Today I’m going to talk about other places to look for games: garage sales, resale shops, etsy, amazon, and eBay. There are plenty of games that ran their course and aren’t in production anymore. This doesn’t mean that they’re bad, they might not be marketable right now. Are these games still fun? YES! You might find something spectacular, something that none of your friends have ever seen or heard of, but absolutely love the first time they play. Or maybe you find a game that brings back fuzzy memories from your younger years – whatever it is, buying used games is really a great way to add some unique items to your collection.
Personally I think that garage sales are great because you’ll get the best deals. I bought a 1970s copy of PIT – with bell – for $0.50! That game is still on the market today and will cost you ~$15. Sure, it’s got those distinct 70s colors, but the game play is EXACTLY the same. The only downside to buying at a garage sale is you can’t research what should be in the box. Just take a peek inside and you can get a pretty good idea of how well it was cared for and if it looks like anything really crucial is missing – like the board or other main components. Most missing parts, like dice and movers can be replaced. Missing cards are a serious problem if it’s a card game, but if it’s a stack of question cards you probably won’t notice if a couple are missing. Overall, if it’s still playable it shouldn’t really matter since you’re probably paying close to nothing if the seller is motivated.
eBay has some great deals too. While researching this article I bought a vintage 1936 version of the game Rook for $5.24 (but it was $5.50 to ship it! ugh!) Still a good deal in my eyes, especially since I didn’t have to leave the house and I really wanted it. There were plenty of other good deals eBay that I passed up. Just to give you an idea, here are some of the items I found (I’ve included links to Amazon since the eBay auctions are gone, but some of the prices are insane!):
- Risk: Lord of the Rings Edition ($9.99, missing the ring)
- Fact or Crap ($0.99, used but complete)
- The Sopranos Trivia Board Game ($4.00, new condition)
- Happy Days Game from Parker Brothers circa 1976 ($0.99, used and missing instructions)
- Ad-Lib Crossword Cubes circa 1975 ($0.99, used but complete)
A great place to find well cared for vintage games is ETSY.com. It’s also a good place to look for missing parts! It’s not the easiest place to search, but it’s one of the best places online to find that odd missing piece. Amazon is also going to be a place to search, although you could end up with a seller who knows they have a rare gem and are going to charge an arm and a leg.
Purchasing used games is an economical way to add new games to your collection without breaking the bank. Even if you end up purchasing a dud, you probably didn’t spend $25, $30 or $40 so it shouldn’t be too heartbreaking. And if it was just that terrible – resell it to someone who might like it!Even if the price goes up a bit, these are still really good finds. For the Risk game – buy a plastic ring or use a button. Worried about the missing instructions like in the Happy Days game? Don’t be. I don’t know what it is about game directions but it’s like there is a band of rogue game gnomes that likes to steal them — but you can find a lot of game directions posted online. Hasbro has over 7200 game instructions posted at: http://www.hasbro.com/customer-service/toy-game-instructions.cfm and this will include not only Hasbro’s games but also Parker Brothers and Milton Bradley games. (And I was able to find the Happy Days instructions but I didn’t buy the game.) Another place to look is the BoardGameGeek website.