Cheap Board Games You’ll Love in 2024 – IGN


Are you tired of stressing about keeping up with the latest board games, the hottest new expansions, or being on the outside looking in when wanting to start a new hobby? We’ve all been there. The barrier to entry for many tabletop, card, and board games can sometimes be high, with some games’ starter kits starting well over $100. It can be intimidating to get into certain board games due to budget, and that’s a shame.

Whether you’re getting that special gamer in your life a birthday gift or hosting a casual game night with close friends, plenty of budget options exist that are sure to scratch that itch. And we’ve compiled some of our favorites right here!

TL;DR: These Are the Best Cheap Board Games

Board Games Under $30

Qwirkle

Qwirkle

Qwirkle

Qwirkle is one of a tiny handful of games that have won the biggest trophy in the scene, the Spiel des Jahres, and gone on to become a mainstream hit in its own right. And what’s more, you can now pick up a copy for under $30. Its success is down to a combination of intuitive gameplay and addictive tactical smarts. The game pieces are tiles with differently coloured shapes on them, and on your turn you can play any number that share a colour or shape, into a line or column that shares the same colour or shape. You then score a point for each tile in the sequence, plus a bonus if you complete a set of six shapes or colours. The result combines the familiar spatial strategies of Scrabble with all sorts of head-spinning opportunities to set up future plays or block opponents.

Boss Monster

Boss Monster 10th Anniversary Edition

Boss Monster 10th Anniversary Edition

A personal favorite of mine, Boss Monster is a love-letter to a bygone era of early pixel art RPG video games, filled to the brim with heroes, dungeons, spells, and of course, boss monsters. In it, you are the boss monster, building your dungeon and setting various traps to kill the heroes before they slay you first. Each Boss card has unique abilities that will inform your dungeon-building strategy, and you can even disrupt your opponents’ dungeons by buffing heroes adventuring through them. Boss Monster is designed for 2-4 players, and the 10th Anniversary edition of this replayable classic also comes with 15 brand new cards.

The Chameleon

The Chameleon

The Chameleon

The Chameleon is an easy to pick up, quick-to-play social deduction game. At the beginning of the round, players are dealt face down cards, one of them being the Chameleon. Players not dealt this card are then issued a secret code word, unbeknownst to the Chameleon, and must use tricky wordplay and conversation to oust the Chameleon, all while that player tries their best to blend in. This is great for quick rounds, parties, or the local brewery.

Decrypto

Decrypto

Decrypto

Decrypto is another clever wordplay game — make sure you have plenty of extra paper and pencils ready to go just in case. Each round consists of two teams, with one player from either team working to decipher a secret code and pass it onto their team. The other team has the opportunity to steal if you fail to pass along the code. Set up is quick and easy, and the secret code pieces are plentiful enough that you won’t have much overlap for multiple games. Highly team-oriented and fast-paced rounds make Decrypto a must-play for larger gaming groups.

Board Games Under $20

Targi

Targi

Targi

Sometimes cheap games are fairly light affairs, great for family time, but less so for long-term investments that grow on you over time. Targi is a rare exception, a two-player only title that comes in at around 20 dollars, but which can last a lifetime of exploration. Play involves a grid of randomly placed cards around which you place pieces against a row or column, locking that position up from your opponent, and you’ll eventually gain the cards at the intersections where your placements meet. Some give you resources, while the point-scoring cards you’ll need to win cost them, but there are severe limits on how much of either you can collect. Combining tense tactical placement with head-scratching hand and resource management, this is a gem you can pick up for a bargain price.

Hand Games 21

Hand Games 21

Hand Games 21

Games don’t come much cheaper than those you can play with your hands alone, like Rock, Paper, Scissors. And for the modest entry fee of fifteen bucks, you can add 21 new hand games to your repertoire, all of which are much better and more creative than that hoary old chestnut. Your hands will be transformed into those of a wizard, hurling spells at your opponents, or those of a banker, grabbing and counting wads of cash at lightning speed. If you want something a little less action-oriented, there are puzzle games involving hidden fingers and social deduction games that eschew the traditional cards and dice. It’s an impressive feat of design chops, and it doesn’t involve your feet at all. And of course, once someone’s invested the price of the book, you can spread the games to your friends for free.

Betrayal: Deck of Lost Souls

Betrayal Deck of Lost Souls Card Game

Betrayal Deck of Lost Souls Card Game

A Tarot card-inspired horror-themed board game, Betrayal: Deck of Lost Souls is a cooperative strategy game in which players must work together to defeat the numerous monsters and horrors they’ll face. The catch: one player is secretly a traitor, trying to bring about the one true Curse. Highly stylized and macabre art makes this a great gift for horror fans. This standalone card game consists of over 90 Item, Curse, Character, and Omen cards, creating endless potential for a fresh and exciting experience each time you play. Also check out our Betrayal at House on the Hill buyer’s guide.

You’re Getting Old

You're Getting Old

You’re Getting Old

Best enjoyed by skinny-jean-wearing, avocado-toast-eating, will-never-be-able-to-afford-a-house Millennials, You’re Getting Old is a classic “never have I ever” style card game that tells you that yes, you are in fact getting old. To start the round, each player draws a card with prompts that make them old and ones that redeem them. If you can answer what “deadass” means, you’re redeemed and move down a space using your avocado token. The player who gets to the highest space first by being old ends the game, and whoever has the lowest position wins. Quick and easy set up, and great for making fun of your friends.

Coup

Coup Card Game

Coup Card Game

Looking to test out your lying abilities? Coup is the game for you. In it, players fight over gaining or losing influence as they struggle to be the last one standing. Take actions to steal currency from another player, or counteractions to block foreign aid or stealing. Subterfuge is at the forefront here, as you’ll often have the opportunity to use character card abilities you may not actually control, but be warned: other players can challenge you, and if you’re caught, you lose influence. When you lose your two influence cards, you’re out of the game and the next round begins until one player is left.

Board Games Under $10

Say Anything

Say Anything

Say Anything

If you want to thrill a big group of players with a brilliant party game you can pick up on the cheap, you won’t do better than Say Anything. Players take turns drawing a question card and picking one to ask: everyone else then writes and reveals their answer. Once they’re all public, everyone secretly bets on which answer the question-asker will like the best before the big reveal, when you’ll find out who’s hit the jackpot and who’s going empty-handed into the next round. Like all the best party games, it’s a very simple formula that’s likely to inspire some big laughs and some spicy table chat, and at this price it’s entirely worth adding to your after dinner party repertoire.

Taco Cat Goat Cheese Pizza

Taco Cat Goat Cheese Pizza

Taco Cat Goat Cheese Pizza

A quick, easy, and insanely addictive card game, Taco Cat Goat Cheese Pizza is perfect for families and will put your reflexes to the test. The goal is to get rid of all the cards in your hand, and doing so requires focus and concentration. Players take turns in a clockwise order, and you say aloud either taco, cat, goat, cheese, or pizza in that order while playing your card. If the word you say and the face-up card match, players must slap the card and the last player to do so adds the face-up pile to their deck. This makes for great laughs and all-around competitive silliness that is well worth its price.

Poop

Poop The Game

Poop The Game

Similar to Uno, Poop the Game is a numbers-based strategy card game where the goal is to dump (no pun intended) your hand to win. Each round has players take turns pooping but be wary not to clog the toilet: if you play the card that makes the poop pile exceed the number on the toilet card, you take all of those cards, and the round starts over. There are also special cards that reverse turn order and color-based strategies to “flush” the toilet. Thankfully, Poop the Game has no scratch and sniff components.

Couch Skeletons

Couch Skeleton

Couch Skeleton

Super quick and easy set up and short play time makes Couch Skeletons a great pick for a small gift or travel game. You and another player take turns placing numbered skeletons on one of five couches, with the card you play being either one number higher or lower than the skeletons in play. If you have no cards to play, you then discard your hand, and the next round starts by drawing three cards. The goal is to get rid of all your cards from both your hands and empty the draw decks, and you win when you’ve played all your cards and aren’t able to draw.

Be sure to also check out our recommendations for the best party games and the best 2-player board games.

Myles Obenza is a freelance commerce writer for IGN. Follow him on Twitter @Myles Obenza.



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