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Subject: Crowd buying board games to get discounts (UK only) rss

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Christian @BoardGameMonster
United Kingdom
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Hi,

I run a small games shop and was wondering if fellow Board Game Geeks (in the UK only) would be interested in getting together to buy games together and benefit from group discounts?

I posted a message in one of the game-specific forums and the general feedback was positive but also 'why not do this for all games?'. I'm game to experiment with this, so here we go!

Why should you be interested?
=============================
It's my idea that most board game geeks are not in a great rush to get hold of games but would rather just get the cheapest price and service with a smile.

By batching together orders I will try to offer the best possible prices to you all and can offer even better discounts for items that lots of people want (usually there is a bulk discount from the distributor if 6 or more of the same game are purchased at once).

What's the plan?
================
This is all a little experimental, but I'm willing to put in the time and try this out if you're willing to help me work through the kinks in the process.

If it works well, everyone's happy at the end and I've managed to make a reasonable amount of money compared to the time sunk into this venture then we can do it all again in a month or two's time. I think most people here know that margins on games are very small so we sell them for the love more than the money!

So, here's the outline of the plan:
: I'm going to place an order with the distributor on the 12th June (3 weeks from this posting)
: If you'd like to order something please send me a private message (or post on the forum) to let me know what you'd like to buy and the best price you've found for it online.
- Send me the game name, manufacturer (or BGG link) and a URL of the cheapest price you've found.
- I'm guessing that private messages for the requests will be easier to keep track of than lots of forum posts? If you're happy to send me a contact email address too that would make it easier to follow up on the orders but I can PM people via BGG if they're shy.
: I'll check that I can get hold of that game and try to beat the price, then post on the forum to let people know what games are part of the order and how much they are available for.
: I'll post two prices, one of which will only be valid if at least six people order (and pay for) the same game. I'll also post a running tally of how many of each game have been 'ordered'.
: If I cannot match/beat the price (possible for single low-price games) then I'll post some notes - e.g. it might be possible if you buy some other games too so I can combine shipping. (Hopefully this will become clear to us all once a few orders are placed)
: If you're interested in buying games on the current order list just PM me or post on the forum and I'll follow up with you to confirm the order.
: To confirm an order (after making the initial enquiry) you'll need to email me your name, postal address and contact email so I can send you a PayPal invoice in due course.
: On the 5th June I'll start sending out PayPal invoices to people for payment before the 12th June. If you don't pay before noon on the 12th June you won't be part of the order! If you want to pay by bank transfer instead just let me know.
: I'll place the order with the distributor on the 12th, should get stock in on the 13th and then ship out to people the same day.
: You should then get the games 3-5 working days later (18th-20th June) and photos of smiling faces or messages of thanks will be gratefully received
: I will donate 3% of the game sales to BGG (i.e. the same commission as if all these games were listed on the marketplace). If you really want me to list your order on the marketplace let me know and I can do it 'officially' for you.
: I'm based in Hertfordshire so if anyone wants to pick up their orders in person and save (even more) on postage then that's fine too.

My fears
========
Here are some things that I'm worried about - any ideas about how to minimise these risks or deal with the problems are welcome!
- What if people say they're interested then never pay when the invoices come through in June?
- Especially if there are exactly six copies of something on order then one person backs out so there's no longer a bulk discount?
- I don't know the weights of all the games, so might get stung on unexpected postage if there are some monsters in the order.
- The distributor is not great at keeping stock levels updated, so there's a chance some items will be unavailable on the 12th June. I'll do my best to manage this, and will get regular stock updates during the week before the order is placed, but have to warn you that it's a possibility.

OK, that's it. I hope the 'fears' at the end haven't put you off... I think this is, potentially, a great way for the community to get games at the best prices, for me to sell some games, for games companies to sell more and for BGG to get some commission. So let's give it a whirl!

Any further ideas about the best way to do this are welcome. Other than that, I look forward to the first game enquiries!


Christian
P.S. Note that this would be for UK based geeks only!
P.P.S. I'll post some sample prices for some popular games when I get a chance to do a price check.
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KT
United Kingdom
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A nice idea, I hope it comes off, but the expo's only 4 days away so I'll see what I didn't manage to find from there before posting wants here.
Also I'm a little sceptical that the discounts garnered from only 6 copies will even cover the cost of postage but I might be wrong.
Seriously I wish you well.
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Christian @BoardGameMonster
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Hi, thanks for the feedback. Like I said in the post above, I'm happy to pour some time into this to see how it goes... hopefully well!

If nobody's interested then that's fine but I see potential benefits for everyone so it's worth a try.

Here are some sample prices, I've just looked them up on Amazon for now but if you find them cheaper elsewhere let me know:

Dominion
RRP: £34.99
Amazon price: £31.54
1-5 price: £31.50
6+ price: £30.50

Arkham Horror
RRP: £49.99
Amazon price: £40.80
1-5 price: £40.15
6+ price: £37.99

Agricola
RRP: £49.95
Amazon price: £46.22
1-5 price: N/A since I already have stock of this
6+ price: £42.95

All prices quoted include VAT and UK mainland delivery. If you order multiple games and are willing to get them delivered to your nearest collect+ store instead of to your door (they're usually quite convenient but coverage varies from town to town) then you can save some extra ££ on the total.


C
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Craig Johnson
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Sounds like a good idea to take a punt at with a sample game, but yeah, with the Expo this weekend I don't know what I'll have fulfilled from my wants list there, nor how much money I have left afterwards! But, tentatively interested!
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Andy Wright
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TBH the example discounts offered are nowhere near enough to tempt me to desert my FLGS

My local games shop already offers volume and club discounts that make these savings slim at best and I can just go in an buy them off the shelf!

(And helping to keep my local games shop in business is worth a small premium as well).

I suspect you'd need to buy in greater volumes to enable bigger discounts to get people like myself to take part.

(I still feel guilty about buying Power Grid for £16.99 from Amazon a couple of years back! But that's less than half price...........)

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Russell Collingham
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Agree with Andy, sorry. Also my FOGS (BoardGameGuru) has those games at these prices:

Dominion: £26.99
Arkham: £39.99
Agricola: £38.99

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Matt Leach
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I think potential here, but maybe not at low volumes, and not for games that are already out there in numbers. Crowd purchasing of new releases before they hit the UK might work if you can get games in before the usual suspects. A good example is the Uk group purchase of Tammany Hall vial Kickstarter.

Indeed a UK Kickstarter aggregation service might be a good thing for someone to put together if they had the time and goodwill..
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Tony Ackroyd
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Do I hear group purchase of Eclipse?

What would be the price?
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Russell Collingham
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mattxboard wrote:
Indeed a UK Kickstarter aggregation service might be a good thing for someone to put together if they had the time and goodwill..


Exactly, this is the direction I was thinking of when I first read the thread.
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Christian @BoardGameMonster
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Hi guys,

I'd love to put together a shiny website to automate this but from little acorns do mighty oaks grow The markup on these games is sometimes only £1-£2 each so I need to find some love and interest in the community before spending time and money on a new site. Of course, crowd-funding the site itself is an interesting idea and I'll follow that up in due course, if there's enough interest.

In the meantime, if you want to support your FLGS please do so and if you're comparing the quoted prices here with ones from your FOGS then don't forget to include delivery!

E.g. BoardGameGuru prices work out as:
Agricola - £45.99 delivered (£3 more than I offered)
Arkham Horror - £46.99 delivered (£9 more than I offered)
Dominion - £30.96 delivered (50p more than I can offer)

Whilst I understand you might value speed over saving 50p on Dominion, saving £3-£9 per game is a worthwhile consideration for most gamers... I think? Anyway, that's what this thread is designed to ascertain!

Tony: for Eclipse, this is currently out of stock everywhere but I can put together an order and process it when it becomes available again. I can offer prices of...

Eclipse:
RRP: £69.99
Sample FOGS price: ~£59
1-5 price: £58.00
6+ price: £55.50
(prices include VAT and delivery)

Let me know if that's of interest!

Finally, for upcoming releases I am happy to put together pre-orders too - just let me know what you're looking for and what price you can find it elsewhere. If I can get a date and a price from the distributor I'm happy to help.


C
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Tony Ackroyd
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I probably would be interested in £55 for Eclipse.
Potentially there would be multiple buyers in Brighton, so maybe we could push that price down if multiple copies were being delivered to a single Brighton address?

(I already see BrightonFoxDave has thumbed my Eclipse post....! Maybe there are multiple people at the Brighton Boardgames Club that would want it.....)
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Nick R
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So long and thanks for all the fish
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I would be interested in a good price for "Twilight Imperium: Shattered Empire Expansion".

Regards

Gnome
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Christian @BoardGameMonster
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Gnome, you've found a game that I really can't help with, sorry...

It's listed as 'out of stock with manufacturer' which means it may be a while before it's back on the list again.

Furthermore the price listed on Amazon is below my cost price so, if they get it back in stock when it's produced again, you'd be better off going there. Of course, if you prefer dealing with a hard working FOGS instead of the Amazonian Empire just let me know and I can get in touch with you when TI:SEE is back in circulation!


C
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Gordon Robinson
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For the sake of a couple of pounds why not let the existing boardgame supply chain make a little profit? We are all wage earners and this is not exactly an expensive hobby assuming you are only buying a game every month or two.
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Christian @BoardGameMonster
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Some interest in the ascension set:

Ascension collection (All three Ascension games - Chronicle of the Godslayer, Return of the Fallen and Storm of Souls):
RRP: £82.97
Sample FOGS price: ~£73
1-5 price: £70
6+ price: £66.50
(prices include VAT and delivery)
Note: (SOS is currently out of stock, hopefully back by the 12th June)

If anyone is interested in singles from this set (e.g. just the base game) let me know. The price above is for all three games shipped to one address.

Maybe sets like this are the way forward? e.g. Dominion expansions, RFTG full set, etc? Can usually do a good price for combos since there's only one shipping cost.
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Christian @BoardGameMonster
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@Gordon ... I am part of the existing supply chain!

Sales are slow in summer hence this idea to stimulate interest and pick things up in a traditionally quiet time.

And lots of game players are students or otherwise like to get the best deal. If you're happy to buy from existing channels, please do so. If you'd like to experiment with something different this is your chance.

C
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Dan Killian
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I really like this idea but think it's come up at the wrong time with the expo. Will definately keep an eye on this for the upcoming months though.

Perhaps a better idea would be getting people to add games via a geeklist and people commenting on them if they to are interested? If I then saw a game with a lot of interest I'd probably jump on board blind.
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Liam
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I for one think it's a neat idea.

If you could get a crack team of say 10 sign ups. Who bought 10 games across the year the savings and hopefully earnings would really stack up.

This said I can't really commit atm. Rather than asking folks - I'd try floating the odd option in geekbay for a latest realease. Sorta like a kickstarter with levels.

Can you give us the higher level savings - eg what if you bought 20-25 games?

The thing I really like about your model is bgg gets a taste. Currently BGG influences 100% of my buys but gets... Say around 1% of my game based expenditure your model would radically improve my donation without costing me more.
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Christian @BoardGameMonster
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@Josephus

The prices on the site are indicative but most of our customers get in touch, let us know what they would like and then we put together a competitive deal for them. If you wanted to place the example order you listed (Agricola+Arkham+Dominion) there is a banner on the site saying to get in touch if you're looking to buy 3 or more games and we'll put together a best price for you. Many happy customers have done just this in the past and hopefully more do so in future!

With any order like this we will check stock levels prior to placing the order and then only take money for what's available. There is a degree of faffing around involved, but it's our time spent checking things not the customers. In the past we have only had one order placed for something that was unavailable from the distributor. We quickly got in touch with the customer and they were refunded in full within an hour of placing the order.

The selection on our website is not the best but we prefer to do business in conversation with our customers - and offer them the best prices we can as part of that relationship.

Back to the topic of this thread, we would check stock levels of whatever games people are interested in during the week before placing the order and then only take money for games that are in stock (with the distributor). If they are low stock or sell out at the distributor we'll manage that the best we can (letting people know the problem and refunding if they have already paid).

This is all here as an experiment so lets see how it goes. We are definitely placing an order on the 12th June (we have a number of previous customers placing follow-up orders then) so will be happy to help out anyone else that would like to place an order at that time.

If you are buying multiple items or there is a crowd interested in a single game then we can offer competitive prices. If you just want to buy one game or are in a rush then there are plenty of great physical and online places to order instead.
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Christian @BoardGameMonster
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@monkeyhands

The method we're using for this experiment is, frankly, clumsy but it seemed like a good way to test the waters. If we get some interest we can start looking into ways to make the process smoother including a site dedicated to this kind of purchase. For now please bear with us!

Similarly there are no extra discounts for really big bulk orders, but if this grew into something bigger who knows where it could lead? But baby steps first!

We are happy to give a % back to BGG and this offer is for the benefit of the BGG members who would like to participate.
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Craig Johnson
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OK, how much can you source these for (all from Victory Point Games):-

Israeli Independence Expansion Kit
Dawn of the Zeds
Zulus on the Ramparts + Expansion Kit

Thanks!
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Darren Thornton
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Josephus wrote:

I know I've been harsh but I've been to your website a couple of times and I have never ordered from you. The main reason was that you have such a poor selection of games and of the games you advertised that I wanted were out of stock. I appreciate that you want to grow your business and that you are thinking of new ideas, but trying to undercut all your competitors by a few pennies is not the way. If price was that important then all the games would be price matched at the lowest price. As they are not then it's fair to assume that there are other options.


I think you have been overly harsh Josephus. Times are hard and if Christian can find a way to do more business fair play to him. Price for me is, barring seasonal exceptions, my overriding concern when purchasing games so I would be interested. Surely since we operate in a free market I cannot see what damage a bit of competition does, what is to stop other games stores from doing the same?

If you are not interested then surely you can just let the opportunity pass without comment, I'm not sure what your total deconstruction of his proposal accomplishes. Let the guy try to use his initiative and don't be so negative.
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Christian @BoardGameMonster
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@CraigRJ - we work with two distributors but unfortunately neither of them stock games from Victory Point Games so we cannot help you at the moment.

@ProfToff - thank you for the kind words of support.
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Christian @BoardGameMonster
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Here's the latest update on interest on games:

Ascension collection (All three Ascension games - Chronicle of the Godslayer, Return of the Fallen and Storm of Souls):
RRP: £82.97
Sample FOGS price: ~£73
1-5 price: £70
6+ price: £66.50
(prices include VAT and delivery)
Note: (SOS is currently out of stock, hopefully back by the 12th June)

I have ONE taker for this already. Five more and we get the bulk discount.


Ascension - Chronicle of the Godslayer:
RRP: £29.99
Sample FOGS price: ~£29
1-5 price: £26.99
6+ price: £25.99
(prices include VAT and delivery)

I have TWO takers for this already (including the one full-set person above who will drop down to this if SOS is unavailable). Four more and we get the bulk discount.


Race for the Galaxy complete collection
RRP: £87.96
Sample FOGS price: ~£79
1-5 price: £75.00
6+ price: £69.99
(prices include VAT and delivery)

I have ONE taker for this already. Five more and we get the bulk discount.


Arkham Horror
RRP: £49.99
Amazon price: £40.80
1-5 price: £40.15
6+ price: £37.99

I have ONE taker for this already. Five more and we get the bulk discount.


Agricola
RRP: £49.95
Amazon price: £46.22
1-5 price: N/A since I already have stock of this
6+ price: £42.95

I have ONE taker for this already. The items are in stock so everybody gets the bulk discount.


Let me know if you'd like to join any of these crowds!
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Tom Randell
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Has interest in Eclipse for £55.50 delivered gone away?

I'm interested at that price.
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