Help Me Rank My Best Thrift Finds
Eric Benson
United States
Shelton
Washington
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After playing traditional, mass produced games most of my life, I was introduced to BGG and the "Board Game Renaissance" in 2005. (Thanks, Chris!) I learned early that thrift stores were a wonderful source of affordable, out of print, and at times strangely quirky games. Unfortunately, many of my colleagues and friends don't always share my enthusiasm for unearthing a rare gem at a thrift store. Who better to appreciate my discoveries than you, the BGG community.

I have purchased hundreds of games at thrift stores over the past 6 years (much to my wife's chagrin). Listed alphabetically are what I consider to be the top ten treasures. From there things get a little muddy. Which is the absolute best find? Which was the best value for my money? How should the games rank one through ten?

I'm leaving the voting up to you, ranking my top finds by the number of thumbs each game receives. Please leave comments if you're so moved. Also, this is my very first Geeklist, so please be gentle. That being noted, I always prefer to learn from my mistakes, so feel free to educate me as to what makes an effective Geeklist. Thanks!
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1. Board Game: Battle Cry [Average Rating:7.16 Overall Rank:651]
Eric Benson
United States
Shelton
Washington
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I found Battle Cry for $1.00 at the Faith in Action Thrift Store in Belfair, WA. It had never been played and still had the original receipt inside (Right around $50 if I remember correctly). As I already owned Battle Cry, I sold this copy for $30 at GameStorm 12 to a very pleased fellow gamer.
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2. Board Game: Betrayal at House on the Hill [Average Rating:7.09 Overall Rank:441]
Eric Benson
United States
Shelton
Washington
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Betrayal at House on the Hill's box was a little dinged up when I discovered it at Treasures in Shelton, WA. I picked it up for $1.97, and upon opening it at home discovered the pieces and cards were still factory sealed! I absolutely have to play this soon. (If I was going to sell this for profit, I should have done so before the latest edition came out.)
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3. Board Game: Civilization [Average Rating:7.51 Overall Rank:231] [Average Rating:7.51 Unranked]
Eric Benson
United States
Shelton
Washington
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I have actually found Civilization two different times at Treasures in Shelton. Both times the price was $1.97, and both times, unbelievably, the game was completely unpunched. I kept the first one and sold the other to my gaming buddy Rick for $10. I consider it a bargain for both of us.
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4. Board Game: Formula Dé [Average Rating:6.99 Overall Rank:598]
Eric Benson
United States
Shelton
Washington
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I discovered Formula De at the Goodwill store in Olympia, WA for $3.99. A little pricier than what I usually like to pay when I'm thrifting, but I still consider it a bargain at twice the price. It was complete, had been played, but was still in super shape. Playing it with our game group convinced one of our members to seek out his own copy of Formula D.
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5. Board Game: The Fury of Dracula [Average Rating:6.93 Overall Rank:1618]
Eric Benson
United States
Shelton
Washington
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This happens to be the lastest game to make it to my top ten. As luck would have it, I had received Fury of Dracula for Father's Day last month, and two days later, on a thrift journey that took me to 31 different thrift stores (that's a completely different story), came across The Fury of Dracula for $1.99 at Bargain City in Spanaway, WA. The box is slightly bowed, but the cards and markers are all unpunched, and the four pewter player pieces look terrific.
 
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6. Board Game: The Longest Day [Average Rating:7.17 Overall Rank:2780]
Eric Benson
United States
Shelton
Washington
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Okay, I have to admit that this doesn't officially belong on this list because I did not discover it at a thrift store. However, I still consider it a "thrift find." One of my buddies attended a garage sale on the way to a common get-together. The family was closing up the garage sale for the weekend and offered a stack of games to my friend and his wife for free, just to get rid of them. My buddy obliged knowing my interest in games, and when they arrived at our get-together handed me the stack. I let one or two party games go, but gladly accepted Imaginiff and Axis & Allies. Then they pulled The Longest Day out of the car and I got weak in the knees. I clutched it to my chest. Staring oddly at me, they asked if I had played that particular game in the past. I provided a little background on this particular "grail." Being ebayers, they looked a little squeamish at letting a $100+ sale go. When I offered it back to them, they graciously refused. Later that evening, feeling a bit guilty, I slipped my buddy a ten dollar bill to assuage my conscience. The game turned out to be complete, with a majority of the pieces still unpunched. Amazing.
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7. Board Game: Nexus Ops [Average Rating:7.23 Overall Rank:353]
Eric Benson
United States
Shelton
Washington
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I often compete with a buddy for games at our local Shelton thrift stores. I called him one evening telling him I had unearthed Nexus Ops for $1.00 at the Nifty Thrifty store. Upon hearing this, he quietly cursed, as he had been planning on stopping by Nifty Thrifty on his way home from work, but since that particular store rarely produced any gems, decided to be a good husband and father and forego his scheduled stop to arrive home a bit early. I stopped by 20 minutes later on my way home from work and added a fine find to my collection.
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8. Board Game: Plague & Pestilence [Average Rating:6.14 Overall Rank:4250]
Eric Benson
United States
Shelton
Washington
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I found Plague & Pestilence fairly early in my journey with board games. In fact, it was so early, I didn't even know what kind of jewel I had uncovered. I picked it up at the Olympia, WA Goodwill store for $1.09. Keeping it around for a couple of years, I finally played it with a colleague at lunch. As a two player game, it wasn't much, and when I found it had such value, I decided to try and trade it. I traded it away at GameStorm 12 as part of the associated math trade. In return I received Mare Nostrum and the Mare Nostrum Mythology Expansion.
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9. Board Game: Twilight Imperium (Third Edition) [Average Rating:7.89 Overall Rank:49]
 
Eric Benson
United States
Shelton
Washington
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My buddy, Ryan, believes that this is the find that takes the cake. I actually broke down and described this particular discovery on the Geeklist of Thrift Store Finds 21-27 February. In a nutshell, I picked up TI3 at the Nifty Trifty in Shelton for $1.00. Upon getting the game at home and opening it up, I discovered everything in baggies and Glad storage containers. That was very encouraging. After inventory, all was present and accounted for except for one magenta dreadnought. I think I can live with that.
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10. Board Game: Up Front [Average Rating:7.85 Overall Rank:394]
Eric Benson
United States
Shelton
Washington
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Finally, back at Treasures in Shelton, I came across Up Front about four years ago. Upon discovery, I grabbed it and took it "up front" to pay. Usually I ask cashiers if I can open the lid of games I'd like to buy and examine the contents, but for this I made an exception and just bought it outright for $2.97. I mean, how bad could it be? Imagine my amazement when I opened the lid and discovered pieces unpunched, card decks still in cellophane, and everything pristine!
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