Apr
16

Review: Is BoardGameExchange.com really Netflix for board games?

 Author ianoble    Category Board Games, Reviews     Tags ,

Board Game ExchangeOver the past few years, the board gaming hobby has become very expensive for someone who wants to stay current with all the releases throughout the year. With games retailing anywhere between $10 to $70, many gamers has to pick and choose the games they want to invest in. That is, unless there was a way to be able to play these games without having to commit to the full purchase price. This is where BoardGameExchange.com comes into the picture.

Full disclosure…I am going to become a partner with Board Game Exchange and although this doesn’t mean that I do not have to pay to use their service, I was able to work out a special deal in exchange for spreading the word about their service. Please note: I am still going to do my best to give my honest opinion of their service. Ok, now that I got that out of the way, I can talk about how everything works and if it is something that you’ll want to look into.

So far I’ve only received the first game in my queue because I have subscribed to the Base plan, but I have spent some time setting up my account, adding my payment and setting up my request list.

Overview of the service

The service is setup much like DVD/video game subscription services like Netflix and GameFly. To get started you simply select a level of subscription, ranging from Gaming Guild [4 out at a time] to Base [1 (or 2 small games) out at a time] and then setup your queue by selecting all the games you would like to receive that are available at your subscription level. At the time I am writing this, you must email the folks at BGX to have them order your list, but they do say that the website will be upgraded soon to allow members to reorder their own queue.

Breakdown of the subscription levels

Gaming Guild
• 4 games a month.
• Access to all 400+ games in the BGX library.
• $39.99/month for 12 months

Gold
• 2 games a month.
• Access to all 400+ games in the BGX library.
• $26.99/month for 12 months

Silver
• 2 game a month
• Access to over 300 games in the BGX library.
• $29.99/month for 6 months

Bridge
• Up to 2 games per month (either one “B1” labeled game or 2 “B2” labeled games)
• Access to 110+ games
• $13.99/month for 2 months

The premise of BGX is very interesting. Some people, however, have questioned if committing to a year of service is worth the price considering with the Gold plan you could possibly purchase 8 large price games (for around $40/game) for the price of having a one year subscription. While this is true, you always run the risk in buying a game that doesn’t live up to your expectations and you’re essentially “stuck” with it, until you can find someone to buy it from you or you can trade it away. With the BGX subscription you can technically rent up to 24 games in that same time period and if you want to keep any of them, you can do so at a reduced rate. Now, they have thought of a way to combine the best of both worlds. If you’ve rented a game that you just really want to keep, all you have to do is email them and they will allow you to purchase the game at a greatly reduced price. They will then simply include the box with the next game on your list.

Some things that still need work

As much as it sounds like I’ve gushed about the service, it is not for everyone and does have faults. First and foremost, many people will be turned off by the fact that you have to commit to a year for the Gaming Guild & Gold plans and 6 months for Silver plan. This means that as soon as you sign up you are on the hook for a year’s worth of subscription fees. That is a good chunk of change to plunk down without even getting anything in return just yet. But they say that this is the only cost effective way of being able to absorb all of the shipping costs associated with sending out so many games all over the country. Granted, the games do not ship with their original boxes, but some games still have heavy components or very large boards that are not cheap to pack and ship.

The other issue is that some people just might not play games frequent enough to justify paying a month charge for games. Personally I would love to play games every day and try as many different as I can, but that’s just not realistic. If I’m lucky I will get 2 game nights in a month and a few 2 player nights with my fiancée here and there. But I already have plenty of games to fulfill that amount of time at the table.

Pros:

Very large selection of games available
Game listings have a lot of detail
The library is categorized very thoroughly
A wide array of pricing options, to accommodate any level of gamer
New games added monthly
Give you the option to purchase the game at a reduced price

Cons:

Text can be hard to read with the chessboard background
Some font inconsistencies throughout the site. A few pages have a generic “Times New Roman” font (looks unfinished)
The site does not have a fully functioning queue, yet. The only way to reorder your request list is through email.


3 Comments to “Review: Is BoardGameExchange.com really Netflix for board games?”

  • Ben April 20, 2011 at 8:29 am

    I enjoyed their service. Unfortunately at 4 games a month you can run out of games you want to play on your queue quickly. They have taken steps to remedy this by bulking up their collection. This is a great service, props to them for having a great idea!!

  • David Muta April 20, 2011 at 9:46 am

    Ian,

    Thank you for the great writeup, we’ll attach a link to your site on our website as well. If anyone reads this and has questions, I will happily answer them.

    Email Me at

    service@boardgameexchange.com

    Thank You,

    David

  • Joe Kremer April 20, 2011 at 12:46 pm

    David,

    BGX is the best thing I have found in a long time. Thanks for giving the world this amazing board gaming resource!

    Joe

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