Blah blah blah, due to the holiday and con season the blog has stalled, so let's put some content out there....
I joined BGG during the height of Star Wars: Episode III madness. My brother and I had been playing the hell out of Clash of the Lightsabers and of course Star Wars: Epic Duels. It was a search for more games as good as those two that led me to find out about this other incredible Star Wars game I missed (some little game called Queen's Gambit or something like that). From there, BGG.
Epic Duels was just this crazy good game that was stupidly affordable, *completely* opposite of what you'd expect to find. You've probably heard everyone say how they picked up a copy for $5, and in the same breath wonder why Hasbro didn't follow up with an Episode III version (hint: stores don't buy things that only sell when they finally go on clearance).
In today's environment I doubt this could happen--just look at Heroscape...I think if that was released before there was a real AT renaissance and awareness on the web in any significant numbers, it would've had a base game that bombed and that would've been that. I don't think the web-aware boardgaming hobbyists would let games like Epic Duels go unnoticed again.
Funny thing, though, is the aftermarket success of Epic Duels spawned the catchphrase, "The Next Epic Duels". Gamers started talking like speculators. Sure, we're all collectors, but for any of us who lived through the speculation-mad crash n' burn of the comic book industry, that sort of thinking makes you a little wary. People were looking for that cheap game that would make them a hundred bucks after dropping only $5 on it.
Battleball for a long while was considered one such game; people mentioned buying five copies or more from Kaybee Toys. Battleball actually has a lot in common with Epic Duels; it's a mass market game that had a great bits per dollar value that went largely ignored by the gaming public. Probably for very different reasons, of course...video games have bled the notion that licensed gaming properties suck (hence Epic Duels bombing out), and Battleball has probably THE worst "game in action" photo on the back of the box I've ever seen:
...just stay the hell away from me, kid
The "Next Epic Duels" came and went, didn't it? That's right, it was "Betrayal at House on the Hill". There's another game where the desingers are probably due reparations from the savaging that Betrayal received--and to be fair, some of that was likely deserved thanks to the egregious misprints and rules omissions, monsters without proper stats, underground lakes on upper levels of the house, you know the drill.