Michael Leuchtenburg
United States
Cambridge
Massachusetts
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I've been thinking about my game purchasing habits, lately, and those of the rest of the hobby. I currently buy almost all of my games from local game stores. The only occasional exception is online pre-orders for games like Die Macher and Roads and Boats, and also for games which my FLGS' distributors don't carry, like most wargames.

That's my distribution strategy. What's yours? Do you divide up your purchases between local shops and online shops? How do you decide which games to buy where?

p.s. Please don't turn this into a FLGS vs. OLGS holy war. We've had that one enough times by now, I think.
 
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Swood
United States
Stamford
Connecticut
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I've only purchased one designer* game in a game store - Carcassonne: The Castle. The only reason I did this was to get the game instantly beforing leaving on vacation. Otherwise I simply laugh at the prices in game stores.

Except for that one instance, I buy online exclusively because price is my number one priority.

*obviously I've purchased Milton Bradley type games at Toys R Us.
 
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David Levin
United States
Cortlandt Manor
New York
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I buy a lot of my games through online retailers (ThoughtHammer, Boulder Games, etc,) and I do get a fair share through eBay, but since I find myself in NYC a couple days out of each week, it's hard to resist a trip to The Compleat Strategist and once I'm there it's hard to resist all that potential immediate gratification (reading the rules of my brand new game on the train ride home is nice) and I do appreciate the existence of brick & mortar stores totally dedicated to this hobby, so I also pick up some of my games there.

I suppose my answer is a little bit from everywhere, but for the occassional bulk order, it's really hard to beat a site like ThoughHammer where you get such a great discount.

I even used the BGG Marketplace once with great success, so I'll probably use that agin in the future too.
 
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Angus the Bull
United States
Elyria
Ohio
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Because my FLGS (3 different in the area) provide me and my game group space to play free of charge, I buy from them. Now one FLGS in particular gives me (and the rest of the group) a discount so they get most of my gaming dollars. I shop at the others far less frequently but I do try to spread it around. I even encourage those looking to buy me a game as a gift to frequent my FLGS for their purchases.
 
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Tim Myers
United States
Salem
Wisconsin
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I really do try to buy most of my games from my FLGS. My FLGS gives me a decent price that I can live with if I pay cash and I want to support them (plus paying cash helps me keep my credit card under control). The price is not what I would pay from an OLGS but is close enough when you include shipping that I feel OK about it, plus I can game at my FLGS on Saturday night where I can't do that at an OLGS.

I do buy clearance items at other brick & mortar GS but I try to buy most of my games locally. If I see a good deal that my FLGS can not come close to I buy it online. An example of this is Vegas Showdown for $20 including shipping from ToysRUs online.

I pre-ordered Die Macher and it actually cost me a little more then if I had bought it locally. I don't feel too bad about that though, because it supports the game company directly. I was a little concerned that I might have to order Battlelore from DoW but the owner of my FLGS has talked with DoW and his distributer and he can get Battlelore with the preorder Hill Giant for me. I think it is great that DoW is helping support the FLGS's this way.
 
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Leo Zappa
United States
Aliquippa
Pennsylvania
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I typically buy in-print games from my FLGS, Gamemasters, in Pittsburgh. I do this because the store lets our group (and many others) play in the store and even bring in food. Besides, after factoring in shipping costs for on-line sellers, my FLGS price is very competitive. For OOP games, I tend to buy via eBay, where I've been very successful in purchasing nearly 100 such games over the four years. I don't buy many games directly from on-line sellers, such as Thoughthammer or Funagain, especially since discovering Gamemasters. I buy virtually none of my games via the internet directly from game companies (I have never P500'd a game). If I had to chart my purchases over the last four years, I would guess they would look like this:

Direct from Publisher: 0%
On-Line Retailers: 5%
E-Bay: 60%
FLGS: 35%
TOTAL: 100%

I would note that back in the day (i.e. the 1970's), I did buy a number of wargames directly from the publishers via mail order, back before the invention of that internet thingy. I did this with a number of Avalon Hill games because I could not find them in the local hobby stores. Man, that was a different time, especially buying Third Reich for $12 and thinking it was SO expensive (of course, it did represent 3 months worth of allowance!!!)
 
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Jonathan
United States
Maitland
Florida
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I think this is an issue people spend a lot of time needlessly worrying about. Do what feels right to you. If you love your local shop, the owner is a pal, they give you a discount, you play there, or whatever, then by all means support them. If not, or if you are determined to maximize your gaming dollar, then don't. That's it. Personally, I buy all my games from Thoughthammer. Of course that's a cop-out, as there are no local game stores here...
 
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Rob Rob
United States
Tampa
Florida
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FLGS vs. OLGS

Tragedy of the Commons

Will never be answered.

shake
 
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Timothy
United States
St. Charles
Missouri
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I've found that I get friendlier service online generally. My LGS chain doesn't seem to care much about earning the board gamer's business. Mostly they seem to serve the CCG and comic book crowds.

I stop in periodically to see if they've changed, but I now support the online retailers mostly.
 
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JP LaChance
United States
Madison
Wisconsin
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houjix wrote:
Simple answer for me: if I can't wait four days then I buy it at the shop, otherwise I'll go for the $10-$20 off per game buying online. Building a large game collection is a lot more feasable at $20-$30 a game than at $40-$50. But you'd be surprised how many games I don't feel like waiting for


Who do you prefer to buy from locally? Is one of the three better in your opinion?
 
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Tim Seitz
United States
Glen Allen
VA
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Like water spilled on the ground, which cannot be recovered, so we must die. But God does not take away life; instead, he devises ways so that a banished person may not remain estranged from him. 2 Sam 14:14
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Robrob wrote:
FLGS vs. OLGS.
Tragedy of the Commons.
Will never be answered.


There's no tragedy of the commons here. If FLGS disappear because all the games get sold online, many of us won't even notice. Hardly a tragedy - unless you're own one.
 
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Donald Wilbur III
United States
Sacramento
California
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I'm in a new town (Sacramento) and have so far been unable to find a FLGS anywhere near my home or work. So for now 100% on-line.
 
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Phillip Heaton
United States
Springfield
Virginia
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My FLGS (two of them actually) allows me to game there. They will let me look at games that have just come out, before I buy them. One carries a wide range of gaming supplies. Both will go out of their way to find games for me. I frequently try out new games at these stores, to see if I want to buy them.

It isn't that hard to support my FLGS. I try to order one game a week through one of them. I order games that cost less than $25, and they give me a nice discount. The other store is where I make most of my role-playing purchases, plus occasional other games.

It may cost me a bit more to buy games this way, but they provide me with a place to play and give me access to a bunch of gamers that I wouldn't have met any other way.
 
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Scott Woodard
United States
Burbank
California
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My game buying has declined rather dramatically over the past 6-8 months due to diminishing interest in boardgames (only slightly) as well as a bit of bad luck on the ol' work front. As a result, I have not placed an order for ANY games in that time (whereas I used to place game orders once or twice a month)!!!

Any games that I HAVE purchased this year have come from the FLGS. I enjoy visiting the shop whenever I can, I enjoy picking the boxes up, reading and holding them and I enjoy walking out of the shop with new games in my hand.

Note that when I WAS placing those regular game orders with online retailers, I still picked up the occasional title from the FLGS for the same reasons described above (and also to support them).

I've said it before and I'll say it again: While we all have our "issues" with game shops, a world without brick-and-mortar game shops scarcely bares thinking about, in my humble opinion. We're the saavy gamers who can find the bargains online, but the VAST majority of people out there will likely purchase their games from the shelves of neighborhood shops, be they specialty shops or Toys 'R Uses.

~Scott
 
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Brad Miller
United States
Seattle
Washington
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Since the main game store I go to to buy provides space to play, I generally try to buy a game from them when I go to gamenight. They give a price break in that case so that's good. The game store I go to most often to browse and to look through their used games, I only buy if it's something the other store doesn't carry, (wargames), I need it immediately, or if it's a used game, or if I have enough frequent buyer credit. My in-laws live in Ashland, Oregon, so when we visit, I generally buy something from Funagain. So that's online prices, no sales tax, AND no shipping. Can't beat that combo with a big stick...
 
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Neil Carr
United States
Barre
Vermont
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I've long followed:

$30 or below goes to FLGS

Above that goes to OLGS

The discount on higher retail prices is just too great to pass up. A boardgame that retails for $50, when bought at an OLGS, generates enough savings to either buy an additional card game or if you buy two $50 games gives you a third $50 game for free.

 
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Troy Mullineaux
United States
Coon Rapids
Minnesota
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I really buy everything online or via phone order from some other FLGS elsewhere. Nobody really carries anything I'm interested in here, although I did snag Awful Green Things locally. Prior to this move I bought several Star Fleet Battles and other older OOP games at the local store in Carbondale, IL that had greater variety. I think many FLGS stores might do well to get some older games cheap on eBay and also have more variety than what they carry of the new stuff. Frequently, I hear many FLGS stores say well we can order it for you. If I wanted to order it in, I wouldn't be there. That being said, I try to order most of the more tactile things like dice, bags, and such from the FLGS to water the local economy of gaming... such as it is.
 
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Ian & Karin of the Tinker Gnome
United States
Woodstock
New York
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Hi -

My wife and I are a FLGS in Woodstock NY (http://TinkerGnome.com)

While we certainly appreciate it when folks buy from our store, I also can understand why you would want to buy online. I also know why you'd buy from your FLGS.

Online prices are naturally less expensive than in the store, but not necessarily for the reasons you might think. Of course our online competitors don't provide a game table, won't listen to your tale about your character's latest exploit or introduce new players to your hobby, but they do have to do an incredibly uninteresting job, just packing and shipping, chasing down payments.

The biggest reason why people will pay more in a store is the very same reason new cars depreciate as soon as they leave the lot - there is a lack of information on the buyer's side as to what will actually happen once they've given their credit card. Online retailers do their best to allay these fears. We've had people return games to us without receipts, and since we remembered selling the game, we happily exchanged the game for a non-defective one. When we have overstock, or something gets really rare so we can make more online, we'll sell it online. But our online customers get worse service...not because I care less (which I do), but because of the very nature of the beast.

You might believe that buying online saves time, but I would argue otherwise, if you consider the hassle that will happen the every so often that things go wrong. Also, If you think going to the local game store is a hassle, then I have a hard time believing you actually like this hobby!

Here's one request I will make. If you intend to shop online, please don't come in our FLGS to browse. There's nothing more annoying than showing someone half the store to have them leave and buy it on ebay. If you think it is too expensive, say so right there. Maybe I'll tell you to get lost or maybe I won't.

For most of our games we don't charge a fee, or it is a nominal $1 fee to hold a place since we have limited space. In the process, my wife and I babysit, tutor and mentor a lot of local kids. Part of the FLGS is the amount of excess social benefit we produce. If you hung out at a game store as a kid/teen, buying from your FLGS now is conceptually like giving to your alma mater. Are we a charity? - no, charities pay a lot more for what we do than what we pay ourselves. Why do we do it? Because non-monetary benefits usually kick-butt over monetary. So, ok, we do get paid.

gnome
 
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J Mathews
United States
Renton
Washington
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I base the decision on two things: price and exposure. If the game is a $10-$20 filler that I want to pick up on a whim, I buy at my FLGS. Also, if I am exposed to the game through the FLGS and I am able to play it there than I feel like I should purchase the game there, regardless if it's more expensive.

If I learn about and/or play it somewhere else or it's a game I'm buying on a whim that is more than $20, I figure online is the way to go. If it's a whim game, why spend more money than necessary for something I may not like. If it's a game I found elsewhere, I don't see any issue with buying it online.

That being said, I do take games that I have that the FLGS may not have, or may not have demo copies of, to the game nights and demo them there to help expose other people to them. I've been directly responsible for at least 10 sales on games that I brought and played and the people playing turned around and bought that night. That eases whatever feelings of discomfort I may have for buying online.
 
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Stella M
Germany
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I am a believer in local FLGS and smaller shops and I try to support the small businesses if I can. However, in the light of discrepancies such as the following it can be very hard, especially if the local FLGS (a rather large one) is unwilling to consider at least some kind of discount:

(price difference between FLGS and online retailer w/free shipping >75,- EUR)

Bausack * 15,-
Sac Noir * 21,-
Robo Rally * 26,-
Blokus * 9,-
Yinsh * 10,-
Ricochet Robot * 8,-

Makes for a whopping difference of almost 90 EUR...


That said, my more recent past purchases were from FLGS (e.g. Verflixxt!, 6nimmt Anniversary ed, Scrabble), Amazon (e.g. Carcassonne expansions, Age of Mythology for 30,- laugh ), and mostly from my local fleamarket (2nd base Settlers set, Elfenland and Elfengold, Turn the Tide and Set both still in shrink, Kontor, Trap the Cap, Hare and Tortoise)... hmm, ok, I seem to be buying lots of games at the fleamarket lately...
 
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jeremy cobert
United States
cedar rapids
Iowa
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my local store is a CCG store who happen to carry a few other things. so if i want to have them order something, they will. but i usually just skip the middelman and order online myself.
 
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Rob Rob
United States
Tampa
Florida
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Tim,

Quote:
There's no tragedy of the commons here. If FLGS disappear because all the games get sold online, many of us won't even notice. Hardly a tragedy - unless you're own one.


But it is a good example of the "tragedy of the commons" concept. By looking out for their own best interests, everyone should purchase from online stores. Anyone not doing so is simply "playing poorly." That works if you can count on every player doing the same (but you can't).
 
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howl hollow howl
United States
Oregon
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It's a double-standard for me!

For boardgames, I buy what I can from my FLGS. If they don't carry it (which was more often than not in the days when most Euros were imports), I do an online order rather than pay extra to have the store do an extra order for me.

For CCGs, I shamelessly buy boxes of boosters from the online deep-discounters.

I have probably spent 2x more on boardgames than CCGs over the past few years, so it's not obvious why I'm cheap only with the CCGs. Part of the reason is that I don't have a car and the cards are too heavy to carry/bike home. When I attended CCG tourneys at the FLGS, I did not modify my behavior (although I do buy my starter decks from them, just not the boosters).

Maybe I feel strong about the presence of FLGSs for boardgamers. The GameKeeper in Albany, NY got me hooked on games. Pegasus in Madison, WI exposed me to the modern wave. Rainy Day Games in Portland, OR feeds my current appetite. Three great stores in three cities. I'm fairly certain that I would not be in the hobby were it not for these stores. Anecdotal, sure, but it feels right for me.

CCGs is a rich-kid hobby, so I don't feel the populist need to keep those flames burning. I also don't feel right using my CCG money to keep the FLGS in business for selling boardgames; following that kind of logic, I'll start buying my weed from them too.
 
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