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Subject: FLGS vs online ordering? rss

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Jacob Fulwiler
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Seattle
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I'm just curious to see where most people get their games. For the last few years, I've ordered almost exclusively online. This was mainly due to the fact that there was not a single FLGS store in my area. That's changed now and we finally have one, however, they charge full MSRP for everything. As I'm sure you know, I'm not talking about a $5 or even $10 price difference, but usually in the $20 - $30 range and some times, even as much as $40 more than ordering online. As much as I want the store to stay in business, it's hard for me to justify that kind of price difference. Just want to see what others think about it.
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Bruce Padget
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Claremont
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I usually buy at my FLGS. My thinking is entirely selfish. In the LA area, a good FLGS will provide substantial play space, and I won't get that from an online retailer. With rents around here, good play space can be hard to come by.

So, I usually pay list price, but I figure a good chunk of that is my share of three really nice game rooms.
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Wurtsboro
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We try to do at least a 50/50 balance in online and FLGS purchases. When you see the flashy lower prices on a game, remember that you have to add shipping to that. For a heavy game (Agricola, for one), this is not insignificant, nor if you live a good distance from the state it is being shipped from. If we want one game, I generally get it from a store. If I want 2 or 3, especially if there's a great sale, I might get it online. If there's a $15 price difference on a game, about $10 of that will be shipping, so it's often worth $5 to me to help keep the store in business because I like having them around, like being able to browse, like the gaming atmosphere, and like the instant gratification of being able to take a game home and play it that night.

I also thrift games, and get some in trades, so I get games from a variety of sources. I do try to keep our FLGS a substantial chunk of our purchases, though.
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Michael Barlow
Canada
Stratford
Ontario
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My FLGS doesn't even try to compete with online retailers. Won't even order stuff in for me. Neither will my local bookstores, for that matter. What can I say? I'm not interested in the mainstream stuff. I like small print run type things.
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Chris Tannhauser
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San Diego
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I only buy online when I have to. Otherwise, I support my FLGS. Yes, I am the idiot who paid more than $70 bucks for Agricola, a game style and theme that I usually loathe, in order to keep the joint hummin'. I stop by at least once a week and try to pick something up, no matter how small, each time.

Why bother?

Maybe it's seeing the place full of happy people who don't quite fit anywhere else, but really want the same things we all do -- friends, laughs, to be accepted.

Maybe it's the summer programs for kids, the building crawling with gremmies just starting out on the road to geekdom.

Mostly it's because when the game stores are gone hobby gaming will get much smaller and much weirder. And not in the good way.

Long Live GAME EMPIRE!
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Larry Neal
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I am about 80/20 to online (with about 5-10% of the online being the publishers web stores where applicable), I too have a pretty good FLGS and I would LOVE to be able to buy from them exclusively and have told them as much, but like you the extra price cannot be justified some times. In the same way I like to purchase directly from a publisher every now and again as well.

My choice has been to become a regular at my FLGS, and let them know EVERY chance I get (which is on every visit) that I want to support them more, they need to give me better pricing. Mind you I am a customer with some weight, as in some months, usually the fall, they get a good 150-200 a month from me about 2-3 months in a row leading up to Christmas where they will get sometimes a little less than twice that. So they KNOW my face and name when I walk in, which is nice. They also HAVE ordered stuff in for me before so there is more incentive for me, I want to see them around, I like the place, but I also like my home and car (lol) so I would say support who you can to the best of your ability, if its online all the way then so be it, if its a mix that's good too, in the end we want to make sure the industry is supported so they can continue to give us the gaming goodness we so adore!
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James Webb Space Telescope in 2018!
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Utah
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Poll
Where do you buy games?
100% online
Mostly online
About half online, half local
Mostly local games stores
100% local game stores
      545 answers
Poll created by tesuji
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Jim "git yer stinkin' themes offa my mechanic" Puccio
United States
Needham Heights
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Once in a while I'll buy at one of the (fairly many) FLGSes in my area, but mostly I get my new games online nowadays, for reasons already detailed not too long ago in this other thread. But I trawl the thrift stores pretty regularly. (For example, I snagged a perfect copy of Ingenious for $3.50 a couple of days ago. So much for retail.)

I wish the FLGSes could still be competitive, but they really aren't any longer, neither in terms of price, nor even selection nor overall knowledge. It's a shame, but I don't think it is a business model that is going to survive for much longer without some serious overhaul.

So, I've made the switch, and I have been very happy with the online vendors: cheap, fast, and free shipping -- the trifecta! I still pop into FLGSes on occasion, but I'm much less likely than I used to be to actually leave with a box under my arm. So it goes.
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Josh P.
United States
Tucson
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In Arizona, Game Daze is a pretty good FLGS. It is always MSRP, but there are usually promotions going on that get me gift cards off future purchases. Also, they have a membership card that gets me 10%.
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Subhan Michael Tindall
United States
Portland
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I mostly buy new at my FLGS. They host a well-attended boardgame day ever other Sunday, & offer a 20% discount to participants. I find this gets the prices down to well within range of online retailers, especially if I factor in shipping (I rarely do large purchases). I buy a lot of used stuff off bgg (geeklist auctions rule!) as well as thrifting too.
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Leo Zappa
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Aliquippa
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I will buy at my FLGS unless they don't have the game and would have to order it special for me. My FLGS is a great place with a cool owner who provides us space for play, snacks, and drinks, and gives discounts to regulars like myself. If you aren't lucky enough to have an FLGS like mine, then I suppose you have little choice but to buy on-line. If I have to buy on-line, I find CLS Games in Atlanta to be top-shelf in terms of inventory and service, and I've had good luck from Thoughthammer. I also will go to eBay, especially for OOP games. However, my vendor of choice is my FLGS, Gamemasters, on Babcock Blvd. in Pittsburgh, PA (I also buy from The Compleat Strategist when I'm visiting DC to see family).
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Bruce Padget
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Claremont
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The Abstractionist wrote:
I wish the FLGSes could still be competitive, but they really aren't any longer, neither in terms of price, nor even selection or overall knowledge. It's a shame, but I don't think it is a business model that is going to survive for much longer without some serious overhaul.

Agreed, it's too much of a specialized market for FLGSes to survive as stores. The ones I favor (Gameology in Montclair, CA, Game Empire in Pasadena, and Game Night Games in Salt Lake City) have as much playing space as retail display space. I don't know that this is enough overhaul, but it's a step in the right direction.
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Gerald Robinson
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Kenosha
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I'll buy the occasional inexpensive game from my FLGS, like a card game expansion or such, but when it comes to a full boxed boardgame I don't even consider it. Saving $15 or more on a game is to much to pass up.

I love my FLGS but they don't even try to compete with online prices. Its possible they can't afford to, but I don't know that. I do know that my local store bought a bunch of Confrontation and AT-43 when it was being clearanced out at Fantasy Flight and instead of offering lower prices they put it on the shelves at full.
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Sue Hemberger

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Dist of Columbia
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There's a great local toystore within walking distance of my house. Owner is a gamer who carries an impressive selection of stuff, tries out everything himself, will special order, etc. When I don't buy online, I buy from them. And that's where I tend to refer the parents of would-be gamer kids.
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Stephen Yu
United States
Bothell
Washington
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Which part of Seattle do you live in? There are quite a few game stores around the area, including an online one that keeps a small storefront that I like to just order from and then pick up directly.
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Jacob Fulwiler
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Seattle
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steveyu wrote:
Which part of Seattle do you live in? There are quite a few game stores around the area, including an online one that keeps a small storefront that I like to just order from and then pick up directly.

I'm actually south of Seattle, in Burien.
 
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Markus
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I'm 100 % online. First of all, there's only one FLGS here and the selection isn't very impressive. Mostly warhammer stuff, only a few boardgames. And second, it's a money thing. I'm still a student, and it'a a LOT cheaper for me to buy online (e.g. i can get Agricola for 28 EUR with a coupon vs. 40 EUR when i go to the store). And shipping is either free or affordable (aroun 4 EUR).
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ŁṲÎS̈
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Mesa
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joshp wrote:
In Arizona, Game Daze is a pretty good FLGS. It is always MSRP, but there are usually promotions going on that get me gift cards off future purchases. Also, they have a membership card that gets me 10%.


I try and buy all my stuff from Game Depot in Tempe. Love the place. The owners are the nicest people you'd ever meet. I don't mind paying just under MSRP or even MSRP to keep that place going.


Though I will admit that every now and then I'm dragged into a mall with the wife and can't help picking up a game at Game Daze. They're mostly younger less game savvy people running that place and lately they've been blocking the Euro section with a table for D&D and Magic players angry
Still a decent place.
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Marvin
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I have the luxury to have a FLGS store in my town (which is rare enough in my country) that also doubles as a great comics store.

I buy all my games there and I never order online. That's mainly because I'm an impulse buyer ('ooooooh lookit the purdy picshures!') and because the store owners are friends of mine. I've known them for over ten years now and watched them grow from small website comic thingy to full grown store and they deserve my support. Plain&Simple.

The socializing, the browsing, the surprises I find on the shelves make it more than worth my while. I gladly pay MSRP for those things.

And I'm glad that I can afford that, I totally understand that not everyone can make those decisions/sacrifices.

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Rik Van Horn
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Livonia
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I very rarely buy new games online. Most of my online buys are for used games or if new, games my FLGS doesn't stock.

The store I frequent provides a lot of area for gamers to play. Our boardgame society has worked out an agreement for the members to get 20% off list. Generally when adding in shipping, this makes them competitive
with most online retailers, especially when I usually am too impatient to save up to make the large buys needed to save shipping costs.

And whatever extra I might pay, I consider worthwhile for them providing play space.
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Paolo Robino
Italy
Dueville
Vicenza
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Local postal service mostly sucks, so I try not to depend on that anytime is possible. I usually don't special order from FLGSes: the time from the order and the delivery is usually quite long, more than my projected period of interest in a certain game. So I usually go online, check the new items in my two FLGSes, and if I see something interesting, plan a trip (they're not so L: 40 Km and 60 Km). When I buy online, I try to buy from European stores, to save me the hassle of customs. These days, I'm trying to get out of customs Zhadu: Legend of the Sharing and Qyshinsu: Mystery of the Way. The added uncertainty (did they receive my customs declaration? will they mangle the packaging to inspect the content?) it's not a pleasant experience.
 
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tim ellis
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i buy online for oop stuff. for small stuff igo to my lgs but for big stuff i drive alittle farther to a game store called mintures market which sells every thing for 20% off.like descent at my lgs is 90$ but at mintures market it is 64$, How ever mintures market does alot of online sales.
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Lance
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Moorhead
Minnesota
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I have no FLGS going on 4 years now.

I used to buy everything at mine to the point where I think I was the only person that kept them in business for the last couple of years or so.

I pretty much buy all my stuff at Boulder Games, Boards and Bits, or CoolStuff Inc. All have excellent customer service and have been nothing but superb in their treatment of me.
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Ian Klinck
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There are a couple of FLGSs here that have pretty good prices. I do like to try to support the local stores, but I do order about half my stuff online.

Of course, when I order online, I usually order from Fun Games Cafe, which is also local.
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Alex
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Quote:
Maybe it's seeing the place full of happy people who don't quite fit anywhere else, but really want the same things we all do -- friends, laughs, to be accepted.

Maybe it's the summer programs for kids, the building crawling with gremmies just starting out on the road to geekdom.

Mostly it's because when the game stores are gone hobby gaming will get much smaller and much weirder. And not in the good way.


HiveGod has it nailed.

The FLGSs in my old area of the Twin Cities were great places to hang out, make new gaming buddies and try out some of the merchandise before buying it. And an FLGS is crucial for anyone who plays miniatures games but has no space at home for a good terrain table.

All that is what makes the higher FLGS prices worth it. And it beats sterile online shopping any day of the week, in my opinion.

That said, I see there's a large number of BGG folks who are interested more in collecting games than playing them. So I guess for them the FLGS holds little allure.
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