This list wasn't as easy to compile as the reader might think. Publishers' websites sometimes describe a game as "unavailable" even while retailers have dozens or more in stock. I decided that if a game is just as available to the consumer from a major retailer as any other game, then it didn't make sense to call it "out of print." I guess the category might more properly be called, "largely unavailable through normal retail channels." And even that's an imprecise definition, but it serves to help me focus on the games that may be difficult for newer gamers to obtain.
So before I get to the "largely unavailable" list, here's a sample of games whose publishers called "unavailable" but which major on-line retailers still have in stock:
- Eclipse (Asmodee US, Lautepelit.fi, 2012 second English edition)
- Castles of Burgundy (Ravensburger, 2011)
- Race for the Galaxy (2007), which no longer shows up on the Rio Grande website
- Twilight Imperium Third Edition (Fantasy Flight, 2005)
- Descent: Journeys in the Dark Second Edition, which is shown as "not yet available" on the Fantasy Flight website, though the English edition came out in 2012
So now, here are the five most highly-rated games (by boardgame rank #) on boardgamegeek that are truly out of print and not (according to my quick assessment) widely available among major online retailers:
|(c) Rio Grande Games|
Used by permission
#31. Tigris and Euphrates (designer Reiner Knizia, artist Stephen Graham Walsh, publisher Mayfair) originally came out in 1997. The latest English language edition was in 2008.
#40. Paths of Glory (designer Ted Raicer, artists Roger B. MacGowan and Mark Simonitch, publisher GMT) last had an English printing in 2010.
|(c) GMT Games|
Used by permission
#48. Troyes (designers Sébastien Dujardin, Xavier Georges, and Alain Orban; artist Alexandre Roche; publisher Z-man) fourth edition (English) also came out in 2012, but Z-man shows it out of stock, and Cool Stuff has only a few copies left.
If there's any good news to glean from this list, it's the fact that all of the Top 20 and most of the Top 50 games on boardgamegeek are generally available, so there's plenty of alternatives to the five excellent games identified here.