I’ve been a bargain hunter for a long time. As I teenager I’d look in charity shops and car boot sales for video games to sell online. When we got into board gaming, we started to do this again, keeping an eye out for bargain board games to help grow our collection.
In the past few weeks I’ve seen quite a lot of buzz on Facebook, Youtube and BoardGameGeek about charity or thrifting finds with one group of people super excited to share finds and another group of people taking the stance that if you find something priced cheaply in a charity shop you should tell them and pay them more. For me, if I’m lucky enough to find something cheap in a charity shop, then I pay the asking price – if I don’t then someone else will. I’ve definitely spent a lot of money in them over the years and they’ve had a lot of stock back from me too.
I’ve probably had 30-40 ‘modern’ board game finds as well as picking up some more mass market titles too. But here I’ll list my top ten finds, in order of how awesome I think the find was, not necessarily how highly I rate the game.
Number 10 – Qwirkle – We’ve found Qwirkle on a couple of occasions, probably because it has started to push into mass market and be bought for people who are not that interested. When we pick it up it tends to suffer from missing pieces or a missing bag, but we’ve eventually made ourselves a full copy and have had great success playing this one with my parents.
Number 9 – Machi Koro – This was our opportunity to try Machi Koro and find out we actually dislike it quite a bit, however, pricking something up for £1 in a charity shop is a great chance to try a game you’re unsure of since your doubt will probably stop you from paying full price for a new copy.
Number 8 – Kingdom Builder – We’ve picked up Kingdom Builder twice – once from a car boot sale with a missing token and once complete from a charity shop. We’ve obviously kept the complete copy and someone took a low value trade for the other, but in spite of some press this is still a game we like to play.
Number 7 – Settlers of Catan – This game has sold so many copies I would sort of expect to see it more often, but I have only ever found one copy and it was completely unpunched. The charity shop must’ve had one person drop of a few games because on the same day I picked up Lord of the Rings Risk and Fist of Dragonstones from Days of Wonder.
Number 6 – Man-O-War – This old Games Workshop game was an incredible car boot sale find and was fortunately on the stall of someone who literally wanted to clear their house so was selling everything for £1. We should’ve bought more of his stuff in hindsight, but this one was a no brainer. It didn’t go into the collection, but did get sold amongst friends.
Number 5 – Vikings – When we found Vikings it was a game we’d never heard of but it said Rio Grande on the box so we were interested. However, it was £8 at a car boot sale and had no instructions. After checking we could find the instructions online we went for it and luckily the game was otherwise complete. When we got it home we found out that it was out of print (at the time) and so were very happy. It’s a quite enjoyable game too, which is great!
Number 4 - Ticket to Ride Europe – Brand new and sealed at a car boot sale for £1. Definitely an unwanted gift for someone who had no interest in games and no idea what they’d been given!
Number 3 – Lost Cities – Not the most valuable find, but a game I’d been keen to get hold of for so long. Going into this particular charity shop was likely to make me late for a meeting, but spotting an eastern European language edition of Lost Cities was definitely worth it and it replaced Lost Cities: The Board Game (also found in a charity shop) in our collection.
Number 2 – Shadows Over Camelot – This is undoubtedly a great find but particularly for me this was about the situation. This charity shop is next to Forbidden Planet (a geek shop in the UK) and so attracts a fair few geeks. After following some geeks up the stairs, they were distracted by some Warhammer in a display cabinet and we marched quickly to the game section, picking up Shadows Over Camelot. Needless to say when our geek competitors arrived they we’re pretty amazed and envious at our find!
Number 1 – Eldritch Horror – An unbelievable charity shop find that I was excited about for days! We paid around £5 but of course this one is well worth it. It was particularly good for us since the first game I played of Eldritch Horror was so bad it put me off buying it, but getting this bargain gives me another opportunity to try it, which I think it deserves.
Finding good games takes A LOT of effort. We probably visit charity shops twice a week and visit one car boot sale each week in the summer. I also work a long way from where I live so can hit a few different charity shop locations.
Maybe this blog will inspire a few more people to start hunting, but hopefully not on my patch! Let me know some of your best finds and check out my Geek List at https://boardgamegeek.com/geeklist/208577/games-found-uk-charity-shops-and-boot-sales to see the full list of interesting games we’ve found.