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Board Game Collector

How to Become a Board Game Collector (and Make Money)

Discovering the joy of family board games is something that comes to us all at some point in our lives. For some, however, the hobby turns into a life-long passion and collecting board games becomes a pursuit in itself.

There are many reasons why one might want to become a board game collector. For some it’s the sheer joy of ownership, for others it’s the opportunity to play games frequently, and for some, it’s an investment – a bit like owning art or books. Whatever the reason, if you’re toying with the idea of being a board game collector, here’s some knowledge that will help set you on the right path.

How much are Family Board Games worth?

Now, whether you are into hobby collecting for the pleasure of it, or for the financials, it can certainly be a lucrative investment – that’s, if you know what you’re looking for. Along with high-quality board games, you need to look at limited (and early edition) runs, and highly sought-after items. Their condition is highly important – the more preserved with pieces, instructions and original packaging, the greater the value. To give you a quick idea of what you can expect, here are just some examples of rare family board games, and their worth today:

  • The Elvis Presley Game (1957) – due to its limited run, you can expect up to £1,684 for those in mint condition
  • Dark Tower (1981) – This was a cult game in its time and a ground-breaking item. While it’s unlikely to find one in original working order, it can still fetch up to £783.
  • Monopoly – there are many editions, but if you have one of the early versions in good condition, you can get £470 if not more for it.

Understand your purpose

Becoming a hobbyist collector of any goods requires dedication, passion and a huge investment of time, money and resources. So, before you set off on this journey, it’s important to understand why you’re doing it. If you’re collecting family board games to play with others, then how do you plan to do this? Alternatively, if you’re collecting for posterity or as an investment, then you’ll need to understand what makes some games more valuable than others, and where to find them.

Another consideration is what you collect. Will it be everything and anything, will it be family board games with word search like Scrabble, or a specific theme or category? Knowing your objective before you even start will help refine your search and set you on the right path.

Research the market

Whatever your motivation, board game collecting begins with researching the market. Take the time to find out the best family board games of all time, and the top 10 family board games in the category, or theme you’re interested in. The web is a great place to start, but there’s also numerous conventions and events that serious gamers attend up and down the country, like; UK Games Expo, Griffcon and Tabletop Scotland. These provide a hotbed of information, exchanges and board game opportunities with other like-minded individuals.

Set your budget

Being a dedicated collector is a costly business, so you’ll want to plan and budget accordingly. The average price of a top family board game UK is between £15-35, however, vintage and limited editions can reach much higher amounts. Take for instance the popular game of Ludo – a vintage version of this can start from £18 upwards, whilst rare board games like Escalado can reach up to £145 in auctions. You’ll also need a keen eye to look out for new exclusive games, for instance, the Limited Edition version of Football Billionaire is one of the new board games, and is currently available for £29.95 on Amazon.

Tell friends and family

When you decide to start collecting family board games seriously, it pays to tell those around you. This way they can support your hobby by buying you extras, add-on sets and even board games for your birthday and Christmas. There’s even the option to add all your favourite family board games to Amazon and create your own Wish List that friends and family can access.

Know your niche

Not always, but in many cases of board game collecting, enthusiasts will hone in on a niche. This allows you to become an expert in an area and refine your search. If this appeals to you, think about what excites you most. For instance, it could be ‘parlour’ games like Game of Life, quirky games like Throw Throw Burrito, or it might be something strategic like Catan, or maybe family board games with word search like Boggle.

6Get serious about care and storage

Hand-in-hand with collecting comes storage. Items will need to be kept in tip-top shape, in a dust-free damp-free environment. In some cases you might even want to create a temperature-controlled environment to prevent any damage. If storing items at home, you may want to invest in specialist storage boxes for your games, or even consider a warehouse if it gets to a sizeable scale. It’s important to take good care of your games because they are a long-term investment. It may take years, maybe even decades, for games to become valuable. To that end, if you are collecting as a form of investment, you’ll need to keep board games in original packaging, which includes film covers and store receipts too.

Visit thrift stores, charity and vintage shops

Some of the best family board games of all time enjoy limited runs or had early editions. These aren’t always easy to find or get hold of, so you’re going to have to be forensic in your search. That means visiting thrift stores and charity shops, board game markets and toy shops, as well as vintage shops and boot sales. The exciting thing is that you never know what treats lie ahead, but in order to bag a bargain you’ll have to swot up and know your stuff.

Sign-up for new board game alerts

The family board game community is large and welcoming. You will find several different websites, Facebook groups and communities online that you can join and be part of. Join as many as you can, get to know others in the community and sign-up to newsletters. It’s really a great way of keeping your foot in the door and knowing what is trending at the moment.

Look at the detail

Once you become immersed in the board game community, you’ll know what to look out for. This is also why it’s helpful to become an expert in your genre, as it will help you hone in on certain features. Generally speaking, however, you’ll want to invest in high-quality family board games, and those that have well-designed packaging and products. Experts suggest looking for family board games that are built to last and offer a fun experience. At the same time, it’s always good to keep your eyes open for out-of-print games that can no longer be bought on the high street.

Trade and swap

Another benefit of joining the board game community is having other people to trade with and swap. This will really help you to expand your collection, and do so without spending too much money. These fanatics can be found in a host of places, especially online platforms and local gaming groups, be sure to look out for them.

Be in it for the long-haul

Much like art, or collecting of any kind, collecting board games is an endurance in itself. You need to be prepared that your initial investments may take years to yield.

Case in hand, in March 2017 an original copy of the popular family board game ‘Diplomacy’ went for sale on eBay. Notably, it had some remarkable qualities. First of all, it was an original copy of the 1959 game, and it was in the first edition print run, of which there are only 500 copies in existence. To top it off, it belonged to Allan B Calhamer – the inventor of the game! All this combined meant that the family board game, which originally sold for $7, made a profit of $5,234! However, remember that this was a 58-year investment, was in pristine condition and had a unique limited-edition angle to it.

Be passionate

The final point is probably the most important too. If you’re going to become a board game collector, be sure to be passionate about it. Not only do you need this to be motivated and interested in the game community, but you’ll need it for the long haul. Becoming a collector of any type requires some deep-rooted interest or fascination in the product, because as any investor will tell you – you should always buy what you like. That way, even if it doesn’t make you money, or fulfil your expectations, you still have an item that’s valuable to you. On that note, some of the best family board games experts flag up to start investing in today include; Ticket to Ride, King of Tokyo and the fun card game of Sushi Go!