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At your friend’s game night, you spend hours playing an intricate board game that you fall in love with. When you get home and check the price tag, you’re disappointed to see that it’s way out of your budget.
Some board games come at a high price thanks to the amount of detail put into them. If you want a board game that won’t empty your wallet (but is still loads of fun) check out these cheap board and card game alternatives.
Coup takes place in a dystopian future where greedy CEOs rule the city. While some might say Coup is best played with four to five players, you can tweak the rules and still have a good time playing Coup with only two other people.
In this game, you play against your friends as you fight and bluff your way to power. You start with two influences, or character cards, that you keep hidden from the other players. Use this secrecy to your advantage and attempt to kill your friends—whoever has cards left by the end of the game achieves victory.
2. Fluxx 5.0
Fluxx has no solid rules. Each game plays differently, and that’s what makes it endlessly entertaining. Gather two to six other players, and start by dealing out three Basic Rules cards to each person. These rules serve as a foundation for the game.
As the game progresses, players will begin drawing New Rule cards. The rules listed on these cards are enacted immediately, and change the course of the game.
Hanabi encourages you to forget everything you know about card games. Instead of holding the cards facing you, you leave the cards turned outwards. This quirky mechanic makes sense in the context of the game—you’re tasked with putting on a firework display, and you can’t see your own cards in the dark of night.
You must work with other players, and give each other information about the cards they hold. By working together and remembering the information on the cards, you’ll put on an amazing show.
For the amount of content that comes with Santorini, you can’t go wrong for the price. You’re tasked with constructing a building that’s three stories high on the Greek island of Santorini. The fun part is that you actually get to use pieces to create buildings on the gameboard.
This may sound simple, but Santorini comes with a twist. If you or another player, find yourself in a pinch, you can pull out your God card to manipulate the rules.
5. Love Letter
Have you ever dreamed of courting a princess? In Love Letter, you must ensure that your romantic letters to Princess Annette reach her before anyone else’s.
At the end of each round, Princess Annette will read one suitor’s letter, granting them one token of affection. When one player gains enough tokens of affection, they win the game and the Princess’s heart.
6. Star Realms
Star Realms is a deckbuilding game that challenges you to take over the whole galaxy. Although Star Realms was originally built as a great two-player card game, you can also choose to play it with multiple people.
At the start of each game, you’ll have 10 ships consisting of eight Scouts and two Vipers. While Scouts provide trade, Vipers provide combat. As you work to acquire more assets, you must also attempt to reduce your opponent’s Authority to zero, making you the winner.
7. Port Royal
The pirate-themed card game Port Royal, has you take on the role of a merchant. You must try to bring as much cash in during the day, but you just might end up with nothing if you press your luck.
Port Royal comes with 120 cards in its deck and is based solely on chance. While you can draw as many cards as you wish during your turn, some of these cards have consequences that could cost you the game. If you have the most victory points at the end of the game, you win.
Budget-Friendly Games Don’t Always Sacrifice Quality
Just because a game has a low price doesn’t mean that it lacks in content. All of the board and card games on this list have exceptional gameplay and artwork for half the price. Luckily, you don’t have to spend hundreds of dollars to host successful game nights.
For even more board game ideas, take a look at these quick board games that you can play in under 15 minutes.