My last article was what I would call a high level overview of the greatest time sink in my life, Board Game Geek. If you missed the article I recommend you go back and give it a look. I don’t mean to brag, but I created some pretty nifty GIFs to help demonstrate how to navigate around the site. In summary, BGG is more or less a giant database that has similar functions to a wiki. Each game gets its own page where users contribute to make the pages as informative as possible.
To the casual user that’s all the site is really good for, finding a little more info about a game that they may have their eye on. And if that’s all you use it for, that ok. But upon further investigation there is a wealth of features to help you dive even deeper into the depths of hobby. It all may seem intimidating at first, interacting with so many experienced users, but you will quickly come to learn that the hobby is mostly full of supportive and inviting individuals. I say mostly because there are the occasional bad eggs, but don’t one bad experience scare you away. Keeping in mind the fact that you will actually be interacting with others let’s talk about how you will appear to others, your Avatar and user profile.
Board Game Geek does the usual Avatar thing like every other online platform. Shocker, right? So have fun finding a GIF or picture that you feel harnesses your inner gamer. Choose carefully though, this is how others will come to recognize you thought the entire site. In addition to an Avatar, you can also add micro-badges to your profile. These are smaller icons that you can use to quickly tell others who you are and what you’re about. For example, I’ve used micro-badges that represent my career, my family, my gaming preferences, and even my religious background. These are a fun way to quickly make connections with other gamers. There are even things called badges and overtext that let you add short phrases to your profile. The possibilities are truly endless.
I failed to mention both the best and worst part of creating and managing your profile. When you first sign up none of these features are available to you. That’s right, you’ve got to unlock these them. How do you unlock them? Simple. With GeekGold. What’s GeekGold? I guess I should back track a little. GeekGold is a mostly useless cyber currency earned freely by all users. Anytime you submit either photos, videos, reviews, etc. you are awarded a couple pieces of shiny GeekGold. Or maybe you write an exceptionally good review, it’s possible for other users with excess GeekGold can tip you to show their appreciation. You can also earn a chunk at annually if you donate some money to help support the site. Once you’ve saved up enough feel free to buy yourself a micro-badge or two for 8 gold a piece. Save up a little more and soon you’ll be able to unlock the option to add an Avatar. It’s nothing fancy but it’s fun to collect a bunch of GeekGold and see if you can put it to good use.
Tell me if this describes you. You got started into the hobby with a game here or there but quickly found yourself purchasing more games than you can consume. Since then many of your so called “favorite games” have been collecting dust since they were last played, two years ago. You clearly can’t justify getting that game you’ve had your eye on for months, when you have all these games just sitting around. Bummer, right? Wrong. Why? Because some fellow gamer out there has that game you want and just so happens to also want one of those dusty games you don’t see hitting the table anytime soon. Well it just so happens you can work out a trade and both parties will be much better off for it. How does this voodoo black magic work? It’s really pretty simple.
In the same area where you can mark a game as “Owned” there are a number of other boxes you can check. Two of these happen to be “For Trade” and “Want in Trade”. Simply mark that games you want, and then go through your collection and mark the ones you’re willing to part with. After that it’s as simple as choosing where you are willing to ship to and BOOM. The site has an algorithm that will look for matches with other gamers and then create a list. After that all you’ve got to do is find a user and prepose a trade. They’ll then receive a GeekMail to which they’ll have 3 days to either accept the offer, decline it, or propose a counter offer. After the 3 days the offer expires. Once an offer is agreed upon you will receive a GeekMail with the address to which you need to send the game. So for the cost of shipping you can get rid of that old game and get a shiny, or not so shiny, new one.
There are a couple of things to keep in mind. It’s always a good idea to ask about the condition of the game to make sure that you’re not disappointed when it shows up with a worn box and missing cards. Next, make sure you disclose any potentially troublesome points regarding the condition of your game, as to not upset the recipient. But ultimately what I believe to be most important is don’t take any shortcuts when shipping the game. Always use sufficient packing materials and pay for sufficient insurance. I can’t tell you haw easy it is for a perfectly good game to show up all banged up and bruised, ruining the trade, when it could have easily been avoided. These are all important tips because once the trade is complete you will have the chance to leave feedback on the other trader, scoring the experience as either “Positive”, “Neutral”, or “Negative”. And if you’re ratio of Positive trades to Negative trades isn’t great odds are you are going to have a hard time getting others to trade with you in the future.
Buying and Selling:
What if you don’t have anything you’re willing to part with, or vice versa, you wanna get rid of a game but don’t really have anything you’re looking for at the moment. Well a trade may not be your best solution. (Enter the Geek Market.) Basically you can list a game for a particular price, stating it’s condition and wait for a taker. Once someone tries to purchase it you will be notified and have a chance to give the added shipping cost so they can pay you in full. This payment will usually come in the from of PayPal transfer. So, it’s best to set an account up before hand if you don’t already have one. Found a game you want to purchase? Cool. The process is just as simple when you are the buyer.
Another cool way to get the best bang for your buck is through what is called Geekbay. Geekbay is a mini forum where users can run auctions. Basically you make a list of games and post starting bids and “buy it now” prices and then turn it over to the masses. Users will come and comment with bids until the predetermined end of the auction. Upon completion the seller will create a listing in the GeekMarket just for you. This is your best bet at finding an out of print game or KS copy of a game, and still get it at the best possible price.
Not everyone has a game store as great as Game Grid with the options to price match, sell used games, and purchase games from others. So if you are willing to deal with the logistical headaches that come with shipping, there are a lot of great ways to manage your collection through my favorite site, Board Game Geek.