Ender Wiggins
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Last year I decided to settle the "which is cheapest" debate once for all by doing a price comparison for a couple of dozen popular games between ten different online Canadian retailers. Since at this time of the year people are thinking about ordering games for Christmas or for Secret Santa, I figured it would be useful to repeat the exercise this year, with a slightly different sample of 25 games.

So here it is, for the convenience of fellow Canucks, and to give some ideas for your end-of-year shopping - a price comparison chart for the prices of 25 popular games at ten different online Canaadian retailers. Prices marked in blue/green are the lowest, prices marked in red are the highest. All prices are current November 9, 2006.

In alphabetical order, here are the ten Canadian online retailers compared, with their shipping rates:
1. boardgames.ca - free over $140
2. drexollgames.com - $10 flat rate
3. fungamescafe.com - free over $200 (otherwise $10-15)
4. germangames.com - $8 flat rate
5. jjcards.com - free over $150 ($100 in Ontario)
6. jogocanada.com - free over $150
7. levalet.com - $5 flat rate
8. meeplemart.com - $15 flat rate
9. rainydaygames.ca - free over $200
10. yourgamesdomain.com – $12 flat rate



Some overall conclusions and ratings, from the cheapest to the most expensive retailers:

Price Ratings - on a scale of 1 (worst) to 5 (best)
5 star - yourgamesdomain.com - easily the cheapest prices, but a small selection of games only
4 star - fungamescafe.com, germangames.com, jjcards.com, meeplemart.com - the prices of all four retailers are very competitive and consistently cheap, although MeepleMart doesn't have quite the same range of games. Note that JJ Superstore has a much larger selection than what is listed online - email the owner for an electronic catalogue. All of these retailers offer good service and can be recommended.
3 star - rainydaygames.ca - prices are slightly higher, but still quite reasonable
2 star - levalet.com, boardgames.ca, jogocanada.com - good selection, but comparatively higher prices. As a positive, Levalet has the cheapest shipping rate of all retailers and occasionally has excellent specials.
1 star - drexollgames.com - large selection, but inflated prices, as to be expected from a brick and mortar store which provides good customer service.

New Gamers Package
So imagine you were placing an order for one dozen selected quality and popular games. How much would this "New Gamers Package" cost you at the different retailers? Here's the bottom line:



Best overall value
The comparison chart only deals with price, and doesn't address other important considerations like quality of customer service, speed and quality of shipping, and how well stocked the retailer is. While yourgamesdomain.com has cut-throat prices for a few games, if you're looking for a wider selection of games and want to be sure that the games you are ordering are in stock and will be shipped quickly, the best overall value choices would seem to be fungamescafe.com, germangames.com, and jjcards.com.

Note that the prices quoted above were all accurate as of November 9, 2006, and that some retailers may make adjustments after the publication of this comparison. Happy shopping!
 
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A El-Nowehy
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Markham
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very helpful. Thanks!

Now, when you compare this to buying from thoughthammer.com or bouldergames.com, how does it compare if you include taxes and shipping?
 
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A Morris
Canada
Coquitlam
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Re: 2006 Cheapest online Canadian retailers: a price compari
Don't forget to add in Duty, GST and hassles of dealing with crossing the border. You never know what kind of "Terrorism" one could create with all that cardboard, plastic and wood. Your package WILL have to be inspected and held for at least three weeks...

I keep my purchases from the US minimal, those customs guys just have no sense of humour any more.
 
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Mr. Bunny
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Richmond
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Re: 2006 Cheapest online Canadian retailers: a price compari
I placed an order with boardgames.ca and their prices are much more competitive than what you have in the image there. For instance, they sell T&E for 39.95.

I think the owner may have posted to earlier threads saying so as well.

Edit:

Prices from boardgames.ca

Alhambra - $30.95
Bohnanza - $15.95
Carcassone - $29.95
Lost Cities - $19.95
Memoir '44 - $54.95
Modern Art - doesn't look like they carry it
Pirate's Cove - $59.95
Puerto Rico - $33.95
San Juan - $21.50
Settlers of Catan - $35.95
Ticket to Ride - $46.95
Tigris & Euphrates - $39.95

Total: $390.00 CDN but without Modern Art.
w/GST: $413.40

Looks like they are pretty competitive with newer and more popular releases than they are with older items.
 
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Ender Wiggins
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usagi-san wrote:
I placed an order with boardgames.ca and their prices are much more competitive than what you have in the image there. For instance, they sell T&E for 39.95.

I think the owner may have posted to earlier threads saying so as well.

Thanks for that information! The prices I used are accurate from the time when I did the comparison on November 9, 2006, since these were the prices listed on boardgames.ca's website. At that time I even emailed boardgames.ca to confirm a couple of prices, but I received no reply. Do note that some retailers may also have cut their prices somewhat after seeing the price comparison chart, to try to be more competitive. I respect them for that; in fact, in defence of boardgames.ca, it should be stated that they have made a huge improvement from last year, and they are definitely coming closer to the competition. Based on the new prices you list, I would upgrade their Price Rating to 3 star.

Is anyone familiar with or have any experience with the online retailer www.boardgamescanada.com? Their prices seem to be in the two-star category, comparable to Levalet and Jogo.

In connection with the above price comparison chart, there's also some useful comments on the companion GeekList here:
http://www.boardgamegeek.com/geeklist/17663
 
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Mr. Bunny
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Richmond
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Re: 2006 Cheapest online Canadian retailers: a price compari
EndersGame wrote:

Thanks for that information! The prices I used are accurate from the time when I did the comparison on November 9, 2006, since these were the prices listed on boardgames.ca's website.


You're welcome.

And I just noticed that they changed free shipping from >$140 to >$160. I hope they will honour the order I placed which was just over $140 because that change seems to have happened this morning.
 
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Ender Wiggins
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Update: JJ Superstore is making progress in making their website functional - you can't order online yet, but they do now have their extensive catalogue viewable online, see: http://www.jjcards.com. I'm sure Jason Schill will be happy to finalize any potential orders via email or phone. My own experience in purchasing from JJ Superstore was very positive, so I can certainly recommend them.
 
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Ender Wiggins
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I recently stumbled upon zestuff.com when trawling the web for info on a game I was researching. Their prices seem remarkably low, cheaper than most other Canadian online retailers, although they don't seem to offer flat-rate shipping. Can anyone offer any recommendations or reservations about http://www.zestuff.com, or share any experiences in dealing with them?

Also, is there interest in seeing a 2007 price comparison later in the year? If so, perhaps zestuff should be included as well.
 
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David
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Re: 2006 Cheapest online Canadian retailers: a price compari
EndersGame wrote:
Also, is there interest in seeing a 2007 price comparison later in the year?


Hell yes. I love your retailer lists. These places can be hard to find otherwise.

Like this new place you just linked, which seems good. thumbsup
 
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Thomas Poon
Canada
Edmonton
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IF you are making a 2007 list you might want to include Starlit Citadel
www.starlitcitadel.com on your list as well. They seem decently priced and have quite a selection. I think that they're based out of BC.
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Ender Wiggins
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J & J Cards & Collectibles have just launched their official website, which you can find here: http://www.jjcards.com
Along with germangames.com and fungamescafe.com, their prices are super competitive, and they are easily one of the best online Canadian retailers. They also offer free shipping in Ontario on orders over $100, ship out orders super fast, and the owner Jason is a very friendly and helpful guy. Definitely check these guys out before making your next online purchase!
NB: In the interests of full disclosure, I have no connection with jjcards.com aside from being a satisfied customer.
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James Palmer
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Ayr
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As someone who works only a few blocks away from J&J's, I can say that they are fantastic. I am another satisfied customer of theirs. Also, they are primarily a brick & mortar store, so by shopping through them you're also supporting a real store, not some giant online discounter.

I should also mention that the online store is still in the making, and I've noticed there are a -lot- of games that they have in their store that aren't mentioned online. If you don't see something, I'd suggest e-mailing them as they probably have it but just don't have it online yet.
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Julie Taylor
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Waterloo
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Another plus for JJ's is that they aren't exclusive to games. I've been in there many times and they also have comic books and figurines and toys and (very competitively priced) Playmobil. I'm sure that they'll ship any of this stuff too, making one-stop shopping easy.
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