This article is part of our The Long Game series.
Over my last few columns, I've taken a look at whether you should go for a 2018 title or play for next year, and the kinds of players you should be targeting in your deals. One thing that doesn't get discussed much, however, is how to actually make deals. Sure, there's the generic "buy low, sell high" kind of advice which rarely applies in real life, but I'm not talking about the overall strategy of which players to move and acquire. I'm talking about the nuts and bolts of how to make a trade – specifically, how to approach your league and communicate your intentions, and how to eke out extra value in the offers your get.
Funnily enough, some of the best lessons I've learned on that front haven't come from my years of playing fantasy baseball. They've come from my years of playing board games.
If you've played any of those newfangled "European" board games like Settlers of Catan or Ticket To Ride, you may have stumbled across the name Reiner Knizia. One of (maybe the) most prolific board-game designer of the last 30 years, Knizia's background is in mathematics and economics – he quit his banking job to become a full-time designer in the late 1990s – and it shows in his games, which tend to heavily focus on a specific element of economic theory while still being a lot of fun.
One of his most enduring creations, originally released in 1992 and having gone through