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Quality Over Quantity - Short Games

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18 May 2021 09:01 #323253 by oliverkinne
Let me start by saying that I love 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.

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18 May 2021 11:16 #323254 by Shellhead
I can't think of any great games that are also short. Games that can be played in under 30 minutes tend to feel too stripped down, lacking any compelling reason to play except as a filler while waiting for other players to arrive or finish their own game. I would rather hang out and talk for 30 minutes then frantically cram in another game just to be doing something.
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18 May 2021 11:22 #323259 by charlest
Oh man Shell.

For Sale
Skull
No Thanks!

All totally great games.
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18 May 2021 11:28 #323260 by fightcitymayor
I wish there were more short games with narrative, because for me the randomness quotient of short games makes them seem pointless. I would love to be proved wrong though. I mean, any dice-chucking, card-drawing "party game" can be goofy fun for 10 minutes, but that leans on the crowd more than the game mechanics.

Someone cobble together a list of "Great Short Games With Theme & Flavor."
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18 May 2021 11:37 - 18 May 2021 11:38 #323261 by Pugnax555
I'm generally not a fan of shorter/lighter gamers for the reasons already mentioned. That said, I will gladly spend 10 minutes playing Tom Lehmann's The City (or Jump Drive).
Last edit: 18 May 2021 11:38 by Pugnax555. Reason: speeling
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18 May 2021 11:44 #323262 by charlest
Yes, Jump Drive too. Forgot about that one but I think that's actually better than Race for the Galaxy.

There are not many strong thematic games in this category. I'd say it starts and begins with Space Hulk: Death Angel.

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18 May 2021 11:45 #323263 by san il defanso
My sweet spot for games is about 3-4 hours, but as I've gotten older shorter games have become more and more useful. They tend to be the workhorses in my collection, the stuff that gets played because it's easy to get it played. When I was younger I tended to turn my nose up at stuff like that, but not anymore.

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...

Mascarade
For Sale
High Society
Felix: the Cat in the Sack
Skull

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)
Yomi
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18 May 2021 11:46 #323264 by Matt Thrower

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.

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18 May 2021 11:58 #323266 by Shellhead

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.

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18 May 2021 12:01 #323267 by quozl
Battle For Hill 218
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18 May 2021 12:06 #323269 by Shellhead
Love Letter has a surprising amount of game in a very small deck of cards, but it sucks with just two players and runs a little too long for what it offers with 3 or 4 players.

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.
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18 May 2021 12:07 #323270 by Jackwraith

charlest wrote: Oh man Shell.

For Sale
Skull
No Thanks!

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.

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18 May 2021 13:25 #323271 by hotseatgames
Hellapagos

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18 May 2021 14:44 #323274 by jeb
SPACE HULK: DEATH ANGEL is a good pick. It's north of 30 min usually, but not by much.

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.
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18 May 2021 16:09 - 18 May 2021 16:44 #323281 by Jexik
Without re-listing anything already said, I’ve played a ton of That’s Pretty Clever/ Twice as Clever and Kingdomino over the last year, and a lot of Resistance: Avalon before that. Coup is a great short game as well.
Last edit: 18 May 2021 16:44 by Jexik.

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