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When one considers buying a pool table or ping pong table, one almost always agonizes over space limitations and price. And, sure, both of these factors are important, particularly if you’re on a tight budget and don’t have the luxury of a large home.
But, what if I told you that an affordable pool table doesn't have to cost thousands of dollars and take up the entirety of your garage? Or that you can get a great ping pong table that quickly folds up when you're through playing? Or that there's a game called Bonk where you shoot metal balls at a wooden ball and it's only $30 and incredibly addicting? The good news is, I'm about to.
You won't find any board games here -- we’ve already got you covered on that front. But you will find the games you used to play when you could go out to bars and beer gardens, backyards and pool parties. Games that would ultimately bring a group together or utterly tear it apart. In essence, these games bring the bar fun to you. And each one is more affordable than four rounds of craft beer flights.
Around the world, during a strange 40 year period, multiple people unbeknownst to one another started inventing foosball tables. The earliest was a guy who was -- strangely -- inspired by a box of matches. The game's popularity soared. Now, top-of-the-line tables can run you $2,000, but you can score this one for just $200. As one reviewer aptly put it, "it'll be more than you hoped for considering the price." Get it for $200
Watch your front foot! | Amazon | Maitane Romagosa
A regulation size cornhole board is 4'x2', but who has room in their house for that? But a 3'x2' cornhole board? Now we're talking. This set includes everything you'd need to start playing right out of the box: bags, the boards, and a carrying case in case you need a change of scenery. The boards are sturdy and set on an aluminum frame, meaning they can be folded up and put away efficiently or taken out and put to use quicker than your opponent can yell "hey, foot behind the board!" And at $88, it's definitely one of the more affordable options for a quality set. Get it for $88
Air hockey was actually invented by three engineers who worked for a billiards company. The more you know! By the ‘70s, the game was crazy successful and now you'll find them at almost every arcade and/or your favorite dive bar. This table isn't going to turn you into a pro, but you'll have a heck load of fun on it. It stands three feet tall and four feet long, it's sturdy, and if you're over six feet tall, you can comfortably pull a chair up to it (or set it atop a platform of bricks, wood, or whatever else you may have laying around to raise it). Get it for $150
Do you know what Mozart, Marie Antoinette, Immanuel Kant, Abraham Lincoln, and Mark Twain had in common? They all loved billiards. Whereas most professional tables will run you a few thousand dollars, you'll want to consider this a fun-sized alternative. What you see is what you get here -- and that's a folding billiards table with a rack, balls, and two cues. The table itself is 4'x2', making it the perfect size for a patio, rec room, garage, or even a home office. Plus it folds up quickly for storage when you don't need it. Get it for $160
Ping pong a.k.a table tennis used to be a "sport" for the upper class in Victorian England. Now it's a sport for literally everyone to play in their garage -- or in this case, anywhere you can fit a foldable, aluminum, 5-star table. My roommate wasn't amused when we put one in his room and woke him up at 7am to play a match. This table is 5'x2.5' and, like most other tables here, folds into itself when you're done using it for easy storage. This table can also be brought outside, but not left there. Too much sun equals no more fun. Get it for $179
Getting a dartboard with metal darts is between you, your drywall, and your landlord. That said, if you want pure quality and something that'll last you way beyond your money's worth, Winmau makes one of the best boards in the game. Oh, you want an exclusive British Darts Organization (BDO) endorsement? This board has it. And you want it to cost less than a Benjamin? Look no further. However, you'll also need to buy darts. Get it for $71
10 in One just means more fun | Amazon | Maitane Romagosa
This bad boy has it all. Pool, ping pong, foosball, air hockey, checkers, chess, shuffleboard… and three other fun games. Now, the table isn't that big. It's only four feet long and two feet wide. Essentially that makes this table great for kids and teens, but you could get away with some pool, air hockey, or foosball if you're an adult. The big draw is the price tag. Get it for $150
Who's up for a game of COURSE? | Amazon | Maitane Romagosa
On first blush, this might look a bit boring unless you're really into golf. But do you know how many fun two-player games you can make up putting on this thing? Probably something like 12! The fact is putting is hard as hell and if your putts and short game aren't on point, you'll probably resort to drinking by the 7th hole and end up 10 over par. Well, it doesn't have to be like that anymore. Spend a few hours a week on this, and when you can finally hit the links again, you'll be nailing it. The setup measures 3' x 9' and at $40, what do you have to lose? Aside from one of those 12 games you made up. I personally like HORSE, but would call it COURSE. Get it for $40
There was a hook, there was a ring, could I make it any more obvious? | Amazon | Maitane Romagosa
I don't think I can editorialize this at all. You have a ring and you have a hook. The object is to land the ring on the hook. I know it doesn't sound like the most adrenaline-pumping contest, but you'd be surprised. The game's actually pretty difficult and you'll end up playing for hours just for the satisfaction of landing that ring on that hook. Just once. Get it for $25
You remember Space Invaders, right? | Amazon | Maitane Romagosa
Actual arcade games have, for the most part, become banished to the dusty corners of dives next to Big Buck Hunter or used as nostalgic marketing gimmicks as a way to sell craft beer to nerds in their 30s (I am one, so I can say that). Now you can get your very own arcade to put in a corner of your home and play Space Invaders until you get so good you can finally go back to Barcade with your head held high and show Tevin and his crew you're the best now. This unit is coinless and features a 17" screen. Get it for $180
Throwin' up the buzzer beater | Amazon | Maitane Romagosa
More than just a college game where you stand around throwin' back shooters, Pop-A-Shot is one of the most fun arcade games ever invented. It's also pretty hard unless you practice for hours, which you can do since you're staying home responsibly right now. This particular unit features 10 different games beyond "make a basket" and has wheels at the base, so you can move it around. It is quite large, so you'll want at least seven feet of clearance. The only downside to this thing is that you can't dunk on it the way its price dunks on lesser models. Get it for $189
The most fun you'll have with magnets | Amazon | Maitane Romagosa
If you took the best things about air hockey, foosball, and magnets, put them all into a magic oven, baked it at 350º for 20 minutes, and then pulled it out, you'd get Klask. The object of the game is to move a small ball into an opponent's Klask (goal hole) while avoiding magnetic obstacles. The game is wildly popular in Denmark, Sweden, and Norway and is finally starting to make waves in the States. Rather than explain how to score and any semblance of strategy, check out this great video. Note: this game is incredibly addictive and you'll definitely find yourself playing enough to make it a great investment. Get it for $80
Someone was playing cornhole and thought to themselves, "you know what? What if we added more holes to this board and designated a point value to each?" And then presumably, that someone's more handy friend made the game, got the patent, and sold it for thousands of dollars. And now it's a hit. Toss Across is basically cornhole with a twist but you don't need two boards or a lot of space, making it perfect for apartments. And you can even play by yourself. Maybe put it on TikTok. Get it for $30
Gotta love playing hookey | Amazon | Maitane Romagosa
Another game so simple you'll wish you'd have thought of it. The object here is to throw rings at a bunch of hooks with independent values assigned to them. You can play up to 21 or you can throw all 12 of your rings against another player (also with 12 rings) and see who can get the highest score. No need to overcomplicate things. Get it for $35
This is Bonk. You'll love it. | Amazon | Maitane Romagosa
Bonk is a frantic game that's kind of like pinball meets Crossfire (if you're too young to remember Crossfire, watch this super metal video). The story is not unlike the story of The Cones of Dunshire, the fictional game in Parks & Rec. A man lost his job in London and spent a bunch of time tinkering with this game. Once he finished, he brought it to the pub and it was an instant classic. The object is to shoot metal balls from your side into a wooden ball and get that wooden ball to go into your opponent's goal (here’s a handy video for reference). It'll be the best $29 you've spent since you stocked up on all that toilet paper. Get it for $29
Slam dunk contest anyone? | Amazon | Maitane Romagosa
This is an especially fun game if you're stuck inside with roommates or kids. You can play HORSE from the couch while drinking, maybe make TikTok videos (I'm not quite sure what people do on TikTok), or dunk on kids to show them that life is, in fact, not fair. This particular hoop features a backboard that's 18”x10.5” and a steel rim for durability. Best of all? It's very affordable. Get it for $40
Growing up, you probably played a game called Connect 4™. This game -- for legal reasons -- is not that, but a very, very similar game. Connect 4™ is small, plastic, and can be messy. Giant 4 Connect in A Row is huge, made of wood, and safe to play in a yard without fear of losing any plastic coins. I know you'll make the right decision. Get it for $77
Alex Robinson had a ping pong table at his house in college. The house was eventually torn down, but his legacy as Spanish River Champ remains intact. Watch him do other things on IG @alexanderrobinson.
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