Sunday, April 13, 2008

Where To Buy Games Online

Some of you who read this blog might not recognize all the games I mention. That's because I search far and wide to find games that are, in themselves, fun to play, and not simply fun if the people playing them are anyway having fun. Many of the games I enjoy are new games out of Europe, affectionately called Eurogames.

As you read about a game on my blog, you might briefly wonder about picking up the game to play, but not know where to do so (if I didn't provide a link for the game in the post).

Where I Go Shopping

The following places are where I go shopping. Not everyone has a friendly local game store (FLGS) from which to buy games. Even those who do may choose not to shop there if the proprietor isn't friendly or the prices are very high.

I don't live in the US, but I generally ship to the US because that's where my relatives are. They keep the games for me until I pick them up. For those of you who live in countries with decent online or local stores (Israel isn't one of them, but UK and Canada are), you may have other, better choices for buying your games.

Amazon

Amazon's prices are sometimes not very good, but ...

They often have a seemingly random selection of games at 25% to 50% off. They sell not only from their own stocks but act as agents for hundreds of third-party stores, which gives them a decent selection of games. And their service and shipping is usually pretty good.

They have ratings for games and sellers. And the fact that I get a small cut of the price every time you buy from them through my site doesn't hurt.

There are local Amazon storefronts for several countries.

eBay

Not only the biggest selection of games from every decade, but prices ranging anywhere from 90% off to 900% more than the original price of the item. Items are generally used, so you have to look at the recommendations for the seller before deciding to bid on an item. But in my experience, most sellers describe their products accurately and ship what they promise.

Just make sure to read the description of the item AND payment and shipping terms closely.

There are local eBay storefronts for several countries.

Board Game Geek

Even better than getting cheap is getting "for free". Board Game Geek has two ways to do this. The first is to trade the games you don't want for those you do. You have to have something desirable to trade to begin with, but all you end up paying is an item you don't want and the shipping.

The second is the "geekgold" auction. Many people offer games or cash for geekgold, which can be acquired either through contributing content to the site, or by selling items you don't want.

BGG also has a marketplace; there are some decent deals, but most of the items are highly priced.

Online Game Stores (US)

There are dozens of online games stores serving up new games. Some stores are devoted to Eurogames and their community. Others are general board game stores, or CCG or RPG stores, with board game sections.

Some of the best include:

Boards & Bits - A company in Washington run by Tom and Ben. I've personally ordered from them and find their prices, service, and selection all excellent.

Boulder Games - A company in Georgia run by Jim. I've never ordered from them, but they have a similar reputation: inexpensive, good service, good selection. Jim is a strong and vocal advocate on behalf of his customers and dings companies on his site when he doesn't like their business practices even while selling their games.

Fairplay Games - A company in Michigan run by Terry and crew. Again, I've never ordered from them but they have a good reputation.

Game Surplus - A company in Pennsylvania run by Thor and Sara. I've ordered from them and found their service to be excellent, with good prices to boot. They even drew pictures on the side of my box wishing me a happy birthday.

Thought Hammer - A company in Texas run by Alfredo and others. I've ordered from them and found their prices and service to be excellent.

Funagain Games - Funagain is the best information site about games, second only to Board Game Geek. They give you info on weight, language requirements, ratings, and so on for each game. I have ordered from them, and their service is good and selection is excellent. Their prices tend to be higher than the other stores.

Not coincidentally, they also run an affiliate program, and I make some small change if you buy from them via my site. Apparently higher prices equals the ability to run affiliate programs.

All of these stores will give you free or discounted shipping (or a coupon equivalent) on large orders, and will generally have the games to you within a week.

Another store which was a favorite of mine is Time Well Spent, but they appear to be on hiatus, possibly permanently.

Online Game Stores (Germany)

For those of you who might consider ordering a bunch of games at a time, and don't mind acquiring the German versions of the games - either because you read German, or the games you're ordering are language independent or also come with English rules - it may be worthwhile to order a bunch of games from a German store. Many of the best games originate in Germany, and the original versions are sold for a lot less in German online stores. Shipping is high for the first few games but doesn't get any higher if you order more games.

I don't have any specific recommendation for German online stores, but you can peruse a list of them here.

Happy shopping, happy gaming.

Yehuda

3 comments:

Mark (aka pastor guy) said...

Boards & Bits is actually located in Spokane, WA.

Yehuda said...

Whoops. Thanks Mark. I had it right first and then changed it by accident. Now I changed it back.

Yehuda

games101 said...

We run a site here in Aus called games101 if you want to public that for buying in Australia?