Buying board games. It’s not like the old days, down the market, haggling and bartering. Trading your punnet of strawberries for a Catan expansion. You just go on Amazon, type the game in you want, click buy and you’re away. Right?

End of article.

Well wait just a minute. It’s not always that simple and if that’s your only strategy then sometimes you’re going to pay waaaaay more than you should or perhaps end up with something you might not like.

This guide will ensure you get a game you’ll love for the best possible price.

1. Do your research

Board gaming isn’t a cheap hobby with most games being $30+, so you best make sure you buy something you’re going to enjoy.

We have plenty of Gists and recommendations that will give you a feel for games we adore. Obviously we haven’t covered everything (yet!) so check out great sites like Shut up & Sit Down, Actualol, Dicey Exploits, No Pun Included and many many more.

Also take a look at the Board Game Geek page to get an idea of the community consensus and how complex it might be. Another great feature is you can actually look at the genre and see similar games, like what is the best hidden role game?

2. Try before you buy

cutting card

There are loads of great ways to experience the game before you even buy that way you make your purchase risk free.

Visit your nearest board game cafe, they have plenty of games and will even teach you how to play. You are not alone in that daunting feeling about having to understand the rules of a new game.

Some games have a print and play option that you can make yourself for virtually nothing. We’ve had many great games of the brilliant Secret Hitler, all made from a few sheets of paper.

Finally check your phone’s app store. Plenty of popular games have app versions that will help you learn the game and see if it’s right for you. It’s also just a great way of enjoying some of your favourite games on the go.

3. Getting the best price

Spartacus the auction

Firstly make sure you get an idea of the actual RRP (recommended retail price). It’s very common for a game that “should” only cost you $20 to be going for $50+ on Amazon whenever supplies run low. Unlike other entertainment formats, board games are made in small print runs and if they happen to enjoy a surge of popularity they can quickly become scarce and the price will skyrocket.

Be sure to take a look at the price comparison websites like this UK one or this US one for those across the pond. You’ll likely find a dedicated board game outlet with a better price and as a bonus you’re helping out the little guy.

Plenty of games can also be found second hand on eBay or the Board Game Geek Market. There are all kinds of bargains to be found.

You might also want to check if a reprint is coming soon. The price will likely drop massively then and they’ll likely fix any printing errors that might have been found in earlier releases. The best place to find this out is the BGG message boards.

Other Top Tips

  1. Counterfits are running rife these days. Especially on sites like Ali express. They may be cheaper but just remember there’s not much money for board games publishers, so think about where you want your dollars to go. The quality will also likely be far worse.
  2. Triple check the language of the game before you buy. Sometimes you might end up with a game not in your native language and become stuck. That said, some games have minimal text (Like Hanabi) and you might even find a better experience in a different locale.
  3. Check how big the box is. Some games are surprisingly big and you should make sure you have the shelf space available so you don’t end up with a house like mine. Board games streaming out of every storage container. Or maybe you do want that.

And finally, most obviously, if you do decide Amazon is the best bet for you, if you buy your game via this link it will also support Best Play. So thanks for that 🙂