I always struggle to answer the question, “What’s your favourite game?”
For me, there’s no one answer. It completely depends who I’m playing with, and when. I do love hearing what other people like playing, though.
I especially enjoy hearing that someone is looking for a game to play with coworkers over lunchtime or breaks. Once you get bitten by the gaming bug, you tend to want to share it.
So while I won’t name one single favourite, here are my top picks for a quick game at work. My three criteria:
1) Quick & Compact Setup: These games are all easy to get started, and should even leave room for your lunches on the table.
2) Length/Player Count: Lunchtime games need to be over quickly. Even better: unless you are super-competitive, many of these games allow players to jump in or drop out without restarting everything.
3) Easy to learn: I’ve tried to stick to games that can be explained in a couple of minutes, and ones where you would rarely (if ever) need to check the rules once you’ve played a few times.
OK! On with the games. First, how about some dice-chuckers? Dice games create great drama. Everyone loves watching someone who pushes their luck a bit too far, and then pays for it.
While the box might lead you to believe this is for kids, Pickomino is a ruthless game of rolling high and stealing your opponent’s points.
2-7 Players, ~20 minutes, $24.95
The classic shoot-em-up card game has been adapted into a great dice game. The sheriff and deputy must shoot the outlaws. The outlaws and renegades are gunning for the sheriff. But who is who? The element of bluffing and guessing hidden identities adds a lot to the chaos of this one.
3-8 Players, ~20 minutes, $19.95
King of Tokyo
This one borders on being too long for lunch, but it’s so fun and so popular I included it anyway. Roll your dice yahtzee-style to attack other players, buy power-ups, heal or just score points. KoT features great art and extremely competitive gameplay. (One potential downside - players can be eliminated quite early)
3-6 Players, ~45 minutes, $49.95
What’s that? Random chance isn’t your thing? You’re more into bluffing and trying to read your opponents? How about these card games?
This game is 95% bluffing and lying, and 100% fun. Pass your neighbour a card, face down. Tell them what it is. Feel free to lie. They must either guess if you’re lying or keep passing the card, while maybe adding their own lie into the mix. Also notable: you don’t play until one person wins, you play until one person loses.
3-8 Players, ~20-30 minutes, $14.95
How can a game with only 8 different cards be so good? This is the perfect “micro-game”. A hand can take as little as 3 minutes to play, but most people will want to play many, many hands.
3-4 Players, ~15 minutes, $14.95
Cut from the same cloth as Love Letter, Coup adds more players, more intense bluffing, and more “go for the throat” interaction. It’s still quick, but has a little more strategy going on.
3-8 Players, ~15 minutes, $19.95
This deduction game has earned a ton of fans. Two secretly-chosen teams try to guess who their allies and enemies are through a series of votes. Warning: Not for the faint of heart. Yelling and accusations will abound.
5-10 Players, ~30 minutes, $21.95
Whew! That got a little intense. How about something lighter? Maybe even a bit physical? These reflex games get your brain and heart racing, and create some great tension.
This classic card game has up to four players all racing to empty their card piles at the same time. It’s simple, fast and fun.
2-4 Players, ~15 minutes, $14.95
There are five objects. Each time a card is revealed, players race to identify the one correct object and snatch it from the table before anyone else can. This game will produce laughter and possibly bruised knuckles, too.
2-8 Players, ~20 minutes, $19.95
Anomia Party Edition
Quick! Name a Tennis Player. Name a shape of pasta. Name a type of shark. The catch? You need to blurt out your answer before your opponent does, and you have to watch for exactly the right time to answer. It’s a great combination of basic knowledge and mental reflexes.
3-6 Players, ~25 Minutes, $39.95
Slow down, you’re more interested in knowledge? Communication? A good game can exercise your brain in lots of ways!
Concept is a brilliant spin on charades. Instead of acting out a clue, you must use only the symbols on the game board. This game great for a larger group, and so much fun that keeping score often gets forgotten.
2-12 Players, ~20 minutes, $49.95
Which came first: the Fax machine or the Beatles? Gunpowder or the Trojan War? A nice spin on trivia games, Timeline challenges you to place inventions and events on a single timeline. There are tons of sets available covering science, culture, and history.
2-8 Players, ~15 Minutes, $19.95
Give your memory and communication skills a workout with Hanabi. In this award-winning cooperative game, you can see everyone else’s cards, but not your own. Give each other clues in order to play cards in the right order; but if you get three strikes your whole team is out!
2-5 Players, ~20-30 minutes, $14.95
Collecting Sets. Creating Combos. These games pack some big strategy into small packages.
You are a trader in the renaissance, trying to acquire the most valuable gems and be the first to woo a noble patron. OK, honestly, the theme doesn’t matter. Splendor will win you over with high quality gamepieces and addictive strategy.
2-4 Players, ~30 minutes, $49.95
Pick a card. Pass your hand to your neighbour. Repeat. The rules of Sushi Go are simple, but the challenge comes in collecting the right sets and anticipating what your opponents will try to collect. The art is simply adorable, too.
2-5 Players, ~15 minutes, $17.95
Biblios is tricky to describe but easy to learn. There’s a bit of bluffing and a bit of luck, but basically you want to collect the best sets of cards and deny your opponents the cards you need. It’s all a bit dramatic considering the game is set in a monastery.
2-4 Players, ~30 minutes, $29.95
Come in to the shop and let us help you pick your next favourite game!