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Board Game suppliers - Rants and Raves


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I thought this thread might be useful, particularly as new names seem to pop up on the price comparison website https://boardgameprices.co.uk from time to time, not to mention overseas suppliers.

 

In the UK, the only supplier I'm aware of with issues is Amazon - can be OK but if an item looks very good value for money it may be either counterfeit or a foreign language version (I believe they pool their stock with other suppliers which obviously complicates things).  Caution advised.

 

 

Thoughts on other sites I've used

 

Board game guru.  Used to use these all the time since they ship with DPD local.  Now on my avoid list owing to too many mistakes with multiple orders.  Also for an archaic system and having to pay in advance for pre-orders.

 

Zatu.  Use if cheap and item is in stock.  Don't believe the "restock expected" classification. Have a loyalty scheme and much time is wasted trying to get the 3 or 5 products necessary for a small discount. Ship quickly with RM.  Prices may be increased at any time so beware leaving any items in a basket.

 

Chaos cards.  I don't use them a lot because I'm not into card games and I find the website cluttered.  They offer free shipping with slightly slower RM delivery.  .  Iirc you pay for pre-orders in advance. Loyalty scheme.  Offer free shipping for slightly longer delivery times.

 

Firestorm cards.  These seem to specialise in the heavier Euros and often have items not held elsewhere (and cat jigsaws).  Awkward website - recommend weekly newsletter to identify new items.  Slightly awkward and slower system but you get there after a day or two.  No idea about pre-orders.  No loyalty scheme.  AVOID DHL shipment option since this is the man+van version not the timed delivery service.

 

Meeples Corner.  Love these guys.  Recently revamped site.  No advance payment for pre-orders.  Usually ship next day with DHL timed delivery.  No loyalty scheme.  Small stock volumes held and restricted compared to some other sites.

 

Meeples, BGG and Firestorm all have KS versions available from time to time if that is of interest.

 

Overseas I've used Summoner (NL) and Huggendubel (GER) with absolutely no problems.

 

Would be interested to hear other recommendations or cautionary tales.

 

 

Edited by Cosmic_Guru
Removed first sentence since resolution is on hand.
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I've had pretty good service from Thirsty Meeples the few times I've used them for some Arkham Horror stuff. Always quick to dispatch and well packaged - postage always feels a bit steep though.

 

Zatu's prices are good but their pre-order system really annoys me. I refuse to pre-order or order anything marked as a restock as they take the money straight away. In the current climate I'm not doing that and they really need to think again about it (even if they just took a small deposit instead of wanting the whole thing up front for something that could be months down the line).

 

Also their pricing can be a bit scalper'ish. I've watched an Arkham Mythos pack go from £11 up to £30 in the space of a few weeks as they started getting lower on stock. Also anecdotal tales elsewhere (okay, it was on BGG) that if you leave stuff in your basket then the price mysteriously starts to creep up. Not seen that myself but always something to bear in mind if you're using them.

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I was in a rush earlier but I will flesh out the first post - agreed that paying for pre-orders in advance is a no no.  I've also seen Zatu prices rocket at times - during lock down anything with a solo capability was jacked up to RRP.

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I've always been a big fan of Games Lore. Been using them for about a decade and they've never made an error* and have always been super helpful.

 

* Outside of when I ended up paying £700 for £70 worth of board games at the Expo, due to them making a mistake with the decimal point, and me not reading the amount. Was still sorted in a matter of days, though.

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I use Chaos Cards and Gameslore almost exclusively. Used to use Boardgameguru but they changed ownership and now I just...don't. Firestorm are great, used them a lot.

 

Wayland Games I had a terrible experience with and will never, ever touch again with a barge pole.

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8 minutes ago, Pelekophoros said:

Wayland Games I had a terrible experience with and will never, ever touch again with a barge pole.

 

Me too! Ordered some templates for Infinity 2nd Edition and the order was delayed and delayed and delayed. I ended up, purely by chance going to their store and they had the templates on the shelves. I asked about that and got shrugged shoulders at the store and no answer by email. After about 8 months they started emailing me asking me if I'd like a refund and the like but only being in the hole for £12, I sent them polite messages back saying that I'd like to maintain the order and reminded them that they did have what I needed on the shelves.

 

Obviously, no response each time.

 

In the end, I did get my templates, a month after 3rd Edition launched and the old templates are incompatible with it. Obviously what occurred was that they didn't want to fulfil web orders when they could sell to customers in store. It was only after the templates changed and they had no chance to sell any with the new edition that they sent them to me. Fuck. Wayland. Games.

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I've always had good service from Gameslore and Chaos Cards.

 

I've ordered a couple of things from Zatu without any problems, but have also heard the stories about prices of things increasing if they're left in your basket. Companies shouldn't ever resort to such shenanigans, and they won't be getting any more orders from me.

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5 minutes ago, Cosmic_Guru said:

Bit weird to pos a post where you had a bad experience but thanks for sharing.

 

 

I should probably clarify, whenever I've been to their actual store (I'm nowhere near, geographically, but have travelled for Warmachine tournaments and the like), it's always been fine to use. Like, I can go in, see something I want to buy, give them the right amount of money and leave with it, if you see what I mean - but this is such an insanely low hurdle to clear it barely seems worth mentioning.

 

But their online service seems dreadful, and shouldn't be touched with anybodies barge pole, let alone your own.

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I've had a decent experience of Board Game Guru.  Ordered a few bits from them years ago with no issues and recently ordered Folklore which turned out to be out of stock due to a warehouse error.  They went out of their way to locate me a copy from another bricks and mortar store and had it sent out to me, and gave me a £5 discount voucher, so I really can't fault them.

 

The biggies are fine - Zatu and Chaos Cards.  Zatu were good to sort me out a replacement mini for one which was wrong from the factory in one of the D&D board games.  I've also used Magic Madhouse and Wayland with no problems whatsoever.

 

Fan Boy 3 was a funny one.  The shop was fine, the owner, Dave, was great, but god damn the other customers and players that were in there were some of the most pig ignorant, miserable motherfuckers in existence and it was fucking rammed with them.

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I used to use BGG all the time and had plenty of good customer service as you note, and they probably still are fine for single purchases.  It's just that every time I ordered 2 or 3 products something would be missing.  No one else has this problem.   Meeples Corner is my first choice now.  

 

That Dutch site is back up now so its been named and shamed!  I suppose I'll give them a little longer since its mid holiday season but Summoner would be my NL pick now.

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I've luckily not had any issues with any of my online board game purchases. I usually use Board Game Guru or Chaos Cards, but I have also purchased from Firestorm, Zatu, Meeple's Corner, and Magic Madhouse. On occassion I have found a good deal on 365 Games, but don't like browsing their site.

 

I sleeve my card games and buy them in bulk from Board Game Extras who are great, even if their website is a million years old. While their focus is on accessories they do sell a few board games. I bought most of my Scythe stuff from them.

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My go to shop online is usually The Board Game Hut - delivery is always super quick, the stuff is packaged well (corner protectors on boxes) and they do a monthly sub scheme that lets you build up some cash. 
 On top of this they do a giveaway every 6 months depending on the sub tier you have and a subscriber preorder area where the stuff that’s likely to sell out quickly goes first. 

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19 minutes ago, revlob said:

I sleeve my card games and buy them in bulk from Board Game Extras who are great, even if their website is a million years old. While their focus is on accessories they do sell a few board games. I bought most of my Scythe stuff from them.

 

I *did* have an issue with an order I placed from BGE (some years ago now).  It was a nothing arriving and no reply to my emails, a search of facebook found other people in the same situation.  However I'd *never* had an issue when I'd previously bought from them via their eBay shop - which I'd done regularly.

It took public calling out on Facebook and Twitter to finally get a "we're having stock problems" reply, and an eventual fulfilment of the order a long time later.  I don't use them any more because of that.

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It's a very specific recommendation, but I've been super happy purchasing direct from Chaosium (buying various Call Of Cthulhu rpg books).  Their customer service and email support is excellent, and I think their policy of "buy the pdf, get the full price of the pdf off if you buy it in physical form when it's released" is excellent.  (Meaning any typos etc are caught and corrected in pdf before it goes to print).  Physical copies also come with pdf copy if bought from them.

 

I'll also second Gameslore as being excellent.

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  • 2 weeks later...

I've edited the OP sInce I've got to the bottom of the problem with the Dutch outfit, which is turning into an example of good customer service.   Turns out the owner was on holiday and the intern couldn't locate the game.  The owner is now back and contacted the local Dutch author who has a few copies left.  So hopefully I'll be getting one of those.

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  • 2 months later...

Really not impressed with Wayland Games at the moment - first time using them and now wishing I'd remembered this thread before ordering something today.

 

Order of three items, each one showing in stock. Just checked my account to find one item is mysteriously out of stock and so holding up my order.

 

Might just be my luck at the moment though as had the same thing with Firestorm this week too - three copies of an Arkahm Horror Mythos pack in stock so put an order in for one. Received a 'your item is packed and ready to go' email but no dispatch email. Four days later I get a canned email telling me they don't have them item at all. How was it packed and ready to go if you didn't have it?

 

/angry old man noises

 

edit: Firestorm came through with the refund and the rest of the order, so fair play to them for that.

 

On the other hand Wayland Games gave me a response of `We'll check with the appropriate representative and see what happened`. So somehow  they can't give me a straight answer from within their own company about their stock levels. 48 hours later (not including the weekend) and nothing. Order cancelled, shocking first impression combined with everything posted here means I'm never using them again.

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I'm going to drop a mention in for my local, GTG Games. They're a two man operation and the bricks and mortar business was always their main focus. Now with lockdowns and restrictions on instore gaming they're building up the online side. Not the cheapest out there but super friendly and helpful.

 

They also do a ramshackle facebook livestream every Saturday morning to tell you what's new in.

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  • 3 weeks later...

Good experience so far of Board Game Guru. I’ve been looking for a while for the Jurassic Park expansion of Unmatched. It’s sold out everywhere, and eBay/amazon only have US-based versions with £20 postage. 
 

On 9th November I looked at a few different specific online sites (not just google). Every site either had it unlisted or sold out, but BGG had it listed with ‘Restock due 10th November’. I assumed they just had some JavaScript that listed out of stock items as ‘due on today+1’. 
 

However, I emailed them this evening, and got an email back from an actual human in 5 minutes confirming they had it in.

 

Looking forward to getting it (and then putting it aside for son’s Xmas, argh).

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grrrr.... stop tempting me to buy "Unmatched"!....



But out of interest, for those that have played it.... what is the best box to start with? Would one of the cheaper sets like the JP one be a good enough intro or am I as well going for the full fat "Sinbad, King Arthur, Alice and Medusa" set first?

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On 19/11/2020 at 12:06, Glasgowchivas said:

grrrr.... stop tempting me to buy "Unmatched"!....



But out of interest, for those that have played it.... what is the best box to start with? Would one of the cheaper sets like the JP one be a good enough intro or am I as well going for the full fat "Sinbad, King Arthur, Alice and Medusa" set first?

As someone very very casually into these kinds of things, I’d still say the full version is best to start - I think just playing the one character against the other in a 2-pack would get a little bit dull. But it’s interesting when each character has different abilities and different numbers of support characters (Medusa has 3 weak drones, Sinbad has one pretty powerful assistant).

 

And the price between the main set and the 2-packs is negligible really. And the standard of design and quality of the box and components is… <takes off sunglasses> unmatched. 

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