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Subject: Best Shopping strategy? rss

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Gilad Yarnitzky
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There are so many games to buy in Essen that can be roughly put into 4 categories:
1: New 2009 productions
2: Games on sale that you want
3: Used games you want that can be even cheaper then those on sale
4: games you don't care about. the forth group is of no interest so we'll ignore it.

Taking into account that I have the following constrains
1: limited suitcase space. I might consider shipping some games using the local post office, but this will increase games costs
2: large collection which means I prefer buying games that I really want and have a higher chance of hitting the table
3: I'll probably will buy little or no games at all in the following year after Essen. shipping costs and taxes means I'll pay for a game twice then its cost in an online store.
4: I have limited budget. so no gazillion games for me.

Should I buy new games that I test played and really liked? This means buying less games. Will the good games be left for sale on the 3rd/4th day?

Should I buy lots of cheap games that maybe not be on my wish list but I know I might enjoy? My wish list (not fully updated here on BGG) has games I want but probably will not be bought by anyone else here so games I like but other people have them and I have a chance to play I removed from my wish list. But if I can get them for low price I might want them.

Should I take the opportunity simply to increase my collection with used games for really cheap? Are used games in good condition in Essen?

Will there be good collection of used/cheap games for sale after the 2nd day or should I focus on them first? In that case I might buy games and eventually use my budget and will not have money for games I really enjoy.

This is not exactly quality over quantity question because as I understand timing is also important in Essen: what you have available for sale now, might not be there tomorrow.
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Steve K
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I'd add a fifth category of game:
5) Games you've never heard of (so you can't have an opinion yet)

Those games you've never heard of can often be amongst the most interesting. Its worth keeping your eyes open.

In the four years I've visited Essen, the only games that sell out in the first day or two are those that are new and produced in very limited numbers. These games can often be pre-ordered if you're really keen on getting a copy.

Publishers of most other new releases have lots of copies at the show, either on their own stand or at one of the many games-shops stands. Prices might even vary a little. Games from 6-18 months ago are also easy to find, often at reduced prices.

Almost all publishers have copies you can play, but might be short of table space and might be short of people who can explain the rules in English.

In terms of quantity, there seem to be just as many used & discounted games for sale on the Sunday afternoon as there were on the Thursday morning. The rarest used game will have gone, but there will be plenty of other games left. The used games seem to be in excellent condition.

Remember: if you're flying home, your weight limit is often more of a constraint than just having one suitcase plus a carry on bag.
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Mik Svellov
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First of all: come early!
It is much better to find the games you want Thursday or Friday than during the weekend.

With a limited budget and limited luggage, only you can decide which games are most important to you.

You will find plenty of opportunity to try the new games, so: try before you buy - and if in doubt: sleep on it and come back next day. I have saved lots of money that way.

If you want used games, you really should look for them early. Unfortunately many buyers will already have been there and taken the best offers (yes, some sneaky buyers sneak in before the fair opens and buy games Monday-Wednesday.

If you are not after anything in particular, then you can always find LOTS of good games in the used game stands. They are usually in good condition (often still in shrinkwrap), but again it depends upon the game you're after. However, don't expect to make any 'bargains'. The dealers know what they are selling. Compared to E-Bay though, their prices are resonable. Some gamers are financing their trip to Essen by buying up games in Essen and selling them afterwards on E-bay.

New games from the larger publishers should still be available on day 3 (and even on day 4). However, smaller publishers will often have limited print runs, or simply have delayed shipments. So those should be bought early, if you want them.

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M@tthijs
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Did you visit my www.kobudovenlo.nl? It has game info
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And for the bigger game titles: prices over the fair do differ, so a game in one booth can be as much as $10 cheaper in the next hall.

Personally: I have bought 2nd hand games at Essen, but I prefer eBay as my 2nd hand games supplier. Know what you want and look for them, saves you the shipping, but I wouldn't go buying all sorts of 2nd hand unknown games.

Lastly, do remember that it's a German fair: if you're going to buy all kinds of games without testing, you run the risk of returning home with a suitcase full of language dependant games. And most are German...

Good luck, and see you at the BGG-stand
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SAKURA in KYOTO 2018 Back to Kansai
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What a good question.

I found that buying the latest releases at the fair was not cost-effective. The prices in show for very new games will be beaten by your online dealer back home and probably by your FLGS anyway. But don't be put off buying new games at the show, because you will have the game in your hands when you get home, instead of waiting for the retailers to get stocked.

There are tons of bargains. That's your first point of call, check out the Heidelburger scrum in Hall 11, Queen do loads of cheap games in Hall 10, Galeria Kaufhof in Hall 5 have fantastic bargains and take plastic.

Secondly, pre-orders, there are many limited print run games from the small press that could turn out to be winners. Some you have to order the pre-order before the show or you simply wont get a copy.

Thirdly, all the odd stuff. There are just loads of amazing new games that you didn't know about that you do not want to miss. Plus, there are often bargains tucked away on the back shelves of booths. I picked up Windschatten by chance and my friends love it. A small card game, but a big hit.

Plus, as advised, you're more likely to see a German addition - although many more German publishers do English in the box, Zoch, Abacus, Schmidt to an extent, Queen hand out English rules sheets, so it's not that bad, plus all your non-German publishers will do you English rules (French, Italian, Korean, Japanese, and a few Brits), plus Mayfair and RG are there. And many small press will have rules available or to download. So there will be lots of English language games if that's what you need.

So I suggest you plan for two things;

1. to play the games from the big publishers you know you can buy back home, but keep the option open of grabbing a copy at the show.

2. to prepare to buy pre-orders, bargains, odd stuff especially small press limited runs of new games.
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James Hamilton
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One handy tip if suitcase space is an issue is to open games and then pack other things in any spare space in the boxes.
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John Wilson
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I would also recommend punching all of your games before travelling back. It reduces the weight of the games and it creates more space in each box. In fact there is a whole new puzzle game in trying to fit games within other games and take up the least amount of space
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Johan L
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Another thing to add is that for games that are available in plentiful supply, it makes sense to save your purchases until the end of the day - that way you don't have to carry a heavy bag of games around all day while browsing.
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SAKURA in KYOTO 2018 Back to Kansai
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One problem with opening and punching games is that it does take time of an evening and you then have to bag the punched bits and put rubber bands around the boxes. Otherwise you arrive home with a case full of mashed games.

I do agree though with slipping stuff into already open boxes. German games often have card inserts which can be neatly folded flat without damage (then just drop the game board on top to keep them flat), so freeing up lots of room. Small card decks and bags of bits can also fit underneath plastic inserts, no do NOT throw out plastic inserts.
 
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Patrick Korner
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I highly recommend punching out the games - I estimate I've saved easily 10 pounds of weight that way. But then, I tend to buy, um, a lot. modest

I've never had issues with mashed bits, though. Only mashed boxes thanks to idiotic baggage handlers. The insides have (thankfully) always come through just fine.

Mind you, it helps that I tend to nest my games 2-3 deep at least - not much free air in there.

pk
 
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Richard Dewsbery
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Buying a game that was being hyped up because you thought it was going to sell out is a huge disappointment when the game turns out to be rubbish. I've had that experience many, many times. Make it often enough and you have wasted a significant amount of cash.

Not buying a game and seeing it sell out, before discovering it was a great game that you really should have bought - nope, I'm struggling to remember a single occasion on which this has happened. Either you'll be able to pick up the game next year, or someone you know might have bought a copy, or maybe a bigger company will reprint it. But I can't say that there's ever been a game that I passed on that I later regretted not buying.

5-10 years ago I thought nothing of buying 50+ items at Essen. Last year it was 12, and that was at least 4 items too many, as games failed to live up to their promise (or just simply couldn't compete with the half a dozen really great games I've bought over the last 18 months).

My plan for this year is to make it fewer than 10 purchases.
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Joseph Cochran
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I put new games into five categories at Essen:

1) Not interested.
2) Too many non-English components and do not believe that it will be available in English.
3) Believe that it will be available in English relatively soon after the show.
4) Believe that it won't be available in English for a while but the components are relatively language-independent.
5) MUST HAVE NOW!

Category 5 breaks the rules and trumps all others, but it's fairly limited. I will always buy from 5, usually buy from 4, sometimes buy from 2, rarely buy from 3, and obviously never buy from 1. The ones I buy from 3 or 4 are generally "show off" games: things that I bring back to have brought back something cool from Essen. I made about 20 purchases at Essen 2007 (but several were small: the Power Grid deck for example was trivial), but expect to make fewer this year from category 5 and maybe one or two fewer from 3. I don't expect the category 4 expenditures to change...
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Bruce Murphy
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RDewsbery wrote:
Buying a game that was being hyped up because you thought it was going to sell out is a huge disappointment when the game turns out to be rubbish. I've had that experience many, many times. Make it often enough and you have wasted a significant amount of cash.

Not buying a game and seeing it sell out, before discovering it was a great game that you really should have bought - nope, I'm struggling to remember a single occasion on which this has happened. Either you'll be able to pick up the game next year, or someone you know might have bought a copy, or maybe a bigger company will reprint it. But I can't say that there's ever been a game that I passed on that I later regretted not buying.


I think this is less true for expansions. There are many expansions available in limited quantities at Essen that aren't available outside it for ages if at all. The benefit here is that you probably already know that you like the base game.

B>
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Hanno Girke
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RDewsbery wrote:

My plan for this year is to make it fewer than 10 purchases.


So when you're done at the Lookout booth, what are you going to do the rest of the time?
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