Mark Johnson's occasional & opinionated podcast about family strategy boardgames

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

BGTG 57 - April 30, 2006 - Ordering Overseas

Here's a shorter show that I've wanted to do for a while, talking about how I've ordered games from overseas. Up until just recently that always meant Germany--albeit from a few different webshops--but last week I placed an order through a Dutch website, too. I organize most of these group buys for the Santa Clarita Boardgamers, and there's something to learn from it. The websites are getting more and more English content, but there are times you still need to keep an online translator open in another browser window. I found it intimidating at first, but now it's pretty easy.

However, now we don't order overseas so often. A poor currency exchange rate between the US$ and Euro, combined with greater domestic inventory of timely English-language editions of German games (often at discounted prices and cheap-or-free shipping) means the overseas order is more specialized. While there's no longer much reason to buy new games from the major publishers overseas, there are still some closeouts, OOPs, or untranslated games from smaller publishers that are most economically ordered from Europe.

Something I neglected to point out in the podcast is that the closeout pricelist for these European stores changes throughout the year, especially shortly after Essen. During my one trip there in 2003 I struggled to make room in my suitcase for an 11 Euro copy of Giganten. There were lots of those available at the fair. Then when I got home I watched multiple online vendors put the same game on their discount list, at about the same price. So I could've nabbed my "Essen special" just be shopping the lists from home! This opportunity doesn't always happen, but it's worth keeping your eye out for it.

One other thing about the VAT discount. Most shops give you the discount during the ordering or payment process. It might not be until the very end, though. Also, the Dutch store I've just used gave me back the VAT discount as a PayPal refund after I'd placed the full-price order (something they clearly explained upfront). And there was one time that a AllGames4You forgot to give me the discount at all, but they made good on it after an email exchange.


Adam Spielt (German) (German)
AllGames4You (German)
Magnus Spiele (German)
Jocade (French)
Au Coin du Jeu (French)
Bestel een Spel (Dutch)
Le Valet d'Coeur (French Canadian)
One of my game order spreadsheets


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Great show.

Note that some US mail order shops (BoardsAndBits etc) will insure if you ask them. I wonder if the German stores will do the same?

4:26 PM  
Blogger Game Over said...

I have done a couple of orders through to New Zealand and found that they weren't as quick to respond to emails as US mailorder companies. They took several days to respond whereas I had been used to replies the next day.

Also I found the inability to track my shipment very frustrating. With USPS I am able to see where my package is at every step.

New Zealand has a Goods and Services Tax of 12.5% payable on any imports but if the total of GST is less than $50 they don't bother charging you. This means you need to keep the cost of your order (including freight) under NZ$400.

A year ago I could get my games from the US for nearly half local retail price. Now however it is really not worth the effort as local retail prices are much closer once freight is taken into account.

6:55 PM  
Blogger ekted said...

My credit card company has something called Virtual Credit Card Numbers. I login to my account on their site, and generate a unique one-time VCC# with a fixed dollar amount and an expiration time. This number can only be used once, and only until it expires. This provides a lot of extra security if you worry that your real CC# might be floating around electronically or on paper. Of course, you can't use this if the retailer requires that you setup a fixed CC# in your account, unless they also let you edit it before each order.

11:38 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You can also buy a prepaid credit card. They cost about $10, but the upside is that it can't effect your credit rating and they can only drain what you have in there. Plus, the "you're only responsible for the first $50" rules apply.

5:51 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

We've been trying to export our game, BuddhaWheel, to the US and I have to agree that its quite difficult with lots of hidden costs. I know quite a few people who wait to visit us in person and then use their suitcases to bring it back with them. I can imagine people needing keen eyes to get the games they want while they are around in their country!

3:36 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

i live in india and this is the first show i am listening to of yours. nice detailed show. just wanted to add about ordering through boardgamegeek. my first order from outside india (we do not get any of what u r talking abt here!) was thru a seller on bgg called 'robbirob' in germany. it was a clean transaction and he did offer insurance also which was very very good and easy on the mind. i think there r a few more such sellers on bgg and their prices on some of the games are comparable to american online store also. and they quote in us dollars too.

3:08 AM  

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