Paul: I hope this is alluding to the Kickstarter for Founders of Gloomhaven, and not my rare sex fetish.
Quinns: Exactly that! Wait, what?
Paul: You haven't heard? Founders of Gloomhaven is board gaming's latest Kickstarter smash hit. Remember Kickstarter fantasy co-op adventure Gloomhaven? Well, Founders of Gloomhaven is a second game from designer Isaac Childres set in the same world, but this time he's offering a competitive game of building a city featuring "a unique mix of tile placement, action selection, hand management, worker placement, and blind bidding."
Quinns: It sounded like you said "rare sex fetish."
Paul: Founders of Gloomhaven has already raised almost $300,000, and it still has twenty-four more days to soar past its funding goal.
We talk a lot on this site about how we want board games to be "for everyone", but to an awful lot of people the games we recommend are prohibitively expensive. That said, putting together an amazing board game collection can be cheap. Below, we've assembled a list of the very best games that could collectively cost you less than ten bucks, depending on your situation.
This isn't some unsatisfying sampler platter. What lurks below is a moveable feast of some of the greatest games ever made. Were you to gather all of these games, I'd prefer your collection to ones I've seen costing $1000.
If you approve of this feature, please do share it far and wide! It represents a lot of work for both Team SU&SD and our donors, who we bothered about cheap games we might have missed (special thanks to subscribers Amanda and Jeff, who were especially great).
Let's get started.
Known in the United States, at least, as Gen Con's quiet but friendly little sibling who lives in Columbus, Ohio. Also known for revealing major summer releases well in advance of Gen Con.
But what really goes on at Origins? Shut Up & Sit Down was curious, so I donned my best black hoodie and infiltrated the scene. Slipping past the bronze statue of Arnold Schwarzenegger that guards the convention center, I entered a bustling space filled with thousands of gamers. Fortunately I seemed to blend in, and… oh, alright. It was just a great con.
Locals and industry people were open and nice, it was easy to get into events or find gaming space at the last minute and, above all, the Columbus Convention Center is a quick walk from the North Market, where there's all kinds of good, nutritious food like Vietnamese noodle bowls and donuts and gourmet ice cream.
Quinns: Yaks can be pretty important, you know. When I was backpacking in Tibet they were a cornerstone of agriculture. Yak dumplings. Yak-stuffed bread. Yak butter tea.
Paul: Yak butter tea. What was that like?
Quinns: Well, try to imagine what something called “yak butter tea” might taste like.
Quinns: It tasted exactly like that.
Paul: Is this yak anecdote going anywhere?
Quinns: No, I think I just slept funny
Paul: Should I get on with the news?
Paul: Oh yes. Murder. Seems there’s always a lot of murder in board games.
Quinns: Gotta give the public what they want. Shall we fire this thing, then? We should let loose the news that Fantasy Flight Games are releasing the new Whitehall Mystery, a standalone cousin to SU&SD hidden movement favourite Letters from Whitechapel.
The bad news is that they seem to have zero interest in renaming the brand "Dungeons, Dragons & Dinosaurs", or DD&D. Imagine! After a few more years of announcements they could be selling Dungeons, Dragons, Dinosaurs, Diplomats, Dinghies, Derby's and Dancers, or DDDDDD&D.
Paul: A couple of board games came out of this announcement. We're getting the Dungeons & Dragons: Tomb of Annihilation Board Game, which can be combined with all those D&D board games that came out in 2011, and we're also getting Betrayal at Baldur’s Gate. Which is--
Quinns: Oh no
Paul: Which is a Dungeons & Dragons-themed version of fabled box of nonsense Betrayal at the House on the Hill.
Quinns: Oh, no.
Quinns: PAUL WHAT IS IT.
Paul: I HAD A NIGHTMARE.
Quinns: WHAT HAPPENED.
Paul: I dreamt that you agreed to get the new Zombicide Kickstarter and play it even though it’s $120. And you certainly wouldn’t be alone in doing so! At the time of writing this Kickstarter has raised almost $2 million from more than 16,000 backers.
Quinns: Well, like Zombicide: Green Horde’s setting, your dream remains very much in the realm of fantasy. But for once, this site has a very good reason for throwing shade on Zombicide.
Quinns: Well Paul, do you remember when we said that Funemployed was the best game ever and our audience refused to buy it because they were terrified, en masse, by the prospect of having to be funny?
Paul: Oh yes.
Quinns: Do you want to try and sell a funny experience ONE MORE TIME?
Paul: DOUBLE OR QUITS, BABY.
Quinns: No, that’s not bread that’s rising. It’s THE EMPIRE.
Paul: Is it going to take long? I wanted to put a pizza in.
For the last few weeks I’ve been fretting and sweating against these games' arbitrary countdowns, searching for the best simulation of being locked in a room. And do you know what? I had a consistently happy time of it.
But the time for happiness is over. Two series emerged as front-runners during my trials, and it’s only right that I pit them against one another in cardboard combat. From Germany, in the blue corner, we have the prestigious series of EXIT: The Game. And from France, in the red corner, we have the flashy contender known as Unlock!
LADIES AND GENTLEMEN! LET’S GET READY TO