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Beware of Counterfeit Board Games

Any person who knows how to type, knows that the internet can be a treasure trove for deals and surprise finds. But of course, as with most things, if it looks and sounds too good to be true, it just might be.

Back before we started selling board games online, like you, we were just trying to find local places that sold the types of games we were looking for. While we're always happy to #shoplocal and #supportsmallbusiness , but sometimes the game we wanted wasn't in stock; or we were looking to stretch our hard-earned dollars just a bit further since we realized we were falling deep into the board game rabbit hole.

Enter Amazon. We all know it, we all love it, and we've all probably bought something from Amazon because we were looking for something really obscure or purely out of convenience. Yes, we bought board games off of Amazon. 


However, we have a love-hate relationship with the e-commerce giant, but it's not for the reason you think.

For the most part, we were lucky with our purchases: all legit, all in good condition. Even after becoming online retailers ourselves, we occasionally checked the prices to get a pulse on what the games are going for in the Amazon marketplace. In time, we noticed lots of people talking about board games that we knew retailed for $50 selling on Amazon for $10-$20 less. We couldn't believe it! What a great deal! But in reading the reviews, we quickly realized that people were being duped.

The super-amazing deal they thought they were getting was on a counterfeit game. Being curious as to whether or not people would be bothered by counterfeits if they could get it cheaper, we dawned the guise of anonymous internet shopper, and intentionally bought games we knew were counterfeit to see how obvious (or not obvious) the differences were.

We could tell right away.

I don't know what we were expecting: maybe to be scrutinizing the artwork for discrepancies in colour, pouring over the instructions to find spelling/grammar mistakes, or trying to notice a difference in the texture of the cards. Nope. We didn't have to go that far. Right away, the box was a different size, and not as saturated in colour as the original. Even if we didn't have a copy of the real game for comparison, after opening it we saw all of the cards had foreign writing on the back. The components were poor, and it felt like it was definitely some off-brand, dollar store purchase.

Sure, it played the same, but because we can appreciate how difficult it is to create a good game, we felt that the money should go to the original creators, not the duplicators.

Recently, we had a friend who was gifted a very obvious, fake version of a critically acclaimed game that was purchased on Amazon. We're certainly not blaming the gift-giver as they had very good intentions, but I imagine it was difficult for our friend to tell them it was a counterfeit.

Another friend, sent a link to us from a popular game-centric website advertising that Amazon currently has some really great deals on popular board games. Although the special-pricing seems to only be in effect on the US site (which tends to have more frequent promotions on board games than in Canada), I still can't help but be a bit skeptical about whether or not people are actually getting legitimate versions at those low, low prices.

If we're all honest with ourselves, our little shop may not be your first choice to buy board games online--but if we are, you have our undying love and we thank you. We truly mean that. But even if you don't buy with us, when you choose to shop with a local, game store they will most likely have an authentic, and will continue to help grow a community of people in the table top hobby. A community that has proven time and again to be full of amazing individuals :)