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What happened to Desert Rat Games?​

As most of you have probably figured out by now, Desert Rat Games is no longer open at Phoenix Park & Swap. To put rumors to bed, we did not go out of business. What we have done, however, is a massive restructure. Things at the market were not going well, and I’ll explain why.

When Desert Rat Games first started, we were just an Etsy shop selling dice trays and dice towers that I was laser cutting in my garage. We eventually decided to become an actual game store – we started on a shoe string budget. Obviously we couldn’t afford a regular Brick & Mortar (B&M) storefront, but we wanted to be able to get more games and stuff in front of customers than a website would provide for. We decided to give the Flea Markets a try. After looking at many of the markets around town, we decided on Phoenix Park & Swap. We started with a couple of tables in a small space. A bunch of video games from my private collection, a bunch of dice towers and trays, and a couple boxes of Magic the Gathering and Pokemon cards.

Folks were surprised at what we were selling, it was very different from the regular kinds of things at the flea market. COVID happened and things got extremely wonky for a while, but settled back down. We were masking and sanitizing like crazy in the shop. Folks became used to seeing us, we even started getting some regular, repeat customers. We eventually convinced the market management to let us build a structure. Things were going well!

Fast forward another year. We now have a wide range of gaming stuff. Board games, cards, video game accessories, etc. We had branched into Yu-Gi-Oh cards as well as Dragon Ball Super TCG. We’d developed a reputation of being reputable dealers and for never selling counterfeit cards or bootleg product. Which is where things started to go sour. We’d been doing well up to this point. Slowly growing, expanding our product offerings. But other people saw what we were doing… and decided to start cheating.

Counterfeits… Bootlegs… Buckets of fake junk. All being sold at a pittance of what the real stuff cost. We were being undercut left and right. Fake Pokemon cards at $1 a pack. Bootleg Playstation controllers at a quarter or less of what we were selling at. Not to mention an economy that seems to be continuing to flounder. We started making less and less money, eventually hitting a point where we were actually losing money simply by being open. Something had to change!

So, after a ton of soul searching, we made a decision. A decision that hurt our hearts and souls. We decided to close up the shop at the flea market and re-organize. We decided to take things wholly online for a while. I’ve spent the past couple months building a completely new website. A website where I have a lot more control of everything. The website that you are reading this on, right now. We will still do flea market days, occasionally. We will also be selling at conventions and gamer get-togethers around town. We’ll post a schedule in advance so our customers know where and when they can come see us. We’ll still be buying cards and video games anytime we are set up. We can also do buys by appointment. If you want to sell to us, contact us and we can work something out.

So, that’s the sum of it. The Story of Desert Rat Games. We are currently saving money at every opportunity with the goal of, sooner rather than later, re-opening Desert Rat Games as a Brick & Mortar storefront. That will be a red letter day for us. In store play, organized play leagues, AIR CONDITIONING!!!

To our regular customers, thank you for your faith and patronage. To our new customers, thank you for letting us serve you. To everyone, may your days always be a Crit Success!


  1. Hey just leaving a comment wanting to thank you a lot for always having yugioh cards lol and also like the laser cut binders that you had the cards in but i really appreciate the times you were there and i miss swinging by knowing you always had cards to purchase and now whenever i do go to the swap meet no one else sells yugioh cards or legit playing cards in general but yeah hopefully your store gets the attention it deserves and i can’t wait for future plans in the upcoming years! Goodluck with everything man

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