25 Games Under $25

Board games make a great gift for all occasions, and we chose 25 great games under $25 to suit every need: white elephant gift exchange, birthday, Christmas, budget-friendly, stocking stuffer, Hanukkah, impulse purchase... We included with each a brief overview of the game to help you decide. We're confident you'll find your next purchase on our list!

We want to make a quick note before we get started that some of these games may end up being above $25 depending on where you are, and if there is shipping. We did our best to pick ones below that threshold, but sometimes things are out of our control. Now, in no particular order, some of the best board games under $25...

Our Rating:

Holiday Fluxx is a little simpler than its mother, Fluxx, but we like the holiday theme that spans from Halloween to New Year's. Players start with three cards, draw one and play one. Simple. However, every card played can change the rules of the game and even the entire objective, keeping every player on their toes and rushing to meet the goal first and win. It's fun and chaoti and great for all ages. What's best about Fluxx is how quick and easy it is to play, and how every game is different! There are several versions from zombies to pirates to Monty Python, so if holidays aren't your thing, there's a definitely a version that will suit your tastes. Fluxx plays in 10-30 minutes with up to six.

Our Rating:

This is a solid game for younger kids (about 6+) and makes a decent add-on to gifts or as a stocking stuffer. The deck is divided equally among players and everyone takes a turn flipping a card from their pile into one shared pile.. Players rely on their quick thinking, recognition and fast reactions to gain cards. If cards match, only one card is played between a pair and so on, players slap the pile as quickly as possible. The first to slap, gets the deck. The first with all the cards, wins! But be careful--mistakes can cost you, and if you run out of cards, you're out. Slamwich takes about 20 minutes and plays with 2-6 people.

Our Rating:

Designed just for two people, players work to fill their quilt with patchwork pieces in the best pattern possible to get as many points as they can. It isn't as easy as it sounds! On their turn, players either advance their markers to collect buttons or buy a patch to add to their board. Only a certain number of patches are available to buy on any turn, patches are oddly shaped and their are rules around advancing your marker and when you take a turn. Decision making and strategy are challenging in this game, but it plays in about 15-30 minutes making it  a great filler game.

Our Rating:

Love Letter is a social deduction game for 2-4 people. In your quest to win the Princess' favour, you must rely on those closest to her to deliver her your letter. Every player gets a role and uses their turn to guess who other players are, or take actions to knock people out of the game. Be the last standing or the last with the highest score, and you win the round. The player first with four points wins the game. It's a simpler game and so easier to play with younger players, or as an intro into the genre. Games take about 20 minute and what's better, there's even a holiday version!

Our Rating:

A fast game with hilarious illustrations and a lot of silliness, Exploding Kittens is a game of stacking your hand and battling your opponents to be the last cat living. Players take turns drawing or playing action cards, but others can nix or counter these actions, making the game a bit like UNO on steroids. At some point, someone will draw an exploding kitten and have to use their Defuse card to stay safe--but the exploding kitten goes back in the deck, and safety is only temporary. Good for 2-5 people or more if you have two decks, Exploding Kitten has a NSFW and a family edition playable in 15 minutes.

Our Rating:

Ghost Blitz is a recognition game that demands quick reflexes. Suitable for kids but still for adults, 2-8 players compete to collect the most amount of cards to win. Six items sit in front of the players: a grey mouse, a white ghost, a green bottle, a red chair and a blue book. One card is flipped, showing five or six pieces, but either only one element is correct or all five are incorrect, requiring the player to grab either the correct object or the only object missing. It's a great teaching game for kids but still challenging and stimulating for the bigger kids, plus it takes only about 20 minutes to play!

Our Rating:

Sushi Go! is an excellent starter game for people looking to get into games and into card drafting, but even seasoned players will enjoy Sushi Go! It's quick, strategic and competitive. Players are dealt a hand of cards and everyone simultaneously select and reveal one before passing the hand to the next player. The player with the most points at the end of the game wins. But! Every card is a bit different: some stack, some are punishments, some are bonuses and so on, so players have to pay attention to their hand and others'. The basic game takes about 15 minutes but only allows 2-5 players. The Party edition (more than $25) plays with up to eight.

8. Coup

Our Rating:

Coup is a fast and fun social deduction where players try to outwit each other to be the last standing. Everyone is dealt two cards with a role, of a possible five, each with its own action and power. On their turn, players can collect money or use their powers--knock out another player's card, steal, make another player's game more complicated, and so on. What's even better: players who aren't involved in the conflict can involve themselves. Everyone needs to work together, though, to prevent any player from getting seven coins, calling a coup, and causing one player to lose a role card. Nobody is safe in this game! Coup plays with 2-6 and takes only 15 minutes. You can add the expansion when you've exhausted the original.

Our Rating:

Hanabi (Japaense for fireworks) is a cooperative card game for 2-5 players that takes about 25 minutes. Players work together to play the fireworks cards in different colours in their order, from one to five. Sounds easy? It would be if players could look at their own cards, but they can't. Each player can see their teammate's cards, but not their own, and only hints are allowed to help players play their cards correctly. Hanabi is fun, challenging and a refreshing change to play as a team.

Our Rating:

Forbidden Island is the predecessor to Forbidden Desert so it's a little simpler and less complex. That doesn't make it any less fun, though. Players work together to prevent the island from sinking while they collect treasures and hopefully escape. The game adapts to players so it can increase in difficulty as players get better at the game. For 2-4 players, one game takes about 30 minutes. This is a decent game to start your foray into co-op board games, and what's more, it's a fun game that challenges everyone's thinking, team skills and decisions.

Our Rating:

The Exit games have brought escape rooms to the game table. There are currently six available for purchase, and themes include escaping a cabin from a crazy owner, a medieval castle, an Egyptian tomb, a deserted island after your ship capsizes, an Arctic research station and a medical lab. Each can be played solo or with up to four people, and they challenge your skills and thinking in many different ways as you race to beat the clock and the game. These are a neat challenge for those who love escape rooms and while some might balk at the idea of buying a game you play only once, remember that escape rooms cost about $20-$25 per person, so these games are actually a bargain!

P.S. If you've already worked through all the games in the Exit series, there are similar games by different publishers like Escape Room the Game. 

12. Friday

Our Rating:

Friday pits you against pirates and the board by stranding you on a deserted island. You'll spend three rounds building your deck and surviving dangers, then another round fighting pirates so you can escape home. Friday is easy to set up, making it a decent travel game, and you can increase the challenge as you get better at the game. Each game takes about 30 minutes and is designed for one player only.

Our Rating:

Whatever you fancy, Codenames has a version for you. Cards with a single word are laid out in a 5x5 grid, and players work in teams to identify the secret words only known by the Spymaster. The Spymaster can give a one word hint to help the team, but if you guess incorrectly, you could help the other team, hit a bystander or even get assassinated that round! Z-Man Games recently released Marvel and Disney versions with a picture on one side and a word on the other so you can start with all pictures and work your way to words, or mix them up. There's also a Deep Undercover (adult) version, a two-player version and a version with more abstract pictures. Games take about 15 minutes and play with players as young as eight.

14. Avalon

Our Rating:

One of our favourite social deduction games, Avalon pits players against each other in a battle of good vs. evil. Everyone has a secret role and only some know who's who--but spilling the beans could mean ruining your game. Players are sent on missions which they pass or fail, depending on their loyalties, to help their team achieve victory. There is a lot of subterfuge, lying, finger-pointing and treachery in this game. Honest players aren't necessarily rewarded for their efforts, and it isn't always easy to tell who is truly being honest. Even though this game uses fantasy and history (Merlin, Arthur, etc.) as its basis, players who aren't fantasy fans will still enjoy it. This game always guarantees us a good time. It takes about 30 minutes to play and accommodates 5-10 players.

Our Rating:

Fairy Tale is a card drafting game and the predecessor to 7 Wonders, so you'll see a lot of similar elements: card stacking, points, impacting other players' game, etc. It's highly interactive and there are a substantial amount of cards and rules. The game plays over four rounds, and each player chooses (drafts) three cards for each round. It might sound easy, but you have to keep an eye on everyone else to ensure they're not changing your game or you're not handing them a big point bonus. Fairy Tale is tailored a little more to fantasy fans, though its longevity is made through game mechanics and player interaction. It accommodates 2-5 players and takes about 30 minutes to play.

Our Rating:

For such a simple concept, Telestrations game is a lot of fun for players of all ages. The family version plays with up to six people and the base game plays with up to eight people. Both take about 30 minutes or less. Every player is given a sketchpad then instructed to draw either a word from the box or anything from their minds in one minute. Once time is up, the pad is passed to the next person who writes what the sketch is supposed to be. The pad is then passed to the next person who draws the written guess, and so on until everyone gets to reveal what the original sketch was and its evolution through the group. Scoring depends on whether you're friendly or competitive! Telestrations is like telephone meets pictionary and is a fun and funny party game suitable for any age. (P.S. There's also a version for 12 people and a more adult version.)

Our Rating:

Bang! The Dice Game is fast, furious and fun. Players get a character (assigns life points and special actions) and a role of outlaw, renegade, deputy or sheriff. It's a great social deduction game as everyone fights to keep order, hide their role, knock out other players and either be the last standing or be the last team in tact to win. Only the sheriff is revealed, while any deputies, outlaws and renegades are kept secret, left for everyone to deduce who's restoring order and who's creating chaos. Dice are rolled with every turn and almost everyone can be impacted, keeping player interaction high and guesses constantly changing. This version takes about 15 minutes, plays with up to eight people and made our best social deduction games list.

18. What?

Our Rating:

What? is a fun party game suitable for all ages. It takes nothing to learn and while the game suggests 15 rounds, you can make the game as short or long as you want. Players take turns being the reader, and reads one of three questions on a card (a sticky situation, fill-in-the-blank usually with someone's name who's playing, and a general question). Players fill in their answer, all answers are shuffled and read, the reader selects his favourite and then everyone except the reader guesses who said it. Points are awarded for who was right and to the lucky person if they escaped unnamed. It's akin to Things in a Box and Balderdash, but more accessible and easier to play. What? is a funny and light game, and good for all occasions, making it a great add to your collection. It plays with as few as five and as many as 17.

Our Rating:

Another great party game for all ages, Catch Phrase pits players against each other in two teams. Players take turns describing the word on the disc to their teammates, racing against a timer that is loudly and steadily getting faster. If your team guesses correctly, pass the disc to the opposite team for their turn--but quickly! If the timer buzzes and you're holding the disc, the other team scores a point. The first team to seven points wins! We still have the old school version with the paper discs you manually insert, but the game has been updated to a few different electronic versions with over 5,000 words. It's a fun and light game that can get very competitive very quickly. Catch Phrase plays with 4-12 players and takes 15-30 minutes to play.

Our Rating:

Tides of Time is a two player-only game that takes about 15-20 minutes to play. It's a card drafting game, so players are dealt cards and choose one from their hand before switching with their opponent, and so on until the end of the round. Over three rounds, players choose five, six or seven cards and after each round, one card is discarded from their hand. Scoring and strategy is a little more complex and with only three rounds and 18 cards, keeping an eye on both your game and your opponent's is critical. 

Our Rating:

We like Saboteur best when paired with Saboteur 2, but Saboteur is still a neat little card game that pits players against each other/other teams with secret roles in a race to get to the treasure first and collect points. However, someone is a saboteur, and you're never quite sure who you can trust or who has their own game in mind. The rules change a bit depending if you're playing with just Saboteur or with the expansion, and there are some neat elements that change up the game with the expansion. Either way, it's a good game to play with adults and kids alike, and there's even a duel version for two players.Saboteur plays with 3-10 people and takes about 30 minutes.

22. Pit

Our Rating:

Pit is a perfect game for friends and family who are up for a fun, silly and noisy game that takes minutes to play. Players are dealt cards and trade duplicates with others in order to have an entire hand of one matching card. If cards match, they can only be traded together (four of a kind, one pair, it doesn't matter how many).


What's more, they can only be traded with another player who has the equal amount of matching cards in their hand (four cards for four cards, as an example). Sounds easy, but here's the kicker: everyone is trading at the same time, so everyone has to yell over each other in order to be heard--and you have to be fast! Quick reflexes get your cards traded faster, and when you finally have a hand of matching cards, you have to ring the bell first to win. There's really nothing to it, but it's a great brain break and a good icebreaker. Pit plays up to eight people and takes about 5-10 minutes to play.

Our Rating:

Full disclosure: this recommendation is a little bit of a cheat, as the price for Hive Pocket fluctuates a little lower and higher depending on the day. BUT! This version includes the ladybug and mosquito which are expensive expansions for the original, and it's such a great game with high durability and replayability had to recommend it. Slightly smaller than Hive, Hive Pocket is still the same game where two players move their bug tiles in order to surround the opponent's queen. Each bug moves slightly differently and not every bug needs to be used, making the game challenging and strategic. This is a great game for couples and for travelling. Each game takes about 20 minutes and it made our best two player board games list.

A great two player game that takes 30 minutes, players are turned into adventurers, exploring the furthest reaches of the world. Your expeditions take you to volcanoes, underwater and to lost civilizations as you try to complete them and gain the highest point count over three rounds. Failing or failing to start missions can cost you, so weigh your choices carefully! It's a solid game and easy to learn, which makes it great for people who aren't big into board games or have partners who aren't gamers.

25. Anomia

Our Rating:

Anomia is a quick-drawing, quick-talking game that relies on the useless knowledge everyone's brains store: cookie dough brands, ice cream flavours, author names and so on. Players take turns flipping cards from a deck and placing the card face-up in front of them until two players have matching cards. Players then have to shout out the opposite card's answer first to get the point. Adaptive rules make this game easier or harder, and the player with the most points wins. Anomia also has a party edition, and the base game plays 3-6 players in about 30 minutes.

Conclusion

Happy Shopping, folks! We hope you find a few purchases on here that make you or your giftee happy. Let us know what you bought, what you liked, what you didn't, and if we missed any other great games under $25!

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HexaGamers

We are the HexaGamers. Six good friends that love all things game related that gets us together to enjoy each other's company.

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