We’re back baby! After a 20 month long hiatus the Game Night crew are finally getting back in the saddle this weekend to play some games (and you know, catch up or whatever...) To that end I’m trying to make up for lost time by stuffing my bag with as many games as possible! The criteria I had was 10 games, one bag, 30 minutes or less. This was intended as a way to maximise our time and get a good number of games off my shelf of shame at the same time.
I’ve ranked the list in order of the ones I’m most excited to play, but I’d be happy to table any and all of these if my friends will let me! Let’s dive in.
10. Push It
Kicking things off we have a little dexterity game that I’ve had for a good few years now but never gotten to the table called Push It. It jumps in at the low end of the list because it’s a maximum 4 player game and the crew is likely to be 5, but it's also a very small, quick game that we can actually play in the pub while we wait for food etc.
Push It is basically just a tabletop version of crown green bowling. You have a jack and two pucks and you’re trying to get your puck to be closest to the jack at the end of the round. The interesting twist with this one is that it doesn’t actually require a clear table space. The game is designed to be played in pubs with players having drinks etc scattered about. The rule is though that if a puck hits an object, that object becomes locked in place until the end of the round.
This is definitely one I can see us breaking out as a quick five minute activity but could generate a lot of laughs.
9. Magic Maze
I put Magic Maze on the list because we had a lot of fun last time we played it but it’s also the one I see as least likely to actually get play time. Magic Maze is designed in such a way as to teach itself as you play through the missions and given it’s been 3 or 4 years since we last played it, we likely will need to start from mission one again and work our way up.
In Magic Maze you are simply trying to move 4 different coloured pawns to the exit of the maze. However, what makes this game interesting is that each player can only make certain moves, for example, one player might only be able to move pawns north, while another can only move them east. And then to compound this players cannot talk to each other. And the whole thing is timed! This makes for a frantic but fun experience as players do their best to attract each other's attention to move the pieces silently to their end zones.
Next week I’ll be posting a review of Kameloot, but I want to get in one last play at a higher player count before I do. Kameloot is a set collection game but with teams. Players reside in one of two taverns. They can play cards into sets in front of them that are shared with all players in the same tavern. When there are enough cards to complete a set in a tavern it scores and all the players there get points, even if they didn’t have cards in that set.
The fun of game comes from manipulating the sets and the taverns through special abilities so that you are the player that gets the biggest share when the sets are scored. In a lower player count game you want to manipulate the game so that you score sets alone, but in higher player count game you want to ensure you’re scoring points as often as possible, even if it’s just one or two points.
This one is obviously a review copy so that’s why I’m a little less excited to play it, because it sort of feels like work and I’ll need to come home afterwards and write all about the experience. However, our plays so far have been pretty fun and I do want to see how it plays out with the larger player count.
7. Cheating Moth
Cheating Moth is basically a card shedding game where players are trying to play out all their cards. However players are allowed to cheat, secreting cards about their person or dropping them on the floor is a perfectly legitimate move, so long at the player on guard doesn’t catch you.
This one sounds fun but could also be a little too simple for me to really jump on it. That said I loved Cheat as a teenager so it could really shine. I can see this game getting pretty beat up pretty quickly though, but at £2.12 from Amazon I can probably live with that.
6. Love Letter: Infinity Gauntlet
This one came into my collection not long before lockdown and so has languished on my shelf of shame for the past two years like a plump purple velvet slug. At the end of the day this is a Marvel based retheme of Love Letter, a game that I already own (and like) and in fact I own it twice!
The revised printing of Love Letter, that came out a couple of years ago, hit the table at Games Night with a rapturous response. When this latest version came out and I heard people herald it as the greatest version of Love Letter yet, so I was duty bound to see if that were true… Okay… Okay… I was suckered in by the Marvel theme… does that make you happy… does it?!
But I do like Love Letter and this one does seem to be doing something different with the 1 vs All spin. At the very least I’d like to get it on the table and see what’s new and whether this is one worth keeping.
Our group has played their fair share of social deduction games including Resistance and One Night Ultimate Werewolf and they always go over fairly well so when I heard about Crossfire back in 2017 from, then, less famed, designer Emerson Matsuuchi, I snapped up a copy. However it never hit the table and the longer I had it the harder it seemed to bring it out.
With 5 players we’re really on the low end of having enough people to make the game fun but the only way to find out is to table it. And with a 3 minute play time it can’t really outstay its welcome.
The Mind is another game I picked up right around the time of lockdown. I initially dismissed this one after I heard the premise. I figured this is just going to be a gimmick and no-one will still be talking about this game in a month or two. But then I played Quacks of Quedlinburg with the Game Night guys and during the post match discussion we began to look into what else Wolgang Warsch had designed.
And it turned out, a bunch of super well respected games, including 3 SDJ nominees in the same year! So I put my prejudice down and picked up a copy for when lockdown would be over… cut to 20 months later and my copy was still in shrink! Who knew global pandemics ran this long!
The Mind has a simple premise, play cards in ascending numerical order… without talking. In level 1 you each have one card and you progress up the levels increasing the hand size by one each round until you either win or run out of lives. It sounds mad, but I’m willing to give this one a shot, at least once!
Saboteur is one of the few games that has actually hit the table more often this year because of lockdown. We’ve been playing it over Tabletop Simulator but it would be great to get a game in in person.
We talked about Saboteur recently in the “Top 10 Meanest Games in My Collection”. This is a semi-co-op game of dwarves mining for gold. However one player takes on the role of the saboteur, trying to run out the deck so that the dwarves can’t finish their path and claim the gold.
It’s a super fast and really fun little game that only gets better in my opinion with the Greedy Dwarves rule, which brings a few more tactics to bear in the later rounds as you sabotage your allies to grab more of the loot for yourself.
2. 5 Minute Marvel
The 5 minute series are games that take around 5 minutes to play, per round. In the case of 5 Minute Marvel, players take on the roles of iconic Marvel heroes to battle evil masterminds, from the Green Goblin all the way up to Thanos.
This is all done through speed playing cards to match icons, with each level increasing in difficulty as you progress. I picked up 5 Minute Marvel on a whim when it was heavily discounted on Amazon. I’ve heard good things about the 5 minute series in general and I figured the Marvel theme would help sell it to the game group.
The tongue in cheek humour coupled with the beautiful artwork scattered across the game really have me wanting to get this one on the table.
Tags is an almost completely out of print party game from HeidelBÄR Games which I finally managed to get my hands on an english copy of earlier this summer. In Tags players attempt to score points from a grid of marbles in the centre of the table.
Each marble corresponds to a category and a letter, if you can give an answer that satisfies both the letter and the category you take the marble. Each marble is worth between 1 and 3 points, however, finishing a row or column will also score you the tag card for that column, netting you even more points.
Tags is incredibly fun as each player gets 15 seconds to guess as many right answers as they can. The only downside is that because there are no question cards as such the answers will need to be verified by the other players around the table. My first play of this was with a friend's copy, but I love it so much I had to pick up my own. The sheer variability in the category & letter combinations makes this a trivia party game with endless replayability.
Tell us in the comments below which of these you’d be the most excited to play, or which 30 minute game I should have put on the list instead.