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Top 20 Must-Have Board Games Under $20: Affordable & Fun

Top 20 Must-Have Board Games Under $20: Affordable & Fun

Jump on with us on a journey through the magical world of board games, where joy doesn't tally with the price tag. Whether you're a strategic mastermind, a casual gamer, or someone looking to dip your toes into this vast ocean of tabletop treasures, our guide to the top 20 board games under $20 is your compass. 

So, let's find out which games for a mere 20 bucks can unlock adventures, mysteries, and endless laughter!

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!

collection of affordable card games under 20 eur, usd with a 20 eur bill on top of one of the games

Criteria for Selection

Our quest for the top affordable games didn't just focus on price. We sought out games that delivered on entertainment, offered ease of learning, and provided good replay value. Whether you're into quick, casual games or more intricate challenges, our list is designed to cater to a broad spectrum of players.

Top 20 Board Games Under $20:

  1. Codenames: Dive into a world of spies and secret agents. This team-based word association game is perfect for parties and family gatherings, challenging players to think creatively and strategically.
  2. Love Letter: A game of risk, deduction, and luck, set in a royal court. Love Letter is compact, fast-paced, and full of unexpected twists, making it an excellent travel companion.
  3. Sushi Go!: This delightful card drafting game is all about making the best sushi combinations. It's quick to learn, plays fast, and the adorable sushi illustrations will win over any crowd.
  4. Zombie Dice: For those who enjoy a dash of thrill, Zombie Dice offers a fun and easy-to-understand push-your-luck experience where players aspire to feast on brains without getting shotgunned.
  5. Forbidden Island: A cooperative adventure where players work together to recover treasures from a sinking island. It’s a thrilling race against time, filled with strategic decision-making.
  6. The Mind: This unique card game is less about the cards and more about becoming in tune with your fellow players. It's a test of intuition and teamwork, with a minimalist approach that's garnered worldwide acclaim. You can even find this amazing game for under $10! Read the full review here.
  7. Star Realms: A fast-paced deck-building game set in the vast expanse of space. It offers a dynamic play experience, where strategies must evolve rapidly, and no two games are the same. The base set comes in around $20, but as it is with most deck building games, there are expansions.
  8. Exploding Kittens: A card game for people who are into kittens and explosions (and laser beams and sometimes goats). It's hilariously entertaining, easy to learn, and perfect for light-hearted competitive play.
  9. Jaipur: A beautifully themed trading game set in the markets of Rajasthan. Players duel to prove their worth as the best trader, offering a mix of strategy, risk-taking, and luck.
  10. Ticket to Ride: New York - Experience the thrill of the Ticket to Ride series in a compact, quick-play version set in the bustling streets of New York City. Players race to complete the most lucrative bus routes and sightsee iconic locations.
  11. Hanabi - In this cooperative card game, players work together to create the perfect fireworks show by playing cards in a specific order. The twist? You can see everyone's cards except your own, requiring strategic communication and memory.
  12. Coup - Set in the dystopian universe of The Resistance, Coup is a game of bluff and deception where players maneuver to outwit their opponents and control the court. Eliminate others' influence to dominate the game.
  13. Kingdomino - In this tile-laying game, players are lords seeking new lands to expand their kingdoms. Domino-like tiles are used to create the most prosperous kingdom, balancing the need for territory types and crowns.
  14. No Thanks! - A simple yet addictive card game where players use chips to avoid picking up cards. Each card scores points unless you can form sequences. It’s a game of risk, reward, and knowing when to say "No, thanks!"
  15. Skull - A game of bluffing and deception, where players are bikers trying to outwit their opponents with coasters representing either flowers or skulls. It’s all about pushing your luck and reading the table.
  16. Qwixx - This fast-paced dice game keeps everyone involved with every roll. Players mark off numbers on their score sheets, aiming to lock in rows and rack up points. The catch? The more you cross off, the more options you limit.
  17. Mint Works - A pocket-sized worker placement game that proves size doesn't limit depth. Players plan their city development using mint-shaped tokens to buy plans, construct buildings, and earn victory points in a quick and accessible format.
  18. Aboretum - A quick, enchanting card game for 2-4 players where you design beautiful garden paths. It's all about making smart choices to create a peaceful garden and win the title of top gardener.
  19. Fox in the Forest - Trick taking game for two players, simple as that. And you can get it even under $15!
  20. Unstable Unicorns - A gorgeous game where you need to collect unicorns, use magic, upgrades and downgrades! Read the full review here.

Tips for Choosing Board Games

Selecting the perfect board game is an art. Consider the interests and ages of the players, the complexity you're comfortable with, and the amount of time you have. Always read reviews and watch gameplay videos if possible, to ensure the game you're considering matches your group's vibe.

closeup image with board game elements and accessories, and dollar bills


The world of board games is vast and varied, and there's no need to spend a fortune to enjoy it. Our list of the top 20 board games under $20 is just the beginning of your journey into this fascinating world. Whether you're looking for strategy, adventure, or just a good laugh, there's a game out there waiting to transform your table into a battleground, a kingdom, or a cooperative mission against time.

So, gather your friends or family, pick a game, and let the dice roll where they may. After all, it's not just about winning; it's about the stories you create along the way.

Have you played any of these games? Do you have a go-to board game that's budget-friendly and not on this list? Share your experiences and recommendations in the comments below.

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