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How To Locate Hard-to-Find Board Games and Card Games


Games can be hard to locate for any number of reasons: they're out of print, just not widely available, or they're so popular that even used copies sell quickly. These tips should help you get what you want.
Difficulty: Average
Time Required: Varies

Here's How:

  1. Be prepared to dig in for the long haul. Some games can take a long time to find...
  2. ... But don't be surprised if your search is over in less than a day! Other games are very easy to find.
  3. Start your search at eBay and other online auction sites; they are among the most likely sources to locate hard-to-find games. But it's not always smart to buy right away.
  4. Monitor the auctions and educate yourself. Be sure to search completed auctions to compare prices. If you see your game up for auction regularly, note the different prices it sells for and look for the elements (e.g. edition of the game, box condition, random luck) that affect the price.
  5. When you're ready to buy, set a firm maximum price and stick to it. Don't let yourself be bid up to $50 on a game you think is worth only $25. There's almost always another copy available somewhere else.
  6. Post your request on the Net. This site's Forum and the newsgroup rec.games.board.marketplace are two good places to start.
  7. Check the auctions and message boards daily, or at least weekly. Set up automatic email alerts when possible. This task definitely rewards the stubborn. Don't neglect your family, but expect to spend some quality time with your computer if the game you want really is hard to find.
  8. Look in thrift stores. This is less efficient, but can be much more economical. Some areas have thrift stores that seem to attract rare board games -- and sell them for $5 or less, well below their selling price online.
  9. Browse used game retailers' Web sites. Many such retailers exist, and most have an excellent selection of games. Often, you'll pay a premium at these sites. At the same time, you know you're dealing with a professional seller.
  10. If you don't see what you're looking for, ask. Many online used game retailers don't have the resources to maintain a completely up-to-date list of their inventory.
  11. Check in local antique stores. If you find a dealer who has some games, but not what you want, ask if they might be able to get your game for you.
  12. Call around to area game stores. Some stores carry both new and used games. And a local retailer might have contacts you don't, and could be able to secure a copy of the game for you.
  13. Spend your Saturday mornings at garage sales. This may be the least efficient method, but you never know what other people are selling!


  1. Know exactly what it is you're looking for. The game name, publisher, and copyright year are the basics. Some games have been published several times (sometimes by different publishers), so make sure you're getting the game you think you're getting before you commit to a purchase.
  2. Be persistent. Someone, somewhere has the game you want and is willing to sell it.
  3. Don't always buy the first copy of a game you find. Consider it, but do so as objectively as possible. Otherwise, you might overpay.

What You Need

  • Patience
  • Persistence
  • Money
  • Luck
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