Featured image photo credit: JIP, CC BY-SA 4.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0>, via Wikimedia Commons
Board games can be a great way to pass an afternoon. However, if you’re looking for something to just fill a small chunk of time, then you’ll want to peruse our list of quick board games.
If you’re in a hurry, our top pick is Ravine. It’s something a little different that will work for most groups. It’s also a cooperative game, which is an excellent option for a quick game.
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- Best Quick Board Games in 2023
- Best Overall – Ravine
- Best Puzzle Game – Dimension
- Budget Option – Qwixx
- Best Game of Skill – Bounce-Off
- Best Reflex Test Game – Throw Throw Burrito
- Best Non Stop Game – Perpetual Commotion
- Best Travel Game – Sushi Go
- Best Silly Board Game – Exploding Kittens
- Best Card-Based Game Board – Space Team
- Best Pathfinding Game – Calliope Tsuro
- Best Quick Co-Operative Board Game – 5 Minute Dungeon
- Best Mental Dexterity Game – Geistes Blitz
- Best Guessing Game – Codenames
- What to Consider When Buying a Quick Board Game
- Frequently Asked Questions
Best Quick Board Games in 2023
Best Overall – Ravine
This co-operative survival game for 2 – 6 players takes 15 – 20 minutes to play and has loads of different scenarios to try.
Ravine is a charming and slightly quirky game. It starts with a plane crash. A roll of the dice tells you how much health your character survives with. It’s then a battle against nature to see if you can make it through the night without dying or going insane.
The game is well made and offers a good level of challenge. It’s the kind of game where you can enjoy losing. If you do, then it just makes you want to play it again even more.
The game is quick and creative. As a co-operative game, it offers a different gaming experience than many players are used to as you have to work together to stand a chance of winning. With so many scenarios and combinations possible, it’s really replayable, an ideal feature in a short board game.
Best Puzzle Game – Dimension
This 3D puzzle game works for 1 – 4 players. It takes a maximum of 30 minutes to play through all 6 rounds.
Dimension is a game that will appeal to anyone who likes strategy games. Each round, you have to build a 3D structure that means a randomly selected set of rules. The more rules you meet, the more points you earn.
There is a timer for each round, so there is a hard limit on how long this game can go. The upper limit is 30 minutes. However, once you’ve played it a couple of times and are familiar with the setup, you’ll find you can play through in around 15 minutes easily.
This is an excellent game for 1-4 players. So if you want some screen-free puzzle time, this is a great little game to have on hand.
Budget Option – Qwixx
This is a game of luck and speedy mental maths. The player who is fastest with their mental arithmetic has a significant advantage.
Qwixx is a game that sounds confusing when it’s explained, so I’m not going to bother. Once you play one turn, you’ll understand how it works. Which is all you need in a quick game.
What QWIXX is, is a dice rolling, number-crunching game. You take turns to roll the dice. You then use the totals to cross off boxes on your scorecard. However, you can cross off boxes using any player’s rolls, so there’s no downtime as you wait for your go. The more boxes you cross off, the bigger your score.
The game takes between 10-15 minutes to complete depending on your math skills!
You can have 2-5 players in the game at a time.
The only downside is that the score sheets are paper. So you might want to consider laminating them and using dry erase markers, that way, you won’t run out after you all get addicted to the manic math fun.
Best Game of Skill – Bounce-Off
A family-friendly version of beer pong.
Bounce-Off is a great game for families. It’s the sort of game where age isn’t necessarily an advantage, which is a real bonus when you have kids of different ages.
In this game, players take turns bouncing their balls into a special grid. The aim is to be the first to make the pattern on the card. Make the pattern, take the card. The first to get three cards wins. It’s really that simple.
This is a perfect game when you don’t have a lot of time to play. It’s super fast to learn and can be done in 5 minutes.
Best Reflex Test Game – Throw Throw Burrito
Throw Throw Burrito
It’s a card game mixed with dodge ball for 2 – 6 players with a playtime of 10 minutes.
Throw Throw Burrito is a ridiculous game. It’s basically a game about collecting points by collecting sets. The twist is that there are also a few cards in the deck that require you to throw the soft burritos at each other. If you hit someone with a burrito, they lose points.
This is a pretty simple but fun to play game. Just make sure that you don’t have any breakables around. Things can get a little manic, especially if you’re playing with the full 6 players this game can support.
Best Non Stop Game – Perpetual Commotion
This is a fast-paced card stacking game where you race to get rid of all your card.
Perpetual Commotion is an excellent game for any group of players. It’s a straightforward game. All you’re trying to do is get rid of your cards as fast as possible. The only thing is that everyone else is trying to do the exact same thing at the same time.
It’s a chaotic and fun game for 2-6 players.
The game runs on a points system. By the rules, you keep playing until someone gets to 150 points. However, if you’re in a hurry, there’s no reason you can’t just play a single round and be done. Playing to 150 points takes 30-45 minutes. A single round is usually done in around 5 minutes. So, it pretty easy to adapt to make it fit the time you have to play.
Best Travel Game – Sushi Go
A pick and pass card game for 2 – 5 players that takes around 15 minutes to play.
Sushi Go is a fun and light-hearted game. Its graphic style means that even young kids can pick it up quickly with no need for reading.
In this game, you take turns picking cards from the hands you pass around. You’re aiming to collect the most valuable sushi meal you can. So, bigger sets mean more points, and wasabi makes everything better.
A nice feature of this game is that it comes in a travel tin. So, it’s an easy one to take out and about, which is a real plus for a speedy game like this.
Best Silly Board Game – Exploding Kittens
The aim of this silly game is to be the last player standing as you take turns to draw cards.
Exploding Kittens is a very silly game. It’s designed that way, and they’ve done an outstanding job of it.
For a game that is basically the card equivalent of Russian roulette, it’s surprisingly light-hearted. Each turn, you play and draw cards, all the while hoping to avoid the exploding kittens. If you draw one, you might be able to disarm it. Otherwise, you’re out. With a bit of strategy, you can increase your opponents’ chances of finding the kittens before you.
There are loads of expansions for this game so make sure you pick the set you want. The base version is suitable for 2-5 players and takes around 5 minutes to play.
Best Card-Based Game Board – Space Team
Players are hurtling through space in a broken spaceship. You play against the clock to fix your ship by shouting instructions at each other.
Space Team is a card-based version of an immensely popular app-based game. It has all the fun of the app without the need to rely on smartphones. This version also has a little more depth to it, making it a great choice even if you’ve tried the app version.
The aim of the game is to fix your ship. You’re doing this against the clock. You all have different missions to complete, and you need each other to do it. It’s hectic, silly, and fun. There are also loads of expansions if you want to get more players involved.
The base version works for 3-6 players and takes no more than 5 minutes to play.
Best Pathfinding Game – Calliope Tsuro
This tile-laying game is about creating an infinite path while all the other players fall off the edges or crash.
Most tile-laying games are about trying to get somewhere. Calliope Tsuro is all about trying to go nowhere. This game for 2-8 players is a soothing labyrinth-like game. You win the game by being the last player left on the board.
The game starts by placing your marker on the board. You can start at any of the path points you want, and there are plenty to pick from. You then take turns placing path cards and following where they lead. If you go off the board or crash, you’re out. Once your paths start to meet up with other players, things get interesting and unpredictable.
This is a beautiful game that’s surprisingly relaxing to play. A whole game will take a maximum of 20 minutes, but it’s often done in much less time.
Best Quick Co-Operative Board Game – 5 Minute Dungeon
5 Minute Dungeon
This is a fixed time limit game for 2 – 5 players. There are 10 different heroes to play, and 5 ultimate bosses to face.
5 Minute Dungeon is a great way to introduce people to the joy of RPGs. It’s strictly limited to 5 minutes of gameplay. There’s a timer counting down the seconds you and your team have to clear the dungeon. The time pressure keeps you moving and means that this game is a good balance of fun and hectic.
The game works for 2-5 players. There are 10 heroes to choose from and 5 final bosses to fight. This means there are quite a lot of different variations to try, so this game has good replay value.
In this game, your team works together to figure out how to get past the obstacles in the dungeon. There are no turns. Each player can solve and challenge. This is done by playing a matching card, so it’s effortless to understand and play.
Best Mental Dexterity Game – Geistes Blitz
This is a game of quick thinking and fast hands for 2 – 8 players.
Geistes Blitz is a rapid game to pick up. It’s also the sort of game that will have you itching to just try it one more time.
The game comes with 5 wooden tokens – a mouse, a book, a ghost, a bottle, and a chair. There is also a set of cards. On each turn, a card is turned over, and based on several factors, it indicates which of the 5 wooden tokens you need to grab. The first player to do so correctly wins the card.
There are no words on any of the cards, so it’s elementary and quick to learn for any age.
You can play as many rounds as you want, so how long it takes is really up to you. If you play through the full deck of cards, it should take no more than 20 minutes.
Best Guessing Game – Codenames
A challenging and intelligent game of spying, secret agents and double agents.
Codenames is a game for 2-8 players, but even more people can enjoy it. At 15 minutes per playthrough, it is one of the shorter games on the list. Plus, it is quick to learn, and it’s the kind of game that you can play in a lunch break, so it definitely deserves a place on the list.
The gist is simple. Each of two teams has a spymaster who knows all of their agents’ secret identity. But their teammates only know the agents’ code names. The goal is to determine the agents’ identity through asking and answering simple questions by way of association and deduction.
To spice things up, there are also double agents, assassins, and bystanders.
And if the party at the table doesn’t feel like competing, you can also play a cooperative variation of the game where all of you work together to get as high a score as possible.
What to Consider When Buying a Quick Board Game
Number of Players
You need to think about the situations when you’re planning to use this game. If you are looking specifically for a quick board game, you probably already have something in mind. So just double check that the game will work for the number of players you need.
However, if you can’t find one that has space for enough players, you probably don’t need to worry too much. If you just look for one of the quicker games, then you can take turns. Most people are willing to watch and wait for 5 minutes before they have a turn.
The theme of the game can make a big difference in how willing people are to try it. If you can, try to match the game theme to the group who will be playing. If in doubt, it can be a good idea to pick one of the more general themes like Sushi Go, or one of the just straight-up silly ones like Exploding Kittens
If you’ve played a few board games, then you probably have a feel for what sort of games you enjoy. The mechanics of a game are often the most critical factor in how enjoyable a game is. This is even more true in a short game because you don’t have any other depth to mask what’s going on.
It can be a good idea to stick with a mechanic style that you know you’ll enjoy. If you don’t enjoy an hour-long pick and pass game, then you’re not suddenly going to love it just because there’s less of it.
The point of a quick game is to get up and running quickly. So the best quick board games are ones that are easy to learn. This means you might want to look for the simple to pick up short games that get straight to the fun. You’re probably not going to want ones that have complex strategies.
Frequently Asked Questions
How fast is a quick board game?
Anything that is under 15 minutes is probably considered a fast board game. You can find some games that are designed to be played in 5 minutes or under.
Are quick board games fun?
A quick board game can be a great option for loads of different situations. They are an excellent way to enjoyably fill a short amount of time. They are absolutely fun. You don’t have to have an in-depth game to have fun.
What’s the best quick board game?
It really depends on what sorts of games you enjoy the most. There are loads of great games to choose from on this list, so I’m sure you’ll find the best one for you somewhere here.