What are the best places to buy board games near you?

Owner

Are there occasions when you buy board games offline? Where are your go-to places and why? At what point do you switch over to online sources?

Places around my area (in order of preference/relevance) are:

  • Local Game Store - Before quarantine, I got into a habit of visiting the store (5 min away) every time I get off of work. I never bought anything, but it was a bit of my safe haven and I'd just browse a bit and head home. Tons of great games but prices tend to be at least 50% more expensive than online. But there were a few surprise finds with a competitive pricing. It's not the most friendly store around though. If it had exceptional customer service, it would encourage me to buy some of their games because I'd rather support a local game store.
  • Target - Target has really upped their game on board games in the last couple of years. Quite a nice variety of selections, although it's still catered toward family or mass market style of games. Still, you can get great prices if you take advantage of their frequent special deals (e.g. 20% off all games by a certain publisher), clearance (mine seems to restock their shelves every month or 3 weeks or so), or price match against Amazon prices (if you're persistent enough, you'll be able to find a Target worker who's more flexible regarding these policies). By the way, Target online shopping in general features great board game deals ("buy 2 get 1 free") every 3-6 months or so, and especially during Black Friday and end of the year.
  • Barnes & Noble - This one heavily depends on your local Barnes & Noble. Some B&N stores are pretty impressive and have surprising number of great games on their shelves. There are even a few games that have a B&N exclusive version like #PARKS. B&N also features board game deals online every now and then, but definitely not as frequent as stores like Target.
  • Goodwill - You often see people in the board game community share about their thrift store finds. Hasn't happened to me yet! Goodwill is also another one of those stores that are heavily dependent on how "well off" your community is. Mine's mostly stocked with old, beat up copies of games that pretty much no one would want. A Goodwill Outlet recently opened in my area so I've been meaning to check it out!

If you have this store in your area, you MUST go check it out:

  • Half Price Books - I've seen posts of people sharing absolutely AMAZING deals. Not sure what their business model is like that it allows them to do this, but I've seen people get $100+ Lacerda games below $50 through their sales + coupons.

Oh and here's another great option for buying "locally":

  • Facebook Marketplace - Try going into the marketplace using your facebook account and search for "board games". Depending on your area of residence, you'll be surprised to discover some great deals around you. This will be especially true if you live in an urban area and maybe even around college towns. There's often some room to negotiate the price, and many users typically offer or are willing to lower the price point if you're willing to buy a bundle/a set of games.

With that said, I keep a budget on games (around $300 per year). This means that I'll only purchase offline as long as the price point is within reason. If the difference is within something like 10-15% difference, I'm willing to make the purchase from a local game store. If it's not for the sake of supporting the local store, then I always purchase online unless there's a great deal.

So, what are the best places for you to buy near you? Do you ever use Facebook Marketplace? Do you have a local store that we should absolutely stop by given the chance? (or maybe even worth a road trip for?)

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5 months ago

I'm lucky enough to live 30 minutes from Miniature Market, so it's pretty rare for me to shop anywhere else.

Owner5 months ago

Are their prices and the credit system the same as online? And oh man, I'd have a hard time keeping to my budget if one of the giants of OLGS was near me..

Supporter5 months ago

We have 3 game stores here kn town. They are all at least MSRP (usually significantly more!) ... except every once in a while they have good deals. I snagged a copy of #Marvel Champions: The Card Game for my friends birthday for $59.99, which is comparable to online prices. At the other game shop I snatched up a copy of #Root: The Riverfolk Expansion for $40, which didn’t seem unreasonable. 

On the flip side the one shop has #Wingspan for $90, which is obscene. And another wanted $100 for #Tapestry

So for the most part the local stores are really too overpriced for me to do serious purchases there. I am grateful that they are in town and I do enjoy browsing their shelves, but I find it difficult to make purchases. 

We have two Targets and they have a pretty pathetic game section. Not usually worth looking at. 

We have one B&N it has a decent selection but still MSRP. 

Two of my most favorite purchases have been from Facebook marketplace. I got the #Empires of the Void II Kickstarter deluxe edition for $50 and a really nice copy of #Trajan for $25. 

The public library here in town also sells board games occasionally and I managed to snag a copy of #A Feast For Odin (only played once) for $60. 

But otherwise I do most of my purchasing from online stores. It’s tough to beat their prices and selection.  

5 months ago

My list is pretty boring. We do have a pretty good FLGS that sometimes has some good deals, but usually the bigger games are full MSRP, even for older ones. Frankly I don't have the budget to worry about supporting an FLGS. I've bought a couple of smaller games from there, though.

Otherwise my list is pretty much the same - Target maybe, B&N has a good selection but usually MSRP, and Craigslist/FB Marketplace. I've actually also had some good luck with the /r/boardgames bazaar thread and just looked for local people. That and /r/boardgameexchange.

I don't make routine trips to Goodwill, but when I've gone I haven't seen any cool games for a bargain. I think the closest I saw may have been #Betrayal at House on the Hill, in which I have zero interest.

Owner5 months ago

I've checked out /r/boardgames bazaar thread before but not /r/boardgameexchange. Thanks for the tip!

5 months ago

I actually have an IFTTT alert set up to send me a notification when someone posts with a zip code close to mine, haha. It's nothing fancy, I just look for the first 2 digits of my zip code. Sometimes I get false matches, but it's fine. I've never made a purchase due to these notifications, because I'm pretty good about sticking to the budget, but if something comes up that I was planning to buy some time soon anyway, it's cool to get a local second-hand copy for a possible discount.

Owner5 months ago

That's smart! And dangerous lol

5 months ago

Haha yeah, but I think I'm strong enough.

Famous last words.

Supporter5 months ago

Is that a tip... or a trap?

Owner5 months ago

If he started PM'ing me about all these deals like I do to @BenjaminK sometimes, then both :D

5 months ago

You're in trouble then haha

Supporter5 months ago

Amazon (haha).

We have a Gaming Goat here in Littleton Colorado that is awesome.  Everything is 20 - 30% of retail.  It's a really nicely run store as well.  It looks nice inside, they have themed rooms you can rent (the money you spend renting the room turns into a gift card for the store so it's kind of free), and they have a gaming library with over 200 games to try out.

Edit: I should also say we have a few other FLGS but they are all full MSRP which is just not something I can afford unfortunately.

Owner5 months ago

Always heard amazing things about what they offer. I'm kinda glad I don't have around here, or else I feel like I'd have a much harder time exercising restraint haha

Supporter5 months ago

That's a good point.  I generally do okay restraining myself but it's nice to know it's there.

Premium User5 months ago

Our Barnes and Noble carries a large selection of games and is decent for a game you're on the hunt for.  We have a store here called More Fun Comics and Games and they carry a good selection of games and have a club where you get the average value of 9 games you purchase at full price toward the 10th game.  Recycled Books often has game gems folks have turned in for cash and they do a great job of counting the pieces and making sure everything is there.  I found Root with an expansion included at Recycled for $40 I think?

Owner5 months ago

"Average value of 9 games you purchase at full price toward the 10th game"--wow. How are their price points usually? MSRP? Root + an expansion for $40 is a steal. Thanks for the tips!

Premium User5 months ago

More Fun has fairly variable price points.  I will generally check against Amazon and sometimes they are charging $20+ more due to it being retail.  Other times they are pretty on point.  There are times I want to buy a game but they are just too expensive compared to other places and so I pass.

Supporter5 months ago

That’s pretty sweet. 

5 months ago

I have a pretty similar relationship with my local game store, they are positioned right by our office, so if I am in the office around lunchtime I will pop in to have a browse and a chat. Have almost never bought anything, but when they've had clearance I've got a couple of things and intend to buy from there every so often to support them (I tried to get 878 from them but they didn't have it in stock or available to order in) We also recently moved not too far from there so may see if they have more events and stuff worth visiting.

The non-dedicated shops that sell board games rarely have any decent deals so I don't check them much.

However, I have had great success at charity shops (it is quite a wealthy/nerdy area) so regularly check them as although some have gotten wise to the value of board games some will still sell them for a few pounds so I have gotten some great deals.

I tend to get a lot of my games through second hand market, Ebay or occasionally Facebook market place just to keep cost down. It is unusual for me to buy a game new. 

Owner5 months ago

What sort of finds have you had as the charity shops? Are they relatively newer games?

Oh and also, while I'm sure having a shiny new copy of the game is always great, is there a benefit you see in getting second hand copies (other than price)?

Supporter5 months ago

For me, here, I do al my purchases online, after all that is my only option. 

Owner5 months ago

Wish I could just ship those games over to you. Hope your week clears up a bit too!

Supporter5 months ago

It isn't just the week, it is life, increased responsibility etc....

Supporter5 months ago

Are you sure? No mom and pop shops deep in the rainforest?

Supporter5 months ago

Not to my knowledge....LOL

Supporter5 months ago

Maybe you aren’t looking hard enough. 

Supporter5 months ago

could be

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Comment deleted.

5 months ago

Haha, you just need to introduce everyone to board games until there is enough demand in the area that someone sets up a store!

Supporter5 months ago

Unfortunately disposable income is a real problem in this part of the world.

5 months ago

I can imagine, apologies if that was insensitive, it was meant purely in jest but I totally recognise that I have a huge privilege by living in an affluent and globally connected area.