Finding Board Game Deals Online

Board games are great. I have bought, sold, and traded for quite a few over the past few years. One thing to know about board games is that their prices can fluctuate wildly. It’s not uncommon to find relatively new games on sale for 30-40% off of the MSRP (Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price) on major online shops like Target, Walmart, and Amazon.

Of course, it’s always best to support your FLGS (Friendly Local Game Shop) if they have the game you want. These local shops keep the hobby alive and build the community.

CamelCamelCamel.com: This website provides price history graphs for most products listed on Amazon. You can also specify a price point and receive an alert when the product price falls to that point or lower. If you’re not in a hurry to buy something you can set an alert and pick it up when it reaches an all-time low price. You can see in the screen capture below that Skull (awesome game) fluctuates between 25$ and 15$ quite frequently.

CCC Example of Skull
CCC Example of Skull board game price fluctuations

Reddit r/boardgamedeals : The r/boardgamedeals subreddit is full of board game enthusiasts who watch price swings like hawks. You will often see people mention “CCC all-time low” on this Reddit sub. This means that the current price is the lowest price ever recorded on CamelCamelCamel.com.

Here are some of my favorite Social Media Accounts the track Board game deals:

@Tabletop_Deals https://twitter.com/Tabletop_Deals

@Bgl_Deals https://twitter.com/Bgl_Deals

@BoardGamePrices https://twitter.com/BoardGamePrices

@tabletopbellhop https://twitter.com/tabletopbellhop

Facebook Online Board Game Deals Page: https://facebook.com/OnlineBoardGameDeals

These resources are mostly focused on U.S. prices. There are some similar resources available for people in other countries but I am not as familiar with them.

If you’re looking for more (and frankly for practically every reputable price drop source) you can find a list on the r/BoardGamedDeals subreddit page.

Here’s another comprehensive blog post with money saving tips on BoardGameSquad.com.

Of course, if you’re trying to control your spending, or cull your board game collection, avoid all of these sites at all costs. You have been warned.

Patchwork Game Box
Patchwork Game Box and Epic Cardboard Buttons

Review: The Chess Game at Japan Toys R Us by Portable Series

I was looking for a cheap tiny chess set to use with my kid while hanging out at the in-laws. Something that I could leave behind tucked away in a corner that wouldn’t take up much space. Something not heavy that I could bring on short overnight trips. Something so inexpensive that I wouldn’t cry if it got lost.

The Chess Game by Portable Series
The Chess Game by Portable Series. Made in Japan. Like 5 USD.

This is fine. It cost less than 550 yen when I got it in February 2020 in Osaka.

The Chess Game by Portable Series

The fold up plastic board can store the pieces, and it comes with a trifold instruction manual. The manual is Japanese only and unnecessary if you know how to pay chess. You have to punch the pieces out from the plastic mold yourself, but it wasn’t difficult and I didn’t break any pieces in the process. I’ll probably get a small bag of some sort to put the pieces into before putting them inside of the board to prevent everything from rattling around like cheap a cheap baby rattle.

The Chess Game by Portable Series
You need to break the pieces apart yourself

The pieces are easy enough to tell apart. They are extremely light hollow plastic. Not satisfying to move at all, but hey, didn’t buy this for that feeling anyway.

The board has indented plastic spaces to prevent the pieces from sliding around, but the spaces are circles that are much larger than the bases of the pieces.

The Chess Game by Portable Series
Plastic indentations keep the pieces from sliding around. It’s not magnetic.

As it was so cheap this was a worthwhile experiment since I’m trying to keep up my kid’s interest in chess. I mainly set up one move checkmate situations and other chess puzzles that I find online, and my kid enjoys solving them. Soon I think we’ll be able to play a game together! For that sort of training, this cheap set is worth it. If you’re looking for a permanent travel set that you enjoy playing games with, keep looking.

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Raging Bulls – a Print and Play Board Game

Here’s a fun print and play board game called Raging Bulls by Mark Tuck that really only needs a single sheet of paper to enjoy.

Raging Bulls Logo
Raging Bulls by Mark Tuck (2017)

Ideally, you’ll have paper, a pencil, three six-sided dice (3d6), and a straight edge — but you can totally play this using virtual online dice and you can free-hand the lines if you’re without.

The story is that there are all these angry bulls in a field causing trouble. You need to build fences isolating them from each other, and from the rest of the world.

This is a game of chucking dice, making decisions, and pressing your luck a bit. As you play your options become more and more restricted and it becomes quite the little puzzle. It’s broken up into four boards, each one getting slightly more difficult than the next. Your final score is your combined score across all four boards. It’s definitely worth a try at the low low price of one piece of paper!

You can find virtual dice online easily, and there is even this virtual graph paper if you want to try to play on your computer.

Here is a nicely done YouTube review that explains how to play Raging Bulls.

How to play Raging Bulls by Marco Arnaudo

Also, the folks at Shut Up and Sit Down mentioned it in a round up of quality print and play games.

Raging Bulls starts at the 5:18 mark.

Give it a try! Stretching your brain a bit to learn the rules to a new game is healthy, and hey, this might be fun!