Welcome to the second installment of this blog series! Today I’ll be going through the different options you have as a buyer or as a seller.
FLGS (Friendly Local Game Store)
This is obviously the starting point: your nearest game store. While it’s a no-brainer for games still in print, many people don’t consider them when looking for OOP games. You’d be surprised, especially in the USA, how many of them have plenty of those products laying around in the back.
Depending on the game you might get some great bargains; a friend of mine recently found a sealed Balrog set of the Middle-Earth CCG for $25, while the current price is well over $400!
Of course, not every store has treasures to be found. You do need to be lucky. Also, be aware of how old the store is. The older it is, the higher the chance of finding something you’re looking for.
As a seller, you’re not really looking for these places, unless you can find a playgroup or a collector at the store. 90% aren’t really interested in buying OOP games, and even if they do buy them, they’ll usually do it for pennies.
– You can find some great deals
– No shipping costs
– You might meet a new friend
– Luck needed to find a deal near you
– Not a good place to sell to
This is largely only an option in the US; as far as I know, it’s not an option found much in Europe.
It’s great if you’re only looking to buy. You can find great deals if the people here don’t really know what they’re selling. However, most of the time you’re buying cards that could be in any condition, and could end up being huge lots of commons.
You don’t really want to sell your cards at a yard sale… except maybe for the few thousand extra commons gathering dust in the garage! 🙂
– You can find some great deals
– No shipping costs
– You usually need to visit many before you find anything
– There’s no real reason to sell your cards here
Conventions are great places to buy OOP games and set up trades. You can often find local communities holding organized play at these conventions, so you’re likely to find someone to trade with. This applies more to games that still have an active community, and it also depends on the size and topic of the conventions.
Essen is probably the most important board game convention in Europe, while in the US GenCon is the place to go for board and card games.
– Good chance for interesting products (sealed or singles)
– Great place to make trades
– You’ll have fun at the convention itself
– Travel costs if the convention isn’t local to you
The Internet (Social Media, Forums, Etc.)
This is a wide topic, and as such, the one that brings you the best… and the worst…
Specialized forums have been the place to go for many years now. On these, especially if you’re looking to buy, you can find pretty much anything, as long as you’re willing to pay the price that comes with it.
Most of the time, people on these forums know their stuff. Hence, you aren’t likely to strike many deals, and when they show up it’s first come first served. To give you the right perspective, it’s like putting a bloody piece of meat in a piranha tank…. You get the picture.
Nowadays, the attention has shifted towards social media, especially Facebook. Some forums still manage to stay afloat, but most of them are slowly turning into ghost towns.
I didn’t have much luck myself on Twitter (probably due to the nature of the platform), but on Facebook I usually manage to find groups, as small as they may be, for almost all the most popular OOP games, and sometimes even for less known ones.
Most of these groups are built around buying, selling, and trading cards, but the members always seem to be great people, and I’ve even made some friends through these groups.
If you haven’t joined any of these already, I highly suggest you look for some to join! In general, I recommend at least joining the Dead CCG Collectors group, as it covers any and all OOP card games (LCGs are allowed, too), has a welcoming environment, and a lot of nice people. You’ll find I’m pretty active over there myself!
Specialized Web Stores
There are quite a few online shops dealing in OOP games. Most of them cover Decipher games (e.g. Star Wars and Lord of the Rings), but there’s a good chance you might find a store offering many lesser known games.
While some of them will have a good stock on hand, prices are at a premium at these stores (and rightly so). You know what you’re getting when you order from them, and the people behind these shops have to deal with taxes, bureaucracy, customer support, platform costs, etc.
If you’re looking to fill some gaps in your collection, or for your next play deck, you should give a look over these. They’re less useful if you’re into bulk purchases (although you can find lots of commons on these sometimes).
Some of them offer to buy your cards as well, but normally they offer very low evaluation for cash (20%-30% of the “real” value), and a slightly higher evaluation if you want to “trade” them for cards they have for sale. The good thing is these shops can usually provide cash on hand for big lots/collections, so if you need money fast, these are your best bet.
I warmly recommend to check out Category One Games, specially if you are in the US. Scott is a great guy to deal with.
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Internet avenues share pretty much the same traits:
– You can find almost everything you need
– You can find almost always someone interested on your cards
– You need a lot of research to find the best places
– You are, usually, buying at premium prices and selling at lower than market value
Here we go… evilBay… the pain and delight of anyone dealing with OOP games…
I won’t go too deep here since eBay is a massive beast of its own, and needs its own dedicated article to be explored fully and accurately. Suffice to say for now, it’s a good place to buy and sell, given the huge user base. Chances are you’ll find or sell most cards you’re looking for… but as with everything else on eBay, it almost always comes with a price…
Honorable Mention: CardGameGeek
I couldn’t avoid a bit of shameless self-promotion! As a private collector, I’m always interested in acquiring new collections and big lots of almost any game, and sometime even smaller lots and singles. What differentiates me from most of the stores out there is that I’m a huge collector myself, plus I need the cards to scan them and upload to the CardGameGeek website. So when you sell to me, not only do you get your money, you’re also supporting the website’s growth!
Also remember that on our roadmap there’s a multi-vendor e-commerce , like eBay, but specific for CCG only, and cheaper 😉
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In closing, there isn’t a perfect place to shop. Some are better than other, but every avenue has its merit. If you’re truly committed, you shouldn’t ignore any of them, and take every chance you can looking for the next deal.
Finding the right deal or selling at the right price is all a matter of preparation, patience, digging and of course… luck! 😉
I hope you appreciated this second post, and if you did, keep an eye out for the next post (hopefully coming “soon”): Sitting on the Dock of the eBay: Pain and Delight
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You can find the first article of the series here: CCG Market Guide – Part 1: Intro