The Holiday shopping season is upon us at last, which means a lot of us will be picking up some board games whether it be for ourselves or as gifts for friends and family. With the sheer number of games out there it can be difficult and overwhelming trying to find good ideas out there, so we made this list to help people find some really good ideas for what games to get. As an added bonus every game on here is under $20 (These prices are as of writing this article at Amazon), so if you are looking for something small to round out a bigger present, a small gift exchange, or stocking-stuffers then this is the list for you.
Note: As stated above all of these games were listed under $20.00 on Amazon.com as of writing this list. As things tend to fluctuate as games become more or less available some of these games might be more the $20 as time passes.
Love Letter | AEG
Everyone sends a love letter and hopes it reaches the princess and hope none of the other palace staff interfere. Whoever can get their love letter the furthest will be the winner in this incredibly small and portable card game. If the theme seems to not interest you don't fret as there are many different versions of this game from Lord of the Rings all the way to Batman!
Player count: 2-4 | Play Time: 20 minutes
Lifeboat | Gorilla Games
Your boat was sinking but luckily you made it onto the lifeboat. Now you are trying to make it to shore but tensions are still high. Players will be hoarding essential items and fighting over control over the boat while forming alliances. Everyone also will have one other player the love and one player they hate, so if it seems like someone is trying to get you killed that just might be true.
Player count: 4-6 | Play Time: 60 minutes
Balderdash | Mattel
How believable can you be? Each turn you are given an obscure word that each player must make up a definition while one player puts in the actual definition. Then each player votes on which definition you think is correct. Can you find the correct answer? Can you fool your friends with your fake answer? As an added bonus newer versions of the game branch out from just words to include obscure movies, laws, and acronyms.
Player count: 2-6 | Play Time: 60 minutes
Welcome to the Dungeon | Iello
Everyone is an Adventurer preparing to enter into a dungeon. Take turns trying to best your fellow adventurers by boasting at how many monsters you can defeat or how little equipment you will need. If things start to look too hot you can back out, or keep staying in until there is only one left. Talking big is one thing, but remember end of the day someone is going to be entering into that dungeon.
Player count: 2-4 | Play Time: 30 minutes
Spyfall | Hobby World
Everyone is meeting up at a secret location but there is a spy among you. Ask questions to try and find whoever does not know the secret meeting place but be careful to not give it away. If the spy catches wind of where you are meeting they could ruin everything.
Player count: 3-8 | Play Time: 15 minutes
Cat Tower | IDW Games
A fun dexterity game about stacking cats onto a tower. Try and be the first player to get rid of all of your cats but keep a steady hand, if you knock the tower over then you will need to keep adding more and more cats to your collection.
Player count: 2-6 | Play Time: 15 minutes
One Night Ultimate Werewolf | Bézier Games
A very quick version of the classic werewolf game, work to figure out the truth about what happened during the night and root out the werewolf in your village but be careful as if you lynch one of your own the werewolves will win!
Player count: 3-10 | Play Time: 10 minutes
Sushi Go! | Gamewright Games
Build the best plate of sushi by drafting cards to try and get combos and score the most points over three different rounds. A very simple game to teach along with some of the most adorable artwork there is ensure that this is a game that is going to become an instant crowd favorite.
Player count: 2-5 | Play Time: 15 minutes
Star Realms | White Wizard Games
Send your fleet of starships against your opponent in epic battle. Star Realms is a quick, compact, deck building game with a ton a replayability. Try to destroy your opponent before they can destroy you by building the perfect fleet of ships that synergize together.
Player count: 2 | Play Time: 20 minutes
Hanabi | R&R Games
Hanabi is a cooperative card game about putting on a firework display. Each player has a hand of cards that you need to try and play in a specific order. Make too many mistakes and you will lose! However there is a slight twist, you can see everyone's hand of cards except your own. Try and remember the clues you are given to figure out what cards you have, otherwise things will go downhill very quickly.
Player count: 2-5 | Play Time: 25 minutes
Wits & Wagers | North Star Games
A trivia game where you do not need to know the correct answer to win. Each question has a numeric answer, whether that is an amount, a date, or a dollar amount. Everyone then writes down their answer and each answer is placed in a line. Each player then can bet on which answer they think is closest to the actual answer without going over. Try and get the most points and laugh at some of the absurd answers your friends might answer.
Player count: 3-7 | Play Time: 25 minutes
Codenames | CGE
A Team vs Team version of password, each team as one spymaster who is trying to get their team to guess specific words that are laid out on a 5x5 grid by providing single word clues. The first team to guess all of their words correctly wins but be careful, there is one assassin word that is a instant loss if either team chooses it.
Player count: 2-8 | Play Time: 15 minutes
The Resistance: Avalon | Indie Boards & Cards
Be part of the loyal servants of King Arthur adventuring across the land and completing quests, but beware as the minions of the evil Mordred have already infiltrated your ranks. Can you weed out your enemies before they ruin everything? Add in a few special roles and this game will create memories you will not soon forget.
Player count: 5-10 | Play Time: 30 minutes
Flip City | Tasty Minstrel Games
Build up your city in this deck building game where you can buy new cards to build new buildings or pay to upgrade buildings you already have and flip over your card to be more efficient. Each turn you get to keep going until you decide to stop or your city's unhappiness gets too high so try and be a good mayor and keep your citizens happy.
Player count: 1-4 | Play Time: 30-50 minutes
Zany Penguins | Bombyx
Tribes of penguins fighting over world domination! Zany Penguins is a quick card game where you are trying to score the most points by collecting sets of cards, while being required to give other players cards at the same time. Try and outwit your opponents and score the most points.
Player count: 2-5 | Play Time: 20 minutes
Hey, That's my Fish | Fantasy Flight Games
Another penguin game on this list! Try and get the most fish as you are on a melting iceberg. Cut off your enemies while trying not to get cut off. A very strategic game that will require you to always think 3 moves ahead in a very cute and easy to teach package.
Player count: 2-4 | Play Time: 20 minutes
Fluxx | Looney Labs
A chaotic card game where the rules are constantly changing. It always starts simple with drawing a card and playing a card, but as the game progresses anything can change. Try and complete the winning condition but be careful as that condition will also constantly be in flux. There are a ton of different versions of this game as well so make sure to choose whichever theme seems the most interesting to you.
Player count: 2-6 | Play Time: 5-30 minutes
Gloom | Atlas Games
Prove who truly has the worst family. Take turns in this unique card game recalling all of the terrible and unfortunate events that your distant relatives had to go through. Remember to quickly kill off your family before any good luck comes their way!
Player count: 2-5 | Play Time: 60 minutes
Eminent Domain: Battlecruisers | Tasty Minstrel Games
Take helm of a battlecruisers and you battle other battlecruisers for supremacy. Try and outmaneuver your opponent by selecting actions to try and destroy their ship while collecting resources. However be careful if another ship chooses the same action as you the results could be disastrous.
Player count: 3-5 | Play Time: 20-30 minutes
Citadels | Fantasy Flight Games
Try and build the best Citadel in the kingdom by hiring experts to help. Each round you will draft a new expert that will be able to help in different ways but keep in mind what your opponents are choosing as you might end up against a warlord, an assassin, or even the king himself.
Player count: 2-8 | Play Time: 20-60 minutes
There are a lot of great games here to choose some, and even more of them are out there. Anyone else find any great finds for only $20? Anything on this list you disagree with? Let us know, we would love to hear from you!