Here at Review Geek, we believe you can never have too many board games. We also know that they can be expensive, which is why we’re sharing 10 more amazing games under $25 beyond our original list. This way you can add some new titles to your collection or try a new game without breaking the bank.
Board games make for a fun and creative escape from your daily woes and are an easy way to have fun with friends and family. While most people already know about the classic board games—like Monopoly, Candy Land, Battleship, or Chess—it might come as a surprise that there are hundreds (if not thousands) of other options out there that are just as fun, if not more so.
So without further ado, here are 10 more of our favorite under-$25 board games that will make for the perfect addition to your board game library:
Update, 3/31/22: Verified picks and links are still good.
Create the Best Garden: Arboretum
Dodge Meteors: Happy Little Dinosaurs
Defend the Town Against Monsters: Horrified
Russian Roulette: Exploding Kittens
Unscramble Tiles, Make Secret Words: A Little Wordy
Social Word Game: Codenames
Relax, It's Not All Doom and: Gloom
Like an Escape Room: Exit: The Abandoned Cabin
Supernatural Competition: The Grimwood
Build a Unicorn Army, Betray Your Friends: Unstable Unicorns
The aim of Arboretum is deceptively simple: create the most beautiful pathway through the garden and you win. You’ll carefully and strategically craft paths through colorful trees—perhaps the fragrant Dogwood, the mighty Oak, or the cheerful Cherry Blossom—that your visitors will walk through and remember fondly. Each tree card is worth a different value, and players will draw, play, and discard them until all 80 deck cards are exhausted.
Victory, however, is not so simple. While you work to build a stunning path, your opponents will actively be working against you as they try to build an even better pathway. Once the deck is exhausted, scoring begins. Depending on which cards you laid out (and the order in which you laid them out), whoever has the most points is declared the winner. The game is designed for 2-4 players ages 10 and up and takes roughly 30 minutes to play through.
Create the most beautiful pathway worth the most points.
Much like the mighty dinosaurs of yesteryear, your objective in Happy Little Dinosaurs will be to dodge some fiery fast-falling meteors. The game will also have you dodging and weaving through a variety of other obstacles and disasters, like hot lava pits, a hungry prehistoric whale, or being ghosted by your dino date.
The game is designed for 2-4 players ages 8 and up, and you should be able to get through a game in about 30-60 minutes. The first player to achieve 50 points—or to be the last one standing—is the victor. Scores are determined by card point values, which each rate between zero and nine and feature items like trinkets, weapons, and good luck charms. Players will each have a board and meeple that’ll help with scoring. It all comes down to luck—hopefully you fare better than the dinosaurs did.
Happy Little Dinosaurs
You're a dinosaur now. Avoid lava pits, hungry enemies, and incoming meteors.
Horrified is the perfect game for anyone who loves classic cryptids and all-things Halloween. Imagine how terrifying it would be if your town was overrun by terrifying monsters. Think: the Creature from the Black Lagoon, Dracula, The Bride of Frankenstein, The Mummy, The Invisible Man, Frankenstein, or The Wolf Man!
Players will need to work together to come out on top here. You’ll be working on getting rid of the monsters and restoring your town to its safe, comfortable status. Each of the monsters are different and require different tactics and strategies to win. Gameplay typically lasts 60 minutes a pop and works for 1-5 players. Watch your back!
Fight against all kinds of classic monsters while strategically defending your town.
Kittens are cute. Until they explode in your face, that is! Test your luck with Exploding Kittens, a Russian roulette-style game that’ll have you crossing your fingers that you avoid the bullet … er, the exploding feline. You’ll compete against the other players to be the last person standing.
Between 2-5 players (aged 7 and up) can take turns drawing and playing action cards each turn. But beware, your opponents can counter your cards. Hopefully, you’ve got a Defuse card and can stay safe. As the deck grows smaller, your chances of survival also grow smaller. Gameplay only lasts about 15 minutes, so Exploding Kittens is the perfect game for playing multiple rounds on game night.
Listen here, meow. These kittens are in a fighting mood---will you survive?
A Little Wordy is a fantastic option for anyone wanting a new 15-minute two-player game. The game is made by the same company that made Exploding Kittens and features illustrations from the creator of The Oatmeal. It’s all about having the largest vocabulary.
In the game, each player gets a small pile of tiles to unscramble into a Secret Word, which they’ll keep to themselves. Then the tiles are scrambled again and swapped out for the other players, who will then try to decipher each other’s Secret Word. Players will also have berry tokens that they can use to buy hints and clues, but whoever has the most at the end wins, so spend wisely.
It’s also worth noting that board and card games made specifically for just two players are a rare (and treasured) thing. Many of the games that say they work with two players simply don’t offer as robust an experience as you would get with three or more players, so a well-balanced two-player game is really something!
Codenames is an awesome party game that requires the most cunning of skills to solve puzzles and emerge victorious. It works with 2-8 players (aged 10 and up), but if you want to make things even more competitive, the game recommends 4-8 players. Each round only takes about 15 minutes, so it’s great for quick games and multi-round fun.
Two teams, red and blue, each decide on a leader who will (hopefully) lead them to victory. From there, 25 cards that each have a unique word are laid out on the table. Cards have a corresponding position that lines up with the two different colors. Only the team leaders can see this, of course, and it’s their job to help their teammates find all of their team’s cards before the other team does the same. You’ll definitely need to put on your thinking cap for this one!
Like spy games and competition? Codenames is the game for you!
Energetic team-based games with bright colors not your thing? We’ve goth your back—check out Gloom. The game’s developer states, “The world of Gloom is a sad and benighted place. The sky is gray, the tea is cold, and a new tragedy lies around every corner.” It’s perfect for 2-4 players, but you can add another player for each expansion deck you throw in.
The goal of Gloom is to make your characters suffer all sorts of tragedies with mishap cards (like contracting the pox) that lower their Self Worth scores. Additionally, you’ll work to cheer up your opponent’s characters with positive event cards (like marriage). You can also play modifier cards on top of a character card for even more points. Gameplay lasts roughly 60 minutes a pop. If that doesn’t make you buzz with freaking joy, I don’t know what will!
Happy games are boring. Gloomy sad ones are all the rage. Get your rage on with this Gloom-tastic adventure.
If you’re a fan of escape rooms or mystery games in general, Exit: The Abandoned Cabin is one you won’t want to miss. This game can only be played once since it requires you to fold, markup, and tear materials (not uncommon for this specific type of game, don’t worry). It works for 1-4 players, takes anywhere from 1-2 hours to play through, and does not require an app or online connection in order to play.
As its name implies, the game is all about working to escape from an abandoned cabin. Players will work together to crack riddles and solve puzzles left by the cabin’s deranged owner (who has, of course, locked you inside). The game’s creator also has other iterations of Exit: The Game if this one isn’t quite your speed, like The Stormy Flight, The Mysterious Museum, The Secret Lab, and more.
Exit: The Abandoned Cabin
This one-player game is the perfect adventure for anyone who loves escape rooms and thrilling mysteries.
In The Grimwood, “You might be a bounty hunter looking for fame and fortune. You might be a peasant looking to feed his starving family. You might be a maiden running away from her arranged marriage, or just somebody who has gotten lost. Anyhow, you’ve ended up in the Grimwood, a forest with curious animals, forbidden places, powerful objects, and supernatural creatures.”
If you plan on surviving, you’ll need to draw cards from the deck or steal from other players and unleash the terrifying power of those supernatural creatures to defeat your opponents. The game is fast-paced and offers lots of player interaction (for 2-6 players). Plus, it’s easy to learn, only takes about 30 minutes per round, and is fun for everyone age 12 and up.
Fight your way out of the forest, and beware the magical creatures and powerful objects.
All you need to do in Unstable Unicorns is build a unicorn army and betray your friends. Easy enough, right? To claim victory, you just need to be the first player to collect seven unicorns in your stable and to stop other players from doing the same. You’ll have Magic, Instant, Upgrade, and Downgrade cards at hand to help you do this, too.
The game also has a solid variety of expansion packs that work with this base deck. So, once you get the hang of things, that’s a great way to kick things up into neigh-xt gear! Unicorns is designed for 2-8 players (age 14 and up), and gameplay takes 30-45 to run.
You don't need your friends---come to team unicorn. We'll be your friends now.