Board games can be shockingly pricey, but the best board games under $20 still offer super engaging and fun gameplay in a variety of different categories and themes. It helps to know which kinds of games you’re looking for and your preferred number of players before you start your search, since even the best complex strategy game is unlikely to please someone who needs a breezy party game to entertain a crowd. Some board games can be enjoyed in a matter of minutes — think 15 or less — while others can last for hours on end, so consider what’ll meet your desires and expectations, and choose a game accordingly.
For $20 or less, you’ll have your pick of some seriously entertaining board games in a range of categories. Party board games will surely result in lots of laughs — perfect for a game night with friends both new and old — while classic board games are not only nostalgic, but classic for a reason (they’re fun). Trivia board games and word board games both require players to get on their thinking caps. Strategy board games tend to be the most complex, requiring players to problem solve their way to victory. Some of these games are super competitive, but you may also want to opt for cooperative-style games in which players work together towards a common goal.
It’s time to get your game on; these eight picks are wildly popular on Amazon, so they’re sure to become your new favorites. And most importantly, they won’t break the bank since they all cost $20 or less — some even cost less than $10!
1. A Less Expensive Version Of A Popular Board Game
- 2 to 4 players
A spinoff of a wildly popular strategy board game (Ticket To Ride), Ticket To Ride New York from Days Of Wonder has a lot in common with the original, but is simpler and more compact. However, reviewers on Amazon indicate it’s still loads of fun — and heck, for less than half of the price of the original, it’s hard to say no. Reviewers give this pick a whopping 4.7-star rating overall, among 1,400 and growing reviews.
The board game takes just a few minutes to learn. During the game, players race through the streets of the Big Apple completing routes and fulfilling destination tickets. Play is super fast-paced, with most games taking 15 minutes or less, and is recommended for ages 8 and up (making this a solid family game night pick).
If you just can’t get enough of this franchise, the board game also comes in Amsterdam and London versions, both of which are also under $20.
Enthusiastic Amazon review: “New to the ticket to ride franchise? This is perfect for you! Very easy to learn, and it gives you a good idea how to play the larger, original ticket to ride. This is like a mini travel version of the base game and it plays very quick at around 15minutes or so. Highly recommend.”
2. A Fan-Favorite Classic Board Game For Hours Of Entertainment
- 2 to 8 players
With a whopping 4.8-star rating overall on Amazon, after more than 22,000 reviews, it’s clear that Monopoly from Hasbro Games remains a favorite still to this day — it’s been sold under its current name since 1935! The classic board game is highly competitive as players buy and sell properties with the goal of bankrupting others out of the game. Plenty of strategy is required in order to win, but you’ll also need to rely on a bit of luck.
Play time varies depending on the number of players, but you can expect a game to last a few hours or more. The game is recommended for players ages 8-plus, making this one a good pick for family game.
Enthusiastic Amazon review: “I bought this for my 10-year-old so we could have a family fun night and he could have the memories of playing a classic board game [with] his family like I had. Monopoly will not disappoint. This is excellent family fun that will create years and years of memories that are priceless.”
3. A Cooperative Board Game That Requires Plenty Of Strategy
- 2 to 4 players
Adventure awaits! Forbidden Island from Gamewright requires players to work together — yes, it’s a cooperative game — on the quest of a lifetime. The goal? Capture the sacred treasure and make your escape, while avoiding some seriously dangerous threats along the way. Plenty of strategic thinking, problem solving, and, of course, cooperation is required — so put your thinking caps on and enjoy your journey.
Forbidden Island is for players ages 10-plus, and the play time is about 30 minutes or so.
Enthusiastic Amazon review: “This is by far one of my favorite games. I love how everyone works together against the game. You really have to work together as a team and plan out your turns. [...] This is really a game for people who want to work together to come up with the best possible course of action because this game is difficult! We've lost a lot! You can set the difficulty level, however, since the board and characters change each game, even the easiest difficulty can be impossible in some [play throughs]. Every game is different though since the "board" is never the same and there are so many different roles you can play! All these variations make it so this game never gets old! I definitely recommend this game!”
4. A Throwback Party Game For Music Lovers
- 4+ players
Filled with all of the biggest hits from the '80s, '90s, and '00s, This MTV game from Big Potato Games will have you moving and grooving as you reminisce about your favorite throwbacks. The party game is easy to learn and play, and it’s super fast-paced to keep all players totally engaged. Be the first team to collect an artist card from all eight challenge categories — including some seriously fun ones like Headbangers, Pop Anthems, and Hip-Hop Queens — and you’ll walk away winners.
The game is for ages 14-plus, though younger players may be at a disadvantage if they don’t listen to a lot of music from the ‘80s. It requires two AAA batteries to play (not included). Play time varies based on the number of people participating.
Enthusiastic Amazon review: “Wow, all the late 90s early 2000s feels for this game! The art is so cute and as usual Big Potato kills it with the sweet box design and little extras like stickers, big red buzzer… Really fun light party game that's easy to learn and perfect for those of us who are adults now looking back to our glory days of trying to learn how to vogue and do the Bootylicious dance.”
5. A Trivia Board Game Where You Shout Out Answers Without Waiting For Your Turn
- 2 to 6 players
University Games’ Smart Ass isn’t your average trivia game. Instead of taking turns, the game requires players to think fast and shout out guesses to questions in an attempt to become the ultimate Smart Ass! Each “who,” “what,” or “where” question comes with eight clues to guide players towards the correct answer.
I have played this game before and can attest that it’s an entertaining option to play with a group of people. And the trivia itself can actually be quite challenging (it’s intended for ages 12-plus), so you certainly won’t get bored. The game time varies based on the number of players and how quickly each question is answered.
Enthusiastic Amazon review: “The greatest part of this game is that you're always playing. One player reads the cards and everyone else answers the question. The fastest answer wins! It's got creative and fun questions and keeps you interested the entire time. Not everyone is super good at the game, but it can be played by almost anyone. [Gets] even crazier with teams!”
6. A Two-Player Strategy Board Game
- 2 players
If you’re seeking a board game for just two people ages 7 and up, it doesn’t get any better than Blokus Duo from Mattel Games. The highly strategic game requires players to take turns placing as many of their 21 pieces on the board as possible while blocking the opponent’s pieces at the exact same time. But here’s where it gets extra interesting — each piece must touch another of the same color, but only at the corners. The game ends when no more pieces can be played, and whoever has the fewest leftover pieces wins!
Blokus Duo is super simple to learn, and the game takes about 30 minutes or so to play. If you have more players that want to join in on the fun, the original Blokus game has enough pieces for up to four players — it just costs a bit more.
Enthusiastic Amazon review: “Blokus Duo is a game created for just two players, opposed to the regular game blokus, which is for four players. As a avid fan of two player games, this one is nearly at the top of my list. It’s simplicity, speed of gameplay, and surprisingly deep strategy make it a great game to just pick up and play with just about anybody. Be aware that The game is competitive, and in order to win you have to ‘block’ your opponent. A poor sport may not Enjoy this game.[...] Give it a try if you are a fan of the original blokus!”
7. A Classic Mystery Game For Less Than $10
- 3 to 6 players
Sometimes you just can’t beat the classics, and that’s certainly the case when it comes to Clue from Hasbro Games. And clearly I’m not the only one that has much love for this board game — Clue has more than 11,000 reviews on Amazon and a knockout 4.8-star rating overall, a true testament to reviewers’ adoration of this pick.
If you’ve never had the pleasure of playing this mystery-filled game, the goal is to uncover who murdered Mr. Boddy, as well as where the crime was committed — and with which weapon. Was it Professor Plum in the library with the dagger? Or perhaps the culprit was Colonel Mustard in the conservatory with the wrench? If you remember this game from your childhood, you might not recognize the newest suspect, Dr. Orchid, who is a later addition to the roster. But whether the murderer is Dr. Orchid or one of the original characters, the first person to figure out what happened (and where) wins the game. Clue requires strategy, deduction skills, and some luck, too. And let’s just say it can become quite competitive.
The game’s length depends on the number of players, but play usually takes at least 30 minutes and is recommended for players ages 8 and up.
Enthusiastic Amazon review: “Great game!!!!! Giving this a 5 because it's family friendly fun for such an affordable price. I paid under $ 10 for it and it will last a very long time!! I like the addition of ORCHID and how they updated the characters. Small compacted box, easily fits in most drawers. Thanks again Amazon, yet again, another wonderful buy!!!!”
8. A Word Game That Can Be Played With Tons Of Players
- 4+ players
Hasbro Games’ Taboo is a board game of unspeakable fun! The premise of this pick is simple — describe a word or phrase printed on a card to your teammates until they correctly guess what’s on the card. However, the path to victory is actually much tricker then it seems, since there is a list of strictly forbidden clue words that you’ll have to avoid saying, plus you’ll have a limited amount of time.
Taboo is the perfect pick for a game night, as it can be played with many players. And since it comes with 260 cards and more than 1,000 guess words, you’ll get tons of enjoyment out of it. This board game is intended for ages 13 and up.
Enthusiastic Amazon review: “I had played this about 10 years ago at a party after everyone had a few cocktails and remembered how fun it was. I ordered it for when friends are over and my husband read the instructions and said “I’m going to be awful at this and it doesn’t look like any fun”. I kept assuring him he was wrong. Lo and behold when people came over and we played it he had a blast. The fun part is in the mistakes you make when playing it's in my opinion. Order it and you’ll see what I mean.”