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?)