35 – The Family Gamers Podcast – Budget-Friendly Games

dollar bills

Looking for a good new game to play, but short on cash? Andrew and Anitra discuss a variety of games that can be had cheaply (under $20), including one that simply needs pen and paper!What we played recently:



Celebrity – this is a party game that simply requires pens, paper, and a container for the slips of paper. Wikipedia has the rules more or less as we played it.

Tzolk’in: The Mayan Calendar

New York 1901


The kids had friends over during the Superbowl and played:

Mmm! several times. Loudly.

Don’t Break the Ice

Apples to Apples Jr.

Maze Racers

Build a Robot

Monsters in the Elevator – (here’s our review)


At the suggestion of one of our listeners (thanks Spencer!), we came up with a list of games we recommend that are under $20:

Machi Koro Bright Lights: Big City (retails $30 but regularly on sale for $20)

Sushi Go ($10-13)

Codenames ($15-20)

Zombie Dice ($7-12)

Anomia ($13 if you get the 2-deck version)

Monopoly Deal ($5-9)

Hero Kids ($6-10) at drivethrurpg.com

And of course, there are better-known favorites like Pass the Pigs, Tenzi, and Uno


Last, but certainly not least, a giveaway, sponsored by Bellwether Games! One lucky winner will receive a copy of the Princess and the Goblin board game and also a copy of the book.


  • Jess

    FYI, the Celebrity game you described in the beginning is also a published game called Time’s Up with various editions.

    • Anitra Smith

      Thanks for letting us know! I had only ever heard it called “Celebrity”. The pen-and-paper version might work better for some groups, since with the players coming up with the pool of answers, you are less likely to end up with a person/character that no one has heard of.

  • Scott Anthony

    Forbidden Island is a good choice also and usually is under $15.00 on Amazon.