Whether you’re searching for an item that’s out of print, or you prefer a game that’s already punched and organized, there are good reasons to buy used board games.
Board games can be like cars. Sometimes they drop in value the moment you crack the shrink or drive them off the lot. But, like cars, some are highly sought after and hard to find, and may command a premium down the road. If you’re looking for a game that had a limited release, or is no longer in print, you may have to consider a second-hand copy.
Buying a previously-owned board game can also save you time and money. You may get the game for a fraction of the cost, and the bits are often already sorted and ready to play. You might even get a bonus such as a promo or box insert.
Saving money by buying used
Sellers are often motivated because a game just didn’t click with them, they’re running out of shelf space, or they want to replenish their gaming budget for a new game. When you are able to buy multiple games from the same place, you’ll have the added benefit of saving on shipping, and may even receive a discount on the total.
BoardGameGeek has geeklist auctions and a marketplace where users may buy games directly from other users. Location matters; nearby shipping can be much cheaper, and some sellers even offer the option of meeting locally, or at an upcoming convention, to eliminate shipping altogether.
Besides finding gamers that are very close to you, you may see gamers in other countries offering items that are hard to find.
Because BoardGameGeek users are so serious about their games, it is not uncommon for their games to include extras like a box organizer or promo.
BoardGameGeek has trade and marketplace feedback so that potential buyers can look at the history and experience of the person selling the game. Seeing the game in person in a local pickup, or paying by PayPal, are two other ways of helping to protect yourself when buying a game.
Amazon and eBay are large enough to offer dedicated customer service, and sales or other discounts. Multiple listings for the same product mean it’s important to compare before you buy. Try several different spellings. You might find a deal that no one else spotted.
Reddit users can buy or trade for games using the BoardGameExchange subreddit. Finding someone close to you can save on shipping, or allow for an in-person exchange.
BoardGameCo is an established retailer that offers used games for sale or trade. Experienced seller means experienced packer and shipper. This is important, especially when you may be buying an item that can’t easily be replaced.
Steve of BoardGameCo prepping a shipment.
Their large inventory also means that you can buy several items at once to save on shipping. Currently they offer free shipping at $100, and a flat rate of $9.99 on smaller orders.
BoardGameCo has over 4,000 unique titles in stock with over 11,000 total games.
BoardGameCo has a feature that will sync with your BoardGameGeek wishlist, and send an email when they get that item in stock.
Alex Radcliffe of BoardGameCo shared his perspective on the used game market:
The used game business has always been strong, thanks to the general level of care gamers show to their games. At the same time, for every article that talks about the cult of the new, and the constant neverending wave of new games…what those articles also mean (without saying it), is that the used game business will grow. With shorter product lifecycles, that means more and more often getting your hands on a game you want will often inherently mean turning to the used game market.
The additional benefit of being able to buy a large selection of games at anywhere from 15-50% off your regular online store is a huge draw as well. We’ve seen and expect to continue to see the used game business to grow slightly faster than the industry in general.
We asked him what protections they offer to buyers of their games:
Obviously used games come with risks. We stand behind our games if there are issues, either working with you to source missing pieces if there are any, and/or working on a partial discount for non-essential pieces. At the end of the day we value the trust you put in us, and we want to make sure you feel confident buying a used game.
Noble Knight Games is the largest board game buyer on the internet, which means they often have titles no one else does. They have been in business since 1997, and have over 250,000 unique items in stock. Their slogan “Where the Out-of-Print is Available Again” is well-deserved.
Every item in Noble Knight’s inventory has been inspected, graded, and bagged for its protection.
Noble Knight Games welcomes special requests. They are happy to search for any item that you are unable to locate in their catalog. Special requests also help them to understand what their customers are looking for. Another option is their automated Want List feature, which sends an e-mail when your selections become available.
Did you know that Noble Knight has hundreds of catalogs, promos, games, and miniatures for just one cent? (Yes, you read that right.) You may select a One Cent Item for every $15 you spend in their online store. They also have many game bundles that help to jump-start your collection, and save you money.
Packing a box at Noble Knight Games.
Noble Knight Games offers a variety of shipping choices, through USPS and FedEx, for both domestic and international orders. They also have a satisfaction guarantee.
BoardGameCo and Noble Knight Games also purchase games and make trades. For more information about selling your games, see How to Sell Your Board Game Collection.