CHEAP GAMES WITH LONGEVITY to ramp up & round out your collection quickly!
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Looking back over my ever-growing game collection, I have come across quite a few cheap purchases. Many (perhaps MOST) were cheap because they did not warrant a second play through while others stood out as games that get a lot of play/have been the definition of Bang! for your buck . They typically have simple mechanics yet show some depth. These are the games I would recommend for growing a new collection quickly without breaking the bank. Each game can be obtained for less than $20--most below $15. I did NOT include games limited to 2-players. That list is here:Cheap 2-Player Only Games

My hope is to make an accessible list for people first getting into the BGG Community. These obviously will not feature heavy game weight OR heavy instruction manuals.
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1. Board Game: BANG! The Dice Game [Average Rating:7.02 Overall Rank:459]
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Starting off with a You know what...

The original Bang! with all (out of print) expansions would push you over the century mark in fiat currency, yet the dice game captures all the fun and feel of the card game with the promise of a reasonable play time.
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2. Board Game: Loot [Average Rating:6.30 Overall Rank:1606]
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An impulse buy at Target...

Gamewright has upped their game in the last few years, but even before that, LOOT quickly became a family favorite for us. A few Christmases ago we gave a copy to every relative (we care to visit ). No matter where we go, this pirate-themed card game is fun for 2-4 or in team pairs with up to 8. If you like it, try combining two decks to make it less predictable. Even that shouldn't top an Andrew Jackson.
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3. Board Game: Love Letter [Average Rating:7.29 Overall Rank:198]
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Another easy pick for the list was Love Letter...

With fewer than 20 cards and a couple of score markers, this game runs under $10. It's fun to play and with the quick flow, hard to stop. If you want to avoid the awkward moment with friends when you pull out the velvet sack, watch for the Batman themed version coming soon!
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4. Board Game: Liar's Dice [Average Rating:6.92 Overall Rank:553]
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Now I've never actually seen the game in the picture...

...but it is easy to assemble the pieces. After learning the game in some miserable Army barracks in Guatemala, I actually re-purposed my copy from a Farkle dice set ($12). You can also play on the Pirates of the Caribbean 2's blu-ray special features...lol.
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5. Board Game: No Thanks! [Average Rating:7.04 Overall Rank:393]
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Another family favorite...

We've ended up with multiple copies of No Thanks! but at $8, no worries. It's more than 10 years old, but you can still find it at the front of every game store you walk into. There's no reason not to have No Thanks!
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6. Board Game: Etc. [Average Rating:6.62 Unranked]
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Perhaps the most obscure game on the list...

ETC. is a great word game that can be played with any number of people or teams. If you need to accommodate a large group, you could do much worse for many more of your hard-earned dollars. The depth comes from the scoring chips which have hidden, differing values.
 
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7. Board Game: Hanabi [Average Rating:7.18 Overall Rank:269]
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Not just another card game...

While card games make up a significant percentage of this list, they all play very differently--perhaps none more so than Hanabi. Partially a memory game, it has a different feeling than other co-op games where the complete puzzle lies in front of all players. How many card games have you played where you can't even see your own hand?
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8. Board Game: Animal Upon Animal [Average Rating:6.87 Overall Rank:707] [Average Rating:6.87 Unranked]
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You may not have kids...

...but you probably have a nephew or niece or just know a kid. If you ever get stuck watching kids, pull this game out and be a hero!
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9. Board Game: Sushi Go! [Average Rating:7.13 Overall Rank:329]
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If you're waiting for the price of 7 Wonders to come down...

Sushi Go! is another drafting game which can work with as few as two players (without the annoying ghost 3rd player). It's yours for the price of a dragon roll.

PS...what's with all the exclamation marks on these titles!?!
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10. Board Game: Zombie Fluxx [Average Rating:6.03 Overall Rank:2651]
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I'm not saying Fluxx has depth...

...but if you're going to add a Fluxx game, this would be the ideal choice for the fun factor without being overpriced. (I'm looking at YOU Munchkin.)
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11. Board Game: Hey, That's My Fish! [Average Rating:6.75 Overall Rank:657]
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Don't let the tiny box deter you...

This tile-laying (I mean picking up) game is a cheap alternative to buying Carcassone and it's 4000 expansions/variants.
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12. Board Game: Coloretto [Average Rating:6.97 Overall Rank:478]
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A good alternative to Zooloretto/Aquaretto...

These cards capture the mechanic and feel of it's larger relatives for a fifth of the price.
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13. Board Game: Saboteur [Average Rating:6.63 Overall Rank:837] [Average Rating:6.63 Unranked]
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If hidden roles are your thing...

Yes, Saboteur is a card game, but the way it's played feels more like a board game. A cheap alternative to Labyrinth, you won't miss the bigger boardgame. (AVOID the Labyrinth card game at all costs!)
The hidden roles are a nice layer of strategy, but that mechanic comes up on this list frequently simply because the value does not come from expensive components--it's the people you play with that make these games fun.
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14. Board Game: Cardline: Globetrotter [Average Rating:6.45 Overall Rank:3253]
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Not the first of it's kind...

Chronology is an out of print game our friends always want to pick up after playing at our house. Cardline is the affordable alternative. Another trivia game like Wits and Wagers where you don't really NEED to know an answer--just be in the ballpark. You can also choose the subject/category that interests you most as there are several Cardline versions. While it is not necessarily an educational tool, you will likely learn something.
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15. Board Game: The Resistance [Average Rating:7.39 Overall Rank:160]
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One of the best...

Cheap list or not, every collection should include the Resistance or the variant Avalon. The red box re-print is even worth a double dip if you're like me and have the first gray version. The Resistance is a superior werewolf-style bluffing game only you don't have to worry about getting knocked out to wait for another game...and you gotta love the theme.
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16. Board Game: Citadels [Average Rating:7.13 Overall Rank:313]
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I struggled with including Citadels because it hovers above and below the $20 mark...

This old standby is still a great game. Before I found the Geek, I bought a lot of crap games on blind buys. This was a blind pick-up for me, but it's Bruno's gem and I would not be caught without a copy in my collection.
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17. Board Game: Biblios [Average Rating:7.24 Overall Rank:284]
T. Nomad
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Den Bosch
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Our favourite small game.
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18. Board Game: Win, Lose, or Banana [Average Rating:5.42 Overall Rank:14142]
T. Nomad
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Our favourite REALLY small game.
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19. Board Game: Star Realms [Average Rating:7.64 Overall Rank:83] [Average Rating:7.64 Unranked]
Eric Brosius
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We got this game for about $14 and I've already played it 46 times, mostly because my wife loves it. I think she has played it more than I have, and she has taught it to more people than I have. That's a great bargain!

It's a head-to-head battle where you can see who is ahead and who is behind. And it has that "let's play one more!" quality.
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20. Board Game: Haggis [Average Rating:7.02 Overall Rank:664]
David B
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Chesapeake
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The "chess" of small box card games.
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21. Board Game: Keltis: Das Kartenspiel [Average Rating:6.74 Overall Rank:1526]
David B
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If you can find a copy in the US, you will find it fairly cheap. It's always available on amazon.de for cheap. It's basically Lost Cities that scales 2 to 4 with a couple of extra very interesting mechanisms thrown in to provide some extra decisions. Great game.
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22. Board Game: Cockroach Poker [Average Rating:6.51 Overall Rank:1249]
Jeremiah
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We've played this so many times, starting the kids when the (then) youngest was around 5 and they still have fun. Also fun with adults. IMO, this is pure bluffing at it's finest. If you're not a fan of bluffing games, or games where everyone can gang up on one player, then this might not be for you or your group... But if those aspects don't bug you, this is an excellent game.

The longevity of this game is in how it rewards playing with the same group over time and how you'll start to learn the other player's "tells".
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23. Board Game: Fleet [Average Rating:6.98 Overall Rank:673]
Jeremy Sites
United States
Lake Stevens
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This game can be found regularly on Amazon for under $20. It's a fantastic game that offers a lot of replayability with the various license cards that can be used. Plus, if you really get into it (like myself) there's an equally cheap expansion.

For those looking for a challenge, try the Epic Fleet variant where you play with all the cards.
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24. Board Game: Mundus Novus [Average Rating:6.71 Overall Rank:1422]
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This game packs quite a punch for coming in such a small box. I'd put it in the same category as Citadels in terms of being a tiny game with a surprising amount of depth.
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25. Board Game: Innovation [Average Rating:7.24 Overall Rank:277]
Jonathan C
United States
Iowa
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This is $18.50, and insanely replayable, plays well with two, three, or 4 with partnerships.

Simple to teach. On a turn you simply choose 2 of 4 different possible actions in the game: draw, meld, dogma, achieve. But this doesn't make it easy or samey by any stretch of the imagination. The game is compelling and full of surprises, with a moderate dose of Chudyk-inspired chaos.
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