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How Much Do Board Games Cost?

how much board games cost

The thrill of having a game night. Choosing new and interesting games to keep everyone interested can be quite the task. There are so many different types of board games on todays market that it can be a tough time deciding what to add next to your collection. The first thing we tend to look at is the price of a game as well as how complex the pieces and rules are.

The price of a board game can vary anywhere from about $15-$80. Mass produced games by big brand like Hasbro or Mattel will generally be cheaper than games published by independant developers like Uwe Rosenberg or Fantasy Flight Games.

Many larger tabletop games, like Gloomhaven, are made by independent publishers. This usually means that their costs to mass produce a game is more expensive than a big game company like Hasbro. So which board games are worth it? What’s the cost of the games? We take a look at the kind of games you can get based on a price range.

The Low Cost Games, $25 and Under

Let’s start with the little guys. By little, I mean cheap. Let’s face it, kids lose pieces, they usually break, and you might throw a piece in anger and then never find it. Stuff happens. So getting some cheaper games when the kids are still kind of young is a good idea.

Your classic, basic, old school games will fall into this category.

  • Trouble
  • Battleship
  • Sorry
  • Connect 4
  • Monopoly
  • Scrabble
  • Yahtzee
  • Jenga

The games where the rules are pretty easy to follow, you can play with 2 or 3 players, and you don’t need a whole lot of skill. There’s not a great risk with these games. They are going to lack a bit in the quality department, but that’s okay.

These are learner games to get your kids ready for the soul crushing you will be giving them with more complicated games when they get older.

Commonly Priced Games, $25 to $50

Now we are getting into some decent games. The $25-$50 range gives you so much room for activities. In this range you can find special editions of the games you already love. Disney editions, move themed editions, and anniversary editions of games like Monopoly or Clue would be in this range.

You are also going to get into more strategy games. Ones where it’s not only a spinner and some cheapy cardboard. These have more parts, more pieces, and more rules to remember.

These probably won’t work for smaller kids. Even older kids could get frustrated about not picking up the rules quickly. These are more for groups of adults to play for bragging rights.

You might have to keep score cards, use some paper and pencil to answer questions, or have the rules handy constantly because the games are getting more complicated.

The graphics will be cooler, the content won’t be so kid friendly, and you’ll have to actually think about your answers and moves with these.

I do want to briefly mention Trivial Pursuit. It has a sore spot with me, because growing up this was the family Christmas Day game and to this day I have never won. But it’s good and you learn stuff.  

This range is also where those funny novelty card games come into play. These are definitely for adults, but they are so much fun to play when you have a larger group.

Sure, these are ‘just card games’ but really they are so much more. They require skill, wit, and quick banter. You are trying to be the funniest and the smartest, but still win the game.

  • Cards Against Humanity (the bigger sets)
  • What Do You Meme
  • The Voting Game

Intermediate Priced Games, $50-$100

In my opinion, this is the price range where the games start to get really fun.

There will be a whole world the game takes place in. The pieces will be beautiful little works of art. The game board will be amazing and detailed, and you’ll want to spend some time really looking at everything on the board.

If you’ve never played these kinds of games before, you’ll need to mentally prepare. You will probably need the instructions by you at all times and everyone will need the patience of elves to walk you through your first handful of games.

These games usually only allow for 1-4 players. Because of all of the strategy needed, it would take too long to have more. But that’s good if you were wanting a game for a more intimate game night.

This game is pretty much like a whole movie playing out in game form. There is a setting, a backstory, characters, money, and so much more. You have to really delve into this world the game creates to understand what you are supposed to do.

  • Everdell

This one seemed a little more understandable. One game should take an average of an hour to finish. This one uses cards instead of character figures, but still has a really pretty game board. There’s a 3D tree that you have to assemble that looks really cool. This game is about critters and building new territories.

  • Lord of the Rings and Star Wars

Both have pretty intense looking board game in this price range. Figurines, cards, dice, and so much more make these games be able to last for hours if need be. When you get into these kinds of fandoms, the players want a game that will take them away for as long as one of the movies would.

With this price though the attention to detail is ridiculous. You feel like you are there in the movie. They really thought of everything for a die hard fan who would be playing this game.

Expensive Games, $100-$200

Now we are starting to get expensive. But, that can be a good thing. One of the most popular games of all time, Gloomhaven, has made this list and with good reason. Many of the games on this list are top picks amongst many tabletop fans.

If you are looking to spend a good amount of money on a game, spending it on one of these will not leave you disappointed.

In this action packed 1-4 player role playing game, players will take on the role of a wandering adventurer each with their own set of unique skills. Everyone must work together to clear out dungeons and forgotten ruins while acquiring different pieces of loot, and enhancing their abilities in the process.

This is pretty much an RPG rolled up into a board game. A fan favorite. This is a must have in your collection if you are a tabletop fan.

Play with up to 6 players in this galactic space opera. This game is massive and features over 1,000 components. 17 different races, and a random board setup. This means every game will be different. A definite must have in any board game collectors collection.

Massively Overpriced Games, $200 or More

I would definitely say that these are not the greatest games on this list. Price doesn’t always equate to a great game, but these games are great in their own special ways nonetheless.

  • Darktower

Released in back in 1981. Its rarity and uniqueness has basically defined how much this game is worth. Many die hard fans thrive to keep their games complete and are always on the hunt to keep their copy in good condition.

This game was truly ahead of its time. Its an epic fantasy quest to recover an ancient magic scepter in a dark tower. The technology of this game was very astounding for its time. There is a small computer inside of the plastic tower. Players input their moves on a keypad each turn and the computer takes over after that. It keeps track of your life, food, and battle progress.

  • Kingdom Death Monster

You will never encounter another pen and paper monstrosity of a game like Kingdom Death Monster. This game was in extremely limited print which means it was almost impossible to get your hands on it on release.

Tread lightly, this game is only for the most avid tabletop enthusiasts as all the game pieces need to be assembled during gameplay. Also, be prepared to put aside close to 60 hours of real life time to complete the campaign.

Why Are Some Games So Expensive?

Brass Birminham is well over $100 and definitely qualifies as an expensive game

Build networks and grow industries in this 2-3 player game based in the industrial revolution.

Well, we went over pretty much every kind of price point and some games that you can get in there. So why are some board games so much more expensive than others?

  • Special Editions

These are where people go crazy. Say your favorite show is Friends. You are more likely to rebuy merchandise you already have if it has their name plastered on it.

If you already have regular Monopoly, now you have to buy the special edition Friends edition. You are also willing to pay quite a but more to see your favorite coffee shop and couch on the board.

  • Supply/Demand

It’s all about taste. If you are really into a certain type of game, or a certain fandom, you are going to pay the money no matter what, right? The amount of people willing to spend $400 on a World of Warcraft game is small, but committed. They will spend the money. So the game can be that expensive.

It’s been marketed very well. It has a following and audience base. It can be at a price point that might seem ridiculous to you, but not to the fandom buying it.

Also, during the holiday season, it becomes very difficult to keep these types of game in stock due to their limited quantity. When Demand rises, but the supply stays the same, the prices will naturally rise to

  • Replay-ability

You can’t tell me that Chutes and Ladders is a quality game. It’s super mass produced, it’s in every single store, everywhere, and it wouldn’t last more than 10 minutes with a couple of kids. So it’s going to be cheap.

If you want a nicer, more stable product, you are going to have to pay more. Like your shoes, your purse, or your furniture, you get what you pay for. Do you want a game to last a few months, or one that could last for the rest of your life?

Many of the more expensive tabletop games like Pandemic Legacy can keep people entertained for years on end.

  • Independent Publishers/Indie Board Game Publishers

Independent publishing companies have higher costs associated with creating their games compared to big name brands like Hasbro and Mattel.

Games created by independent publishers tend to have a lot more custom pieces, more complex game boards, and a small print run which drives up the production cost.

Can I Sell My Board Games?

Yes, you can always try to sell whatever you want. Amazon, Ebay are the most obvious marketplaces to sell your games on. Amazon only allows the selling of brand new games, while Ebay allows you to sell new, used, and incomplete games.

Another great option is to check out a website like NobleKnight.com. They are a website all about tabletop and board games. You can sell/trade games right on their platform.

When selling a board game, there are a few things you need to take into consideration.

  • Condition

Having the box, all of the pieces, and the instructions is just one factor. The other factor is the condition of the box, board, and pieces themselves. If your game is brand new or in mint condition, it will fetch you a lot more money than a game that has obviously been used and has seen better days.

  • Age

More recent board games aren’t going to get you as much money as a game that is vintage or out of print. It’s the old, old games that collectors want. A prime example of a very valuable game is DarkTower. It’s a game from the 1980’s that is still played and loved to this day which makes it a very valuable piece.

  • Publisher

Who made the game seems to be pretty important. The basic ones, Hasbro, Milton Bradley, and Parker Brothers are ones that probably won’t get you anything unless it’s a really early edition. A publisher like Fantasy Flight Games, on the other hand, has a lot of highly sought after board games.

Did You Know?

That some board games have game pieces that are worth a lot of money? Vintage, or old board games that are no longer in production are valuable even if they are missing pieces.

Final Thoughts

Choosing to get a $20 game of Monopoly or a $150 copy of Gloomhaven simply boils down to your taste in board games. Some people love fantasy and adventure, while others love the simple classics.

Board game prices will always have a big margin of pricing due to who published the game, the amount of pieces involved, and the complexity.

Whether your an avid board game collector of all themed games, or just want to make sure everyone has an option for game night, you will get what you pay for when it comes to replay-ability, complexity, and the depth of a game.

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