7 of the Most Valuable Board Games From the ‘80s and ‘90s

From “HeroQuest” to kitschy favorites like “Dream Phone,” your old board games could be worth a bundle.
These are good for more than just game night.
These are good for more than just game night. / Mladen Zivkovic, E+ Collection, Getty Images

In an era where smartphones and WiFi are deeply woven into the fabric of our society, it’s hard to imagine a time when folks still had fun being unplugged. But if you’re a child of the ‘80s or ‘90s, you probably have plenty of treasured memories of gathering around your dining room table playing board game classics like Risk, Mall Madness, and others. 

While there was a board game resurgence in the early years of the COVID-19 pandemic, it might surprise you to learn that many of these childhood relics are worth more than just a few nostalgia points. Below are some of the most valuable board games from the ‘80s and ‘90s. (Just keep in mind, you’ll reap the most rewards if your game is complete, and if all the necessary electronics are still fully functional. Even better, if it’s still sealed.)

Fantasy Forest (1980)

Most valuable vintage board games: The cover of "Fantasy Forest" (1980).
The cover of "Fantasy Forest" (1980). / Courtesy of pokejawns / eBay

Created by TSR, Inc., the original makers of Dungeons & Dragons, the Fantasy Forest board game was released back in 1980 and gave kids a chance to play as elves. Their mission? Travel around the board on a quest to reach Morley the Wizard, a kid-friendly, cartoonish figure with a long white beard. The game allows up to four players, and each one receives three cards. Like in life, you play the hand you’re dealt to move forward or challenge another player on the board. 

If you happen to have a sealed version of Fantasy Forest, you could rake in upwards of $900 on eBay. If it’s used but still in good condition, you’ll most likely receive a humble $65.

HeroQuest (1989)

Although not quite a classic tabletop role-playing game, HeroQuest shares a lot of the same fantasy elements that you’d expect to find in one. Using classic fantasy tropes, like an unexpected group—an elf, wizard, dwarf, or barbarian—coming together to beat an evil wizard (hello, Lord of the Rings), the game prompts players to navigate through a maze-like puzzle to win. Originally released in 1989, it was designed to appeal to tweens and served as a gateway game of sorts, leading youngsters to more involved RPGs, like Dungeons & Dragons.

It’s a game that still resonates with its now-adult fans. If you have a relatively new and complete set that you’re willing to sell, you could collect around $200 on eBay.

Risk: 40th Anniversary Edition (1999)

Despite the Seinfeld reference, the game of Risk isn’t actually a ‘90s game. It was created in 1957 by filmmaker Albert Lamorisse (and was originally called La Conquête du Monde, which translates to The Conquest of the World). In 1959, Parker Brothers purchased the rights and re-released it under the name Risk, and that’s when this game of strategy and world domination really took off.

However, what gets this iconic board game onto our list is its 40th Anniversary Edition. Released in 1999, this collector’s item included a redesigned world map and special edition battle dice, plus each gameboard had a unique number (marking its “limited edition” status).

If you have yours intact with the certificate of authenticity, you can claim victory over this war game in more ways than one. If your copy is still sealed, you could sell it for more than $200 on eBay. Preowned, you can get between $30 to $50 for it.

Mall Madness (1989)

From its electronic voice speaker to its fake plastic credit cards (which you could use to purchase everything on your shopping list, and subsequently win the game), there was a lot to love about Mall Madness, the game that taught youngsters in the late ‘80s and early ‘90s how to navigate the world of retail.

While there is an updated version of Mall Madness, nothing is quite as fun—or nostalgic—as the original version. If you have yours still intact, you may be able to sell it for a pretty penny on eBay. In excellent but used condition (and with working electronics), you could possibly earn as much as $200, which would cover a lot on your real-life shopping list.

Advanced Civilization (1991)

Most valuable vintage board games: The cover of 1991's "Advanced Civilization."
The cover of 1991's "Advanced Civilization." / Courtesy of aragorn25 / eBay

Released in 1991, Advanced Civilization is an expansion game on the 1980 game, Civilization. Unlike other popular strategy games that often center around war and battles, Advanced Civilization—and the original version—prompt players to build and grow their own societies through trade and cooperation. With Advanced Civilization, players got easier trading rules, more ways to advance their respective societies, and playability with up to eight people. 

If you wonder why this game—which is essentially like an analog version of Stardew Valley—is so valuable, it’s because the 1991 release is the only version available of the expansion. If you have a sealed copy, you could sell yours for nearly $300. Used but complete, it could earn you under $50.

Dream Phone (1991)

What goes better with a ‘90s-era sleepover than Dream Phone? Released in 1991 by Milton Bradley, this cute game had players sleuthing around to discover which dreamy teen bachelor had a crush on them. To get clues, you’d just chat up his buddies and try to narrow down who it really is from there.

Have one that’s still in good working condition? You’re potentially looking at up to $250 on eBay, even if it has been used.

Tornado Rex (1991)

If you were a ‘90s kid, the 1991 3D board game Tornado Rex may have been all the rage for you. In it, you and up to three other players are hikers trying to get up a mountain before this green- and purple-looking version of the Tasmanian Devil comes after you. Each card you pull puts you at risk for being sent down the mountain, only to start again. (A childhood reminder of how it feels like in real life sometimes.)

After you’re done whispering to yourself, “I forgot about that game,” you may want to start searching through your attic for it. Versions that are used but still in good condition (and with a working spinner) can sell for over $100 on eBay. That said, sealed copies have raked in up to nearly $400.

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