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Gathering of Engineers

Ludographic considerations from the Silicon Forest

Saturday, December 03, 2005

I Didn’t Mean To Be an Importer

So this week we finally got our big games shipment in from Germany. About 200 games. Well actually more than that since I also shipped games for friends who went to Essen with our little Sunriver group. But about 200 for me. And some great games I’m dying to play – Roads and Boats, Die Macher, Tal der Könige, etc.

Maybe five years ago I was excited about the sport of boardgaming. I read all the reviews, listened to the buzz, basically wanted to own everything I had ever played at friends houses. Any of this sounding familiar? Any of us seriously addicted like this and having a little spendable income can be downright dangerous.

I had met some friends in Germany who were interested in trading games, and even agreed to occasionally store games for me at their houses. Even better, my cousin was serving at a military base in Germany and could mail packages home using US Post rates (much faster and cheaper than international post.) And the cousin agreed to be a forwarder for me–someone who takes local boxes, tapes them together or re-packages them into safer, bigger boxes, and ships them to me.

Well, I went wild. German Ebay, German private auctions, guys I found at spielfrieks or other lists selling games. I even did some speculation – for instance it looked like Kohle Kies Knete (Sid Sackson) would never get re-published here. I bought lots of copies, paying maybe $50 hoping to sell them at $75. (OK, I know, I am not a business guy!) And to make that story worse, it’s since been republished as I’m the Boss under $30.

Then it all went bad. Not the sellers, not the buying or any of that – but my cousin decided after 2 weeks that he really didn’t like the job. So all of a sudden, lots of packages returned to vendors, lots of mad people. Games paid for, sitting at a German post office, never picked up.

Luckily my friend Norbert in Grevenbroich bailed me out, allowed me to send the wayward games to his house, and there they sat in nicely-repacked boxes (thanks – awesome packing job!) until this year at Essen. He brought them all to us at our booth, and we shipped them home. 200 games takes up about 15 really large boxes.

So here’s the question – what means to get rid of the ones I don’t need now?

Ebay isn’t all that easy or cheap. Private auctions seem to need some computing power and time. I love BoardGameGeek, so maybe just listing games for sale there is smart – but how to price them properly? Sadly the shipping wasn’t cheap - figure it cost about $6.00 or more per game after everything gets paid for, so that needs to figure in.

If you have ideas, feel free to share them. Here’s the latest list of games not already spoken for by my friends and relatives.

Acquire DeLuxe Schmidt --- Agent --- Am Fuß des Kilimandscharo --- Atlantik Star --- Auf Achse (2) --- Ausgebremst --- Banque Fatale --- Big City (2) --- Bus --- Cafe International (2) --- Campanile --- Canaletto --- Carcassonne --- Cheops --- Das letzte Paradies (2) --- Das Superblatt (2) --- Denkste --- Der fliegende Teppich (2) --- Der Schatz der Inka --- Diamanten Jagd --- Dicke Kartoffeln (2) --- Die Bosse (2) --- Die Chinesische Mauer --- Die Erbraffer --- Die Glücksritter --- Die Händler --- Die Magier von Pangea --- Die Schatzinsel --- Die Siedler von Nürnberg --- Die verbotene Stadt --- Don Pepe --- Drachenhort --- Drunter & Drüber (2) --- El Grande --- Elefantenparade --- Elfenland (2) --- Euphrat & Tigris --- Falsche Fuffziger --- Fliegen Klatschen --- Freibeuter --- Geister --- Gold auf der Maya --- Hase & Igel (2) --- High Society --- Holiday AG (2) --- Hol's der Geier (klein) --- Hornochsen --- IDO (2) --- Im 7. Himmel --- Im Zeichen des Kreuzes --- In Teufels Küche --- Inkognito --- Intrige --- Karawane --- Kohle, Kies & Knete (4) --- König & Intrigant (El Grande exp) --- Kuhhandel --- Legend of the Five Rings (German) --- Löwenherz (2) --- M --- Marra Cash (2) --- Members Only --- Metropolis (2) --- Millionenspiel --- Minos --- Mississippi --- Mississippi Queen (3) --- Modern Art --- Money (2) --- Olympia 2000 --- Palermo --- Palmyra --- Planes & Trains (Roads & Boats exp) --- Pony Express (2) --- Pool Position --- Quarto (2) --- Ra --- Reibach & Co --- Rette sich wer kann! --- Rheingold (2) --- Ringgeister --- Schatztaucher --- Schnapp den Spion --- Schweinsgalopp --- Shanghai (3) --- Skaal --- Sternenfahrer (5+6 expansion) --- Sternenfahrer von Catan (2) --- Tahiti --- Targui --- Terra Turrium (2) --- Tichu --- Titanic (Adlung) --- Traumfabrik (2) --- Viva Pamplona --- Volle Hütte --- Volle Hütte --- Zug nach Westen (2) --- Zum Kuckuck

Well, I told you it was a big list!


  • At 11:22 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Using the "Market Info" link on the Boardgamegeek will give a pretty good idea of a game's worth as will checking completed auction values on ebay. (Of course the data is more reliable for games that have sold more copies but at least it's something.)

    I disagree with your statement that:

    "shipping wasn’t cheap - figure it cost about $6.00 or more per game after everything gets paid for, so that needs to figure in."

    The time to factor in the $6 per game shipping cost was when you initially decided to purchase the game. At this point it matters not a whit what you paid for it, only what others are willing to pay. (This assumes that you have no desire to keep the game yourself.)

  • At 10:35 PM, Blogger Travis said…

    I would be incredibly agreeable to taking Rette Sich Wer Kann and a Big City off your hands. I want them ever so much.

  • At 11:45 PM, Anonymous Jonathan Hager said…

    You could plan a local board gaming swap meet. It would allow others to pickup games they aren't likely to find except online. And you could sell your extra games without the effort of posting them on ebay or dealing with shipping.

  • At 7:52 AM, Blogger Josh said…

    Big interest in Big City! Maybe we can work out a deal?

  • At 10:19 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    I think it depends on your goal - move them out fast, or get top dollar with minimum effort.

    For the latter, how about a Dutch auction? Start very high (absurdly high) and then drop 3% each week. They will slowly sell because people won't want their hard to find game to disappear. That plus combined shipping will tempt some to buy in a batch.

    I'm interested in your Diamanten Jagd, Die Bosse, M, & Marra Cash.

    - Jonathan

    (grandslam @ bgg)

    I have a spare Big City as well. Sealed Goldsieber


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