Fueling the Habit #1: FLGS or Online??


Hey guys-

So, we’ve all got these….well….needs.  You know what I’m talking about.  I mean, you do…right?  Right?  ‘Course ya do…everyone has these urges at one time or another.  It’s merely human  nature.  For me, it’s daily.   I don’t get it everyday, but damn if I don’t think about it.  I gotta have it.  I must…I got a fever, and the only prescription is….

More X-Wing Miniatures


Awwwww yeah, Geek Needs.  Some people it’s clever geek-themed t-shirts, others it’s video game systems so old they’re considered antiques.  But damn is it expensive…I mean, you could put your responsibilities and obligations to the wayside, but I feel like most of us are too responsible.  It’s not like we’re drug addicts, right?

Y’all got any…X-Wings?!? I mean..uh, Crack?!?!

Yeah…let’s not make that comparison.  In Fueling the Habit, we’re gonna talk specifically about the economics of gaming.  How to get deals and where to find them, as well as easy ways to get extra cash.  All with a geek colored bow on top…awww yeah!

Anyway, let’s talk about board gaming.  For me, most of my recent experience is coming from X-Wing, which isn’t cheap.  I mean, it is compared to Warmachine or Warhammer 40k, but still, you’re going to have to set aside a budget.

When making any sort of purchase, what’s the smartest thing to do?  Shop around for the best price.!  With board games, however, this isn’t such a simple question to answer.  Most of you savvy shoppers know you can get good prices online; Amazon.com is always a go-to, but the most rock-bottom prices are found at CoolStuffInc or Miniature Market.

Amazon has good deals and that excellent Prime subscription that can net you free shipping, and the CSI/MM stores can usually net you 20-30% retail.  Additionally, most places have a bulk shipping deal; usually if you order $100 worth of merch’ you can opt for free (albeit slow) shipping.

Brick and Mortar game stores straight-up can’t compete.  For X-Wing, the standard price is $15 per expansion pack, but look online and you can find it for $10.  Same goes for almost anything board game related: new and old boxed games, expansions, accessories all for super cheap.  Now, the scumbag deal skimmer part of your personality may be licking his/her chops saying “Deals?  Yessss…there is no downside here!” with a flick of your forked tongue.


It’s not so simple, though.  I’m going to make a bold claim here…without your Favorite Local Game Store (FLGS for short!), there would be no board games to buy!!  Hear me out; your FLGS isn’t a storefront, it’s a community hub.  Take Magic the Gathering (MtG) for instance, it owes much of it’s success to it’s competitive scene.  People spend a lot of money to make a tournament level deck, as well as spending time training and skirmishing.  There are even draft events where people get together and pass around blind booster packs.  The same argument applies to 40k or Netrunner.  X-Wing, my bread and butter, only sells their “Game Night” kits to retailers.  These kits are the only way of scoring coveted acrylic tokens or alternate art pilot and upgrade cards.  Game Night or Organized Play events happen at game stores…you ever try playing X-Wing in “public?”  Yeah…good luck with that.

Essentially, if you kill the game store, you kill the competitive scene, which in turns kills interest in the game.  Killing interest in the game kills the demand, which then kills the supply.  Game companies may even put a game out of print due to low sales.  Wow…that’s a lot of killing.  The point is, any board gamer has a vested interest in keeping their FLGS alive.

But how do you resist the temptation?  I’m not going to lie…I’ve done it.  I’ve bought online.  I’m guilty!  I’m not trying to shame anyone who has…everyone’s on a budget and there’s not always room for plastic crack.

suck yo dick
You got any Y-Wiiiiings?? Man, I got these cheeseburgers!!!!

That, and if you’re a casual gamer, you may be providing ships for your entire gaming group  to play in your garage.  Maybe you work odd and long hours and can’t make it in to catch a new release, let alone play in their events.  To some people, it just makes more sense to shop online and that’s ok; there’s no obligation to support a business that you have no connection with.

Hey Cody C, I thought we were talkin’ dealz, not ethics?!?!  Ok, let’s talk about  ways your FLGS might find to bring games to you cheaper.  First, there’s sales.  Many stores will have sales on important dates; probably not Christmas time because that’s their biggest time of year, but try Black Friday, Labor/Memorial Day, store specific events (like anniversaries) or days important to your specific game.  Star Wars has May the 4th (be with you!) and Revenge of the 5th, for example.  Also, most game stores accept trade-ins and should have a healthy used section (though all the good stuff gets pilfered pretty quick).  Lastly, get to know your store owner.  Board game stores are small businesses almost by definition and always open to building their communities.  Of course, don’t come in and say “hey I want discount” but after establishing that you’re a regular customer, you can find creative ways to work together.  Large bulk orders or volunteering time to be a Tournament Organizer could net you some discounts if the store owner is open to it.

In future entries of “Fueling the Habit” we’ll get a little more specific and creative.  My X-wing collection is fairly sizable and believe me, I had to work hard to do it.  But we’ll keep it short(ish) today.

Another classic for Direman Press! Click for more!

Also, I hate to pull a move from another website, but here it goes:

TL,DR: You can really stretch your buck by buying online (which is OK), but doing so exclusively may backfire and kill your game.  By supporting your FLGS, you help keep the game industry strong, but can still score some deals if you look at the right time!  Also, if you play a collectible minis game, you’re essentially a drug addict.

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