What To Look For On Small Business Saturday – Board Games
Photo by Andrew Toth/Getty Images for Hilton Garden Inn
If you’re reading this, let me first congratulate you on surviving Black Friday. You’ve braved the seas of people trying to save a few hundred bucks around the holidays. You managed not to be trampled, shot, stabbed, or otherwise maimed during this most joyous time of year. But alas, the four day shopping weekend is not over. With Black Friday in the books, we now turn our attention to Small Business Saturday.
Small Business Saturday started a number of years ago as many local businesses realized it was nigh impossible to compete with the major names in terms of advertising on Black Friday. And so, Small Business Saturday began to gain traction. Here’s some things to pick up tomorrow.
We’ll be focusing a lot here on things that make sense to see and touch before you buy. Board Games is a big one for Small Business Saturday. Having worked in a game shop for 4 years, I’ve got a lot of thoughts on what games to buy. Here’s some tips and tricks.
- Bad games don’t get expansions. If you’re wondering if a board game is good, look around to see if it has any expansion packs or sequels. Board gaming is a very word of mouth industry, and thus bad games do not get sequels or expansions. Games that have many however, generally do so because lots of people like it.
- Support your local game store. Yes, you will frequently be able to find it cheaper on Amazon. No, they are not going to price match. Take it from someone who worked there and saw the margins, it’s impossible to compete on price alone. But if you go in and an employee takes the time to help you find the game that is perfect, please give them the sale. If they have a gaming space and invite the community in to play, please give them the sale. It’s important to the survival of hobbies that there be a place to play and talk about it.
- While employees in local game stores should be trained to seek out and help people this time of year, they also know that seasoned board gamers don’t like to be pandered to. If you have questions, approach an employee and ask. If they don’t know the answer, they can look it up for you and will generally be happy to do so.
- Board games are a huge market right now and there are games designed for all sorts of people. Children, adults, new gamers, experienced veterans. Do not buy Twilight Imperium for a first time gamer, it’s not going to work out well. Assess who you’re buying for, and ask an employee to recommend a game in that range.
Lastly, I’m going to give a few quick recommendations for great board games that almost anyone would like.
Betrayal At House On The Hill – A great game for 3-6 players. Players construct a haunted house as they explore, accumulating items and tokens. Eventually, one player will be instructed to betray the rest of the group and both sides will be given a new set of win conditions. Tons of fun with tons of replayability. Expect to pay between 50 and 60 dollars for the base game.
Dominion – I love this game. They say it’s for 3 to 5 players, but I’ve played anywhere from 2-10 players with enough expansions. Using the provided cards, players will take turns constructing a deck. Using that deck, they will generate money to buy more cards or to buy victory points. Whoever has the most victory points at the end of the game wins. Expect to pay between 50 and 60 dollars for the base set, and 40 dollars for most expansions. Some stores will also carry the big box version which has the core game and two expansions for 100 dollars. Grab it if you can.
We Didn’t Playtest This At All- This is a great game for a bunch of players and it can be bought cheap. It’s a card game where each player is dealt a hand of cards and simply has to draw a card and play a card every turn. The fun lies in that the cards are ludicrously broken and silly. Don’t take this game seriously, just have fun. Expect to pay between 15 and 20 dollars.
Boss Monster – This is one of my favorites. Players play as the boss monster of a dungeon. Their goal is to construct a dungeon that will trap the hero. Place treasure to entice adventurers to try and brave your catacombs, but be careful, powerful heroes may look to slay the boss monster. That’s you! Expect to pay between 25 and 35 dollars.