Category Archives: Thrift Store

Thrift Store Finds July 2017

It’s been some time since I posted my thrift store finds. Don’t let this hiatus lull you into thinking I’ve abandoned my post at every Goodwill in the tri-county area. There have been several good finds along with a couple of amazing finds. And, as always, these games are available for our members or readers of this blog at The Gaming Annex.

Thrift Store Finds July 2017

Bermuda Triangle

Bermuda Triangle (1976)
Bermuda Triangle (1976)

I first learned about the Bermuda Triangle in 1977. Charles Berlitz, a renowned writer of the paranormal, authored a popular book about the infamous area of the Atlantic. His work spawned a creepy episode of  In Search Of with Leonard Nimoy.

In Search Of with Leonard Nimoy
In Search Of with Leonard Nimoy

Berlitz’s book did more than spawn a TV episode though. Milton Bradley released a pick-up and deliver game called Bermuda Triangle the year after Berlitz’s book. I’ve blogged about the game in my essay about the origins of Ameritrash. It’s been a game that I’ve wanted since my childhood.

And the Goodwill in Grandville delivered! (Figuratively. I mean, they didn’t drive the game to my house).

Players must move about the eastern Caribbean, picking up goods an delivering them. Players get paid for making deliveries (total cash determines the winner). However, there are clouds forming. The area bound by Miami, San Juan and Nassau is haunted by an amorphous black fog. It’s magnetic properties screw up your navigation and cause your ships to be lost.

There's a storm abrewin'
There’s a storm abrewin’

Each player has a complement of ships. These plastic ships have a magnet on them. When the storm passes near them, the ship can be picked up. This means the ship is lost and you will have to buy a new one.

The game is beautiful for a 1970’s game. And the components are fun. I like the idea that the magnetic storm simulates the magnetic anomalies that sailors have noted in the real Bermuda Triangle. Ultimately, the roll-and-move aspect sinks this game by today’s standards. Still, I’m glad I found a copy!

A Cache of Dungeons & Dragons Books

Someone's collection of D&D books
Someone’s collection of D&D books

Several weeks ago, a follower of ours on Facebook was looking to sell some D&D books. She asked if I would post her wares on our page. I obliged. The post drew a tremendous amount of interest from the Muskegon area. Seems everyone and their brother wants some D&D books.

Joann, one of our members, really wanted those books. Unfortunately, the books sold before she could make arrangements.

I was perusing the Goodwill on Harvey Street about two weeks later. I hadn’t found any noteworthy games in some time. The shelves were filled with dreck. I walked past one of the new merchandise bins. I found six, count ’em six, D&D books! And by some serendipity, the six books matched the titles I was asked to post on Facebook a couple of weeks earlier.

The clerk rang up the books at 80 cents a pop. $5.09 later, I had a budding collection of 1st edition Dungeons & Dragons books. I was only too happy to give them to Joann who missed out on the ones being sold on our Facebook page (which were $20 each).

Enchanted Forest

Enchanted Forest from Ravensburger
Enchanted Forest from Ravensburger

I keep finding copies of Enchanted Forest. I’m not complaining. People in our group who have kids clamor over it.

I believe I’ve found 4 copies in 2017. Two members, Holly and Jonathan, got copies to play with their families. I now have an additional copy available.


Snorta! from Out of the Box Games
Snorta! from Out of the Box Games

Snorta! is another great family game. The components are cute plastic animals and barns. The game play revolves around being the first to make an animal sound when a card is flipped.

I’ve found a couple copies of this in 2017 that were incomplete. To my dismay, I was not able to cobble together a complete copy with them either.

But I did recently find a bona fide complete copy. Keeping with tradition, I gave it to Holly. Her kids are going to be inundated with games if this pattern keeps up.

You’re Bluffing

You're Bluffing from Ravensburger
You’re Bluffing from Ravensburger

IfSnorta! is a good farm animal game for children then You’re Bluffing is the same for adults. You’re bluffing is farm animal auction game. You either auction off an animal and collect money or you make a blind bid against an opponent’s animal. The goal is to collect entire sets of animal so they are worth points.

I was first introduced to this game by long time member Bruce. I found a copy for myself at a thrift store copy several years ago. I loaned it to former member Charles who ended up moving to Maryland–taking You’re Bluffing with him.

Some of the cards
Some of the cards

I made a local trade to get another copy for my library. But a recent trip to one of the thrift stores on 29th Street yield some thrift store gold: a complete copy of this prized game!

Now I have an extra copy available. I believe it’s earmarked for Tasha. But if she passes on it, I’ll make it available to the general public.

Arab Israeli War

Arab-Israeli Wars from Avalon Hill
Arab-Israeli Wars from Avalon Hill

Finding Avalon Hill games at thrift stores is like grabbing the brass ring. There are two reasons for this. The first is AH games are generally good games that stand the test of time. The second is owners of AH games take care of their games so most thrift store finds will be complete.

I found a copy of Avalon Hill’s The Arab-Israeli Wars, complete and mostly unplayed. Some of the counters were unpunched. Some gamer must have bought a copy of this game hoping to find a game group with which to play it only to have it sit idle for years on his shelf. If this is the case, I have a local game group that you will want to join!

Dinosaurs of the Lost World

Dinosaurs of the Lost World from Avalon Hill
Dinosaurs of the Lost World from Avalon Hill

I’ve been wanting a copy of Dinosaurs of the Lost World from Avalon Hill for a while now. The game has two modes: family and strategy. The game has better components than most Avalon Hill games (AH was known for the quality of game play, not quality of components). And I’m a huge fan of Jurassic Park so the theme works for me.

But the price doesn’t.

Modular board of Dinosaurs of the Lost World
Modular board of Dinosaurs of the Lost World

The game goes for $70+ when you can even find a copy. I put it low on my priority list.

While making my rounds one afternoon, I saw a game with this familiar title on it. I thought, “No way! This is some similarly named game.”

But to my pleasant surprise, it was a complete copy of the Avalon Hill classic. The game is now a permanent edition to our library.

Other thrift store finds

Elude the dungeon keepers of Muskegon!
Parker Brothers’ Dungeon Dice






Ultimate Werewolf
Ultimate Werewolf






Stratego 4
Stratego 4










Where the thrifting never stops…

Muskegon Area Gamers

Muskegon, MI
188 Muskegon Area Gamers

This group is for anyone interested in playing board games, card games or any table top game. This group learns and teachs new games all the time. We welcome fresh players. We…

Next Meetup

Epic Games: Dune

Sunday, Aug 6, 2017, 11:00 AM
6 Attending

Check out this Meetup Group →


Thrift store May 2017

Hi there folks! It’s time for another installment of Board Game Thrift Store Finds. Due to the nature of thrifting, I never really think I find anything all that impressive. An occasional Risk game here, a complete game of Monopoly there…But by the end of the month, I look at my list and realize I have a pretty good haul. This month I found an old Victory Games classic, a Knizia classic and scooped up a bunch of games during a clearance sale at a department store. Check it out!

Thrift Store Finds in May 2017


The Civil War (Victory Games)

Muskegon board game thrift store finds May 2017
The Civil War from Victory Games

If you’re an old wargamer, then you’ve played or at least heard of Victory Games. And if you’re an old wargamer, you probably played a game that covers the American Civil War. Victory Games made such an epic length game that covers the broad history aptly called, “The Civil War”.

The game holds a strong 7.7 rating on BGG. It’s probably the most ambitious game of its generation to cover the American Civil War. It has three theatres of operations, several scenarios and a campaign game for the truly ambitious.

I perusing a local thrift store when I spied a black box that was about the size of the typical vintage Avalon Hill game. For $2 I got a complete copy! The box showed wear typical for a 30+ year old game. The game had also been played a few times. Notes and other items were in the box where some local gamer waged a virtual recreation.

Lost Cities board game

Lost Cities from Kosmos
Lost Cities from Kosmos

There is a game series from the publisher Kosmos that you need to know about. It’s called Kosmos two-player series. These are a series of inexpensive (<$25) games that are designed for two players. The series includes Jambo, Dracula and Gone Fishing. Probably the best selling game in the series is Reiner Knizia’s Lost Cities.

On its surface, Lost Cities seems like a boring Rummy variant. But there is subtle genius in this game. There’s a press your luck mechanic to go with a strong card management element. The only criticism is it plays but two players.

Knizia took the main framework of Lost Cities and created his Lost Cities the Board Game. This game plays up to four players. And it captures the feel of its two player cousin perfectly. While most gamers won’t need both versions of this game in their library, it’s advisable to have at least one.

And I found a thrift store copy at the Goodwill on Harvey Street. The game is complete. The only issue is one of the cards is slightly marked. Put the cards into sleeves and the game will be fine.



Rumis from Educational Insights
Rumis from Educational Insights

I’ve been a stronger believer that board games can be didactic. I love hearing from some of the teachers in the Muskegon Area Gamers that they use games in their classrooms or in their extracurricular activities. And I’m not the only one who sees the an educational angle in board games.

Educational Insights has numerous games under its belt. Blokus is their most ubiquitous game. Blokus has proven to be so popular that they made a 3D version. Some versions are called Blokus 3D. I found a copy of Rumis recently–Blokus 3D by a different name.

Players use spatial reasoning to place their three dimensional blocks onto the game board. There are several different boards to choose from to add replayability. The pieces are quite attractive. I also enjoyed the tactile quality of them.

I have found two copies of Rumis last month. And a copy of Blokus 3D the month before. If anyone in the Muskegon area needs a copy, you know where to find me.

Star Wars Chess

Star Wars chess
Star Wars chess

I’m not a chess blogger, but I play one on TV. When I’m not playing a television’s greatest chess blogger, you might find me blogging about Star Wars games. Needless to say, any iteration of game that merges Star Wars with chess will be an auto-buy.

I found a copy of the Saga Edition Star Wars chess set at one of the thrift stores on Sherman. The game is complete except for the cardboard insert. The pieces are in good order given the fact that the insert is missing.

I’m hoping to connect this game with a local gamer who hasn’t heard of The Gaming Annex. I’ll let you know how successful I am with that.


Clearance at Meijer’s

The Gaming Annex is a huge supporter of Meijer on Norton & Henry
Meijer on Norton & Henry

I as perusing Meijer as I am apt to do. I headed into the toys and games section. Although Meijer (and Target) have been stocking their shelves with more designers as of late, there is still the typical department store pulp one must wade through. All the designer games are at the far end of the aisle, relegating any serious gamers to the pariah section of Meijer’s toy department.

Risk: Star Wars Episode VI
Risk: Star Wars Episode VI

When I stopped to see what they had, I was flabbergasted! They had Star Wars Risk for $11. You can’t even get this on Amazon for that much. Then I saw Civil War Risk for the same price. And Magic: the Gathering Arena of the Planeswalker for $11 also. I figured I could use these to lure new gamers over to the Annex.


Other games

Risk (revised edition)
Risk (revised edition)
Monopoly Tropical Tycoon
Monopoly City
Monopoly City

























Where the board game thrifting is interrupted only by the board game playing…

Muskegon Area Gamers

Muskegon, MI
177 Muskegon Area Gamers

This group is for anyone interested in playing board games, card games or any table top game. This group learns and teachs new games all the time. We welcome fresh players. We…

Next Meetup

Saturday games

Saturday, Jun 3, 2017, 11:00 AM
2 Attending

Check out this Meetup Group →







Thrift Store Finds in March 2017

I apologize for the delay in updating the blog. I assure you there has been plenty of movement in the local gaming scene. I just haven’t been able to blog about it all. I thought I would share my latest thrift store rescues. I’ll be posting a “Hits & Flops” and game review really soon. Stay tuned.

Thrift Store finds: March 2017


1. Stop Thief

Stop Thief! from MB
Stop Thief! from MB

Stop Thief was one of those games that I always wanted when I was a kid. This vintage Parker Brothers’ game came in a large black box with a futuristic computery font.

Thrift Store Finds: March 2017
Stop Thief! board and detectives

The players take the roles of detectives who are competing to land the most prestigious collars. The game takes place on a game board that looks like a city. The roofs of the buildings are removed from the artwork so you can see the movement grids. Players are searching these buildings for a thief that is invisible to them. To capture this thief, they will rely on the police scanner.

Police scanner from Stop Thief
Police scanner from Stop Thief

The police scanner was the gimmick that made this game so cool in 1979. The scanner looked like Merlin but served only one function: to the police clues as to where the thief was at. The scanner would make noises like breaking glass or  slamming door. Using these hints, the players narrow down where the thief is at. When the thief is apprehended, the detective making the collar gets a bounty. The first to $2,500 is the winner.

I found a copy of Stop Thief for $1.99 last month. I was stoked because this was a minor Grail of mine. But it was missing a few of the cards. I made a few eBay purchases to remedy this. Now I have a complete copy of Stop Thief.

On a related note: Stop Thief is slated for a facelift. I’ll be taking a look at the new version in a blog post soon.


2. Prize Property

Prize Property from Milton Bradley
Prize Property from Milton Bradley

I’ve written about Prize Property here and here. It’s a classic game that showed how ahead of its time Milton Bradley really was. I found Prize Property on the same day, albeit a different store, as Stop Thief.

I already have a copy of Prize Property. But this new acquisition is actually in better condition than my eBay purchase from a year or two ago. Now I have a cooler version and can trade away the other one.

If you are in need of classic Milton Bradley, let me know.


3. Power Barons

Milton Bradley's Power Barons (1986)
Milton Bradley’s Power Barons (1986)

I remember when I first heard of Power Barons. It was during the commercial break of a Transformer’s episode. This was in the weeks leading up to Christmas 1986. The game looked amazing!

Overview of the components for Power Barons
Overview of the components for Power Barons

The game quickly shot up the Santa list, eventually landing on “Must Have”. I was stoked when I opened the box and saw the components. The game came with four “power barons”, each with a back story. These are elaborate plastic busts not entirely dissimilar to Milton Bradley’s Conspiracy. Plus there was a good pound of other plastic components. I must have spent about an hour removing the pieces from the sprues.

Muskegon Thrift Store Finds March 2017
Power Baron’s components

The game play was not on par with how cool the components were. I cannibalized the game for its pieces and used them for Risk or other games. This is not to say the game lacks nostalgia value. I found a copy at the same Goodwill where I found Prize Property. I couldn’t help but pick up the game. To my amazement, it was complete and in great condition.


4. Blokus 3D

Blokus 3D from Mattel
Blokus 3D from Mattel

There are some games that I find at thrift stores that I buy simply to give them to another local gamer. One of those games is Blokus. I figure if someone is interested in a game like Blokus, they may be interested in the types of games we play.

Blokus is a decently rated game that offers a good amount of strategy. It’s been published several times by several different companies. And Blokus can often be found at thrift stores if you hunt long enough.

But I found a copy of the more elusive Blokus 3D! This is based on the older game Rumis. You have 3D tetris like pieces that you fit together. The game is faithful to its Blokus namesake: you fit pieces together to outwit your opponents without touching your own pieces.

I’ve added this game to The Gaming Annex’s library if anyone would like to borrow it.


5. Atmosfear

A couple times a year I will fine Atmosfear at a thrift store. I usually pick it up because of nostalgia. This is the type of game that I give away on craigslist so as to meet local gamers–try to get them to come in the door of The Gaming Annex.

I found a copy last month. As such, there is a copy available to any local gamer who reads our blog.



6. Enchanted forest

Enchanted Forest from Ravensburger
Enchanted Forest from Ravensburger

People often talk about “gateway” games–games they use to bridge the gap between non-gamers and gamers. If there was a publisher that embodied this genre, it would be Ravensburger. Their games are softer designer board games like A-Maze-Ing Labyrinth. If you’re looking for such games, head to your local thrift stores and grab any Ravensburger games they might have.

The trees in the Enchanted Forest
The trees in the Enchanted Forest

I found Enchanted Forest recently. It’s a good family game, really geared toward children more than adults. The components include rugged plastic trees. Also, the wooden meeples will acclimate gamers to designer games.


7. Other notable finds

Champions of Faith from Biblequest
Champions of Faith from Biblequest








221B Baker Street
221B Baker Street









If you would like to borrow any of these, just follow the link below



Thrift store finds

It’s time for our quasi-monthly installment of Thrift Store Finds! The past month has been very fruitful for everyone’s favorite board game thrifter.

If you’ve been around these parts for a while, continue to the list below. But if you are new to this blog, I’ll take this time to explain. I love going to thrift stores and rescuing games. I have a large collection of games that I have rescued that are incomplete. I also have an entire shelf of rescues that are 100% complete. I often use these games as a recruiting tool. I post ads on social media where I give games away as an excuse to get new people to come to The Gaming Annex. If someone likes Risk or Axis and Allies, they could be a good fit for the group. Every once in a great while I will find one of my Holy Grails.

Thrift Store Board Game Finds in the Muskegon Area February 2017


Penny Arcade: Rumble in R’lyeh and Gamers vs. Evil

Penny Arcade: Rumble in R'lyeh
Penny Arcade: Rumble in R’lyeh

I don’t make it to the various thrift stores in Grand Haven (49417) as often as I’d like. But I have to admit: when I do make it there, it is often worth the trip. For example: I found Cryptozoic’s Penny Arcade Rumble in R’lyeh and Gamers vs. Evil for $2 each. Both games were complete and fully sleeved.

Penny Arcade: Gamers vs. Evil
Penny Arcade: Gamers vs. Evil

When you find complete, fully sleeved games like this, it’s an auto-buy for me. I would classify this as an “amazing” find.  These games hold decent ratings (6+) on and have a decent trade bait value.

When I find games like this, it always makes me think: there must be gamers in the area that don’t have other gamers to play with. If the original owner of this game liked this game enough to buy both the base game and expansion and to sleeve both, would he dismiss it to a thrift store if he had an active game group? Connecting with these forlorn gamers that makes me such a diehard thrift shopper.

Politika from Red Storm Entertainment

Tom Clancy's Politika from Red Storm Entertainment
Tom Clancy’s Politika from Red Storm Entertainment

Tom Clancy was to the Cold War what John Grisham is to courtroom dramas. Clancy’s books have been turned into movies like Hunt for Red October and Patriot Games. One of his books, Politika, was turned into a board game.

Politika did not do as well amongst the hardcore gamers, unfortunately. It was distributed exclusively by Toys R Us, whereas hardcore gamers like supporting game stores; it covers an obscure theme (Russian politics); and the component quality was a hindrance to game play.

If one were to overlook these flaws, one would find this to be Risk with more depth and complexity. In 1997, that was a big step forward in game development for its time.

I found a complete copy. I haven’t decided what to do with it. If any readers of this blog would like a copy, you know where to find it.


Diplomacy (metal pieces edition)

Diplomacy from Avalon Hill (metal pieces)
Diplomacy from Avalon Hill (metal pieces)

In my last thrift blog post, I posted how I found one my grails. I found a copy of Avalon Hill’s Acquire with the plastic hotels.  That was part of a large box set of Avalon Hill games that Hasbro put out several years ago. Well imagine my elation when I found another game from that set: Diplomacy with metal pieces.

Most editions of Diplomacy have cardboard counters for the ships and armies. But this rare edition uses pewter cannons and ships (repurposed from Monopoly) as the units. The game was largely unpunched and 100% complete. As was the case with the Penny Arcade find, I believe some local gamer bought Diplomacy, hoping to play it, but never found a strong group with which to do so. And his copy ended up at Dibs on Harvey Street.

Duel of Ages

Duel of Ages from Venatic Games
Duel of Ages from Venatic Games

Duel of Ages is a tactical game where players break into two teams. Players take on the roles of agents in an anachronistic universe, wielding laser rifles, long bows and four wheelers. The game was a hit in the early days of boardgamegeek. It spawned a reimplementation in 2013.

I knew of Duel of Ages but had never played it. I found a copy for sale at a Goodwill. The game was complete. The components were all separated and bagged. Evidently the previous owner loved this game and took good care of it.

Like Politika, I don’t know what I’ll be doing with this game yet. Hit me up if you need a copy 🙂

Other notable finds

Liar's Dice (Milton Bradley)
Liar’s Dice (Milton Bradley)

Liar’s Dice, especially Milton Bradley’s 1987 edition, is an auto-buy. I can always find someone locally who needs a copy of this. Plus this game hits the table at The Gaming Annex with some regularity. I have plans for this copy of Liar’s Dice. I’m toying with the idea of having a game giveaway day–maybe have this (and other games) as door prizes. Stay tuned for more details.

Monopoly Coca-Cola Edition
Monopoly Coca-Cola Edition

Specialty Monopoly editions are a good way to connect with gamers in the area. I found a Coca-Cola edition, Monopoly City, Simpson’s Monopoly and a SpongeBob edition in recent weeks. The SpongeBob game has already flew off the shelf to a person who had no idea The Gaming Annex even existed 😀

Where you can find these and many other games

Muskegon Area Gamers

Muskegon, MI
167 Muskegon Area Gamers

This group is for anyone interested in playing board games, card games or any table top game. This group learns and teachs new games all the time. We welcome fresh players. We…

Next Meetup

Dictator Jon

Tuesday, Feb 28, 2017, 6:00 PM
4 Attending

Check out this Meetup Group →


Thrift Store finds

Things started slowly since my last thrift store post. This is why I didn’t make such a post in November. Usually around this time of year, it’s slim pickin’s for games at thrift stores, what with the holidays and all. As such, it took a few more weeks to cobble together enough games to warrant a blog post. I was prepared to write up my findings last week. Then something truly magical happened…

Thrift Store Finds in Muskegon

Acquire from Avalon Hill

Thrift Store Finds Muskegon
Acquire from Avalon Hill

Sid Sackson was a prolific game designer. His 1962 offering, Acquire, is a classic. Many companies have published it over the years: Avalon Hill, 3M, Hasbro.

After Hasbro bought out Avalon Hill, Hasbro published a version of the game in 1999. This version has the Avalon Hill brand, a differentiation Hasbro makes with its high end strategy game. This 1999 edition has cool plastic hotels and nice plastic tiles. It’s considered the definitive edition. Hasbro only made this edition that year. Hasbro has since republished Acquire with cardboard pieces, relegating the plastic edition to its growing out-of-print heap.

It’s been on my grail list for a while but I couldn’t justify the cost. The 1999 edition of Acquire goes for over $100 on eBay. Then some Christmas magic happened.

I found an unplayed copy at the Goodwill on Henry and Norton!

The box had been opened but the money and tiles were still sealed. And the price was a mere $4. I can now scratch this off my grail list (a post that will be coming to a blog near  you).


Escape: the Curse of the Temple

Goodwill Hope's outlet Muskegon
Escape: Curse of the Temple

Generally I find department store dreck when I go thrift shopping. Occasionally I’ll find a some high end department games. And every now and again I’ll find an actual designer game. And every blue moon, this designer game will be complete.

You can imagine my elation when I found Queen Games’ Escape: the Curse of the Temple for $2–and 100% complete.

If you haven’t played Escape, it’s a frenzied twitch game. This coop pits players against the clock to escape a dark and sinister temple before it collapse. The game play is fun if you can tolerate the furious game play. I picked it up because I knew I could connect it with a home. It took barely a few days for some to offer me Lyssan in trade for it.



Basari from FX Schmid
Basari from FX Schmid

I love Edel, Stein and Reich. I haven’t had the chance to play it in a long time. But it’s been weighing on me for weeks now. I’ll have to break it out on a Thursday, probably in January.

Edel, Stein and Reich is the reimplementation of Basari, a wheelin’ an’ dealin’ game in the world of gem brokers.

The Salvation Army on Plainfield had a shrink wrapped copy that I was only too happy to relieve them of. Since I have Edel, Stein and Reich, I’ll give Basari to a local gamer. Hit me up if you think you’d like Basari.


Tetris Link

Tetris Link from Ideal
Tetris Link from Ideal

Have you ever wondered what it would be like to play Tetris head-to-head? Ideal made a version of that in their 2011 release Tetris Link. Players score points by linking tetrominos together.

I found a complete copy on Harvey Street a few weeks back. And I found a home for it already.  A young lady who is new to gaming has been coming by the The Gaming Annex, borrowing games from our library. She expressed interest in Tetris Link so I gave her my copy. For those who are new to this blog, this practice of finding gamers to give these games to is the whole point of my thrift store excursions: build the local gaming community and meet local gamers.


Tactics II from Avalon Hill

I mentioned Tactics II from Avalon Hill in a recent post. Little did I realize that I would find a complete copy on 28th Street a few days later.

Tactics II is classic Avalon Hill. It’s a clunky simulation that requires hours of investment to get any payoff. In 1958, when this game was first published, that was all the gaming world had.

Tactics II has not fared well on boardgamegeek, holding a ho-hum 5.3 rating. But the gaming world owes Tactics II a debt of gratitude as it is one of the granddaddies of the genre.

I’ll try to find a local wargamer who wants a copy. 😀


10 Days in the USA from Out of the Box

10 Days in the USA
10 Days in the USA

I’ve been augmenting my game collection to include some titles that are wife-friendly. My doting spouse is willing to try games. Not Twilight Struggle or Here I Stand. Rather family friendly slash entry level games.

I keep a cache of such games at the ol’ homestead. One is 10 Days in the USA. It’s like the old abstract Rack-O but with a map. It’s a fun game, all things considered.

I was delighted to find an additional copy on the East Beltlilne about month ago. Not because I’m a hoarder (I can quit anytime I want). But because I can find a local gamer who needs it! (By the way, any reader of this blog can have it if you stop by our office at 1976 W Sherman Blvd).


Unusual Finds

Wizardology from Sababa Toys
Wizardology from Sababa Toys

There’s a family of games called the “Ology” games. The games have taken a beating from boardgamegeek’s users, having ratings of 5 or lower. But that’s probably because the game play is not nearly as cool as the components.

I found a complete copy of one of the games in this family. Wizardology has six large plastic wizards, one for each player. Each wizard has several detachable accoutrements like staves and hats. The components are pretty cool. But they cannot make up for the lackluster play.

Still, I couldn’t pass up a cheap copy. Perhaps there is someone close to the Annex that would like to have a copy.

Pack of Heroes from Adventureland Games
Pack of Heroes from Adventureland Games

Pack of Heroes, a kickstarter game, pits two players against one another in a classic comic book universe. There are 30 unique heroes jammed into this tiny box. I almost overlooked the game because it was so small.

Pack of Heroes holds an impressive 6.5 rating on BGG, a fine accomplishment for a 20 minute long game.

I’ll probably end up keeping this game. I could always use some good fillers.


Other Finds

Clue: 24 Edition
Clue: 24 Edition
Milton Bradley's Stratego
Milton Bradley’s Stratego














Where these and other games get played


Thrift Store Finds Muskegon

Thrift Store finds

It’s time for another installment of Recent Thrift Store Finds. Every month or so, I post a brief list of the games I found at local thrift stores. Lately, I’ve been using the yard sale sites on Facebook to connect these games with local gamers. It’s been working pretty good. We have about one or two people drop by The Gaming Annex a night to peruse the games I’ve rescued. Many are amazed that we have so many OTHER games too. And they are curious about what it is we do. With any luck, we can get them to drop by again–to play games!


1. Settlers of Catan

Settlers of Catan is a classic board game that Muskegon still enjoys.
Settlers of Catan

What more can be said about Settlers of Catan? It launched the board game renaissance we are currently in. Everyone’s played it. And if I see a copy at the Goodwill on Sherman (which I did a couple of weeks ago), I pick it up.

The copy I found was missing one red settlement, otherwise it was complete. I found a replacement settlement at Out of the Box but it was white not red. During a Sunday afternoon of games, I painted it red. I didn’t have a brush so I used my fingers. Tick Mima noticed my red fingertips but refused to believe that I was painting…

Catan Traders & Barbarians cards
Catan Traders & Barbarians cards

I found a local couple that wanted Catan. I was pleased to meet them. Maybe they’ll drop by again soon!

I also a shrink wrapped copy Catan Traders & Barbarian Cards. This is available to anyone in the area. Just drop by The Gaming Annex to pick up!


2. Can’t Stop

Parker Brothers' Can't Stop
Parker Brothers’ Can’t Stop

Sid Sackson was the Vlaada Chvátil of the 1960’s. He was the most prolific designer of his day. And Can’t Stop was part of that success. Can’t Stop is a classic game of strategy and push-your-luck. Can’t Stop still holds up as a filler or beer-and-pretzel game today.

I have a list of people who have been wanting a copy. So when I find a copy of Can’t Stop, I usually give it to the next person on the list. I believe I owe Mongo a copy. But I have an additional copy available for any of you readers!

3. Sleuth

Sleuth from Avalon Hill
Sleuth from Avalon Hill

I found this Sid Sackson classic recently too! Sleuth from Avalon Hill was rescued from a Goodwill (this time on 28th Street).

Sleuth is a clever spin on Clue. Instead of roll-and-move, players manage a hand of cards. This makes Sleuth a cut above Clue. It holds up well even to today’s standards.

The copy I found is complete. I have not found anyone that wants it yet. If you would like a copy of this classic, come visit the Muskegon Area Gamer’s clubhouse!


4. Pizza Box Football

Pizza Box Football from On the Line Games
Pizza Box Football from On the Line Games

Pizza Box Football is a clever idea. It puts you and your opponent as opposing head coaches of a football team. This idea has been done before. But the game comes in what is eponymously called a pizza box.

What goes better with football than pizza?

Pizza Box Football enjoys a solid 6.3 ranking on board game geek. It even has supported a few expansions. You can imagine my excitement when Dusty bought a copy recently at retail price. But  you probably can’t imagine my over-the-top exuberance when I found a $.99 copy complete with one of the expansions at Hope’s Outlet on Sherman Blvd.

My copy is free to a good home.


5. Clue Master Detective

Muskegon loves deduction games like Clue Master Detective
Parker Brother’s Clue Master Detective

In recent months, I’ve rescued two copies of Clue Master Detective. The copy I found in September was complete and in good condition! Those of you who follow us on Facebook may recall that the previous copy (the one from August) came with a dead Col. Mustard.

Oh no! Not Col. Mustard too!
Oh no! Not Col. Mustard too!

When I opened the box, I found the knife driven into the heart of Col. Mustard. It strikes me as highly improbable that this occurred by happenstance.

By the way: I still have the complete copy available. And it comes with a Col. Mustard card that is free of knife holes.


6. More Avalon Hill goodness

Football Strategy from Avalon Hilll
Football Strategy from Avalon Hill

I found Sports Illustrated Football Strategy underneath Sleuth. These games come from the same publisher and the same time period, circa 1981. Seems someone’s closet from 1981 was recently cleared out and donated to the Goodwill. Seems I was needed to rescue these.

Football Strategy is insanely complex game of football. It treats football like a wargame with lots of spreadsheets to cross reference. Still, it holds a 6.4 on BGG.

Stock Market Guru from Avalon Hill
Stock Market Guru from Avalon Hill

I didn’t know that Avalon Hill reimplemented Stocks and Bonds. But in 1997 they did just that. The boring 3M slipcover was replaced with a picture of Wall Street. Some of the imbalances were streamlined.

This game never got a lot of traction. Probably because Hasborg took over AH soon after its release.

If you are looking for a copy, we have one!


7. American Civil War from Eagle Games

Eagle Games' The American Civil War
Eagle Games’ The American Civil War

When thrift shopping, you will encounter lots of board game drivel. But when you encounter an Avalon Hill game, it’s a red letter day. Finding a title from Eagle Games is almost unheard of. In fact, this past week might have been the first time I’ve ever done so.

I found a $2.99 copy of The American Civil War. The box has a chunk missing from it. But other than the cosmetics, the game is complete and ready to play.

Eagle Games releases games with tons of plastic pieces: Empires: Age of Discovery, Conquest of the Empire, Railways of the World. And ACW is no exception. Tons of plastic soldiers, cavalry, artillery. Heck, if you wanted to make your own game, this would have the pieces.

The copy is sitting on a shelf because I don’t know what to do with it. I’d love to find a local player who is looking for a copy. Finding locals who are looking for games like this are hard to find.



Board games 1976 W. Sherman Blvd 49441
The Gaming Annex

Any of the games listed here (and many others) are available to readers of this blog. Just drop by sometime.










Thrift store finds

The post Christmas months are not usually good times to find board games at thrift stores. I am surprised by my recent finds. Let’s take a look at some of the treasures I’ve reclaimed.

1. Screaming Eagles

Classic Milton Bradley: A Muskegon love affair
Milton Bradley’s Screaming Eagles

I remember seeing commercials for Screaming Eagles in 1987. The commercials looked cheesy but the game looked fun. Players take on the role of MiGs or F-16’s. Is it a coincidence this game was published months after

1986's Top Gun
1986’s Top Gun

I found a complete copy of Screaming Eagles recently. I already have two copies of the updated version (Mission Command Air). I decided to rescue the thrift store copy and give it away. I had a young lady stop by The Gaming Annex last week to collect it. Another local board gamer connected with a board game–another local board gamer informed about our local club. Win-Win!


2. Qwirkle


Qwirkle is an odd duck of a game. Sold at department stores, one would naturally assume Qwirkle is qrap. But it holds a respectable 6.8 rating on BGG.

Qwirkle’s components are polished wood tiles with glossy paint. The components are durable enough for children to handle without the risk of damaging them. The rules are simple enough so the game can be played by 6 year olds (per the box).

And this is the reason why Qwirkle is an auto-buy when I find a discarded copy at a thrift store. One of the thrift stores on Harvey Street had a copy. I snatched it up. I’ll be giving this away at our next Kids’ Gala.


3. Wits & Wagers

Wits & Wagers Family
Wits & Wagers Family

Wits & Wagers is another odd duck. It’s like the party game version of Qwirkle in a sense. Both are found at department stores. But both have respectable ratings. Indeed, Wits & Wagers (any version) has a BGG rating over 7.0. Quite impressive.

The components for Wits & Wagers are pretty good. Dry erase marker, poker chips, glossy card stock. But Wits & Wagers is a fun game because it’s a trivia game with bluffing. It’s Trivia Pursuit meets Poker.

Wits & Wagers games are also auto-buys for me. I found a copy of the family edition in the past month at a local thrift store. The Gaming Annex’s library needed a copy. 🙂


4. Ingenious

Ingenious board game
Ingenious board game

Reiner Knizia is the Carroll Shelby of board games. He has designed about everything. He’s a natural Euro designer, what with his doctorate in mathematics.

Overview of the Ingenious board
Overview of the Ingenious board

His many gaming credits includes Ingenious. Ingenious is a like a hexagonal dominoes game. It’s very highly rated for an abstract (7.21) putting it in the top 250 games of all time. When I saw a copy of it at one of the thrift stores down the road from The Gaming Annex, I swooped in.

I haven’t checked it for completeness yet. I’ll keep you posted.


4. Risk & Castle Risk

Muskegon and classic board games like Risk & Castle Risk
Parker Brothers’ Risk & Castle Risk

I got a copy of Risk for my 11th birthday. It changed my life and set me on the course I am on now. When I saw “Risk & Castle Risk” at the Kmart on Apple,

Kmart 1973
Kmart circa 1973

The game was actually two games. The board was double sided. As a lover of Risk, I was enamored by the Castle version. But the game went for a whopping $10.99. In my pre-engineering days, it would take a lot to muster that kind of scratch.

I was at the Goodwill on Harvey Street. I walked in. I saw a couple picking up a copy of Risk & Castle Risk. They inspected it, moved it to a table and reviewed it. It was bittersweet because I wanted it but at the same time this young couple who (probably) lived locally was interested.

Suddenly, after a few minutes of reviewing the game, they put the game back on the shelf. I set my wallet to auto-buy. The lady at the counter said, “We just put that out there a few minutes ago”. Now the Annex has a copy. Drop by if you would like to play it.


5. Ooga!


I found a complete copy of Ooga! This is a family game where speed and dexterity reign. Everyone is given a spear with a suction cup on the end. You spear the dinosaurs as they come out.

The suggested ages for this game are 5 or older. I think this one will be going to an attendee at our next Kids’ Gala.




FITS from Ravensburger
FITS from Ravensburger

I found another Knizia game in the past month. A Goodwill in Grand Rapids had FITS for $2.99. The game was unplayed. The pieces are still in the original sealed packaging.

FITS is like Tetris
FITS is like Tetris

FITS is like a board game version of Tetris. The pieces are geometric shapes made up of squares. Players must position them in their game board as they appear. Players score based upon how filled up their board is.

I’ve played a copy of this game several years ago at Jeremy S. Pyne’s. It’s an okay game. But I think I’ll be giving this one out at the next Kids’ Gala as well. I got to nurture the next generation of gamer.


7. Slide 5

Slide 5 card game
Slide 5 card game

The great Wolfgang Kramer designed Heimlich & Company, Tikal and El Grande. He also designed the little card game Slide 5. Slide 5 is a trick taking game where players try to avoid taking the tricks.

The game is unusual in that there are four simultaneous tricks in play at once. Players must take a trick if their played card would be the 6th card in that sequence or if their card would force a 5th trick to come into play.

I actually found two copies of this game in the past month. It’s a good family game. Anyone who wants a copy, just drop us a line.

8. Other notable finds


Chickyboom is missing a chicken

Star Wars Monopoly. It is missing two of the eight pewter figures.

Monday Night Football.




9. Where you can play or pick up these games

Muskegon Area Gamers

Muskegon, MI
111 Muskegon Area Gamers

This group is for anyone interested in playing board games, card games or any table top game. This group learns and teachs new games all the time. We welcome fresh players. We…

Next Meetup

Tuesday Night: All Hail Kevin

Tuesday, Feb 9, 2016, 6:00 PM
3 Attending

Check out this Meetup Group →


Muskegon Area Gamers: Thrift Store Finds in July/August 2015

It’s been a while since I did a post about my thrift store finds. This is partially due to the fact that I am so busy. But it’s mostly due to the fact that my new position does not allow me to frequent the stores as often as I would like. But I still make it out occasionally. And occasionally I find a gem. Here are my recent finds!


1. Plunder

Plunder from R&R Games
Plunder from R&R Games

I found a shrink wrapped copy of Plunder for $2.99 recently. I’m a sucker for pirate themes so I bought this without hesitation.

I found out after the fact that they were giving out copies of this at Grand Con last year. That may be why there was a copy at the Goodwill on Plainfield and 3 Mile.




2. Risk: Revised Edition

Risk: Revised Edition
Risk: Revised Edition

I will typically buy any copy of Risk I find. While we will never play it on a Tuesday, Risk is familiar enough and gateway enough to serve a purpose. Risk is a good game to have listed on craigslist so as to attract more players to the Muskegon Area Gamers. The revised edition is particularly pretty with its headquarters and cities.

I’ve found a couple copies of this recently, both complete. I used one to attract a local to The Gaming Annex. The other sits on the shelf, awaiting orders.


3. Jurassic Park III Island Survival Game

Jurassic Park III Island Survival
Jurassic Park III Island Survival

I found a complete copy of Jurassic Park III Island Survival game. Because the game was based upon the worst iteration of an otherwise good franchise, I suspected boardgamegeek would rank this <5.5. I was pleasantly surprised to find it is rated 5.87.

This may not seem like a big difference but it does imply that gamers are, on average, giving this game decent ratings.

The components look pretty cool considering the era and publisher (2001 and Hasbro). I’ll have to consider what this game’s long term purpose will be at The Gaming Annex…



4. Mission Command: Air

Mission Command Air
Mission Command Air

I found a cheap ($2.49) copy of Mission Command: Air last week. The game is complete. And what a task it is to inventory this beast. Mission Command has a ton of tiny components like missile tokens.

Mission Command: Air is part of a Milton Bradley trilogy. They released Sea and Land as well. In fact, Milton Bradley simply rebranded their existing games from the 70’s “Screaming Eagles”, “Carrier Strike” and “Tank Battle”. I

have found all three of these games (in both iterations) at thrift stores in the past.

Just not this week 🙁


 5. Stay Alive

Stay Alive
Stay Alive

I always wanted a copy of Milton Bradley’s Stay Alive. The Saturday morning commercials were captivating. And the game shelf my room boasted in 1977 did in fact have enough room for a copy.

But no copy was forthcoming.

Then I found a copy about a year ago. It was missing some marbles. I found a thrift copy of Chinese checks and repurposed the marbles to cobble together a complete game.

I’ve been supplying Bubba’s kids with games on and off for a few years now. Due to the scaling of Stay Alive, I thought this game would be ideal for their 4 player games. So I gave up my copy.

Last week I found another copy. And it was

Bee Gees
Bee Gees

complete! Thank God! I hate Chinese checkers so much I don’t think I could bring myself to buy another copy of it even if I was only going to cannibalize it.

Every time I think of Milton Bradley’s Stay Alive, the image to the left always comes to mind.


6. Did you find something cool at the thrift store? Discuss it on our facebook page!

Muskegon Area Gamers: Thrift Store Rescues in January

If you’ve been following this blog for a while now then you know that I shop for games at thrift stores. And you also know that I post my finds here. I didn’t think I would have a post for you this month because I didn’t hit the stores in so long. But I decided to go for a jaunt today. Wow! Here are my finds for the past month, many were from today!


1. All the King’s Men

Muskegon and classic board games go hand in hand
Parker Brother’s All the King’s Men

I seem to recall seeing copies of All the King’s Men around when I was a kid. It was published in 1979 by Parker Brothers, probably the widest circulated edition. I never got close enough to a copy to ever inspect it.

Until now.

I found a copy in mid-December at the Goodwill in Whitehall. It’s a chess like game both in mechanics and in visual flair.

I like chess better. But for $2 how could I pass it up?




2. Star Wars VHS Game

Muskegon loves board games and Star Wars
Parker Brother’s Star Wars VHS Game

Normally I pass on VHS and DVD games. But this one was STAR WARS!

And it had all the pieces. There is a cool 3-D board that you move your R2-D2 around.





3. Settlers of Catan the card game plus an expansion

Many in Muskegon play Settlers of Catan
Settlers of Catan: The Card Game

I found a copy of the Settlers of Catan card game for $1.99 at a Goodwill.

The next day I found the expansion at a different thrift store for $1.99.

Now I’m into this game for $4 and I don’t even play Catan.

By the way: if any of you want this copy, let me know.




4. Risk & Castle Risk

Muskegon and classic board games like Risk & Castle Risk
Parker Brothers’ Risk & Castle Risk

I got a copy of Risk for my 11th birthday. I fell in love with it and the hobby of board gaming soon thereafter.

When I saw “Risk & Castle Risk” in the Witmark catalog for $10.99 in 1985, I pleaded with Santa to bring me a copy. Alas, it was not meant to be. Yet.

Fast forward thirty years: I’m at the Goodwill on Harvey Street today. I see Risk on the shelf as I approach the game aisle. Then I see it’s actually “Risk & Castle Risk”. I nearly knocked over three old ladies, two toddlers and an invalid lunging for it.

I inventoried the game a few minutes ago. It’s complete!


5. Screaming Eagles

Classic Milton Bradley: A Muskegon love affair
Milton Bradley’s Screaming Eagles

Milton Bradley bought advertising in the after-school time slots when I would watch Voltron and the Transformers. One of those ads was for Screaming Eagles. The game looked okay but the ad campaign turned me off completely. Which is weird because a 15 year old who played board games and watched Voltron was probably the ideal demographic for that ad.

I found a copy in Jenison today for $1. It is missing one red die and one black die. These are special 6-siders so I will have to peruse BGG for the components.




 6. Squad Leader

Muskegon loves its wargames like Avalon Hill's Squad Leader
Avalon Hill’s Squad Leader

It was 1989 when I found a copy of the rules for Avalon Hill’s Advanced Squad Leader on sale for $10 at House of Hobbies. House of Hobbies tailors to the model railroaders. But in 1989 they had a modest game selection. The games would sit idle for months. Then they would move them to their clearance area. Then I would strike.

I found a complete (and largely unpunched) copy of Squad Leader today for $1! The box has some shelf wear but it’s still a gem!

Board Game Thrifting in Muskegon

Here is a list of the games I found at local thrift stores in the past month. It’s been a very active month! I’ve had very good luck in November. I typically give or rethrift these games to support the gaming hobby in the Muskegon area. Let me know if you want any of these.

1. The A-Maze-Ing Labyrinth

Help Muskegon navigate The A-Maze-Ing Labyrinth
The A-Maze-Ing Labyrinth














Ravensburger’s The A-Maze-Ing Labyrinth is a great family game. I’ve given this game away several times. But I keep finding $2 copies of it at thrift stores. How can I resist?

This game plays very well for families with young children around 5 years old or up.


2. Conspiracy

Unravel the Conspiracy in Muskegon!
Milton Bradley’s Conspiracy














Milton Bradley’s Conspiracy was  a game that I always wanted when I was a kid. It looked fun and it had cool bits. Last summer, we played this several times at Cabin Con*. People really enjoyed this despite Conspiracy’s age.

When I saw a copy for $4 that was complete, my heart stopped!

*More to come on Cabin Con II. Stay tuned.


 3. Axis & Allies

Most Muskegon gamers have played Axis and Allies
Milton Bradley’s Axis and Allies













I cut my teeth on Axis and Allies. It was the mainstay of my gaming experience when I abandoned Risk. I found a complete copy with tons of accessories for $4. Seems someone’s mom must have thrown out an old copy.


2.Battleship Card Game

Muskegon doesn't consider Battleship to be a wargame.
Hasbro’s Battleship Card Game



















I found this little gem for $.75 at a thrift store. I figured, “Why not?” It’s rating on BGG isn’t terrible either (5.8 or so). Maybe I’ll give this a whirl.



 5. Clue: Master Detective

Muskegon loves deduction games like Clue Master Detective
Parker Brother’s Clue Master Detective












I have a soft spot for deduction games. I used to love Clue. I found a shrink wrapped copy of Clue: Master Detective for $.99. This version of Clue has more of everything. I hate to break it out of its shrink wrap to try it. What’s a gamer to do?



6. Dungeon Dice

Elude the dungeon keepers of Muskegon!
Parker Brothers’ Dungeon Dice











I’ve been having good luck finding copies of Dungeon Dice lately. This copy, much to my chagrin, is missing a die.


I’m on the prowl for one on BGG.


7. Bean Trader

Muskegon sees its fair share of bean trading in Rio Grande Games' Bean Trader
Rio Grande Games’ Bean Trader










I found a $2.99 copy of Bean Trader at the Goodwill. The pieces are still sealed! I cannot resist RGG’s when they are at thrift stores.


8. Khet: The Laser Game

Muskegon loves chess-like games such as Khet: The Laser Game
Khet: The Laser Game










Khet is a chess like abstract. Players move a piece orthogonally. Then they push the laser button. If a piece is lit up by the laser, it is destroyed. Remove your opponent’s pharaoh piece first and you win.

I found a cheap copy this week. Its laser is still functional (always a concern with this title). Unfortunately it is missing a couple of pieces.



9. Heroquest 

Classic gaming in Muskegon: Milton Bradley's Heroquest
Milton Bradley’s Heroquest















I went to the Goodwill on Henry Street and Norton Avenue. As I walked in, a mother was standing in the narrow toy/game aisle. Her infant was bundled up in a cart beside her. As I walk closer to the aisle, it’s clear that her cart and baby block access to the entire aisle and I’ll have to wait for her to finish browsing.

When I walk around the aisle, I see she has a copy of Weapons & Warriors in her cart! And it looks to be in pristine condition! She is also holding onto a copy of Star Wars Monopoly.

Then I see a great prize on the shelf below her: Heroquest from Milton Bradley. In fact, Clue: Museum Caper is also on the shelf below her. All she has to do is reach down and grab them and I would be screwed. I said, “Excuse me” politely. She replied, “Oh, sorry.” and quickly moved to the next aisle to continue shopping.

I swooped in and grabbed Heroquest and Clue: Museum Caper (I have an extra copy if people need it). I was amazed by my find!