Amazon Black Friday has started in earnest. Most of the deals aren’t available yet (more will be released each day), but the one exception is the board games category. Amazon has dropped the price on dozens of popular board games and board game expansions. These include favorites like Pandemic, Ticket to Ride, Catan, Carcassonne, Star Wars, The Lord of the Rings, Azul, Wingspan and more. However, there are also several more niche games that we’ve rarely seen discounted, like Everdell, Agricola, Pandemic Legacy, Paleo, and more. So if your board game collection could use some freshening up, then peruse the list right here. We’ll add more deals as we see them go live.
Wingspan Board Game for $39.33
Wingspan from Stonemeier Games is an incredibly good board game. So good in fact that we deemed it the best board game of 2019. Wingspan looks like a deceptively simple game; the endgame goal is to attract as many birds as you can to your wildlife preserve and help them proliferate. There are only four actions you can perform: draw a bird card, play a bird card, get food, and lay eggs. Sounds simple enough, right? Well let’s just say these four actions mask an incredibly complex engine-building game with which you will have to juggle between bringing new birds into the fold and keeping your existing birds well stocked and in a breeding frenzy. Wingspan is infinitely replayable, and you’ll find yourself developing and honing new strategies with every subsequent playthough.
Azul Board Game for $21.70
Azul is an unusual board game in that it doesn’t involve war or intrigue or anything high-stakes like that. Instead, players in Azul compete to design the most beautiful tiled mosaics they can. You and your opponents claim tiles from a central market and place them on your board. Play wisely, and you’ll hamper your opponent while creating intricate patterns for extra points yourself.
Ark Nova Board Game for $58.99
Ark Nova is a recently released (April 2022) board game. Ever since its release, it has climbed the ranks and garnered a reputation of being one of the best strategy board games. Ark Nova is not really a casual board game; BoardGameGeek ranks it as a “medium-heavy” game similar to other ambitious titles like Gloomhaven, Terraforming Mars, or Scythe. You’ll need a good 1-2 hours for each play session and probably more the first time you play, but you’ll be rewarded with an economic and environmental sim that will keep you engaged for several playthroughs.
Viticulture Board Game for $39.99
Viticulture is an economic strategy game in which you are tasked with maintaining and profiting from your vineyards. That mostly means hiring workers to build structures, grow and harvest your grapes, facilitate the winemaking process, and of course selling the wine. It’s best played with two to six players, however this game can also be enjoyed solo. Although this is a fairly older release (2013), it is rarely discounted and it’s still considered one of the best economic games around, especially since it’s not as dauntingly complex as some other similar board games.
Gaia Project Board Game for $66.63
This is a sci-fi makeover of an older strategy game called Terra Mystica (which is also on sale). But alongside the reskin, the designers also made it tighter and deeper. The goal is to help your alien race expand through the galaxy by gaining resources and using them to terraform planets from their starting state to one that best suits your species. While struggling to eke out your stellar niche in the teeth of competition from your opponents, you’ve also got to build and upgrade structures to power your economy and develop a technology tree. But what really gives the game its edge are the fourteen aliens, each with a game breaking special power, which all demand unique strategic approaches to the game that vary with player count and the other powers in play. It’s a veritable interstellar smorgasbord of strategy.
Spirit Island Board Game for $43.99
A lot of cooperative board games are very family-friendly, but Spirit Island is different. It’s deep and demanding, for one thing, with a commensurate sense of strategic satisfaction when your group pulls off a victory. For another, it boasts a thought-provoking theme of anti-colonialism, with players taking the roles of elemental gods working together to repel a colonizing invader. Winning means using a combination of your native worshippers and your special elemental powers to plan a way of predicting the path of invasion and throwing them back into the sea.
Marvel Champions The Card Game for $41.99
Marvel Champions is a cooperative living card game for one to four players that features some of the most beloved superheroes of all time. While it’s a relatively new card game, its popularity has risen quite quickly and has brought in many new players with its support and collection of superheroes and villains. If you are new to Marvel Champions, look no further than this box set. It includes everything you need to jump into this card game world featuring your favorite Marvel superheroes.
More Amazon Black Friday Board Game Deals
Amazon Black Friday Board Game Expansion Deals
These expansion packs are not standalone, meaning you will need to purchase the base game. These packs are meant to add even more content to the core game by adding more maps, units, cards, or gameplay mechanisms. If you absolutely love a specific board game, it often makes more sense to get an expansion pack to increase its replay value than buying an entirely new game, especially since it usually costs less.
What to Consider When Shopping for the Best Board Games
There’s so much choice in modern board gaming that picking a game can be overwhelming, not to mention expensive! So to help winnow down the selection, here are a few things to look out for when making your picks.
Perhaps the most important one is whether it’s likely to see much play. Aspects of this are fairly obvious: whether it appeals to your friends, what’s the target age, if it’s a long game, will you have time for it, and so on. But there’s still more to these facets than may be immediately apparent. You may feel comfortable learning a very complex game, for example, but will your fellow players, and will you be able to teach it? Do you want a game to play with your partner, or your wider family, or does it need to be flexible enough to cater for both crowds?
Even then, these are often vexed questions. The play times listed on box sides are often hopelessly optimistic. Similarly, a game’s advertised player count can be very different from the ideal. A good tool to clear this up is the game information database boardgamegeek.com. If you search on a game there then, at the top of the page you’ll find, beneath the player count, a “best” suggestion for the optimal player count according to the site’s users.
There are other many other considerations. Some games take up a lot of table space, for example, which is no good if you play on a coffee or smaller board game table. Others can take a long time to set up and put away. These issues are often mentioned in a review if they’re problematic. And they can stack: you may be able to play a much longer game, for example, if you have space to pause and leave it out on the table to resume later.
Some genres of game require greater research than others. Increasingly, games are being released as lifestyle choices with a steady stream of expansions and new content. Which is great if it appeals to you, but you need to know what you’re getting into. Other games merge into miniature modelling which is a whole other hobby in it’s own right. Editions and versions are another thing worth checking out as many modern games come in standard and deluxe editions or may, in fact, be reprints of older titles.
You also need to think about how a game might fit in with your existing collection, both aesthetically and physically. For the former, consider what makes it different enough, mechanically or thematically, from games you already own to make it worthwhile. For the latter, remember that board games are big, and you’ll need to find space to store it!