2009 Online Australian Retailers List & Price Comparison Guide
This list compares the prices of 20 popular games at 13 different retailers (prices current as of the end of October, 2009). I've made a separate list entry for every retailer so that you can share any experiences/remarks regarding any retailer on the list. Please post your comments, or else give them a thumb if you'd recommend them. I've also included some other online retailers who don't stock many euro games, but specialize in war games, children's games, or other specialty games.
Price Comparison Guide
Image link for chart: http://www.boardgamegeek.com/image/606043?size=large
1. All prices and information are subject to change, since prices are accurate as of the end of October, 2009. I will not be updating the amounts in the chart except in the case of an accidental or blatant error. Disclaimer: Every effort has been made to get accurate and up-to-date information (including a personal email to each retailer listed here, to which many did not reply), but I cannot guarantee that actual purchases will duplicate the amounts shown here in every respect, or that every item is in stock.
2. To indicate relative prices of each game for the purposes of comparison, I've used a colour scale: green indicates the cheapest prices, red indicates the most expensive prices, and a sliding scale of yellow and orange for intermediate prices.
3. Retailers are arranged from left to right based on their overall price value, from cheapest to most expensive. To determine this, at the bottom of each list, I've compared the cost of a "New Gamers Bundle" - i.e. an imaginary order of ten carefully selected high quality and popular games (Bohnanza, Carcassonne, Dominion, Lost Cities, Puerto Rico, Race for the Galaxy, Settlers of Catan, Stone Age, Ticket to Ride, Tigris & Euphrates).
4. Games Paradise offers a 5% discount coupon code to all newsletter subscribers, and freely gives this coupon upon request, but I have only included this discount in the calculation for the final cost of a shipped new gamers bundle.
5. This list is strictly about retailers that sell online, so brick and mortar stores without an online retail arm are not included.
6. Popular does not necessarily mean best. Some of these online retailers are well established and well known (e.g. Unhalfbricking, Milsims, Games Paradise), but some of the lesser known or newer online retailers offer competitive prices and may well be worth considering.
Ratings: My initial overall ratings are subjective, and I'm happy to receive suggestions for revising this assessment. In fact, eight of the online retailers on the list are very competitively priced, and the price on a total order of a New Gamers Bundle varies within a range of only 10%! If we include selection and stock as well as price, several retailers do seem to be slightly ahead of others, but all the retailers in the first two categories appear to merit consideration:
Top retailers: Unhalfbricking, Milsims, Tin Soldier, Games Paradise, All About Games - All these retailers have good selection and prices, and are the ones you'll usually find mentioned most often on BGG. Milsims and Games Paradise have the best selection, while Unhalfbricking and Tin Soldier have the best prices. Games Paradise's prices are slightly higher, but when using their free monthly coupon for 5% off, their final prices become comparable to the others in this category, and they also have free shipping at a lower threshhold. Prices are often cheapest at the Tin Soldier, but this evens out as a result of their higher shipping costs on orders of $100 - even so they might be a good option if buying just one game. All About Games is a new kid on the block that has competitive prices and a reasonable selection.
Other recommended retailers: Best Games, Seropeco, Games Empire - These retailers could make good alternatives to the more well known retailers listed above. Their selection isn't always as solid as the retailers in the three star category, but in selected instances they have great prices and a decent range of euro games.
Other retailers: The Games Shop, Games World, Mind Games - In some instances these are merely extensions of their brick and mortar stores, so not surprisingly these retailers aren't as competitive price wise. Mind Games does have a good selection, however, and were also very responsive via email. If it's service you're looking for, or a local store with an online catalogue, don't rule these retailers out.
Specialty retailers: Good Games, Caterpillar Games, Games From Everywhere, War Chest - These retailers don't attempt to compete with those carrying a large selection of euro games, but deserve special mention for specializing in trading card games, children's games, classic wooden games, or war games respectively.
Unrated retailers: Imagine Sanctuary, Boardacious Games and Puzzles, Alternative Games - Imagine Sanctuary will be closing down shortly, so some very good deals can be had as they clear the remainder of their stock. The other two retailers in this category don't seem very active at present, but are mentioned in order to keep this list comprehensive.
Your input: Obviously there are other considerations that you'll need to consider when deciding where to buy your games - this comparison chart only deals with price, and doesn't address other important things like quality of customer service and communication, speed of shipping, overall selection and range of products, and how well stocked the retailer is. For this, I'll need to rely on input from others, so please share any comments or experiences that you have!
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