Most Valuable Board Games Ever Made
Most of us grew up playing board games with our friends and family. And even in the digital age, many of us still do. According to Research and Markets, the world board games market is poised to grow 9 percent annually through 2023. The market size for board games at that point will be $12 billion.
Newer games like Settlers of Catan and Pandemic are leading the way, but the oldies like Monopoly still hold places in our hearts. You may have some of these older board games tucked away and forgotten in an attic or basement, or have come across them in thrift stores.
What you may not realize is that quite a few of these old board games can be valuable. Some games can sell for thousands of dollars, especially if they are in good condition with all of the playing pieces intact. These vintage and antique board games are selling for the highest prices.
Lost in Space 3D Action Fun Game
Year made: 1966
Lost in Space 3D Action Fun Game Value
Sold at auction: $340
Bottom Line: Lost in Space 3D Action Fun Game
The Lost in Space 3D Action Fun Game was based on the popular TV science fiction series, "Lost in Space," from the 1960s.
The board has three levels, and players use a spinner to advance around the board.
You can only move to new levels if you land on the right space.
Year made: 1962
Haunted House Value
Sold at auction: $475
Bottom Line: Haunted House
In the Haunted House game by Ideal, players explore a large plastic molded three-dimensional haunted house, searching for a secret door that conceals a jewel.
The first player to have the jewel and successfully escape from the house wins the game. Players use a spinner that emits an owl’s hoot, to move spaces.
The house is full of traps and surprises that can send players back a certain number of spaces, or even back to the start.
Maker: Milton Bradley
Year made: 1981
Dark Tower Value
Sold at auction: $580
Bottom Line: Dark Tower
Dark Tower is a fantasy quest game in which players must get an ancient magic scepter from an evil king who lives in the Dark Tower.
Players search for three keys that unlock the tower and raise armies to besiege the evil king. A
All of the players’ moves are fed into a small battery-operated computer, which keeps track of who is winning.
The Game of Goose
Maker: Spears Games
Year made: 1930s
The Game of Goose
Bottom Line: The Game of Goose
Gioco dell ’Oca, or The Game of Goose, is a children’s game that may date back to Ancient Egypt.
The game, similar to Snakes and Ladders, has players throw dice to move along a spiral track, trying to reach the end, while facing obstacles, such as an inn, a bridge or death.
Copies of the Italian version of the game made in the 1930s are especially valuable.
Settlers of Catan 3D Collector’s Edition
Maker: Catan Studio
Year made: 2005
Settlers of Catan 3D Collector’s Edition Value
Bottom Line: Settlers of Catan 3D Collector’s Edition
This game, The Settlers of Catan, has a board made up of unusual hexagonal tiles, which can be rearranged each time players start a new game.
Players compete for natural resources, such as lumber, wool, brick or grain, and deal with accidents and incidents. Raiding the resources of other players and building roads, cities and settlements let a player accumulate points.
While the game involves strategy and planning, the players also create a storyline as they play. The Settlers of Catan won major game awards from 1995 to 2015.
Maker: R&D Games
Year made: 1995
Bottom Line: Keywood
Keywood is a settlers game in which two to five players try to settle and control six villages. Each player must start as a farmer and then buy trade licenses, which allow them to become traders.
In addition, each village must select its leaders who make decisions about taxes, trade licenses and markets. As each village is able to open a new market, its income doubles. Between earning income and paying taxes, players accumulate money. The player with the most money at the end of the game wins.
Only 200 copies of this game were made.
Maker: Parker Brothers
Year made: 1935
Sold at auction: $1,360
Bottom Line: Fortune
The game Fortune was released by Parker Brothers in 1935 and was similar to Monopoly. Fortune was based on New York City’s streets, however.
Only about 5,000 were made as Parker Brothers bought the rights to Monopoly shortly after releasing this game.
At that point, they changed the name of Fortune to Finance and Fortune, and finally discontinued it.
The Elvis Presley Game
Maker: Teen-Age Games, Inc.
Year made: 1956
The Elvis Presley Game Value
Sold at auction: $1,500
Bottom Line: The Elvis Presley Game
Made in 1956, The Elvis Presley Game is a tribute to Elvis Presley and his music. The board is divided into a blue half (for boys) and a pink half (for girls).
The game contains 110 question cards about Elvis’ life and songs. Players use a spinner to select a card and can only move on the board if they answer the question correctly. If they don’t know the right answer, the player is penalized and moves backward.
Very few copies of this game survive in good condition.
Be a Manager
Year made: 1967
Be a Manager Value
Sold at auction: $1,500
Bottom Line: Be a Manager
A baseball board game from 1967, the game contains a deck of 120 batter cards and 80 pitcher cards, a cardboard playing field, dice chart, and a hit and run chart.
A complete game in good condition, with all the pieces, sold on eBay.
War of the Ring Collector’s Edition
Maker: Nexus Editrice, Fantasy Flight Games, Phalanx Games Deutschland
Year made: 2010
War of the Ring Collector’s Edition Value
Sold at auction: $2,400
Bottom Line: War of the Ring Collector’s Edition
The War of the Ring is a dice-play strategic fantasy war game, based on "The Lord of the Rings" books, in which one player operates the Free Peoples and the other controls the Shadow Armies.
The Free Peoples player must complete the Ringbearer Quest and reach Mt. Doom to destroy the One True Ring to win. The player with the Shadow Armies must conquer the Free Peoples to win.
While regular editions of this game can be worth hundreds of dollars, the collector’s edition released on the 10th anniversary of the game’s launch is especially valuable.
Coromandel Games Compendium
Maker Betjemann and Sons Makers London
Year made: Circa 1860
Coromandel Games Compendium Value
Sale price: $2,411.78
Bottom Line: Coromandel Games Compendium
The Compendium is a collection of various games: chess, checkers, backgammon, dominoes, playing cards and more.
Both the pieces and the boards for each game are housed together in a wooden box with lift-out trays.
These sets were made around the 1860s from Coromandel wood, a brown wood with black stripes, which has since been logged to extinction.
Monopoly (French Edition)
Maker: Miro Company — Paris
Year made: 1957
Monopoly (French Edition) Value
Bottom Line: Monopoly (French Edition)
Parker Brothers released a French edition of Monopoly for the French market through the Miro Company.
This version of the classic game used French francs and places around Paris in place of the standard Atlantic City locales and American dollars.
It's a good time in any language.
Swift Meats Major League Baseball Game
Maker: Swift Meats
Year made: 1957
Swift Meats Major League Baseball Game Value
Sold at auction: $2,644
Bottom Line: Swift Meats Major League Baseball Game
Swift Meats issued a baseball game in 1957 that is extremely rare today, especially in good condition.
The game consists of 18 cards of real-life baseball players, including diamond legends Hank Aaron and Frank Robinson. The cards are printed in color, with perforations, and each card is meant to be punched out and used to assemble 3D figures of the players.
A paper board game is then used to play a game with the assembled figures.
Fox and Geese
Maker: McLoughlin Brothers
Year made: 1830
Bottom Line: Fox and Geese
Fox and Geese is an old hunting game that dates back to the Middle Ages, or even earlier. It’s played on a cross-shaped board using pegs or marbles.
The single fox attempts to "kill" the geese by removing them from the board, while the geese attempt to trap the fox so he can’t move.
An English version of the game dating from 1830 is scarce and valuable.
Monopoly Atlantic City
Maker: Charles Darrow
Year made: 1933
Monopoly Atlantic City Value
Sold at auction: $146,500
Bottom Line: Monopoly Atlantic City
Monopoly Atlantic City is the original game created by Charles Darrow. Loosely based on another popular game called "The Landlord Game," the board was modeled on the actual streets and real houses around Darrow’s house in Atlantic City, New Jersey.
Only 5,000 copies of the original game were made, and only a few are known to survive. In 1935, Parker Brothers bought the game from Darrow and made it famous.
You’ll recognize Darrow’s distinctive early version if you happen to stumble across one in a thrift store or garage sale, as the board is circular.
Related: Best Toys of All Time