We’re counting down the days International Tabletop Day 2018, happening this year on April 28th! As we get closer to the big day, we’ll be looking at the gamut of tabletop gaming, from the stories of the games we play to remarkable people who love them. Today we’re looking at one of the tools to help gamers track their games. Be sure to join in on the fun on April 28th on our official ITTD Twitch Stream, hosted by Ivan van Norman and donate to charity:water, the
Tabletop games are huge business these days and the perception seems to be the price tag has grown with the hobby. Kickstarter is saturated with big box games featuring dozens of miniatures that can be painted. There are still a lot of great games that can be had for a little bit of money, that also usually play very quicky in between go-arounds of their bigger siblings. These games are some of our small favorites within the past few years. They also make great gifts for board game fanatics and their families, particularly when you buy them at your FLGS — friendly local gaming store — for this year’s International Tabletop Day!
We’ve sung the praises of Sparkle Kitty before, but for those that might have missed the song, here’s the short version. This fast playing card games casts players as kick butt princesses rescuing themselves from scary towers by casting spells using silly combinations of words that will make everyone from 8 to 80 giggle after they play a card. Fans who play this game at a participating store on International Tabletop Day also get a chance to go home with a Sparkle Kitty adventure pack featuring new princesses and new cards! And those fans who want a slightly naughtier experience should look to Kickstarter on May 1st, when Sparkle Kitty Knights launches an expansion to play when the kids are in bed.
This dexterity game and its sister games, Dr. Beaker and Dr. Microbe, are primarily marketed to kids because kids love games where the end result is stuff flying everywhere. Don’t be fooled; playing this game where players have to mix marbles in a beaker in a specific order without letting anything spill will cause all sorts of yelps, grunts, cackles and howls of frustration from adults too. Dr. Eureka has a low price, a short playing time and the serious side effect of everyone around the table asking to play one more round.
Dungeons & Dragons Starter Set
Don’t call it a comeback, but D&D has been more popular than it has been in years. Whether you’re someone who played in high school and walked away, a Critter who wants to jump in to tell your own stories, or someone looking to show off the magic of fantasy gaming to a new generation, the Starter Set is one of the best gateways to Dungeons & Dragons available in years. It includes a short rules summary, pre-generated characters, an excellent starting adventure exploring the Lost Mine of Phandelver and, most importantly a set of dice. Add in some great web resources like additional characters and cheap adventures on the Dungeon Master’s Guild site and this boxed set’s value grows and grows.
Ultra-Tiny Epic Kingdoms Deluxe
Gamelyn Games series of Tiny Epic games would all be great choices for this list…except they all retail at about $25. We’re lucky they challenged themselves to make their first game in the series, Tiny Epic Kingdoms, smaller and cheaper. Ultra-Tiny Epic Kingdoms did just that, taking the gameplay that made their first game such a hit and shrinking it down into the size of a deck of cards, or, in the case of the deluxe version, a small dice bag. This game keeps the feel of a classic empire builder like Warcraft but plays under a half-hour and takes up a tiny fraction of the table while doing so.
What small-priced games pack a big punch on your game shelf? Let us know in the comments! And be sure to join us on April 28th on Twitch for our International Tabletop Day stream hosted by Ivan van Norman, and help us support charity:water to raise money for a project to get water to a community of people who currently lack access to clean water.
Want more board game goodness?
- Meet The Mother and Daughter Who Bake Board Game-Themed Desserts
- 4 Digital Board Games to Enjoy This International Tabletop Day
- Board Game Buyer’s Guide: More Great $20 (Or Less) Games
Images Credits: Breaking Games, Blue Orange, Wizards of the Coast, Gamelyn Games
Rob Wieland is an author, game designer and professional nerd. He’s worked on dozens of different tabletop games ranging from Star Wars and Firefly to his own creations like CAMELOT Trigger. He can be hired as a professional Dungeon Master for in-person or remote games. His Twitter is here. His meat body can be found in scenic Milwaukee, WI.