I’ve been keeping an eye out lately for games that are fairly inexpensive, fun and have a re-playability. It’s one thing to drop $40 on a new board game now and again, but it’s a habit that can grow extremely expensive very fast. As a way to archive these for myself and share these ideas with you, I present to you 25 games that are available for under $20. Mostly.
Another advantage to these is that they tend to be smaller, making them easier to store and lug around. By way of disclosure, these are all through amazon, and yes I get a small percentage of any sales. This goes directly in to keeping this site alive. Another trick, Amazon has free shipping for orders of $25 or more, but with Amazon prime, it’s free 2nd day shipping on many of these.
Games that have red prices cost over $20. Games that are green are personal favorites. Click the images to go directly to Amazon.
Now, in no particular order, 25 games costing mostly under $20.
Slide 5 – $7.09
Based on the European card game sensation 6 Nimmt, Slide 5 is a quick-to-learn card game of luck and strategy. Players arrange their cards on the playing surface building “hills.” Once a hill gets 5 cards high, the 6th card will cause an “avalanche” and that player must take all of the cards in that row, leaving the sixth card to start a new hill. With all the players revealing the cards they wish to play at the same time, there’s always unpredictable fun and dilemma at every turn! For 2-10 players. Slide 5 is easy to learn and instantly addictive! Age: 8 + Manufacturer: Endless Games
Archaeology – The Card Game – $10.25
Discover the lost treasures of Egypt and make your fortune! You are an archaeologist working the dig sites of the Egyptian desert. Search for the right pieces to complete torn parchments, broken pots, and other priceless artifacts. Trade shrewdly at the marketplace to increase the value of your collection. Sell your treasures to the museum for maximum profit.
But beware, the desert also has its dangers! A devastating sandstorm can throw your expedition into disarray, and cunning thieves lurk around the dig site ready to steal your prize discovery.
Mr. Jack (Pocket Edition) – $14.22
This time he won’t get away! Discover the pocket version of Mr. Jack the favorite investigation game of strategy game players! As in the board version a player takes on the role of the inspector trying to unmask Jack the Ripper while the other player takes on the role of the fleeing criminal. The difference is in the game mechanics: the infernal pursuit now takes place on a board that’s 3 squares to a side each square representing both a London street and one of the nine suspects. around the board are placed a Holmes a Watson and a police dog token. On each turn the first player (the inspector or Jack in turn) uses 4 action tokens which allow to move the investigator tokens to reorient the tiles or to draw a ”suspect card”. A suspect is visible only if the investigator can see that suspect in the streets in front of him. Suspects hidden by buildings are invisible. At the end of each turn the player in the role of Jack must say if the guilty character is visible or not. If that character isn’t visible Jack earns an hourglass. If the Jack player can earn 6 hourglasses that player wins the game (knowing that hourglasses are earned by remaining invisible and by drawing ”suspect” cards). The inspector wins if there’s only a single suspect left at the end of a turn.
Roll Through the Ages – $23.00
In Roll Through the Ages, players roll seven special dice in order to collect workers and commodities to develop their civilization. Symbols on the dice represent workers, food, goods, money, and disaster. The goal of Roll Through the Ages is to score the most points by becoming the most advanced and prestigious civilization by acquiring cities, monuments, and developments while at the same time avoiding disasters. Each player starts with three cities and each city must be feed lest famine ensue which costs the player points. Players try to build up their infrastructure and build monuments that are worth more and more points. Once all monuments or developments are built by a player, points are counted and the civilization with the most wins. Build a thriving Bronze Age civilization in under an hour with Roll Through the Ages!
No Thanks – $8.94
Good card games can be so simple: either take a card or pay a chip. Anyone can make that decision, right? However, there’s a catch – in fact there are two. Nobody wants the cards, not even for free, because they give you points in a game where you need to have the fewest points to win. And the chips? They are scarce, very scarce.
Skip Bo – $7.93
A member of Mattel’s popular family of Uno card games, Skip-Bo resembles speed (or spit) in the same way that Uno takes after crazy eights. Out of a 162-card deck, two to six players are each dealt 20-card “stockpiles”; the first one to deplete their pile wins. Competing either alone or in teams, players draw from a central pile and stack their cards sequentially onto one of four “build” piles (for example, an eight onto a seven, a three onto a two), using plentiful Skip-Bo wild cards to break up static situations. Deceptively simple and ingeniously designed, this classic game offers plenty of strategizing opportunities, or it can just make a nice backdrop to socializing and munching on potato chips.
Haggis – $14.99 (non-edible)
Haggis is a climbing card game for 2 or 3 players in the same family as Tichu, Zheng Fen and Big Two. Haggis features traditional elements of card combinations, bombs, with scoring for cards in hand and scoring for cards collected in tricks. Innovative wild cards create tension in every hand. Sean Ross designed Haggis over a number of years, extensively testing over thousands of hands to create a very engaging and balanced game. Gary Simpson has done a masterful job on the original artwork, that has to be seen to be appreciated.
Onirim – $7.75
Onirim is a solo/cooperative card game: you (and a partner) must work (together) against the game, and gather the 8 Door cards before the deck runs out; you can obtain those Door cards either by playing cards of the same color three turns in a row, or by discarding -under specific circumstances- one of your powerful Key cards. In both cases you will have to decide the best use of each card in your hand, and carefully play around the Nightmares. Those cards are hidden in the deck and will trigger painful dilemmas when drawn…
Citadels – $19.66
Nominated for the German Game of the Year in 2000, Citadels has finally arrived in an English-language edition. Game enthusiasts of all genres will be enchanted by this wonderful game of bluffing, deduction, and city-building. Wrapped in a medieval theme and gorgeously illustrated, players seek to be the first to complete a grand city of their own. Each game round players secretly take the roles of either the King, Magician, Architect, Assassin, Thief, Bishop, General, or Merchant and seek to use the powers of such offices in their efforts to win the game. As an additional bonus, the English version will ship with 10 new cards designed by Bruno Faidutti himself. These cards feature new locations and new characters to make your game of Citadels even more diverse than the original German version. The game is for 2 to 7 players and it takes 20-60 minutes to play.
Aye, Dark Overlord – $20.46
Tell lies! Shift the blame! Save yourself from the anger of the Evil Genius! You are returning to the Tower of Dark Sorcery after the umpteenth failed mission. His Excellency will certainly be displeased which can only result in the most awful pain and suffering for his hapless minions. If only there were some way you could convince him that it’s not your fault… Aye Dark Overlord! is a hilarious party game of lying through your teeth. Convince your Dark Overlord that it was not your fault his evil plan failed but that of your inept companions! But watch out; they probably have the exact same idea… This all new edition from Fantasy Flight Games includes everything from the first release plus an all new set of rules plus updated and improved components.
Lunch Money – $19.01
This card games simulates being little girls running around the playground beating up each other and stealing their lunch money. Once you get past the strange theme, there’s a fun little game where players beat each other senseless with cards like ‘Poke in the Eye’, ‘Uppercut’, and ‘Humiliation.’ Not for the weak willed, this game is mean. The last player still standing wins.
Fluxx 4.0 – $12.69
There are 4 kinds of cards in Fluxx: * Keepers: You put these out on the table in front of you when you play them. * Goals: When someone plays a goal, it stays in the center of the table until a new goal takes its place. To win, you simply need to do whatever the goal says. Most of the time, the goal requires you to have a couple of particular Keepers on the table in front of you. As soon as any player achieves the current goal, that player wins! * New Rules: This is where the fun really starts. When the game begins, the only rules are that you draw 1 card per turn and play 1 card per turn. But when you play a New Rule, these rules are either changed or added to. New Rules change the number of cards drawn and played per turn as well as the number of cards you are allowed to hold in your hand, the number of Keepers you can have, bonuses for players who have particular Keepers, and more. * Actions: These are 1 time use cards that let you do fun stuff like stealing someone else’s Keeper, getting rid of a rule you don’t like, drawing more cards, and so on.
Monopoly Deal – $4.99
The fast-paced, addictive card game where your luck can change in the play of a card! Collect 3 complete property sets, but beware Debt Collectors, Forced Deals and the dreaded Deal Breakers, which could change your fortunes at any time! * Gender:Unisex / * Minimum Age Recommendation:8 years / * Recommended Environment:Indoor / * Number of Players:2-4 Players
Munchkin – $19.95
Munchkin is a stand-alone card game designed by Steve Jackson that “simulates” well, sorta’ a fantasy-themed RPG oh, ok, D n D in a simple, card-based game that’s chock full o’ silliness. Everyone begins the game as a 1st level human with no class heh-heh and via cards, they acquire Races Elf, Dwarf, etc., classes thief, Wizard, Cleric, etc., Items, armor, potions and more that they use to combat hideous monsters like the 4th level Undead Horse, the 10th level net troll and the 14th level unspeakably awful, indescribable horror very nasty, indeed. The object of the game is to reach Level 10 and levels are acquired via the slaying of monsters and the selling of acquired treasure 1,000 gold pieces equals one level. Very silly and a lot of fun.
Zombie Dice – $10.57
Eat brains. Don’t get shotgunned. You are a zombie. You want brains. More brains than any of your zombie buddies. Zombie Dice is a quick and easy game for gamers and non-gamers alike. The 13 custom dice represent victims. Push your luck to eat their brains, but stop rolling before the shotgun blasts end your turn! Zombie Dice is a dice game for 3 to 8 players. Each game takes 10 to 20 minutes, and can be taught in a single round.
Poo – $12.89
It’s been a tough day in the monkey cage and something in the food tonight wasn’t quite right. In monkey world, there’s only one thing that can be done about it – fling poo! Poo is a fast-paced card game for two to eight players, requiring anywhere from five to fifteen minutes to play. It’s fast and furious – something you can play while waiting in line or on lunch break. Each player takes on the role of a monkey. You fling poo and mess with each other until only one monkey is left standing. That monkey, of course, is the cleanest one. Each turn, every player gets to draw and play a card, usually either to fling poo at another player or to clean himself off. Out of turn, each player gets to play cards to defend himself or foil other players’ poo flinging.
Bananagrams – $14.29
The bananagram game that will drive you bananas. The award-winning word game that needs no pencil, paper, or board. Fast and fun. Players race against each other to build crossword grids and use all their letter tiles first. Great for travel.
Bohnanza – $15.59
Ever imagined you were a bean farmer? Sure, who hasn’t? You got your red beans, your green beans, your black-eyed beans, your coffee beans… But where to plant them? In this card game, smart sowing lets you reap big rewards. Plant the beans you do want, and trade the beans you don’t want to the other players. Adding to the realism of the game, the one who ends up with the most money wins! Comes with 154 Bean Cards, 7 Third Bean Field Cards and a rule booklet. Imported from Germany. For 2 to 7 players.
Death Angel – $18.14
Purge the Xenos Threat!The Space Hulk Sin of Damnation has succumbed to a vicious Genestealer infestation. Now you must purge the vile alien…Space Hulk: Death Angel – The Card Game is a cooperative card game for 1-6 players. Set in the grim Warhammer 40,000 universe, Death Angel pits a squad of Blood Angel Space Marines against a growing alien horde. It will take strategic teamwork to make it out alive.Pick your combat group, fall into formation, and prepare for the Genestealer swarms!
Battle Line – $20.99
Ancient battles were fought in organized formations. The leaders of both sides directed their forces along the battle line to gain tactical advantage in order to overwhelm their opponent in the center, breakthrough one of his flanks, or hold their position until the time came for a decisive move. How will you muster your battle line? Your objective is to create powerful formations on your side of the nine Flags, in order to beat the formations on your opponent’s side of the respective Flags. The first player to win three adjacent Flags (a Breakthrough) or any five Flags (an Envelopment) achieves victory.
Gloom – $18.48
In the Gloom card game, you assume control of the fate of an eccentric family of misfits and misanthropes. The goal of the game is sad, but simple: you want your characters to suffer the greatest tragedies possible before passing on to the well-deserved respite of death. You’ll play horrible mishaps like Pursued by Poodles or Mocked by Midgets on your own characters to lower their Self-Worth scores, while trying to cheer your opponents’ characters with marriages and other happy occasions that pile on positive points. The player with the lowest total Family Value wins.
Carcassonne – $22.19
The Carcassonne is a clever tile-laying game. The southern French city of Carcassonne is famous for its unique roman and medieval fortifications. The players develop the area around Carcassonne and deploy their followers on the roads, in the cities, in the cloisters, and in the fields. The skill of the players to develop the area will determine who is victorious. The game is for ages 8 and up and 2 to 5 players.
Tichu – $12.01
Players who love new and interesting card games will love Tichu. It is simple to learn: one need only get rid of his cards. The basic game is played by two pairs of two partners each with the players of each team sitting opposite one another. During the game, the partners try to help each other score points and opportunities to lead. The game is played over several hands with the goal to be the first team to score a total of 1000 points. Although Tichu is primarily a partnership game for four, with the two packs of cards, Tichu is well suited for large groups, too.
Forbidden Island – $13.07
It’s a great honor to introduce the latest creation by cooperative game master, Matt Leacock. There are so many things we love about this unique game: from the rich illustrations, to the collaborative nature of play, to the innovative set of rules, to the infinite possibilities generated by the tiles and cards. Don’t be surprised if your pulse starts pounding faster soon after you start playing – it’s a game that instantly generates an electrifying atmosphere of tension and excitement. Dare to discover Forbidden Island. Join a team of fearless adventurers on a do-or-die mission to capture four sacred treasures from the ruins of this perilous paradise. Your team will have to work together and make some pulse-pounding maneuvers, as the island will sink beneath every step. Race to collect the treasures and make a triumphant escape before you are swallowed into the watery abyss.
Guillotine – $10.99
This irreverent and humorous card game takes place during the French Revolution. Players represent rival guillotine operators vying for the best collection of noble heads over three rounds. You want top bragging rights, so you’d better collect the most prestigious noggins. Will you be skillful enough to bribe the guards and collect Marie Antoinette? Or will you lose points for beheading the Hero of the People.
Saboteur – $14.95
You and your Dwarven brethren dig for gold in the depths of a mine. Suddenly, a pick-axe breaks and the light from the lantern goes out. The saboteur has struck again – but which of your fellow players is a saboteur? Discover the traitor in your midst while questing for gold in this path-laying card game for 3-10 suspicious dwarves.
There you have it folks! I hope you enjoy these and have a chance to bulk up your collection for (going to the obvious dwarven delver joke) short money.