Everyone needs those small games for when you're looking for a game to get your mind started before a marathon game night, or maybe a game for a small breather in between heavy games, or even a game to introduce people into the hobby.
Whatever the reason, this list of great filler games are perfect for those moments when you just need to relax with a small, uncomplicated, 20 minute game.
1) Dont Get Got
2) Unstable Unicorns
3) Dungeon Mayhem
4) Welcome To...
As a perfectly normal Gameology Collaborator, sequestered in my “definitely-not-a-supply-closet” office with a small mail slot where I slide these game posts out of in exchange for Catan pieces, I one day dream of being a small to mid-range real-estate developer.
And as I do not currently have a means of “leaving”, I must live out my wildest fantasies of building reasonably priced, suspiciously similar, beige houses through the game “Welcome to…”
In this not-stop-adventure of adding minor amenities to a small upper-middle class estate players will duke it out to see who can be the undefeated champion of property development. To play, players will reveal 3 cards from the decks, each portraying a particular house number with a corresponding amenity.
Players will then choose one combination to add to their neighbourhood, each amenity added increases the point value of all of that particular luxury you've placed in your neighbourhood.
Thus players will compete to see who’s luxuries will be worth the most points at the end of the game by either specialising to gain the maximum point value of a luxury, or by diversifying and getting small points over many different luxuries. It’s almost too exciting, that description alone is enough to cause a surge of adrenaline running through a small, 3 year old child.
Will you add a pool to house number three and completely challenge your opponent in a one-on-one fight for dominance on the pool track? Maybe you’ll put trees on a street and increase the value of an entire street of houses! There is never enough action in “Welcome to..”!!
Do you have great hand-eye coordination? No? How about just eye coordination? If so, then boy is this game for you. Anomia is a game of shouting the most random trivia at all your other friends.
The best description of this game is that it’s essentially the mental version of SNAP! You look for matching symbols and instead slapping down with force, you flex your cognitive capabilities but yelling a word related to the topic depicted on the matching cards faster than your opponent.
Anomia truly shows who is a quick thinker, and who doesn’t know what an invertebrate is.
There isn’t much to this wonderful filler game, players will draw and reveal a card in front of them an artful flourish if they're any fun and everyone will compare the depicted symbol on the revealed card. If it matches the symbol of their previously drawn card, both the active revealing player and the matching player create a clash of cognitive capabilities.
Each must look at the topic written on their opponents card and say a related word to the topic: (Body Part = nose, Genre of Music = Rap, Type of Fish = Nemo). The first to say an acceptable word wins and scores a point. The game ends when the deck is exhausted.
The game is fun but it does tend to reveal who are the quicker thinkers with an obvious advantage. BUT THATS OKAY, just ostracize them AND KEEP THE GOOD TIMES GOING.
6) Lost Cities
ADVENTURE TO UNCOVER UNKNOWN RICHES AND ANCIENT RELICS IN LOST CITIES! That’s actually a bit too dramatic, it’s a counting game with a bit of push-your-luck but it's simple and fun, making it a wonderful filler game for 2 players. In Lost Cities, players will assume the role of competing archaeologists looking to uncover digs across the world (simultaneously somehow).
As omnipresent beings, players will slowly uncover relics of varying qualities, each with its own numerical value...that can only be scored in ascending order. Which means, thematically, if you find a full, intact fossil of an ancient paleolithic Dragon-bird early in the game and score it, you're now too snobby for any of those smaller fossils and unceremoniously throw them in the trash for your opponent to scavenge with glee.
Mechanically, Lost Cities is a simple card drafting and card placement game similar to Arboretum. On a given turn, you are either taking cards from the deck or community supply piles, or playing cards into your dig sites.
But here's the thing. Each dig site you open will cost you 20 points at the end of the game--unless you manage to play enough cards, meaning find enough fossils, in that dig site to turn a profit. If that wasn't enough, there are also wager cards scattered throughout the deck that multiply your dig site scores--whether they are positive or negative.
Do you place that wager on your red dig site, only to find your opponent is holding all the red cards you need in their hand? Do you open all the dig sites or just stick to one? How do you balance risk and reward? Become a weirdly specific omnipresent being of archeology and find out!