A while ago, when a 'friend' suggested thrifting was fun and a good way to sometimes find some interesting games, but I was skeptical. Well, at some point I decided to go. I felt a bit anxious going in - thrift stores had a sort of stigma in my mind for some reason that it was all just junk. I'm not sure why because my grandfather used to go all the time - he was a machinist and found all sorts of interesting things...I guess I never really realized that back then as a kid, but he got all sorts of expensive tools and machinery for a bargain, plus he could fix broken stuff most times so probably some REALLY good deals as a result.
Anyhow, I don't remember specifically the first time going, but I did find my first thrift list post:
Item for Geeklist "Your Thrift Store / Bargain 6 - 12 December 2010" - Clue with the painted miniature figures (instead of dumb pawns like in the version I had as a kid) for the unbelievable bargain of $1.99!
Also, I posted from the same trip a Netrunner starter pack SEALED for $1.00 (Item for Geeklist "Your Thrift Store / Bargain 6 - 12 December 2010" ). This was before the reprint so it was a really great find (well, still is, but perhaps not as valuable now)
And a 1960's double deck of standard cards but with really nifty Native Amercan/Asian inspired artwork by Heraclio Fournier Vitoria for $0.99 (Item for Geeklist "Your Thrift Store / Bargain 6 - 12 December 2010" )
Pretty neat stuff!
I'm pretty sure those weren't my first finds though. At first I didn't really record/post what I found but I'm pretty sure prior to those posts I'd actually found a variety of other games, nothing hugely exciting, but stuff I was interested in at least and it was all cheap!
Anyhow, it was all very intoxicating and I bought a lot of stuff I didn't really need or want, so I learned after a while I couldn't buy EVERYTHING. I also came to realize later that for some reason, the area I live in is a hotbed of thrifting goodness attributed to the Pacific Northwest in terms of games - other areas of the US are not so fruitful unfortunately. But when you have a lot of choices it is easy to go overboard, at least at first...
Eventually, I learned to 'pick and choose'. Ok, that's a relative term - I still tend to pick up stuff I have no idea what I'm going to do with it.
Fortunately, some games I can re-sell for a tidy profit which helps fund future thrift purchases and nets me a lot of 'free' games when factoring in what $ I get out of some games. So, what games have I sold?
My best deal was buying Crossbows and Catapults for ~$2.99 and selling it a year later (after playing with it first) for ~$180! Nothing else has garnered that much, but other stuff has done really well such as Heroquest and one of its expansions, Civilization (mostly unpunched), For Sale (in shrink), Qwirkle, Smess, Scrabble Deluxe turntable, vintage Bridge boards, Survive and more!
On the other hand, many have become keepers such as Sid Meier's Civiliation, Star Wars Epic Duels, Heroscape, Netrunner, 10 Days in the USA & Africa, Trans Europa, Pit(various versions), Scrutineyes, Big Boggle.
But many, MANY games have just piled up and piled up. I am drawn to many games for a variety of reasons if not for monetary value. Sometimes it is nostalgia, sometimes it looks like fun to try, sometimes it is the artwork or the look, sometimes uniqueness (it isn't in the BGG database or needs more pictures) and sometimes it is 'just for the cool bits'
All those different varieties of Monopoly that most gamers pass on? I often look at the different versions to see if they have interesting pewter movers, different house pieces, interesting artwork, etc. Those movers can really be appealing and interesting. Lets just say I have my fair share of them now. More than I care to admit.
But now I have lots of 'cool bits'. And dice. I have LOTS of various bits. I SWEAR they will be useful. Someday.
I've filled up a jar with a wide variety of dice (and have many more lying around). Its pretty neat to look at. And the kids always want to play with them...........
Luckily I have some space in the garage to keep the thrifted games. And, I have also purchased organizer units to store all the cool bits. One was given to us for free, but one I purchased. Ironically, it was not thrifted (although it wasn't too expensive either)
Those piles of games and bits get a bit overwhelming sometimes and I wonder if its worth it. I really enjoy the hunt of thrifting and finding some great treasures, sometimes by sheer luck (instinct?) other times because I've read up on what is valuable and what isn't. I think its that joy that keeps me going back - finding something amazing, or even anticipating finding something regardless of if I actually do or not. Perhaps its the caveman in me - hunting for that big prey...
I also enjoy reading the thrift lists and seeing what other people have picked up - they find really interesting games and great deals on some amazing games. For those that don't know, there is a new list posted each week that starts Monday and runs through Sunday - the most recent is here: Your Thrift Store/Bargain Finds 9 - 15 December 2013 (or do a search for 'thrift list' under geeklists to find the most recent).
I never have time to read through much of the list - I usually just 'look' over items near the items I've posted when I find stuff.
Hmmmmm, this has got me thinking so I'm curious to know how many people go to thrift stores looking for games themselves and, if they do, do they post them to the thrift lists here on BGG?
Perhaps a POLL is in order. Please take a moment if you are so inclined (and post a comment for some of the 'other' items if you want - or to give an idea of what/why if you don't want to take the poll).