How to Find Out of Print Games

Or parts thereto

These comments copyright 1998 by Steffan O'Sullivan
This page last updated February 16, 2002

I'm frequently asked how to find such-and-such a game that is now out of print - or at least the rules to it, or parts from it, or whatever.

I'm no expert on this subject, alas. I tend to stumble on out-of-print games accidentally myself, at yard sales or thrift shops. The few I've actually managed to hunt down (rather than stumble across) came from one of the following techniques, so I offer them to you.

Try this first: In the "QuickSearch" box, type in the game name, or just part of it. Look down to "Users trading this game" and click on the number if it's greater than zero. You can email the owners to inquire about buying the game from them. Or simply check the "BGG Marketplace" listed in the sidebar.

[Note: I believe you have to register with boardgamegeek to send email. This is free and painless and you'll never get spam from it. If you like boardgames, you want to register and be a regular user - best boardgaming site on the web!]


Some of the ways I've found out-of-print games involve the following newsgroups. You have to pick the most appropriate for your needs. You may even need a newsgroup other than the four listed below - these are simply the ones I've used in the past:

Three methods using newsgroups I've used in the past to locate out-of-print games are:

  1. Read the appropriate newsgroup daily, searching all text for the name of the game (my newsreader allows me to search more than just subject lines),
  2. Post a message to the appropriate newsgroup.
    • Use a very clear subject, such as WANTED: Deluxe Scrabble or WTB: Park & Shop, 1950s. (WTB = Want to Buy.)
    • Post the same message about once every six months until you get a reply. I got one game after three years of this technique, and another after about five years ... and one after just one post! So you never know, but persistence pays off.
  3. Go to Dejanews (now owned by google), type in the game name in the search field, then limit the search (in the Newsgroup field) to (or other appropriate newsgroup). Contact people who were selling it in the not-too-distant past, see if it's still available.

Other Methods

For wargames, you can try ConsimWorld. Check the Marketplace forum. You can read ConsimWorld posts with guest access, but to post a "Wanted to buy" message yourself will require you to register (it's free and painless and if you're a wargamer you want to be a member).

Then there's the eBay auction site. I've bought a couple of games there, but it can be expensive if you're not careful. So determine exactly how much you're willing to spend on an item and be very strict in not going over that price or you'll spend more than you bargained for. Most items will come up again - search once a week or so rather than pay too much now.

You could try my friend Stephen Tavener who's an honest dealer in used games and a good guy. Shipping from the UK might get expensive, though.

That's really it - I don't know of any magic source who sells every old game ever printed, though you might find something close enough for your needs on the web if you look hard enough. Other people have mentioned other web-based auction sites and other used-games dealers, but I haven't used them so can't comment. I'm sure the other dealers read (mentioned above), so posting there should get their attention.

Good luck!

Back to SOS' Gameviews
Back to Steffan O'Sullivan's Home Page