It can be hard to find out what the average price of a board game is. So, I looked into the average prices of various board games and what affects their price.
How much do board games cost? The average price of a board game is between $20-$45 (£15-£35). Mass-market board games with only a few components are cheaper. Games with more components or printed in a small print run are more expensive.
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Loads of things affect the price of a board game, from how many pieces they have to which country they are sold in. But whatever the average price, there are still places you can find a bargain!
Average cost of a board game
There are four broad pricing categories for board games. I’ve given prices in dollars and GBP. You’ll notice that board games are generally more expensive in the UK, relatively speaking.
Under $20 (£15)
The board games on the cheaper end of the scale are usually card or dice games without many other components. These are games like Exploding Kittens, Coup and Unstable Unicorns.
These games are generally quick to play, with easy rules and feel quite light and fun.
The games in this price bracket include your average household family games like Monopoly, and these games get people into modern board games like Carcassonne and Ticket to Ride.
They have more components like custom boards and pieces, there is more depth to the games and they take longer to play.
The games in this price bracket are the hobbyist board games. They are usually targetted at the hobby game market who will pay more for their board games thana casual household gamer.
They contain lots of custom pieces and are more complicated to play. Board games in this style include Arkham Horror: Call of Cthulhu, Spirit Island and Terraforming Mars.
In the most expensive games bracket lives the super hobbyist board games. These games contain hundreds of pieces and usually have very complicated rules meaning that they take half a day to a whole day to play. They may have games which play across several gaming sessions.
Gloomhaven, Twilight Imperium and Dark Souls: The Board Game are all hobbyist board games.
When I bought Gloomhaven it cost £180. It contains so many components that it weighs 10 kilograms!
What affects the price of a board game?
The price of a board game is affected by many different things.
Number of components
This is the largest factor that affects the price of a board game. The more pieces it contains, the more it costs to produce. Some pieces like the board, pawns and cardboard tokens are cheap, but detailed miniature models, custom dice and metal pieces all bump the price up.
If you’re interested in board game pieces, check out my article about board game pieces and what they are used for.
Out of print
If a game is out of print, the prices will be higher because it is more difficult to get hold of a copy. Prices may be especially high for a brand new copy of an out of print game.
Sometimes updated versions of games are released with new artwork, components and rules.
Board game collectors may search for the previous editions of games to complete their collections. If a game is popular and out of print, it will drive prices up.
Monopoly is perhaps the most famous board game for doing limited edition print runs of a game. Because there are only ever going to be a limited number available, people will pay more to be an exclusive owner of a copy.
Mass market or indie publisher
The large board game publishers like Hasbro and Fantasy Flight can produce huge print runs of 50,000+ for games and benefit from the economies of scale and discounts that brings.
Large publishers selling games to a mass market can afford to sell them for a lower price but at a higher volume to make a profit.
For independent board game publishers like those on Kickstarter, they are publishing their games in much smaller numbers so don’t benefit from the large volume discounts. It means they need to sell their games for a higher price to cover their costs and make a profit.
The country they are sold in
Where you buy your board game greatly affects the price.
In the UK board games are considered quite expensive in relation to earnings. So much so, that people on the largest board game forum in the world – BoardGameGeek – has entire threads about it.
Forum members share which board games it’s possible to buy from other countries and still understand the rules because the components do not have any text printed on them.
Who decides the price of a board game?
The final retail price of a board game is up to the retailer. So if you buy a game from Target or a specialist friendly local games store, they have decided how much to charge for the game.
It works in the same way on Kickstarter. The indie publishers are the retailers as well as the publishers. They sell directly to customers through Kickstarter so they choose what price to sell the board game for when they decide the pledge amounts.
When do the prices of board games change?
You can find great deals on board games whenever retailers have sales. Black Friday and Cyber Monday are good days to look online for board game bargains.
Generally, the prices of board games will increase near Christmas because a lot of people buy board games as gifts.
A board game may also become cheaper if the publisher has printed more copies than needed and they need to get the cash back into their business.
Where can you get board games cheaper?
Boardgameatlas.com is a nifty board game price comparison site where you can track the prices of games you want. It’ll alert you when a price drops to the level you set, for example, 40% off its current price. Perfect for grabbing a great deal. You can even import your board game list from BoardGameGeek.
eBay is another great place to look. If you look in January or February each year you may find brand new games that were unwanted gifts. If you don’t mind owning a used board game you can find them all year round on eBay.
Facebook also has local for sale boards in pretty much every area. They are worth watching to keep an eye out for a board game bargain.
Are board games good value?
Board games are great value for money!
Think about it. How much you would spend per person on bowling, a meal at a restaurant or going to the movies? The costs soon add up and you only get a one time experience for your money.
You can use a board game again and again, without spending anything!
For a closer look at the value of board games, take a look at my article about why board games are worth the cost.