What to do with your Used Board Games

unnamedAs gamers, we  have a tendency to hoard games.  However, after a certain point, it’s easy to realise that you’ve just run out of space or that game that you loved when you purchased it hasn’t been played in over 2 years.  Or perhaps you never really liked the game and it’s just sitting on your shelf.  Thankfully, there’s a lot of ways to deal with your overflow of used games.

Trade Them

Obviously you can trade games with your local friends but one of the most efficient ways to trade games is to use the BGG Math Trade.  A Math Trade is a multi-person trade that uses your preferred wants to set-up the most efficient trade percentage. Rather than doing a direct trade between person A and person B, you might trade give your game to person C to get a game from person B who is getting a game from person D who is receiving a game from person E, etc.  It’s extremely efficient and local math trades allow you to trade without shipping while country / continent specific trades give you a wider range of games and people.

One interesting aspect of Math Trades is that you might even find a gift card or two available for trading. The biggest hurdle is setting up your games for trading and then learning the software / system.  Also, unless you are careful in making your decisions, you might get less than stellar trades (or none at all if you are too picky!) The other major disadvantage is that math trades (especially local one’s) only happen once in a while, so you must be willing to be patient.  It’s also worth noting that if you are taking part in a shipping trade (i.e. country / continent / international trade); shipping costs can be high as you are shipping to multiple locations.

Sell Them

If it’s cash or a cash equivalent that you are looking for, then selling your games would be the way to go.  There are a few major options, especially in Canada:

  • used items sites like Craigslist and Kijiji allow you to reach your local marketplace
  • bigger sites like eBay and Amazon require more set-up and knowledge to use but reach a wider audience (normally country wide).  They take a larger % of your sales though (minimum 15% plus with eBay listing fees)
  • at local conventions (if they have a used game auction table)
  • direct to game stores like us.  You’ll likely receive the lowest price compared to the other methods but you can sell in bulk and ‘ship’ in bulk, reducing your own overhead

Donate Them

Lastly, if none of the above methods work, you could always donate your games.  Obviously stores like the Salvation Army & Value Village will be happy to take your games, but some other options include:

  • Local conventions to increase their game library
  • Your local library might run / be starting to run local board gaming nights and need a more robust library
  • Homeless shelters, the Boys & Girls Club, local daycares and the like often would grateful for a few good games


Used Games – A Business Perspective

We started selling used games over a year and a half ago now, back in August 2012.  It’s been a interesting experiment, one that we got into due to demand from our customers and a view to making our business somewhat differentiated.  As far as I know, we’re the only Canadian online store that does take used board games.  It’s actually created a few significant challenges, which I thought I’d write about.

The Quote

One of the hardest parts of setting this up was figuring out what the quote / how much we were going to pay.  We had two options – have a general guideline and ‘wing’ it or have a more formalised quoting procedure.  Within that, we also had to decide on the discount we provided for demand (i.e. how fast it’d sell) and damages.

When we first started, we had damage grades up to D.  Grade D is still on the site as a guide, but we no longer take such games as experience has shown that customers just don’t buy Grade D damaged items.  Another question was the demand ratio – at what discount were we going to place on products that sold slowly.  It’s interesting to note that some products have ‘sat’ for ages, while others like any bestseller flies off the shelf.

The trickiest part right now is our Out of Print items and one that I think we’ll be revising very soon.  Certain long out of print items are easy enough to price – there’s a decently stable OOP market (e.g. Heroclix).  On the other hand, newer out of print items see a lot more fluctuation and can be priced at an extremely high level.  It’s something we have to adjust I think as we find ourselves with some great OOP items, which are for one reason or the other, extremely highly priced.

The Inspection

Outside of quoting, inspecting games has been the biggest headache.  Used game counting is low on the general priority list of tasks that need to be done by the staff in-house.  There’s always something else to do – from cleaning to shipping to adding new products to the site.  So Used Games get shoved to the back of the pile, with the result being that we often get a huge backlog. It doesn’t help that we often have ‘dumps’ from customers – we’ve had as much as 50 games come in from 1 customer before.

The actual inspection process took a few revisions before we got it right.  Initially we didn’t have an inspection fee, but after a bit of work we realised we were deathly afraid of GMT and FFG games.   Too many counters, too many chits.  With GMT in particular, finding an actual counter count was often difficult – we have had to look up counter sheet images to get an idea of quantity.  Since then, we’ve instituted a processing fee which kicks in when a game is taking up a significant amount of our time.

Unfortunately, the inspection process is necessary.  While 90% of all games received are complete, the 10% of missing components can be difficult.  Sometimes, the missing parts are significant enough that we can’t sell the game.

The Payout

One of the most interesting / tough parts of doing used games is how they are paid out.  It’s a matter of cashflow really – 99% of our gift cards we pay out are used within a week.  I’d say at least 80% are used within 48 hours.  Games however can take longer to sell – anywhere from a few weeks to a few months.  While the gift card isn’t cash – we still have to replace the products bought, which is a cashflow hit.

It’s one factor we have to take into account on how we price and/or quote our used games at.  We obviously want to get as much money as possible, which means pricing these products higher but we also want to ensure that we do not have too significant a delay between payout and sale.  Like any of our other product lines, we want a decent turn rate from this area.  In addition, we need to generate a higher overall profit margin than with our normal games due to the cost of quoting, receiving, inspection and customer service.  It’s significantly more work to sell our used games than to sell a new game which has to reflect in our overall profit.

“New” Used Games: November 13th, 2013

Agricola with Gamer’s Deck expansion – Used (Grade A)
Batman: Gotham City Strategy Game – Used (Grade B)
Battles of Westeros – Used (Grade B)
BattleStations 1.1 – Used (Grade A)
Blokus – Used (Grade A)
Camelot Legends – Used (Grade A)
City Of Remnants – Used (Grade A)
Dixit 2 – Used (Grade A)
Dixit: Journey – Used (Grade A)
Eminent Domain – Used (Grade A)
Forbidden Island – Used (Grade A)
Glory to Rome Black Box Edition – Used (In Shrink)
Morels – Used (Grade A)
Mystery of the Abbey – Used (Grade B)
Rory’s Story Cubes – Used (Opened)
Rush n’ Crush – Used (Grade A)
Sentinels of the Multiverse: First Edition – Used (Grade A, Missing box)
Shogun – Used (Grade A)
Thunderstone Advance: Caverns of Bane – Used (Grade B)
Thunderstone Advance: Towers of Ruin – Used (Grade B)
Zooloretto: the Boss – Used (Opened)

“New” Used Games: August 29th, 2013

aBRIDGEd – Used (Grade A)
Boomtown – Used (Grade A)
Carcassonne Big Box 3 – Used (Grade A)
Cranium: Family Edition – Used (Grade A)
Deluxe Illuminati – Used (Grade B)
Gift Trap – Used (Grade A, Missing Items)
Hare and Tortoise – Used (Grade A)
Jurassic Jumble – Used (Grade A)
Master Labyrinth – Used (Grade A)
MindTrap – Used (Grade A)
MindTrap II – Used (Grade A)
Scotland Yard (20th Anniversary Edition) – Used (Grade A)
Scotland Yard (Milton Bradley Edition) – Used (Grade B)
Trivial Pursuit: 90’s Time Capsule Edition – Used (Grade A)

“New” Used Games: August 28th, 2013

Apples to Apples Party Box – Used (Grade A)
Axis and Allies: Europe – Used (Grade B, Missing items)
Bang! 4th Edition – Used (Grade A, Missing Item)
Betrayal at House on the Hill (1st Edition) – Used (Grade C, Missing Item)
Call of Cthulhu LCG: Core Set – Used (Opened)
The Fury of Dracula (1987 Edition) – Used (Grade A)
Hacker: Deluxe Edition – Used (Grade A)
Lost Cities – Used (Grade A)
Risk (2003 Parker Bros Edition) – Used (Grade A)
Shadows Over Camelot – Used (Grade A)
Star Wars: The Queen’s Gambit (2000 Avalon Hill) – Used (Opened)
Stratego (1986 Milton Bradley) – Used (Grade A)
Vampire: Prince of the City – Used (Grade A)

New Used Games: March 21st, 2013

“New” Used Games:

Axis and Allies (1986 Gamemaster Edition) – Used (Grade C)
Blokus – Used (Grade A)
Clash of the Gladiators – Used (Grade A)
Diplomacy (2nd Edition, 1982) – Used (Grade C)/a>
Dungeoneer 2nd Edition: Dragons of the Forsaken Desert – Used (Damage Grade B)
Dungeoneer 2nd Edition: Realm of the Ice Witch – Used (Damage Grade A)
Dungeoneer 2nd Edition: Tomb of the Lich Lord – Used (Damage Grade B)
Dungeoneer 2nd Edition: Vault of the Fiends – Used (Damage Grade B)
EcoFluxx – Used (Grade A)
Fire and Ice – Used (Grade A)
Fluxx (version 4) – Used (Grade A)
Fortress America (1986 GameMaster Edition) – Used (Grade C)
Fury of Dracula – Used (Grade A)
Gift Trap – Used (Grade A)
Mancala Solid Wood Folding Game – Used (Grade A)
Mille Bornes – Used (Opened)
Outburst II – Used (Grade A)
Quebec 1759 – Used (Grade A)
Shogun (1986 GameMaster Edition) – Used (Grade C)
Skip-Bo Deluxe – Used (Grade B)
Torres – Used (Grade A)
War of 1812 – Used (Grade B)
wordXchange – Used (Grade A)

Used Board Games: February 8th, 2013

February 8th, 2013

Used Games:

Java – Used (Damage Grade A)
Pizza Box Football – Used (Damage Grade A)
Leonardo Da Vinci – Used (Opened)
Terror Network: Agency Resource Guide – Used (Damage Grade A)
Terror Network: Counter Terrorism Roleplaying Game – Used (Damage Grade A)
Age of Napoleon – Used (Damage Grade B)
Wallenstein (includes “Emperor’s Court”) – Used (Damage Grade B)
Catacombs (with Dark Passageways & Caverns of Soloth) – Used (Damage Grade B)

Used Board Games: February 1st, 2013

February 1st, 2013

Used Games:

Hornet Leader: Carrier Air Operations – Used (Damage Grade A)
Risk: Legacy – Used (Opened)
Power Grid – Used (Damage Grade A)
Savage Worlds: Low Life – Used (Damage Grade A)
Kings and Things – Used (Damage Grade B)
D-Day Dice – Used (Damage Grade A)
Belfort – Used (Damage Grade A)
Arkham Horror: The Lurker at the Threshold – Used (Damage Grade A)
A Game of Thrones Board Game – 1st Edition – Used (Damage Grade A)
Beer Money – Used (Damage Grade A)

New Used Games: January 28th, 2013

This is where you will find the latest updates on all of our new Used Game arrivals. Be sure to subscribe to the Used Games Category RSS feed to the right of this page.

January 28th, 2013

Parthenon: Rise of the Aegean – Used (Damage Grade A)
King Arthur – Used (Damage Grade A)
Labyrinth Card Game – Used (Damage Grade A)
Pocket Battles Celts vs Romans – Used (Opened)
The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring – Used (Opened)
The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers – Used (In Shrink)
The Lord of the Rings: Return of the King – Used (In Shrink)
Okko: Era of the Asagiri + Era of the Karasu – Used (Damage Grade A)
Marvel Heroes – Used (Damage Grade B)
Keythedral – Used (Damage Grade A)
Monastery – Used (Opened)
Ostia – Used (Opened)
Civilization (Gibsons Games Edition) – Used (Damage Grade B)
Axis and Allies – Milton Bradley Origina Edition – Used (Damage Grade B)
The Republic of Rome – Avalon Hill Edition – Used (Opened)
Caesar: Epic Battle of Alesia (Avalon Hill) – Used (Damage Grade B)
Arkham Horror – Used (Damage Grade A)
Arkham Horror: Kingsport Horror – Used (Damage Grade A)
Arkham Horror: Dunwich Horror – Used (Damage Grade A)
Arkham Horror: The King in Yellow – Used (Damage Grade A)