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Fine Games for Players & Collectors,   2078 Madrona St., North Bend, OR  97459-2143  USA
(541) 756-4711  10am-9pm PST(-8 GMT),   email: 

Fine Games' Update Newsletter,  20 November, 2014

It's that time again: time for Fine Games' biggest & best sale of the year, our Annual Clearance Sale. This year we offer you 720 games, magazines & gaming accessories at prices of up to 75% off list pricing. But don't delay; the hottest items sell quickly, often in the first week. And this offer expires entirely on Saturday, 20 December.

In this issue we also review the State of the Hobby in 2014, and give you a tutorial on how to care for your boardgames.

Topics in this newsletter:

  1. Annual Clearance Sale thru 20 December
  2. Christmas Shipping Deadlines
  3. Game Industry in 2014
  4. Taking Good Care of Your Game Collection
  5. Download our Complete Catalog
  6. Give the Gift of Games via a Gift Certificate: Easy & Immediate
  7. Check the Contact Info We Have for you
  8. Have Games You Wish to Sell or Trade In ?


1. Our Annual Clearance Sale on Now thru Saturday, 20 December

It is time again. We are pleased to announce our biggest & best offering on games this year, Fine Games' Annual Clearance Sale. And from what we hear on the radio, its just in time for those trapped indoors in the snowy northeastern US.

Over 700 games, magazines, and gaming accessories are offered this year together with our intent to offer you irresistible deals. We aim for a win-win by putting a bundle of games & magazines in your hands in time for the holidays while we tidy up our inventory.

For 2014, we pulled items from all areas of our warehouse: brand new boxed games from many publishers including GMT, Decision Games, Avalanche Press & others; classic magazine-games from SPI, Command, & 3W; and many more titles a bit more obscure. 712 items at Rock Bottom clearance prices.

We are also offering a special shipping offers: $12 for anything & everything that fits in a USPS medium flat rate Priority Mail box, or $6 for a flat rate envelope. See Annual Clearance Sale landing page for more details.

Each item is individually priced, using logical pricing increments, and there is no limit to the number of items you can purchase. Just go to our Annual Clearance Sale landing page, and download our 40pg Annual Clearance Sale Catalog in PDF format from there. Then spend some quality time in the reading room.

Remember, things sell quickly on this sale, and most items are available only in single quantities, so don't delay in looking it over. Again, this sale expires on Saturday, 20 December. Not late enough for some of you procrastinators, but that's the deal. Again, all items must be paid for & ship this year to qualify for clearance pricing.

FYI, we are still considering options for a Second Round of our Annual Clearance. It is typically announced in early December. In any case, it will be in addition to this offer here, and both will end on 20 December.


2. Christmas Shipping Deadlines

Most orders we ship these days are via USPS Priority Mail which provides you with reliable, 2 - 3 day delivery anywhere in the USPS postal system. This should continue to be much the case thru the holiday season. However, for bulkier or international orders, refer to the table below which provides suggested deadlines, based on UPS ground shipping and your distance from Fine Games World HQ:

For Delivery by 24 Dec. To: Order by:
Eastern & mid-western USA, AK, HI Tuesday, 16 December
West Coast & Rocky Mtn states Thursday, 18 December

Last Minute Nationally
(via Priority Mail or UPS 1, 2 or 3 Day; extra charges may apply)

Not later than Friday, 19 December
Internationally ASAP, ideally before 5 Dec.

If you don't tell us of specific needs, its a lot harder to meet them. Talk to us; we can help!

Fine Games will closed for the balance of the year — goin' campin' — after the last package ships out on Tuesday, 23 December. We will reopen about 7 January 2015.


3. Game Industry in 2014

In each of many prior years, we have remarked upon the state of the hobby game industry; see our archived newsletters dating back as far back as 1995. This year we have something different, something more positive to say: Stability. Years of Stability.

In 2014, we saw several changes of ownership or names among distributors, but no major distributor shut down. We've also seen the depth of inventory at distributors deepen & widen after shrinking substantially during the long recession. So clearly there is more money flowing thru game shops & distributors. A good sign.

That said, finding any selection of wargames these days – even A wargame – in stores seems to be a thing of the past. I'm continually surprised when customers relate their difficulty obtaining games to me. This doesn't bode well for the recruiting of new wargamers, making it up to us.

General inflation remains muted, tho we've seen the price of games rise sharply with some companies (Avalanche Press and especially Critical Hit, for example). Others like GMT and MMP have become great values relative to others. Still, like cheap gas, the days of inexpensive games seem to be gone.

The biggest innovation in the wargame industry in the last few years is arguably the laser die cutter. This affordable device, which can print & die cut a sheet of counters in-house, enables small print runs. Thus, it may help keep games in print longer and enable niche products since publishers don't have to make The Big Bet on print run size, and even single copies can be made easily. The limiting factor is that a single, 200 counter sheet may take 45min to process. So, doing a War in Europe with 4,000 counters would be problematic.

The other recent change is that outsourced manufacturing in China is no longer always cost-effective. And recent west coast shipping problems greatly delayed GMT's receipt of components from China for its most recent releases.

Avalanche Press by its choice, and Critical Hit by default, have largely abandoned the distribution system. Others seem to be heading down that path. If these companies aren't getting their games into stores, then its no real loss. Yet I can say from personal experience there are many games we don't have simply because we can't get them thru our distributors. That is why we don't have many of Avalanche's most recent Panzer Grenadier-series games.

Shipping costs are a major factor now both because most games are now delivered by mail, and shipping components around the nation or world is more expensive. And UPS continues its decade-long annual increase they claim is 5% but is actually 8-9% for small weights and after including fee increases. The days of cheap gas are a fond memory.

Lastly, GRD has (again) promised to delivery its Total War, the mammoth remake of Fire in the East, by Christmas. They said THIS Christmas, but they've said the same thing for several prior Christmases. We'll see...


4. Taking Good Care of Your Game Collection

(This infomation was drawn from a new web page in development. Its been in my head for many years... It should be available on our web site early next year in an elaborated form, perhaps with pictures of many a ratty game.)

You've spent good money, lots of good money, buying your games. Now it's up to you to protect, preserve and maintain them so that they last your lifetime. Of course, nothing here is intended to dissaude you from enjoying and playing your games. The latter is their real value. Our intent is to help you maintain the value inherent in the games longer.

PRESERVE your games by not using them until its time. First, when you buy a game, make sure it is complete and properly printed. (That goes a hundred times if you're buying a Critical Hit product.) Do a quick check to see that all components are present, and everything looks as it should. Second, don't punch a game nor remove rules from a containing magazine until you're actually ready to learn to play the game. I've seen entire collections that are punched, but few actually played. Third, there are good reasons to mark on a game such as annotating errata or indicating a unit's turn of appearance. Myself, I have highlited all the games rules I've ever read since 1975; its part of my way of absorbing & referencing rules. But if you do mark up your games, remember: neatness counts!

PROTECT your games by doing all the things one of your anal-retentive friends told you to do. First, containerize containerize containerize, whether in ziplocks or counter trays sealed with tape or rubber bands. But make sure you don't have lose & soon to be lost counters. Second, don't eat, drink or smoke around you games (or, if you do, accept the inevitable sticky coke spill in the Ukraine that will ruin the game). Third, some cats love to maul those little 1/2" playthings. One of my cats had an orgy with catnip in the Ukraine years ago, ruining a good game of War in the East. Finally, do what my older brother taught me before I owned my first game: wash your hands before playing. Now he was anal-retentive.

MAINTAIN your game collection thru proper storage and handling of your games. Store your games so that any one game doesn't bear the weight of (many) others on top of it. Doubly so for flat and plastic boxed games. Ideally, games would be stored on their side rather than flat. If any portion of a box tears, fix it immediately & properly (see below). That includes SPI flat trays which lasted decades but are problematic if they aren't attended to. Most importantly, the great enemies of paper & cardboard are moisture & warmth: mix them and you have mildew. Allow air to circulate around your games if mildew is a risk.

ONLY FOUR TOOLS are commonly needed to do maintenance work on boardgames: Magic Tape, glue sticks, a stapler or staple gun, and rubber cement. That's all! Taping is the most common repair, but we find that every kind of wrong tape is used and the one correct tape not so much. Scotch tape, packing tape, duct tape, masking tape, straping tape are WRONG unless a game box has lost its structural integrity. Until then, and on all components, Magic tape is the only choice. It is almost invisible once applied, does not age like Scotch tape; basically it has no real downside. Using other forms of tape immediately damages your game.

Glue sticks are used to adhere parts of a counter together again. Done well, it leaves no trace & is permanent. Rubber cement is the older adhesive used for this purpose, and where the job is a big one (such as mounting a mapboard). Spray adhesive can also be used for bigger jobs. Again, used properly it won't bleed thru and residue can be easily cleaned up.

A stapler, or better yet a hand-held staple gun, is used to adhere SPI flat tray stiffeners to the tray mechanically. Do it once with 6 staples to a tray, and its permanent. The adhesive used in their manufacture has by now largely aged such that the stiffener falls away and must be reattached.

Do these things and your games will last long, look better, and be more saleable whenever that time does comes. In the end, they aren't making more of these games. So it behooves us to take care of them.


5. Download Our Complete Catalog as a PDF

Interested in seeing more of what we have to offer? Download our 85pg print catalog which details the heart of our inventory. No parts, few magazine-onlys, but lots & lots of games. Two versions of the same catalog: One sorted by publisher, the other by historical era & specific topic.

You can print a complete catalog of the full breadth of our game inventory. This catalog shows it ALL: every game, magazine, accessory & part we offer (omitting only redundant listings). It is huge, 191pgs, but it's everything except duplicate listings. Organized by historical era & specific topic.


6. Give the Gift of Games via a Gift Certificates: Its Easy & Immediate

Fine Games offers gift certificates in any denomination that can be used to purchase anything we sell and that never expire.

They make great gifts for the gamers in your life, relieving you of the often difficult chore of selecting games for them. And they make it easy for your significant other to give the gift of games to you, even if they haven't a clue about what games you're currently eyeing.

Just tell us what denomination you'd like, then we'll either email or snail mail, as you choose, a gift certificate to you. Via email, you can print & gift wrap it same day. They can even be holiday or birthday themed.


7. Have Any Games You Wish to Sell or Trade-In ?

We are always buying game collections. Perhaps its time to thin yours? Just send us a list of what you have to offer, and we'll make an offer. We offer extensive advice on our web page focused on Purchases & Trade-Ins.

Most of the collections be obtain are from individuals who long ago faded out of gaming, yet kept their treasured games for years, even decades after. So its not really that we are losing gamers; we lost them long ago. Rather, the downsizing that comes with an empty nest and impending retirement motivates most. And the lackluster economy motivates others.

Our promise is simply that we'll give you a fair price for your games, and that we'll put each of your games into the hands of others who may actually play them. And nothing goes in the dumpster.


8. Check the Contact Info We Have For You

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Thanks for your business and support. YOU keep us going. Happy holidays!

Michael Dean
Fine Games for Players & Collectors

                  The Best in New & Used Strategy Gaming

  Michael Dean
  2078 Madrona St., North Bend,  OR  97459-2143  USA
 (541) 756-4711 10am-9pm PST       

Fine Games' Update Newsletter provides opt-in subscribers with useful and timely information about strategy board and card games, including new & pending game releases as well as industry events.You can subscribe by emailing us with a request to do so together with your full home street address, phone # and email. You may UNsubscribe by simply emailing us with your request to do so, with your name and the email you're subscribed under.