In this article we’re tackling a question from Dave, a local Windsor Ontario gamer. He is looking to buy a new board game, or maybe even a couple of games for his game group, but he’s only got a $50 Canadian budget.
Read on to find some game suggestions for Dave as well as a list of what I would buy right now if I had $50 Canadian to spend on games.
This question was a topic during Episode 150 of the Tabltop Bellhop Gaming Podcast. In that episode I originally helped Dave figure out how to spend $50 at a local shop. For the purposes of this article I updated it to spending money at Amazon.ca, which I figured would be helpful for a wider range of people (AKA not just those that happen to live in Windsor, Ontario).
Disclosure: Some links in this post are affiliate links. As an associate, I earn from qualifying purchases. There is no cost to you, and we get a small commission if you buy something through one of these links. Using links like these helps to keep this blog and our podcast going.
Helping Dave pick out a new board game for his group.
Local Windsor game Dave H, clicked Ask The Bellhop to ask:
“Mr. Bellhop, I am looking to buy a board game for my friends and I and I have a $50 Amazon gift certificate that was a gift from my sister to spend.
I am looking for a cooperative game or a competitive game that is not too cutthroat. Do you have any recommendations for a game for us? Thank you in advance for your help.
Signed, Happy Gamer.“
I know Dave and his group of regular gamers pretty well and have played games with them a number of times, so I have a good idea of the kinds of games I think they will enjoy. Though limiting things to Amazon Canada makes this interesting.
To make things a bit easier, for the purposes of this list I am going to ignore taxes and shipping and just go with the stated price.
Most of my the games that I am going to recommend have free Amazon Prime shipping (if Dave doesn’t already have Prime he could easily sign up for a 30 day trial). As for taxes, I’m just going to assume that Dave could cover the slight increase in overall cost if it breaks the $50 threshold due solely to taxes.
A bunch of different ideas are coming to mind so I think what I will do is share five different options that I think fit Dave’s criteria of cooperative or low negative interaction games.
Option 1: Flash Point Fire Rescue
Flash Point Fire Rescue – This is a fantastic cooperative firefighting themed board game with both a sliding complexity level and difficulty scale. There are also a number of expansions that you can add to the base game including more character types, additional maps, and more.
At the time I’m writing this it’s on sale for $47.95, so just under budget.
Option 2: Codenames Duet and Red Rising
Codenames Duet is the team based, cooperative version of Codenames. Despite the name this game isn’t just for two players, it works just as well with any number of players split over two teams. Over time Duet has become my prefered way to play Codenames. One aspect I think Dave’s group will like is the campaign mode which has you travelling the world in a series of games with various limitations imposed by each region.
Right now Codenames Duet is listed at $36.90 leaving room for one other $13 or less game.
Red Rising the board game is based on the dystopian science fiction novel of the same name. It’s a hand management card game based on the Fantasy Realms system. Now this one can get quite tense, so it may not be the best suggestion for Dave’s group, but I think they would all really dig the theme and artwork of this game.
Red Rising also features solo play which I know is something that members of that group do enjoy now and then.
As of when I’m writing this it’s on sale for only $12.99, putting us just under our $50 budget. For $13, even if the game isn’t perfect for Dave’s group I think it’s worth a shot.
Option 3: The Lord of the Rings: Adventure to Mount Doom
The Lord of the Rings: Adventure to Mount Doom is a brand new game from Ravensburger that Deanna and I got to try out at Origins Game Fair 2023. This is a cooperative dice driven adventure game where you are trying to lead The Fellowship of the Ring to Mount Doom.
I know Dave and his friends are big Tolkien fans and also avid roleplaying game fans so I think this adventure game would be perfect for their group.
When doing my research for this post The Lord of the Rings: Adventure to Mount Doom was priced at $40.68, so maybe Dave can use the left over money to pick up a set of Elf Ears to wear while playing.
Option 4: The Crew: The Quest for Planet Nine and Back to the Future: Back in Time
The Crew: The Quest for Planet Nine is a cooperative trick taking card game with mission based gameplay. Each mission adds new rules, restrictions and/or requirements and tells a pretty cool story at the same time.
I think Dave’s group will enjoy this campaign aspect and I know they are fans of trick taking games in general. For example I would have recommended Thrones of Valeria for them if it had been available to buy on Amazon.ca.
As of when I am writing this, you can get The Crew for $20.99.
Check out my The Crew: The Quest for Planet Nine review to learn more about this great cooperative card game.
With the $29 left, I recommend Back to the Future: Back in Time. This is a cooperative board game that was released for the 35th anniversary of the original Back to the Future movie. Players are stuck in the past dealing with Biff and his gang, while trying to not mess up the timeline and get back to the future.
I recommend this one for Dave as I know him and his group are around the same age as me and also grew up watching, and loving the Back to the Future movies.
It’s currently on sale for $27.78
Option 5: Wonder Woman Challenge of the Amazons
My final game recommendation for Dave is Wonder Woman Challenge of the Amazons. This is a hidden gem cooperative programmed movement board game which has the players taking on the roles of Amazons defending Themyscira from three different threats.
While I don’t know Dave’s groups thoughts on Wonder Woman as a character, I do know they love fantasy themed games and this Wonder Woman game has lots of mythical elements to it as you try to defend your people from the likes of Circe and Ares.
At $49.99 I think this is a great way to spend $50 Canadian.
Learn why I think more people need to check this game out and why I call it a hidden gem through my Wonder Woman Challenge of the Amazons review.
What games I would buy if I had $50 to spend on Amazon
Above I listed five different options for Dave to consider for spending his $50 gift card. While working on this I couldn’t help but think about what I would pick up if I had $50 to spend on games at Amazon.ca.
Here’s what I came up with:
Option One: The Lord of the Rings: Adventure to Mount Doom
My first choice would be one I’m going to steal right from my list above and that’s The Lord of the Rings: Adventure to Mount Doom. The game seemed really solid based on the short demo we got at Origins 2023. There were some neat things going on with dice pools and the way the characters moved and it seemed to have the right level of tension and difficulty for a cooperative game.
With the left over $9 I would probably pick up a set of RPG dice.
Option Two: Planet
This is a drafting game where you draft pentagonal biome tiles and place them on a rather large, magnetic, D12 shaped planet. What you draft is based on various animal cards that are face up at the start of the game.
Thankfully it’s on sale for only $45.99 so a bit under our budget.
Option Three: Jaipur and an EXIT game.
Jaipur is another game that I’ve been meaning to pick up for a long while now. Every time we talk about two player games, here on the blog or on our podcast, someone will call out and recommend Jaipur.
I have actually tried the game at this point, but only on Board Game Arena and from those plays I can see the appeal. Jaipur seems like the perfect game for my wife, Deanna, and I to play on any of our date night game nights.
Thinking of playing games with Deanna, to go with Jaipur I decided to go with an EXIT: The Game game. In particular I spotted EXIT: The Abandoned Cabin for only $19.99, which pairs with Jaipur’s $29.99 price to get us to $49.98.
I picked The Abandoned Cabin due to its high difficulty level. We’ve played and reviewed a number of different EXIT games and at this point we’ve gotten pretty good at them so I figured one with a high difficulty level would be the most fun for us
Option Four: Super-Skill Pinball 4-Cade and Monopoly Deal
Super-Skill Pinball: 4-Cade is a roll and write game that was highly praised when it came out. What caught my attention though is the fact that I still hear people talking about this game now, and not just some of the newer versions, the original as well.
I grew up playing pinball games and I think I would have a lot of fun with this one, plus I think it would be a great game for our public play events.
At $41.78 that also leaves us a bit of extra cash to spend.
I’m going to toss that extra money at Monopoly Deal, which is currently priced at under $7.
I know, I know. What am I doing putting a Monopoly game on my list? Well, since starting our podcast we have heard a number of times from a number of different people that this Monopoly card game is actually quite good. I even included it on our 5 Best Versions of Monopoly article back in 2020, but I still have yet to actually play it.
I figure with a bit of money left after the pinball game, why not finally give the game a shot. If nothing else it would be great content, plus it would probably give some people a chance to say, “I told you so!”
Option Five: Avatar Legends the Roleplaying Game Starter Set
Okay I know this is a list of board games but I couldn’t help myself and had to toss the Avatar Legends The RPG Starter Set on this list.
You all know how much I love RPG starter sets and the price is at a perfect $49.99.
This is the intro box for the new Avatar pen and paper roleplaying game from Magpie Games. It comes with a 32 page set of condensed rules and a four page introductory adventure book featuring two adventures, one set in the time of Avatar Aang and the other set in the time of Avatar Korra. You also get custom dice and all the other cool stuff you expect from an RPG beginner box.
See why I couldn’t help myself?
There you have ten different ways to spend $50 (before taxes and shipping) at Amazon.ca. Five that I think would be great for Dave and his game group, who don’t like overly competitive games, and five ways that I personally could see spending $50 on Amazon.
(And yes, I know — $50 goes a LOT further over on Amazon.com. However, I happen to be located on the Northern half of that boarder and figured it was about time that we produced some Can Con. 😉 )
What would you pick up if you suddenly had $50 to spend on games? Let me know in the comments below!