Selling Board Games Sucks (Hard)

When I was younger, I would head to a tag sale with my mom and head straight for any table that had toys or games on it. Inevitably there would be the same copies of Monopoly, Sorry, Clue, and the like; all marked at around $1. If I were lucky, there’d be something I’d never heard of before, but that was extremely rare. Fast forward to today, where that mentality of board games selling for pennies on the dollar still exists in many people’s minds. This makes it incredibly hard to sell them, which can be a problem if you’re trying to downsize a large collection.

Now, before I even start, I’d like to acknowledge that yes, I know I can get good prices for my games if I search out the right places online to market them and take the time to find the right buyer, etc… The problem is that when I’m looking to unload 75+ games at a time, I really don’t feel like doing that for every single one. To be perfectly honest, 90% of the time, I just load up a box full of games and drop it off at the local library as a donation. This benefits my community and allows me to play the game still if I ever really get the itch.

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My local library. Their board game collection is approximately 98% made up of games I’ve donated.

However, there are times when there’s a game I have that I feel like I should probably sell instead of giving away. Whether it’s a pricier game, it is harder to find, or I could use a little extra cash. These times are when the problem of selling board games really hits home. There are plenty of “tag sale” groups for my town and surrounding towns on Facebook. The biggest problem with these is the mentality I mentioned above about how much one should pay for a used game. It doesn’t matter if I paid $100 or more for a game; most people in these groups don’t want to spend more than $5 on a used game. It could be 300lbs of cardboard and miniatures with an encyclopedia-sized campaign book. It’s used? $5, but they’re really like to talk you down to $4. It’s just a game. Besides, you’ve already played it!

Then there’s eBay. There’s a huge can of worms to open. Half the time, games cost more to ship than people are willing to purchase them for. Then there are the types of people who purchase games on eBay. In my experience, they’ll look for any excuse they can to get a refund and keep whatever you sent them. I tend to keep my games in damn good condition. Suppose there are any marks or defects, which there rarely is. I list them in the auction description. Still, it never fails. I’ll ship a game, and the buyer will complain about the condition the game was received in. “There’s a tiny nick on the cover!” “The game requires 10 of such tokens, but there’s only 23 of the 24 the instructions says are included! I demand ALL 14 extra tokens, or I want my money back.”

I guess you can say I’ve had a few bad experiences.

Now, I have had some great experiences selling games through places like the BoardGameGeek Marketplace. It’s always been super simple, with a great feedback system to boot. Unfortunately, it’s one of those places that games tend to stagnate a bit on. I’d love to hear from people who regularly have success selling games. Where do you sell them? What’s your trick to move them quickly? Leave a comment below!

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