Top 10 Lunchtime games (or games that take 30 minutes or less)


We’re all very busy of course. Have jobs, kids, a house, garden, things to do. But we want to play games as well, don’t we?  Well, then we might be able to slip in a game or two during lunchtime or when the kid sleep. The following ten games are perfect for these occasions. They have simple rule sets, barely any setup time and are very fun to play.

Starting with this prehistoric number 10.


10: MammuZ

MammuZ is a bluffing game. It can be compared the Liar’s Dice, but here you use cards. Cards with prehistoric animals on it. Cards with numbers. You play a couple of cards, face-down, and say “three fours”. The next player can either play fours from their hand or just say he or she plays fours, or he can challenge the previous player. You did not play three fours! And then he looks at one of them. If it is a four he has to take all cards in his hand, if it isn’t the challenged player takes all the cards in her hand. If it’s a dinosaur, yes there are dinosaurs in this game, the special action of the dinosaur is executed and play continues. The goal is to get rid of all your cards.

This is a light game, true, but a fun one with that is perfect to play during lunch with people who do not play games that often.



9: Red7

This is a cool little card game that acquire you to play a card so you will win taking the current game rule into account or you have to play a card to change that rule. Rules are like, you win if you have the most even-numbered cards on the table, or the most cards of one colour. So, you check your cards on the table and see if you have, lets say, the most even-numbered cards. If not, play a card so you will have the most, or change the rule into a rule that does win you the round.

Red7 is very fun and it’s deeper than it looks like at first glance. So check it out.



8: Coup/ Coup: Rebellion G54

Coup is also a bluffing game, like MammuZ. You can play it with a maximum of 6 players. It’s quick, think 15 minutes or less, it’s easy to explain, you just have to go through the different character powers, and it’s very fun. You have two character cards, every character can do something, like take more money or kill other characters, and you can basically do anything on your turn as long as everyone believes you are who you say you are. If they do not believe you are the Captain for instance, you have to prove it, or otherwise you lose a life, which means one of your two role cards. If you do are the Captain, the player challenged you loses a life. Great fun.

Coup itself just has five roles in the box, which are easy to remember. You can expand it with Reformation if you want. You can buy G54 instead. This game has the same rules, but it has more characters in the box, so you can play with different ones every game.

This sounds fun, but I have to say that bluffing gets more difficult, because you constantly have to remember which characters are in the game and what they do. I think this standalone Coup game is more for the ones that play Coup a lot. It is still fun, but Coup, basic Coup, is a cleaner game.



7: Abluxxen

Linko! or Abluxxen is a quick, but very fun card game from Michael Kiesling and Wolfgang Kramer. You basically try to get rid of your cards, by playing sets of cards with same number. If you play the same amount of cards as a player at the table, but with a higher number, you can take that lower set in your hand, and that player draws that many new cards, or you don’t take the cards from him and then the player can take that set in his hands or discard them and then draw that amount of new cards. In the end you get points for the amount of cards you’ve played and negative points for cards in your hand.

This game has pretty simple rules, but it’s deeper than you might think. Stealing the right cards and creating sets that are harder to steal, so you can get the biggest pile of cards in front of you gives you enough to think about.



6: Potion Explosion

I only recently played this game, but I think it’s a very fun game and it can easily be played in half an hour if you’re familiar with it. Take out a marble, the others will roll down and if two marbles of the same colour bump into each other it will cause an explosion and you can take these marbles too. You do that to create potions. A potion needs a certain amount and colour of marbles. You can only work on two potions at a time and after you’ve completed a potion you keep it, drink it later and then it will give you a bonus action, like take marbles from the bottom row, use coloured marbles as a wild marbles this turn, or reuse an already used potion. You get points for completing potions and sets of different or the same type of potions.

This game made me think of Splendor in that you collect different coloured items. Although in Splendor you do that to buy more coloured items. In Potion Explosion you do that just for points and special actions. It’s just set collection basically and there’s no engine building, like in Splendor. The Candy Crush like mechanism of the exploding marbles is simple, but very fun. I like this one. Quick, easy rules, beautiful and it has these addictive qualities that makes it very fun for me.



5: Sushi Go!

I said it many times before. Sushi Go! is an excellent game. And because it plays so quickly, a perfect lunchtime game as well. You draft cards and collect sets to score points. Every set scores differently.

Later this year, and it depends on where on the planet you live, Sushi Go! Party can be bought. This new, extended, edition added loads of new types of cards, so you can play with different types every time. Haven’t played it yet, but it grabbed my attention.



4: Witness

This is a tricky pick. Not because it takes more than half an hour to play, but because it might not fit the lunchtime game category. It’s basically a game of Chinese whispers and I don’t want everybody spitting breadcrumbs in each others ears. It’s a cooperative game for exactly four players. You get a case. Somebody has been murdered and every player has its own booklet with clues about the case. During four rounds you whisper the information you got to your neighbours and at the end you try to solve the case.

You have difficult cases and easy ones, but I must say it is more challenging than I expected. The cases are very cool and the game very fun.



3: Splendor

Collect gems in two ways. The poker chip gems you can take. The card gems you have to buy, with gems. However, the cards you can keep, the chips you have to discard. The more gems you get the better cards you can buy, the more points you can get.

A very easy concept and I must say that I was a bit underwhelmed the first time I played it. It’s because initially I wasn’t interested at all in this game. Its game looked too simple for me. Everyone kept raving about it, so I cracked, played it, and found my initial thoughts justified. It was OK. However, I played it some more, on the iPad and at the table, I liked it better after every game. It’s just very addicting and deeper than I initially thought.



2: Archaeology: The Card Game

This little card game just got a reprint. This new version is different from the older Archaeology , but I haven’t played the newer version yet. But, the older version is fun already. You try to collect sets of artefacts. You trade with the market and sell the sets to the museum for points. Some artefacts are harder to acquire, but are worth more points. Some artefacts are only worth a significant amount of points if you sell a lot of them at the same time. However saving all the cards in your hand to create large sets is dangerous, because there are sandstorms in the desert these storms force you to discard half of your hand cards if they come up.

Archaeology is just the perfect combination of set collection, trading and push your luck. It a quick game, it’s light, but it’s interactive and exciting as well. Perfect if you have half an hour to spend.



1: 7 Wonders / 7 Wonders Duel

Both 7 Wonders and 7 Wonders Duel are perfect games to play within half an hour. Play Duel when you are with two and 7 Wonders when you are with more. In basic 7 Wonders you draft cards secretly and in Duel you draft openly by picking cards from the pyramid of cards in the middle of the table. In both games you try to collect different types of cards that will give you resources to build other cards. You’ll get points from collecting sets of cards with the same icons, having a big army or acquiring a lot of scientific knowledge, for instance.

I like drafting, it’s very exciting, because you will have the feeling that every decisions matters. Sometimes you take cards because it’s beneficial for you and if not you might take cards just because you don’t want the other player or players to have it. Simple rules, no downtime and a lot of fun.



What are your favourites?


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