coconut_ agent
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Do people still buy full-retail price games in FLGS? I mean I really want to support them, but when Le Havre is $70 in the store vs $45 online, then it's hard to do so. It's even too high to stop me from any impulsive purchase. I know some FLGSs that gives a small discount. And that's really nice. If the gap is not too high, I'm willing to support them. The game store where i'm moving to is always selling at full prices

I'm just wondering how they can sell. Only revenues from Magic+Games Workshop products are enough to survive? Any store owners here to convince me to pay more for games?
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This is a thread that comes up a lot on BGG. Basically it comes down to value.

If the value is completely on price, then few Brick and Mortar stores are able to compete with online prices. So there is rarely a reason to buy from the physical store.

However, many physical stores make up for this by providing value in other ways. They might provide: (1) knowledgeable and helpful staff to give you info on potential purchases; (2) gaming space where you and your friends can get together; (3) demo copies of games so that you can try before you buy; (4) various repeat customer programs; (5) organized play; (6) participation in events like Table Top day, etc., etc. If that provides good value to you, then it may be worth it to buy the more expensive product. Because, in essence, you're paying for those other items that you can't get from an online store.

As to whether your particular store provides sufficient value to justify the increased dollar cost, that's a decision you have to make for yourself.
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Moe45673
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It seems to be mainly a US issue. In Canada, the games are roughly the same price whether FLGS or OLGS. In fact, with shipping, OLGS can be more expensive (which is why I limit my OLGS purchases to bulk or hard to find)
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coconut_agent wrote:
Do people still buy full-retail price games in FLGS? I mean I really want to support them, but when Le Havre is $70 in the store vs $45 online, then it's hard to do so. It's even too high to stop me from any impulsive purchase. I know some FLGSs that gives a small discount. And that's really nice. If the gap is not too high, I'm willing to support them. The game store where i'm moving to is always selling at full prices

I'm just wondering how they can sell. Only revenues from Magic+Games Workshop products are enough to survive? Any store owners here to convince me to pay more for games?


I don't. But I have an FLGS who can compete on price with Amazon.
 
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I totally agree with the values from gaming space, advice, etc, but still.. I really hope I could put that extra 30 bucks down for these values, but I can't. If they make it so I pay like $10 extra, then I'll definitely pay them for that. Maybe they should charge a small membership fee for people to use gaming space+their demos. Just an idea (that gamers will probably hate lol)
 
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I buy about half of what I buy for full price from our area store. I depends on when I'm interested in it really. I had some stuff in a coolstuff shipment that my FLGS doesn't carry, which got me to order there. My issue is that I tend to be a bit more impulsive, and I'll buy something on the spot if I'm feeling it.
 
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As a Magic player, I rely on these shops to stay in business for me to get the most enjoyment from my primary game of choice. Will I buy a $70 game? No. Will I pick up a $30-40 one? Sure! I understand why people don't want to support a FLGS when they can shop online. However, for me personally, I have more at stake and keeping these shops afloat allow me to have countless weekends enjoying my favorite hobby and playing tournaments.
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coconut_agent wrote:
Do people still buy full-retail price games in FLGS?


Yes. And it's worth every penny.
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I do from time to time. The FLGS nearest to me (Games Plus) is a wonderful place. I really enjoy going there and just looking around. If they have a must-have for me in stock, and the retail/online differential isn't crazy, I will sometimes buy from them rather than ordering online.

Shipping is a big deal too. I am not such a compulsive collector that it's easy for me to fill up a $100 order to get free shipping. When shipping is factored into a single game order, the FLGS is more competitive. Plus I get the game today!

I'm only one data point, though.
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coconut_agent wrote:
I totally agree with the values from gaming space, advice, etc, but still.. I really hope I could put that extra 30 bucks down for these values, but I can't. If they make it so I pay like $10 extra, then I'll definitely pay them for that. Maybe they should charge a small membership fee for people to use gaming space+their demos. Just an idea (that gamers will probably hate lol)


I'm not sure if any FLGS's do this already, but I always thought a good model would be: Have a small charge to play in the space (say $5), *but* that charge is also a credit at the store (which you can save up). So if you come to game night 4 times, you've already "invested" $20 that you can spend on a game. Wineries use basically this model for tastings sometimes (the tasting is $5, but if you buy a bottle the $5 goes towards that bottle).
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Jordan Fraser
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My FLGS is quite a bit overpriced, so I rarely shop there. However, once in a while if I spontaneously want to buy something (or if they have a sale) I will support them. I appreciate their business, and they have a great selection (OOP print games as well), but if I bought all my games there, I would literally have half the games I have now. The price disparity is huge.
Instead, I tend to build up large orders through on-line retailers to save on shipping.
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One good thing about paying MSRP (or around it) is that paying more for a game almost guarantees you are going to put the effort into learning and playing it.

How many of us have bought either 1) more games than we can play in a lifetime, or 2) bought games we never really planned to learn and play because we needed to reach free shipping at an OLGS?

I bought Betrayal at the House on the Hill a couple of months ago in my FLGS. My husband and I picked it out together, and I read the rules on the drive home. Since then we've played it a dozen times, and really enjoy it.

Contrast that with Cities, which was I think $15 and what I needed to fill out an order. It sounded cool at the time, but I did next to no research. I figured I'd play it someday, and maybe I will.

Even though I paid more for Betrayal at the House on the Hill, it's value to me is much higher.

I also enjoy being able to walk into a store, talk to someone about games, who will order what I want if I ask, and be able to hold the box, not to mention the bliss of pulling the shrink off in the car on the way home to read the rules. I shop both OL and local (mostly online for things that are OOP or or longer orderable) but my vested interest is in my FLGS.

As a side note, now that I've tried out different online retailers, I've chosen to stick to one, because my purchases over time mean more to a single retailer than if I spread them out a lot. In other words, by spending $500 at one retailer, instead of $50 at 10, I've put more working capital into my favorite store to restock, get more items, etc.
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To me it depends on just how F the FLGS is. The more friendly and positive the actual living human environment is the more willing I am to throw down a bit more cash on a game I can actually hold in my hands. The less friendly the local store the less likely I am to spend up. Of course there are always online deals that no local store could ever possibly compete with no matter how friendly and I grab those up every opportunity I can get with no remorse for the FLGS.
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Look at the FLGS markup as sort of a Kickstarter mechanism.

Sure, you can wait until a KS game is available for purchase at it's normal MSRP, but by investing in it at levels far above what the MSRP will be, you are helping that particular game come into being. Along with your investment, there are other reward levels, that while cool, will probably never equal in true value the money you're spending.

Transferring that mindset over to this topic, buying and using a game isn't like buying milk, or a chair or a book. It's something that's a passion for us, especially for anyone who loves games enough to be here on this site, and reading and posting forum posts. As such, almost all of us probably value the game experience and the interaction with friends and newbies almost as much as the 'value' of the game. We like evangelizing people to new and old games we love. Etc.

All of that has value. The markup on a game (within reason) is the same as paying more for a KS game, just because we want to see that game come to life and succeed. I want my FLGS to succeed and to be able to continue to provide for me those stretch goals and rewards.
-More games to physically look at (either just on shelf, or an opened demo copy).
-Helpful (usually) employees who can guide you to new games you might like.
-An opportunity to play games in the store itself if the store has gaming space.
-The chance to meet other gamers who share your love for this strange hobby.
-The chance to meet gamers who then become actual friends/spouses/fierce rivals.
-People who are eager to playtest that game you've been designing for years.
-The chance to discover games you'd never consider trying because you didn't think it was your type of game, or that you'd never ever think of shelling out the money it would cost to play the game (cough)Twighlight Imperium(cough)
-To not only discover those games, but have them become some of your favorite games.


Granted, while your FLGS's main goal will always be to make enough money to survive and thrive, I'm positive that 99% of the stores are labors of love, rather than get rich quick (or ever) schemes.

So just look at it (within reason) as helping to Kickstart not just that FLGS, but gaming in your community. Everyone's mileage will vary, but for me, the markup (within reason) is something I'm content to pay if it means that I get all the benefits that go along with it.

For a fun experiment, go hang out at the game aisle in your local Target for a couple of hours and see how many people you can recruit to come over to your house to play the new copy of Star Trek Catan you're excitedly looking at and drooling over. Or better yet, plop yourself down in the aisle and start playing and see how many people sit down with you.
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I buy most of my games full price at my FLGS. I don't buy new games from discount online dealers. I buy some second hand, unavailable games from BGG, and a few things direct from manufacturers. I have two really good reasons for paying the other 30%...

#1, my FLGS is awesome. I play games their regularly, I play often with people I've met there, I've gained a lot from my friendships with the owners. It's a community, it's a space to play, it's where I learn a lot of stuff, it's very valuable. The price is spending money there, and I don't mind a bit. It would be a huge loss to me if they disappeared, and happily there's about zero chance of that since they're doing a great job of making a game store worthwhile.

#2 the games I buy at my FLGS are simply more valuable. I get to play games there before I buy them, I get good advice, there are people to talk to about games. The result is that I buy games I like and play instead of games that aren't what I expected or that sit on the shelf because I have no one to play with. The FLGS adds value to the games, they're actually worth more, so I don't mind paying more.

I should mention that this awesome FLGS of which I speak is Endgame in Oakland, http://endgameoakland.com .

As for the game store that has no play area, no community, no selection, rotten advice, and an unfriendly attitude, yeah, that one is likely to deservedly go away. But my advice is to search for and patronize a good game store, you will be richer for it.
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I am in the group that says "It all comes down to how 'F'ed the FLGS is".

Case in point: My OLGS offers two games I have been eyeing up: Star Wars The Card Game and X-Wing. Both are listed at $30 CAN with an extra $10 for shipping. So, $70 total or $35 a piece is what I would be paying.

My favorite FLGS offers X-Wing for $40 and the card game for $40. I will happily pay an extra $10 because they are very 'F' toward me and it customers. Even factoring in a 20 minute drive, I will still pay the cost. The only time I use my OLGS over my FLGS is if I wanted it now and my FLGS cannot get it within two weeks. (And yes, technically, if I was only getting X-Wing, it would be the same price at my FLGS vs online).

Other case in point, I have a FLGS that has zero points in the 'F' department. They offer X-wing at $49 and are a five minute drive from the house. They get zero dollars of my money, no matter how many copies they have.
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Greg S
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I'll occasionally purchase a game at retail in a brick-and-mortar store.

But, given that there isn't a store nearby that stocks my preferred games in any quantity, online will almost always be the way to go for me.
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Yes, lots of people buy from FLGS's at full retail price.
Yes, local stores can survive and even prosper in the current industry.
This forum is not the place to come for accurate information on the state of the industry.
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Moe45673 wrote:
It seems to be mainly a US issue. In Canada, the games are roughly the same price whether FLGS or OLGS. In fact, with shipping, OLGS can be more expensive (which is why I limit my OLGS purchases to bulk or hard to find)

This. My FLGS (J&J) comes so close to online prices and has the thing right there in stock there's really no need to order online.
 
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MyParadox wrote:

However, many physical stores make up for this by providing value in other ways. They might provide: (1) knowledgeable and helpful staff to give you info on potential purchases; (2) gaming space where you and your friends can get together; (3) demo copies of games so that you can try before you buy; (4) various repeat customer programs; (5) organized play; (6) participation in events like Table Top day, etc., etc.

If that provides good value to you, then it may be worth it to buy the more expensive product. Because, in essence, you're paying for those other items that you can't get from an online store.


This is a good summary. Personally those things mean nothing to me, which is why I always without fail buy online.

Moe45673 wrote:
It seems to be mainly a US issue. In Canada, the games are roughly the same price whether FLGS or OLGS. In fact, with shipping, OLGS can be more expensive (which is why I limit my OLGS purchases to bulk or hard to find)


No, it's not remotely a US thing. It *might* be a not-Canada thing, but we have the same issues all over Europe too, and I've heard the same from most regions.
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Justen Brown
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My FLGS (which I should say VLFGS as in VERY-friendly) has a 20% off all boardgames, even ones they special order, so I often get games at an equal discount to online stores. Hell, they probably order directly from CSI or Amazon.

But my personal rule is: if the game is available at the shop, I buy it from the shop. My shop is too cool to lose and I don't need to save at most $10 that badly.
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nararabbit wrote:
One good thing about paying MSRP (or around it) is that paying more for a game almost guarantees you are going to put the effort into learning and playing it.

How many of us have bought either 1) more games than we can play in a lifetime, or 2) bought games we never really planned to learn and play because we needed to reach free shipping at an OLGS?

I bought Betrayal at the House on the Hill a couple of months ago in my FLGS. My husband and I picked it out together, and I read the rules on the drive home. Since then we've played it a dozen times, and really enjoy it.

Contrast that with Cities, which was I think $15 and what I needed to fill out an order. It sounded cool at the time, but I did next to no research. I figured I'd play it someday, and maybe I will.


Completely agree, but I've come up with another way to get the same motivation.

I order a number of games from an online retailer at a discount. Then, when the games get to my house, I just take a $50 or $100 bill out of my wallet and set it on fire. Just watch it burn.

It really motivates me to actually play the games I just bought.
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cferejohn wrote:
coconut_agent wrote:
I totally agree with the values from gaming space, advice, etc, but still.. I really hope I could put that extra 30 bucks down for these values, but I can't. If they make it so I pay like $10 extra, then I'll definitely pay them for that. Maybe they should charge a small membership fee for people to use gaming space+their demos. Just an idea (that gamers will probably hate lol)


I'm not sure if any FLGS's do this already, but I always thought a good model would be: Have a small charge to play in the space (say $5), *but* that charge is also a credit at the store (which you can save up). So if you come to game night 4 times, you've already "invested" $20 that you can spend on a game. Wineries use basically this model for tastings sometimes (the tasting is $5, but if you buy a bottle the $5 goes towards that bottle).


The store I game at allows you to buy $50 store credit a year for special membership. This membership entitles you to priority during their gaming times, but doesn't exclude people who haven't paid from playing as long there is room. They also host special event once in a while limited to members. I've found this system works out great in ensuring people that support the store get to benifit from it.
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Moe45673 wrote:
It seems to be mainly a US issue. In Canada, the games are roughly the same price whether FLGS or OLGS. In fact, with shipping, OLGS can be more expensive (which is why I limit my OLGS purchases to bulk or hard to find)


Thats not true! In quebec anyway. Games online are 15 to 20 dollars cheaper than in retail stores. Add the fact that often taxes are included in the price online or that we only have to pay 1 taxe (federal one) online.

Plus, and its a quebec only problem, english version are not easy to find in
retail store here in Quebec and french translation of english games are always more expensive, even online.

So the only chance a retail store have to sell me a game is if I want it Right now...and if they have the english version available. Otherwise i'm buying online.
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When I buy, it is usually through my FLGS. One of my big reasons, is to support the hobby and introduce people to new games. A FLGS is a great way to do this. Another reason is the aesthetic value of seeing different products in one place and having a chance to check them out if I want to (in this way BGG Con often represents my introduction to things I will eventually buy from my FLGS) I also feel the extra money, although my FLGS does change markup, it's not unreasonable, helps support an industry I want to see thrive, and the value and service I get from it..
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