Are Board Games Media Mail?

Board games are tabletop games that typically involve a board or playing surface, pieces or tokens, and a set of rules. These games are designed for multiple players and often require strategy, skill, or chance to win. They come in various genres and themes, catering to a wide range of interests and ages. 

Are Board Games Media Mail? This question may arise when you’re looking to send or receive board games through the postal service. Media Mail is a cost-effective shipping option provided by the United States Postal Service (USPS) for sending educational materials, books, and other media-related items. But, can board games be considered eligible for this shipping method? Let’s delve deeper into this query to understand the criteria and implications of using Media Mail for board games.

When considering whether board games qualify for Media Mail, it’s crucial to know that Media Mail is primarily intended for educational and media materials like books, CDs, DVDs, and similar items. While some board games may contain educational components, such as trivia or word games, they often have non-media elements like game pieces, cards, and boards. 

Why is a board game not considered Media Mail?

Understanding the Media Mail Criteria

When sending items via Media Mail, it’s essential to grasp the criteria that the United States Postal Service (USPS) has established for this cost-effective shipping option. Media Mail is primarily intended for educational materials and media-related items, such as books, CDs, and DVDs. This distinction forms the foundation for determining whether board games can be classified as Media Mail.

Board Games: Media or Non-Media?

Board games, by their nature, incorporate a mix of media and non-media components. While they often contain educational or media-related elements like trivia questions, word games, or educational content, they also include non-media components such as game boards, cards, dice, and player pieces. This hybrid nature of board games can make it challenging to clearly categorize them under the Media Mail criteria.

What is and is not classed as Media Mail?

What is and is not classed as Media Mail?

Defining Media Mail Eligibility

To navigate the Media Mail classification effectively, you need to have a clear understanding of what qualifies as Media Mail. USPS guidelines stipulate that Media Mail can be used for shipping educational materials, sound recordings, recorded video tapes, and other specified media.

Types of Items Suitable for Media Mail

Examples of items that typically fall within the Media Mail category include textbooks, instructional DVDs, printed sheet music, and certain sound recordings. These are considered eligible because they primarily serve educational or informational purposes.

Media Mail Restrictions

USPS also outlines certain restrictions when it comes to Media Mail. Items like advertising, computer drives, and digital drives do not qualify for this shipping method. Understanding these restrictions is crucial when assessing whether board games can be shipped as Media Mail.

Are classed as Media Mail

Examples of Media Mail Items

Diving deeper into Media Mail, it’s helpful to identify specific examples of items that align with its criteria. Items like textbooks, educational workbooks, reference materials, and even some non-fiction books are often eligible for Media Mail shipping.

Are not classed as Media Mail

Items Ineligible for Media Mail

Conversely, items that do not align with the educational or informational criteria of Media Mail may include novels, fiction books, marketing materials, and purely recreational games. These items are generally not eligible for Media Mail and must be shipped via alternative methods.

How can I know if my board game qualifies as Media Mail?

Determining Media Mail Eligibility for Your Board Game

To determine if your board game qualifies for Media Mail, you must carefully evaluate its contents. Consider whether the educational or informational aspects outweigh the recreational elements. Weighing these factors is key to making the right classification.

Common Issues with Board Game Eligibility

In practice, classifying board games for Media Mail can be challenging due to their diverse content. The presence of educational components does not always guarantee eligibility, as the non-media aspects may still outweigh the media-related ones. 

Can an educational board game be shipped via Media Mail?

Educational Board Games: The Grey Area

Educational board games blur the lines when it comes to Media Mail eligibility. They may contain substantial educational content, but their gameplay components, like boards, cards, and pieces, can complicate the decision. We’ll explore how to handle these borderline cases.

Weighing the Educational Aspect

When assessing whether an educational board game can be shipped via Media Mail, it’s crucial to carefully weigh the educational aspect against the non-media components. This involves considering the primary purpose of the game and its contents.

What can happen if you ship a board game by Media Mail?

Consequences of Misclassifying Shipments

Misclassifying board games as Media Mail items can lead to various consequences, including delayed deliveries, additional postage costs, and potential penalties from USPS. We’ll delve into the implications of making the wrong classification.

Should you ship board games via Media Mail?

Pros and Cons of Shipping Board Games via Media Mail

To decide whether Media Mail is the right choice for your board games, you need to weigh the advantages and disadvantages. We’ll explore the cost savings and potential drawbacks associated with this shipping method.

Alternatives to Media Mail for Board Games

If Media Mail is not a suitable option, we’ll also discuss alternative shipping methods that may be more appropriate for your board game shipments.

Are RPG books considered Media Mail?

The RPG Books Dilemma

Role-playing game (RPG) materials, including books and rulebooks, present another area of ambiguity. Some RPG books contain substantial educational content, while others may be considered more recreational. We’ll examine the considerations for RPG books under the Media Mail classification.

Media Mail Consideration for Role-Playing Game Materials

For those involved in the RPG community, we’ll provide insights into how RPG books and materials, including the popular Who Am I board game, are evaluated for Media Mail eligibility, taking into account their educational and entertainment value.


What is Media Mail?

Media Mail is a cost-effective USPS shipping option for sending educational materials, including books, DVDs, CDs, and other media.

Can board games be sent using Media Mail?

No, board games are not eligible for Media Mail because they are considered non-media items.

What qualifies as “media” for Media Mail?

Media Mail typically includes printed materials, sound recordings, film, and educational media, but not board games or other non-media items.

Are there any restrictions on content for Media Mail?

Yes, Media Mail items must contain only media materials, and any non-media content could result in postage reclassification or additional charges.

What’s an alternative way to ship board games?

You can send board games through standard parcel post or Priority Mail, depending on your preferred shipping speed and costs.


In the world of entertainment and communication, board games stand as a unique form of media. They bring people together, foster creativity, and encourage face-to-face interaction in a digital age. Whether it’s the roll of the dice, the strategy of chess, or the laughter shared during a game night, board games are undoubtedly a medium that transcends screens and wires, making them a valuable part of our media landscape.

As we’ve explored the role of board games in media, it’s clear that they are indeed a part of the broader media landscape. They entertain, educate, and connect us, creating lasting memories and bonds. So, next time you gather around the table for a game, remember that you’re not just playing; you’re engaging with a unique and timeless form of media that enriches our lives in countless ways.

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