The 10 Best Cheap Board Games You Can Buy For Under $20

6 Nimmt

To put it mildly, board games are expensive. We recently looked at the most expensive board games ever made, but we thought we’d also create something for normal people who don’t fancy spending seven figures on a sparkly edition of a bad game.

In truth, there are plenty of great games out there that you can buy and endlessly replay for barely any money at all. Not only do all of these great games cost less than $20, but they’re also nice small games that you can easily take out and play just about anywhere.


<p>Paul Lamond Games</p>

Paul Lamond Games

Sometimes referred to as “Liar’s Dice”, Perudo is a simple game about rolling dice and bluffing.

Everyone rolls five dice under their cups and then one person makes a bet about how many of a particular number is under everyone’s cups. For example, you could bet “four threes”, people are then encouraged to raise the bet until it gets too high and someone calls “liar”, at which point everyone raises their cups and you count up whether the highest bidder won their bet or not.

Losing players lose their dice which keeps the odds of success constantly shifting in a game that is dead easy to learn and endlessly entertaining.


<p> Indie Boards & Cards</p>

Indie Boards & Cards

A little more social deduction, but this time with a deck of cards. In Coup, there are a series of characters – two of which are dealt in front of you – who all have different powers and the goal is to build up enough currency to ‘Coup’ (kill) your opponents and be the last person standing.

The kicker is that you can claim to use any power you want, even if you don’t have the right card, and it’s up to the other players to call you out on lying, with deadly consequences for getting caught.

It’s got all the tension of a grand scale social deduction game like Werewolf or Blood on the Clocktower, but condensed into a 5-10 minute package.

Sushi Go

<p> Adventureland Games</p>

Adventureland Games

First of all, look at the cute little sushi with faces on the card art. If that isn’t enough to convince you to buy it, I don’t know what is.

In short, this is a card drafting game where players pass their hands around the table and take cards one at a time, trying to build up the right combination of sushi to score the most points at the end of the round.

Once again though, look at their adorable squishy sushi faces. What more do you want?

The Mind



The Mind can be a tricky game to get into, but if you play it with people that you truly click with, it’s a magical experience.

In The Mind, cards numbered from 1 to 100 are dealt out between the players, and all you have to do is place the cards down in order from lowest to highest. The catch is that you cannot communicate at all. That doesn’t just mean no talking, it means no gestures, no secret nods or subtle looks – nothing.

It sounds impossible – and may seem that way at first – but if you play it with the right people you’ll eventually develop this strange connection that just works. There’s a secret behind it all that I shan’t spoil, but it’s worth experiencing for yourself.

Love Letter

<p>Z-Man Games</p>

Z-Man Games

Similar to Coup, Love Letter is a game where everyone is using cards with different powers to try and kill each other. The difference with Love Letter is that, rather than being a bluffing game, Love Letter is about careful planning and a little bit of card counting.

There are only sixteen cards in the deck, two copies of each card numbered 1 to 8, so every time someone plays a card it’s removed from play. You can use this to your advantage to slowly work out what everyone else around the table is holding and manipulate everyone’s actions to ensure you come out on top.


<p> Lui-même</p>


Back to bluffing now with Skull, a game that can technically be played with bar mats.

In Skull, everyone has four ‘cards’ – three flowers and one skull. Everyone places cards face down on the table until someone makes a bet on how many flowers they think they can turn over without finding a Skull. If a bet goes unraised that player can start turning over people’s cards to match their bet, but the kicker is you have to start with your own cards.

It makes for a delicate balancing act where setting yourself up for victory could give an opponent an easy win while trying to screw over someone else could backfire in a second.




There is sometimes a bit of snobbery in the board gaming community to the mainstream family games, and while yes, I would sooner burn my house down than play Monopoly with my family, Uno is one of the exceptions.

While you can just as easily play it with a $1 pack of cards instead of the $5 official pack, it’s still a great little game that is tense until the very last moment. It’s easy for all ages to learn and has that addictive “one more round” quality that the very best card games evoke.

Cockroach Poker

<p> Drei Magier Spiele</p>

Drei Magier Spiele

You’re not going to believe it, but this is another simple card game where you have to bluff your opponents for your own gain. You’d think it’d be a more narrow genre than this, but so many of these games are great for different reasons.

In Cockroach Poker you have to give your cards away and trick your opponents into taking them. You pick one of your cards, each depicting a different unpleasant creature and pick someone else around the table to offer it to. For example, you’d tell them “This is a cockroach” and they have to decide whether you’re telling the truth or not.

The twist is that if they don’t want to make the decision, they can instead look at the card and offer it to something else, potentially changing the story in the process, offering the card to a third player and saying “Actually they were lying, this is really a toad”.

Everyone goes around building up their web of lies until someone finally bites and either has to take the card or sends it back from whence it came.

No Thanks!

<p>Amigo Spiele</p>

Amigo Spiele

Moving away from bluffing now, No Thanks! is more about very bluntly and openly screwing over your friends, rather than doing it subtly.

In No Thanks! cards numbered from 3 to 35 are laid one by one on the table and each player in turn chooses whether they want to take it or not. You see, the number on the card dictates how many points they’re worth – except the goal is to have the fewest points as possible. So no one wants to take any cards, but you can only pass on a card so long as you have a token to do so.

It makes this game a push and pull of taking as few points as possible while still gathering as many tokens as you can from taking cards when it’s opportunistic – especially as consecutively numbered cards cancel out each other’s points.

It’s a simple game yet there are so many different approaches to playing it that it never ceases to entertain.

6 Nimmt



6 Nimmt is perhaps the best and most addictive party game of all time.

Each player is dealt ten cards from a deck numbered 1 to 104. Four random cards are then placed on the table as the star of four rows. Every round every player simultaneously picks and reveals a card from their hand and has to place it on the row with the closest number to their card.

The beautiful, frustrating, and exciting part of the game is that when the sixth card is placed in a row, whoever placed that card has to pick up the preceding five cards in the row, giving them all of the points – and this is another game where points are a bad thing.

It forces everyone to take precarious risks over what cards to play, something sneaking away unscathed, and other times howling as another player beats you to the punch, forcing you to take loads of points you don’t want. Very few games are able to create the consistent raucous jeering and laughter that 6 Nimmt does, and all for under $20.