The Used Board Game Market

Chad DeShon

* Right now there are two used copies of On Tour for sale on the BGG market place.
* In the last 3 months, 21 copies have sold on the market place at an average of $40.

We charge $29 for new copy, but I think some of those used sales include some additional player maps (which are $3.79 each, new).

Why am I looking at this?

... what do I care?

... I sell new games, not used ones.

I am a little obsessed with the used price of On Tour because I want you to be able to sell it. If you buy it and don't like it, I want you to be able to recoup your money. That is good for both of us. It makes it less risky for you to buy, and it makes you more likely to buy. And since I know most people who buy On Tour end up liking it and that it has strong replayability, I am confident the used market won't get flooded.

I have a solid collection of games. I also have a long list of games I sold. Games I decided I wasn't likely to play again. Then I took the money from those sales and, well, bought more games.

The used market can tell us a lot about a game. My goal is to keep the used price of On Tour just below the new price. I can't control that directly, but we can make decisions about how we sell new games that will help.

Game is Priced Too High

Sometimes you see used copies priced higher than the retail price of the game. This can happen when:

The publisher didn't print enough copies
This is so hard to estimate. It is where Kickstarter helps us out. We use it to gauge demand. And at least we know that everyone who backed the Kickstarter is guaranteed a copy and won't have to scour the used market.

The game is out of print
Sometimes a game makes a big splash at first. Sells out the first print run. And then it isn't clear if there is enough demand to warrant a second.

We are aiming for long, sustained sales. If there is any way at all, we will reprint games to keep them in stock. Even if we have to print a very small run (which is more expensive).

No one has the rights to publish the game
Normally this happens when the original publisher goes out of business. We'll ... uh ... try to avoid that.

Seriously though, we take large deposits for custom board game tables that are delivered 3 months after your first payment. People also back our Kickstarters, and pay for a game that is delivered months later. Taking people's money in advance is a serious responsibility. So, we have need to be a little more transparent about our finances than most companies. We operate with no debt, and we keep enough cash in hand at all times to cover all outstanding preorders. We aren't playing Three-card Monte with your Kickstarter payments.

Kickstarter exclusives and limited editions make it "collectable"
Not our style. Buy our games because they are good. Because they are well designed, developed, and play tested. Buy them because they have great art and great components. Don't buy them to flip them.

We always offer a discount during the Kickstarter. We work to make the Kickstarter the VERY BEST TIME to buy the game. But we don't do exclusives. We aren't selling collectables that are going to double in price later.

Game is Priced Too Low

Sometimes you see used copies much lower than the retail price of the game. This can happen when:

The game isn't good
Word travels fast in the board gaming world. If a game isn't good, there are going to be a lot of people looking to sell it and not many people looking buy. You don't have to have a PhD in economics to know what is going to happen to the price.

It has been clearanced
A distributor bought too many, or the publisher printed too many. They decided to get rid of them for what it cost to print the game. Nice for people who got a good deal for a game they wanted. Not nice for people who paid triple that a month ago. Maybe even worse for people who bought it just because it was a "good deal" and now they have game they will never play - or maybe game they don't like - sitting on their shelf.

I want you to be able to sell your game

If you want to buy one of our games (like On TourQE, or our upcoming Kickstarter). I want you to be able to sell it if you decide that it isn't a good fit for you or your game group. It takes much of the risk out of making the purchase.

This means we can't hide a bad game. We have to bring the quality. So that if only a few of you will want to sell, and the price won't be driven down. It is a long term play, not a hype machine.

It also means that we are very careful with how we sell our games and how we price them. If you pay full price for a game, you don't want to see it selling for 75% off a week later. We can make sure that doesn't happen. We are only selling directly from our website (and FLGS that buy directly from us). So we have complete control over the pricing. We won't devalue your game with a firesale.

Happy gaming,

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