cover image for an article listing and overviewing the best value for money board and card games

Best Bang for Buck: Top Value-For-Money Board & Card Games

Best Bang for Buck: Top Value-For-Money Board & Card Games

In the world of tabletop gaming, the quest for the perfect game often boils down to one crucial question: what board games are worth the money? It's not just about the price tag; it's about the experience's richness, the components' quality, and, of course, the sheer fun factor. In this article, we'll dive into some of the best value-for-money board and card games released in recent years, perfect for every type of gamer.

Disclosure: This article is not a review. It is a quick overview of these games. The article includes games based on our own opinions. We have played some of the games, but not all of them. The games are not sorted in any particular order. If you want to learn more about a particular game, click on the included links!

Do you know other great-value games not mentioned in the article? Let us know in the comments below!

rolling dice, map, treasure box from a board game

Understanding Value in Board and Card Games

When it comes to determining the best value for money, it's essential to consider what you're getting in the box. A game priced between $25 and $80 or even more than that might seem steep, but it's often worth the investment if it's packed with high-quality figurines, a bounty of cards, and a beautifully illustrated board. Replayability is another crucial factor – a game that repeatedly hits the table provides ongoing value.

So, in our evaluation, we used these three main factors when deciding the value of a particular game:

1. Price (obviously);
2. Included figures, boards, cards, art, and other design elements;
3. Replayability.

We did not include such (otherwise important) factors as
- fun factor because it is just too subjective;
- how easy/difficult is it to learn and play it;
- player count;

Sub $50 Tabletop Games: More Bang for Your Buck

In the ever-expanding universe of tabletop gaming, finding a card game that's not only engaging but also offers exceptional value for your money can feel like striking gold. As we venture into the realm of card games released from 2019 onwards, it becomes clear that the industry has hit a sweet spot of creativity, quality, and affordability.

These games, each under $50, are not just purchases; they're investments in hours of entertainment, laughter, and strategic challenge. From cooperative space adventures to whimsical deck-building, the following list showcases games that stand out not just for their innovative gameplay and captivating themes, but also for their ability to deliver a rich gaming experience without breaking the bank. Let's dive into these treasures of the card game world and discover why they are the perfect addition to your gaming collection.

  1. The Crew: The Quest for Planet Nine (2019) - A cooperative, trick-taking card game set in space, where players work together to complete missions on their journey to discover Planet Nine. It does not come with any bells and whistles, but it has great replayability and is priced under $20, so it is a good value game.

  2. Spheres of Life: Mythical Forest (2023):  In this enchanting card game, gather a legion of Noble Animals, avoiding the Corrupted beasts across varied mystical realms. With heroes at your side and magic in your arsenal, navigate through the Spheres of Life to save the forest. Remember, only one can emerge as the true savior in this captivating quest of strategy and bravery. 
    In this fantasy card game, you will find 110 beautiful and thematic playing cards. The game is packaged in a stylish box with gold foil elements. As you play more, you unlock new combinations and strategies, so it provides an excellent replay value, and is an overall great value card game.
  3. War of the Ring: The Card Game (2022): Go to war against Sauron like never before in this strategic card game for up to four players. Choose your side – the Shadow or the Free Peoples – and engage in a battle that masterfully blends Tolkien's rich narrative with compelling strategy. With over 100 original illustrations, this game is a visual feast and a strategic challenge, perfect for Tolkien fans and strategy enthusiasts.
    It is not the cheapest card game, priced just under $50, but it packs about 180 playing cards and 50 tokens and is based in the Lord of the Rings universe! And who does not love LOTR, right? So, although a bit pricey, it still is a good value game!

  4. Marvel Dice Throne (2022) - Become one of Marvel's famous heroes and use effects and upgrades to manipulate your dice in the quest to defeat your opponent! This game has several packages and heroes (sold separately), so it provides a great replay value, provided you are willing to pay more for it.
    Priced at about $40 (for the two-hero set), the game includes 2 hero boards, 2 sets of dice, 64 cards, and 2 sets of combat point dials and health dials. So, even if it is $40 USD, it packs a great value.

  5. Ticket to Ride: Europe (2005) - Become a railroad tycoon by building the biggest railroad system in this classic board game! The game comes in a fairly big box, and it includes 240 plastic figures, 5 wooden figures, 144 playing cards, and a big playing board; you can get it for under $40, so it is a fantastic value for money.
    -> Read Ticket to Ride Review Here

  6. Catan (1995) - Given its popularity, you might own this game already, but it still needs a mention. Catan is one of the most popular strategy/resource-gathering games. As it is almost 30 years old, yes, there are many (arguably better) alternatives, but its popularity allows it to have a competitive price. Sometimes, it goes below $30. It includes terrain tiles, harbor tiles, frame pieces, wooden figures (settlements, cities, roads), and more than 100 playing cards, so even today, this classic game provides very good value for money. And, of course, it has several expansions available.

  7. Akropolis (2022) - Become an architect in Ancient Greece and build the best city with temples, markets, and much more! This game contains 65 illustrated tile pieces, 40 stone cubes, and a scorepad. And you can get the game for under $30, which is a pretty good deal.

  8. The Search for Planet X (2020)  - A deduction game where players are astronomers trying to find the mysterious Planet X through careful observation and logical reasoning. This game comes with playing boards and a sun disk, 48 tokens, player screens, and a free companion app. If you can get it under $40, it is a very good value game. 

  9. Marvel United (2020) - A cooperative board game where players take on the roles of Marvel superheroes working together to thwart the plans of a supervillain. This game includes tokens, cards, player boards., and mini-figures. Its full price is about $35, but you can find it on sale for much less, making it a good or even great value game.

  10. Cascadia (2021) - A game of wildlife and habitats where players create their own ecosystem with a variety of species, using cards to select the tiles they add to their environment. It includes 105 playing tiles, 100 + 25 tokens, 21 cards, and a scorepad. The game can be found for under $30, which is a value for that price.

  11. Gloomhaven: Jaws of the Lion (2020): A standalone game from the Gloomhaven universe. It offers a deep, immersive experience with a plethora of scenarios and a rich narrative. It includes scenario books with 25 scenarios, player and monster miniatures, a city map, and 100+ tokens, so it is packed with goodies. Although the full price is around 60-70 $USD, you can find it on sale for about $45, and for that price, it is a great value!

  12. Lost Ruins of Arnak (2020): Combining deck-building and worker placement, this game takes players on an adventure to explore uncharted lands and uncover ancient artifacts. Priced under $40 and having 110 cards, a double sided main board and double-sided player boards, and wooden figurines - it is a very good value indeed.

big playing board with dice and accessories, blue and brown accents

Recent Big-Box Gems: Expensive Best Value Board Games (2018-2023)

The past few years have been a golden era for board game enthusiasts, with numerous titles hitting the shelves that redefine what we expect from tabletop gaming. In recent years, the industry has seen an influx of innovative games that blend immersive storytelling, strategic depth, and captivating gameplay, all while offering great value for money.

Now, these games are not cheap (find affordable games in this article). Actually, they are quite expensive, some of them going for well over $100, but we are here to find value. And sometimes, paying a bit (or much) more comes with noteworthy perks!

These games not only promise to bring hours of entertainment but also stand out for their quality and replayability. Let's delve into some of the most impactful and value-packed board games released in this period, each offering a unique experience to gamers of all types.

  1. Frosthaven (2022): Let's start with the BIG one! Building on the legacy of Gloomhaven, this sequel introduces new characters, mechanics, and an evolving story, perfect for those who crave deep, strategic gameplay in a richly developed world.
    Frosthaven is a collector's dream, provided you have enough space to even store it! The box weighs more than 34 pounds (15kg)! It would be too much to list everything this game has, but it has a lot - miniatures, scenario books, tokens, cards, board, and much more. 
    Now, this is a difficult game with many rules, so it may not be for you, but when looking at all everything it comes with, then it is a great value - IF you can get it for under $200. 

  2. Tapestry (2019): In Tapestry, you will lead a civilization and take it through different ages! This beautiful tabletop game packs a hefty box with a big board, landmark- and building miniatures, income mats, tokens, cards, tiles and more! So, even if priced around $90, it is still a great value!

  3. Ark Nova (2021): Plan and build the best zoo to store and safeguard many animal species in Ark Nova! This game includes a game board, 8 player-mats, 200+ playing cards, tiles, and tokens. So, for around $70, it is a great value!

  4. On Mars (2020): A heavy strategy game where players work to develop the first Martian colony. It's a complex and rewarding experience for those who enjoy detailed resource management and planning. Although it is not cheap, costing over $100, it includes a hefty playing board, player boards, building and shelter tiles, many wooden figures, playing cards, and more, so you get what you pay for!

  5. Voidfall (2023) - A game where deep strategy meets epic space opera, it uniquely combines the grandeur of a 4X genre with the intricate mechanics of a Euro-style game, offering a rich, deterministic experience free from the whims of luck. Command your house, manage resources, and engage in tactical battles against the Voidborn or rival players, all set in a vividly imagined galaxy. Voidfall includes double-sided space tiles, house sheets, a galactic board, more than 150 playing cards, dials, tokens, and more. When it comes to price, it is a bit tricky - the official price is around $100, but at the time of writing, we could not find a copy for less than $200. In our opinion, it is a great value for $100, but not so much for $200.

  6. Brass: Birmingham (2018)Brass: Birmingham is one of the top-rated games on, so it has to mean something, right? This strategy and resource management game comes in a comparatively small box, but it is filled to the top. It has a double-sided playing board, 4-player mats, character tiles, link tiles, 76 playing cards, and more! The standard price is around $90 which already provides a good value, but you can find it for even less, making it a great value! 


The Best Deals in Tabletop Gaming

Securing the best deals in tabletop gaming is a savvy blend of timing, research, and understanding the true value of a game. It's not only about the initial cost but also about the longevity, replayability, and enjoyment it brings. To snag these deals, regularly browsing online retailers and subscribing to their newsletters can alert you to flash sales and exclusive discounts.

Local gaming stores often have loyalty programs, offer pre-owned games at reduced prices, or host sale events where you can find hidden gems. Participating in community forums and social media groups dedicated to gaming can also lead to unexpected deals, as fellow gamers often share tips on sales or even offer trades.

Kickstarter is another platform to consider. Many board games are crowdfunded, and backing a game early can often secure you a copy at a lower price than retail, sometimes with exclusive content. However, it's important to research and ensure the game aligns with your interests and has a positive buzz.

Additionally, attending gaming conventions, either locally or nationally, can offer opportunities to buy games directly from publishers, often at promotional prices or with exclusive items. These events also provide a chance to try out games before purchasing, ensuring you invest in ones you'll truly enjoy.

If you need some more information on where to find and buy board games, read this article.

 board game with playing cards, roiling dice and tokens


Alright, gamers, we've navigated the high seas of tabletop gaming and charted a course through some of the most epic, value-packed board and card games out there. This isn't just about shuffling cards or moving pieces on a board; it's about gearing up for battles of wits, forging alliances, and sometimes, staging legendary comebacks that'll be talked about for years. Whether you're the seasoned commander of game nights or a rookie ready to roll the dice into new territories, the gaming world is ripe for the taking.

So gather your band of brothers, sisters, and fellow warriors, grab a game that screams adventure, and dive headfirst into the action. Here's to the thrill of the play, the cheers of victory, and the stories that'll echo long after the last piece is packed away. In the world of tabletop gaming, glory isn't just won – it's earned, one epic game night at a time.

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Looking for a new card game to play with your friends?

The Spheres of Life: Mythical Forest is a new completive fantasy card game for 2-7 Players. From stunning design to fun gameplay, this exciting game can be a fantastic addition to your family and friends' game nights!

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