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What is the difference between gum, velvet, pvc and felt in terms of play, durability and overall quality?
How does cork compare to the materials fore mentioned?
In terms of quality and subtle differences. What is the difference between your discontinued models and the newer models other than price?
Gum was introduced in the year 2000 in a successful effort to achieve better playability (sliding of checkers and resistence for dice rolling).
PVC is a leatherette like material used with the same purpose.
Both these materials resemble the appearance and behavior of natural leather. All of them have better playability and serviceability (cleaning) than the fabric materials.
Velvet, suede fabric and felt (including wool felt), and the natural suede, have a luxury look and feel and are used successfully more than a century.
We cannot pass by the customers' preference even if we endeavor to turn each of our new fashion into a classic. It should be noted that it is for generations to decide what is classic - we humans can only dream and try our best.
All these materials are superior to cork. Why was cork a classic then? Because it successfully superceded wood!
The real classic for many centuries was wood, but then it does not feel high class, dice slide, pieces are hard to move, and wood is noisy indeed!
Each model has phases of it's life: development, introduction, maturity and discontinuation. Some of the models may even be reborn. In each phase, in addition to the natural influence of cost, and the market situation, we may have different policies, reflecting on price.
Sometimes, we might even sell out below cost.
Older models tend to be underpriced, but that is only a generalization. I would not influence customer decision.
In fact, newer and more expensive models are better value IN OUR OPINION. When you still like the older lower priced one, you combine your special liking and the lower price.