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Quality Over Quantity - Short Games
Games that take less than 30 minutes to play are usually seen as lighter, because they are often less complex than games with a longer playing time. Sometimes these quick, short games are seen as "lesser" in some way or not as "important" as longer and more complex games. Often they are dismissed as party games that no "serious gamer" wants to associate themselves with. In this article, I want to look at short games a bit more closely and compare them in more detail with longer games.
Someone cobble together a list of "Great Short Games With Theme & Flavor."
My current favorite short games are the Mystery Rummy games, which I've been playing over and over with my son. But I also like the following a lot...
Felix: the Cat in the Sack
There are also those games that are actually pretty meaty that get packed into a 30-minute playtime. I'm not as big into these as lighter fare in this time slot, because teaching a game has to be considered, and a couple of these games, like Race for the Galaxy, take longer to teach than they do to play. But still, there are these...
7 Wonders Duel (so much better than the original)
Omen: Reign of War
Dominion (not my favorite, but it's right in this wheelhouse)
Shellhead wrote: I would rather hang out and talk for 30 minutes then frantically cram in another game just to be doing something.
Me too. The thing is there are definitely a few 30-minute games that are worthwhile. I get what you mean about "stripped down" but if a game does one thing and does it well, that's a joy in itself.
Storytelling games like Once Upon A Time and The Old Hellfire Club are very good at this. The rules may be stripped down but if your group is up for it, they'll deliver among the richest narrative experiences you can find in board gaming.
Hanabi remains the most cooperative of all the cooperative games I've played.
King of Tokyo, For Sale and Battle Line all cram a ton of thrills into a half-hour. KoT especially does an incredible amount of heavy lifting with the trash talk and the upgrades making it feel far more like a more fully-featured DOAM clash than it has any right to be.
I'm going to squeeze Cartographers in here too. It's a bit heads-down but when you do get to scrawl monster invasions on someone else's lovingly built fantasy kingdom it's delicious. Plus, you know, you get to lovingly build a fantasy kingdom.
charlest wrote: There are not many strong thematic games in this category. I'd say it starts and begins with Space Hulk: Death Angel.
I though about Death Angel, but it only clocks in under 30 minutes if you lose badly. It's one of my all-time favorite games, but usually runs closer to an hour.
Spaceteam is a fun party game that literally plays out in five minutes due to the timer, but that brief play time creates its own awkwardness. Do you play again? Maybe three games in a row, but it starts to feel samey after the second play in a row. And now you have a table full of people who are too worked up to play most normal board games of normal duration. There are expansions for Spaceteam, but they add nothing to the experience.
charlest wrote: Oh man Shell.
All totally great games.
Seriously. I look at my shelf and I see Lovecraft Letter, Guildhall, half the Tiny Epics, Villainous, Tournament at Camelot, War Chest(!), The Bloody Inn, 13 Days, Blue Moon(!); all of them are great games that can be played in a half hour or less. Now, granted, you won't TEACH most of them to new players and still finish in 30 minutes, but that's a different scenario.
NETRUNNER, MAGIC:THE GATHERING, YOMI, FLASH DUEL, PUZZLE STRIKE are all solid sub-30 minute games. KEYFORGE too, but sometimes the decks are really mismatched and it's not fun.
I guess I can 27th LOVE LETTER and FOR SALE. Those are good titles and come in short.