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Why Do Board Games Go Out of Print?

why do board games go out of print

Board games go out of print due to conservative production, company closure, or simply a decrease in demand, your search for iconic games may require some strategy of its own.

There are a host of reasons that decades-old popular board games go out of print. These range from classic and unique editions to newer board games, whose production has only recently halted. Finding a cherished board game can be a challenge in itself.

However, there continues to be board game resources and various places to look for rare copies of winning board games. We recommend you take your search to online communities such as trading sites and specialized stores, social media and online gaming communities, or even yard sales and thrift stores.

Read on for insight into why successful board games go out of print and how you can still find these rare editions.

Why Do Popular Board Games Go Out of Print?

Unlike books or trading cards, the printing of board games is not continuous. They are usually made in batches according to the publisher’s request. Uncertain levels of demand mean that a company will lean on the side of underproducing so that they do not put their business at risk.

The challenging and longer-term nature of Board game Printing, shipping and retail, means that companies may have moved on to other projects before demands for a game increase.  Many games from the 70s, 80s and 90s have discontinued this way.

Many board game lines cease due to company closure, merge or take-over. Twixt was a two-player strategy board game created in 1960s by 3M. The game was discontinued after the company – already reacquired by Avalon Hill – was taken over by parent company Hasbro in 1998.

Where Can I Find Out of Print Board Games?

Movie or book theme trends rise and fall, and any short-term craze will often come to an end after a couple of years. For example, the card-game adventure, Star Wars: The Queen’s Gambit is no longer in print though it was wildly popular around the 2000’s Star Wars movie boom.

However, a halt in production may not be the end of the story for a popular boardgame. Companies will often reprint certain editions if demand once again increases and popularity revives. Having said that, it is best to get a great game while it is on sale, particularly if it is made by a small producer.

If you are late to the game, there will still be several sources where you can snatch up original editions of the board games you love and remember well.

Specialized Board Game Stores

You should know that certain companies specialize in new and out of print board games, one such being Noble Knight. Saving no expenses, their site inventory displays only in-stock items, with the option to make a special request to see if your desired game is available. Expect a rate hike when purchasing from specialized stores, though you can often trust to find an edition of the game you are searching for.

Community Websites and Hubs

Other sites and communities of keen gamers are great for providing a resourcing and trading platform where you can search for a specific board game. BoardGameGeek is one such site, with its own completely free-to-use storefront. And if you are not concerned with purchasing brand new, the site Boardgameco is a venue to find used board games at much lower prices.

In a similar vein, take your search to used book stores or phone your local gaming stores. Out of print does not necessarily mean out of retail, and it is often possible that such storefronts still sell certain board games you may be after.

Household Treasures

Don’t forget to search out local newspaper’s, thrift stores or yard sales for older board games. Often classics are held onto and passed on to younger generations, in families who may be unknowing of their value, to be put on sale along with other second-hand items. You never know if some rare finds might even be hiding in your own or a family member’s attic!

Gamers Conventions

Boardgame or math conventions are a mainstay for smaller publishers to release minor reprints of unique games. By attending and asking at relevant booths, you might stumble across rare, out of print games, or at least get in contact with other gamers who could recommend solid resources. Be on the lookout for flea markets at a convention, that might have some of those older, iconic games at second hand prices.

Social Media and Facebook Groups

There are countless individuals and groups with a presence on social media sites such as Facebook, who bring together communities of gamers and often present a marketplace for out-of-print board games. Search for Buy and Sell groups in your local area, or the specific game you are seeking, and post enquiries on the platform to see if anyone is selling. Other social media hubs such as Twitter or Craigslist are alternative options.

Final Thoughts

For all sorts of reasons, whether it be company closure, the challenging demands of printing, or an end to a thematic craze, once-popular board games do tend to go out of print. But you can be assured that if you are keen to find a specific rarity, there are others who have played and loved the same game.

Many of the cherished classic board games of old, such as the empire-building Civilization, or the cruise tour card-game Atlantic Star, are no longer being printed for the masses. Even so, don’t be in a rush to lock your pleasant childhood game-playing memories away. From specialized stores and game geek sites, to private auctions or yard sales, there are several ways you can still find out of print games. Try a few of these suggestions in your search for cherished copies, new or opened and well-loved.

Reprints of older games are always possible, so stay tuned on gaming forums and group hubs such news. We can only wait and keep our fingers crossed that out-of-print board games make a comeback and companies begin reprinting.

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