Articles · General Gaming

Premium Board Game Service

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A few months ago, Funagain games announced that they would be liquidizing their online store to clear out their warehouses. Many people, myself included jumped on the sales and expressed their condolences that the company seemed to be shutting down, with the exception of their two brick and mortar stores.

Two days ago they came back with announcement that they were not shutting down, not in the way many people thought at least. They decided that their online retail store was not profitable due to competing with companies like Amazon, but they would continue to do two things they had been doing very well. The first was fulfilling Kickstarters. and they plan on adding another warehouse to make shipping faster for anyone in the Continental US. The second part that really interests me, is that they are shifting a focus to selling rare or difficult to find games.

While buying rare board games, one can expect to pay a premium.  However, looking at their current selection of “difficult” to find games, some are at a competitive price point, Others are relatively high in price, and somewhat still readily available at various stores for cheaper. I think that it is their right to have people pay a premium for difficult to find games, but I don’t think that it will appeal to everyone.  However, it is a service that I think could benefit people who are searching for specific difficult to find games.

Many of the games that are being released on their website are only published in another country, or were kickstarters that did not go to brick and mortar retail stores. Personally, it is not a service that I will likely use very often. I have enough games I am interested in that I rarely find a game that I am so passionate about I must have even if it is difficult to find or out of print.  However, if they do release some of the kickstarters they fulfill, I may occasionally purchase something from them. I have frequently missed a Kickstarter and had to search it out at  a later date.  I do think it is a neat idea to have another option for buying these rare items than hoping to find it on Ebay or the Geekmarket.

Overall I think the shift is a positive one. Funagain took a good look at what their strengths were, and where the industry is continuing to head. Competing with major retail stores like Amazon would be extremely difficult. However, seeing that they are improving their fulfillment for the future and offering a service that is not commonly seen across the retail market currently is a step in the right direction towards continuing to expand. I am looking forward to seeing where they go with this, and if it is a service that has a high enough demand to be successful.

What do you think? How to you feel about the switch to selling difficult to find board games? Was it a service the community was in need of?

2 thoughts on “Premium Board Game Service

  1. I think Funagain is struggling to find their place. With stiff competition from coolstuffinc and miniaturemarket, they are behind because their prices were typically higher. Now with their imports or hard to find titles their pricing is agin too high. Buyers may find it cheaper 3rd party in bgg marketplace or ordering online from overseas retailers and still come out ahead. Even when Funagain was operating the way it was in the past i only ordered from them on a rare occasion. So i don’t think they will be successful.
    I dont think their service is really necessary. Miniaturemarket had a whole selection of imports that went on clearance. Part of the fun of finding imports or hard to find titles is the hunt for them. I think many titles will be obtained through trading.

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  2. It might be, though to me it would make more sense to do this on a local level (i.e. while operating as a FLGS).

    Boardom, a game retailer in Canberra, the capital of Australia and my old hometown, used to sell online only (a few gaming friends operated the business from the home of one of them), and had some of the best prices in Australia, but then eventually had to stop because it wasn’t sustainable.

    Now they have said they will only sell to the local Canberra customers, and do personal deliveries or pickups from that same home. But they also want to provide the service of obtaining Kickstarters (which are typically very expensive to ship to Australia) and hard-to-find games.

    My family still lives in Canberra, and so they try to support them as much as possible. It helps that they still have some of the best prices around, and are generally friendly guys!

    It sounds like Funagain would have to corner that niche market, which might be a very tricky thing to do. In my example above, there’s really only one other FLGS in the city, so there’s not that much local competition.

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