as mentioned above finds the most trades you ask it to, however many trades you offer, but can't read your mind, just the checkboxes.

Duplicate Protection'll be part of the steps but some skip it.  And so one person offered games to 5 others for their Vanished Planet and got all of them to their dismay.  Duplicate Protection would have helped.

Duplicate Protection allows you to specify that all desired copies of a game you want are considered one 'game' by you.  The program will find a trade for any one of those games in that pool if it can, and not try to trade for the rest.

Carry on and happy trading!

Posted by dbrubeck

post above has bad link for the geeklist.  try this:

Posted by samlamiam dbrubeck

dbrubeck wrote:
post above has bad link for the geeklist.  try this:

Thank you for noticing that.  I fixed my link

Posted by mvotruba

I won't be able to attend Gen Con 2022 due to work,  so I won't be able to participate in the MATH trade this year.

That said, I wanted to let people new to this cool event know that it's a great way to trade board games (and perhaps other gaming-tangent stuff).  I've participated in the past and have enjoyed it, and as posted above, felt good about the trades.

If there's still time (at the time you read this), and you're even a little interested, give it a try!  Also, you don't need to trade a bunch of titles.  If you're flying in (as I do when I attend), I've just traded for a few items and it went relatively smoothly.

I should be there for 2023!  Looking forward to it already. 

Posted by hopehe

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