Get Free Games with a Game Drive

Looking for a way to get free (or at least extremely cheap) games for your school or library? Kim shows us all how, and even throws in links to game instructions on line.

Get Free Games with a Game Drive
by Kim Vandenbroucke, The Game Aisle

I’m going to piggyback this article on the one written last month about how to start a school game library by Toby Greenwalt.  Toby gave some great ideas on how to start small and organize your collection.  You can see his article HERE.  But let’s say you have zero funding to start a game library – what then? 

Consider a game drive.

Thankfully, games don’t have to be in mint condition to play well.  Bent corners, missing pieces, lost instructions – while they might provide a little bit of a challenge most of them can be worked around.  So asking for old games, in any condition, from students, families, faculty, community members, etc. could provide your school with lots of new titles without spending much – if any — money.   For even better results, you could pair up with another insititution.  If you’re at an elementary school, hook up with the local high school or middle school and offer to swap games based on what is age appropriate.  

The hardest part is going to be sorting through the games once you’ve got them.   You’ll probably have duplicate titles of classic games like Candy Land, Sorry! and Scrabble – but this is a good thing!  Sift through the pieces of each title and find out what you have and what you’re missing.  If a game board is destroyed beyond repair, toss it but keep the cards and pieces because they always have a tendancy to get lost.  You may start with 4 copies of a popular game, but end up with 2-3 playable copies with extra pieces.  Also start bins of standard dice and generic movers that can be added to games with missing parts.  And if all else fails and you don’t have enough movers for a game like Monopoly, toss in a note telling players to use odds and ends found around the classroom like erasers, buttons, pennies and marker caps as movers.

Missing instructions and parts lists can be found on almost all game manufacturers’ websites to make your job a bit easier.  Most of these even include information on out of print games.  Some links:

If you need more information on a game, another great resource is BoardGameGeek.com.  It includes game details, along with pictures of score sheets, instructions and pieces.  It’s a great resource if you’re having trouble piecing together an older game.

It’s a little bit of work, but whether you end up with five new-to-you games or twenty five, your library has expanded!  If you end up with lots of extra games, consider donating them to your local library, community center, park district, hospital or even other local schools.   To keep the program going, find places to post that your school is looking for used games and keep a donation box at the ready.


If you’re looking for an expert in the game industry, you’re probably looking for Kim Vandenbroucke. Not only does she review games at The Game Aisle, but she also designs them and is one of those people that companies call when they need to have a game designed.

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