Last year I posted 25 board games for (mostly) under $20. This year, I’ve upped it to 40 table top gifts (board games, RPGs and related neat stuff) that will make great geek gifts all for mostly under $20. These make great gifts as they can be used over and over again. Click the picture to go directly to the purchasing site.
This year I’ve added a few more family friendly games. As my kids get a bit older, we find ourselves gaming more as a family, which is great!
These less expensive games 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. Remember, if you’re a student, prime is free!
Now, in no particular order, 40 games and table top gifts costing mostly under $20.
Frog Juice – $9.20
This is a family favorite in my home. My 8 year old and I spend at least three nights a week playing this before she goes to bed. Strategic enough to be fun, easy enough for an 8 year old to beat me. How would you create a magic spell? You might need some unicorn horn or some eye of newt, or maybe some bats or toadstools or star and moon dust. But be forewarned as you’re stirring up your potion–you’d better be wary of a black cat or the powerful All-Purpose Witch Wash! One of your opponents might even be brewing up an Uglifying Spell. (“Results guaranteed to crack mirrors at a single glance!”) All of these magical ingredients are part of Frog Juice, an imaginative card game for two to four players that uses fairy-tale elements from fair maids to frogs to create a game that both kids and adults will enjoy. This game of strategy includes 44 ingredient cards and 15 power cards, each with an illustration that looks like it came straight out of a fairy-tale book. Cards are played in the center of the game and then captured by other players by matching numerical values or by using stronger powers.
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.
Werewolves of Millers Hollow – $10.06
Werewolves of Miller’s Hollow is a game that takes place in a small village which is haunted by werewolves. Each player is secretly assigned a role – Werewolf, Villager, or special character such as The Captain, The Hunter, the Witch, the Little Girl, The Seer and so on… There is also a Moderator player who controls the flow of the game. The game alternates between night and day phases. At night, the Werewolves secretly choose a Villager to kill. During the day, the Villager who was killed is revealed and is out of the game. The remaining Villagers (normal and special villagers alike) then deliberate and vote on a player they suspect is a Werewolf, helped (or hindered) by the clues the special characters add to the general deliberation. The chosen player is “lynched”, reveals his/her role and is out of the game. Werewolf is a social game that requires no equipment to play, and can accommodate almost any large group of players.
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.
Argyle & Crew – $9.50 print $2.99 PDF
Disclosure: This is my game, written and designed by me! It’s a great gift for RPGers with kids but know that it’s mine. It’s a collaborative storytelling adventure for kids. It’s a great pick up game for adults. The land of Skcos is inhabited by all manner of things, but primarily its inhabitants belong to a race of ever changing, always interesting creatures called Soppets. Soppets are a magical breed of intelligent, funny, thrill seeking socks. Yes, you read that correctly, Socks. Argyle & Crew is a free wheeling system powered by imagination. Rather than a character sheet like a traditional RPG, your character and it’s attributes are all based on a sock puppet, or in Skcos lingo, a Soppet. Each Soppet has several unique qualities which allow it to do extraordinary things! Argyle & Crew is great game for children as young as 4 years old. Short scenarios and active participation keep things lively! Useful as a learning tool not just for gaming, but for life lessons, Argyle & Crew can easily be used in a classroom setting. Professionals working on counseling children can find this game equally useful for indirectly or directly exploring past experiences and future anxieties. Use the additional rules for older children or adults and expand the game from a fun, play driven activity to a fully developed RPG. PDF version.
Sleeping Queens – $9.67
Imagine a place where there?s a queen of all pancakes, a king of cookies and a pack of over-protective dragons? If this sounds like something out of a dream, it actually is! Sleeping Queens was invented by 6-year-old Miranda Evarts, who thought up the game one night when she couldn?t fall asleep. She awoke the next morning and with help from her older sister, Madeleine and her parents, Denise and Max created this wonderfully whimsical world of napping nobles. As you immerse yourself in the Evarts? fantasyland, you will find a game that helps develop memory, strategy, and elementary arithmetic skills. Just be careful when playing potion cards or you could wind up putting all the players to sleep! HOW TO PLAY: Rise and Shine! The Pancake Queen, the Ladybug Queen and ten of their closest friends have fallen under a sleeping spell and it’s your job to wake them up. Use strategy, quick thinking and a little luck to rouse these napping nobles from their royal slumbers. Play a knight to steal a queen or take a chance on a juggling jester. But watch out for wicked potions and dastardly dragons!
Ricochet Robots – $19.25
Any number may play this game, limited only by the amount of space around the table. Each turn a player draws a chip to determine the next target and the robot that must reach it. With the computer down, the players search for the shortest moves to the target, using one or more of the robots. The player who finds the most efficient move receives the chip as a reward. When the chips have been all taken, the player with the most is the winner. For 2 or more players. There’s a four-piece modular board that forms a large room with walls spread around the board. Takes about 30 minutes to play a game.
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!
Zombie Blood Energy Drink – $6.19
For the zombie trying to get off the diet of brains and more brains, the makers of the Blood Energy Potion have just the ticket – the Zombie Blood Energy Potion! This fruity green potion has all the nutrients the walking dead (or the walking alive) need to get through their day! Packed in a bag that looks like a hospital blood bag, this is the energy drink every zombie needs! Caution: May cause death, undeath, a strong desire for brains, wakefulness and a shambling walk.
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.
Gamers: Dorkness Rising – $19.99 / $9.99 HD download
The epitome of indie film geeky goodness – they get everything right about the hobby, the folks who play it and the real magic that can happen. Read my review here on TitC. Struggling writer Lodge (Nathan Rice) isn’t asking for much: he wants his gaming group to finish playtesting his table-top adventure, rather than killing, looting, and debauching his fantasy world. Desperate to save the integrity of his story from the whims of his players’ crazy characters-a horny bard, wild sorceress, and cryptic monk-Lodge allows Joanna (Carol Roscoe), Cass’s (Brian Lewis) ex-girlfriend, to join the game. With Joanna’s help, the group’s characters trek deep into the fantasy game world to retrieve the Mask of Death from the evil necromancer Mort Kemnon (Geoff Gibbs). Will their choices in the game save their friendships in real life . . . or will Mort Kemnon triumph unopposed? HD Download.
Biblios – $25.00
You are an abbot of a medieval monastery competing with other abbots to amass the greatest library of sacred books. To do so you need to have both the workers and resources to run a well-functioning scriptorium. An auction style card game great for 2-4 players.
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…
Bag O Zombies – $10.00
Looking for a stocking stuffer? Why not stuff a stocking full of 100 glow in the dark zombies? Imagine the fun as candy and other small gifts are carefully separated from the zombie horde! They can be used in various zombie games, with a bit of glue as an alternative to glow in the dark stars or for next year’s holiday window scene! Really, in this day and age, who wouldn’t like 100 glow in the dark zombies?
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.
Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Beginner Box – $23.09
Take your first steps into an exciting world of fantasy adventure with the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Beginner Box! Within you”ll find simple rules to create and customize your own hero, as well as a robust system to run your character through challenging adventures and deadly battles against villainous monsters like goblins and dragons! The Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Beginner Box is packed with everything you need to get started with the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game, an imaginative tabletop fantasy adventure game for 2-5 players. Scores of monsters, challenges, and advice give gamers the tools to create their own worlds and adventure, providing countless hours of gaming excitement. With streamlined rules and a focus on action-packed heroic adventure, this deluxe boxed set is the ideal introduction to the world of the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game, and the best starting point for a lifetime of pulse-pounding adventure!
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.
Pandemic – $26.04
This game is one of the go-to board games for getting people hooked on board games. Four diseases have broken out in the world and it is up to a team of specialists in various fields to find cures for these diseases before mankind is wiped out. Players must work together playing to their characters’ strengths and planning their strategy of eradication before the diseases overwhelm the world with ever-increasing outbreaks. For example the Operation Specialist can build research stations which are needed to find cures for the diseases. The Scientist needs only 4 cards of a particular disease to cure it instead of the normal 5. But the diseases are outbreaking fast and time is running out: the team must try to stem the tide of infection in diseased areas while also towards cures. A truly cooperative game where you all win or you all lose.
The Resistance – $14.96
The Resistance is an intense social deduction game for 5-10 players. While it shares similarities with games like Werewolf, Mafia and even Battlestar Galactica it has many very unique features such as a quick 30 minute play time, no moderator required and no player elimination. Set in the near future, The Resistance pits a small group of resistance fighters against a powerful and corrupt government. The resistance has launched a series of bold and daring missions to bring the government to its knees. Unfortunately spies have infiltrated the resistance ranks, ready to sabotage the carefully crafted plans. Even a single spy can take down a resistance mission team, choose your teams carefully or forever lose your chance for freedom. The Resistance artfully balances pure deduction elements with the social elements into a game that creates the adrenaline filled moments of high stakes poker but in a full interactive and social event. Its not for the faint of heart, or slow of mind – but if you are quick on your feet you’ll be proud of your hard fought victories.
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.
Bang! – $15.00
When a man with a pistol meets a man with a Winchester, you might say that the one with the pistol is a dead man, unless his pistol is a Volcanic, In the wild west, the Outlaws hunt the Sheriff, the Sheriff hunts the Outlaws, and the Renegade plots in secret, ready to join one side or the other. Before long, bullets start to fly, Which gunmen are Deputies, ready to sacrifice themselves for the Sheriff? And which are the merciless Outlaws, looking to gun him down? The world’s best-selling wild west card game is back in a new, richer format.
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
My 8 year old loves this game. My wife loves this game. I love this game! 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.
Munchkin Axe Cop – $18.18
Axe Cop is a cop. With an axe. And he knows how to use it. Axe Cop is the hit webcomic written by Malachai Nicolle (age 5) and drawn by his brother Ethan (age 29). Along with his friends Dinosaur Soldier and Sockarang, Axe Cop fights crime by fighting the bad guys and chopping their heads off. Fans know Axe Cop, it’s a webcomic (www.axecop.com) and a comic book series from Dark Horse. There’s only one game that can match the anything-goes feeling of Axe Cop: Munchkin. Chop the bad guys’ heads off and take their stuff. I love the comics and I love Munchkin. Together… awesome!
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.
Cthulhu Gloom – $20.37
From Dunwich to Innsmouth from the halls of Miskatonic University to the Charles Dexter Ward at Arkham Asylum trouble is in the air. The stars are almost right and terrors from beyond space and time are beginning to break through. When Cthulhu rises we’re all doomed – but whose downfall will be the most entertaining? In Cthulhu Gloom you control a group of Lovecraftian protagonists and guide them down a path of horror and madness to an untimely death – while keeping your opponents happy healthy and annoyingly alive. When one group finally falls prey to the interdimensional doom that awaits us all the player whose characters have suffered the most wins. Fully compatible with Gloom and its expansions Cthulhu Gloom features new Story and Transformation cards that introduce new mechanics and actions to the game.
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.